Operation Diver

Guns, V1 Flying bombs and Landscapes of Defence, 1944-45

By Colin Dobinson

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Operation Diver is the story of a battle: its action, people, landscapes and remains. The battle was Anti-Aircraft Command’s attempt to defeat the V1 flying-bomb, the first of Nazi Germany’s ‘retribution’ weapons, whose attacks dominated the home front in the final year of the Second World War.

Beginning in the week of D-Day, the flying bomb battle lasted for nine months. In that time the men and women of AA Command became a massed, mobile army, shifting a vast carpet of guns to meet the V1’s changing lines of attack. Beginning in Kent and Sussex, their journey took in the Thames Estuary, East Anglia and eventually the Yorkshire coast. Along with the RAF’s fighter aircraft and the larger air defence system, their mission was to prevent a single flying bomb from reaching London, or any other British city. The battle was won; but not before many technical and human obstacles were overcome.

Published to mark the 75th anniversary of the flying bomb campaign, Operation Diver is also an essay in landscape history, and shows for the first time in detail how hundreds of guns and thousands of gunners were deployed across the fields and farms of Britain, from the South-East to Flamborough Head. Published with a full gazetteer of gunsite positions, it also documents Historic England’s work in assessing the survival of Operation Diver’s fragmentary remains.


  • Part I: On the Horizon
    1. Signs and signals
    2. Cherry Stone
    3. Squaring up
    4. Crossbow
    5. Overlord
  • Part II: Eighty Days
    6. ‘A complete and sudden dive’
    7. Orchard fields
    8. Realities
    9. Diver shuffle
    10. Light blue world
    11. Conflicts
    12. Decisions
    13. Clear horizons
    14. Getting to grips
    15. Beside the sea
    16. ‘Only one goal’
    17. End of term
  • Part III: Diver East
    18. Night Heinkels
    19. ‘Not without toil’
    20. Winter
    21. Diver north
  • Part IV: Afterwards
    22. ‘The brightening years ahead’
    23. No abiding city

Additional Information

  • Series: General History
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 592
  • Illustrations: 100, black & white
  • ISBN: 9781848024755


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