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  #1  
Old 6th November 2017, 22:52
Hamsterman Hamsterman is offline
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Luftwaffe around Verona, 6 November 1944

Hi all,
I've been doing some digging into Operation Bingo which was the name of the Allied operation targeting electrical rail transport through the Brenner Pass on 6 November 1944. Both the 310th and 340th BG (B-25s) reported that "...enemy aircraft made one unaggressive pass at the formation in the target area...". The, "...crews report from 8-12 E/A (enemy aircraft) possible ME109's, FW190's, Ma202's..." and that the, "...markings were 3 white stripes on fuselage.". The target areas for the 6 November raids stretched from Verona to Bolzano but the B-25 target areas were Domigliara, Ala and Trento.
Do any of you know which Luftwaffe units would have been operating in that area on 6 November 1944? Would this have been a single unit operating 109s, 190s and 202s or multiple units? Any idea if there are mission reports that would describe which plane intercepted the B-25s on that day?
As most of you can quickly guess, my Luftwaffe knowledge is minimal at best so any help would be great.
Thanks.
Chris
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Old 6th November 2017, 23:35
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Re: Luftwaffe around Verona, 6 November 1944

No Luftwaffe fighter units remained in Italy after the first third of September but there was the Italian Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana. I've got nothing on them for 6 November but they were up on the 5th and engaged the 320th BG. The ANR's IIº Gruppo Caccia (= Second Fighter Group) shot down two B-26s and badly damaged another which crashed into the sea later. Bomber gunners damaged three Bf 109s which made emergency landings (one pilot wounded).

Allied pilots over Italy frequently reported all kinds of aircraft opposing them that weren't actually there. There were no Macchi 202s still in service; there were Fw 190s but engaged in night bombing, and air sea rescue patrols over the Adriatic. So Fw 190s are possible but tackling bombers isn't what they were supposed to be doing. The ANR fighter units by this time were exclusively Bf 109-equipped.
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Old 7th November 2017, 00:18
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Re: Luftwaffe around Verona, 6 November 1944

Thanks Nick,
Did a "quick" check on all things ANR. Am I correct that there were only two squadrons (1 and 2) but only the #2 squadron would have been operational on 6 November and would have been based at Aviano?

In saying that you have nothing for them on 6 November does that mean you have the records and they didn't fly or you just don't have any records for that date?

No 202s. What about 205s? Would those also have been phased out by that time?

Any idea why the bomber crews would have described three white stripes on the fuselage? I can't find any ANR Bf-109s with any markings even somewhat resembling three white stripes.

Thanks!
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Old 7th November 2017, 12:01
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Re: Luftwaffe around Verona, 6 November 1944

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamsterman View Post
Thanks Nick,
Did a "quick" check on all things ANR. Am I correct that there were only two squadrons (1 and 2) but only the #2 squadron would have been operational on 6 November and would have been based at Aviano?
The IIº Gr. C. moved to Aviano on 4 November.

The Gruppi were more like USAAF Groups — consisting of three Squadriglie (squadron-sized units). Only the IIº Gr. C. (Roman numerals for Gruppi, Arabic for Squadriglie) was operational at this point. The Iº Gr. C. didn't return from training in Germany until January 1945.

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In saying that you have nothing for them on 6 November does that mean you have the records and they didn't fly or you just don't have any records for that date?
I co-wrote a book about 25 years ago called "Air War Italy 1944–45". My two Italian friends did most of the ANR research but sadly the one I mostly corresponded with (he was the English speaker) has since died. He and his colleague had interviewed many ANR veterans and had a big collection of diaries, photos, letters and documents. They did not uncover any operational flying for 6 November 1944. Of course, an operation shows up much more clearly when there are claims and losses and it's not even clear if anyone fired a shot at the 310th BG in that "unaggressive pass".

I didn't find anything in Allied Signals Intelligence reports, daily operations summaries or ULTRA decrypts. I can't say we didn't possibly miss something during our years of research (and anyway, Axis documentation is fragmentary) only that we didn't find evidence of an ANR action on the 6th. There was no public internet then—you wrote letters and travelled to archives—so we didn't have those online mission reports for 310th BG for example.

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No 202s. What about 205s? Would those also have been phased out by that time?
Bf 109s only: 42 (of which 27 were serviceable) on 2 November.

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Any idea why the bomber crews would have described three white stripes on the fuselage? I can't find any ANR Bf-109s with any markings even somewhat resembling three white stripes.
Because, time and time again, airmen on all sides reported things "seen" in combat which weren't there, or misinterpreted what was there. They were trying, after the event, to make sense of fleeting impressions in situations where their lives had been in immediate danger.
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Old 7th November 2017, 22:52
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Re: Luftwaffe around Verona, 6 November 1944

Hi Nick,
Thanks for your detailed response and your patience with me! (I'm not sure which is more impressive. :-) )

I know enough about the B-25 groups to be dangerous but next to nothing about the ANR. I hope I didn't come off as dismissive but given how little I know about the subject I wanted to make sure I had all the details straight.

Everything you mentioned points to the IIº Gr. C. being the likely enemy aircraft unit that was spotted by those B-25 groups so I'll go with that.

As I looked back through several mission reports by the 310th, 321st and 340th BGs last night I was interested to see just how many instances the B-25 crews reported sighting FW-190s and Ma202 in late 1944 and early 1945. I suppose (as you surmised) that when planes are coming at you at 400mph, everything looks like a FW190, BF109 or Ma202 if that's what you're expecting to see. To make things even more interesting, one crew also reported seeing jet contrails. Do you know of any Me262s, Me163s or Ar234s in Italy or is this just another case of misinterpreting things? I was also interested at how many other times both Iº Gr. C. and IIº Gr. C. tangled with the B-25s and their "escorts". Two stuck out in my mind: 10 December 1944 and 14 March 1945. I don't suppose you have any specific details on those engagements?

I'm also going to look for your book before I forget.
Thanks again.
Chris
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Old 8th November 2017, 01:17
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Re: Luftwaffe around Verona, 6 November 1944

The only Axis jets in Italy were three Ar 234 of Kommando Sommer, which you can read about on my website: http://ghostbombers.com/recon/234/Sommer/kdo_s_1.html
If you want to read about those other combats, can I suggest you look online for a copy of "Air War Italy 1944-45: The Axis Air Forces from the Liberation of Rome to the Surrender" by Nick Beale, Ferdinando D'Amico & Gabriele Valentini (Airlife, 1996) ISBN 1 85310 252 0?
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Old 8th November 2017, 17:28
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Re: Luftwaffe around Verona, 6 November 1944

Thanks Nick. I'll look for your book.
Cheers!
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