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Thread: German reaction 2nd November 1944

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    Default German reaction 2nd November 1944

    Hi,

    On November 2nd 1944 No.3 Group RAF Bomber Command carried out a daylight attack on the synthetic oil plant's at Meerbeck, Homberg.

    I have been sent some information that on this date, the German day fighters units were to engage this formation in force, the details suggest about sixty fighters in total were available. The encounter was in response to Bomber Commands growing daylight operations over the oil plants of Germany. It was only due to the force being sent towards Munster, and not Homberg that the encounter did not materialise.

    Can anyone confirm that this was the case, were 60 day fighters scrambled to meet this raid, were they vectored to Munster ?

    Any help appreciated.

    Regards

    Steve
    ________________
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
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    Hey Steve, not sure if any of the following is of any assistance, but hope you can glean something from it. It is an extract from my "Blood, Sweat and Valour" (2012) and centres around 41 Sqn's activity, but provides a general overview of the op:

    "2 November 1944 – 5/10ths to 10/10ths cloud at 3,000-4,000 feet, with visibility of just one to two miles. The Lympne Wing’s only job today was to provide target support for 180 Lancasters from the Bomber Command’s 3 Group bombing the Moers-Meerbeck Synthetic Oil Plant at Homberg, on the western outskirts of Duisburg, in Ramrod 1357. This was the first of five attacks on the same target within three weeks, a period which became known by the residents of the Homberg area as Schwarzer November.

    Date - 2 November 1944
    Operation - Ramrod 1357
    Target - Synthetic Oil Plant, Moers, Nordrhein-Westfalen
    Bombers - 184 Lancasters: 15 Sqn (14), 75 NZ Sqn (20), 90 Sqn (17), 115 Sqn (16), 149 Sqn (22), 186 Sqn (18), 195 Sqn (19), 218 Sqn (17), 514 Sqn (23), and 622 Sqn (18)
    Casualties - 15 Sqn Lancs HK612 & PB115, 186 Sqn Lanc LM618, 195 Sqn Lancs HK663 & LM473, and 622 Sqn Lanc LL803
    Target Cover - Lympne: 41, 130 & 610 Squadrons (36 Spitfire XIV)
    Target Cover & Escort on Withdrawal - Manston: 91 Squadron (12 Spitfire IX)
    Detling: 1 & 165 Squadron (25 Spitfire IX)
    Escort to & from target, Front - Andrews Field: 129, 306 & 316 Squadrons (35 Mstg III)
    North Weald: 234 Squadron (10 Mstg III)
    Escort to & from target, Rear - Bradwell Bay: 64 & 126 Squadrons (25 Spitfire IX)
    North Weald: 310 Squadron (11 Spitfire IX)
    Casualties - 64 Sqn: Fg Off Brook, EF/CL nr Erpe, Belg, safe; 91 Sqn: 1 Spit Cat. B; 350 Sqn: WO L. Verbeeck, u/s throttle, landed Evere accompanied by Sgt Plt G. Gigot

    The Lympne Wing provided Target Cover for the operation, constituting three of the nine escorting Spitfire squadrons and four Mustang squadrons. Each of the Wing’s squadrons contributed twelve aircraft, and were airborne at 12:55 with long-range 90-gallon jettison tanks fitted.

    The target area was covered in 5/10ths cloud, but this was no hindrance and a total of 177 of bombers attacked the target. At the end of the raid, black clouds and smoke could be seen rising from the oil plant. However, accurate and intense heavy Flak was experienced and six bombers were lost.

    The fighters, however, returned reporting the operation otherwise uneventful; the Luftwaffe was not sighted. The Lympne Wing landed again between 15:00 and 15:20, and this concluded the day’s flying."

    I can provide you the 11 Group Appendix for the op by e-mail if it interests you. Drop me a line if so.

    Hope this helps (just sorry the formatting has dropped out in what was a table above.

    Cheers
    Steve

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    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the comprehensive reply.

    Obviously from your post the RAF escorts did not engage any fighters, which is not surprising. I have just been sent some info, the Yanks were out in force Mission 168. 1,174 bombers were out with a large fighter escort, they were attacking Merseburg. The Yanks fighters claimed 163-40-52 !!!!!! I am wondering if the sixty odd fighters supposed to have been vectored onto the 3 Group raid were re-directed to meet the Americans. Where is a Luftwaffe expert when you want one !!!

    Thanks again Steve.

    Steve
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    Hey Steve, no worries. The best place to go with a Luftwaffe-specific question might be the 12 O'Clock High Forum: http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/

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    Steve (Smith),

    If you want a detailed account of Luftwaffe Fighter activity on 2 November, 1944, you should consult the following references:

    1/
    The Luftwaffe Over Germany - Defense of the Reich.
    Caldwell,Donald & Richard Muller
    St Paul:Greenhill Books,2007
    pp.249-51

    2/
    Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich A War Diary, 1942-45
    Caldwell,Donald.
    Barnsley:Frontline Books,2011.
    pp.390-2

    And from the USAAF perspective:

    3/
    The Mighty Eighth War Diary.
    Freeman,Roger A. (with Alan Crouchman and Vic Maslen).
    London:Arms & Armour,1990 (rev.ed.).
    p.375.

