View Full Version : Losses German Bight 18.12.1939

11th February 2014, 08:46
Hello all,
can somebody tell me if the German aerial victories against the Wellington formations are somewhere documented with place, time etc ?

Where can we find the detailed (and all!) British losses of this raid ?

Thanks and best regards,

Chris Goss
11th February 2014, 09:56
I believe that a book has been written on this plus numerous articles. RAF losses are fully detailed in a Bill Chorley's Bomber Command Losses Vol 1

11th February 2014, 10:49
In Chorkey`s Bomber Command Losses Vol.1 you will find 12 losses only. But what about the rest ? Further 3 or even 6 aircraft crashed on return to England.
Who published the complete toll of losses ?

11th February 2014, 10:53
"But what about the rest ? Further 3 or even 6 aircraft crashed on return to England."

Where does this information comes from?


11th February 2014, 12:53
For example:

J.Prien - Geschichte des Jagdgeschwaders 77 Teil 1, page 133.
12 failed to return + 8 or more crashed/forcelanded.

C.Shores - Fledgling Eagles, page 140.
11+1 + 6 more crashed/forcelanded reaching English coast.


11th February 2014, 13:44
Sadly both are secondary sources. Priens JG 77 have another unsourced claim, concerning the 13 august 1940 attack on Aalborg. Claiming that twice the number attacked, wich is simply untrue!


11th February 2014, 14:12
Nevertheless I think the authors used relevant sources...
By the way, it is most propable the RAF lost much more aircraft crashed or forcelanded on England soil then only the 12 which completely failed to return - means crashed into the North Sea.

I don`t think there is something untrue done by above authors. More, the British point of view seems to be much problematic even now, 75 years after the battle.
I only wrote about the losses of Squadrons 9,37,38 & 149 passing Heligoland. But it is sure pilots of 2./ZG 76 (among others) attacked the second formation of Wellingtons, which - believing some authors - was not existent.(!?)


Andrei Demjanko
11th February 2014, 15:13
Aircraft force-landed not always means 'aircraft crash-landed' on return to base or elswere. It also means that aircraft not returned to the aerodrome, which was the unit's base, and landed on another airfield due to fuel situation, weather, battle damage, whatewer reason.

Speaking of 18 December 1939 I have data only for 9 Sqn. Of nine aircraft from this unit participating, only two returned to base at Honington. Five aircraft of the unit were lost in this operation. Two of their Wellingtons were damaged in aerial combat, one landed on return at North Coates and another landed at Sutton Bridge, the latter aircraft with two wounded crewmen aboard. These two aircraft are certainly amongst those, mentioned by Shores and Prien

11th February 2014, 23:12
Suggest people read Robin Holmes's "The Battle Of Heligoland Bight" All requested details contained therein....

11th February 2014, 23:22
Well, four Squadrons flew in along Heligoland with 22 aircraft. Besides the 9 Sqd it is still possible several Wellingtons did not return to their bases as mean Shores &r Prien.

Much more interesting is the second formation with similar strenght of Wellingtons which flew partially over ground from the west appr. half an hour later. I am still waiting for the Holme`s book. But I heard he wrote about the Heligoland formation only. (?)

Jochen Prien
11th February 2014, 23:45

you are of course right that in JG 77 Vol 1 - published in 1992 - based on German sources the August 13th, 1940, attack on Aalborg was described along the lines of the German reports which recorded an attack of 23 Blenheims as opposed to the 11 of 82 Sqn. which actually made it to Aalborg. Based on that number the Luftwaffe had no problems to confirm 15 claims of 5./JG 77. As a matter of fact 11 out of 11 Blenheims which reached their target were shot down and in the course of this melé there was some over-claiming on the part of 5./JG 77.

This has however been corrected in JFV Vol. 3, p.13 ( publ. in 2000 ), and is completely set straight in the substantially revised JG 77 unit history I'm working on as a side-line to the JFV series.

As for the actual RAF losses on December 18th, 1939, this is a subject that has yet to be finally addressed; the RAF attack and the German response fill almost a dozen pages in the revised JG 77 manuscript, based definitely not on secondary sources, and leaving a number of questions that have yet to be answered. It's simply too much to just pack in a short post here. JG 77 Vol. 1 is certainly outdated in many aspects, but the coverage of December 18th, 1939, still has its merits.


Jochen Prien

12th February 2014, 10:40
The "second formation" seems to have been seen by Olt. Berthold Jung from 5./JG 77. In a wartime account he stated about 16 bombers (12 + 4). This couldn`t have been the Helgoland formations.
Otherwise this strenght of bombers is confirmed by Luftlagebericht Nr.119 - 22 aircraft flying east (6 of them above ground at Norden to Wangerooge).

What I do not understand is the changed time of Jung`s unconfirmed victory. In JFV Teil 2 (p.474) 14.35 hours, in the older Geschichte des Jagdgeschwaders 77 Teil 1 & Teil 4 14.50 hours. 15 minutes is a lot of time.
I mean 14.50 hours is more likely. So the older book about the JG 77 has indeed its merits.

A question especially to our British readers. Where were published the losses of OTU/OCU aircraft on this 18.12.1939?


Chris Goss
12th February 2014, 11:30
Only operational Sqns took part

12th February 2014, 13:46
So what about the Squadrons 99, 115, 148, 214 & 215 ?
Surely enough to build a second formation of 22 Wellingtons...

Andrei Demjanko
12th February 2014, 16:00
So what about the Squadrons 99, 115, 148, 214 & 215 ?

There was no operational flying by any of these squadrons on 18 December 1939

12th February 2014, 19:15
Source for that ???


Chris Goss
12th February 2014, 19:15
Without looking at Chorley & the book on 18 Dec 39 and looking at my notes written 20+ years ago for survivors of I/ZG 76:

9 Sqn took off at 0900 hrs with 9 ac. 5 were shot down (one came down off the English coast at 1530 hrs & crew were rescued) and 2 returned damaged (one landing at Sutton Bridge 1600 hrs, the other at North Coates)
37 Sqn took off around 0940 hrs with 6 ac. 5 were shot down. Survivor landed 1540 hrs
149 Sqn took off around 0927 hrs with 9 ac. Two RTB landing 1325 hrs. 2 were lost (one crashing in target area 1410 hrs, the other ditching 40-60 miles off Cromer 1505 hrs)

Andrei Demjanko
12th February 2014, 19:36
Source for that ???

ORB's of squadrons mentioned

12th February 2014, 20:08
Thanks Andrei, but are you sure? For example Prien wrote something about the 148 Sqd, but without any details.

