To most people, the ‘Blitz’ lasted from September 1940 to May 1941. However, in December 1943, the Code-breakers at Bletchley Park received intelligence that the Luftwaffe’s bombers were gathering for a major new operation. This new campaign, codenamed Operation Steinbock was to involve over 500 bombers, including 46 He177 ‘Greif’ four-engined heavy bombers making a debut over Britain.
The RAF was now far better equipped to deal with the new attack with 127 Mosquito night fighters and new radar-directed anti-aircraft guns. The final major air campaign over England of WW2 was about to begin.On the evening of 21st January, 227 bombers took off bound for London, their target marked by Pathfinders from KG66. On their return to base, those bombers still serviceable were refuelled and rearmed and in the early morning 220 aircraft repeated the attack.
For the next four months attacks continued on London, Hull, Bristol and other targets. Casualties in Britain totalled 1,556 killed, with 2,916 seriously injured. The Luftwaffe lost 330 aircraft and their crews – for every five people killed on the ground, the raiders lost one bomber and four trained crewmen killed or captured.
This is the first book dedicated to Operation Steinbock and features:
Ron’s long-term interests in WW2 aviation have seen him author a huge number of books covering all aspects of the air war, including the USAAF, RAF and Luftwaffe. He is a full-time author living in Crewe.
Simon W Parry is now one of Britain’s leading aviation historians, but his roots are in Surrey where he began his research into the battles and aircraft crashes in the county 30 years ago, a time it was possible to interview many witnesses to the events. His interest in the air war lead him to become a profession researcher at the National Archives, undertaking a assignments for those not able to conduct their own investigations. Since the publication of his first book in 1987 he has focussed his attentions on the editing and production of over 40 aviation books for publishers. He is also one of Europe’s most experienced aviation archaeologists, contributing to several TV shows, and is now working with Channel 4 on a documentary about the Dambusters.