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Old 4th April 2012, 04:39
Larry Hickey Larry Hickey is offline
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Help solve a mystery involving a 6./StG77 Ju87B force landed near Dunkirk

Hello,

Today I received three photos of a Ju87B-1 that force-landed in fairly good condition with an apparently undamaged undercarriage in foot-high grass. The hand-written caption on the back, says "Loon Plage, Dunkirk (France), 16.06.40." It carried the codes S2+MP and the Staffel badge for 6./StG77 (an American bison--or is it just a large bull). My guess is that the date is when the photos were taken, not when the plane force-landed, which would probably have been sometime between about May 26th and June 3rd, 1940, during Operation Dynamo--the Dunkirk evacuation.

The problem is that there is no loss to that unit that even comes close to matching these photos.

In our EoE DB, Peter Cornwell has identified only two a/c from that unit with recorded battle damage in the Dunkirk area, both on May 29th. This fits the right time frame.

"6./StG77 Junkers Ju87B-1. Shot down in the sea by fighters and heavy AA fire during attack on shipping in Dunkirk harbour 7.50 p.m. FF Lt Franz Herlt and BF Gefr Hans Scherber both missing. Aircraft 100% write-off."

Another from that unit was slightly damaged on that same day, with the gunner badly WIA. However, this a/c appears to have returned to base.

"6./StG77 Junkers Ju87B-1. Returned badly damaged by fighters and AA fire during attack on shipping in Dunkirk harbour 7.50 p.m. Pilot unhurt, BF Uffz Hans Siems badly wounded - admitted to hospital in Bitburg. Aircraft under 10% damaged - repairable."

Peter notes: "Luftwaffe General Quartermaster Returns dated 2.6.40 lists these three StG77 losses on May 25 (LJH NOTE: the other was Stabstaffel./StG77), but personnel loss lists for the unit indicate otherwise."

There was no loss or damage reported to any other 6./StG77 Stuka anywhere near Dunkirk during the Western Campaign. A third incident that day resulted in a crew from the Stabstaffel of StG77 being damaged by flak over Dunkirk early that morning and setting down near Calais with 10% battle damage and slight injuries to the crew, including the StaKap of the Stabstaffel. Unless this crew was flying a 6 Staffel a/c and the reported landing site is wrong, this seems an unlikely candidate.

I suspect that the solution to this mystery is that the crew we've recorded as shot down into the sea that day actually came down on land (the a/c in the photos), which at that time would have probably been behind Allied lines. The crewmen are apparently carried as missing in Luftwaffe records, but may have came down on land, got caught up in the chaos of the Dunkirk evacuation and were subsequently lost, without recovery of identifiable bodies. From Peter's notes, it appears that the records for StG77 during this period are incomplete, confusing or both. Does anyone have any information or insight into this incident or StG77 records that would help us resolve this mystery? Seems like a long shot, but you've solved some tough ones before.

Thanks,
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Old 4th April 2012, 06:03
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ianatheling ianatheling is offline
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Re: Help solve a mystery involving a 6./StG77 Ju87B force landed near Dunkirk

I asked the same question here, but with no solution offered. I am not sure if this helps, but at the same time on eBay was a crashed Bf110C also at Loon Plage. This was coded ˂__+CB and was also probably late May 1940. But the id seems even more elusive than the Ju87.


The photos of the Ju87 and Bf110 appear to come from the same camera, so finding the date for one, could help with the other?


Ian
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Old 4th April 2012, 10:12
Larry Hickey Larry Hickey is offline
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Re: Help solve a mystery involving a 6./StG77 Ju87B force landed near Dunkirk

Ian,

Yes, these are the same Ju87 photos that I acquired on eBay. Ed North was correct in his reading of the plane code; it was S2+MP.

The Bf110 auctioned on the same day is not "elusive." Peter Cornwell has concluded that it was the following a/c:

"May 26, 1940: Stab I./ZG1 Messerschmitt Bf110C. Shot down in combat over Calais during escort sortie for Ju88s of III./KG4 and belly-landed at Bourbourg alongside the road to Gravelines 2.00 p.m. FF Oberlt Konrad Martin (Gruppen TO) killed, BF Fw Herbert Kräft captured wounded – later released. Aircraft < 2N+CB 100% write-off."

