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Thread: Mission onto railway lines (France – June/July 1944)

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    Default Mission onto railway lines (France – June/July 1944)

    Bonjour,

    In the book - The women who lived for danger - I found this excerpt: “We are happy to tell you that the RAF located 60 petrol wagons on the railway line between Vierzon and Bourges and bombed the target the next day with very good results. The Supreme Commander asks us to congratulate you on the information you sent.” According to the book this message had been sent to the SOE agent Pearl Witherington called Pauline who was in this area with the French Resistance. This message perhaps follows one of the two attacks below but only one match with the location. According to testimonies the first one could have been made between the 25th and 30th of June 1944 (exact date unclear). A train which was parked between Vierzon and Bourges (…the right place is close to the village of Foecy) is destroyed after an attack of allied fighters. Explosions and high column of smoke are heard and seen from several miles around and still today this tremendous explosion remains in memories of older peoples from the area. As I know, the 14th of July, a similar mission was carried out on the same railway line to destroy also German trains but this one took place most to the west of the place about which I speak above. It seems in the Selles-sur-Cher / Noyer-sur-Cher areas (between Vierzon and Tours). With this sole book’s excerpt and your kind assistance I am looking for the Squadron (…probably fitted with Mosquito fighters) which carried out this mission between Vierzon and Bourges.

    Best regards,
    Frederic

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    Hello Fred

    Do you confirm it was a day mission ? Not a night intruder job ? I'm asking because No. 613 Squadron did perform some attacks on railway during that period, which could correspond, but it'd be easier with more precise dates. Especially as the ORB has very locations bombed stated as town, but as map coordinates. So one has to go to echodeltatranslator website to convert these coordinates into locations.

    Have you checked Shores and Thomas' "2nd Tactical Air Force" ? volume 1 up to end of June 1944, and volume 2 from July 1944.

    Joss

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    Hello Joss,

    Yes it was a day mission. I have in hand a picture (unfortunately with no date) which shows the column of smoke, a picture taken from the transmitter center of Radio-Paris at Allouis, about 1 km from there. It is not easy to find a precise date but this attack took place between the 25 and 30 June. A document from the local archives, which speaks about WWII facts in the area, recounts this attack but also without date. From my point of view this attack took place certainly after the 27 of June because this particular day a 9th USAAF fighter group – 474 FG - destroyed a railway junction close to Marmagne, a village between Vierzon and Bourges and not far from Foecy. If it can help someone, latitude and longitude of the places about which I talk here are as follows: Bourges: 47° 05’ – 02° 23’; Vierzon: 47° 13’ – 02° 05’; Foecy: 47° 10’ – 02° 09’; Noyers-sur-Cher: 47° 16’ – 01° 23’; Selles-sur-Cher: 47° 16’ – 01° 33’.

    I am sorry, I can’t check because I don’t have the Shores and Thomas' "2nd Tactical Air Force" volumes. I have several other books but not those ones. I am already going to do some researches with No.613 Sqdn.

    Best regards,
    Frederic

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    Bonjour,

    In connection to my previous message, into an unpublished diary “Journal d'un Berruyer” by Roger Berthon, diary held by the Bourges’ Museum of the Resistance, I found this info: “June 28, 1944; several repeated explosions in the distance. An ammunitions convoy is in process to explode at Foecy. Shop front windows are flying into pieces as far as the main street of Bourges. “Testimonies I have recorded about this attack are speaking about this latter point.

    Best regards,
    Frederic

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    Hello

    28th June 1944 was a busy day for the day fighters of 2nd TAF, a per "2nd TAF" by Shores & Thomas, but there's no mention about Mosquito operations in the area you research. Which doesn't imply that it didn't occur.

    As far as No. 613 Squadron may be involved, they attacked many targets during the night of 24th and 26th June, so no match for the 28th June 1944. All were in the "T" square of the "nord de guerre" grid, which is roughly the Champagne area. For example T356545 is south of Reims.

    Still with the 28th June 1944 date : not 180 Sqn (Mitchells), neither 226 Sqn (Mitchells) nor 342 Sqn (Bostons).

    I don't have ORBs of 2nd TAF Mosquitos for June 1944 Unfortunately.

    Joss

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    Merci Joss for this research into your book and files. I am going to look for the units which belonged to 2nd TAF in June and July, 1944, especially those fitted with Mustangs and Mosquitoes. I found last evening that No.605 Squadron had combat reports for the 28 of June but I don’t know the place and if it was a day mission.

    It would be necessary perhaps that I also take a look to the missions carried out by 9th USAAF ? Numerous fighter groups of this force are involved onto the area during the previous and next days. For the time being I limit myself to the RAF squadrons because the information regarding this stalled train between Vierzon and Bourges was given to London by an agent from the SOE. (…and also because of this detail given by the agent in his book about his experiences during WWII). I carry on…

    All the best,
    Frederic

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