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Bari disaster


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#1 Erich

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 05:04 PM

seems to be still a little bit of cover up. I received not long ago and decided to pull it out about the type and how many Allied ships were sunk, damaged and just plain hit in the harbor on December 2, 1943. In any case received some tech info from the German marine Archiv via Theo G. if correct there were more ships holed by the bombing of the Ju 88A's than first thought, or possibly for security and moral reasons non-admission.

understanding to that there are what ....... 3 books written on this engagement does anyone have Infields book "Disaster at Bari " ? would like to know if he covers the Ju 88 units by name and any of the personalities of the Luftwaffe for this operation or does he really stick to the Allied side of things and the inevitable mustad gas poisoning of the poor shipmen and the local populace ?

many thanks for anyones viewpoint

Erich ~
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#2 wtid45

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 05:21 PM

seems to be still a little bit of cover up. I received not long ago and decided to pull it out about the type and how many Allied ships were sunk, damaged and just plain hit in the harbor on December 2, 1943. In any case received some tech info from the German marine Archiv via Theo G. if correct there were more ships holed by the bombing of the Ju 88A's than first thought, or possibly for security and moral reasons non-admission.

understanding to that there are what ....... 3 books written on this engagement does anyone have Infields book "Disaster at Bari " ? would like to know if he covers the Ju 88 units by name and any of the personalities of the Luftwaffe for this operation or does he really stick to the Allied side of things and the inevitable mustad gas poisoning of the poor shipmen and the local populace ?

many thanks for anyones viewpoint

Erich ~

Erich, I have Infields book I will dig it out and have a look for you.Jason
WHEN YOU GO HOME, TELL THEM OF US AND SAY, FOR YOUR TOMORROW,WE GAVE OUR TODAY. Epitaph on the Kohima memorial .

#3 Erich

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 05:24 PM

Jason

many thanks in advance

E ~
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#4 wtid45

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 06:05 PM

Bomber Wings 76, 26, 30, 54, 77 and 100 flew on the bombing of Bari harbour. Luftwaffe names I can find are Hans Feich,a former Stuka flier who had flown hundreds of misson against Russian targets; Hugo Glatt who had bombed London earlier in the war; Klaus Grabow,a survivor of a nights swimming in the channel of lands end after being shot down by a Spitfire; Alfred Kathner,Ewald Izler,and Herbert Krenz, a trio who had spent hours in the air over Crete and Malta on air strikes against allied installations; and Lothar Lintow a pilot who had flown many missons in He-111s agaisnt British andAmerican shipping in the med and accompanied the renowned Robert Kowalewski on several "Swedish turnip" forays.Hope this helps Erich if you need any more info let me know all the best.Jason
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#5 Erich

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 06:09 PM

thanks Jason so it appears there is a bit of info included, just what I need actually, am going to order the hardback copy asap this weekend, your response was enough to induce me and is most appreciated. A newer book on the raid has simply nothing on the Luftwaffe Account except to say 100 Ju 88's came over and ........wham !

I may have more questions in a few minutes, ah but wait here is one, wasn't the plan to split up the Ju 88 A force and attack , what was it in 20 minute sections or closer together in time frame ?

also does Infield show a route map for the Luftwaffe bomber formation(s) enroute to Bari ?

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Edited by Erich, 02 April 2009 - 06:24 PM.

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#6 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 08:46 PM

...

I may have more questions in a few minutes, ah but wait here is one, wasn't the plan to split up the Ju 88 A force and attack , what was it in 20 minute sections or closer together in time frame ?

also does Infield show a route map for the Luftwaffe bomber formation(s) enroute to Bari ?

E ~

There was a recent 12 pages article on the Bari raid of 2 Dec. 1943 in the Italian magazine "Storia Militare" the author gives the following shipping losses: 28 ships sunk, 17 damaged and 3 slightly damaged: It also includes a map of the harbor with individual positions of all 75 ships present on that day (wonder what his source was).

German losses are reported as two Ju 88A-4 B3+EH (Fhj, W. Klein) from I/KG54 and 4D+IL (Uffz. H. Karl-Heinz) from KG30.

