Mission 11: Rjuken, Norway
November 17, 1943

U.S. Bombers Hit
Norway Second Time

Forts, Libs Attack
Mine, Power Station
In 1,200-Mile Flight

2 Heavy Bombers Lost, 6 Enemy Planes
Shot Down; Flak Reported Light;
Molybdenum Mine One Target


    American Fortresses and Liberators, roaring through North Sea snow storms on a 1,200-mile round trip to Norway, struck a heavy double blow at vital German installations yesterday in the Allies' first big bombing raid from Britain since Saturday's attack on Bremen.
    The targets, Eighth Air Force headquarters announced late last night, were a molybdenum mine at Knaben and a large power station at Rjuken. One heavy bomber was lost at Knaben against a toll of four German fighters, and a second bomber was lost from the Rjuken raiding force, which shot down two enemy planes, headquarters said.
    The attack, the USAAF's second on targets in Norway, was launched only a few hours after German bombers resumed raids on Britain after a lapse of nearly a week. The first raid on Norway, July 24, carried a large force of B17s to the U-boat base at Trondheim and another force to the metal plant at Heroya.
    Crews returning from the long run to Norway said they bombed in perfect visibility and encountered comparatively light anti-aircraft and fighter opposition.
    Bombardiers whose target was the molybdenum mines at Knaben, 50 miles southeast of Stavanger and some 40 miles inland from Norway's southern coast, reported fair results and those who attacked the power station at Rjuken, about 75 miles due west of Oslo, said bombing results were good.
    Crews said that even to locate this target from the air meant a considerable feat of navigation, and under bad visibility it would have been impossible to hit. As it was, they said, "we hit it right on the nose."
    A great flash and a tremendous explosion followed the bombing at Rjuken, and smoke billowed up from the center of the target. Some of the airmen said the explosion lifted their planes suddenly "as if a giant hand was pulling us upwards."
    The first fliers to return said opposition was light. "We saw only eight FWs on the way back and they didn't bother us," said Lt. John P. Manning, of Minneapolis, pilot of the Fortress Knockout Dropper, which became the first bomber to complete 50 raids in the ETO. Airmen in Manning's group said the only anti-aircraft fire they met came from a lone flak-ship in one of the Norwegian fjords.
    The round trip to Knaben and Rjuken was somewhat smaller than last July's 1,800-mile circuit to Trondheim and the 1,600-mile run to the Heroya aluminum center. In that attack the USAAF delivered a crippling blow to the German plant producing synthetic cryolite, used in the manufacture of aluminum.
    The Nazi bombers struck sharply at a target in the southwest which British communiques described only as "a coastal town" but which Berlin radio identified as Plymouth. It was the first time in months German bombers had attacked southwest England, and they staged an intensive raid, dropping high explosives and incendiaries. About ten persons were killed and 15 or 20 trapped in the ruins of several homes. Fires were started in the town's industrial area.
    While the Germans were hitting Britain, RAF Mosquitoes raced into western Germany to attack unidentified targets. Two of the fast bombers were lost.

Vital Norway Mine
Severely Damaged
By Fort-Lib Blow

Molybdenum Source
Is Called Country's
Foremost Target


    Germany's most important source of molybdenum -- a vital element used in hardening steel and making machine tools -- was damaged severely in Tuesday's USAAF smash at enemy industry in Norway, photographs taken during the bombing revealed yesterday.
    Film records made from Fortresses and Liberators showed bomb hits covering the entire area of the mine and pithead buildings at Knaben, 50 miles southeast of Stavanger.
    Knaben was described by ETOUSA headquarters as "the most important industrial target in German-held Norway," and practically their only source of the vital ore, since the production of three other mines in the vicinity was processed here. The plant's entire output was used by the Germans.

Power Plant Damaged

    Several fires were left burning as the bombers swung homeward on the return leg of their 1,200-mile sweep.
    Heavy damage was done to an enemy power plant at Rjuken, 75 miles west of the Norwegian capital of Oslo, and a war plant in the town making munitions essentials was thoroughly plastered, with direct hits on at least six buildings.
    The bombers scored hits on penstocks and pipelines carrying water down to the Rjuken power plant's great hydro-electric turbines. The picture record showed water gushing out of the pipes where they had been hit and burst.
    The Rjuken factory, controlled by the giant I. G. Farbenindustrie, is one of the world's largest electrolysis works and an important producer of hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and essential components of high explosives.

Hq. Praises Operations

    Eighth Air Force headquarters described the Norwegian operations as "conspicuous examples of navigation and bombing."
    "The targets were small in area and the whole land was covered by snow," it was pointed out. "The bombers flew over water for most of the long trip and no land aids to navigation were available. The rugged country of hills and valleys also made location of the targets difficult."
    The molybdenum plant was the day's prime target. This plant, successfully attacked by the RAF last spring and only recently rebuilt, is considered of greater economic and industrial importance to the German war machine than any other target in Norway. The Nazis have practically no other source of the vital steel-hardening mineral, for which there is no substitute in making satisfactory steel parts such as airplane engine crankshafts and camshafts.
    The strong Fortress formations, which attacked the Knaben mines under command of Col. Julius K. Lacey, of Arlington, Va., were able to make several bombing runs because of the complete absence of fighter opposition. Flak was light.
    Some crews complained of the cold. "It was the coldest trip I've ever been on," said 1/Lt. Leon Fields, of Owanay, Mich. "At 45 below zero I was certainly glad we had nothing else to bother us."
    The Rjuken crews agreed unanimously that bombing was perfect. 1/Lt. Earl Mazo, of Charleston, S.C., gunner-observer on Raunchy Wolf, said the war plant "stood out like a sore thumb," and the bombs caused "at least one terrific explosion." 2/Lt. Harvey B. Barr, of Hope, Ark., navigator of Minnesota, described how bombs "plowed right into the buildings, and green, orange and red flames came up, together with black smoke."

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