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Old 20th February 2021, 14:15
BrianC BrianC is offline
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22/23 Jan 1941 Sicily

Hi guys

I have seen a newspaper report that during a Wellington raid from Malta on the night of 22/23 January 1941 that 96 Luftwaffe personnel were killed at Catania or Syracuse when a munitions dump exploded.

Any substance?

Stay safe

Brian
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Old 20th February 2021, 14:21
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Chris Goss Chris Goss is offline
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Re: 22/23 Jan 1941 Sicily

I know that 148 Sqn attacked Catania night of 15-16 Jan 41 causing quite a bit of damage to aircraft and hangars
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Old 20th February 2021, 17:04
Gianandrea Bussi Gianandrea Bussi is offline
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Re: 22/23 Jan 1941 Sicily

In the records of the Catania airport I find no mention of such a personal loss caused by bombardment in the night 22-23 jan 1941. According to that source, 29 bombs were dropped by extimated three aircraft from 19.45 till 22.30. No personnel loss, only light damage to the officer mess, then the railway station was hit, with damage or destruction of 6 cargo wagons.


According to the book about the seaplane bases of Augusta e Siracusa written by the late Tullio Marcon, only Augusta suffered a small bombardment in the night of 22 january, with one man wounded.


ciao


Gianandrea
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Old 20th February 2021, 21:18
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: 22/23 Jan 1941 Sicily

The pages covering January 1941 in the source noted below are 103 to 138. Every raid on the Axis airfields in eastern Sicily is described and there is none matching your description, although there were two very costly night raids on Catania by 10 Wellingtons the night of 12/13 January and another 3 night later by 9 Wellingtons. The first raid cost the Germans and Italians 5 destroyed and 4 damaged on the ground, while some 35 Ju 87s and Ju 88s were either destroyed or damaged on the ground during the second raid on 15/16 January. There is no mention of munition dump explosions of Luftwaffe ground casualties.

[Source: Shores, Christopher and Brian Cull with Nicola Malizia. Malta: The Hurricane Years, 1940-41. Carrollton (TX): Squadron Signal Publications, 1987. ISBN: 0-89747-207-1. Hb. Dj. 457p. Illus. Maps. Numerous appendices. Bibliography. Index.]

Suspecting this might be a typo for what should be 1942, I checked the title cited below covering all of the month of January 1942, pages 29-66. All of the big Axis airfields in eastern Sicily, e.g., Catania, Comiso, Gerbini and the seaplane bases at Augusta and Syracuse were hit at night as the weather permitted by 1 to 6 Wellingtons and small numbers of Hurricane intruders. The book gives the result of each of these raids from both Allied and Axis sources and there is no mention of a munitions dump being hit with the loss of 96 Luftwaffe personnel. As for the night of 22/23 January 1942, there were no attacks on airfields on Sicily as Allied air assets were busy operating against an Axis convoy en-route to North Africa.

[Source: Shores, Christopher and Brian Cull with Nicola Malizia. Malta: The Spitfire Year, 1942. London: Grub Street, 1991. ISBN: 0-948817-16-X. Hb. Dj. 704p. Illus. Map. Numerous appendices. Bibliography. Index.]

L.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 02:41
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: 22/23 Jan 1941 Sicily

