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Thread: 13th March 1941

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    Default 13th March 1941

    Hello,

    I would like to know if planes of the RAF completed a mission in the Orleans-Tours-Bourges area on 13 March 1941. I have an attack in the morning on the tracks at Mehun and on Vierzon marshalling yards that day.
    Planes of Fighter Command?

    Best regards,
    Frederic

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    Default very unlikely

    hello Frederic,

    This is quite unlikely if you simply consider the range of the machines in Fighter Command's strength in March 1941.

    There's nothing about a raid in this area of France in "1941 the Turning Point part 1" by John Foreman, neither the night before or the night after. Unless one crew was completely lost and dropped its bombs on a target of opportunity. The author would have probably mentioned any intruder mission, but again, this was quite far from U.K. bases for the planes used for such operations at the time, Bristol Blenheims.

    Nothing looking like it in "The Bomber Command War Diaries" by Middlebrook & Everitt.

    Joss

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    Default

    Bonjour Joss,

    However I have a series of day’s bombings since mid August 1940 and I don't see who else could have performed operations onto this area. Blenheim, Beaufighter... what was the real range of these planes? By being a short time onto the target, it was realizable, no?

    Warmest regards,
    Frederic

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    Default Not Beaufighters

    hello Frederic

    Not Beaufighter so early in the war. Blenheims in intruder missions could do, but they were also limited in range. At the same time, I have night intruder missions by Blenheims (for example No. 23 Squadron), but not as far south. They were flying in my area, usually patrolling over beacons, and waiting for preys to show up (in this case German bombers based in Nord-Pas-de-Calais).

    I too have Police/Gendarmerie reports for that time frame which mentions bombs, especially in Dunkirk area, and it's quite difficult to ascertain which bomber dropped the bombs, probably because they failed to locate the target and on returning back to UK, it was easy to spot a port and bomb it, and not bring bombs back to base. The Butt report in 1941 is quite adamant about the navigation and bombing skills of average Bomber Command crews.

    I don't see obvious reasons to bomb in the Orléans-Tours-Vierzon, especially marshalling yards, at that time of the war. I would understand airfields used by Luftwaffe bombers, but not specifically railway tracks.

    Perhaps other forumites will be able to confirm missions, but in the two books I've checked, nothing specific showed up.

    Joss

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    Default

    Hello Joss,

    I also don't understand why the marshalling yards would have been attacked at that time.

    I have read, but I don't know any more where, that during summer 1940 so distant air bases as Bourges (home of III./KG27) had been able to be attacked by RAF bombers. Probably to show to the German at the time of the Battle of Britain, that they were not untouchable, even with airfields so far in France.

    Merci pour ton aide.
    Warmest regards,
    Frederic.

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    Default

    Bonjour Fred and Joss,
    Being from Vierzon and my grandfather and father worked in the SNCF during the war, I have heard of these little intrusions over the tracks.
    I think that Whitley and Hampden were able to play the role of these ghost raiders.Looking at the logbook of Grimy Cooke a pilot of 106 Sq, coming back from ops in North of France or in Germany, he liked to flew at low level and told to his airgunner to fire all targets of opportunity! They even took photographs of germans soldiers running to escape the gun of their aircraft !!
    For example Grimy wrote in a letter to his mother on 31/12/41:
    " Had a very exciting daylight raid over Germany a couple of weeks back,bombed a factory from 50', blowing it sky high and then flew low for 150 miles over Germany, machine gunning trains lorries and jerries,plate glass windows,chickens and goodness only knows what not .It was really a wonderful trip ."
    It was like a game ?! I think he was not the only one to do this !SO ....
    Amicalement Alain

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    Default

    Bonjour Alain,

    How goes Vierzon? ;o)

    Thank you for your intervention and for this very interesting testimony.
    It is also a possibility for this attack.

    Amicalement,
    Frederic

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