The action is described as follows
At 19:23 4 pathfinder planes (Zielfinder) from 6/KG 54 arrive fro the North two drop Druppelstreifen (the german equivalent of window) and white flares, the other two drop red flares on the ships and green decoys).
The bulk of the planes approach from the South East in waves in total there were 105 Ju 88A from I/KG 30 (Hptm. Schultz), II/KG 30 (Maj. Pluger), I/KG 54 (Maj, Sehert) , II KG 54 (Hptm. Palliardi) I/KG 76 and II/KG 76 (commarders for KG 76 are not reported) mostly armed with 250 and 500kg bombs though there were 9 FFF “motobombe” (LuftTorpedo LT350 a torpedo that kept running in circles until it hit something) and AB500 and AB1000 dispersers for firebombs and SD2 anti personnel mines. The planes were based in Ghedi, Villafranca, Cameri, Bergamo, Villorba and Aviano airports and attacked in waves.
Apparently only Ju 88s were involved I/KG 100 (with He 111), II/KG 100 (with Do 217K-2) and II/KG40 (with He 177) did not take part in the raid.
The Ju 88 equipped Crete based LG1 attacked on the 13 not the 12 with much less success and loosing 3 planes (L1+CS, L1+BT and L1+CK).

The author quotes Infield and Reminick amongst his sources but relies on Italian records for civilian casualties and some german sources for the attackers.
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#7 Erich

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:03 PM

ToS thank you for adding to this thread ~

any way to scan and post that map of Allied ships and the harbor ? that would be quite interesting. yes I can confirm from German source the two lost Ju's

3./KG 30 pilot was Unteroffizier karl-Heinz Hellwig

also 3 bomber units took part as there was a feint to pull off Allied intel and defensive fighters but I./and II./KG 30, I. and II./KG 54 and I./ and II./KG 76 flew on the mission.

interesting to note the German source in front of me states 25 ships sunk, 13 damaged.

keep the info coming folks
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#8 wtid45

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:31 PM

Loos like they went in as one wave, in and out in ten mins according to eye witnesses including one General Jimmy Doolittle! The Luftwaffe used the "Swedish turnip" system I mentioned before developed for attacking enemy shipping by Kowalewski and Martin Harlinhausen, X Fleigercoorps chief of staff in 1940.THE Ju88s would approach at a speed of 200mph at a altitude of 45 metres then level of once this was achieved I can add more to this but im assuming you know the method just to add 105 crews went on the raid out of N. Italy and also a few from Yugoslavia.
WHEN YOU GO HOME, TELL THEM OF US AND SAY, FOR YOUR TOMORROW,WE GAVE OUR TODAY. Epitaph on the Kohima memorial .

#9 Erich

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:34 PM

Jason does it mention which LW unit from the Adriatic bases and are the bases listed ? yes I am getting a bit specific - and conventional bombs and not torpedoes correct ?

again thank you for the info's
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#10 wtid45

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:44 PM

Does not name the luft flights from Yugoslavia but states that they were used to avoid retaliatory strikes on bases in N.Italy plus that all flights came in from from the adriatic sea, East under radar.
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#11 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 09:53 PM

... any way to scan and post that map of Allied ships and the harbor ?

My bad on the pilot of 4D+IL , name and surnanme were inverted in my source and I fell for it, BTW the article also reports the plane's W.nr (142162) .

Here are the scans, I was afraid they would be hughe but I think they are still readable also in low-res. For those who don't read Italian I translate the meaning of the asterisks next to the ship names (the numbers match those on the map)
* Sunk
** Damaged
*** Slightly damaged

[ATTACH]5770[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH]5771[/ATTACH]

Attached Files



#12 Erich

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 10:07 PM

thanks for the explanation Jason, time to pull out my maps of the area

ToS thank you for the clarity on the map and disposition of the Allied ships

so the attack came from which direction on the map ?
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#13 wtid45

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 10:20 PM

In Infields, book it says 17 ships were sunk and 4 partially destroyed but another mention states as many as 6-9 were damaged just to add a friend of the family told me that her father was at Bari shortly after the raid but try as i may i can find no mention of him in any info relatating to Bari.
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WHEN YOU GO HOME, TELL THEM OF US AND SAY, FOR YOUR TOMORROW,WE GAVE OUR TODAY. Epitaph on the Kohima memorial .

#14 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 10:45 PM

My source gives the pathfinders comming in from the North but the main force from SE so they actually flew over part of the town before reaching the ships and the first planes actually bombed the town instead of the ships, as you can see from the arrow the map is nearly perfectly oriented North. If his info is correct they flew over the Adriatic descending to low altitude near Ravenna (the bases quoted are all in northern Italy) and actually overtook Bari to attack from SE the less experienced crews climbed for a conventional run while the elite ones used the "Kowalewski", out of 105 planes there were 18 "aborts" on the incomming flight so only 87 actually attacked. There was a lot of attention to electronic warfare involved (decoy flights, window/chaff, low level approach) which I find very interesting considering it was Germans in 1943 not Allies in 1944/45. Bad luck had it that the radar belonging to 548th MSU placed ot the roof of the Santa Margherita theater in Bari was inoperative and so were the RAF's 271 MRU at San Cataldo point and the one at Veste, leaving only one operative air search radar which did spot the planes but apparently failed to raise the alarm in time to organize a blackout so the Germans found the ships with all the lights still on to help with unloading operations.
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#15 wtid45

