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No 460 Squadron

Equipped with twin-engined Wellingtons, No 460 Squadron formed in England in November 1941 as a Unit of the Royal Air Force's Bomber Command. The Squadron first operations involved leaflet dropping missions over Paris and other French cities, as well as bombing missions over Germany.

Attacks against heavily defended German targets were mounted in the face of a well organised German fighter and anti-aircraft defence and in the space of three months, No 460 Squadron lost twenty Wellingtons with most of their crews.

After briefly converting to Halifaxes, No 460 Squadron was re-equipped with Lancaster heavy bombers in October 1942. Lancaster operations began in November with the majority of missions being flown against heavily defended targets in the Ruhr Valley and Berlin.

In June 1943, the Unit dispatched twenty-seven Lancasters against Dusseldorf - setting an Bomber Command Squadron record. Two months later, No 460 Squadron became the first Bomber Command squadron fly 1,000 sorties in Lancasters. This extraordinary rate of effort was only possible through the dedicated efforts of ground staff, who maintained one of the highest serviceability rates within Bomber Command.

By 1944, the Lancasters were being used to hammer coastal fortifications and other French targets in preparation for the D-Day landings. In August the Squadron set another Bomber Command record, when it dropped over 1,900 tonnes of bombs during the month.

During an attack over Germany one of the Squadron's Lancasters was attacked by two Me 262 jet fighters. In a remarkable display of marksmanship, the Lancaster's gunners shot down both fighters.

No 460 Squadron flew its last mission of the War in April 1945 when twenty Lancasters destroyed Hitler's mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden. After Germany's surrender, No 460 Squadron flew Allied POWs from Germany and dropped food to starving civilians in Holland. The Squadron disbanded on 2 October 1945.

During its 6,264 operational sorties, No 460 Squadron was regarded as one of Bomber Command's foremost Squadrons. This reputation was achieved at an enormous cost, with 188 aircraft destroyed and nearly 1,000 airmen killed. As a testament to this sacrifice, one of the Squadron's Lancasters - "G for George" - is on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

In July 2010, No 460 Squadron was reformed, and is now the RAAF's Target Intelligence Squadron, operating within the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation in Canberra. No 460 Squadron's role is to provide 'geospatial and target intelligence for precision effects', delivering accurate and timely imagery analysis in support of military operations and precise target intelligence for 21st Century operations.

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