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Old 14th January 2009, 07:25
Delmenhorst Delmenhorst is offline
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Re: “Operation Pandemonium”

Operation Pademonium
On the 16th of July, 1942, three Groups from Bomber Command carried out a smaller amount of day and dusk operations involving 27 planes.
No. 1 Group sent two Wellingtons (TR), which were assigned to attack Essen, while utilizing a dense cloud cover, which could protect them from attacking German fighters. The crew in one of the aircraft believed that they had attacked the target by E.T.A and TR, even though the cloud cover was 10/10 with peaks as high as 12,000 feet.
TR was the early code for TR1335, which was also known by the codename 'Gee'. Gee was a navigation system based on ground stations in England. The utilization of Gee was first experimented with in August of 1941, but it was quickly withdrawn again until enough sets for the planes were produced.
Essen lay at the farthest end of Gees range, and it was in relationship to Essen, that Gee was used on the night between the 8th and the 9th of March 1942. The Germans began to jam Gee from August 9, 1942, and after this it was not worth much over German dominated territory. On the other hand, it was priceless for the returning bombers that had to find their way home to their base.
The other plane was not capable of finding the target area, as the TR was not working, because its antenna had blown off. The plane dropped its bomb load blind. Both planes returned to England.
During the afternoon, No. 2 Group sent 4 Mosquitoes from No. 105 Squadron against three targets. Two aircraft (P/O Ralston and P/O Clayton in Mosquito DK302 and F/Sgt. Monaghan and Sgt. Dean in Mosquito W4065) were sent to attack Ijmuiden Iron and Steel Works. The weather over Ijmuiden was poor with 10/10 cloud cover and with clouds at 300 feet in altitude. Both Mosquitoes attacked from a low altitude - around 50 feet - that is, with an approach under the clouds, where the visibility was 2 - 3 kilometres. There was minimal time to make observations from that altitude. The bombs from the first plane were seen falling in the direction of a building in the northern part of the works (cooking plant) and a powerful flash was seen shortly afterwards. The following aircraft dropped its bombs on the works as well, and during their flight, the crew observed black smoke coming from the target area.
P/O Costello-Bowen and W/O Broom in Mosquito W4066, which had been sent to attack the shipyard in Vegesack, were not capable of identifying the target due to the bad weather. The crew attempted to attack an alternative target, an electrical power station, but this was not possible because of problems with the bomb release mechanism. After turning back and setting their course towards Horsham St. Faith, they managed to drop their bombs off Weser.
F/Lt. Addinsell and F/Lt. Paget, in Mosquito W4069, were assigned to attack the shipyard installations in Wilhelmshaven. The weather was just as bad here as it had been in the other places, but Addinsell found the target area and dropped the bombs. German sources report that two of the bombs hit the shipyard area and injured three people. The anti-aircraft artillery in Wilhelmshafen was feared during the entire war, and the light anti-aircraft artillery managed to hit the Mosquito. It crashed. Addinsell and Paget survived being shot down and were taken prisoner.
At 15.27 hours, the German air defence reproted an enemy plane southwest of Borkum. After this, the German radar operators followed the plane along the East Frisian islands until Ditmarscher Bucht, where it crossed in over land and continued in the direction of Kiel. Here, the plane turned north til Eckenförder Bucht and further to Schleswig, where it again flew towards the west and out over the North Sea again north of Husum. The plane was followed by the ground observers until 16.23 hours, where they lost contact with the plane southwest of Anrum. Luftwaffe considered the plane to be a reconnaissance plane and was able to indicate that it was on a weather reconnaissance before an attack. However, the weather was quite bad. There were low-hanging clouds, rain and only poor visibility with wind southwest 3 to 4. One could not expect a major attack in that type of weather, as the bombers would not be able to find the target area.

