31 mars 1945

Ce qui s’est passé  vu du côté  allemand.

http://ww2today.com/31-march-1945-german-me-262-jets-ambush-allied-bombers

 

Luftwaffe pilot Hermann Buchner, already an Ace decorated withe the Knights Cross, describes an attack:

On 31 March there was something new for us — an early scramble. We were still at breakfast in the dining room and the weather was not very good with a cloud base 150-200 metres above the ground. We flew with seven 262s led by Oberleutnant Schall, one Schwarm and one Kette. Our mission was against US units in the Hannover region, with take off at 0900hrs. We climbed in tight formation into the clouds, heading westwards.

The clouds just weren’t coming to an end and Schall asked the ground station guiding us whether we should make ‘Luzi-Anton 5’. A brusque answer came back over the radio: ‘First of all make Pauke-Pauke“ At 7,500 metres above ground, we had just come out of the clouds when Schall got the order: ‘Assume course 180, Dicke Autos, course 180!’

At the same moment someone from our unit cried, ‘To the right of us, nothing but bombers, to the right of us!’ Schall, as well as the rest of us, saw the bombers, flying north in a fomiation that was new to us. They flew staggered, about 1,000 metres deep and 2,000 metres wide. They were not US bombers, however, but Tommys in night-flight formation, doing a daytime attack on Hamburg.

Schall ordered us to take up attack formation, already having long forgotten the order ‘assume 180’. We were lucky to reach the band without fighter protection and Schall, a fighter with real heart, was not going to pass up a chance like this. As we got closer we could clearly see what kind of bombers they were — RAF Lancasters — on their way to attack Hamburg, but still 50km away over the Luneberg Heath.

On our first attack seven Lancasters were shot down with the R4M rockets. Now the large unit dissolved somewhat and the Rotten flew a renewed attack on the bombers. I made a right turn and lined up for another attack, using the nose cannon.

The R4M Rocket was an unguided missile that was fired in salvos from about 600 metres. One hit hit was sufficient to bring down a bomber.
The R4M Rocket was an unguided missile that was fired in salvos from about 600 metres. One hit was sufficient to bring down a bomber.
My Lancaster lay directly in my sights and I only had to get a bit closer. I opened fire, the hits were good, but the pilot of the Lancaster must have been an old hand. He turned his Lancaster steeply over on its right wing, making a tight turn around the main axis. With my speed I was unable to follow this tight manoeuvre and was also unable to see if my shots had had any effect, or to see how he flew on.

I shot through the pile and had to think about returning home. The other pilots were also having the same problem. We had a shortage of fuel and had to get back to our own garden. At the same time, all called to the ground control ‘Autobahn’, for the course number for the direction back to our home airfield.

Only one of us could be handled by ‘Tornado’ ground control, but all of us wanted to be given a course. We were still all in the tangle of RAF bombers, but none of us had visual contact with each other. We all had to go back down through the cloud layer. I thought to myself, ‘Go back down alone!’

At 7,000 metres I dived into the cloud layer, laying on a course of 090, 700kmph and the engines running at 6,000rpm. Over the radio I could still hear my colleagues calling ‘Autobahn’ to ‘Tornado’ — they were all still in the air. My altimeter showed that I was quickly losing height, and at 1,000 metres it was already dark — I had to get out of the clouds soon. My altitude was diminishing, the gauge showing 500, 400, 300 metres — the ground must surely soon appear. Yes, there it was. Doing 700kmph I shot out of the clouds and found myself over fields and clumps of trees. Unfortunately I didn’t know quite where I was. On my left side I could make out the sea — was it the Baltic, or where was I?

Anyhow, I flew eastwards with a normal turbine rpm and at 800kmph. In the distance I could see the silhouette of a town. I quickly thought about it, then I was sure that the town had to be Lubeck. I had recently seen a film called Die Budenbrocks in which the silhouette of the town had been shown. Flying over the harbour, I came under fire from light flak, but I was too fast — they had no chance of hitting me.

Now I knew how I could get back. My other comrades were also on their journey back to Parchim, and now the traffic with ‘Tornado’ was quieter, so I could also call up and ask for instructions, giving him my location. I was the last 262 to call in after the mission at 7,000 metres. Now he had his flock together.

By the time I reached Ludwigslust I had already been given permission to land, as well as the comforting news that there were ‘no Indians on the airfield’. After 65 minutes flying I landed without difficulty in Parchim, the last of the seven.

