|Sir Barnes Neville Wallis in 1942. The National Portrait Galleery, London|
Direct drops onto dams were difficult and they were protected by torpedo nets in the river. The dams were superbly constructed and only very accurately placed depth charges would have any chance of success. What to do?
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Barnes Wallis was a British inventor of aircraft and military weapons who conceived the idea of a 'bouncing bomb' which would skim across the water surface thus avoiding the nets.
On the night of 16th May RAF 617 squadron, led by the heroic figure of Guy Gibson launched the highly risky night-time raids. The mission had to be flown at exceptionally low-level, meaning that, from the outset, it was thought that only half of the aircraft would return.
|The Eder Dam on 17th May 1943|
From that time on 617 Squadron became known as 'The Dam Busters'.