Dam Busters: The Race to Smash the Dams, 1943

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The night of May 16th, 1943. Nineteen specially adapted Lancaster bombers take off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, each with a huge 9,000lb special cylindrical bomb strapped underneath them. Their mission: to destroy the German dams, symbols of German engineering and identity, and which provide the lifeblood of the Third Reich's industrial heartland. From the outset, it was an almost impossible task, a suicide mission: to fly in formation, at less than one hundred feet, over many miles of enemy occupied territory at night at the very limit of the Lancasters' range, and drop a new weapon which had never been tried operationally before at a precise height of just sixty feet off the water at some of the most heavily defended targets in the German Reich. More than that, the entire operation had to be put together in less than ten weeks. At the moment Barnes Wallis' concept of the bouncing bomb was green lighted, he hadn't even drawn up his plans for the weapon that was the smash the dams. What followed was an incredible race against time, which, despite numerous set-backs and despite huge odds, became one of the most successful and game-changing bombing raids of all time.