149 Sqd with 9 (?) aircraft ? According to Shores only 6 (N2984,N2962,N2961,N2960,N2866,N2980).
Furthermore Shores means some aircraft did not land in England but have crashed:
9 Sqd - 1 crashed cat 3, 1 force-landed cat 2
37 Sqd - 1 crash-landed cat 3
149 Sqd - 3 crashed cat 2

How can arise such big differences?

Andrei Demjanko
12th February 2014, 20:42
Marius, yes, I'm absolutely sure.

It would be interesting to know what exactly Prien stated about participation of 148 Sqn, because at the time it was a Groop Pool Squadron, some sort of OTU into which that formation of the squadron evolved (15 OTU).

The unit had only three entries for December 1939 in its diary, these conserning moves and Christmas leave for personnel

Chris Goss
12th February 2014, 20:53
9 Sqn-N2873 starboard wing to rear mid cell of wing badly shot up. Fire gone out. Ac badly peppered
9 Sqn N2871 right tank holed rudder partially jammed
37 Sqn-N2903 only survivor
149 Sqn-N2960, N2892, N2962, N2984, N2866, N2894, N2980, N2943, N2961. N2984 & N2894 RTB with engine problems

MW Giles
12th February 2014, 22:04
Formation 1 - Section 1

N2960 W/C Kellett - Landed Mildenhall (149) - repaired
N2892 F/O Turner - Landed Mildenhall (149)
N2962 F/O Spiers - shot down

Formation 1 - Section 2

N2984 F/L Duguid - Early return engine trouble (149)
N2866 F/O Riddlesworth - Landed Mildenhall (149) - repaired
N2894 F/S Kelly - Early return with N2984 (149)

Formation 2 - Section 1

N2980 S/L Harris - Landed Coltishall (149) - repaired
N2943 F/O Bulloch - Landed Mildenhall (149)
N2961 F/O Briden - Ditched off Cromer Knoll (149)

Formation 2 - Section 2

N2964 - F/L Grant - Landed Honington (9)
N2981 - Sgt Purdy - Landed Honington (9)
N2983 - Sgt Ramshaw - Ditched 100m off Wash (9)

Formation 3 - Section 1

N2872 S/L Guthrie - Shot down (9)
N2871 F/O Macrae - Landed North Coates (9) - repaired
N2873 Sgt Petts - Landed Sutton Bridge (9) - repaired

Formation 3 Section 2

N2941 F/O Allison - Shot Down (9)
N2940 P/O Lines - Shot Down (9)
N2939 F/O Challes - Shot Down (9)

Formation 4

N2904 S/L Hue-Williams - Shot Down (37)
N2903 F/O Lemon - Landed Feltwell (37) - repaired
N2888 F/O Wimberley - Shot Down (37)
N2889 F/O Lewis - Shot Down (37)
N2935 F/O Thompson - Shot Down (37)
N2936 Sgt Ruse - Shot Down (37)

9 Sqn 9 took off, five lost, two repaired
37 Sqn 6 took off, five lost, one repaired
149 Sqn 9 took off, two returned early, two lost, three repaired

Repaired would indicate a reasonably significant amount of damage.

38 Sqn also did a sea sweep, nothing seen all landed safely

N2908 F/O MacFadden (38)
N2909 F/O Hopkins (38)
N2952 Sgt Sayers (38)

Source The Battle of Heligoland Bight 1939 (Robin Holmes)

I have 40 Luftwaffe claims for the day. We would need several more formations of Wellingtons to account for this lot. 12/22 is more than enough, the rest is inexperienced overclaiming



12th February 2014, 22:36
Many thanks Martin.
It is very interesting indeed. We have now 27 Wellingtons which took of for this mission.

What was the flying order and the direction as the formations left Wilhelmshaven?
First 149,

then 9 and

37 as last formation attacked ?


Chris Goss
12th February 2014, 23:12
I make it 24 with 3 on a separate mission i.e a sea sweep.
I think that what Martin has written gives a good idea of the formation. The 37 Sqn ORB states that they flew in 4 flights in diamond formation with an attack height of 14,000 feet. No mention of direction

12th February 2014, 23:47
I have a figure of about 20 RAF airmen rescued by Seedienst He 59s on this day.
Are there any details on this?


12th February 2014, 23:58
Also looking at the German victory list 37 Sqd flew surely nearby Borkum at the end of the whole "Heligoland formation", right? This was at appr. 14.45 hours (see claims of Lt. Lent at Borkum 14.40 & 14.45 hours).
I am wondering what Wellingtons were attacked at 14.45-14.55 hours near Wangerooge, Spiekeroog or Langeoog ? There are several claims as well as other at 15.00 hours achieved by 2./ZG 76 25 km WNW Borkum - it should be the same formation which apparently did not exist... :confused:

Surprisingly the German Luftlagebericht 119 from 19.12.1939 does confirm this "ghost formation" of 22 aircraft at Borkum and Norden at 14.45 as it flew eastwards. If it was so the British official story is only 50% true. Or German documents were reporting science fiction together with pilots from I./ZG 76 & II./JG 77.:rolleyes:


Larry Hickey
13th February 2014, 07:40

How many of these a/c fell on land? We're trying to do color profiles for the EoE Project of an a/c from each of the three SQ that participated in this raid. I've so far located only three photos of wreckage of one a/c, identified as 37 SQ N2936, apparently flown by Sgt Ruse and captioned as SD over Borkum. Were there any other wrecks photographed by the Germans on land after this action?

There is one a/c that participated in this mission, N2980 "R" of 149 SQ, that is being restored at the Brooklands Museum in Weybridge. It was recovered from the waters of Loch Ness after ditching there a year after its Heligoland episode. Does anyone have any photos of this a/c as it appeared in Dec., 1939? I do have the book, "The Battle of Heligoland Bight 1939" by Robin Holmes, which has a photo of the a/c more or less as it appears today as "R" for Robert, but apparently without a SQ code. Other photos of it are on the Brooklands Museum website.

Does anyone have any matching SQ codes to fit with the SN of the a/c listed by Martin that participated in this mission?


Larry Hickey
EoE Project Coordinator

Chris Goss
13th February 2014, 08:04
I have 4 codes for 9 Sqn, all for 37 Sqn & none for 149 Sqn-source F540/541. Didn't Lent & Schumacher's kills crash on land/almost on land?

13th February 2014, 14:06
... is completely set straight in the substantially revised JG 77 unit history I'm working on as a side-line to the JFV series...

That is an excellent news!


MW Giles
13th February 2014, 20:32
Have you thought that the ghost formation might by the Germans looking at a formation of their own aircraft or alternatively that someone's timings are a bit out?

