New Zealand Bomber Command Association



Bomber Command Prepares for D-Day

In the weeks before D-Day, the RAF prepared for the landing of ground forces in France. New Zealand Bomber Command aircrew were among the many attacking strategic targets such as railway lines, military bases and the coastal defences ahead of the greatest invasion force ever assembled.

Black Thursday 1943

It is difficult to comprehend the challenging conditions aircrew faced in winter operations during WWII. Thursday 16th December 1943 became RAF Bomber Command’s ‘Black Thursday’ when almost three hundred airmen lost their lives in one night, half of them the victims of cruel British winter weather rather than enemy action.

Operation Hydra – The Peenemunde Raid 1943

Intelligence reports had identified that a ground-breaking German rocket weapon programme was centred in Peenemunde on the Baltic Coast. Here development of the prototype V-2 rocket was underway. Operation Hydra was tasked with attacking the rocket research centre to delay development of this new threat to Britain.

The Battle of Berlin 1943/44

The third of Bomber Command’s three strategic campaigns of 1943 targeted Berlin – ‘The Big City”. At crew briefing, when the curtain covering a map of Europe was pulled aside to reveal the plan for that night was an attack on the German capital, more than the usual sense of anxiety swept over the assembled airmen.

The Battle of Hamburg 1943

After the five-month long concentrated attack on the Ruhr, Germany’s industrial centre, Bomber Command’s attention turned to Hamburg. While much shorter in duration, Operation Gomorrah was a campaign of extraordinary intensity and an important event in the moral argument of bombing operations after the war.

The Battle of the Ruhr 1943

March 1943 marked the beginning of one of the most dramatic battles of the air war - a four-month assault on the Ruhr Valley, the industrial fortress of Germany. More than 18,000 sorties were flown. Almost nine hundred aircraft were lost, with six thousand aircrew killed, among them many New Zealanders.

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