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  #1  
Old 3rd December 2018, 15:27
BWilhelmi BWilhelmi is offline
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8th/9th Air Force air strike (02.02.1945)

Hello!
My name is Benjamin and i come from Urmersbach (Eifel, Germany). In World War II the village Urmersbach was attacked heavily three times: 27.09.1944, 02.02.1945 and 02.03.1945, because of the strategic important rail road to the western front. On 7th March 1945 the people of Urmersbach were liberated from the 3rd US-Army.

I'm searching for information about the units which attacked Urmersbach a second time on 02.02.1945 at 4 p.m. At that time 12 fighters (P-51) attacked the rail station of Urmersbach and the village, with 24 bombs and their armament. At that time a train with soldiers stands at the rail station and from outside the village came SS-Soldiers with their vehicles to Urmersbach. Furthermore a tank barrier was attacked with bombs, whereby six civilians died.

The American Air Museum in England suggested me the following:

"In terms of the attack on 2 Feb 1945, the 8th Air Force’s War Diary suggests that the 352nd Fighter Group dispatched 24 P-51s on a fighter sweep in the Koblenz Area, so they could possibly be the ones who made the attack? The records suggest only 22 of the aircraft were effective, but if half of the aircraft on that sortie attached Urmersbach then that might still be possible?"

Do you have any information about that date (02.02.1945) or from the squadrons of this fighter group:

352nd Fighter Group: 328th Fighter Squadron; 486th Fighter Squadron;487th Fighter Squadron


Another opinion is that the 2nd February event was just described as a fighter sweep, which is listed as “uneventful”. A fighter sweep would not have included the carrying of bombs for ground attack, so whoever was responsible for this must have been from the 9th Air Force, or possibly RAF or Free French.

Similarly, 9th Air Force for 2nd February states:

"2/2/45 Ninth AF:
350-Plus B-26's, A-26's, and A-20's bomb road and rail bridges to block E-W-movement E of the Rhine and defended localities E of battlefront in W-Germany."



Could you help me in this case?

Thank you and best wishes from Germany,
Benjamin
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  #2  
Old 4th December 2018, 16:28
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: 8th/9th Air Force air strike (02.02.1945)

In this place and time, it was probably a fighter-bomber group from the 9th AF that attacked your town. If the aircraft were correctly identified as P-51s, they were probably from the 354th FG.

Other P-51 units flying that day will probably not carry bombs, while RAF units, especially Mustang ones, will probably not fly a fighter-bomber mission in this area.

So my first guess will be to try to find a war diary for the 354th FG.

On a side note, I find it rather strange that a German says that his city was liberated by the Americans in 1945.
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Old 4th December 2018, 20:36
Horst Weber Horst Weber is offline
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Re: 8th/9th Air Force air strike (02.02.1945)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurent Rizzotti View Post
In this place and time, it was probably a fighter-bomber group from the 9th AF that attacked your town. If the aircraft were correctly identified as P-51s, they were probably from the 354th FG.

Other P-51 units flying that day will probably not carry bombs, while RAF units, especially Mustang ones, will probably not fly a fighter-bomber mission in this area.

So my first guess will be to try to find a war diary for the 354th FG.

On a side note, I find it rather strange that a German says that his city was liberated by the Americans in 1945.
Laurent and Benjamin !

As Laurent guessed, it's not possible, that a bomb-aimed USAAF 8th AF Fighter Unit carried out this attack against Urmerbach Bahnhof this day. The mission of 352nd FG (P-51 Mustang) this day was a rail recce, which went uneventful, following a route Koblenz - Montabaur - Siegen. It took place from 13:14 hrs - 15:50 hrs and is described as uneventful.


The only 9th AF unit, which appx. fits to the time and location is 373rd FG, which took off at 13:15 hrs and 12 P-47 bombed rail targets at L8297, L5481 and L5781, while Urmersbach is L5784. The landing-time of this unit was 15.20 hrs.


Best wishes !


Horst Weber

and so also
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Old 4th December 2018, 21:28
BWilhelmi BWilhelmi is offline
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Re: 8th/9th Air Force air strike (02.02.1945)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Horst Weber View Post

The only 9th AF unit, which appx. fits to the time and location is 373rd FG, which took off at 13:15 hrs and 12 P-47 bombed rail targets at L8297, L5481 and L5781, while Urmersbach is L5784. The landing-time of this unit was 15.20 hrs.
Hi Laurent and Horst! Thanks for all the information and clarification!