Having looked at all the RAF ORBs there really is no one else from the RAF out there. A quick check of the CWGC site shows that the dead are all accounted for, if there were lots of additional losses then they would show up there



13th February 2014, 21:25
there was not so big German close formation of fighters in the air. The hostile aircraft were recognized as Wellingtons. The timing of victories, sure, there could be some inaccuracies, mistakes etc - maybe 3-4.
But I count some 11-13 (!!!) confirmed victories achieved apparently against the "ghost formation". On the other hand between 14.45-15.06 there wasn`t so much more to shoot down from the Helgoland formation. And at the time these bombers were far, far away from German Bight. They couldn`t stay for 45 minutes at Wangerooge or Borkum, right?

Maybe something wasn`t documented or even deleted after the battle ?:confused:


Chris Goss
13th February 2014, 21:30
I concur with Martin-fog of war?; bottom line one RAF attack and that was it

John Vasco
13th February 2014, 22:37

One thing to bear in mind is that overclaiming occurred on all sides during the war, whether innocently or otherwise. Check out 74 Squadron's claims for 11th August 1940, or ZG 26 claims for 18th August 1940, or 242 Squadron during their 'Big Wing' operations towards the end of the Battle of Britain. All of these were way off the scale.

I would suggest that is what you are seeing for 18.12.1939 along the lines of what Chris Goss has suggested and stated in the previous post to this one.

13th February 2014, 23:01
Sure, overclamimg happends from time to time. But we should not generalize. For example I./ZG 76 made very trustworthy claims in Poland a few weeks earlier - without any overclaiming. Why should they do this suddenly on 18.12.1939 ?
As I suppose a Wellington Mk.I flew appr. 5 km per minute, means appr. 25 km in 5 minutes. How could the Wellingtons have been near Wangerooge at 14.20, 14.40 and again at 14.55 ???

Gentlemen apparently our well known formation of 22 Wellingtons flew circles between Wilhelmshaven, Heligoland and Borkum again and again, for appr. full 50-60 minutes (250-300 km under German attack). At appr. 15 hours the rest of them left Nordsee and headed for home after every German pilot in the air had his own victory. I understand it was Christmas time very soon...

Larry Hickey
13th February 2014, 23:45

The German and British sides of this story are very different. Based upon German sources it would appear that there were a lot more a/c in the sky over Germany that night. However, ample British records have survived and there is apparently no evidence of more a/c being dispatched on this or a similar mission over German that night, nor a/c losses reported, nor crew casualties identified. By now all the war casualties and a/c losses during this part of the war have long been identified, and it just defies all logic that a number of other British losses could have happened that night. Where is the evidence of the British side? Where are the wreckage photos on the German side?

I have to agree that barring further evidence there is no reason to alter the established British account of what happened on their side. The "ghost mission" was just confusion on the German side--part of the fog of war.

Regarding my earlier questions, I've now studied Peter Cornwell's revised British loss records for this mission in detail. We still haven't identified some of the full crew names and crew positions, but I do have all of the a/c codes for the 37 SQ losses, and only one for the 9 SQ: N2939 was apparently WSoH. I would appreciate an email from Chris Goss for any additional codes that he has, or from anyone else for that matter.

Regarding crashes, only one aircraft crashed on land--sort of. The Wellington of Sgt Herbert Ruse apparently ditched in shallow water alongside a beach at high tide, and later at low tide was full stranded on the beach. Several of the crew were captured and the a/c subsequently burned out:

According to the revised EoE British Loss DB:
18 December 1940: Wellington IA N2936. Shot down by Oberstlt Carl Schumacher (Geschwaderkommodore) of Stab JG1 and ditched and burned out just offshore Borkum (Spiekeroog) Island ca 1.45 p.m. Sergeant T. W. Holley and Corporal F. J. Taylor both killed in fighter attacks, (Pilot) Sergeant H. Ruse, Sergeant T. May, and Leading Aircraftsman H. A. Jones all captured. Aircraft LF*J a write-off. (Weiss)"

Here is one of the three photos I have in the EoE Photo DB for what must be that a/c.


Another can be found in "The Battle of Heligoland Bight 1939" by Robin Holmes P.8 of the photo section. He identifies it as N2936. Neither Peter Cornwell nor I have found any photo evidence of other crashes on German territory that night.

Does anyone know of any photos of other a/c taken either before being lost or of survivors after the mission that would help in creating color profiles for this mission?


Larry Hickey
EoE Project Coordinator

14th February 2014, 00:51
Hello Larry,
I am wondering why you are talking about a NIGHT attack. According to German victory times the battle took place between appr. 14.20 - 15.05 hours. In this time a Wellington should fly more than 200 km.
I repeat, it is hard to believe it was just one formation attacked again and again whole the way back to England.

Almost all aircraft felt into the North Sea. No big chance to find more wreckages than N2936 at Borkum.

And something else very interesting for all who hardly believe in a "German Fata Morgana". According to German documents the captured crew stated 52 Wellingtons took part in this mission.


Larry Hickey
14th February 2014, 02:33

I was mistaken when I said at night. All our loss reports were during the day. Disregard that.

My opinion remains the same. Where are the missing a/c SN or casualty reports? Even if the British concealed some loss information for public morale purposes at the time, this would have come to light by now. All of this kind of info has been in the public records for a very long time. The Wellington a/c numbers and crew casualties would have all come to light by now.

As you well know, PoWs lie all the time. In my opinion, most of the PoWs wouldn't have known such a detail anyway.


Larry Hickey
EoE Project Coordinator

14th February 2014, 04:26

Hello there. A couple of things to keep in mind when considering fighter claims:
- The effective range for 20mm cannon fire, means the target aircraft can be as small as the thumb-nail on your hand at full reach away from your face. Under those circumstances, a pilot looking through his gun-sight will see very little else than what he’s focussed on. Another fighter firing at the same target from 200m to his left (or right) will not be necessarily noticed. So two or more fighter pilots could quite sincerely be claiming the same target shot down.
- The more aircraft in the sky, the more likely the chances of overclaiming. Many fighters approaching, many targets being fired at. Pilot A fires at the 2nd aircraft in a vic of target bombers, Pilot B fires at the lead aircraft…..3rd aircraft in target vic catches fire and burns. Both Pilots A and B think they’ve actually hit this aircraft (poor aim, badly harmonised guns, deflection shooting error, any number of reasons). Or have both pilots missed, and Pilot C – unseen by both – has actually hit this target? One shot down – three claim the kill!
- Most of the fighter pilots aren’t going to watch their target crash. It’s generally a quick pass, and reposition for another pass or another target. Especially if there are escorting fighters…the heart and other lower muscles will be contracting fast….adrenalin flowing….time for quick glances only….keep watching your back. No escorts in the case of the Heligoland raid, but the Luftwaffe Jagdfliegers wouldn’t be slouching around….too many more bombers to kill in this target rich environment.
- Was the second ghost formation an hour later than the first? Is it a matter of confusion in records, due to the different time zones?

