618 Squadron was formed around the same time as the illustrious 617 ‘Dambusters’. Their mission was to also use the Barnes Wallis ‘bouncing bomb’ weapon, but this one was smaller and called ‘Highball’! It was designed as the solution to attack German pocket battleships and in this case the Tirpitz, whilst at anchor in their heavily protected defences of flak positions, anti-submarine nets and escort ships. Des Curtis the author was one of the earliest members of 618 Squadron. Des also details how the squadron was used to attack that other German naval menace the U-boat!

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Des Curtis was one of the founder members of 618 Squadron. Formed within days of the illustrious 617, 618’s primary objective was to mount a daylight low-level attack by Mosquitos on the German battleship Tirpitz within hours of the attack on the Ruhr dams. The operation, codenamed Operation Servant, was given top security classification, to the point where the subject was excluded from the minutes of the meetings of the Chiefs of Staff of the air and naval forces. The author reveals the dilemmas and conflicting priorities existing to the highest levels, setting out in detail the technicalities of developing the ‘bouncing bomb’. He also writes first hand about the tactical problems of getting to and from the target; and the tensions and strains endured by the Mosquito crews themselves, as they took the war to the German U-Boats within the sight and safety of their bases.



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