It could also be P-47 fighters, the only thing I knew from older people is that they bombed the rail station with 24 bombs. By studying the death certification I found out that the attack was appx. at 4 p.m., or maybe before. If the landing-time was 15.20 hrs at local UK time, than it was in Germany 16.20 hrs, so it could be possible?

Is it possible for you to give me the source of your information and which city/locality belongs to L5781? For me it is very interesting to gain further information about the situation in Urmersbach during the war. Hopefully I get a deeper understanding of the 373rd Fighter Group, who were maybe responsible for the attack (or do you have information about the squadron which did this attack?).

Thanks for your help!
Benjamin
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Old 5th December 2018, 19:10
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: 8th/9th Air Force air strike (02.02.1945)

The 373rd FG was operating from Le Culot (A-89) (Beauvechain) Belgium in February, 1945.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/373d_Fighter_Group
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauvechain_Air_Base


I believe they were on Double Summertime.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/article...f-world-war-ii
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Old 6th December 2018, 21:40
BWilhelmi BWilhelmi is offline
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Re: 8th/9th Air Force air strike (02.02.1945)

Thanks for this interesting fact about the "Double Summertime" and the information about the Air base of the 373rd Fighter Group.

I'm very interested in all source information for the 373rd fighter group and the possible connection to the attack of 02.02.1945.

Therefore it's important to know the full source of the above given Information of the 373rd Fighter group and their Mission at 02.02.1945.
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  #7  
Old 7th December 2018, 11:14
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Re: 8th/9th Air Force air strike (02.02.1945)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BWilhelmi View Post
Thanks for this interesting fact about the "Double Summertime"
On that date both the Allies and the Germans would have been using Greenwich Mean Time + 1 hour, not Double Summer Time.
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Old 7th December 2018, 14:27
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: 8th/9th Air Force air strike (02.02.1945)

I found another article on the times being used during the war. This is clearly a somewhat confusing subject.

https://www.timeanddate.com/time/eur...g-history.html


My reading of the two time articles (per Nick, I (or the articles) are apparently incorrect ) would say that England stayed on Double SummerTime (GMT +2) throughout the war and Germany would have been on GMT +1 in the winters and Daylight Savings Time (for them GMT +2) in the summers. Thus, my reading is that their clocks would agree in the summer but not the winter.


Searching for February mission reports for the 373rd FG on the Air Force History Index gives a few possibilities:
http://airforcehistoryindex.org/sear...=2%2F27%2F1945

In particular these:

http://airforcehistoryindex.org/data/000/085/690.xml

http://airforcehistoryindex.org/data/000/085/689.xml

They both appear to be on the same "reel", so are probably on the same $30 CD if you decide to order it.
(Perhaps someone already has that CD.)

(Note there are typically also documents that can be ordered by squadron). Here for example are the 410th and 411th and 412th Squadron reports for Feb 45, all on reel 847 but these seem to be for awards, etc. not mission reports, so probably not useful to you.)
http://airforcehistoryindex.org/data/000/059/976.xml
http://airforcehistoryindex.org/data/000/059/995.xml
http://airforcehistoryindex.org/data/000/060/012.xml

Last edited by RSwank; 7th December 2018 at 15:30.
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Old 7th December 2018, 19:47
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Re: 8th/9th Air Force air strike (02.02.1945)

I owe the following to Stave Coates who found it in a research guide published by the UK National Archives.

UK time varied as follows from:

16/4/39 - BST
19/11/39 - GMT
25/2/40 - BST
4/5/41 - BDST
10/8/41 - BST
5/4/42 - BDST
9/8/42 - BST
4/4/43 - BDST
15/8/43 - BST
2/4/44 - BDST
17/9/44 - BST
2/4/45 - BDST
15/7/45 - BST
7/10/45 - GMT

The Germans used CET (Central European Time) and GST (German Summer Time)

CET = GMT + 1 hour
GST = GMT + 2 hours

German time varied as follows:–

From
1/4/40 - GST
2/11/42 - CET
29/3/43 - GST
4/10/43 - CET
3/4/44 - GST
2/10/44 - CET
2/4/45 - GST
18/11/45- CET
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Old 7th December 2018, 20:14
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: 8th/9th Air Force air strike (02.02.1945)

Nick, thanks for posting the time info. So as I now understand it, for much of the war both Germany and England were switching between GMT +1 and GMT +2 but often doing so on different dates. So there would be "short" periods when their times would be an hour different but outside of those periods they would have the "same" time. Is that correct or am I still confused?
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