Food for thought?

14th February 2014, 09:50
Hello there, everything is possible. But you cannot shoot at the same bomber 30 min long staying at one point. One formation of Wellingtons - as I understand it was one diamond formation of 21 Wellingtons flying away from Wilhelmshaven and attacked by II./JG 77 - is flying in that time appr. 150 km away.

For one example let us look at the island of Borkum;
First kills were made there at 14.40 hours. More at 14.45, 14.50, 15.00, 15.06. Maybe with a few mistaken times and places - this is not possible. It couldn`t have been the same formation of bombers again and again.

What I can imagine with 149, 9 & 37 Sqd`s are 3 or 4 waves, one formation after another with intervals of 10 minutes to each other. This could be an explanation for time expansion of German claims.
But this was not the case. (?)


14th February 2014, 12:33
One more mystery.
According to Volkmar Kühn (Der Seenotdienst der deutschen Luftwaffe, Motorbuch 1978, p. 34) several British crews were rescued by seaplanes. Several means no one or two crews but more, I suppose. Any idea who it was ?

As for the actual RAF losses on December 18th, 1939, this is a subject that has yet to be finally addressed; the RAF attack and the German response fill almost a dozen pages in the revised JG 77 manuscript, based definitely not on secondary sources, and leaving a number of questions that have yet to be answered. It's simply too much to just pack in a short post here.


Jochen Prien

Herr Prien,
nobody expects you will give us here a dozen pages or other details to read. But maybe you can help to finish this thread with one short, simple sentence.
Here are my questions: could you find another lost aircraft than of 9/37/149 Sqd ? If yes, could you give us just one example ?

Many thanks and all the best for your coming projects.

MW Giles
14th February 2014, 17:20

You need to read Holmes' book, but a partial answer to your question is the route taken by the formation, it crossed the North Sea roughly on latitude 55 deg N and at 55N 08E it turned roughly south ending up W of Nordholz before turning west towards Wilhelmshaven. Off Wilhelmshaven it turned North (effectively doing a large U turn) and once clear of Wangerooge 37 Sqn went WSW along the chain of islands, 149 and 9 carried on roughly NW until the reached a point N of Heligoland where they too turned roughly SW for home.

Therefore a fair amount of time spent loitering off the NW coast of Germany. Still does not account for the bad time reporting but partially explains the situation

Still only one RAF attack



14th February 2014, 19:31
The route to Wilhelmshaven is well described in C.Shores book. Off Wilhelmshaven it seems to be authors interpretation which has a very weak basis. It is clear some aircraft of 37 Sqd felt near Borkum at appr. 14.40-14.45 hours. But that`s all.
It does not explain the second formation of bombers and German claims after 14.40-15.06 between Wangerooge and NW Borkum.

J.Prien wrote in his books something about the 148 Sqd & 38 Sqd`s participating in the attack on Wilhelmshaven. I hope he will comment it.


Chris Goss
14th February 2014, 19:42
Marius- i am afraid it is clear. Some authors are mistaken. Contemporary RAF records confirm just one attack

14th February 2014, 23:49
Chris, no problem. I am looking for an explanation of some things. As I understand the following German (confirmed) victories are pure science fiction:

I./ZG 76 Fw. Groening 14.40 Langeoog
I./ZG 76 Olt. Gollob 14.45 Langeoog
I./ZG 76 Ofw. Fleischmann 14.45 Spiekeroog
JGr.101 Olt. Kaldrack 14.50 Helgoland
JGr.101 Olt. Robitzsch 14.50 Helgoland
II./JG 77 Staffelabschuß 14.52 Wangerooge
II./JG 77 Olt. Henz 14.55 Wangerooge
I./ZG 76 Uffz. Kalinowski 15.00 Borkum
I./ZG 76 Lt. Graeff 15.00 Borkum
I./ZG 76 Olt. Gresens 15.00 Borkum
I./ZG 76 Olt. Uellenbeck 15.00 Ameland
I./ZG 76 Olt. Uellenbeck 15.05 Ameland
II./JG 77 Lt. Brockmann 15.06 Borkum

A lot of stuff... The propaganda machine worked hard on the big victory... Or maybe not?


MW Giles
15th February 2014, 10:26
There is nothing inconsistent in these later losses, they are following the 37 Sqn formation down the length of the Frisians and heading for home, though only one of them made it. Another group of fighters followed 9 and 149 uo towards Heligoland, though these lost contact sooner than the ones after the 37 Sqn formation

The problems in air combat, especially involving single seaters, is recording times and knowing exactly where you are when you made your claim. It all gets a bit frenetic and when you land thirty minutes later mistakes are made, plus I am sure there are typos in the write ups and a certain amount of discussion between pilots as to get a claim verified you need corroboration, especially over the sea. One says we were about 20km N of Langeooge when the e/a went down at 07:02, where as the other says they were 30km NW of Spiekeroog at 07:04 when it happened

The problem seems to be that some of the claim times as per the Tony Woods listing are inconsistent with the position of the aircraft at that time, this is not unusual. I have seen other times quoted in other places. It all adds to the fun

I probably cannot help you more



Andrei Demjanko
15th February 2014, 10:58
Hi all

What is certain, is that there were indeed two formations approaching the area. Do not discount those three Wellingtons of 38 Sqn on a sweep. It seems that both formations were detected (38 Sqn approaching from the west), but, for sure, only one of them was intercepted. Fighters were scrambled to intercept this second formation, while it turned for home without ever reaching vicinity of Borkum from the west. Those newly scrambled fighters run into the first formation of Wellingtons and engaged it, apparently under impression that this was the second formation they were after on its way back to base. So they reported the strength of this 'second' formation roughly as equal to that of the first.

Regarding claims.
...looking at the German victory list 37 Sqd flew surely nearby Borkum at the end of the whole "Heligoland formation", right? This was at appr. 14.45 hours (see claims of Lt. Lent at Borkum 14.40 & 14.45 hours).
I am wondering what Wellingtons were attacked at 14.45-14.55 hours near Wangerooge, Spiekeroog or Langeoog ? There are several claims as well as other at 15.00 hours achieved by 2./ZG 76 25 km WNW Borkum


While the claim of Lt Lent at 14.42 hrs listed five km north of Borkum, the claims of Lt Uellenbeck at 15.00 hrs and 15.05 hrs listed 50km north [sic!] of Ameland, ie well out to sea, and its obvious that German pilots were pursuing retreating Wellingtons of 9, 37, 149 Sqns all the way from Heligoland Bight as far as a range of their aircraft permited.

