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Thread: Witten, German reaction December 12th 1944

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    Default Witten, German reaction December 12th 1944

    Hi,

    Slightly off topic but hoping someone can help.

    No.3 Group attacked Witten on December 12th 1944 and were attacked by 30-60 Bf109, FW190, Me410 and a jet ?

    Using the limited books I have on German day fighters, specifically Don Caldwell's DAY FIGHTERS , it appears only that JG3 and JG27 were involved, both of which I believe were equipped with the Bf109. However, I have numerous accounts and Combat Reports that record FW190's and Me410's involved.

    Basically I am trying to determine what German units were flying against this raid, losses, claims etc.

    Is there a site ( I have tried TOCH ) or individual who can help ?

    TIA

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

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    Hi Steve,

    Thursday, December 12, 1944.

    ''12.12.44. Two bomber formations 8th Air Force on Leuna fuel installations and rail targets in Rhein-Main area (Hanau and Darmstadt). Only isolated defensive operations, by JG 4 and JG 27. Major Walter Spies, commander of II./JG 27, killed in action north of Greven. IV./JG 4 - three killed.

    I./JG 3* mission over the Ruhr against a British four-engine bomber force attacking Witten. Four pilots killed in action.

    Ground-support mission in 5th Jagddivision area. JG 53 reports two pilots killed and one wounded (Uffz Betsch, parachute descent over Dammheim/Landau). Particularly tragic is the loss of Fw Scholte, whose parachute failed when he attempted to bale out of his "White 5", and of Ofw Alexander Preinfalk. Preinfalk, holder of the Knight's Cross, only just 25 and with 78 kills to his credit, was shot down by a P-47 while parachuting south-east of Graben (near Bruchsal).

    See:
    Six Months to Oblivion:The Defeat of he Luftwaffe Fighter Force over the Western Front 1944/1945.
    Girbig.Werner.
    West Chester:Schiffer Military History,1991.
    pp.59-60.

    Girbig's account is now somewhat dated, better to use Prein & Stemmer.

    *
    JG 3 Losses - 12.12.1944

    1./JG 3 - Uffz Josef Wester + - Aerial combat, Witten/Ruhr area, 100%. Bf 109 G-10 W.Nr.130 114 - White 18+
    1./JG 3 - Obfhr Guenter Meyer + - Aerial combat, Dortmund area, 100%. Bf 109 G-14 W.Nr.461 319 - White 16+
    2./JG 3 - Gefr Kurt Nickel + Aerial Combat, location not known, 100%. Bf 109 G-10 W.Nr.490 759 Black 13+
    3./JG 3 - Uffz Kurt Hahn + - Aerial combat, crashed Ostenland near Delbrueck, 100%. Bf 109 G-10 W.Nr.490 465 Yellow 13+
    I./JG 3 - Not known - Aerial Combat, location not known, Damaged. Bf 109 G
    I./JG 3 - Not known - Combat mission, not due to enemy action, location not known, 100%. Bf 109 G.

    JG 3 Claims - 12.12.1944

    --Unit---------Name------------Type----Ind. Claims-Time- Total Unit Claim
    2./JG 3 - Lt Walter Brandt ---- Lancaster-- (38/) ---1354-----807.
    2./JG 3 - Fw Rudolf Hener ---- Lancaster-- (1/)-----1354-----808
    4./JG 3 - Lt Hans Ehmann -----Lancaster-- (2/)-----1355-----809
    4./JG 3 - Uffz Kurt Moellerke-- Lancaster-- (5/)-----1355-----810
    2./JG 3 - Fw Rudlof Hener -----Lancaster---(2/)-----1355-----811
    3./JG 3 - Lt Theodor Kaiser---- Lancaster---(./)-----1356-----812
    2./JG 3 - Fw Heinz Nettleman- Lancaster---(2/)-----1356-----813
    3./JG 3 - Uffz Horst Schoene---Lancaster---(1/)----1356------814
    1./JG 3 - Fhr Hans Zipse--------Lancaster --(2/)----1357------815
    4./JG 3 - Gefr Rudolf Wieschoff Lancaster -(1/)-----1358------816
    4./JG 3 - Uffz Roland Schmidt- Lancaster--(1/)-----1358------817
    4./JG 3 - Lt Franz Ruhl----------Lancaster--(36/)---1359------818
    4./JG 3 - Lt Franz Ruhl----------Lancaster--(37/)---1407------819
    3./JG 3 - Obgefr Gerhard Markl P-51--------(1/)----1420------820

    Soon after I./JG 3 began its attack, IV./JG 27 under Hptm Dudeck closed with the Lancasters and was able to claim five shot down and three forced to leave formation. More significant, however, was the fact that the attack by the two Gruppen prevented the enemy aircraft from bombing their assigned target. The Lancasters scattered their bombs over the Witten area without causing any serious damage.

    See:
    Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet" in World War II Vol.1: Stab and I./JG 3 in Action with the Messerschmitt Bf 109
    Prien,Jochen & Gerhard Stemmer.
    Atglen:Schiffer Military History,2002.
    pp.344,422 & 446-7

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 22nd October 2017 at 11:31.

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    Col,

    Thank you for the comprehensive reply and the details contained.

    Not having any experience of German day fighters establishments, can I conclude that both JG3 and JG27 were equipped with the Bf109 on this date? If this is so, it puts into doubt the claims involving FW190's and almost certainly the Me410.

    Col, many thanks again.

    Regards

    Steve



    Thanks again Col
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
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    Steve,

    Yes, both units were equipped with the 109.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 22nd October 2017 at 10:45.

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    I would find it helpful to seek more contributions on this topic - it is not clear to me that Col's contribution fully covers the role of JG27.

    Steve raised this topic some while ago http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=792 In that discussion John Beaman stated that JG27 lost six a/c? Neither the activities of BC nor the Luftwaffe are my specialist field and I am not certain about some of the sources I use but Martin Middlebrook records eight Lancasters lost on this day. If I have understood Col correctly he is saying that JG3 and JG27 claimed 19 Lancaster victories on that day.

    With regard to daylight operations by BC in 1944-45 does this represent the greatest loss of bombers to fighter opposition suffered by the RAF?

    It would be good to know if there are other sources.

    Steve
    Last edited by SteveBrooking; 22nd October 2017 at 10:26. Reason: irremovable digit

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    Steve,

    Thanks for the post. I am still trying to understand how so many RAF gunners mistook the BF109 for the FW190, and how a number of crews from each of the three base formations reported Me410's. Obviously in the heat of battle fighter identification was not top priority, survival was.

    Regarding losses, seven Lancasters were shot down by either flak or fighters, six of which were from the led formation of 31 Base. A further Lancaster ditched, two forced landed in Belgium and one at Manston. Four crews reported damage due to fighter action, eight reported flak damage, and two Lancaster's collide over the target area, but returned to base.

    Not sure if it was Bomber Commands largest loss due to enemy action in daylight, it certainly was for No.3 Group since the attack on Heligoland 1939.

    Cheers

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Steve
    Thanks for the additional detail...I'll let you know if I find anything LOL!
    Steve

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