My list of aircraft shot down was extended: one Lancaster confirmed and one definitely damaged. Altogether we had certainly shot down ten Lancasters and five others had been damaged.“ The seven 262s on the mission had landed without problems after 60-70 minutes flying time in bad weather conditions. The reported aerial victories were confirmed by Jagd Division, and the bombers had offloaded their cargoes over the heath, far from their target. Around sixty flying personnel were taken prisoner on the heath.

 

Pris sur le site  de Richard  Koval.

March 31, 1945

100 Halifaxes from 408, 415, 420, 425, 426, and 432 squadrons were joined by 100 Lancasters from 419, 424, 427, 428, 429, 431, 433, and 434 on an attack at the Blohm & Voss shipyards at Hamburg. The crews were over the target at between 17,000 and 19,500 feet, releasing 1,908,000 lbs of high explosives. According to reports, the target was cloud covered but extensive damage was caused in the industrial area of Hamburg. The 6 group was in the last wave of the attack and were attacked by many ME-262s.  8 crews failed to return, mostly due to attacks by these aircraft.

F/O K. Blyth, RCAF–POW, and crew from 408 squadron, flying Halifax VII NP-806, coded EQ-Q, failed to return from this operation.

          Sgt D. Grey, RCAF–POW
          F/O J. Taylor, RCAF–POW
          F/O R. Atkinson, RCAF–POW
          F/Sgt A. Watson, RCAF–POW
          F/Sgt J. Folkerson, RCAF–POW
          F/Sgt R. Hughes, RCAF–POW

 

They were shot down by an ME-262 near Hamburg.1

F/O V. Clark from 415 squadron was hit by flak, there were holes in both inner nacelles and fuselage.
P/O V. Clothier was hit by flak, there were holes in the stbd inner nacelle.
F/O G. Hyland, RCAF and crew, flying Halifax III MZ-922 coded 6U-C, failed to return from this operation.

        P/O J. Neilson, RAF KIA
        F/O T. Lewis, RCAF KIA
        F/O J. Suttak, RCAF KIA
        P/O G. Anderson, RCAF KIA
        P/O G. Rude, RCAF KIA
        P/O G. Peden, RCAF KIA

All were killed when they were shot down by an ME-262.

F/O M. Martin and crew from 419 Squadron, flying Lancaster X KB-857 coded VR-N, fired on 3 ME-262s, there were no claims or damages.
F/Lt H. Collard and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-878 coded VR-I, fired at 2 ME-262s, there were no claims or damages.
P/O J. Horner and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-783 coded VR-F, fired at an ME-262, there were no claims or damages.
F/Lt W. Manning and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-748 coded VR-O, were attacked by an ME-262, there were no claims or damages.
F/O D. Lambroughton and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-851 coded VR-W, fired at 2 ME-262s, there were no claims.

F/O D. Bowes, RCAF and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-869, coded VR-Q, failed to return from this operation.

        P/O J. Rea, RCAF KIA
        F/Sgt G. Berry, RCAF–POW
        F/O J. Gladish, RCAF KIA
        P/O B. MacLennen, RCAF KIA
        F/Sgt R. Rowlands, RCAF–POW
          F/Sgt W. Milne, RCAF–POW

4 crew were killed and 3 POWs. They were shot down by an ME-262.

F/Lt H. Metivier, RCAF, and crew flying Lancaster X KB-761, coded VR-H, failed to return from this operation.

P/O W. Sommerville, RCAF KIA
F/O J. Todd, RCAF KIA
F/O R. Johnson, RCAF KIA
P/O G. Matuszewski, RCAF KIA
P/O H. Tulk,  RCAF KIA
P/O E. Morphy, RCAF KIA

All were killed, shot down by an ME-262.

P/O M. Callahan from 420 squadron was hit by flak, not serious.
F/O J. Fawcett had the stbd outer go u/s on return. They landed safely at base on 3 engines.

F/Lt D. Sanders and crew from 424 Squadron, flying Lancaster I RF-148 coded QB-A, fired on an ME-262 that had just shot down a Lancaster on the port quarter, there was no damage but it is thought there may have been a few strikes on the ME-262.
F/O W. Beckett and crew, flying Lancaster I PB-897 coded QB-B, were attacked 4 times by ME-262s. There was no claim or damage.
F/Sgt W. Cozens and crew, flying Lancaster I NG-451 coded QB-E, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no damage but thought there may have been strikes as it broke away over top at about 10 yards.
F/O J. Watson and crew, flying Lancaster I NG-281 coded QB-X, were attacked 3 times by ME-262s. There was no damage and one was claimed destroyed after strikes were seen on one of the engines. After more strikes at 250 yards it lost control and with flames streaming down the underside of the fuselage, it spiraled into the clouds, still on fire.
F/O G. Gracie and crew flying Lancaster I NG-489 coded QB-L were attacked 4 times by ME-262’s, there was no damage and some strikes were seen.