Most probable cause of overclaiming is that there were several German fighter units involved. Let's look at Tony Wood claim lists. Both major units participating - II./JG 77 and I./ZG 76, each claimed fifteen Wellingtons ( two claims of I./ZG 76 and four claims of II./JG 77 were rejected), while other German units involved claimed ten further victories (two rejected). It's clear in the light of the knowledge we have today, that both II./JG 77 and I./ZG 76 have claimed credit for all actual RAF losses suffered. We also could sort these claims along the following lines - 13 confirmed for Bf 110's and 19 confirmed for Bf 109's. I think, the picture is clear. Why all of these claims were confirmed? I presume, that this was because the Germans were under the firm impression they engaged two separate formations.

15th February 2014, 11:42
Hi Marius,

I think it is important to you understand that, unlike Luftwaffe records, the records of Bomber Command, being a "home-based" formation, survived the war relatively intact. While there is a lot of minutiae that has not been preserved, all of the essential records have been available to the public since they were released in 1972. These include the individual squadron "war diaries", the Bomber Group "war diaries", and the Bomber Command "War Diary". These records, combined with casualty data and aircraft production and history data, make it clear that there was no "ghost" formation as you have proposed.

I can give a reverse analogy from the other end of the war: between November 1944 and May 1945, Bomber Command crews claimed a total of 77 jet-/rocket-propelled aircraft destroyed in air combat at night, along with a further 9 probably destroyed and 9 damaged. On the face of it so many crews over such a long period couldn't all be mistaken so surely there must have been a significant number of Me262s and Me163s shot down at night, right? Wrong, surviving records do not support even one jet-/rocket-propelled aircraft being shot down at night by a heavy bomber crew, and Bomber Command Headquarters understood this at the time. Not one of the 95 claims was confirmed...

On another note that will interest you, I will post an index list of Luftgaukommando XI crash reports for 18 December 1939, as found in the US-produced index of crash reports at NARA in the US. I should state that there appears to be duplication in the list, so caveat emptor...



15th February 2014, 11:47
following is a list of Luftgaukommando XI crash reports for 18 December 1939,as indexed at NARA.

The list shows the time of the crash, the aircraft type that crashed, the location of the crash, and the microfilm frame number of the report:

1440 Vickers Wellington Between Langeroog and Spiekeroog 101566
1440 Vickers Wellington 10 km west-north-west of Borkum 101566
1440 Vickers Wellington Near Borkum 101582
1440 Vickers Wellington Near Borkum 101568
1445 Vickers Wellington North-west of Spiekeroog 101564
1445 Vickers Wellington North-west of Spiekeroog 101565
1445 Vickers Wellington North-west of Borkum 101560
1445 Vickers Wellington 25 km west-north-west of Borkum 101557
1445 Vickers Wellington Near Borkum 101587
1450 Vickers Wellington 30 km south-west of Helgoland 101559
1450 Vickers Wellington 20 km south-west of Helgoland 101558
1450 Vickers Wellington Map grid 6535 101579
1450 Vickers Wellington Near Borkum 101584
1455 Vickers Wellington Near Borkum 101583
1500 Vickers Wellington 25 km west-north-west of Borkum 101554
1500 50 km north of Ameland 101563
1500 Vickers Wellington 50 km north of Ameland 101562
1500 Vickers Wellington 25 km west-north-west of Borkum 101561
1500 Vickers Wellington 25 km west-north-west of Borkum 101555
1506 Vickers Wellington Map grid 6445 101569
1542 Vickers Wellington Map grid 7475 101571
1939 Vickers Wellington Map grid 7579 101573

As previously mentioned, this is the data as it was transcribed by the Americans. To make sense of it and to weed out errors and duplicated entries, one would have to order copies of each page (as indicated by the microfilm frame number) from NARA.



15th February 2014, 20:04
I agree with the two victories of Ullenbeck. It is theoretically possible he attacked aircraft from the "Heligoland formation" 9/149 Sqd. But I think it was the second "ghost" formation which he traced so long over the sea.

The Luftgaukommando crash report is very interesting. But it starts with the victory of Fw. Groening I./ZG 76. The rest corresponds with Tony Woods list. The first part of the victories (JG 77 & JG 26) is not mentioned or - what I do believe - just getting lost.(?)

There is no problem with the German victories` times & places or pilots making mistakes. But there would be too many mistakes and false interpretations.
Above this we have a formation of 22 hostile aircraft observed from the mainland (not reported by pilots!) flying from Borkum to Wangerooge and back again along the Frisian islands. Even if the observers made an error with the direction (instead of East-West West-East), they could have not count the aircraft of the Heligoland formation flying back. They consisted in the area of Borkum of appr. 10 aircraft still (not 22). At that time many Wellingtons were shot down already.
On the other side the whole victory list of Luftgaukommando XI agrees with the ghost formation, which - as our British friends say - was not existent.

My feeling is telling me our British friends have concealed something. By the way I would understand it - in the time of war and propaganda.


Andrei Demjanko
15th February 2014, 20:48
Above this we have a formation of 22 hostile aircraft observed from the mainland (not reported by pilots!) flying from Borkum to Wangerooge and back again along the Frisian islands.

These aircraft were not reported by pilots most probably because German pilots themselves were flying them

The second formation was real (three aircraft of 38 Sqn), its interception was imaginary.

Could we presume, that when 38 Sqn was detected approaching from the west, some Bf 110's of I./ZG 76, which were already not scrambled against 9,37, 149, took off to intercept. Let's look at the most probable route of these Bf 110's - from Jever to the Borkum flying almost straight on westward course. On reaching Borkum they did not find any hostile aircraft (38 Sqn by this time turned back while still off Dutch coast). What would be then the most probable course of action for these pilots? Right! Most promising to intercept British aircraft would be flying eastward along the coast from Borkum to Wangerooge in the hope to catch that second formation (which they presumed was flying on to Heligoland Bight) While doing so these Bf 110's were spotted by observers on the coast and were mistaken for Wellingtons. Finally, these Bf 110's intercepted 9, 37, 149 as the latter was already under attack by other fighters, and also engaged them, chasing them back and under impression that this was the formation which they were after (which was, of course, not)

Yes, these thoughts are speculative to some degree, but this version explains all the 'misteries'

Martin Gleeson
15th February 2014, 21:07

I, like many others, have done some work on this air battle. I have all the Bomber Command ORBs for 1939-1940 and there is not a shred of evidence that any other squadrons took part in this operation.
All 12 Wellingtons lost came down in the North Sea or just offshore on the German coastline. Five more were damaged but all reached England and all five were later repaired. That is all.
The British were not concealing any other casualties, at that time or post-war.

