Regs 515 Squadron crews, their CO S/L Thomas (centre) was previously CO of 264 Squadron. Reg is 4th from the Left, 3rd Row up.
An excuse for a couple of IWM shots of 264 Sq
The coast from the Freisan Is to St Nazaine was divided into 10 sections recorded as positions in Regs log below. As their jamming was tracked, FW190's were sent out. Picked up by British radar, Reg said they received a code 'Base 41'. They dropped from 12000 ft to sea level to escape. On daylights a Spitfire group would provide high cover. Even so having four or more Defiants on a standing patrol resulted in high casualties.
On 214 Lyndsay Budge and Russell Douglas also were kept occupied.
Hello from England. This is my first post here but I'm fascinated to see the references, especially the logbooks and photographs, relating to the Fortress III's of 214 squadron. My particular interest concerns the operation to bomb the Dortmund-Ems canal on 3 March 1945 by the Lancasters of 5 Group when 214 squadron provided ECM support and indeed 169 and 515 squadrons were also in action. I've been researching this particular operation and one crew especially since 2005: I have a book in preparation which will include the contribution of 100 Group. I would like to ask the permission of the owner of photographs of the Fortress in the post above to use them in my book, with acknowledgements of course regarding source. Three other recommendations besides Murray Peden's excellent book for further reading about 100 Group are 2 by Martin Streetly - "Confound and Destroy" and "The Aircraft of 100 Group", the latter being an historical guide for modellers so is an essential reference for aircraft info. Another very good book is "Even when the sparrows are walking" by Laurie Brettingham which covers the origin and effect of 100 Group, 1943 to 1945. I'm currently modelling a 214 squadron Fortress III, pictures etc can be found here: sas.raf38group.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1710 Regards Max Williams www.ordinarycrew.co.uk
Nice to hear from you Max and thanks for the book references. Regarding photographs for publication , can you please pm me with your email address and I will let you know about high definition versions. Your book topic is of interest as we have members who flew on that raid. Peter
Post by nuuumannn on Sept 20, 2013 14:09:30 GMT 12
Very nice series of images. That picture of the four Daffys is quite rare and is the only one I've come across showing the markings worn by the radar jamming aircraft. They are aircraft of 515 Sqn equipped with Mandrel, which was the night equivalent to Moonshine, also jamming Freya installations. The Defiants were orignally formed as the Defiant Flight to transmit with Moonshine, which was renamed Special Duties Flight, Northolt. This was renamed 515 Sqn on 1st October 1942. Mandrel flights didn't require the aircraft to fly in formation as closely as the Moonshine flights had to, being primarily night ops.
Nice pics of 264 Sqn; the top image of the Daffys in flight is one of a series from tha same photo shoot. The aircraft coded PS-A is N1535 and was 264 Sqn's inspirational leader Sqn Ldr Philip Hunter's aircraft, in which he was shot down on 24 August 1940.
Nice pics of the German Nachtjagers. I always thought the Bf 110 looked mean with its Lichtenstein array on its nose. In the fourth photo down of the '110 at night you can clearly see the Nachtjagd emblem, which was much liked by the Germans and applied even to the mud guards and doors of the CO's car.
Thanks for the extra info.The best photos of 100 group seem to come from albums but they probably were always rare. I have only single pictures of 100 group Halifaxes and not many more of the Mossies. I hope more come to light.
Post by nuuumannn on Sept 20, 2013 18:18:20 GMT 12
All rather secret squirrel stuff. I think you might be very lucky to find photos of ELINT or Mandrel Halifaxes. I've seen a very blurry one of a Far East ELINT Hali based in India in a book I read once. WW2 ELINT and ECM is a fascinating subject. In his book Most Secret War, Prof R.V.Jones, Head of British Scientific Intelligence during the war goes into detail about foiling German radar defences. Very good reading.
Last Edit: Sept 20, 2013 18:27:43 GMT 12 by nuuumannn
You may be interested to know that they were shot down on the night of 14-15 March 1945 by the radar operator of a German night fighter using the rearward defensive armament of a Ju88 G6 aircraft (the Rix crew thought that they had been hit by light flak).
