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Old 9th March 2010, 07:10
Hellfromheaven Hellfromheaven is offline
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Luftwaffe units operating over North Herts/south cambs night of 18/19th February 1944

I am new to this forum so firstly i will say hello to everyone

About 15 years ago i discovered the remains of a partially exploded German SC 50 (probably a grade II) bomb in a ditch on the edge of the dispersal area of the 600th squadron, 398th BG at Nuthampstead Airfield, formally USAAF station 131 in North Hertfordshire. Last year i discovered that German bombs only fell on Nuthampstead once throughout the whole of WW2. This was on the 19th of Feb 1944.

The Official American report states that there were 8 to 10 enemy aircraft over station 131 between the hours of 01.15 and 01.30 on the morning of the 19th of february 1944 at a height of between 5000 and 9000 feet. The report states that there were three white flares, two brand c incendiary bombs, 8 sc50 gp bombs, 1 sc250 gp bomb and several hundred 1.5kg incendiaries dropped on this raid. The aircraft carrying the explosive devices were heading from north to south and the aircraft carrying the incendiaries were traveling southwest to northwest.

I would be most interested to find out which Luftwaffe unit actually dropped this bomb. I don't even know where to start tracing luftwaffe activity so any help would be greatly appreciated.

The bomb has now been preserved and will hopefully be taking up residence in the newly founded Nuthampstead Airfield Museum, of which i am a trustee.

As a point of interest, i see there are a few posts on here about a Dornier 217 e-4 that was shot down over Orwell, Cambs on the 8th September 1942. If anyone can shed any more light on this crash it would be interesting to add to my documentation, i have already noted everything i have found on here but it's always worth asking

I hope somebody can help me with my quests! Dom
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Old 9th March 2010, 10:58
mhuxt mhuxt is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe units operating over North Herts/south cambs night of 18/19th February 1944

Hi, Don't know if you've got it already, however here's what I have on the 8 September 42 crash: Squadron ORB says the Mosquito was camouflaged white, pale blue and grey...in a special manner devised by 151 Squadron. E/A Do 217 E4 5502 F8+AP of I/KG 2, crashed in flames on Rectory Farm, Orwell, Cambridgeshire. F/O Mc Ritchie and F/Sgt James were on routine patrol and orbiting a searchlight beacon at an altitude of 12000 ft when they were given "smack" instructions (proceed on a specified vector). They saw coned searchlights about 15 miles away which doused as the Mosquito approached. The Mosquito proceeded in the direction of more coned searchlights beams to the south and saw a flare dropped. An A.I. contact was obtained from the vicinity of the cone at 10000 ft. The blip on the cathode ray tube spread, indicating that bombs were probably leaving the target aircraft. Several other blips appeared on the cathode ray tubes and spread down to 2000ft range. Contact was lost. Bombs were seen exploding on the ground and a few seconds later another A.I. contact was obtained which, following a successful interception, resulted in a visual being obtained on a Do 217 at a range of about 1500 ft and at an altitude of 6-7000 ft. The enemy aircraft was taking severe evasive action when the Mosquito opened fire at a range of about 300 yds. Strikes were seen On the fuselage which started to glow dull red. The enemy aircraft did not appear to have seen the Mosquito. A further burst hit the target in the port engine which was set on fire. A third burst hit the wing. The enemy aircraft went down and crashed with a blinding flash at Orwell near Royston. E/A F8+AP (on loan to 3./KG 2), pilot Feldwebel Alfred Witting. During the evening of September 8, 1942, a Dornier Do217., unit codes FB+AP, left its base at Gilze-Rijen in Holland and set course for England. The machine, originally belonging to KG40, was operated at this time by 1./KG2. At approximately 11:40 p.m., the Dornier dropped flares, high explosives and incendiary bombs on R.A.F. Station Bourn and University Farm, Girton, Cambridgeshire. By firing its guns the Dornier revealed its position to a patrolling Mosquito flown by Flight Lieutenant Ritchie from 151 Squadron. Making an abrupt turn, Lt. Ritchie pursued the lone Dornier. The Mosquito opened fire and quickly set the German bomber ablaze. Loosing altitude fast, the burning Dornier made a wide arc, inverted itself and swept down over the village of Orwell. Passing over Cambridge Road and narrowly missing a row of bungalows, the bomber flicked over to its correct attitude before exploding on impact. The crew perished in the crash. Werk No.0525-502. Patrol time 22.37-00.03, claim 23.55. Feldwebel A. Witting, Oberfeldwebel F. Heusser, Obergefreiter A.Hoppe, Unteroffizier A. Eysoldt all KIA. Most of the details re: the 217 are from one of the Osprey books on the Mosquito.
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Old 10th March 2010, 17:28
Hellfromheaven Hellfromheaven is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe units operating over North Herts/south cambs night of 18/19th February 1944

Wow! Thankyou for all that information on the Orwell crash! I didn't have any of the details of the aircraft and crew that shot the Dornier down, only that it was a nightfighter Mosquito. I have one of the BMW 108 engines from the Orwell Dornier and i am trying to gather information as to why it came to be here in the first place. I think it's important to tell the story, it's one thing to have an artifact, but with the background information it becomes a lot more, it is a moment in time, a piece of history. Thank you again.

