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Thread: Junkers 188 in Wiltshire

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    Default Junkers 188 in Wiltshire

    Real long shot this one and sorry its vague to say the least.
    An uncle of my wife remembers clearly as a lad watching glider towing near Gastard (between Bath and Chippenham) in Wiltshire 1943/44 period. Quite possibly out of Keevil.This was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of what he believes was a Junkers 188. This caused many of the gliders to be released and land in the area. I understand from other sources that there were numerous dusk training sorties flown prior to D Day so maybe this is a possible scenario.
    Well I did say it was vague...............any clues?
    Last edited by PeterColwill; 26th August 2011 at 11:26.

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    Hi Peter
    As you say a bit vague! but a Ju188 would be a possibility.Try to get a look at a newly published book "The Last Blitz" by Ron Mackay and Simon W Parry.This covers Operation Steinbock in fair detail and this was the final attempt of the Luftwaffe to mount a sustained bombing campaign against the UK other than by the V weapons.The period is late in your range being Jan to June 1944 but the Ju188 and the visually similar late version Ju 88, and He177 were used in reasonable numbers.The main target was London but both Bath and Bristol were raided as well as other cities in the west country and the standard of German navigation at this stage was not very good so a/c could have turned up anywhere in a wide radius around a possible target.In addition there were some Intruder operations but these were mainly on the east side of the UK.It is not a lot but it may help.
    Regards
    Dick
    Last edited by Dick; 26th August 2011 at 16:00.

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    Thanks for that Dick, will look out for the book.
    Peter

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    Peter,

    Gliders first arrived at Keevil on 14 March 1944 and remained there until about 20 September, which should give you a time frame. However, 'Wings over Wiltshire' by Rod Priddle (very good book) makes no reference to any such incident. Keevil subsequently became a glider training unit but, again, there's nothing that fits your description.

    The only incident that vaguely fits is that of a German bomber being brought down close to the village of Bratton near the main London to West of England railway line. Unfortunately no date is given but it was probably between 1 March and 31 May 1943.

    There's nothing for the only other glider airfield I can think of in the locality - Netheravon.

    Possibly another example of the fragility of memory?

    Edit. Another thought: Given the build up of men and supplies throughout southern England from May onwards it's unlikely a German aircraft would be able to make a daylight low level flight inland. One of the great achievements of the RAF was the total air supremacy it established.

    Brian
    Last edited by Lyffe; 26th August 2011 at 21:07.

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    Also replied to on Ianh's earlier Glider thread

    Roger Day's book "Ramsbury at War " A Wiltshire village and it's airfield 1939-1945 ISBN 0 9536601 0 9
    has information about the USAAF glider sqdns based on the airfield above the village .They took part in Operation Overlord June 1944 and Market Garden in Sept 1944

    Anne

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    Peter,

    'Wings over Wiltshire' doesn't appear to record any incident such as you describe - although that's not to say it didn't happen. None of the other nearby airfields, Colerne, Hullavington, Lyneham, Wroughton and Yatesbury were associated with glider activity, whilst Blakehill Farm (northwest of Swindon) and Ramsbury seem too far away. There's nothing in 'Ramsbury at War' either.

    Just a thought but is it not possible that the gliders were taking part in a routine exercise and had reached their planned drop zone - if the witness was on the ground he would not have been able to see where they landed.

    Brian

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    The following excellent web source " fishponds.org.uk/luftbrim " offers the following for the Bristol area - may be worth a look in greater detail.

    MAY 1944

    14/15: Target - Bristol Docks. 91 aircraft dispatched, 68 reported over Bristol 01.50 - 02.25 hrs with 163 tonnes HE, with 4.65 tonnes on airfields in the Bristol area. 15 aircraft lost. (Units confirmed):- I/KG 2, Vannes, Ju 188. 2 lost, (1) cr. Larkhill, Wilts, (1) cr. in the sea; II/KG 2, Vannes, Ju 188. 1 lost cr. France; III/KG 2, Lorient, Do 217. 4 lost, (3) cr. in the sea, (1) cr. Yeovilton, Som.; I/KG 6, Bretigny, Ju 188. 5 lost, (2) cr. in the sea, (1) cr. Selbourne, Hants; (1) cr. Henstridge, Som., (1) cr. St.Helier, Jersey; II/KG 6, Ju 88; II/KG 30, Orly. 2 lost, cr. in the sea. III/KG 30, Ju 88; I/KG 51, Me 410, (attacks on airfields in the Bristol area); I/KG 54, Evreux, Ju 88. 1 lost cr. in the sea. III/KG 54, St.André, Ju 88; I/KG 66, Montdidier, Ju 88 & Ju 188 (Y-Verfahren guided); KG 100, He 177;

    HTH

    Ian

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    One problem Ian, this was a night raid, whereas from the description we've been given the incident must have happened in daylight.

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    Good point Brian, perhaps a recce before the night raid then ?

    Ian

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    Default Possible candidate ?

    Hi, you may find a possible candidate for the Ju 188 your relative saw on the "aircrewremberancesociety" web-site.
    In the section "Luftwaffe losses" under "1943" is an entry for the 1st November relating to the loss of a Ju 188E-1 of the 3rd Staffel of KG6 (the "3E+CL" werk nr 260198) which crashed at Church Farm in Kilmington, Wiltshire at 18.20hrs after being observed flying low under the cloud base over Warminster in a southerly direction.
    The target for this dusk raid by a small group of 188's from KG6 was apparently Southampton (?) but as often happened during this period of the war the inexperience and poor training of many of the Luftwaffe bomber crews led to poor execution of the missions.
    I believe two other 188's from KG6 crashed on English soil that evening; another one in Wiltshire and one in Berkshire although I don't have the exact details to hand.
    The crew of the "3E+CL" did not survive the crash.

    Regards, Sean.

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