Have you evidence of any other case by any other air force during WW2 where many extra losses were revealed long after the war ended ?


Martin Gleeson.

15th February 2014, 21:25
Hi Marius,

with the LGK XI list, I don't believe that you can take it at face value. To put it in to context I believe that you would have to view the original reports as these should describe the unit reporting the crash. Then it should be possible to plot the positions of the reported crashes and to gauge from where and from what distance the observations were made. Are these records infallible? No, I have a LGK XI example of an aircraft observed to crash in to the sea but where the aircraft concerned landed heavily damaged in the UK a couple of hours later.

It seems that you still do not comprehend the scale and scope of archival material available from the British side, and if you did you would appreciate that to erase a "ghost" formation and losses from history would be next to impossible:

1. Bomber Command records would have to somehow be changed not only for the day concerned, but to retrospectively erase all trace of the machines and men in the "ghost" formation that where lost. The posting in of new aircraft and crews to replace losses would have to be hidden.

2. Aircraft production records and/or aircraft record cards would have to be altered.

3. Any survivors of the "ghost" formation and the multitude of personnel from their squadrons in the UK would have to maintain a vow of silence to their graves.

4. The casualty records would have to be altered and/or destroyed and the families of the missing men would also have to maintain a wall of silence.

Quite frankly, I think the British had more pressing issues in which to expend resources on at that time :)

Anyway, I would suggest that you start looking at the original source documents and trustworthy written material:

The National Archives, Kew, London:

AIR 27 Series - Squadron Operation Records Books and Appendices - these can be ordered as a digital download

AIR 24/200-201 - Bomber Command Operations Record Book (i.e. war diary) 1936-1940
AIR 24/210-214 - Bomber Command Operations Record Book Appendices 1939-1940

AIR 25/1 - No 1 (Bomber) Group Operations Record Book 1936-1943
AIR 25/22 - No 2 (Bomber) Group Operations Record Book 1936-1940
AIR 25/26 & 27 - No 2 (Bomber) Group Operations Record Book Appendices 1939
AIR 25/51 - No 3 (Bomber) Group Operations Record Book 1926-1940
AIR 25/56 - No 3 (Bomber) Group Operations Record Book Appendices 1939
AIR 25/93 - No 4 (Bomber) Group Operations Record Book 1937-1943
AIR 25/96 - No 4 (Bomber) Group Operations Record Book Appendices 1939-1940
AIR 25/109A - No 5 (Bomber) Group Operations Record Book 1937-1943
AIR 25/111 - No 5 (Bomber) Group Operations Record Book Appendices 1939-1940

AIR 81/62-73 - these are the newly released RAF casualty files relating to the losses on 18 December 1939.

Misc files that may contain information on the 18 December 1939 actions:

AIR 2/4289 - OPERATIONS: Sea Areas (Code B, 55/2/11): Reconnaissance and attacks on German battleships in Heligoland Bight 1939-40
AIR 2/8541 - OPERATIONS: Sea Areas (Code B, 55/2/11): Attacks on German Fleet in Heligoland Bight: points from Bomber Command 1939-40
AIR 14/157 - W.A.7(a)(Attack on Wilhelmshaven): reports on various aspects of operations 1939-1940
AIR 2/3018 - PLANNING: Germany (Code B, 85/2/4): Plan W.A.7(a) (Plan K): Attack on Wilhelmshaven 1938-1942
AIR 14/156 - Operation Wilhelmshaven Area 3 Group 18-12-39 Nos. 149, 9 and 37 Squadrons. 1939-1940
AIR 20/292 - Part I to Plan `K' (W.A.7(a)): Attack on Wilhelmshaven: appreciation by Air Staff 1939

This list is by no means exhaustive. For printed books, besides what has already been mentioned, there are the Air Britain books published on aircraft serials, the Bomber Command Losses series by Bill Chorley, Vol 1 of which has recently been published as an updated and revised edition.

"My feeling is telling me our British friends have concealed something."

Marius, the fundamental question is who is hiding what from whom and why. Since we are dealing with the once classified operational and administrative records of the Royal Air Force, the only answer to that question would be that the RAF could only have to be hiding from themselves, and there would be no logical reason why...



John Beaman
15th February 2014, 21:59
Guys, I think we have pretty well beat this to death.

Marius it seems to me you have posted a lot of speculation without any real proof of a "conspiracy". If you have some official, original documents that you can quote, along with the sources, please do so. Otherwise, lets not waste time with pointless speculation. The documentation from the RAF/UK side is pretty overwhelming.

Andrei Demjanko
15th February 2014, 22:18
Yes, no 'conspiracy' and no 'hidden' losses from British side. Only twelve. But I think Marius' doubts in 'traditional' version are justifable. We can't ignore picture from 'the other side of the hill' and just say 'no ghost formation, the German pilots reported victories in wrong place and their timing was wrong' etc. In this case why we should belive any records from any side?

One could just see posts #46 and #50 in this topic - the description from both sides fits perfectly, in those circumstances double claiming by Luftwaffe was inevitable.

15th February 2014, 22:29
Well gentlemen,
The idea of I./ZG 76 forming the ghost formation, yes, very interesting. But not serious. Several Messerschmitts were patrolling in the air and the unit had 23 Bf 110 at all on this day, as I remember.

I believe you all that there is nothing in the documents you can look inside.
Regular bomber units attacked the target flying via Heligoland to Wilhelmshaven. This is correct and was described in several Operation Records Books.
Maybe it is the wrong trail. Let me say the following: I don`t think on a regular RAF-unit.

For the second ("ghost") formation it could have been a "training flight" or whatever else. At this stage of war I can imagine the arrogance of militaries starting such noncence and riskful missions, for just showing its own power. Maybe the whole formation consisted of completely unexpierenced crews and all Wellingtons were shot down between 14.40-15.06. In such a case it would be much easier to conceal true losses from the public. Especially if it was a shortly and fast created "command" of school crews.

Here is the most important part of the Lagebericht West 119 from 19 December 1939 r., I mean the second part is very, very interesting, when you compare it with the German victories documented by Luftgaukommando XI (as well with Toni Woods claims list).