    Whoever supplied the information you quoted on the USAAF, doesn't know what they're talking about! (ie Mission 168 should read 8th AF Mission #698, etc).

    Unfortunately, there is no mention anywhere in the above refs of a diversion of resources to counter the Bomber Command raid.

    Along with what Steve (Brew) has provided, if you consult the above references, you will have an unusually comprehensive account of what transpired on 2 November, 1944.

    Col.

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    Hi Col,

    Thanks for the post. I have just ordered No.1 and 2, 2nd hand from Amazon. I have No.3 I have it in storage.

    The info is via someone on the forum, who will remain nameless !!!

    Thanks again everyone.

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
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    Gents,

    It appears that the original information I was sent was totally incorrect, the raid in question, November 2nd should have been November 4th. This raid was against Solingen.

    I have checked my copy of Air14/3377 Interception/Tactics No.276/44 and this report confirms that over sixty day-fighters were massed to attack the 3 Group force.

    Sorry to have wasted everyones time, next time I will check other researchers info !!

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
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    Hey Steve

    Thanks for being honest enough to come back and admit the error. Let's do this again, then. Here's Ramrod 1359 to Solingen on 4 November 1944 from my "Blood, Sweat and Valour" (Fonthill, 2012). Also, once again, if you need to see the docs from the NA, let me know and I'll e-mail them to you.

    4 November 1944 – Fair with broken cloud at 2,000 feet and good visibility. The day saw another Wing operation, this time led by Sqn Ldr Benham, as target cover in Ramrod 1359 for 176 Lancasters of 3 Group bombing an aircraft component factory at Solingen, just south of the Ruhr, and around 20km east-southeast of Düsseldorf.
    The bombers were covered by three Spitfire and six Mustang squadrons, whilst another seven Spitfire squadrons swept north and south of Cologne [Köln] and covered the withdrawal.

    Date - 4 November 1944
    Operation - Ramrod 1359
    Target - Aircraft Component Factory, Solingen, Nordrhein-Westfalen
    Bombers - 178 Lancasters: 15 Sqn (14), 75 NZ Sqn (21), 90 Sqn (18), 115 Sqn (16) , 149 Sqn (17), 186 Sqn (18), 195 Sqn (19), 218 Sqn (17), 514 Sqn (20), and 622 Sqn (18)
    Casualties - 75 Sqn Lanc ND917, and 195 Sqn Lancs HK658, HK689 & NG219
    Escort on Penetration & Withdrawal - Andrews Field: 129, 306 & 316 Squadrons (35 Mstg III), Andrews Field: 19 & 65 Squadrons (25 Mstg IIIA), & North Weald: 234 Squadron (12 Mstg III)
    Target Cover - Lympne: 41, 350 & 610 Squadrons (34 Spitfire XIV)
    Sweep S Köln to Target - Manston: 91, 118, 124 & 504 Squadrons (49 Spitfire IX)
    Sweep N Köln to Target - Bradwell Bay: 64, 126 & 312 Squadron (37 Spitfire IX)
    Casualty - 350 Sqn: Sqn Ldr L. C. Collignon u/s fuel cock, CL Aix-La-Chapelle

    Cloud cover was experienced over the target area between 7/10ths and 10/10ths, but this was overcome by the use of Oboe targeting. 170 out of 176 bombers attacked the target, resulting in large palls of black smoke reaching to 25,000 feet. Four bombers were lost to light Flak, although some reports suggest casualties were also caused by aircraft being hit by 500lb and 1,000lb bombs dropped from Allied aircraft above them.

    Airborne between 13:00 and 13:10, the Lympne Wing contributed 34 aircraft to the operation, of which twelve were provided by 41 Squadron. The pilots reported the operation uneventful and according to plan, there being just one casualty, 350 Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Leopold Collignon, who was forced to land in Belgium with a problem with his fuel cock. He managed to reach Allied territory and returned home a short while later.

    41 Squadron landed at base again at 15:30, in what was their longest Spitfire XIV mission to date, and in the evening attended an SHQ party at Hawkinge.

    Hope you can glean something from this, bearing in mind it is 41 Sqn-centric.

    Regards
    Steve

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    Hi Steve,

    Thank you for the most detailed reply. One common theme within the 3 Group reports were the complaints from No.11 Group ? concerning the formation flying of the group and the length of the stream. Have you ever come across these concerns? The report of 60 plus Bf109 and FW190's must have been eminated from somewhere, Ultra ? or picked up on radar. Any ideas ?

    Thanks again.

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
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    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    No, sorry, 'bit outside my frame of interest and therefore area of knowledge, I'm afraid. However, give me you e-mail address and I'll e-mail you the 11 Grp ORB and Appendix for the day.

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