No. 78 Squadron

The War Illustrated, Volume 10, No. 252, Page 698, February 14, 1947.

Motto: "Nobody Unprepared"

Disbanded on December 31, 1919, the Squadron was re-formed at Boscombe Down, Wilts, on November 1, 1936, and was equipped with Whitley aircraft in the following year. It made its first operational sortie in July 1940, carrying out 46 raids in that year. Targets were in Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands, and included marshalling yards, aerodromes, oil refineries, railways and naval bases. Attacks were also made on the German battleship Scharnhorst at Kiel and on the French "invasion" coast.

On April 14, 1941, the Squadron flew from Middleton St. George, Yorks., to bomb the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, at Brest. In 1942 the unit was re-equipped with Halifax aircraft and, besides taking part in an attack on St. Nazaire and in the 1,000-bomber raid on Cologne, it was engaged in many hazardous mine-laying sorties.

It fought in the great battle of the Ruhr during 1943 and attacked the German experimental station at Peenemünde from a height of only 7,000 feet. It was at Peenemünde that the pick of Germany's scientists developed the V-weapons, and the bombing considerably delayed the introduction of these missiles into the war. In the early part of 1944 the Squadron was principally engaged in wrecking communications in Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and later in the year Caen, Falaise, St. Lo, coastal guns and flying-bomb sites were attacked.

The beginning of 1945 witnessed a successful attack on Ludwighafen, and daylight raids on the Ruhr and in Central Germany. During the course of the war the Squadron flew 6,337 sorties, dropped 17,000 tons of bombs and lost 182 aircraft. Total number of operational flying hours was 35,000.

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