Im Bereich der Luftflotte 2:
Abschliessende Meldung vom 18.12.1939, 2130 Uhr:
Um 1343 Uhr wurden etwa 12 feindl. Flugzeuge 55 km nordwestl. Helgoland, 1356 Uhr etwa 10 feindl. Flugzeuge nördl. Helgoland im Anflug nach Südost gemeldet. Beide Staffeln flogen die Weser- und Jademündung an und wurden, nachdem sie bei Wilhelmshaven von Flak beschossen waren, bei Wangerooge und westl. davon in einen Luftkampf verwickelt. Abflug nach Westen.
1445 Uhr flogen etwa 22 weitere feindl. Flugzeuge nordwestl. Borkum die ostfries. Westküste an. Der größte Teil dieser Flugzeuge flog längs der ostfriesischen Inseln nach Osten, 6 Flugzeuge über das Festland bei Norden auf Wangerooge. Auch diese Flugzeuge wurden in einen Luftkampf bei Wangerooge verwickelt.


Andrei Demjanko
15th February 2014, 22:47
The idea of I./ZG 76 forming the ghost formation, yes, very interesting. But not serious.

It's not only most serious, it's obvious. Again, we can't ignore what the other side says. From RAF records it's clear - these aircraft were not British. But it's also hard to believe German observers reported non-existent aircraft. The only explanation - German observers made an error about nationality of these. Your quote from document just confirmed it. The aircraft flying from the west joined the battle in the Wangerooge area. As for the numbers - some double counting still could be present.

John Beaman
15th February 2014, 23:08
Andrei, I appreciate your comments, but in your last sentence, you ask, "In this case why we should believe any records from any side?" The difference is that all nations engaged in propaganda for daily consumption by the public and the press. It is another thing to fake official records that were not open to the public--this is not a Freedom of Information time frame like today. No one could see the records and no commander would fake records of losses, etc. because he would not get replacements that would enable his unit to get back to full strength. This is a classic case of overclaiming and the propaganda people took over and ran with it.

Marius, many posters have overwhelmingly refuted your arguments about "ghost" formations and RAF special units, arrogance, etc. The records of what you are saying are just not there. If you want to believe there are still "secret" documents out there that would prove your point, fine, I cannot argue. But that means they are still secret and we cannot know. Further speculation is pointless.

If you want to continue down this path, then I will shut this thread down and you can go to another forum.

Larry Hickey
15th February 2014, 23:24
John et.al.,

One last note here. I've sent to Marius the translation of the Heinrich Weiss manuscript account of the Heligoland Bight action on 18.12.39. Heinrich compiled from every source available to him AND FROM THE GERMAN PERSPECTIVE, a detailed summary of this action. While noting discrepancies with some of the German reports, his account is entirely consistent with what has been put forward here as the events of that day. He concluded that the discrepancies were due to over-claiming and erroneous reporting. He found no reason to create an alternative story of what happened. Keep in mind that this is a very experienced researcher who compiled a 6000+-page manuscript on LW operations in the west from the beginning of the war to mid-1941. You don't get much more experience working with the source documents and information than that.

If Marius doubts the conventional story of what happened I think that it is up to him to produce the evidence. When and if he has this, I think that we will all take his objections to the conventional story very seriously. Otherwise, there isn't anywhere else we can take this other than pure speculation, which gets us nowhere.


Larry Hickey
EoE Project Coordinator

Andrei Demjanko
15th February 2014, 23:34
John, my post was not about faking official records or propaganda. 'In this case why we should believe any records from any side?' - I've mean we can't believe RAF records and at the same time disregard similar Luftwaffe records or vice versa, as you could see in this topic. My point is to obtain true picture we should correlate reports from both sides.

16th February 2014, 01:08
Many historians have doubts on the British story. Here is a short example:
"...nach Gefangenenaussagen sollte es sich nur um einen Navigations- und Übungsflug mit propagandistischem Nebenauftrag gehandelt haben. Fest steht, dass im Gebiet um Wilhelmshaven bei diesem Angriff keine Bomben fielen..."
J.Prien/P.Rodeike - Einsatz in der Reichsverteidigung von 1939 bis 1945 Jagdgeschwader 1 und 11 Teil 1 1939-1943, Eutiin 1993, p. 11.

I can confirm this, as it is indeed mentioned so in German documents; for example British demonstrative mission was supposed.

Larry & John, Heinrich Weiss tried to combine both sides or the information he could get at that time - German and British. He made an interpretation but could not explain the differences for example what I cited a few hours ago from Luftlagebericht West Nr.119. This is an original document and you have to bring the evidence (not me!) that it is falsified or whatever. I like more the assumption about 22 German aircraft (where is the evidence?) than "pure speculation which gets us nowhere".
The differences are hard to explain today but I do not believe we will find the truth with "you can go to another forum". I am really shocked about that.

Best wishes for all,

Larry Hickey
16th February 2014, 04:08

I have some substantive info to add to this discussion. An earlier post by Petrusja asked about information that he'd heard that perhaps 20 downed British crewmen were reportedly picked up by He59 rescue planes that day.

For the past couple of years we've been translating all the maritime KTBs for 1939-40 for the EoE Project. According to the KTB of Seenotzentrale Nord, the air sea rescue seaplanes could be not operate that day due to icing conditions. Only one took off to try and locate a German fighter pilot who bailed out of a Bf109. No British airmen were rescued. If any other air-sea rescue unit picked up any British airmen down in the sea that day, it would have been noted in this unit diary. So, whatever the source of this information, it is not correct.


Larry Hickey
EoE Project Coordinator

16th February 2014, 05:05
Maybe it is the wrong trail. Let me say the following: I don`t think on a regular RAF-unit.

Hi Marius, by way of example, ORBs for the operational squadrons have been quoted in this thread, but what everyone is saying equally applies to non-operational units.

I reiterate that being a "home" command, the records of Bomber Command survived the war intact. If the "ghost" formation was actually real then there would be a multitude of archived records that would point to its' existence.

There are no missing or hidden documents that would magically explain the "ghost" formation.

Many, many researchers before us have worked extensively through the Bomber Command archives since 1972, and if there was a hint of documentation that supported your claims then such documents would have been brought to light well before now. Ditto with the records of other RAF Commands, as well as the CWGC documents and individual aircraft records.



Andrei Demjanko
16th February 2014, 06:56
...the assumption about 22 German aircraft (where is the evidence?)


1)There were aircraft flying along the coast from west to east at the time of the battle (Lagebericht West 119, posted by yourself)

2) There were no British aircraft flying in that direction at the time (ORB's of RAF squadrons, all already mentioned in this topic)

ORB 38 Sqn gives some coded references as the area of their sweep, but stating that the route was clear of the Dutch coast. Time of mission between 12.37 and 15.50. But as the 38 Sqn did not sighted anything means they not pressed on to Heligoland Bight turning for home earlier.

It's clear that the aircraft flying eastwards from Borkum to Wangerooge could be only German. Germans expected the British aircraft would be flying from the west along the coast (38 Sqn) and know nothing about actual streight of formation detected approaching from the west, so when they observed aircraft flying they cast no doubt about nationality of these.