Here is an extract from the manuscript of the 2nd edition of my co-authored book, 'The Nachtjagd War Diaries', due for publication in a couple of years (the 1st edition was published in 2008):
"Between 21.53 and 22.15 hrs, three NJG6 crews claimed to have shot down eight Lancasters within a 65 km. radius of Lützkendorf. Hptm. Martin ‘Tino’ Becker, Kommandeur of IV./NJG6 and flying in Ju88 G-6 2Z+MF, alone claimed six Abschüsse for his 48th to 53rd victories, but no more than two or three bombers were actually shot down at this time. 49 Squadron Lancaster RF153 crashed at Braunsbedra, just S of the target, following what surviving crew members described as an attack by a ‘Bf109’, but was probably actually the Ju88 G6 of Lt. Helmut Bunje of II./NJG6. 207 Squadron Lancaster NG399 also crashed to the S of the target area – probably a victim of Hptm. Becker - while 50 Squadron Lancaster NG177 was lost without trace, and possibly came down in the target area. In addition, 49 Squadron Lancaster PB373 was attacked by what was described as a Ju88 while on its bomb run into the target and was damaged from five hits by 20mm cannon shells. At some stage the gunners onboard this Lancaster claimed an ‘Me410’ as damaged, and the aircraft safety returned to the UK. Returning RAF crews reported a total of eight attacks and seven combats over Lützkendorf, while the crew of a 189 Squadron Lancaster claimed two twin-engined night fighters destroyed over the target within the space of a minute, at 22.01 hrs.
As the bombers departed the Lützkendorf area in a south-westward direction, night fighters continued to hunt the stream. An attempt was made by NJG6 and possibly also NJG2 at route interception between Nürnberg and Stuttgart and this resulted in NJG6 crews claiming a further seven Lancasters and one Fortress shot down. Lt. Karl-Ludwig Johanssen, Bordfunker to Hptm. Becker, achieved the unique distinction of claiming three Abschüsse, which were brought down by using the hand-held, rearward-facing twin MG131 machine guns in his Ju88. These three unusual Abschüsse brought the total number of kills claimed by the Becker crew on this sortie to nine.
Lt. Johanssen’s first Abschuss was probably 189 Squadron Lancaster NX567, which perished in what was described by surviving crew members as an attack made with upward-firing cannon.
Just after 23.12 hrs, 214 Squadron B-17 Fortress HB799, piloted by F/Lt Wynne, was hit in the port inner (No. 2) engine by what the crew thought was light Flak, but actually machine-gun fire from Lt. Johanssen. After a further twenty minutes of flying the engine caught fire and began to burn furiously. Due to a navigational error, the crew thought that they had been hit some 50 km further to the north of their actual location, and this misconception was to later have dire consequences for a number of the crew members, for, when the pilot though that the Allied front line had been crossed, nine of the ten-man crew baled out. Instead of being in Allied territory, all nine were captured in Germany and five were subsequently murdered three days later while being transported to Pforzheim. The pilot of the B-17, F/Lt Wynne, had been unable to bale out after getting entangled in his oxygen tube, and he elected to say with the striken aircraft. After a short while the engine fire died down, and, in an outstanding feat of airmanship, F/Lt. Wynne single-handedly flew and navigated his aircraft the back to the UK, where he made a crash-landing at Bassingbourne.
Along the homeward route between Nürnberg and Strasbourg, Bomber Command lost five, possibly six aircraft, while three crews of NJG6 submitted claims for six Abschüsse in the same area. 57 Squadron Lancaster NG398 and 106 Squadron Lancaster LL948 both crashed to the S. of Karlsruhe, while 227 Squadron Lancaster PA214 crashed near Ersingen, N.E. of Pforzheim. All three of these aircraft probably fell victim to Hptm. Friedrich and Hptm. Gaul.
