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Post Info TOPIC: Milk Runs - Please clarify
k for kitty crew

Milk Runs - Please clarify

Hi to all,

Could someone please clarify the classification of the term 'milk run'.

My father flew 34 ops in mid 1944 (April - September) with a number of ops around the 3 hour mark, one infact was 2 hrs 50 min.  These were after his crew had done some much longer trips - ie: 8,9,10+ hrs operations.

I trying to establish as to whether the time duration was the factor and or the target. I have read about new crews getting 'so targets' to kick start their operations tally.

Would welcome all replies.

P.S.  ( on a previous posts, I mention that the 'Chorleys' 7 of 9 volumes
costs around $127 AUD + postage - correction, should have read approximately 127 Pounds + postage, sorry for any inconvenience.)




The term "milk run" generally refers to an easier than normal op - often involving a target or objective that was more lightly defended and often closer than deeper penetration raids into the Reich.  The duration is less important than the flak or fighter resistance encountered (or lack thereof).  Like a dairy delivery it's a straight forward, simple drop off ... at least that's my understanding of it.  Hope this explanation suffices.


Air Commodore

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Milk runs were supposed to be the easy ones; 2 hours in and 2 hours out, with little opposition.  But, don't let that fool you, as we were shot down on a Milk Run over Laon, France.  There were several others who went down in the same area.  Briefed height was 6,000 feet.

I was more mad than scared.  I had lined up probably the best bombing approach and target identification of my tour, and there was no way I was going to miss that marshalling yard.  A split second before I was to drop them, we were hit.  If there was a way that I could have told Heinz Philipwicz to hold off that firing pin for a few more moments, I would have kissed him.

Most of the operations to France and the low countries were considered Milk Runs, especially during the run up to D-Day.  We were concentrating on the railway Marshalling yards, and we had several successful "Runs", especially to Lille and Ghent.  Most of them were done under 12,000 feet so as not to hit Civilians.

But, it was only a "Milk Run" to those who got back.  The biggest mistake made by Bomber Command was listing them as milk runs before we even left on the operation.  The chances of not coming back were only slightly less than from a German target.


-- Edited by Pigeonbird at 00:22, 2008-06-05

John A. Neal
John P


To John and the other person to post,

Many thanks for your reply. As you have mentioned John, the term 'Milk Run' should have been classified after the fact, not before. The reason I made this  entry in the first place was that I was trying to establish why my father, ( like many others that I have read about ) had done 34 ops as apposed to 30, which I thought was the norm at that period of time.

I have been told that "milk Runs' were only classed as 1/2 an operation, hence the reason of the additional 4 ops.

Thanks once again,

Note - I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Linda for her reply a couple of weeks ago, much appreciated. 

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