17th February 2014, 09:32
According to the KTB of Seenotzentrale Nord, the air sea rescue seaplanes could be not operate that day due to icing conditions. Only one took off to try and locate a German fighter pilot who bailed out of a Bf109. No British airmen were rescued.

Hi Larry, this is correct! I don`t believe in rescued RAF-crews also.

After several hours last night researching material I do have, for me it is clear now here arose two big problems which are affecting the official story of the attack.

The first one is the Britsh point of view including the mission details which are given not correctly by no one historian. The Heinrich Weiss manuscript is containing exactly the same story – an interpretation – as published in “Fledgling Eagles” in 1991. No revelations then.
J. Prien wrote several years ago something about possible participation of 148 Sqd and about 30 serial numbers of bombers he apparently knows. This seems to be false.
On the other hand the mistakes and speculations done in the last 20-30 years allow to look forward for example in the direction of RAF OTU units and more – as well as Obstlt. Carl Schumacher supposed just after the battle. So I didn`t want to exclude such possibilities first. But now I do.

The second one is the formation consisting of 22 hostile bombers which appears in German documented material: well, it seems “22” was just doubled somewhere because two formations were seen at all – no matter if right or wrong. But this is the reason for several upcoming interpretations and mistakes ending with the effect of too less refused claims by German officials. The massive attack with "22 x 2" or even 52 bombers – as the POWs related – made the mass of victories just more believable and the confirmation was going its own way. It was an overclaiming but not caused by the phantasies of German pilots. The victory tall was doubled because the whole formation was doubled – and this happened obviously accidentally. Just a false interpretation following one another false interpretation.

My conclusion is simple. The participation of 9, 37 & 149 Sqd only is fully correct (38 & 148 Sqd as some authors wrote have nothing to do with). But the whole description of the mission`s carrying-out is almost completely wrong. I would say: too much speculations instead of attentive reading of documents.


Larry Hickey
18th February 2014, 06:12

It seems that we now agree with the results and participants of this air battle, and that there were no other participants on the British side.

However, I'm a little puzzled with your statement:

"But the whole description of the mission`s carrying-out is almost completely wrong. I would say: too much speculations instead of attentive reading of documents."

Do you mean the German description of the mission is wrong, or do you think that the British account is also wrong? What exactly do you mean by this statement?

Since John Beaman prefers that we not continue discussion in this thread, please send me your reconstruction of the events that day where it differs from the Heinrich Weiss account. I'm highly interested in where you differ with his interpretation of the story. Also, you refer to claims by British PoWs of many more British a/c involved. As near as I can tell there was only part of one crew that was captured by the Germans--the one from the Wellington that I posted the photo of earlier. Do you know of more PoWs that the three members of the crew of 37 SQ LFoJ: Sergeant Herbert Ruse (Pilot), Sergeant T. May, and Leading Aircraftsman H. A. Jones? Considering the number of Wellington's lost, this is only a very small number of PoWs, and none of them were officers or leaders who might more likely be in a position to have a lot of knowledge about the big picture of the mission.


Larry Hickey
EoE Project Coordinator

MW Giles
19th February 2014, 09:00
Following were POWs

Sgt H Ruse (pilot), Sgt TK May (second pilot) and LAC HA Jones (gunner) all from N2936

F/O P A Wimberley (pilot) N2888

AC1 GW Geddes (gunner) N2889 (died following day from injuries)

I thought you had Chorley's book?



19th February 2014, 09:22
I am waiting for more material. I will check it step by step first instead of bringing in further wild speculations.
Heinrich Weiss manuscript is no help, because his interpretations were published in "Fledgling Eagles" already.
I have R. Holmes` book now. But as I see so far it is not well done. I don`t see what is authors interpretation and what is coming from documents.

Apparently some things are still concealed from the public because Holmes is not giving us the complete information about the mission. For example the route back of the leading formation seems to be completely wrong. I will check it in detail again. But if it really is some authors interpretations were gone the wrong way for sure.


Larry Hickey
19th February 2014, 19:05

The EoE British loss lists are overwhelmingly the efforts of Peter Cornwell, with assistance from many others. Of course he has Chorley. His British loss lists for the downed Wellington's did make note of the PoWs from the other two a/c, Wimberley and Geddes; I simply missed those when I did that post. Not Peter's omission at all, but mine.

Does anyone know of any account of the rescue of either Wimberley or Geddes, and how they made it to shore? It appears that the Ruse crew came down on the shoreline of this island off Borkum, so it's no mystery about their capture. However, are there any accounts in the German press or other sources of the capture of any of these airmen? I suspect that there may well be information about this in the contemporary accounts of this mission in the German press, or the statements of the released prisoners after the war that could give us more of the story about this.

Can anyone help.


Larry Hickey
EoE Project Coordinator

Nick Hector
19th February 2014, 23:04
Hi Larry,

Are the EoE lists viewable/obtainable anywhere?


Larry Hickey
20th February 2014, 19:51

No they are not. Peter and I frequently post individual incidents in response to questions on the TOCH or LEMB boards, but these will not be fully available until the EoE project is published in the various volumes, which include detailed information on all the losses, damages and casualty events for all of the participating air forces involved in the first 16 months of the airwar in Europe, from 01.09.39 through 31.12.40. For the British alone, there are thousands of entries involved, and they are now in the process of a massive revision. We are attempting to add the full names of all British airmen listed during the first 16-months of the war. Sounds like an easy thing to do, but it is actually a very complicated and challenging endeavor, since British records do not normally record pilots and aircrew with their full names. Trying to ID an airman aboard a British bomber with the name J. Smith, gives you some idea of what we're up against.

Eventually we will complete this , but it's going to take a while. In the meantime, Peter Cornwell's volumes on "The Battle of Britain: Then and Now", and "The Battle of France: Then and Now," are the most complete versions of his work on this subject in print. There are now thousands of additions, changes and corrections that have been added to these previous volumes in the EoE Project loss listings, which for the British now includes the Scandinavian Campaign, Coastal Command, Royal Navy and the campaign against the German homeland, primarily by RAF Bomber Command, that Peter hasn't covered in his previously published works. However, the EoE project doesn't cover training unit losses, except in the rare occasions when a training unit became directly involved in a combat role. This was the case in some measure with the Polish Air Force during the 1939 PC, and with some units during the WC/FC of 1940.


Larry Hickey
EoE Project Coordinator

John Beaman
21st February 2014, 02:09
Guys, I am closing this thread. I think the facts have been established about this battle from numerous sources and expert members of this board. I regret that some people just will not accept that 2+2 does not equal 5.