Author Topic: Mosquito Action #2: Destruction of the Dutch Central Population Registry  (Read 2306 times)

Offline Karnak

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A precision raid on a Gestapo occupied building, to be carried out by 613 Squadron, was scheduled early in April, 1944. The target was the five-storey, 95ft (30m) high, Huize Kleykamp in The Hague, which housed the Dutch Central Population Registry and contained duplicates of all legally-issued Dutch personal identity papers. This was a big problem for the Dutch Resistance, because falsified identity papers could easily be identified by the Gestapo. The Resistance could not attack the Kleykamp themselves, it was heavily guarded, so they requested a pinpoint bombing raid by the RAF. The large white building was tightly wedged among other houses in the Schevengsche Weg, close to the Peace Palace and was strongly defended by light anti-aircraft guns. In 1943 Jaap van der Kamp, a Dutch Resistance fighter, who worked under cover in Huize Kleykamp, had drawn sketches of the building and the exact location of the heavy metal cupboards where the identity papers were kept. These were smuggled to Britain by D'Aulnis de Bourrouill, a Dutch agent. The drawings were used to construct a scale model of the building, perfect in every detail right down to the thickness and the composition of the walls. Scientists worked hard to develop a new type of 500lb (230kg) bomb, a mixture of incendiary and high explosive, which was designed to have the maximum effect on the mass of Gestapo files and records.

In the early morning of 11 April W/C R.N. Bateson DFC led six FB.VIs from Lasham for Swanton Morley where they took off again at 1305 for Holland. Twenty miles from the Dutch coast the FB.VIs climbed to 4,000ft (1,220m), crossing Overflakee, then decending to very low level. They made their way to Gouda then to Delft. Bateson and his navigator, F/O B.J. Standish, noticed there were no recognizable landmarks, just a vast expanse of water, dotted with islands where no islands should have been. Unknown to the aircrews, the Germans had opened the sluice gates on the River Scheldt, inundating a large area of the flat Dutch countryside. After flying on for a few more minutes, crews finally got their bearings and continued on track for The Hague.

As they approached, the FB.VIs split into pairs, following in line astern, sweeping across the rooftops, the narrow streets shuddering to the din of their engines. The first two FB.VIs lined up to attack while the other four circled Lake Gouda, allowing time for the 30-second delayed action bombs carried by the first two aircraft to explode. The third and fourth aircraft carried incendiaries and the fifth and sixth aircraft each had two HE bombs and two incendiaries. At the approach of the first Mosquitoes, soldiers drilling in the courtyard fled in all directions. Bateson streaked towards the target, bomb doors open, his port wing missing the tall spire on top of the Peace Palace by inches. F/L Peter Cobley DFC, following Bateson, saw his leader's bombs drop. Cobley had a hazy impression of a German sentry throwing away his rifle and running for his life, then he saw Bateson's bombs quite literally skip through the front door of the headquarters.

Cobley dropped his bombs in turn, pulling up sharply over the roof of the Kleykamp. Two minutes later, with dense clouds of smoke already pouring from the shattered building, the second pair, flown by S/L Charles W.M. Newman and F/L F.G. 'Trev' Trevers, and F/L R.W. Smith and F/O J. Hepworth, made their attacks. Then the third pair, F/L Vic Hester and F/O R. Birkett, and F/O Rob Cohen, a Dutchman, with F/Sgt P.G. Deave, sped in. (Cohen, a former student of the Deflt Technical University, had escaped to England by paddling a canoe across the North Sea.) Hester got his bombs away but they hit the old Alexander barracks. Although he made a number of attacks, Cohen's bombs hung up and he was unable to release them. Instead he photographed the burning target. He was almost weeping with rage when he returned. (Cohen was killed attacking a target in France in August.) Spitfires escorted the FB.VIs home.

The Gestapo building had been completely destroyed, together with the majority of the identity papers, but sixty-one civilians, including van der Kamp, were killed, twenty-four seriously injured and forty-three slightly injured. Only Newman's and Trever's aircraft, which was hit in the outer starboard tank union by light flak, was damaged. Bateson was awarded the DSO. An Air Ministry bulletin later described the raid as 'probably the most brilliant feat of precision bombing of the war'.

De Haviland Mosquito by Martin W. Bowman, Pages 78-81

Mosquito Action #1: Operation Carthage
Petals floating by,
      Drift through my woman's hand,
             As she remembers me-

Offline Creamo

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Mosquito Action #2: Destruction of the Dutch Central Population Registry
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2001, 05:08:00 AM »
Oh yeah, blow it all up!

Civis, goats, sheep, nazi's, bubblegum factories etc..

The Mosquito is the toejam. Bring the mayhem to AH.

Offline markkane

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Re: Mosquito Action #2: Destruction of the Dutch Central Population Registry
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 04:49:30 PM »
For a fairly new book about Huize Kleykap, with a long section about the bombing and its equivocal results, written by Dutch historian Fritz Boersma, search for Kleykamp, ISBN 978-90-400-8471-3.

Offline Karnak

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Re: Mosquito Action #2: Destruction of the Dutch Central Population Registry
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 05:05:10 PM »
Wow.  Old post to be brought up.  From when I was agitating for the Mossie to be added to the game, just before the first screen shots of it were posted, almost 10 years ago.

Thanks for the tip on the book.  I'll try to get a copy.
Petals floating by,
      Drift through my woman's hand,
             As she remembers me-

Offline curry1

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Re: Mosquito Action #2: Destruction of the Dutch Central Population Registry
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2011, 05:35:51 PM »
necrobump
Curry1-Since Tour 101

Offline Volron

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Re: Mosquito Action #2: Destruction of the Dutch Central Population Registry
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2011, 08:17:29 AM »
That is a REALLY nice 1st post. :x

Oh and...

Quote from: hitech
Wow I find it hard to believe it has been almost 38 days since our last path. We should have release another 38 versions by now  :bhead
HiTech
Quote from: Pyro
Quote from: Jolly
What on Earth makes you think that i said that sir?!
My guess would be scotch.