Stirlings attack Herrenwyk
Bomber Command decided after all to attack that evening. The target was Lübecker Flenderwerke AG at Herrenwyk, which is located 10 km northeast of Lübeck, on the north side of the Trave river. Here, there was a shipyard that built submarines which had not been damaged during the attack on Lübeck in March of the same year. The attack had the code name Operation Pandemonium, and it was modelled after Lancasters attack on Danzig on the 11th of July. The planes were to approach during the light of day, bomb before it got dark, and escape again in the dusk. All in all, 21 Stirlings from No. 3 Group, were dispatched.
The crews were chosen among the most experienced and it was the plan that the planes would fly in three ship formations until 07 degrees E, after which the planes would continue on singly. They were to cross the southern part of Denmark in the light summer evening and continue over the Little Belt and down to Lübeck. From 07 degrees E, the planes were only to continue, if the cloud cover was 8/10, in which case the Stirlings would have a fair chance avoiding the German fighters. Over Southern Jutland, they might meet fighters from 9./JG 1, under the command of Oberleutnang Gutowski, which was stationed in Esbjerg with 8 Fw 190 and 2 Bf 109s. There was also 8./JG 1, with 12 fighters, under the command of Hauptmann Schnoor, at Husum, just south of the Danish/German border. Both units were placed in perfect places to intercept the approaching Stirlings, if they hadn't had the possibility of hiding in the cloud cover.
The following planes were sent:
No. 7 Squadron
Stirling Mk. I N3764 MG-J F/Sgt Bishop 19.03-02.02
Stirling Mk. I W7535 MG-G W/O Black 18.59-02.12
Stirling Mk. I W7529 MG-H P/O Gwillian 19.02-02.03
No. 15 Squadron
Stirling Mk. I N3758 LS-V W/Cdr Lay 18.40-02.05
Stirling Mk. I R9351 LS-R F/Lt Barr 18.45-02.45
Stirling Mk. I W7504 LS-A F/O Bennitt 18.35-02.35
Stirling Mk. I W7525 LS-E P/O Shoemaker 18.45-02.25
Stirling Mk. I W7518 LS-U F/O King 18.45-00.45
Stirling Mk. I W7524 LS-D F/Sgt Melville 18.40-FTR
No. 149 Squadron
Stirling Mk. I BF312 OJ-A P/O Forward 19.02-FTR
Stirling Mk. I BF320 OJ-H S/Ldr Watt 19.07-00.45
Stirling Mk. I R9143 OJ-O F/Sgt Hockley 19.04-01.39
No. 214 Squadron
Stirling Mk. I BF318 BU-H Sgt Fleming 18.55-01.40
Stirling Mk. I R9141 BU-G F/Lt Simich 18.55-00.55
Stirling Mk. I R9358 BU-A P/O Massey 18.50-00.35
No. 218 Squadron
Stirling Mk. I N3763 HA-Q W/Cdr Holder 18.55-01.45
Stirling Mk. I W7562 HA-R P/O Sanderson 19.00-01.30
Stirling Mk. I N6072 HA-P P/O Farquharson 19.00-01.05
Stirling Mk. I BF319 HA-C S/Ldr Oldroyd 19.05-01.10
Stirling Mk. I BF315 HA-F P/O Abberton 19.07-02.10
Stirling Mk. I W7475 HA-H P/O Bullock 19.10-01.10
All of the planes brought with them six 1000lb GP bombs filled with RDX. This was, in 1942, a common type of bomb to use against industrial targets, where the blast effect was desireable. The attacks that evening were not, however, an absolute success. According to No. 3 Groups own report, only seven out of the twenty-one Stirlings attacked the target area. Two plane dropped bombs near Flensburg and one Stirling bombed an unidentified populated area. Nine Stirlings abourted the mission and two failed to return.
The British approach was discovered by the German radar service already before they crossed the west coast. Flugabwehr Kommando Dänemark reported that they had 10 approaches with around 18 aircraft during the time period between 21.09 and 21.42 hours. The approach occurred between Esbjerg and Sylt, with a southeastern course in the direction of Kieler Bight. During the time period between 21.49 and 23.51 hours, fourteen planes made their way back on a return course. Some of the aircraft had problems finding the right course and flew all the way north to the Great Belt, before they turned towards the south. The altitude on approach lay between 10 and 2000 metres.
