OP 23 - VINCOVICI MARSHALLING YARDS
The target for the night of October 17/18, 1944 was the marshalling yards at Vincovici, Yugoslavia. For this operation W/O James MacIsaac was the designated flight leader for 37 Squadron and flew in Wellington Mk.X LP621 "A".
MacIsaac and crew took off from Tortorella at 1751 hours carrying nine 500 pound bombs, six 250 pound bombs and six packets of nickels. ETA over Vincovici was approximately two and a half hours.
The weather was good, with no low clouds and fair visibility.
Opposition over the target consisted of slight, mainly inaccurate, light and heavy caliber flak. No sign of enemy night fighters was observed. Illumination flares were dropped on time and were fairly well placed enabling the crews to identify the yards and pinpoint the markers, which were a few minutes late, in the eastern section of the target area.
Fourteen Wellingtons of 37 Squadron were operating and all attacked, dropping one hundred eighty eight 500 pound bombs, seventy eight 250 pound bombs and seventy four packets of leaflets from 7000 to 8000 feet between 2000 and 2007 hours. Most crews bombed on the markers, the remainder bombed visually before the TI’s were dropped. Crews reported a good concentration of high explosive and incendiary bombs in the target area. Several large fires were left burning and violent explosions were observed during and after the attack, these continuing at intervals until 45 minutes after "blitz time". Fires were visible up to 100 miles from the target.
Photos showed the bombing was indeed well concentrated on the target, and photo reconnaissance of 10/21/44 showed that all the through lines and all sidings had been effectively cut or blocked and that over two dozen hits in the marshalling yard had damaged or destroyed a great number of rail cars and buildings. Eighty two aircraft of 205 Group participated in the attack without any losses - the operation was a tremendous success.
MacIsaac landed safely at Tortorella at 2241 hours.
* * *
From the No. 37 Squadron ORB...
October 18, 1944:
DISCIPLINE - 545053 Corporal GRACE, W., was brought to trial by Field General Court Martial assembled at H.Q., 205 Group on charges framed under Sections 8(2), 37(1) and 19 Air Force Act, as the result of offences alleged to have been committed by him on the night of 14th September 1944.
Sergeants Mess - A new Sergeants club was opened in the evening as an annex to the Sergeants Mess. This was housed in a requisitioned farm building. Under the direction and inspiration of the Commanding Officer and the Chairman of the Messing Committee (W/O J.M. PIKE), many men had contributed with much hard work, skill and ingenuity to evalve a most comfortable and attractive canteen and lounge for N.C.O.’s which, in the opinion of all, would add materially to their well being.
October 19, 1944:
DISCIPLINE - The sentence of the Court in respect of 545053 Cpl GRACE, W., was confirmed by Brigadier J.T. DURRANT (S.A.A.F.), Air Officer Commanding, No. 205 Group, Royal Air Force. The accused had been found guilty of the offence of W.O.A.S. Striking an airman, and sentenced to be reduced in the ranks and undergo ninety-one days Field Punishment.