214 Squadron Fortress HB802 was hit in the port inner engine by what its crew thought was light Flak, but what was actually another well-aimed burst of machine-gun fire from Lt. Johanssen. The B-17 crew was forced to bale out, after the engine burst into flames, and the aircraft crashed to the SW of Freudenstadt.
The loss and damage to the two Jostle- and Piperack-equipped B-17s of 100 Group was not only significant because they constituted two-thirds of the jamming aircraft accompanying the Lutzkendorf stream, but also because both aircraft were well south of the intended track at the time they were attacked, and this appears to have deprived the main bomber stream of much-needed jamming of Nachtjagd ground-to-air VHF communications and SN2 radars along the homeward route. The NJG6 crews of Hptm. Gerd Freidrich and Hptm. Helmut Gaul were both able to to take advantage in this gap in the jamming by claiming four Abschüsse in the Karlsruhe area, as confirmed by comments in the Kriegstagebuch of Stab NJG6 (see below). NJG6 lost three Ju88s and a Bf110 during the night. The Ju88 piloted by Hptm. Fellerer of III./NJG6 crashed near Jagstzell-Crailsheim at 21.00 hrs, after an engine failure, while Hptm. Fritz Griese and his crew perished at 22.37 hrs, after they had belly-landed a combat-damaged Ju88 at Schwäbisch Hall. Their aircraft burst into flames on the ground and they were unable to escape the subsequent fire and exploding ammunition. It may be that the Ju88 of the unfortunate Griese crew had been damaged earlier by either a 157 Squadron Mosquito, which claimed a Ju88 as damaged to the NW of Hof at 21.57 hrs, or by return fire from a Lancaster. The other two night fighters of NJG6 were lost due to mechanical failures.
In the course of the night’s air battles, the Nachtjäger of NJG6 claimed 16 Abschüsse during the Lützkendorf raid. In fact, only eight Lancasters and a Bomber Support B-17 were lost – NJG6 had over-claimed by some seven Abschüsse. Three Lancasters returned to the UK with damage inflicted by night fighters, including 49 Squadron Lancaster PB571, which was hit by 15 rounds of 12.7 mm. ammunition – possibly fired by Lt. Johanssen. RAF bomber crews claimed a Ju88 and an unidentified twin-engined night fighter as destroyed – these being by the same 189 Sqn Lancaster - and another three as damaged, while RAF Mosquito intruders claimed a twin-engined night fighter as destroyed at Lachan airfield and a Ju88 as damaged.
A morning Reich Luftlagemeldung by OKL Lw.FüSt. Ic records: “Against four-engined raid to Central Germany – 1 JD: 11 aircraft Verfolgungsnachtjagd. Jafü Mittelrhein: 11 aircraft Verfolgungsnachtjagd. 7 JD: 21 aircraft Verfolgungsnachtjagd, 16 certain Abschüsse. Losses: personnel (killed-missing-wounded): 3-2-1, aircraft (destroyed-missing-damaged): 3-0-0. Flak Successes – Leuna-Lützkendorf: three probable Abschüsse.” An amendment on the following day records: “Flak Successes – Luftgau XI: one certain (1+0), three probable (3+0).”"
