Operation Hydra

British plan for the Peenemünde raid

British plan for the Peenemünde raid

Operation Hydra was the name of the first bombing of the Army Research Center Peenemünde and the test site of the Air Force “Peenemunde-West” on Usedom in the night of 17 on the 18th August 1943 by the Royal Air Force, which took place simultaneously with the operation whitebait.

The military operations began as early as the 10th August 1943 with promotions ten British fighters who wanted to attack towards Berlin with routes near Peenemünde establish a scheme to attack Berlin to the German Air Force to obscure the real target – the military installations at Peenemünde.

To reinforce this deception was carried out simultaneously with “Hydra” the operation “whitebait” who actually aimed at Berlin.


On 17 August 1943 there was a full moon and Arthur Harris was to perform the command, “Hydra”. The British bomber fleet with 596 aircraft (324 Lancaster, 218 Halifax, 54 Stirling) rose; additional 28 Mosquito and 10 Beaufighters for the “whitebait” deception attack on Berlin.

The deception succeeded, as flew around 23:00 clock the bombers Denmark, and the Baltic Sea towards Berlin, they were met by about 200 German fighters, about 150 were concentrated there in the Berlin area.

At 23:09 clock sounded the sirens at Peenemunde. Then sat against 1:09 clock scout planes their luminous markings to the Army Research Center Peenemünde around from eight minutes later (1:17 clock) proposed bombs of the first wave of “Hydra” (227 machines) directly into the living accommodation of scientists in Karl Hagen and killed 123 people there, including the scientist Dr. Walter Thiel and Dr. Walther with their family members. Wernher von Braun was able to escape into a bunker.

The death of the scientist was not an accident, but an attempt (including V 1 and V 2) stop missile projects through the direct killing of scientists. By a marking error of the scout bombed a third of the machines of the first wave of the prisoner camp Trassenheide I and II Trassenheide between local documents Karl Hagen and Heath route and killed 612 forced laborers.

The second wave with 113 machines handles the production in the great halls, the third wave with 180 machines, the development work. A total of 1,874 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs were dropped.

About 30 German night fighters shot at 1:35 clock during the return flight the bomber 42 of the machines from.


The British held off for a long time Peenemünde. The General Staff of the Air Force schef Hans Jeschonnek took the following day, the 18th August 1943 in the Robinson camp in East Prussia life because he believed that the consequences of the failed bomber defense were worse.

Just a few days after the attack on the German side, however, was clear that was only to be expected with a break of four weeks, and the attempts were soon on. Now, however, copies were made ​​and swapped documents and blueprints of the drawings.

Because of the attack to move the manufacturing of V 2 has been accelerated in underground workshops such as the Mittelbau-Dora and the test starts now performed by other places such as Blizna or the Tuchel Heath.

To commemorate the bullied and the many deaths of a total of approximately 1400 forced laborers of the Army Research Institute since 1970, there is the monument and memorial Karl Hagen. There are also many of the bombing victims is thought among the population.


•Joachim Engelmann: Secret armory Peenemünde.V2 – “Waterfall” – “Butterfly”. Podzun-Pallas-Verlag, Friedberg 1979, ISBN 3-7909-0118-0.



Air warfare operation of the Royal Air Force in World War II

Mecklenburg history

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