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Disastrous Air Battle 1944


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#1 156Squadron

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 06:53 PM

Came across this site whilst looking for something. (as you do!)

Incredible story about the 445th Bomb group attack on Kassel in 1944.

Kassel Mission

Well worth a look.

Robin Riley 156 Squadron = Pathfinder Force
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#2 ArmchairGeneral

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 09:45 PM

That's incredible. In 2003 I lived in a cottage on a farm at Matching Green in Essex where, between January an October '44 B-26's flew from the airfield constructed on the land there. I got matey with the owner, who, as a boy used to watch the planes taking off for their missions. It was the 395th BG I think. He told me of hair-raising missions that would be recalled to the lads (including him) who hung around the base.

When the squadrons left in October, moving to France to continue their work, those from the area lost touch with the young crews. A shock came in late 1944 when news got back of an interdiction mission that was (by chance, not design) intercepted: 15 or so B-26's were apparently swatted from the sky by a large formation of Luftwaffe fighters (that were supposed to intercept high altitude bombers, but chose the 'easier' option of the Maurauders flying at 12-15,000 ft.). Over 100 crew were lost and many of the cheery faces that graces that airfield in Essex in those few months were lost forever.

That's war.

#3 krieg

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 09:58 PM

nice story armchair did you know any that diden't return
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#4 Erich

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 01:19 AM

greetings everyone, well I have helped for the last 10 years putting together information for the book to be released on the Kassel Mission via the KMHF that the site is all about. 30 bombers were popped a couple of these landed out of Germany but still total write offs, it is the single largest Sturmgruppen success in the war although they had many including the 26 losses by B-26 units, the IV. Sturm/JG 3 claimed over 30 as they attacked 3 different B-26 units, one thing that still mystifies me and I have never had trouble over 35 years of serious research like the B-26 units and their reps, who were not of ANY HELP in giving me any direction about the losses of the 3 units that I mentioned. Not sure if this is embaressment or........ ? In such cases the archivs were of some help but found out later 3 other research friends had the very same problem and that there is not much written or covered on the B-26 formations anyway and that is truly sad.
let me get the truth straight up to you about teh JG 3 encounter since I have it straight from the mouth of one of the Fw 190A-8/R8 pilots. they were vectored upward by ground control who said that a B-17 formation was flying at 25,00 feet and higher and were told the direction to set up an attack from the rear. cloud cover was terrible and they did not find the B-17 but found the B-26's from a great distnace, Wilhelm Moritz ordered his Sturmgruppen to put balls to the walls in the BMW's and nail them from the rear, the attack never did form up officially as the B-26's was very fast and flew a looser formation. the Fw's slowly were able to intercept and the 2cm and 3cm did the carnage though several 26 rear gunners with the "stinger" gave a good account of themselves
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#5 macrusk

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 02:34 AM

Thank you for sharing the site and story. I look forward to hearing more.
Regards, Michelle

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#6 Erich

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 03:39 AM

you will here more hopefully within a 5 year period.

I went back to check my data base, and have a fine photo of the pilot and a few memento's of the December 44 engagement with B-26's. A couple of 2cm and 3cm rounds as well as at least 1 .50 slug, his EK 1 and 2 are displayed in a nice wall mounting, he is holding it proudly. will try and scan in by months end I hope. well his IV. gruppe/JG 3 came into the attack from the rear somewhat crazily as he remembers and as he was getting into position one of his oil lines gave out, spurting oil over the fuselage and forward part of his windscreen. he almost lost immediate power to the engine and was t coasting toward the tails of the B-26, he was noting his Kameraden flying through the formation ahead of him and he could not keep up, 3 B-26's that had not taken damage opened up with their tail mg's and let his heavy Fw 190A have it, and he thought his life would be over in moments. His heavy BMW engine took the brunt of the mg fire and finally shut down, the pilot just let the Fw drop and as he did so was followed by a P-47 in the dive but for some reason as the pilot explained to me by phone, the thunderbolt pilot pulled up and banked away. the LW pilot allowed his Fw with very limited controllability fall within 1000 feet of the ground and he took to his chute at 500 feet. The German pilot then landed somewhere in the Belgium heavy woods crashing into the top of a snow covered conifer busting limbs as he plowed down by shear force of his fall . the pilot was not wearing the usual insulated heavy winter leather jacket with the fur collar, so much of the snow as he put it drenched him and fell down the back of his summer-weight that he was wearing. Being some 50 feet off the ground he tried desperately to free himself of the tangled mess of his harness and parachute and cut himself away dropping down another 25 feet with a couple of limbs catching him just in time. With a wrenched leg he descended out of the tree, walked the snowy landscape before he came upon a village and help and the eventual return to his field and unit after 3 days..............he had been posted as MIA

#7 ArmchairGeneral

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 12:11 PM

I got it wrong. It was the 391st BG.

"26/1/44 to 19/9/44, 572nd, 573rd, 574th & 575th Bomb Sqns of the 391st BG with B-26 Marauders.
First mission flown 15/2/44, 20 Marauders were lost in action from this Station before the unit moved to France."

I believe "Idiot's Delight" a famous B-26 flew from there - another was "Hitch Hiker".

Apparently the heaviest losses sustained by the 391st Bombardment Group in a single operation (the one I referred to earlier) occurred on 23 December 1944, after an attack on the railroad viaduct at Ahrweiler, Germany. Upon completion of the second bomb run, the formation was attacked by an estimated fifty to seventy-five FW-19Us and ME-109's. As a result, sixteen aircraft were missing in action, and the returning planes were badly battle-damaged.

I'm sorry to have hijacked this thread and I mean no disrespect to those of the Kassel mission.

If anyone's interested I will start a thread drawing upon my knowledge of the activities from Matching Airfield. I recall him mentioning a crew member Garcia, who was lost on that mission. I am going there soon so if I can, I'll chat with Mr. Rowe and see what he can remember...

#8 Erich

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 02:23 PM

the mission you speak of was the attacking force from JG 11, although JG 3 attacked them as well. the B-26 formations were struck pretty hard on the 23 December 44 that is the date I was talking about

#9 donewntcrzy

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 05:00 AM

I got it wrong. It was the 391st BG.

"26/1/44 to 19/9/44, 572nd, 573rd, 574th & 575th Bomb Sqns of the 391st BG with B-26 Marauders.
First mission flown 15/2/44, 20 Marauders were lost in action from this Station before the unit moved to France."

I believe "Idiot's Delight" a famous B-26 flew from there - another was "Hitch Hiker".

Apparently the heaviest losses sustained by the 391st Bombardment Group in a single operation (the one I referred to earlier) occurred on 23 December 1944, after an attack on the railroad viaduct at Ahrweiler, Germany. Upon completion of the second bomb run, the formation was attacked by an estimated fifty to seventy-five FW-19Us and ME-109's. As a result, sixteen aircraft were missing in action, and the returning planes were badly battle-damaged.

I'm sorry to have hijacked this thread and I mean no disrespect to those of the Kassel mission.

If anyone's interested I will start a thread drawing upon my knowledge of the activities from Matching Airfield. I recall him mentioning a crew member Garcia, who was lost on that mission. I am going there soon so if I can, I'll chat with Mr. Rowe and see what he can remember...


I have a picture of Idiots delight plane.2 of them one i have in possession and the other i found on the net.The idiots delight with the lady painted on it is the one i have in possession.

I tried to upload it but i did not let me.

#10 Obergrenadier Nicolas

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 12:54 PM

incredible story!
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