The bombsight used to break the Möhne Dam

John Fort\'s bombsight used to break the Möhne Dam, 17 May 1943

I’ve only had this blog up and running for about a week, but I’ve noticed that I already get many more hits on it than on the companion site devoted to my book. So with that in mind, I thought that I would draw the attention of my blog readers to the remarkable picture of an original Dambusters bombsight which recently came into my attention. This is thought to be the only original wooden bombsight still in existence, and it was used by Plt Off John Fort, the bomb aimer in David Maltby’s crew. Some time in mid 1943 it was given by David to his father (my grandfather) Ettrick Maltby. The full story is told here

There has been a certain amount of scepticism as to whether any of the 617 Squadron bomb aimers actually used the bombsight (devised by Wg Cdr Dann) on the Dams Raid (Operation Chastise). Some of them certainly preferred their own makeshift sights and used chinagraph marks and tape on their Perspex blisters. But this artifact would seem to prove that at least one bomb aimer used the type that later became famous through the 1955 film. And he was the one that dropped the bomb which finally broke the Möhne Dam!


8 thoughts on “The bombsight used to break the Möhne Dam

  1. Brenda August 24, 2010 / 5:25 am

    Thank you for posting the theft of Ken Brown’s boats on your blog. The museum was very relieved to get them back and it is in part through the efforts of people like yourself to spread the word of the theft that helped in the recovery of our artifacts. THANK YOU!!
    I’m wondering if you would be able to help with something else. A film crew from Regina is working on a mini series on the Dambusters and they have asked the museum if we have in our possession or know of someone that has a Dann bombsight that they could borrow for a couple of weeks for filming. It wouldn’t have to be original. A replica would work. If any of your readers could help with locating and/or loaning a Dann bombsight they can contact Brenda at or 403-250-3752

  2. Evans November 15, 2011 / 8:03 am

    Incredible piece of work kids, very couragouse well done all those who were there and god bless those who did not return:

  3. Tania Lea January 5, 2013 / 4:48 pm

    Is it true they tested in the coast of Dorset

  4. Gary July 5, 2015 / 2:37 pm

    I noticed the damage to the Eder dam was nowhere near central on the dam wall, and when you look at the topography of the reservoir, you can see the body of water lays at an angle to the wall, and I suspect the attacking bombers were forced to approach at that same angle to maintain level flight. Now, I wondered if the bomb sight had allowed for the optical aberration caused by approaching at such an angle, as it would then appear the towers are slightly closer together, or indeed, seem further away, causing a late release of the bomb…it certainly looks like the angle at least caused the bomb to go a little wide.

  5. Malcolm Gray November 23, 2017 / 8:12 am

    I make replica bombsights which have been used by various aviation museums across the country, however I do have a problems identifying some of the stamped text/letters on the underside of the main spar, can anyone tell me the meaning of the following, Text that appears to read, ‘HAREL’ and the initials BW ?.

    Many thanks Malcolm Gray

    • Gary November 26, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      BW, Barnes Wallace?

  6. Birchall July 21, 2020 / 10:46 am

    J.johnson film clip “Training for operation Chastise” talks about crews making a bombsight from triangle of plywood. This is the dannsight. Picture on the internet shows Dan and sight together. This sight was secret when the film was made. The y shaped is claimed to have been stolen for it to be in civilian hands. I have never seen the AM crown on it. The provenance on other items from the same source is doubtful and the RAF museum have never shown interest.

  7. p birchall October 22, 2020 / 3:10 am

    readRAF museum dams raidpage 5 describes the dann sight as a triangle ply wood with pins peep hole as described by j johnson dambuster

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