The Dam Busters Code name Operation Chastise
This Gildan Ultra cotton® 50% Cotton 50% Polyester crew neck t shirt, features the Dam Busters one of the most innovative raids of World War II. Operation Chastise was bold and daring raid designed to destroy three dams in the Ruhr Valley, the heartland of German industry. The operation was carried out on the night May 16–17 1943 by Royal Air Force Squadron No. 617 which was made up from aircrew from Britain, Canada, Australia and the U.S.A. they were led by 24 year old Wing Commander Guy Gibson.
Although the dams were heavily protected by anti-aircraft guns and torpedo nets in the water to thwart any aerial torpedo attacks, the 617 squadron flying in modified Avro Lancaster bombers had a secret weapon: The bouncing “Betty” bomb created by British Engineer Barnes Wallis. This drum shaped bomb (codenamed ‘Up Keep’) needed to be dropped from a height of 60 feet (18m) at a speed of 232 mph (373 km/h) to be successful. The bouncing Betty was designed to spin backwards across the surface of the water like a skipping stone to get over the torpedo nets. Once in made contact with the dam, it would drive down the wall of the dam like a depth charge and explode at its base.
Of the 133 aircrew that took part, 53 men were killed and three became POWs. As a result of the flooding, 1.268 people were killed, including 700 Russian slave labourers.
Although the impact on industrial production was limited, the Dam Busters raid gave a huge morale boost to the people of the United Kingdom.
The surviving aircrew of the 617 Squadron came home heroes and Guy Gibson was awarded the highest military honour, the Victoria Cross.
As we keep history alive, one t -shirt at a time, the front of the shirt features a four colour process ( which really pops the detail) iconic AVRO Lancaster completing its mission. The back of the shirt has the story of the Dam Busters in a point form. We used Lancasters and little bouncing Betty bombs as our bullets.