Five Stirlings came by accident over Esbjerg, which was the most strongly defended area in Denmark and the flak in the Esbjerg area fired at three of the aircraft 'with all weapons'.
At 21.14 hours, 1./836 fired (optical) at an approaching aircraft at 300 m altitude. A Stirling was fired at by 1.826 and 2./836 between 21.20 and 21.27 hours, while it was at an altitude of 300 metres. According to Luftwaffe, it was in cooperation with the navy flak that the firing at this plane occurred.
The aircraft was fired at by vessels both in and outside of Esbjerg harbour, as well as from the stationary navy flak positions around Esbjerg. The unfortunate aircraft was fired at by Boot 6, which belonged H.S.Fl. Esbjerg. The German boat fired 84 rounds with a machinegun in anti-aircraft mounting. The German crew could see spurts of flame coming from the left engine. The firing was answered by the Stirlings rear gunner.
Boot 402 fired 14 shots 2 cm and the crew were also able to see that the Stirling was hit again. This time it was the rudder. Boot 413 fired 11 shots 2 cm and 30 machine gun rounds - and again it was observed that the aircraft was hit.
The Stirling flew at only 50 metres in altitude and at a distance of 3-400 meters from the vessels. Another three boats, namely Boot 3, 4 and 5, from H.S.Fl. Esbjerg, also opened fire (543 machine gun rounds and 73 shots 15 mm), but no one observed any hits in the target. Another larger German vessel, the damper P Heinrichs, participated in the firing, with 396 rounds.
The anti-aircraft batteries on land around Esbjerg, fired the following during the evening:
Marine 10.5 cm 10 rounds
2 cm 1936 rounds
8.8 cm 22 rounds
MG 1675 rounds
4 cm 158 rounds
Luftwaffe 4 cm 322 rounds
2 cm 484 rounds
The unfortunate aircraft was Stirling Mk. I W7524 (coded LS-D) from No. 15 Squadron. The aircraft, which was on its twenty-first mission, crashed at 21.31 hours just outside of Sneum Å, southeast of Esbjerg. After it was shot down, a tug-of-war began between Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe in Esbjerg, about who ought to receive credit for shooting it down. In the end it was decided, that I-II Zug 1./lei 836, IV Zug 2./lei 844 and Marine Flak Abteilung 204 at Esbjerg, should share the credit of shooting the aircraft down.
Stirling W7524 was completely destroyed by the crash, and only two crewmembers (Sgt. G. A. Donovan and Sgt. L. C. Masfen) survived the crash and were taken prisoner.
The remainder of the crew (P/O K. Arnott, Sgt. D. R. Barrett, Sgt. H. J. I. Lockhart, P/O R. L. Melville, Sgt. R. Nicholls and Sgt. J. E. F. Wayland) are buried in Esbjerg.
Several of the other Stirlings answered the fire and a light anti-aircraft battery belonging to the German navy, was hit by a machine gun burst. It wounded three men, one of them seriously. One of the overflying aircraft also fired at the gas works in Esbjerg and a gasometer burst into flames, though the fire was quickly extinguished again.
The German propaganda service really brought out the 'heavy artillery' when two Danes were killed and two others wounded during the overflight of Esbjerg. The propagande service claimed that British planes had shot into the city of Esbjerg with machine guns, in order to hit the Danish civilian population. However, the Danish authorities proved that the damages were caused by fragments from the anti-aircraft shells. The fragments were also the reason for 24 lesser damages to property around Esbjerg.
Stirling W7524 was not the only plane that was hit over Esbjerg. Sgt. Fleming, in BU-H from No. 214 Squadron, closed in on the west coast of Jutland at low altitude, in order to establish where they were. It wasn't possible at a higher altitude because of low-hanging clouds. The plane was hit by anti-aircraft artillery over Esbjerg. It killed the front gunner and damaged the plane, so it was no longer stable. Sgt. Fleming continued the flight towards the southeast, but when he was close to Flensburg, the mission was aborted due to the damages to the plane and the bomb load was dropped. The crew claims that they dropped the bombs 6 cm north by northwest of Flensburg, but there are no reports of bombs having landed in this area. On the other hand, two bombs fell near Skelbæk, which is 5 km southwest of Tinglev (and 20 km norhtwest of Flensburg). Two high-explosive bombs detonated here, without causing damage.
