- The Third Assault -
by Robert Taylor
Mick Martin's Lancaster is shown as the 'Upkeep' bouncing bomb is released, during Martin's successful attack on
On the night of 16/17 May 1943 nineteen specially modified Lancasters of 617 Squadron departed from RAF Scampton on one of the most secret and daring bombing operations undertaken during World War II The ultra-secret operation to destroy the huge hydro-electric dams that powered a significant part of Germany’s industrial war machine in the Ruhr valley, codenamed Operation Chastise, had been planned in stealth for months. Using a revolutionary 5-ton ‘bouncing bomb’ designed by the brilliant designer Barnes Wallis, a special squadron comprised of the most talented crews that RAF Bomber Command could muster would be formed to attack primarily the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe Dams. Using highly modified Lancaster bombers to carry the secret bomb, Operation Chastise was to become one of the most dangerous precision bombing raids ever undertaken, and Robert Taylor astutely captures all the atmosphere in his new drawing Bomb Away!, the latest addition to his highly acclaimed Graphite Collection. At 00.38 hrs the attack on the Möhne Dam is already well underway. The commander of 617 Squadron and leader of the raid, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, had made the first successful attack, but the dam wall had held. And then tragedy had struck as Flight Lieutenant Hopgood’s Lancaster, hit by flak during his attack, had exploded in a ball of flame. Gibson called in Flight Lieutenant Mick Martin to make the third assault and Robert Taylor captures this moment with graphic precision. As enemy flak and tracer illuminate the night sky, Guy Gibson boldly attempts to draw the enemy’s fire as Martin holds Lancaster AJ-P steady at 60ft above the waters of the Möhne Dam to release the cylindrical, bouncing bomb and send it spinning towards the dam wall. In a few moments a huge explosion will erupt up in to the night sky as the hydrostatic bomb detonates against the mighty granite walls. Once again, though, the Möhne dam held, but not for long.
|Overall size: 18¾" x 23½"||Available in the following editions|
|300||Limited edition||Signed by six 617 Squadron veterans of Operation Chastise.||$225|
|Sergeant Ray Grayston
Flight Engineer on Lancaster AJ-N (N-Nan) flown by Les Knight, which attacked and successfully breached the Eder dam.
|Squadron Leader George Johnson
Bomb Aimer on American Joe McCarthy's Lancaster AJ-T (T-Tommy) which attacked and hit the Sorpe dam.
|Corporal Ken Lucas
One of 617 Squadron's most experienced ground crew, Ken was heavily involved in preparing the Lancasters for the raid, including fitting the motors that would spin the bomb, and attaching the crucial altitude lamps to the underside of the aircraft.
|Flight Sergeant Grant McDonald
The Canadian rear gunner on Ken Brown's Lancaster AJ-F (F- Freddie) which attacked and hit the Sorpe dam.
|Squadron Leader Les Munro
New Zealander, Captain and pilot of Lancaster AJ-W (W-Willie) assigned to attack the Sorpe dam, but was forced to turn back en-route to the target after sustaining heavy flak damage over Holland.
|Sergeant Fred Sutherland
Canadian front gunner on Les Knight's Lancaster AJ-N (N-Nan), which attacked and successfully breached the Eder dam.