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JohnHemel | 19:00 Sat 05th Dec 2020 | History
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watching Dan Snow program but dont understand why they had to fly low on the way to the dams and endure the flak,, why not stay high until target? I am sure a good reason... but ..?

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To stay under the radar
They had to avoid enemy radar if flying high and the essence of the raid was surprise.
Flying at 60 ft was below the sweep of German radar units.
Anf that's literally under the radar, not what it means today.
Barnes Wallis' bomb design was the reason: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouncing_bomb
They only flew low when they neared the target so that the bombs could "skip" across the water. The Germans probably had them on radar ever since they had crossed the Channel.
Unlikely sanmac as had 617 been picked up crossing the Dutch coast then the Luftwaffe would have been alerted and the German fighters would have intercepted them.
Secrecy and surprise was paramount.
You're probably correct there, sqad. I guess I was concentrating on the reason why they had to fly really low when actually on the run-up to the target. They had to fly at a predetermined height (after many experimental trials in the UK) so that the bombs would skip over the the water towards the dams.
radar, under, thereof!
Indeed sanmac,they did.
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They had bright lights pointing down at a certain angle onto the water at the front and rear of the airplanes. These lights made a circle on the water surface, and when the two circles joined into one they knew that was the height at which to drop the bombs.
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And they used this rather simplistic and yet absolutely ingenious light system because altimeters are useless whilst flying at a height of, if i remember correctly, around 80 feet above the surface of the water.
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In the 1955 film with Richard Todd it shows Guy Gibson and Bob Hay(Bomb Aimer) at a show and Gibson sees two spotlights converge and that gives the idea for the two lights meeting.As haven’t watched all Dan Snow yet don’t know if that show was fact or fiction.

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