Raid on Oslo, 25 September 1942

The Oslo raid of 25 September 1942 was the first of a series of daring daytime raids that used the de Havilland Mosquito to bomb individual buildings in occupied Europe. This particular raid targeted the Gestapo Headquarters in Oslo, and was mounted at the request of the Norwegian government in exile. The aim was to destroy Gestapo records about the Norwegian resistance.

The raid was flown by four Mosquito B Mk IVs of No. 105 Squadron, and was commanded by Squadron Leader George Parry. The aircraft were flown to Leuchers, in Scotland, to reduce the distance that would have to be flown, but even after that the raid would still be the longest Mosquito mission yet flown, covering 1,100 miles. The aircraft would be in the air for four and three-quarter hours.

Each aircraft was armed with four 500lb bombs with 11 second delayed action fuses – this would be such a low level attack that impact bombs had the potential to damage the aircraft that had dropped them. These bombs would be the Achilles heal of the mission.

Despite crossing the north sea at under 100 ft, the Mosquitoes were still intercepted by two Fw 190s. One Mosquito was shot down, crashing in a Norwegian lake. A low level chase followed, only ending when the remaining German fighter hit a tree.

The remaining three aircraft reached Oslo, and found their target. Four bombs hit the Gestapo Headquarters. Unfortunately, of those four bombs three bounced out of the building before exploding, and the one bomb to remain inside the building failed to explode.

Although the raid had failed to achieve its main objective, it was considered dramatic enough to be used to reveal the existence of the Mosquito to the British public during a BBC Home Service broadcast the following day. It also demonstrated the newfound ability of the RAF to reach pinpoint targets in occupied Europe. The Mosquito would be used for a series of equally dramatic pinpoint raids over the next few years.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (15 April 2007), Raid on Oslo, 25 September 1942, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_raid_oslo_25_09_1942.html

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