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  #1  
Old 17th May 2019, 12:01
Regulus1 Regulus1 is offline
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Ju 88 Bombardment Biskra (Algeria) aerodrome 10 Jan 1943

Hi,

On 10 January 1943 there was a bombardment on Biskra aerodrome, Algeria destroying a C-47, a P-38, two B-17's and badly damaging another one.
I know it was done by Ju 88 planes, but that's where it stops.
I also know that on 2 Jnauary there was an attempt to bomb the aerodrome as well by one or more planes from 3/KG77
Any ideas on the unit that bombed Biskra that day ? Number of planes that participated ?
Thanks !

Johan
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Old 17th May 2019, 14:28
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Ju 88 Bombardment Biskra (Algeria) aerodrome 10 Jan 1943

Nothing in "History of the Mediterranean Air War, vol 3" about this raid, except the US aircraft losses.

Nothing in "Fw 190 over Africa": III./SKG 10 was not involved, and I./JG 2 did not escort the raid.

Nothing either in the book "Pride of Seattle", which lists the two B-17 destroyed but only say they were destroyed on the ground.

I am not even sure if the raid was a daylight one or at night. Both HMAW and Pride of Seattle say that a third B-17, 42-24419 was destroyed on the ground at Biskra on 9 January 1943. It could be two different raids, or the same one during the night of 9-10 January with one loss reported on the 9th and the other on the 10th.
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Old 17th May 2019, 14:54
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Ju 88 Bombardment Biskra (Algeria) aerodrome 10 Jan 1943

I found an extract of the diary of Lt Col Clyde W Gabler in the book "Voices of My Comrades: America's Reserve Officers Remember World War II", page 102.
"At night or dusk, the German Ju-88 bombers would attack the airfield at Biskra - a suitable target since B-17s and P-38s were there in considerable numbers." "On 10 January 1943, we were attacked at dusk. You could hear and see them coming in at a very low altitude - even see the bombs being released from under the wings, as we dove for our foxholes. We lost, destroyed on the ground, three P-38s from the 71st Squadron. Also, the Bomb Group lost some B-17s...
Just after this Ju 88 raid, the base received an anto-aircraft battalion with 90mm guns. There was no radar at Biskra but the anti-aircraft outfit was equipped with searchlights for night-spotting of enemy aircraft. The visists by the Ju-88s ceased."

And another diary, the one of 1st Lt Will Seaton Arnett USAAF, I believe from extracts of the diary that he belonged to 419th BS, 301st BG and that his aircraft '67' was the 41-24367 damaged beyond repair in the raid:
"January 10, 1943
A mission was planned this morning and I was supposed to go along with the new crew (Calvert) that just arrived, but a big sand storm came up and brother it was plenty RUGGED. I'm still digging sand out of my ears and spitting mud.
A JU-88 came over tonight and dropped some bombs on the field. I watched it from the hotel roof but didn't know how much damage was done. One pretty big fire was started. Sure hope he didn't hit ole "67".


January 11, 1943
I under estimated the raid last night tremendously because when I went out there this morning I learned that there was at least five planes making dive bombing attacks. Three planes were completely demolished, one B-17 burned, one C-47 got a direct hit and one P-38 got hit by bomb fragments and set on fire. My plane is in the so called "bone yard" for repairs and the two of the above were within 20 yards of it. One bomb hit in front and two at the rear making a triangle and it got hit from all angles. It is repairable but will take about two weeks to do it.
One man was killed and several injured. One kid that I run around with a lot, Calcote, got a bomb crater about ten yards from his tent. He came in and slept with me the rest of the night.


January 14, 1943
Our plane was made Tech supply this morning much to my joy, because I didn't ever want to fly it again after the plastering it got the other night by the bombing.
It happened again last night about 8 o'clock. It sounded like they were blowing the whole field off the map but discovered this morning that they missed it entirely. They bombed a decoy light about two miles away which was lit after they dropped their first load. They aren't so smart after all.
There is one hell of a sand storm in progress today. You can hardly breathe out at the field."


Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peo...a4647765.shtml
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Old 17th May 2019, 15:27
Andrew Arthy Andrew Arthy is offline
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Re: Ju 88 Bombardment Biskra (Algeria) aerodrome 10 Jan 1943

Hi,

Twelve Luftwaffe Ju 88s took part in the raid on the night of 10/11 January 1943, with the attack occurring at 19:00. Three of the twelve Ju 88s had to break off the mission early. Total Allied losses were one B-17, one P-38 and one C-47 destroyed, two B-17s severely damaged, two aircraft with slight damage, and seven others lightly damaged by splinters. The 1st FG journal mentions nothing about three 71st FS/1st FG P-38s being lost, and only records the destruction of one P-38 from the 94th FS/1st FG, one B-17 and one C-47.

