‘Bomber’s Moon’ - Lancaster Series (5)
Although this was a term used, loosely, during WW2 in reality this weather condition was much more a Hunter’s Moon. The Lancaster force much preferred a moonless or overcast condition that made the task of the prowling Luftwaffe night fighters so much more difficult - the downside was that such weather also screwed up the navigation conditions! By 1944 even the shield afforded to the Lancaster force by poor weather was being eroded by the increasing technical superiority of the newer radar equipped Luftwaffe aircraft. In particular the ’Schrage Musik’ cannon fitted Bf110, Ju88 and the new He219 Uhu (Owl) were especially deadly being able to fire upwards at close range from just underneath the bomber.
The effect of these advances can be seen in the combat statistics for Luftwaffe night-fighter crews with over fifty crews credited with 50+ combat kills and at least two crews with over 100. The nightly air battle was very delicately poised as the RAF bomber force could not sustain a loss rate in excess of 4% - shortage of fuel and attrition of the more experienced Luftwaffe crews would eventually swing the result in favour of the RAF. But, t’was indeed a close run thing!
Composite image of airshow photographs and skyscape etc from the archives - a partial rework of an older image.