Breaching the Möhne The Dambusters - Target X by Anthony Saunders
Twenty minutes had passed and three Lancasters had attacked but there was still no sign of a
breach in the Möhne Dam, the first of three primary targets for the newly- formed elite 617
Squadron under the command of Wg Cdr Guy Gibson. Gibson and Flt Lt ‘Mick’ Martin had
made successful attacks but Flt Lt ‘Hoppy’ Hopgood, whose bomb bounced over the dam wall
and exploded on the power station below, had been shot down by deadly flak. Now it was the
turn of Sqn Ldr ‘Dinghy’ Young in Lancaster AJ-A. With Gibson and Martin heroically drawing
enemy fire, Young’s Upkeep ‘bouncing bomb’ was spot on target with Gibson later noting it
made ‘three good bounces’ before detonating against the dam wall. It held but Gibson was
feeling upbeat, he was sure he’d seen movement in the wall after the explosion and called up
David Maltby to begin his attack. He, too, was successful, and just as Flt Lt David Shannon was
about to begin his attack the dam disintegrated – the Möhne had finally been breached. ‘There
was a great breach 100 yards across’ Gibson wrote later, ‘and the water, looking like stirred
porridge in the moonlight, was gushing out and rolling into the Ruhr valley...’.
An hour later the Eder dam was also breached, but the operation was a costly, if stirring, success;
of the nineteen Lancasters sent out from RAF Scampton, eight would never return; of the 56
aircrew aboard only two survived.
To perpetuate the legend of the Dambusters, artist Anthony Saunders has once again created a
stunning work depicting the scene at ‘Target X’ – the codename originally given to the Möhne
dam. Always a master of his craft, Anthony portrays ‘Dinghy’ Young’s Lancaster AJ-A as he
clears the dam wall moments after releasing his bomb. On his starboard side Guy Gibson,
navigation lights ablaze, heroically draws enemy fire whilst below Young, the inferno created by
Hopgood’s bomb lights up the sky.
Overall size: 23¾" x 31¾"
Available in the following editions
Image size: 16½" x 25¾"
Signed by six 617 Squadron veterans of Operation Chastise
Squadron Leader George ‘Johnny’ Johnson MBE DFM RAF
Bomb-aimer on Lancaster AJ-T that attacked the Sorpe Dam, scoring a direct hit.
Squadron Leader Les Munro DSO DFC RNZAF
Pilot of Lancaster AJ-W assigned to attack the Sorpe Dam and one of the three flight commanders.
Flight Sergeant Grant McDonald RCAF
Rear Gunner on Lancaster AJ-F which attacked the Sorpe Dam despite heavy flak en route.
Sergeant Fred ‘Doc’ Sutherland RCAF
Front Gunner on Lancaster AJ-N which attacked, and successfully breached, the Eder Dam.
Sergeant Ray Grayston RAF
The Flight Engineer on Lancaster AJ-N that successfully breached the Eder Dam.
Corporal Ken Lucas RAF
Ground Crew with 617 Sqn, he was involved in fitting special modifications to the Lancasters for the raid.
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