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December 7, 1944

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by Erich, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    I know many are thinking of the tributes to the US servicemen that lost their lives on this bleak Sunday years ago at Pearl Harbor and the islands

    but on December 6/7 1944 in the evening other battles were taking place, at least 6 GErman LW night fighters were downed, 2 of them by Mossie night fghters. 1 Bf 109G-6/AS pilot was wounded in combat with RAF heavies Feldwebel Günther Laas near Gießen.

    One of the most famous pilots of 12./NJG 1 lost his life along with his Bordfünker, the R/O and rear gunner Unteroffizier Kurt Schmidt somehow managed to bail out wounded from the stricken Bf 110G-4 G9+HZ 10 km NW of Münster-Handorf.
    BF Feldwebel Günther Steins was Killed and the pilot Hauptmann Hans-Heinz Augenstein a Ritterkreuz winner was also killed with 46 victories to his credit.

    The victor was a Mossie XXX of 85th squad. VY-O Flight Leader E.R. Hedgecoe.

    What is interesting is that the Bf 110G-4 was found and has been investigated the debris being gone through.........

    LW night fighters claimed 14 victories this night, 6 of them Lancasters by IV./NJG 6 twin-engines in the area of Gießen. 2 German crews of Bf 110G-4 equipped IV./NJG 1 claimed 2 Halifax's in the area of Quakenbruck.

    Leuna had been attacked by 475 Lancs and 12 Mossies with 5 Lancasters lost
    Osnabrück was hit by 363 Hali's and 72 Lancs and 18 Mossies with 7 Halifax and 1 Lancaster lost
    Giessen was attacked by 255 Lancs and 10 Mossies with 8 Lancasters lost.
    2 other Mosquiotos were also lost on other ops, 1 attacking Berlin ans a Mosie NF intruder crashing ion France.

    23 Allied a/c lost from 1,343 sorties

    ~ A salute to the Fallen ~
     
    Martin Bull and Kai-Petri like this.
  2. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    it was interesting the last couple of days to research again witih our Stevin O. regarding downings and LW night crews deceased and buried, what I did find on a German forum this morning was that on the night of December 4/5 44 that 6./NJG 6 lost it's Staffelkapitän Hauptmann Ernst Wallner and crew, the rear gunner bailed out wounded. this was in action with a 4 engine RAF heavy bomber in the area of Ludwigsburg. The pilot and his faithful Bordfünker lie almost side by side at Schwäbisch Hall, Germany.
    The question remained then who replaced Ernst Wallner in the leadership capacity of 6./NJG 6. Well none-other than (Kai and Martin have met, or heard him speak one on one) ........... Oberleutnant Peter Spoden !

    E ~ :cool:
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Thanks for these most interesting posts, Erich.

    By that time period of the war, most attention was ( and is... ) focused on the ground forces ; the above makes one realise the bitter struggle that was still going on in the Winter night skies......
     
  4. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    very truthful words Martin. I have pointed this out in the past, but the German LW night fighter force lost more a/c during December 1944 than any other month of the war. due in large part that any non-ace was issued the edict "go out and make a nuisance of yourself on night ground attack missions" and this they did including several known aces.

    Imagine what the Allies/Germans faced in the beginning phases of the Ardenne battles with low visibilities, frozen ice fog, snow, whiteouts on the ground and then the expectations of the order to go behind the lines aerially and bomb cross roads and supporting rail jcts. and look for anything that bore headlights and blast it off the roads ~ at night in hideous weather where most of the ground attack ops were flown within feet off the ground. Now wonder many Bf 110G-4 and Ju 88G crews never stood a chance trying to ID the enemy but many times their own troops, hit with AA from both sides or trying to level out and bank high to avoid the inevitable collisions with buildings and trees/hillsides. and if it wasn't bad enough night after night trying to find the area, getting back in the same lousy weather, find an airfield to land on before you run out of fuel or maybe worse expose yourself to an intruding Mossie night fighter when your eyes were pointed straight ahead trying to focus on getting home.

    hard to imagine, as you said Martin our main focus has always been the great land battles of the time in December /January

    E ~
     
  5. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I remember asking Peter Spoden ( at the Bletchley Park Airwar Forum in 2005 ) about this later period and he confirmed that, although the term 'Moskitopanik' is maybe a little too strong, the Nachtjagd crews were very aware of the effectiveness of the latest Mosquitoes and were quite fearful of sudden , unseen attack......
     