A search of the German death cards on fold3 with the search terms "Catania" and "Death date Jan 1941" returns 16 cards for 8 men:
_ Gefr Karl Heinz August Buchhop of Flg H Komp Fl H Kdtr E 14/XI Catania, KIA 15 Jan 1941
_ "Wd Assistent A Kr" Adolf Büse of Fl H Kdtr E 14/XI Catania, WIA by bombardment on 15 Jan 1941, DOW on 18 Jan 1941
_ Fw Oskar Dippe/Dippel of Stab LG 1 KIA 15 Jan 1941 at 2320 hrs
_ Flgr Obert Ernst Dorenburg of "Feldwerft Kol LE 4 Flingerf Rdtr E 14/XI Catania", died in the early hours of 16 Jan 1941 due to bombardment (two cards, one with the 15th, the other with the 15th corrected to 16th between 1 and 2 am, might have died of wounds)
_ Gefr Peter Knur of "Kw Betr Stoff Kol 1/Vi Fliegerh Kdtr E/14/Xi" KIA on 15 Jan 1941 at 2345 hrs
_ Fw Gustav Kreutzberg of Stab LG 1 KIA on 15 Jan 1941 at 2320 hrs at the airfield.
_ Gefr August Merten of 6./LG 1 WIA on 15 Jan 1941 at the airfield by bomb, DOW on 22 Jan 1941 in Catania hospital.
_ Lt Horst Nagel of 6./LG 1 died on 15 Jan 1941 at the airfield.

The list is not exhaustive, a search with Sizilien returns another man, Gefr Franz Hülsmann of (unit with FPN 38722, "L G S A München 2") who died "Sizilien (Catarina)" according to fold3, that is "Sizilien (Catania)" at 2345 hrs on 16 Jan 1941 due to bomb. As the hour was added in red ink later, I will guess that this death occured at 2345 hrs during the night of 15-16 Jan.

There is also Flgr Rudolf Groß of Stab II / (K) L G 1 who was killed on 15 Jan 1941 by a bombing at "Fl Horst Cotania" = "Fl Horst Catania"

So that is at least 10 KIA/fatally wounded at Catania during the raid of 15-16 Jan 1941, but nobody so far for 22 Jan.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 03:09
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: 22/23 Jan 1941 Sicily

And for Italian losses, there is this PDF page listing more than 5000 Italian servicemen fallen in Sicily: http://www.lambadoria.it/caduti/Elen...2019sett16.pdf
But it shows no big slaughter on any day of January 1941. On the other hand, it is not exhaustive AFAIK. I have tried to search Italian crews that crashed in Sicity according to various books, so far with no success.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 03:24
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: 22/23 Jan 1941 Sicily

Forgot another way to check German losses in Sicily: https://fr.findagrave.com/cemetery/2...1#sr-211089729
This is a list of graves of the German War Cemetery of Motta St.Anastasia, near Catania, ordered by death date. It is far from complete (1530 dead found on findagrave, while there are 4 561 in the cemetery according to a web source. Volksbund says 5 400 German died in or near Sicily during WWII), but sill allow me to find another casualty for 15 Jan 1941 (by searching the nome on fold3):
_ Uffz Otto Träger of "4 F L Kp (R) L G 1" (ground crew of LG 1) KIA by bomb at midnight on 15 Jan 1941 at the airfield (fold3 robot read "Catania (Sizilien)" as "Catarina (Fulun)").
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Old 22nd February 2021, 13:07
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Chris Goss Chris Goss is offline
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Re: 22/23 Jan 1941 Sicily

Brian: Where did you get your information from as it clearly is incorrect! BTW, here is one of a number of photos of the 15-16 Jan 41 attack
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File Type: jpg 62.jpg (119.3 KB, 49 views)
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Old 23rd February 2021, 17:20
BrianC BrianC is offline
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Re: 22/23 Jan 1941 Sicily

Thanks guys for the contributions - most appreciated.

The Malta Times reported:

Mass Funeral of German airmen in Sicily - Moscow Radio has reported that a funeral has taken place at Syracuse of 96 Nazi airmen, subsequent to raids from Malta. A Swiss broadcast has also reported a mass funeral of German airmen in Sicily but saying this took place at Catania and that the number of bodies was 142.

Presumably propaganda?

Stay safe
Brian
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Old 23rd February 2021, 18:25
RT RT is offline
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Re: 22/23 Jan 1941 Sicily

So not only today mass-media are "truffing", I heard also from the Tombouctou herald post, 1.235,52 deads.
These death cards are worth but there are some 2.100.000+ of them , some doubles, among 5.500.000 military deaths...


Rémi
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