The German radar operator who shot down the Fortress, Lt. Karl-Ludwig Johanssen, provided a lengthy written account of the combat before his death. Here is a translated extract:
"The tension started to recede. We were still heading on the same course as the bombers lumbering homewards. There was no longer any interference on any of the channels. All the bombers were now heading out away from the target area. Our ground controllers transmitted messages of congratulations, while reporting that there were still potential targets in close proximity. Both of us radar operators concentrated our attentions back on the scopes. There were a number of faint blips on the Naxos screen. Adjusting the resolution, I concentrated on the strongest echo and gave my instructions. We flew an approach but were far too low. As we had to climb to the bomber's altitude we managed to make up the distance separating us from the target only slowly. Suddenly the SN2 showed a target echo as it moved out from the ground traces and after changes of track Becker caught sight of a four engine bomber some distance ahead of us. Once again it was up to me guide us into the target. I called out instructions, imagining the pilot's discomfiture as he manoeuvred blindly into position in accordance with my commands, waiting with pent-up tension until he finally heard the clatter of the machine guns. We hadn't encountered any defensive fire up to that point, although the tail gunners sprayed un-aimed salvos from their turrets. Who could have expected to come under attack from the front and at lower altitude? The bomber was some 200 metres above us on the starboard quarter as the first burst of fire from the MG 131 Z struck home in the inboard engine and wing leading edge. I could see only the glow of tiny flames licking around the wing. Again a burst of tracer fire buried itself in the target. The bomber veered off course and was suddenly heading towards us. We moved aside and while banked over on one wingtip I loosed off another burst. The machine started to spiral down in wide circles. It did not have the twin tail fin and rudders of a Lancaster nor did it resemble a Short Stirling. It was a B-17 Flying Fortress, the first one we'd encountered on a night raid. Although it was soon swallowed up by the darkness we set off in pursuit. The fire was increasing in intensity, illuminating the night. We could see some of the crew taking to their parachutes. The Boeing went down in circles over its burning wing before suddenly slamming into an area of snow-covered, wooded mountainside. The time was 23h37. This was the ninth occasion that night that we had reported in to the ground station with a 'Sieg Heil' (enemy aircraft downed) following the ritual 'Pauke Pauke' (we are attacking). We now turned on a course for home. Where were we exactly? The ground station reported that we were in square CR somewhere over the Schwarzwald-the Black Forest and gave us a heading for Kitzingen. Our 'MF' had performed well and had already been airborne for some three and a half hours. We didn't have enough fuel for the 200 km. back to base. Schwäbisch Hall lay en route, however. We discussed the events of the previous hours over the intercom. We'd rather lost track of how many enemy aircraft we had downed. We’d received congratulations for nine victories from the controller – that must have been the case then. We had difficulty raising Schwäbisch Hall on the radio although we could see the airfield lighting up ahead. The airfield finally came on the frequency and in response to our request to land indicated that the runway was blocked following an earlier crash landing. There was no possibility of putting down there. What next? The nearest airfield where we might be able to land was Groß-Sachsenheim, north of Stuttgart. We swung back on our tracks. We knew that this aerodrome had recently come under attack and that the landing strip was restricted as a consequence. The ground station confirmed again that this was indeed the case. We flew a circuit and then came in. We touched down a little late along the runway already shortened by bomb craters – it was simply not long enough for our run-out. We braked so heavily that the tail came off the ground. There was an almighty clattering and crashing as if we’d run through some potholes, before the aircraft finally came to a stand. It was a case of magnetos off and get out! Our ‘MF’ had overrun the strip and ended up in a neighbouring meadow. Ogefr. Welzenbach – flying with us as the fourth crew member but ordinarily in charge of technical operations on the ground for the entire Gruppe – soon had our kite hauled out of the mud.
There was much backslapping and cheering when we entered the command post. We could barely get our reports written. We celebrated with the odd glass of champagne. Berlin called up on the phone; ‘notable experiences with the Naxos were of particular interest and had to be relayed to all crews’. The excitement gradually abated and we were soon longing for some shut-eye. Yet we couldn’t go to sleep. We’d landed at 00h20 but it wasn’t until 04h05 that we were given the green light to get airborne for our return home. We touched down at Kitzingen at 04h38 after an eventful night’s flying."
Over the weekend I might be able to dig out German documents relating to the combat and post some pics here...
Thank you nuuumann, I'm enjoying the build (along with a DH Domini, the 1940's version) but I'm about to start some of the aerials and arrays as well as the limiters on the waist gun positions, I'm planning to solder these from scrap brass since I think they'll be more robust than plastic.
Hello Rod, great posts about the encounters and fate of the 214 squadron Fortresses - is this all new info since the first edition? Just out of interest have any more details come to light about the final Dortmund-Ems operation on 3rd March 45. Regards Max