F/O L. Dumais from 425 squadron was hit by flak, not serious. The crew seen one bomber shot down by rockets from an ME-262.
F/Lt C. Lesense, RCAF, and crew flying Halifax III MZ-418, coded KW-C, failed to return from this operation.

        Sgt J. Tame, RAF–POW
        F/Sgt J. Hilliard, RCAF–POW
        F/O W. Cable, RCAF–POW
          P/O R. Pigeon, RCAF–POW

 

        W/O2 R. Trudeau, RCAF–POW
        F/Sgt F. King, RCAF–POW

 

The pilot was killed and rest were POWs.

F/Lt D. Hamilton from 426 squadron returned early as the stbd inner was u/s. They landed safely at base on 3 engines.

F/O W. Inch and crew from 427 Squadron, flying Lancaster I NX-550 coded ZL-V, fired at an ME-262, was claimed damaged as it went through a cloud with a streak of black smoke.
F/Lt A. Lock and crew, flying Lancaster I NX-553 coded ZL-H, fired at an ME-262 attacking another Lancaster, there was no claim.
F/Lt R. Gould and crew, flying Lancaster III ME-393 coded ZL-D, fired on an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/O D. McNeill and crew, flying Lancaster III NX-552 coded ZL-S, were attacked by a JU-88, an ME-163 and an ME-262. They were hit in the elevators, rudders, and fuselage. Some strikes were seen on the ME-163 and it rolled into a vertical dive, emitting black smoke, and was lost from view in the clouds below. It was claimed destroyed.
F/O S. Matheson and crew, flying Lancaster III PA-271 coded ZL-W, were hit by flak, there were holes in the cockpit, rear turret, bomb bay, and fuel tank. They were also attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.

F/O R. Boyle from 428 squadron returned early as the port inner caught fire and the stbd outer was running poorly. The landed safely at base on 3 engines.
F/O D. Varden was hit by flak, there were holes in the port wing and bomb bay.
F/O D. Walsh and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-843 coded NA-D, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/Lt R. Hay and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-794 coded NA-W, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/O A. Mutch and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-864 coded NA-S, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/O D. Brown and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-816 coded NA-E, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/Sgt  D. Desereux and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-764 coded NA-B, were attacked 3 times by ME-262s, there was no claim or damage.
F/O G. Johnson and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-879 coded NA-Y, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
W/O2 R. Quinn and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-795 coded NA-Q, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/O D. Payne and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-791 coded NA-A, fired on a ME-262 attacking another Lancaster, both gunners fired and strikes were seen,  it burst into flame in the fuselage and wing root and spiraled vertically through the cloud below with pieces coming off.
W/Cdr M. Gall and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-838 coded NA-O, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.

W/O2 K. Weld and crew from 429 Squadron flying Lancaster III RA-571 coded AL-D fired at two ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/O S. Avis and crew, flying Lancaster I PA-226 coded AL-H, were attacked 4 times by an ME-262s, there was no claims but the Lancaster had a large hole in the stbd wing and aileron.
F/O H. Humphries and crew, flying Lancaster III ME-536 coded AL-Q, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no damage but claim a probable as parts were seen to come off the starboard wing on the enemy aircraft. It was last seen in a spiral heading through the clouds.
F/O R. Pike and crew, flying Lancaster I PD-209 coded AL-K, were attacked by an ME-262, as it broke away it was emitting black smoke before it entered cloud, hotly pursued by 3 mustangs.
F/Lt R. Mitchell and crew, flying Lancaster I RF-207 coded AL-S, fired at an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/O R. Jones, RCAF–POW and crew, flying Lancaster I NG-345, coded AL-V, failed to return from this operation.

        Sgt R. Bailey, RAF KIA
        F/O R. Fisher, RCAF KIA
        P/O J. Rancourt, RCAF–POW
        W/O2 E. Hooker, RCAF KIA
        W/O1 J. Ledoux, RCAF KIA
        F/Sgt J. Campeau, RCAF KIA

5 crew were killed and 2 POWs after they were shot down by an ME-262.

