This illustrated history chronicles the first British bombing raid of WWII and the early lessons learned about strategic bombing.
On the 4th of September 1939, Squadron Leader Paul Harris led 149 Squadron to Brunsbüttel, Wilhelmshaven in a Vickers Wellington Mk. 1 medium bomber. On the way he ordered that the guns of his airplane be tested, only to make the horrifying discovery that not one of them worked. Though he was flying completely defenseless, he chose to press on.
On the 18th of December, Harris flew to Wilhelmshaven once again and took part in the Battle of Heligoland Bight, the first major encounter between the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe. This time he flew a Wellington Mk.1A—codenamed “R” for Robert—and his guns were red hot and ready. Of all the Wellington bombers that fought the Luftwaffe, Paul Harris’ old Wimpy is the only one left, preserved at the Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, England.