Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 20

Thread: Lancaster PB737, 61 Squadron, 2 Feb 1945

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    91
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Lancaster PB737, 61 Squadron, 2 Feb 1945

    I'm trying to find a bit more info on the loss of this aircraft on the Politz raid, via the BBC peoples War website it gives a decent bit of info http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/16/a5979216.shtml and I was wondering if its possible to track down who was responsible for shooting it down, the story includes the line "the Rear Gunner reported a four engine plane passing beneath, which proceeded to hammer us with Cannon-fire" any suggestions on what aircraft this could be. Any extra info would be very welcome.

    Thanks

    Alistair

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    1,765
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Alistair,
    My notebook tells me that i have the Loss report for this aircraft amongst my files, i shall have to get up into my attic (where the wife put them) and find it, but i can tell you that you have the date wrong, the date of loss was 08/2/45. Will be back later.
    Regards.........AlanW.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    1,765
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Alistair,
    Nothing in the report about a 4 engined a/c firing at them. According to the F/Eng, F/O Middlemass...........
    When approaching the last turning point before the target, at approx 21.07hrs, 10,000ft, F/O Middlemass heard the Rear gunner give the order to corkscrew to starboard. This the Captain did but in the middle of the dive to starboard the Rear gunner ordered him to hold it. Then followed some muffled explosions which shook the aircraft; black smoke poured past the Navigators curtain and filled the cockpit and the Wireless Operator told the captain that the aircraft was on fire. The Captain gave the order to bale out. The hatch was then removed and jettisoned in the correct manner after which the Air-bomber left the aircraft followed by the Flight engineer. As he floated down, F/O Middlemass saw an aircraft going down in a steep dive with the tail unit on fire and hit the ground where the bombs exploded. He is absolutley sure that it was his own aircraft and states that he saw no other aircraft going down nearby. He is of the opinion that his own aircraft was flying straight and level when he left it.
    AlanW.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    91
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Alan,
    Thanks for that, your absolutely right, I messed up the date - I should have double checked what I typed. I hope I didnt put you to too much trouble having to go to the attic.

    Excelllent info (and very quick), I've just got F/Sgt Hectors log book etc (dont have it in hand yet) so am trying to build a picture of the loss - its good to have 2 reports of the same action - F/Sgt Hector was one of the Gunners - I wonder if he was the Rear gunner who called the corkscrew, hopefully I will find out soon enough.

    Thanks again

    Alistair

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    1,765
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Alistair,
    Sorry to have to correc t you but, Sgt Hector was the Bomb-aimer, F/Sgt S. Courtney was R/Gnr and F/Sgt T.C. King was M/Upper, other positions were...
    F/Lt R.W. Bartlett, pilot.
    F/Sgt N.T. Nuttall, Nav.
    W/O P. Styles, W/Op.
    F/O K. Middlemass, F/Eng.

    This was the crew's 14th trip, and the Lancaster's 26th. Lokking at some combat reports i have, their seems to have been a few JU 88's around Politz that night.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    91
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thanks again, the information I got was that he was an Air gunner in the crew, but looking at the (blurry) scans its could well say Air Bomber - will see when it arrives (not that I'm doubting you), I was told their were 20 ops listed, not sure if this is an error or if Hector flew ops with another crew at some point.

    I should probably hang back til I have the bits in hand, that way I may stop with the duff info

    Cheers

    Alistair

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    9
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Alistair and Alan,

    I've just come across this thread and would be very interested in any information that you have - purely for personal reasons.

    Ron Bartlett, the Lancaster's pilot, was one of my mother's cousins, and had spent time in Canada as an instructor before returning to the UK and joining 61 Squadron. Being South African based, it has proved difficult to flesh out his RAF career, and I would be most interested (having also seen Nuttall's story) in hearing other versions of their last operation. Also, might there be any reference to when Bartlett joined 61 Squadron?

    Regards

    Tony Leach

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    250
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Alistair,

    firstly, a note on German records - most Luftwaffe unit records, including combat reports, were deliberately destroyed in the last week of the war, meaning that the type of information that you seek must be reconstructed from what documents survive, including aircrew logbooks etc. Thus, what information that does survive is incomplete.

    According to Luftwaffe High Command reports, the Nachtjagd made claims of 14 certain and two probable victories against the first RAF raid on Politz on 8-9 February 1945.