  6. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Martin I wonder do you have the 2nd TAF book for the period in question as I wonder what was reflected in the RAF/RCAF and Aussie Mossie NF claims during the month. most probably pretty high I would imagine ?

    E ~
     
  7. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    out of the 6 losses reported by the officials for the NJG's on the night of 6./7. December 1944, 3 of them were in cause by shoot downs from Mossie night fighters. yes the Mossie squadrons were becoming quite a problem in themselves to the German crews...............till wars end.

    I note from December 8th to the 12th terrible weather with losses due to crashes - bad weather related ? some air actions, one Bf 110G-4 landed and collided with another at the airfield at Düsseldorf- 11./NJG 1
     
  8. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Most of the 2nd TAF nightfighter claims are for Ju88/Ju188. I wonder if most of the nightfighter-chasing was left to 100 Group....?
     
  9. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Martin I am going to assume you do have that volume as well as numero # 3 yes ? not knowing much about the 2nd TAF........yet .......... were they not responsible in most aspects to support the ground campaign including the NF's flying forward ground attack as well as lurk over LW nf fields ?

    E
     
  10. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    just a little note I sent out to Peter yesterday concerning a later December downing of a LW Ju 88G.

    Peter do you remember one of your Kameraden by the name of Kopp a pilot
    and Hauptmann shot down but bailed out wounded along with his crew from
    their Ju 88G-6 2Z+DC. he was in Stab II./NJG 6 and the date was
    22./23.12.1944 shot down 7km Sudwestl of Lebach in the area of
    Saarbrucken by an RAF 85th squadron Mossie XXX.

    just curious and yes it has been many years ago but I thought I would
    ask if he stood out to you in some way.

    many happy Christmas greetings from Kathi and I.....Erich

    his response this morn :

    Yes, I know Richard Kopp very well. We were from mid
    1944 together, when I joined II/ NJG 6, until I became commander of I/
    NJG 6 in March 1945. Richard was a friendly guy, knew many songs and
    Studentenlieder, we had a lot of fun besides the cruel war.He survived
    the war and lived with his family in ? near Stuttgart. I don't
    know if he is still alive. He was a bit older than me.
    again best wishes for 2008 and hope Oregon is not
    hit too much by the climate change
    Peter


    I luv chatting with this great pilot

     
  11. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    after hearing Peters response several days ago I sent him another mail about averages of Ju 88G-6's from his gruppe taking off on RAF intercepts per night as well as the weather restrictions if any that his gruppe would have to face..........it is 25F dark and ice-fog at my little home..... Miserable weather in any case, can you imagine trying to get the coat of white off your wings, warm the engines and then flying through that terrible stuff to get to altitude not knowing what was ahead or above you ?

    December 12/13, 1944

    7 Bf 110G-4's are lost with another 4 Ju 88G's and 1 Bf 109G-14/AS from 2./NJG 11 crashing due to action with 4-engines, the pilot bailed out wounded. At least 3 110's went down due to motor malfunctions/fires. 2 Bf 110G-4's from 9./NJG 1 are shot down by RAF Mosquito nf.'s, and 1 Ju 88G-1 from 6./NJG 4 is shot down over it's airfield at Gütersloh by an 85th squad Mossie XXX: VY-Z by the famous pilot S/L Burbridge. All three LW crewmen were killed.............
     
  12. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Hey Erich, any numbers available on the number of operational luftwaffe combats planes facing the Allies at this time in the West?
     
