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Nick Powell
21st March 2008, 11:15
39 squadron Beauforts were attacking Italian auxiliary cruisers Zara and Brioni off the coast of North Africa on 2nd Nov 1942.Near Tobruk.[Morning].
The ORB reports that several aircraft from 39 were attacked by JU 88s [Approx 8] has anyone got any ideas as to which unit the 88s were from and whether they made any claims as a result of the engagement.
Many thanks
Nick

ArtieBob
21st March 2008, 23:00
I don't have much reference material close at hand, but NJG 2 was operating in the Med about this time and would be the most likely Ju 88 unit to attack a formation of enemy bombers.

Best Regards,

Artie Bob

Nick Powell
23rd March 2008, 00:24
Thanks for that Bob it gives me a starting point. Any ideas on me110s in the area or MC202s? That are also mentioned in reports of the incident.
Thanks Nick

Andrew Arthy
23rd March 2008, 05:30
Hi,

On 2 November 1942 Lt. Hermann Munzert of 2./J.G. 53, flying a Bf 109 G, claimed to have shot down a Beaufort 120 km N.N.E. of Tobruk at 08:12.

There seem to be no other relevant Luftwaffe victory claims on this day.

Source: Tony Wood victory claims material

Cheers,
Andrew A.

Nick Powell
23rd March 2008, 13:37
Thanks for that Andrew
I will try and tie up positions and times.
The two aircraft lost on this mission were apparently shot down by the convoys AA fire.
The claim by Lt Munzert may refer to a different incident I will get back to you on that one once if have checked the above.
The Beauforts claimed one ju88 confirmed and 1 damaged and one probably damaged any details of Luftwaffe losses for that date?
Nick

Ludovico Slongo
23rd March 2008, 21:01
Dear Nick,
just some pieces of info, hoping you are finding them interesting.
The small convoy composed by the freighter Zara (sometimes identified as "auxiliary cruiser" but I don't know why considering that it was simply a 1976 t merchant ship built in 1931 and owned by "SocietÓ Anonima Navigazione Adriatica of Venice) and the small liner Brioni (1987 t, built in 1931 for the same S.A.N.A. of Venice) had sailed from Brindisi to Suda without any escort, fianally receiving the attentions of the torpedo boat San Martino only when off the North African Coast of Tobruk. AA defences of this convoy presumably where not so heavy.
At 9.20 on the morning of 2 November 1942 when at 33░10'N, 23░50'E Zara was hit by a torpedo launched by British torpedo bomber. Taken in tow it arrived close to Tobruk but at 22.30 of the same day when at 32░37'N, 23░50'E it sank.
Italian fighters of 2░ Stormo were active over the convoy that morning and reported many actions. They came from the veteran 13░ Gruppo, a unit that had fought in North Africa since 1940.
Don't have the hours of the engagements but, in the morning Tenente Giorgio Savoia attacked a formation of reportedly Bristol Beaufighters claiming one shot down in flames and a second damaged. Later in the morning, Capitano Guglielmo Arrabito and Sergente Maggiore Filippo Baldin of 82a Squadriglia intercepted (reportedly) two formations of Bristol Beaufighters that were attacking the convoy. Arrabito claimed to have damaged one of them while Baldin claimed one shot down in flames and another damaged. Arrabito and Baldin were flying on Macchi C200, don't know which kind of fighter was flying Savoia because 13░ Gruppo -still mainly equipped with C200- had just started to obtain some examples of C202 and Savoia -one of the best pilots of the unit- was possibly flying one of these machines but I don't know for sure.
Brioni arrived in Tobruk undamaged but while it was unloading, from 15.55 to 16.10 a formation of reportedly american four engined bombers attacked Tobruk and, hit by many bombs the Italian liner exploded and sank at 16.30. Maresciallo Agostini of 13░ Gruppo intercepted these bombers expending all his ammunitions on them but without avail.
Brioni was subsequently recovered by the British when Tobruk was captured.
Ciao

Ludovico

Nick Powell
24th March 2008, 11:52
Ludovico
Thank you for your reply.
The the Beauforts were escorted by Beaufighters and reported an air umbrella of C202 Bf110 Ju88 and there is now evidence emerging that bf109s of JG 53 were also in the area with Ltn Hermann Munzert claiming a Beaufort in the right area at the right time.
I am checking Beaufighter losses for that day on the RAF commands forum.
I ahve a report of the attack by the convoy commander his name was Enricho Dedero if you are interested.
Your post will go into the melting pot!
Many thanks Nick

robert
24th March 2008, 12:16
Hi,

I have one Beaufort II DD937 39 SQN missing from attack on convoy off Tobruk on the 02.11.42.

Regards

Robert

Nick Powell
24th March 2008, 13:17
Thanks Robert
This was my wifes great uncles crew.I am trying to work out who actually shot them down for an article that I am writing.

272 sq Beaufighters only lost one aircraft that day to engine failure so the Italian crews are either claiming a Beaufort wrongly identified as a Beaufighter or thought that they shot one down as did Ltn Munzert.
His correct identification of the type makes him the more likely contender in my eyes.
Any comments?
Nick

robert
24th March 2008, 13:28
And what with 252 SQN?
Do you have time of 39 SQN loss (mission)?

Regards

Robert

Nick Powell
24th March 2008, 14:35
Robert
39 sq loss was Just before the torpedo strike[this was Hedleys aircraft DD937 between 9 and 9.30] and Grants aircraft was shot down possible by flak soon afterwards.
What do you mean about 252 sq?
thanks Nick

robert
24th March 2008, 14:44
Any strikes of this squadron?

Robert

Nick Powell
25th March 2008, 22:49
Robert
As far as I know 252 was not involved in attacking the convoy at this time. 272 were the escorting Beaufighters.
Nick