Bomber Command launches first thousand-bomber raid against Germany

30 May 1942

When RAF Bomber Command mounted its first thousand-bomber raid against a single German target, the RAAF was represented by 18 Wellingtons from No 460 Squadron. This unit was the most ‘Australian’ of the national squadrons formed within the RAF under Article XV of the Empire Air Training Scheme. The target was Cologne, the third-largest city in Germany with a population of 700000. The raid was a great success, with 600 acres of the target area (half in the city centre) destroyed. Of 1047 aircraft dispatched, 868 reached the target and successfully bombed during the 90 minutes allotted for the entire raid. Although 41 bombers were lost (none from 460 Squadron), only half this number became casualties over or near Cologne – most of the others fell victim to night-fighters between the coast and Cologne. The ‘Thousand Bomber’ raids had made their mark on history