American and British bombers left German factories, airfields, ports and important rail and highway communications smoldering last night following a sweeping 24-hour aerial assault spread all the way across northwestern Europe, from the North Sea to the Bay of Biscay.
The Blow-by-Blow Account
The operations included Flying Fortress attacks twice yesterday on naval installations at Nantes, France, and airfields in occupied France, three Marauder raids on France, and an RAF night attack on the German rubber and rail center of Hanover, which was probably the most intensive bombing job ever carried out by British forces.
This was the toll of destruction rained on Germany and the occupied countries in the round-the-clock offensive:
Hanover -- In 30 minutes Wednesday night and early yesterday morning, the RAF dropped probably 1,500 to 1,800 tons of bombs on this metropolis of half a million, site of Germany's largest rubber works, 160 miles west of Berlin on the vital Berlin-Cologne railway.
RAF Loses 26 Bombers
Nantes -- Forts dumped high explosives on the docks and shipyards at this French Atlantic port, key base for Nazi U-boat and Naval operations and important coast-wise shipping, twice yesterday, once in the morning and a second time in the afternoon.
Emden -- Big German port on the North Sea, previously hit several times by Fortresses, struck again in the RAF's night operations.
Oldenburg -- Inland army, railway and air center west of Bremen, another target hit by the RAF.
Vannes-Meucon -- Coastal air base 70 miles north of Nantes, struck by Fortresses yesterday morning.
Kerlin-Bastard -- An air base farther to the northwest, near Brest, also hit by Forts.
Evreux-Fauville -- Another air base, 45 miles west of Paris, hammered by Marauders late Wednesday, in their deepest penetration of France so far.
Brest -- French air base, struck simultaneously by RAF Typhoons.
Conches -- Air base in Normandy, 60 miles west of Paris, pounded yesterday by Marauders.
Rouen -- Industrial targets at the French port blasted by RAF Mitchells.
Wemeldinge -- Canal entrance in Holland's Outer Schelde, as well as shipping off the Dutch Coast, struck by RAF Typhoons.
The combined air forces also slashed at other scattered airfields in France, Holland and northwest Germany.
In its night assault on Hanover, the RAF lost 26 bombers and one fighter. The USAAF's day operations cost one heavy bomber and two fighters.
The Forts, escorted by Thunderbolts, encountered heavy fighter opposition in the Nantes attack. Nine enemy fighters were shot down by the Forts and four others by Thunderbolts. Two more enemy fighters were destroyed by Forts attacking the Kerlin-Bastard airfield, headquarters reported.
The RAF attack on Hanover was the fourth recent blow at Nazi rubber sources.