The Lancasters of Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron, aka "the Dambusters", use the new Barnes Wallis bouncing bomb against German dams of Möhne, Edersee and Sorpe, during the
"The whole valley of the river was inundated with only patches of high ground and the tops of trees and church steeples showing above the flood. I was overcome by the immensity of it."
Flying Officer Frank "Jerry" Fray
Pilot of photo-reconnaissance Spitfire
According to Wikipedia informations, the raid caused the death of about 1600 persons, among whom about 1000 French, Belgian, Dutch and Ukrainian prisoners of war and hundreds civilians drowned and missing. Among the aircrew, 53 of the 133 airmen were killed.
In 1977, Article 56 of the Protocol I amendment to the Geneva Conventions, outlawed attacks on dams "if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces from the works or installations and consequent severe losses among the civilian population". (Wikipedia quote).
"There are not fifty manners to wage war, there is only one: the dirty."
Lots of war crimes on the ally side, and this is only one of the very
many. Don't know if anyone on the ally side got into prison for this.
Also in the documentaries, maybe my mistake, but don't recall they said
anything about killing civilians in this Dambusters attempts, only
causing severe damage to german troops and supply.
According Wikipedia, some RAF survivors received the Victoria Cross... The argue is that this operation was intended to destroy industrial instalations in the Ruhr and also to persuade Staline to continue to wage war, showing him that the Allies were able to manage actions on their side... Another example that civilians are often the first casualities in a war, whatever their "side"... But i'm not sure that we can speak about "war crime", because in my opinion, this action was not intended specifically against civilians, as massacres such as Oradour sur Glane, Tulle (for speaking about my country), and also of course the massacre of Jews and others...