The Eder Dam

The aircraft flying to the Eder all had difficult finding it in the thickening mists and when Gibson eventually located it he fired a red flare to attract the other crews. As at the Sorpe the approach proved very difficult. Shannon flew three or four approaches without being able to get the Lancaster low enough after the steep dive and sharp turn. Maudslay then tried twice with similar results. Shannon flew two more approaches before he and his bomb-aimer were satisfied, dropping his mine at 1.39 in the morning. Maudslay then flew down the valley for the third time. The watching Gibson thought that he saw something hanging from the Lancaster as if it had previously been damaged. The mine was released but probably too close to the dam and exploded on hitting the parapet shortly after Maudslay’s aircraft passed over it. It is not clear whether the aircraft was caught in the explosion of its own Upkeep or not, as the eyewitnesses differed. Maudslay made brief and indistinct radio contact with Gibson and is known to have left the area immediately, suggesting his aircraft may indeed have been damaged. Knight attacked next, making one dummy run, before dropping his mine at the correct height, speed and alignment. It hit the dam, sank, and exploded at the correct depth. The dam crumbled and collapsed and the water poured into the valley beyond.

The Eder Dam 17 May 1943 draining into the valley below (courtesy of the MoD)

The Eder Dam on 17 May 2016. The contrast enhancement shows the scars of the raid in the repairs to the concrete wall.