I still want to find out more about the Bomb i have. If anybody can point me in the right direction as to how i find out which unit may have dropped it this will really help me Dom
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Old 10th March 2010, 18:23
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe units operating over North Herts/south cambs night of 18/19th February 1944

possibly KG 66. They list three Ju-88 and 188 machines lost that night or crashed after a raid on "London".
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Old 10th March 2010, 21:03
Julian Julian is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe units operating over North Herts/south cambs night of 18/19th February 1944

Hi all I have not been on this forum for ages, due to research work, but just googled "Orwell Dornier" as this is one of my favourite crash sites. As regards the Orwell Dornier I was one of the team that investigated the crash site in 1991, finding a boss and reduction gear and numerous other artefacts inc BMW badges. Recently I contacted one of the German company`s whose manufacturers plates we found in the wreckage..they are still going strong and fascinated about the finds. In my book War Torn Skies Cambridgeshire I have a very large section dedicated to this incident at Orwell. In fact recently through local research I have managed to obtain what is so far the only known photograph of the wreckage at Orwell. I have also written a 7 page article with many illustrations that will feature imminently in Britain at War magazine once again on the Orwell Dornier incident. I have traced the last surviving Homeguard member who went to crash site, have wartime photographs of both him and of one of the men at the Croydon ROC post that spotted the Dornier flying over head.
I have also written another book War Torn Skies Hertfordshire in which Nuthampstead features quite alot. Well done with the museum what a fantastic achievement. Anyhow just thought the above may be of interest to you
Kind regards
Julian Evan-Hart
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Old 10th March 2010, 22:24
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Nick Beale Nick Beale is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe units operating over North Herts/south cambs night of 18/19th February 1944

Intruder missions over aerodromes in England in early 1944 were typically flown by the Me 410s of V./KG 2 (which later became II./KG 51).
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Old 11th March 2010, 12:21
Brian Bines Brian Bines is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe units operating over North Herts/south cambs night of 18/19th February 1944

For this raid the Luftwaffe planned to put 200 aircraft over London between 0050-0120hrs they reported that 187 aircraft attacked the UK suffering eleven losses ( 3 aircraft missing, 4 crashing on the Continent and two falling to Intruders on return with crews killed/injured, plus 2 crashing on return crews safe).
RAF report says at 2350hrs 60 aircraft picked up over N/E France heading north and shortly after 120 aircraft appeared on radar from Holland. These two forces joining some 30 miles east of Harwich and crossed the coast between Happisburgh and the Thames Estuary.
Home Office Key Point report just give that at 0100hrs HE and IB bombs fell at RAF Nuthampstead but no details given. The London Red Alert that night was between 0036-0144hrs, outside London 50 incidents were reported in Essex, 20 in Hertfordshire, 5 in Suffolk, 3 in Cambridgeshire and one each in Norfolk and Bucks.
Bombloads were ofton two HE bombs or two IB containers on underwing racks with 10x50kg. bombs carried internally on Ju88/188's. Ju188's of both II/KG2 and I/KG6 were shown as having bombloads of 2xAB1000 IB containers and 10 BC50 on this raid.
The white flares reported over Nuthampstead may have been route markers for those bombers on a north approach to London.
Is it possible the bombs dropped on Nuthampstead were from the same aircraft i.e. HE. dropped on the north-south run with the aircraft turning to make a second run and dropping the IB's ?
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Old 12th March 2010, 05:49
Hellfromheaven Hellfromheaven is offline
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Smile Re: Luftwaffe units operating over North Herts/south cambs night of 18/19th February 1944

Thank you Brian, it looks as though the Nuthampstead raid could well be tied in with this London raid. You mention bc50 bombs, i believe these were 50kg incendiary devices? The bomb i have is without doubt an sc50 grade II GP bomb (high explosive). The way the tail fin attaches is different on the Grade II variant than from earlier versions of the sc50 and rather distinctive.
you say that Ju188's of both II/KG2 and I/KG6 were shown as having bomb loads of 2xAB1000 IB containers and 10 BC50 on this raid, does this mean that my bomb couldn't have been dropped by these groups, or is it likely that the actual ordinance carried on the night could differ from that stated in official documentation? Or were there other groups operating on this raid to make up the numbers? sorry to ask so many questions, i'm not that clued up on how the Luftwaffe structured their raids! Do you think they meant to bomb Nuthampstead Airfield that night, or was it a mistaken target/target of opportunity?

Thanks for all the input so far, i feel like i'm learning more the deeper i dig into it
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Old 12th March 2010, 13:54
Brian Bines Brian Bines is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe units operating over North Herts/south cambs night of 18/19th February 1944

The RAF estimated the raid as follows KG2 Do217/Ju188 60 a/c, KG6 Ju88/188 65 a/c, KG54 Ju88 30 a/c, KG66 Ju88S/Ju188 (Pathfinders) 10 a/c and I/KG100 He177 10 a/c. The total bomb tonnage for the raid was 140 T of HE's (with 215 no. SC50's) and 155 T. of IB's. As no aircraft were shot down that night over the UK there are no POW reports to verify bomb loads, the Ju188 figures in my previous post coming from Unit histories. Either BC50 or SC50's were carried on internal bomb racks with 8-10 being the normal number for a Ju88, or Ju188, Do217's are shown as 4-8 depending on main bomb load, therfore I guess the , He177's and Pathfinders (50kg.Flares) could be discounted as bombing Nuthampstead. While many bombers came in over the Thames Estuary ( 50 incidents in Essex), flares reported in the Cambridge suggest some bombers approaching from the north these flares being route markers. RAF airfields at Earls Colne, Panshanger and the ballon station at RAF Chigwell were also hit this night, like Nuthampstead it is likely these were early releases by individual crews as the target was Dock area of London. Unless someone has a logbook or more information it is unlikey that it will be possible to identify who exactly bombed Nuthampstead.
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