  13. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    yes in rough draft, especially the day fighter forces.........it is all buried and am sure my data needs a total re-vamp update as new materials just on your question have come available the last 2 years, again both day/night was in evidence a big build-up with "new kids" in the cockpits -day fighters to get ready for the big push in the Ardenne
     
  14. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    speaking of weather I decided to pull out the US 9th AF pages on the 425th nfs and the 422nd nfs.

    the 425th nfs was grounded from the 11th to the 17th of December 1944 due to bad weather - no operations.

    the 422nd on the other hand was able to get airborne and did typical air intruder ground strikes in the area of the Rhine

    for the 12/13 Dec. 44 5 P-61's were up on operation # 88

    a/c # 36 followed a Me 262 to 400 feet before losing it. the P-61's transmitter current to the AI radar failed.
    a/c # 34 gave a chase to 1 LW a/c but lost it. both crewmen observed a V-2 taking off in the distance, patrolling the VII corps area and the Rhine at Angles 12
    a/c # 32 had 1 fleeting contact, patroling the front lines and the rhine
    a/c # 58 had no contacts and was confused about LW ground radio giving out false orders to LW nf's. the P-61 crew was diverted to airfield A-84
    a/c # 44 had no contacts GCI couldn't make out the German radio activity around the VII Corps sector so the P-61 was diverted to airfield A-84.

    In a secondary operation as the weather started closing in, an A-20 # 9935 dropped 4 bombs on Schleiden from Angles 8 at 200mph.
    # 9677 dropped 2 bombs on Merzenich after their radio transmitter failed
     
  15. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Well then I will be waiting for them whenever you get a chance :D
     
  16. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    what dates are you looking for - time period from when to when ?? day fighters only or nf's as well..... <>
     
  17. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Slon this may be of interest to you >

    for 31 December 44 and yes this was the gearing up for the attack by the LW on the Allied airfields on Bodenplatte 1-1-45

    does give an overall look what the LW day force had at it's disposal from JG's

    2665 single engine fighters this also includes the ground attack s/e's of SG 4, KG 51 which were 43 jets, 13 Ar 234B's of KG 76 and 109's from NAGr 1 and 13.

    here is an interesting point though only 986 craft were serviceable, and of the Ju 88G complement for leading the attacks on the A/F's there were to be flown 72 but only 44 took part .........
     
  18. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Thank you Erich this does help, yes.....

    Any sites which you might recommend on this subject?
     
  19. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    ya know I am not sure about site with authorative index's and this is what is needed, a month by month inventory. It will of course change as one looks at the many references, and am sure it has been thought of or is being currently worked on, so for the time being I would say there is nothing on the web per se.

    I'll try and dig up the releases of LW Night fighter figures though by Dec, 31st it is going to look somewhat bleak for that air arm due to the losses ratings for the month the worst in LW NF history
     
  20. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    for all interested :

    the 17/18. December 44 a very bad night for the LW 8 a/c lost

    6./NJG 1 loses a Bf 110/G-4 in air combat with an RAF bomber all 3 crewmen killed
    12./NJG 1 loses a Bf 110G-4 due to Flak possibly German all 3 crewmen killed
    3./NJG 3 loses a Ju 88G-6, the R/O killed the other 2 crewmen wounded due to the Junkers crashing due to engine failure.
    4./NJG 5 loses a Bf 110G-4 due to air combat, the pilot KIA the other 2 crewmen bailed out wounded.
    6./NJG 5 loses a Bf 110G-4 crashed in the area of it's airfield at Schwäbisch-Hall, actually a sattelite field of NJG 6 in the future. all 3 crewmen killed
    2./NJG 6 loses a Bf 110G-4 on a night ground attack mission around Metz-Deidenhofen, possible Allied AA. all 3 crewmen missing
    3./NJG 11 loses a Bf 109G-6 after being hit by return fire from an RAF bomber, the pilot bailed out wounded.
    4./NJG 11 loses a Bf 109G-6 in a crash at his field the pilot was killed.

    The RAF put in a tri-cities effort in Germany, to Duisburg where 8 Halifaxes were lost, Ulm where 2 Lancasters were downed, to München whre widespread damage was claimed, 4 Lancasters were lost. Minor ops by Mosquitos leading the LW nf's astray, Münster and Hallendorf were attacked and Mossie Intruders were about, in this case no reports of Mosquitos being lost.
     

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