Royal Navy’s own Dambusters

The Royal Pier Hotel, now Rees Hall.

NOSTALGIA: No bath for 10 weeks

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Remember the Dambusters, the group of Lancaster bombers and their RAF crews of 617 Squadron who, on the night of May 16/17, 1943, dropped bouncing bombs and breached the Möhne and Edersee Dams in Germany?

I wonder however, how many know that earlier in the Second World War another dam, the Tirso in Sardinia, was attacked by eight Swordfish aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm of 810 Squadron from the Portsmouth-based HMS Ark Royal? They did not have bouncing bombs however, they made their attack with torpedoes.

The dam produced hydro-electric power sufficient to meet a third of Sardinia’s electricity.

The attack, on February 2. 1942, was not as successful as that of the RAF but if the aircraft had had the advantage of the bouncing bomb then all types of damage would have occurred.

The torpedoes were, however, made for cutting into the side of ships and exploding, not penetrating thick concrete.

The attack failed with the loss of one aircraft.