    During research before writing the 1945 section of the book, "The Nachtjagd War Diairies Volume 2" (Red Kite 2008), details of 14 of the sixteen claims were discovered:

    Oblt. Herbert Koch: 15 1./NJG3 Lancaster N.E. Kopenhagen 19.52 poss 57 Sqn Lancaster PB382
    Hptm. Ernst-Georg Drünkler: 27 1./NJG5 Lancaster S.W. Stettin 21.03
    Hptm. Ernst-Georg Drünkler: 28 1./NJG5 Lancaster S.W. Stettin 21.08
    Hptm. Ernst-Georg Drünkler: 29 1./NJG5 Lancaster S. Stettin harbour 21.12 poss 61 Sqn Lancaster LL911
    Fw. Egon Engling: 8 12./NJG3 Lancaster - 21.11 poss 463 Sqn Lancaster ED611 (damaged)
    Fw. Egon Engling: 9 12./NJG3 Lancaster - 21.14 poss 463 Sqn Lancaster ED611 (damaged)
    Ofw. Rudolf Mangelsdorf: 9 III./NJG2 Lancaster over Stettin 22.03 poss 630 Sqn Lancaster ND554
    Oblt. Hans Raum: 14 7 or 9./NJG3 Lancaster - -
    Obstlt. Walter Borchers: 36 Stab NJG5 Lancaster - -
    Obstlt. Walter Borchers: 37 Stab NJG5 Lancaster - -
    Obstlt. Walter Borchers: 38 Stab NJG5 Lancaster - -
    Lt. Herbert Altner: 20 8./NJG5 - over Stettin - (note – claim according to post-war recollection of Altner, but not recorded in his Flugbuch) poss 61 Sqn Lancaster LL911
    Lt. Herbert Altner: 21 8./NJG5 - over Stettin - (note – claim according to post-war recollection of Altner, but not recorded in his Flugbuch) poss 61 Sqn Lancaster LL911
    Lt. Herbert Altner: 22 8./NJG5 - over Stettin - (note – claim according to post-war recollection of Altner, but not recorded in his Flugbuch) poss 61 Sqn Lancaster LL911

    To update this list since publication, without expanding too much on the 'history', the three Borchers claims may have been 'invented' by certain historians, and certainly I have yet to see documentary proof that such claims were made. As mentioned above, Altner's claims are based upon a post-war statement by Altner himself, and are not supported by evidence in his flying logbook (although not impossible, it would be highly unusual for a Nachtjagd pilot not to record air victories in his logbook). To the list can be added a claim at 20.27 hrs for a probable victory by Hptm. Eduard Schröder of 1./NJG3.

    Thus, of the original 16 claims, reliable documentary evidence exists for 9 of the claims, while the Altner claims are based upon his testimony only, and it is likely that the three Borchers claims are bogus (i.e. were never claimed).

    Because the claims details are incomplete, IMHO, the best that can be said is that PB737 may've been shot down by Drünkler, Engling, Raum, or Altner. Then again, the Lancaster may've been shot down by an unknown claimant...

    Cheers

    Rod
    Last edited by RodM; 5th February 2009 at 18:46.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    91
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    HI Rod,
    Thanks for the reply, I guess the victor will remain unidentified, but will keep looking.

    Ta

    Alistair

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,007
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Alistair,
    It has been mentioned that Sgt Hector was a bomb aimer (officially Air Bomber), but remember that the air bomber was also a trained and qualified air gunner. In many of the RAF "heavies" the air bomber was responsible for operating the bomb sight when came the time for such activities, but also functioned as the front "eyes" of the aircraft, as well as map reading. He was also responsible for operating the front turret guns whenever his aircraft was threatened by enemy fighters, so to think that he could only be a "bomb aimer" and therefore not an air gunner is quite incorrect. In the same way, Air Observers and Air Navigators were also trained and qualified air gunners in their own right, as were most Flight Engineers on Coastal Command heavy aircraft (Liberators, flying boats, etc). Many people are misled by the various RAF official names for the "flying trades", as there was more of this sort of "cross-qualification" afoot then most suspect. One reason for the lack of awareness on these points by the average punter is that RAF clothing and dress regulations strictly prohibited the wearing of more than one flying badge by an aircrew member at all times, so a choice had to be made by each member, although they normally followed convention by choosing to wear the most prestigious badge they weer entitled to. Some qualified pilots, for instance, decided to forsake the honour of flying the aircraft (for various reasons, often to do with confidence or a mental "block") and "remuster" as an Air Observer, or later as Navigator. However, unless they had been "forced" to give up their flying badge ("wings") because of a serious disciplinary matter ("permission to wear the flying badge withdrawn"), they would retain the right to wear their pilot's badge, even though they no longer exercised the right to be pilot. I hasten to add that these cases were fairly rare, but they did happen.
    David D

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •