Aero Club members to hear about RAF Dambuster raid

Gary Vacin

The attack on German dams by the Royal Air Force during World War II will be the topic of a presentation at the Sun Lakes Aero Club gathering Monday, April 15, at the Sun Lakes Country Club Navajo Room. The event begins with coffee and camaraderie at 6:30 p.m., followed by the presentation at 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and noted WW II Historian James Evans will talk about operation Chastise, an attack on German dams, popularly known as the “Dam Busters.” The RAF bombers used purpose-built “bouncing bombs” to breach the dams. The attack was the subject of a 1955 movie. On the night of 16-17 May, 1943, Wing Commander Guy Gibson led RAF 617 squadron of Avro Lancaster bombers on the raid to destroy three dams in the Ruhr Valley, the industrial heartland of Germany.

The dams were fiercely protected. Torpedo nets in the water stopped underwater attacks, and anti-aircraft guns defended them against enemy bombers.

The Mohne secured the water supply for much of the surrounding area. Water from its reservoir was also used to generate electricity.

The Mohne and Edersee dams were breached, causing catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr Valley. Two hydroelectric power stations were destroyed and several more damaged. An estimated 1,600 civilians – about 600 Germans and 1,000 mainly Soviet forced laborers – died.

Now in its 24th year, the Sun Lakes Aero Club has monthly gatherings featuring speakers on a wide variety of aviation-related topics. Additional information on the club is available from Cannon Hill at 509-539-7857, Gary Vacin at 480-298-7017 or by visiting the club’s website,