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  #1  
Old 16th July 2017, 12:30
Cofian Cofian is offline
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bombing raid 23rd of March 1945

L.S.,

I am trying to piece a jigsaw together in order to be able completely explain the third major bombing raid on Doetinchem on the 23rd of March 1945. The first two (19th of March and 21st of March, both 1945) were already long time resolved in that these were a specific dive-bombing attack (the 19th) and an error bombing of the RAF (21st of March). The 23rd of March bombing raid, until I cracked it in 2015, was upto then only assumed to be another RAF mistake. This however was actually done by 1 US plane. There however must have been another, yet unknown, target (village or town) which received some 72 bombs which is the last unknown in this riddle. That target, most likely in Germany, must then have been bombed at around 17.08-17.10 by 3 possibly 4, US Marauders. (3 did actually drop bombs, the 4th plane belonged to the group).

The only way to find this is to piece it together by timings and by actual targets being hit, so by having reports of actual raids. This because the reporting is not correct, and what has been recorded as ‘target’ actually was at all not attacked.

Sofar I have been unable to determine this specific target. Does anyone reading this have any data on a possible village/town that was hit at around 17:10 on the 23rd of March 1945 in Nordrhein-Westfalen, most likely the parts (Regierungsbezirke) Munster or Dusseldorf?
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Old 18th July 2017, 07:22
MW Giles MW Giles is offline
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Re: bombing raid 23rd of March 1945

I only have details on half the 9th BD Groups, but their targets were all just over the boarder in Germany


Ahaus 9 AF 344BG
Biskirchen 9 AF 394BG
Coesfeld 9 AF 416BG
Coesfeld 9 AF 344BG
Coesfeld 9 AF 387BG
Coesfeld 9 AF 397BG
Haltern 9 AF 397BG
Leaflet 9 AF 394BG
Stadtlohn 9 AF 387BG
Vreden 9 AF 416BG

RAF 2 Group (2 TAF) were also in that area, slightly to the west. These are all the relevant RAF squadrons

Anholt 226 Mitchell
Anholt 342 Boston
Bocholt 98 Mitchell
Bocholt 180 Mitchell
Bocholt 320 Mitchell
Borken 88 Boston
Borken 226 Mitchell
Borken 342 Boston
Dorsten Holsterhausen 98 Mitchell
Dorsten Holsterhausen 180 Mitchell
Dorsten Holsterhausen 320 Mitchell
Isselburg 88 Boston
Isselburg 226 Mitchell

Regards

Martin
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Old 18th July 2017, 10:01
Cofian Cofian is offline
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Re: bombing raid 23rd of March 1945

Thomas, thanks.

Actaully I am seaching for a bombing raid that DOES NO fit with the data. In other words, I think that a target of opportunity was attacked by these 3/4 Marauders. The story is that the leadplane of this flight (then excisting of 4 planes) during the second bombrun on the main taget (Schermbeck) suffered flak damage. She could not complete the bombrun and instructed the deputy of the flight to do so. She did have too little time to take over. Subsequently the remaining 3 were instructed to 'bomb an alternative target'. The mission reports then indicate that 'they attacked a village they thought to still be in Germany', another report indicates pretty adamantly they bombed Zelhem (which by the way is 5 KM NE off Doetinchem). If there is one thing I am certain about (apart from the flight leader later dropping his bombs on Doetinchem ofcourse) then it is that they did NOT bomb Zelhem!

The point: what DID they bomb at around 17:08-17:10 on the 23rd of March??? It must be somewhere: 1) in the area of Schermbeck and, 2) to the east of Doetinchem upto 3) north of Doetinchem. They had ample time: they were over Schermbeck at around 16:53, they dropped their bombs over the alternative target at 17:08-17:10 and then, while flying from the NNE headed over Doetinchem straight back to base (Paris: the others followed the IN=OUT route over Neede, Apeldoorn end Eindhoven) where slightly before 17:30 the leadplane of the 4 dropped her remaining bombs.
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Old 18th July 2017, 11:45
RSwank RSwank is online now
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Re: bombing raid 23rd of March 1945

So, are you saying it was possibly some planes from the 597th BS, 397th BG? Their targets on 23 March 1944 were in the morning Borken and the afternoon Schermbeck.

(Search for "Schermbeck" on this link):

http://www.b26.com/page/597th_bomb_squadron_history.htm

The Schermbeck attack was done PPF with "undetermined" results.