Several bombs fell southeast of Flensburg though. At 22.50 hours, 4 high-explosive bombs were dropped on Süderhof, which is a small town just southeast of Flensburgs city boundary. Only three of the bombs detonated. One of the bombs hit just next to an apartment house, which collapsed and buried the residents. One person was killed in the house, three were seriously injured and one had minor injuries.
Five high-explosive bombs fell near Husbyfeld, which is 9 km southeast of Flensburg. Sixteen houses were damaged in mild to severe degree. However, no people were injured.
Two crews from No. 7 Squadron claimed that they had bombed Flensburg. Because of the lack of cloud cover, W/Cdr Black, on board W7535, did not fly to Lübeck, but bombed Flensburg instead. The crew could not see where the bombs landed. P/O Gwillian, who was on board W7529, also dropped his bombs over Flensburg. He believed that the bombs had landed in the eastern part of the city, but he wasn't able to achieve a more precise position because the searchlights blinded him. Both crews turned back to Oakington, where they landed at nine-minute intervals.
During the time between 22.02 and 23.04 hours, the anti-aircraft artillery at Flensburg opened fire at two approaching and two receding planes, flying at altitudes between 20 and 800 metres. Altogether, they fired 296 shots 3.7 cm and 1849 shots 2 cm. At one point, the searchlights managed to lock on to the target for 10 seconds.
Fliegerhorst Flensburg reported the following: 'From 21.15 hours, approach of around 25 enemy aircraft over Esbjerg Bay, after which an easterly course until arrival over the mainland with a south easterly course towards the Flensburg area, where some of the aircraft circled for quite awhile. The largest part advances towards the Baltic, while another part is already over the Flensburg area after searching a long time flies back. The return flights occurred partly over Husum and partly over the Brunsbüttel area.
A number of anti-aircraft artillery units were stationed on the island of Sylt and during the evening, the heavy navy flak went into action, though without shooting anything down. There was firing at Little Belt as well. At 21.45 hours, from Middelfart, 2. platoon from 3./844, fired at an aircraft flying at an altitude of 120 metres. The gun crew identified the aircraft as a Wellington, and fired 26 shots 2 cm (optical firing).
The German vessel Dorothea from Hafenschutzflottille Fredericia fired at two out of three British planes at 2-300 metres in altitude on a southerly course. The firing was carried out with a machinegun and a carabin, without having any observed result.
The Flak units at Schleswig were active several times during the evening. At 21.44 hours, 1./828 and 2./755 and 3./755 fired altogether 75 shots 3.7 and 143 shots 2 cm at an aircraft that flew at an altitude of 600 metres. At 22.55 hours, 2. and 3./755 fired altogether 110 shots 2 cm at a Stirling, which came at an altitude of 300 metres from east to west.
The gun crews claimed that they had hit the plane and that it crashed. The crash was at Süderbrarup and the plane was Stirling I BF312 OJ-A from No. 149 Squadron. It burned out completely. The possibilities of escaping around Schleswig were not very great, and the crewmembers were immediately taken prisoner and brought to Fliegerhorst Schleswig. Here, one of them died, after he had been transferred to the Reservelazaret. The five others (P/O Forward, Sgt. Locke, P/O Austen, Sgt. Burnette and P/O Mace) were interrogated the next day at the air field, before being sent further to the interrogation center in Oberursel. Sgt. Duckworth and Sgt. Shepherd are buried in Kiel.
At 21.55 hours, bombs were dropped in the southern end of city of Schleswig. The bombs landed just 8 metres away from a railway line, but caused only a limited amount of material damage, even though it had fallen right next to a freight train that was standing still. No one was hurt. Five high-explosive bombs fell at Annettenhöhe in Schleswig, of which two did not explode. The explosions caused limited damage to some buildings.