Cheers,
Andrew A.
Air War Publications - www.airwarpublications.com
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Old 17th May 2019, 15:31
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Ju 88 Bombardment Biskra (Algeria) aerodrome 10 Jan 1943

Another source: http://www.reddog1944.com/Knobloch_9..._Biskra002.pdf
Apparently the raids on Biskra were done by 1-2 Ju 88, except the one of 10 January that was a bigger one.
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Old 17th May 2019, 15:33
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Ju 88 Bombardment Biskra (Algeria) aerodrome 10 Jan 1943

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Arthy View Post
Hi,

Twelve Luftwaffe Ju 88s took part in the raid on the night of 10/11 January 1943, with the attack occurring at 19:00. Three of the twelve Ju 88s had to break off the mission early. Total Allied losses were one B-17, one P-38 and one C-47 destroyed, two B-17s severely damaged, two aircraft with slight damage, and seven others lightly damaged by splinters. The 1st FG journal mentions nothing about three 71st FS/1st FG P-38s being lost, and only records the destruction of one P-38 from the 94th FS/1st FG, one B-17 and one C-47.

Cheers,
Andrew A.
Air War Publications - www.airwarpublications.com
Hello Andy, thanks for that. Any idea of the Ju 88 unit(s) ? Also do you have something similar for 2 and 9 January ?
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Old 17th May 2019, 18:19
Regulus1 Regulus1 is offline
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Re: Ju 88 Bombardment Biskra (Algeria) aerodrome 10 Jan 1943

Gentlemen,

Thank you very much, this is a very good start on the matter !

The destroyed/damaged B-17's we know of are :

41-24367 Ass 419BS/301BG Westover 7/7/42; Podington 6/8/42; Tafaraoui 24/11/42; bombed by Luftwaffe at Biskra base 10/1/43. Sal.

41-24388 Ass 92BG Bangor 31/7/42; 340BS/97BG Polebrook 8/42; damaged UK 7/9/42, rep; flew Gens Doolittle & Lemnitzer to Gibraltar 6/11/42; Maison Blanche 13/11/42; Tafaraoui 22/11/42; badly damaged again by enemy ground attack on Biskra 10/1/43; Sal 14/1/43.
Nickname Summers’ Sleepers

41-24419 Ass 92BG Bangor 14/7/42; 341BS/97BG Polebrook 8/42; Maison Blanche 13/11/42; Tafaraoui 22/11/42; Biskra 25/12/42; bombed on base by Luftwaffe 10/1/43; Sal.

(From Fortlog)

The C-47 was was 41-7806

No details on the P-38...

The unit that attacked remains a mystery, but this is already a big step forward !

Johan
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Old 18th May 2019, 01:32
Andrew Arthy Andrew Arthy is offline
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Re: Ju 88 Bombardment Biskra (Algeria) aerodrome 10 Jan 1943

Hi,

There was an attack on the night of 2/3 January 1943 by fifteen Ju 88s, unit unknown but probably K.G. 30. Three aircraft returned early. Another attack was flown on that night by seven Ju 88s, with two returning early. I'm not certain, but I think this was by K.G. 54.

The units on the night of 3/4 January 1943 were II./K.G. 30 (five Ju 88s) and III./K.G. 30 (eight Ju 88s). Five aircraft returned early.

I could not find any Allied reports for a raid on Biskra on 9 January, or 9/10 January, nor any German reports of such a mission.

The unit on the night of 10/11 January 1943 was II./K.G. 30.

Hopefully someone else can add to the above.

Cheers,
Andrew A.
Air War Publications - www.airwarpublications.com
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Old 19th May 2019, 02:08
RudiS RudiS is online now
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Re: Ju 88 Bombardment Biskra (Algeria) aerodrome 10 Jan 1943

As for KG 54 I have the following attacks on Biskra a/f:
Dec 23 1942: II & III./KG54 (source: Radtke)
Dec 26 1942: II & III./KG54 (source: Radtke)
Jan 14 1943: II & III./KG54 (source: Radtke)

For Jan 14th 1943 I have the following entry from a Flugbuch:
FB Uffz Leo Ottmann of III./KG54:
Take off 1716hr Catania Landing 2305hr Catania Ju 88 B3+MP:
droped 2 SD250 bombs "on target" - encountered light AAA

I have nothing for Jan the 10th.
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Rudi
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Old 19th May 2019, 14:19
Regulus1 Regulus1 is offline
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Re: Ju 88 Bombardment Biskra (Algeria) aerodrome 10 Jan 1943

Ok ! This is getting exactly where I was hoping for ! Thank you very much Andrew and Rudi !
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