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 11:15 PM

Im going to have sit down and read this properly Erich you have got the old I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NEXT feeling going and its been away a while cheers mate:D;)


WHEN YOU GO HOME, TELL THEM OF US AND SAY, FOR YOUR TOMORROW,WE GAVE OUR TODAY. Epitaph on the Kohima memorial .

#16 Erich

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 11:21 PM

study away Jason due to both your answer(s) I have just ordered the book from England of all places so that should be on the door maybe in 3 weeks.

ToS you mention two waves if I understand correctly, one from the north and then a ? turn around to attack from the SE ? Your map reference and text of shipping includes numbers 66-75 with 5 of these ships sunk/destroyed. They are not in the map of the harbor so were they outside and to the north or what direction if the article includes this information ? ..........thank you

E ~ great stuff guys
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#17 Von Poop

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 11:36 PM

Sorry to interrupt chaps, but an interesting thread.
Bari fascinates me... not that I think we'll ever really get a clear view of exactly what was going on there. Many nasty ways to die in conflict but slowly corroded in a bath of Mustard Gas & Oil has to rate as pretty extreme, even by WW2 standards.

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#18 LRusso216

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 12:56 AM

I came across a reference to this in Atkinson's Day of Battle. I don't have the book on hand, and I don't believe he gave much in the way of specifics from the German point of view, but it was chilling reading, anyway. The fact that no one knew what they were up against in treating the injured is hard to fathom.

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#19 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 05:54 AM

study away Jason due to both your answer(s) I have just ordered the book from England of all places so that should be on the door maybe in 3 weeks.

ToS you mention two waves if I understand correctly, one from the north and then a ? turn around to attack from the SE ? Your map reference and text of shipping includes numbers 66-75 with 5 of these ships sunk/destroyed. They are not in the map of the harbor so were they outside and to the north or what direction if the article includes this information ? ..........thank you

E ~ great stuff guys

Ships 66-75 are labeled posizione non conosciuta (position unknown) so apparently the author could not place them, the only note he makes is on 72 (Inaffondabile) that is reported having left the harbour half an hour before the raid loaded with olive oil and was sunk at sea so possibly the same is true for some of the others as well, the mooring postions at Nuovo molo foraneo where the "chain reaction" happened look so packed I doubt any additional ships were there. His story is the first 4 pathfinders came from North while the bulk of the attack came from SE which means they must have flown past the town then turned back. I should have a couple more sources so I will try to look them up.

#20 Erich

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 03:51 PM

thank you gents for the response and please continue I may be off line due to some on-going cancer / health issues I must deal with

carry on :D and I have more detailed questions to ask about this raid
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#21 LRusso216

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 04:05 PM

I want to wish you luck with your health issues. Get well and get back here as soon as possible.

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#22 Ardvark

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 03:00 AM

For another perspective on this read the short book by Glwadys Aitken entitled nurses in battledress - the author was ciurtmarshalled for her part in dealing with the disaster:eek:

#23 five4ksu

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 12:28 AM

My father was in Bari, Italy with General Twining at their headquarters when the Germans bombed the harbor and took out several US ships. The force knocked out all of the windows in their headquarters. My father drove General Twining to the dock to check on damages. Soldiers were jumping off their burning ships into the water, not knowing that it was covered with mustard gas. At that time, nobody knew mustard gas was on the ships. The mustard gas was causing the skin to peel off of the soldiers and the medics didn't know the cause. The British were suppose to be on watch on the western shore of Italy at that time, but unfortunately they were asleep at the wheel that night.

#24 Erich

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 08:07 PM

let me just continue this fascinating thread and of course a very little known battle action air to sea still..........

Luftwaffe units confirmed as to taking part in the raid/operation are thus :

I./KG 30 under Hauptmann Günther Schulz (DkG)

II./KG 30 under Maj. Ernst Pflüger (DkG)

I./KG 54 under Maj. Ottfried Sehrt

II./KG 54 under Hauptmann Karl Palliardi (DkG)

I./KG 76 Under Hauptmann Helmut Wahl

III./LG 1 which had on the 1st of December 32 Ju 88A-4's at it's disposal. under Maj. Hans-Günther Nedden (DkG)

anyone else with more information(s) ?
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