The Dambusters Raid with Max Hastings


80 years ago, in the late hours of May 16th 1943, Wing Commander Guy Gibson fearlessly commanded the 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force to execute a daring bombing mission. Their aim – to destroy three dams in the Ruhr valley – Germany’s vital industrial hub. This top-secret operation was known as ‘Chastise’, but we know them today as the ‘Dambusters’. But why has this famed mission, that was so vital to the allied war effort, become so controversial? And 80 years on, what new information do we have about these pilots?

In this episode, James chats to Sir Max Hastings to help explain just who the Dambusters were and what they did. With decades of Max’s research, including first hand accounts from the men who were there, there’s a lot to be learnt 80 years on. Examining the controversies surrounding operation Chastise, and looking at the monuments erected in memoriam of those lost – what can we learn about the men, and the victims, of Second World War bombing raids?