Bombs were dropped on Schleimündung, east of Kappeln. The Germans thought that the target probably was the lighthouse. The bombs dropped on Schleimünde caused no damage because they fell into the sea. From the island of Ærø, which lies to the north of here, four bomb hits were reported in the sea southwest of the island. The bombs could have been dropped by W/Cdr. D. J. H. Lay, DSO, DFC, in Stirling LS-V from No. 15 Squadron. Due to the beginning dusk and rain squalls, he had given up trying to find the target. When he returned home, he reported that he had dropped his bomb load on two ships, at 15,000 and 20,000 BRT respectively, in Kiel Bight, south of Langeland.
P/O King, in Stirling LS-U from No. 15 Squadron didn't manage to get to the target area either. When P/O King arrived at Haderslev, the crew decided to abort the mission, as the cloud cover disappeared and there was no longer protection against the fighters. P/O King returned to RAF Syton with his bombs.
No. 15 Squadrons last three flight crews all reported that they had attacked Herrenwyk. F/O Bennett in LS-A reported that he attacked submarine slipways from an altitude of 5000 feet, without being able to see the result of the attack. F/O Bennets plane probably hit a balloon cable during the mission, but was able to avoid crashing. Upon his arrival home, traces of the cable were found on the plane, and it looked as though the Stirling had cut the cable.
P/O Shoemaker in LS-E attacked from only 500 feet in altitude. He believed that his bombs shot a bit over the target, but that the bombs detonated. Right after this, fire was observed between buildings. The last plane, Stirling LS-R, was flown by F/Lt. Barr and he attacked the submarine slipways from an altitude of 900 feet. The bombs fell across the target and one could feel the explosions in the plane. There was already a large fire in the target area when F/Lt. Barr arrived.
The attacking planes were exposed to 'a considerable amount of light flak' in the target area and all three planes were slightly damaged. Despite this, they all managed to return to RAF Wyton. Two of the aircraft opened fire on searchlight positions in the target area, as the searchlights proved to be troublesome during the approaches. Besides that, one of the planes fired at fishing vessels off the coast of Jutland.
F/Sgt. Bishop, in N3764 from No. 7 Squadron, aborted just before the target area. He dropped his bombs in Neustädter Bucht instead. S/Ldr. Watt from No 149 Squadron did not manage to get to Lübeck either. Because his exactor control didn't work, he dropped two of his bombs in the sea and returned with four 1000 RDX.
F/Sgt. Hockley, who also came from No. 149 Squadron, flew in the direction of Lübeck together with P/O Bullock and P/O Sanderson from No. 218 Squadron. The target area was localised and the rear gunner, Sgt. Parker, was able to see the bombs fall across the submarine slipways. Before the bombs were dropped, the crew could see four fires between sheds in the northeasterly part of the shipyard. The two gunners, Sgt. Baker and Sgt. Parker, fired on searchlights in the target area during the approach. Three searchlights were put out.
P/O Sanderson from No. 218 Squadron, bombed Herrenwyk as well. His first bomb was seen hitting the target, while the rest of them shot over their mark. When Sanderson left the target area, six fires were observed in the area. Sanderson managed to bring Stirling W7562 back to RAF Marham, even though the wire belonging to the generator of the right engine, was cut by a piece of flak. There were only minor damages to the plane.
No. 218 Squadron dispatched 6 Stirlings, of with two abourted before the target. Both S/Ldr. Oldroyd and P/O Farquharson dropped their bombs before the target and returned, because they could not find the target area due to 'ground haze'. They landed as the first of their squadron.
After the mission, three Stirlings reported that they had attacked their primary target. W/Cdr. Holder, in Stirling N3763 (HA-Q) identified the target with the help of Hemmelsdorfer See and two fires, which were already well underway in the target area. During the attack, Stirling N3763 was hit many places by anti-aircraft artillery, but Holder managed to get back to England. The plane was, at that point, just 3 weeks old in the squadron. Stirling N3763 was to be lost during another attack on Lübeck, on the night between the 1st and 2nd October, 1942, where Sgt. Griffiths and his entire crew were killed. HA-Q crashed at Hubertus after 11 operative missions.
