Breaking the German Dams

A Minute-By-Minute Account of Operation Chastise, 16-17th May 1943

  • Subject: Fall 2023 Catalog | Aviation & Space
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Illustrations:
    50 b/w photos
  • Published:
    August 15, 2023
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9.22 × 6.14 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    20 oz
Hardcover $46.95
Member Price $28.17 Save 40%
Book: Cover Type


“This was Der Tag for 617 Squadron […] from eight o'clock onwards the scenes outside the crew rooms were something to be remembered."

"I watched each Lancaster become airborne from the window of my office but I did go outside to see all the boys roaring away into the fast approaching twilight, and that was a great thrill because they were flying at less than 150 feet from the ground. I just stood and gaped, hardly able to realize the significance of it all.”

On the evening of Sunday 16 May, 1943, the sound of Lancaster bombers fills the night air around Lincolnshire as two waves of Allied aircraft start their engines and take off from RAF Scampton in the direction of the Ruhr Valley. The mission? Attack the German dams on the Eder, Möhne and Sorpe rivers using special “bouncing bombs.” This was Operation Chastise.

In this remarkable work, No. 617 Squadron expert Robert Owen takes a microscope to the raid, guiding readers through the events of 16 and 17 May 1943 in astounding chronological detail. Each action leading up to, throughout, and following the raid is signposted with a precise time stamp, affording readers an informative, gripping and easy-to-follow reading experience. Owen’s compilation of a wide range of first-hand accounts from those involved in the Dambusters Raid complements this minute-by-minute retelling perfectly and adds to the readers’ understanding and appreciation of this astonishing military operation.

With a foreword by World War II aviation expert and author James Holland, Breaking the German Dams is a hugely impressive feat of non-fiction writing about one of the most awe-inspiring operations in British military history. Readers will be left incredibly well-versed in— and moved by—the extraordinary story of Operation Chastise.

About the Author