Both of these losses took place in the same general area, but probably about three days apart, although I believe that they were photographed 2-3 weeks later by whoever took the pictures.

Regards,
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Old 4th April 2012, 13:56
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Help solve a mystery involving a 6./StG77 Ju87B force landed near Dunkirk

Another possibility is that this crew force-landed after the surrender of the pocket.

It is fairly intact, so I doubt it was brought by enemy fire. And if it had landed near Loon-Plage area, that was then packed with Allied troops, it would have been either destroyed by order, or at least reduced to a wreck by souvenir collectors.

Given his state on 16 June, my own guess will be a forced-landing due to technical problem after the surrender: it could be an official flight, or just a crew wanting to have a see from the sky on the devastation they did the days before. Knowing airmen, it is also possible that the Ju 87 was landed there to go to the beach and pick up some souvenirs of the remains of the Allied armies scattered in the area... and then could not take off again.
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Old 4th April 2012, 14:01
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Re: Help solve a mystery involving a 6./StG77 Ju87B force landed near Dunkirk

Thanks Larry for the info on the Bf110. I have updated a thread at LEMB here where the question was left unclear, although with an earlier slightly different solution from Peter Cornwell.

Cheers
Ian
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Old 4th April 2012, 23:27
ahafan ahafan is offline
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Re: Help solve a mystery involving a 6./StG77 Ju87B force landed near Dunkirk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Hickey View Post
Hello,

Today I received three photos of a Ju87B-1 that force-landed in fairly good condition with an apparently undamaged undercarriage in foot-high grass. The hand-written caption on the back, says "Loon Plage, Dunkirk (France), 16.06.40." It carried the codes S2+MP and the Staffel badge for 6./StG77 (an American bison--or is it just a large bull). My guess is that the date is when the photos were taken, not when the plane force-landed, which would probably have been sometime between about May 26th and June 3rd, 1940, during Operation Dynamo--the Dunkirk evacuation.

The problem is that there is no loss to that unit that even comes close to matching these photos.

In our EoE DB, Peter Cornwell has identified only two a/c from that unit with recorded battle damage in the Dunkirk area, both on May 29th. This fits the right time frame.

"6./StG77 Junkers Ju87B-1. Shot down in the sea by fighters and heavy AA fire during attack on shipping in Dunkirk harbour 7.50 p.m. FF Lt Franz Herlt and BF Gefr Hans Scherber both missing. Aircraft 100% write-off."

Another from that unit was slightly damaged on that same day, with the gunner badly WIA. However, this a/c appears to have returned to base.

"6./StG77 Junkers Ju87B-1. Returned badly damaged by fighters and AA fire during attack on shipping in Dunkirk harbour 7.50 p.m. Pilot unhurt, BF Uffz Hans Siems badly wounded - admitted to hospital in Bitburg. Aircraft under 10% damaged - repairable."

Peter notes: "Luftwaffe General Quartermaster Returns dated 2.6.40 lists these three StG77 losses on May 25 (LJH NOTE: the other was Stabstaffel./StG77), but personnel loss lists for the unit indicate otherwise."

There was no loss or damage reported to any other 6./StG77 Stuka anywhere near Dunkirk during the Western Campaign. A third incident that day resulted in a crew from the Stabstaffel of StG77 being damaged by flak over Dunkirk early that morning and setting down near Calais with 10% battle damage and slight injuries to the crew, including the StaKap of the Stabstaffel. Unless this crew was flying a 6 Staffel a/c and the reported landing site is wrong, this seems an unlikely candidate.

I suspect that the solution to this mystery is that the crew we've recorded as shot down into the sea that day actually came down on land (the a/c in the photos), which at that time would have probably been behind Allied lines. The crewmen are apparently carried as missing in Luftwaffe records, but may have came down on land, got caught up in the chaos of the Dunkirk evacuation and were subsequently lost, without recovery of identifiable bodies. From Peter's notes, it appears that the records for StG77 during this period are incomplete, confusing or both. Does anyone have any information or insight into this incident or StG77 records that would help us resolve this mystery? Seems like a long shot, but you've solved some tough ones before.

Thanks,
One thing' maybe as stated it landed but couldn't take off-or did and bent the plane.
sharon'
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