P/O Abberton in Stirling BF 315 (HA-F) dropped bombs in the dock area. The crew assumed that they had hit the slipways with two bombs. The attack was carried out under the cloud cover at 6000 feet over Lübeck. Aside from the detonations, no other results were observed in the target area.
The Danish ship, S/S Dalaware from Copenhagen (22890 BRT), was destroyed by a bomb, while it lay in Herrenwyk. The attacking Stirlings clearly hit the target area, but aside from that, they bombed several other places near the target. The Germans reported that 15 high-explosive bombs hit the town of Lübeck. In Schlutup, with is just across from Herrenwyk, on the southern side of Trave, 6 high-explosive bombs fell on Hochofenwerk Schlutup. The gas furnace and gas piping were hit and the gas supply to Lübeck was cut off. Norddeutsche Kraftwerke was also hit. This meant that Lübeck needed electricity, resulting in a stop for trolley traffic. The chemical plant, IG Farben, was also damaged, but there were no production losses.
P/O Bullock, the pilot on board Stirling W7475 (HA-H) from No. 218 Squadron, had a dramatic mission, where from he almost didn't make it back. After the mission, the crew said the following in their combat report:
‘We are intercepted over Denmark at 2.000 feet after breaking cloud 15 mins previously, the first sighting were 2 Me 110 at 800 yds 300 ft below. They immediately made climbing attacks on either quarter. The evasive action taken was a diving turn, enabling the rear and mid upper gunners to fire good bursts into enemy aircraft. The enemy aircraft broke away at 200 yards passing below us. The Me 110’s then climbed to about 200 ft above us in the port quarter and came in to attack, the second 200 yards behind the first, as the first broke away at 200 yards down in the port, the second began firing. The mid upper fired at the first on the break away the rear gunner took the second Me 110 coming in, who broke away below at 200 yards. As the second Me 110 was breaking away an Fw 187 was seen down on the atarboard quarter and a Ju 88 made an attack from up on our starboard beam. As the Ju 88 broke away at 100 yards down on our port beam a piece of his cockpit cowling was seen to break off (caused by fires from rear turret). We last saw the Ju 88 diving away on the port with smoke coming from his fuselage and his guns still firing.
At this time another Ju 88 made a low attack and the Me 110’s were climbing above us at about 1.000 yards away. The captain had seen an aerodrome about 3 milees away and made for it to try and jettison our bombs on it. The two Me 110’s made two more quarter attacks and the Ju 88 several bow and beam attacks before we dropped our bombs on the aerodrome at 1.400 ft. Some light flak received from the aerodrome. Immediately after this an Me 110 made an astern attack closing to 150 yards. The Me 110’s continued to make quarter and beam attacks from above us and the Ju 88 bow and beam attacks, breaking away at 200 to 250 yards always below us. The Fw 187 all this time followed about 1.000 yards but did not attack. We then decided to come down to zero feet and hedge hopped across Denmark, in doing so we lost the Ju 88 and Fw 187.
One Me 110 flew on our port beam at about 400 to 800 yards, the other was slowly catching us up on the starboard quarter. He came into 300 yards but did not fire and on receiving a burst from the rear gunner sheared off to 600 yards in the starboard quarter. The Me 110 on the port once began to come in but on receiving a burst from the front and mid upper gunners sheared off to about 600 yards on the bow to beam where he received several good bursts from the front gunner, the mid upper gunner reserving his ammunition. It seemed as though the enemy aircraft would not attack us at this height, our speed was 240 m.p.h.
We eventually reached some low cloud into which we climbed quickly. As we climbed both Me 110’s came in to attack but we lost them in the cloud when they were at about 400 yards range. After flying in the could for about 2 minutes one Me 110 was seen 100 yards dead astern firing at us. We immediately turned to port and lost him.