F/O C. Heaven and crew from 431 Squadron, flying Lancaster X KB-801 coded SE-S, were attacked 3 times by ME-262s. On the first attack many strikes were seen with debris and smoke coming out. The tail assembly came off and it fell end over end to the ground. There were no claims on the other two attackers.
F/O D. Bowdiggin and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-773 coded SE-P, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/O J. Patterson and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-872 coded SE-N, were attacked by 2 ME-262s. There were no claims or damage.
F/Lt H. Granger was hit by flak, there were holes in the stbd wing and nose.
F/Lt J. Lourie was hit by flak, there were holes in the port wing and fuselage.
F/Lt G. McNeill and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-812 coded SE-F, were attacked by 2 ME-262s, there was no claim or damage.
F/Lt P. Hurley RCAF–POW, and crew flying Lancaster X KB-859, coded SE-U, failed to return from this operation.

Sgt L. Mercer, RAF KIA
F/O M. Hartog, RCAF KIA
F/O F. Alty, RCAF KIA
P/O A. Dorey, RCAF KIA
F/O P. Dennison, RCAF KIA
F/O J. Casey, RCAF KIA

      Only the pilot survived from this crew.

F/O L. Loppe from 432 squadron returned early as the port outer was u/s. They landed safely at base on 3 engines.

P/O H. Batty and crew from 433 Squadron flying Lancaster I RF-149 coded BM-A were attacked by a ME-262, there was no claim or damage.

P/O B. Jensen and crew, flying Lancaster I PB-908 coded BM-C, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
W/O2 M. Smyth and crew, flying Lancaster I PB-893 coded BM-G, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/O W. Otton and crew, flying Lancaster I RA-509 coded BM-P, were attacked 3 times by ME-262s, there were no claims or damages.
F/Lt A. Strelchuk and crew, flying Lancaster I RA-511 coded BM-Q, were attacked by an ME-262, it was claimed damaged.
F/O D. Pleiter and crew, flying Lancaster I RA-513 coded BM-Y, were hit by flak, not serious. They were also attacked 4 times by ME-262s. Strikes were seen on one and it dove trailing smoke, it was then chased down by 3 Mustangs. The other was fired upon as it was attacking another Lancaster, it dove down trailing smoke. The other Lancaster was seen to burn and breakup in the air with no parachutes. One ME-262 was claimed damaged, and one probably destroyed.
S/Ldr P. Holmes and crew, flying Lancaster I ME-375 coded BM-D, were attacked 5 times by ME-262s, strikes were seen on one as it flew by with parts of the wing coming off and smoke trailing from it. It then went vertically to the ground. It was claimed destroyed.

F/Lt J. Kitchen and crew from 434 Squadron, flying Lancaster X KB-880 coded WL-L, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/Lt T. Buttle and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-824 coded WL-E, fired at an ME-262 attacking another Lancaster, there was no claim.
F/O M. Isenberg and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-852 coded WL-R, were attacked by an ME-262, many strikes were seen and as it broke away smoke was seen coming from the port wing and fuselage, it was claimed damaged.
F/O F. Hawes and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-862 coded WL-M, were attacked twice by ME-262’s, strikes were seen on the underside of the fuselage with some pieces falling off on the second attack, it was claimed  damaged.
F/Lt J. Rothenbush and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-836 coded WL-P, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/Lt T. Coghlan and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-844 coded WL-W, were attacked by an ME-262, there was no claim or damage.
F/O T. Dawson and crew, flying Lancaster X KB-849 coded WL-T, were attacked 3 times by ME-262s, on the first attack many strikes were seen on the fuselage and wings and at 50 yards it seemed to stall and then fall out of control through the clouds it was claimed probably destroyed. There were no claims on the next two attacks.
F/O G. Haliburton, RCAF, and crew flying Lancaster X KB-911, coded WL-U, failed to return from this operation.

 

Sgt J. Hanlin, RCAF–POW

F/O D. Rathwell, RCAF KIA

F/O C. Legaarden, RCAF–POW

F/O R. English, RCAF–POW

P/O R. Green, RCAF  KIA

Sgt J. English, RCAF–POW

3 crew were killed and 4 were POWs. They were shot down by an ME-262, firing rockets.

1Flying Officer K. Blyth has written a book about his time with 408 squadron, this operation, and his time in a POW camp. The book is called “Cradle Crew”, a very nice read… It is available at Sunflower University Press, or at Chapters.ca .

 

2 réflexions sur “31 mars 1945

    • I had posted the story of Lesense on the blog.
      Finding that story made me take a closer look.
      I then made the connection.

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