23 March, AM Borken Communication Center Excellent
Crews: Coryell, Terwilliger, Gardner, Yeany, Hurley, Lawrie, Surface, LaForet, George.

PM Schermbeck Communication Center Undet. (PPF)
Crews: Leaverton, Gardner, Surface, Emerson, Pittman, Lloyd, Yeany, Stout.

Leaverton would be George B Leaverton.
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Old 18th July 2017, 12:17
Cofian Cofian is offline
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Re: bombing raid 23rd of March 1945

It indeed was the 397 BG, (by more or less co-incidence) the leader of box II, flight B, dropped the bombs on Doetinchem following their ‘failure’ on Schermbeck. This was ascertained in 2015 and was published in the (local) newspapers (18th and 24th of March 2015, see also WIKIPEDIA (https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doetinchem_(stad)), by chance also just before its 70-th anniversary. Locally it meant a lot, as it had been a question for nearly 70 years whether it had been an ‘on purpose’ attack (= requested by the resistance) or an ‘accident’. The consequence of an ‘on purpose’ attack could be that local resistance members might feel themselves responsible for the victims of the attack. My conclusions were simply that plane 8077 dropped the bombs by chance over Doetinchem on their way back to base. The flight leader did so even trying to drop them ‘safe’, although he could not prevent some of them to have gone out ‘armed’. The consequence was that 16 bombs (of the 28 on board) have been accounted for, 10 exploded at the time, 5 did not (and were removed) and in 1973 a 6th had been found and removed. This already proves that indeed most bombs had gone out un-armed.

As indicated, the other 3 planes after the happenings over Schermbeck did drop their bombs somewhere, and that is the last remaining part of the riddle. But where…? Somewhere thus suddenly 3 US Marauders dropped 72 bombs at around 17:08-17:10 on the 23rd of March 1945 and this attack (I presume) thus also is still a mystery for those who are trying to piece together who dropped those 72 bombs at that time. There must be a match…..
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Old 18th July 2017, 12:29
Delmenhorst Delmenhorst is offline
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Re: bombing raid 23rd of March 1945

Hi Cofian

Pls send me your email adress and I will send you some 9th AF information about the 23rd of March. It takes up to much space to send it via this site

Carsten
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Old 18th July 2017, 19:16
RSwank RSwank is online now
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Re: bombing raid 23rd of March 1945

The University of Akron has large collection of B-26 material including the Henry C Beck Collection. Beck was the Chief Photo Intelligence Officer of the 397th BG. See this link:

http://ead.ohiolink.edu/xtf-ead/view...;brand=default

Listed in the collection (BOX 3 / Folder 50) are the strike photos and mission reports for

Schrembeck communications center - p.m., March 23, 1945

I have no idea how much is in his collection and perhaps you are already aware of this material. There may not be anything related to the mission "failures" on that date, but it might be worth checking it out if that has not been done.
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Old 18th July 2017, 19:46
Cofian Cofian is offline
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Re: bombing raid 23rd of March 1945

Just communicated directly with Casten on the documents he send. I did not have (at least) the second part of the docs (say the landscape ones). Unfortunately the info is similar as in the mission folder; they addamently try to push through to have bombed Zelhem (the 3 planes with 72 bombs). As I indicated, one of the things I am certain about is that they did NOT bomb Zelhem that afternoon, because it simply was not bombed that day. Zelhem was on the target list though, but then by fighterbombers of the 146 wing. They were actually over the target to that evening, but did not attack because of the haze and the failing light that evening. The 146 wing returned the next morning early to execute the job......

So queston remains: what did the 3 planes bomb with their 72 bombs (12 bombs had hung from one plane, he brought them home again)? There must be a location in (presumably) Germany, possibly The Netherlands that was bombed by 3 planes with a fourth plane passing over as well but not bombing. People (like us) who are historically investigating this attack from their side can not find who done it as well, since there is no record of it. I try to find these guys and by puting the particulars together we might be able to pinpoint where these 72 bombs were dropped.
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Old 18th July 2017, 19:51
Cofian Cofian is offline
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Re: bombing raid 23rd of March 1945

As to the strike foto's: the camera-plane of the B-flight of box II which was the flight which had the 3 planes bombing the alternative target and the fourth plane bombing Doetinchem, was seconded during the flight to the A and C flights, which bombed together and had lost theirs during the trip to the main target....
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