Damage to our aircraft was negligible, about six cannon shells and a few machine gun bullets under the main planes. Rounds fired - 3.400 by rear gunner, 1.600 by mid upper gunner and 1.200 by front gunner. The engagement lasted 20 minutes’.
Bf 110C-4 Werk Nr. 2134 from 6./NJG 3 landed at Fliegerhorst Schleswig with 40% damages due to enemy fire. The air field that P/O Bullock bombed, was Flughafen Blankensee, a bit northeast of Itzehoe. Six high-explosive bombs fell on the outer part of the flight path and destroyed, among other things part of the 'Ringgleis'. Five people on the air field were wounded, of which three of them were hit by fragments from their own anti-aircraft artillery.
No. 214 Squadron at RAF Stradishall, dispatched three Stirlings. None of these managed to get to the target area. As previously mentioned, Sgt. Fleming in Stirling BU-H was fired at over Esbjerg and aborted at Flensburg. The two other Stirlings, upon arriving home, reported that they had run into fighters. F/Lt. Simich, in Stirling R9141 (BU-G) aborted the mission just west of Haderslev, because he didn't feel the cloud cover was dense enough. On the way back, at 21.49 hours, he was attacked by a Bf 109 at an altitude of 1,500 feet, while he was on a westerly course a bit south of Ribe. His combat report is as follows:
‘Enemy aircraft attacked starboard bow about 50 ft above, firing one burst of believed cannon and machine gun. Front gunner (Sgt. de Freitas) returned fire split second later. Mid upper gunner (F/Lt Griffiths) unable to fire owing to intercom u/s. Enemy aircraft broke away astern to port. Not seen again. Stirling turned slightly towards enemy aircraft during attack. No claim’.
F/Lt. Simich managed to return to RAF Stradishall, where after 5 hours and 52 minutes, he landed with his bombs intact. A few weeks later, New Zealander F/Lt. Simich and all of his crew members survived, but were taken prisoner, after they were shot down at Büsum on the 27th of July 1942 during an attack on Hamburg.
Simichs squadron mate, P/O Massey, in Stirling BU-A was also attacked by Bf109s in the same area. It has not been possible to find out which unit the two Stirlings had been in combat with. Jagdgeschwader 1, which covered that particular area, has no reports of air combat at that time.
P/O Massey's combat report is as follows:
‘Stirling was flying towards cloud and mist which was slightly above base about 2.000 ft. Rear gunner (P/O Wynyard), mid upper gunner (Sgt. Edge) and wireless operator (Sgt. Moody), in astrodome, all saw Me 109F simultaneously on starboard beam, 600 yards away about 50 ft below. The Me 109 approached climbing out of wispy cloud and when it was about 400 yards away and level, Stirling opened fire from mid upper and rear simultaneously with enemy aircraft. Enemy aircraft closed to 200 yards firing the whole time with machine guns. Both gunners of Stirling gave it 4 or 5 bursts. No hits were observed on enemy aircraft. Enemy aircraft broke away below banking to starboard and disappeared into cloud again.
Enemy aircraft approached again out of cloud, appearing at 400 yards on starboard beam level and opened fire. Mid upper gunner and rear gunner replied with short bursts; at 200 yards enemy aircraft dived vertically with smoke coming out of its tail. During these two attacks the captain (P/O Massie) climbed and corkscrewed his aim was to eventually reach cloud base ahead at 2.000 ft.
As soon as enemy aircraft dived rear gunner suddenly noticed a similiar enemy aircraft turning in from starboard astern at about 400 yeards. After one burst mid upper and rear turrets went completely u/s. Enemy aircraft continued firing till it broke off at 200 yards diving underneath to port. Stirling had now reached cloud and no further attack developed. It was subsequently found that the hydraulic pipes to rear and mid upper turrets had been shot away near the recuperators. Captain was corkscrewing and climbing during this attack’.
P/O Massey also brought bombs back with him to England, where he landed after having flown 5 hours and 44 minutes.
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