and the USAAF came up with a spectacular but hazardous idea of
destroying the V1 and V2 sites in France, these missions code
named "Aphrodite" used old war weary B24 Liberators
and B17 Flying Fortresses.
Wallis created the "Tall Boy" a 22,000-pound Grand
Slam bomb. The Grand Slam was so big that only one at a time
carried by a heavy four-engine bomber - specially re-fitted for
aircraft were packed with 3,000 lbs of Torpex high-explosives
and piloted by a crew of two, who before crossing the channel
would set the fuses and bale out, the aircraft would then be
remote-controlled by it’s base in England, who set out
it’s flight path and distance, once set the laden packed
bombers would be guided to their target and explode on impact,
destroying the intended rocket sites.
hope to halt this menace was by the R.A.F who would bomb
the launching sites or the trains and vehicle convoys that
were transporting them.
It soon became a main priority of Bomber Command to destroy as many
V1 and V2 sites as soon as they were recognised and reported by the
French Resistance, and by the photo- reconnaissance missions of the
The new operations that the Lancaster crew now had were to
bomb all and every V1and V2 site found. Therefore the next
mission for the crew was the V1 flying bomb storage depot at
Creil, France, it was attacked and bombed on the 2nd July 1944.
As a last resort when the launch sites had
been bombed, the Luftwaffe decided to launch V1s from Heinkel
bombers on targets in England, right up to 6 weeks before the
end of the war over 1,000 were launched in this fashion, only
when the Luftwaffe was finally defeated would this menace be
Photo by kind permission of -
massive walls of theV1 & V2 Rocket site at Watten.
more missions to France for the Lancaster crew as they
bombed V1and V2 rocket sites. The site at Watten, France
was a massive concrete complex built in October 1943
using Russian slave labour, of which many hundreds died
during the construction. The massive V2 rockets arrived
by rail transport which ran directly underground to the
storage chambers, there they were assembled using a production
line basis. On completion of fitting it’s war head
and the necessary parts the rocket would continue on
the railway line to the outside launch area where its
operational crew would elevate the rocket to firing position
on it’s special launch pad and carry out the long
dangerous procedure of filling the rocket with its 9,726
kg's of highly-explosive fuels, six hours later it would
be ready to
launch at the designated target given… London!!!
rocket site at Watten
V2 site at Watten never launched any V2’s
against London as it was bombed on the 25th July, 1944….
had it been able to launch it’s terror weapons, it is estimated
that it would have most definitely fired a minimum of 50 V2’s
at London every day…
The destruction for the people and
the city would have been incomprehensible!!!
bombing of Watten, the Lancaster crew were ordered to bomb
another site at Rilly La Montagne on the 31stJuly, 1944
One of the
major V1 sites at Siracourt was bombed on August 1st, and one
large site at Etaples on the 4th.
Bomber Command issued new orders
to the Lancaster crew, they would now have the task of bombing
the “Kriegsmarine” U-Boat
pens hidden away in massive concrete underground caverns scattered
along the coast of France. Their first mission was carried out
on 6th August at Lorient, followed by an attack on La Pallice,
both targets were bombed using 10 tonne “Grand Slam” bombs,
these massive bombs designed by Barnes Wallis were to be dropped
from a height of 40,000 ft (12,000 m) and would penetrate the
target to 100ft (30 m) before exploding. The resulting underground
shock wave, like an earthquake would bring down the sturdiest
of concrete structures and destroy it.
the initial 9th August attack, a succession of bombing
raids were carried out on the U-Boat Pens at Brest, on
the 12th, 13th, 14th August 1944, using 6 tonne “Tallboy” bombs,
and 10 tonne “Grand Slam” bombs.