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  #1  
Old 23rd February 2021, 23:05
CornwallPhil CornwallPhil is offline
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Question Luftwaffe Raid On Portreath 20/21 May 1941

I would be grateful if anyone could supply any details of which unit/s bombed Portreath on the north Cornish coast on the night of 20/21 May 1941 and which base they flew from. I would also be interested to know if there was any assessment on the success of the raid.

I have local Cornish records detailing at least 116 HE bombs and several hundred IBs so I assume the raid involved a number of aircraft.

Any assistance appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 24th February 2021, 00:07
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Re: Luftwaffe Raid On Portreath 20/21 May 1941

10 He 111s from KGr 100 based at Vannes attacked Portreath between 0007 and 0030 hrs dropping 252 50 kg bombs and 2304 incendiaries. 3 fires were observed but nothing else.

Last edited by Chris Goss; 24th February 2021 at 00:38.
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Old 24th February 2021, 00:21
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Re: Luftwaffe Raid On Portreath 20/21 May 1941

You can find the relevant sitrep entry here (with St. Eval and Mullion on the following page).

Quick translation:
00.07 to 00.30 Portreath (20 km north west of Falmouth) by 10 bombers from 100 to 4000 m altitude with 252 SD 50 and 234 incendiary bombs without sight of the ground. The impacts of the bombs ran transversely across the airfield, 3 fires were perceived.
German time then was GMT+2 hours.
The SD 50 was a 50 kg fragmentation bomb.
The unit concerned is not identified.
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Old 24th February 2021, 01:13
CornwallPhil CornwallPhil is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe Raid On Portreath 20/21 May 1941

Thank you Chris & Nick for your swift & helpful answers.

The 3 fires ties in with the local sources. One fire was on the airfield where a contractor's hut was burnt down. This fire was dealt with swiftly. The other two fires were on areas of gorse land to the east of the airfield and the incendiaries started gorse fires. It seems these then attracted the worst of the HE bombing. Because of the nature of the vegetation and the peaty soil many bombs failed to explode and UXBs were still being found as late as 9th June in these two areas.

The only casualties were on neighbouring farms - 1 steer killed, 2 horses injured, 1 cow injured. Some damage to a couple of farmhouses and the local pub.

Chris, do I assume 2304 is a typo when compared to Nick's sitrep's 234?
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Old 24th February 2021, 09:29
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Re: Luftwaffe Raid On Portreath 20/21 May 1941

Incendiaries weighed 1kg and the He 111 could carry up to 1100 each dependant on the bomb carrier but I will check my report again as no doubt Nick will
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Old 24th February 2021, 10:39
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Re: Luftwaffe Raid On Portreath 20/21 May 1941

2304 B1 E1 incendiaries. Hardly worth each He 111 carrying 23 incendiaries each! II./KG 27 also attacked Portreath the night before
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Old 24th February 2021, 11:05
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Re: Luftwaffe Raid On Portreath 20/21 May 1941

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Goss View Post
Incendiaries weighed 1kg and the He 111 could carry up to 1100 each dependant on the bomb carrier but I will check my report again as no doubt Nick will
Faithfully transcribed, even if it was wrong! See attached (relevant figure highlighted via PhotoShop). I leave it to someone better at maths to work out the permutations of SD 50 and Br. 1c that 10 He 111 could carry.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Screenshot 2021-02-24 at 08.58.30.jpg (102.0 KB, 17 views)
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Old 24th February 2021, 14:04
CornwallPhil CornwallPhil is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe Raid On Portreath 20/21 May 1941

Thanks Nick, I'd done the same as you and taken a screenshot of the record.
"Hundreds" was the description from the ground at the two off-airfield sites.

I am interested Chris in your comment that Portreath was targeted the night before.
The Cornwall Constabulary record that contains details of all the bombs dropped on the county only gives bombs dropping on Cawsand & the Rame peninsula (opposite Plymouth), at Braddock near Lostwithiel, at Callington (all in the east of the county) and around Nancledra which is between Penzance and St Ives (in the west of the county - where I presume the intended target was the HAA gun site at Badger's Cross). There is no record of any bombs dropped on or near Portreath.

As to UXB's from the original incident of this post, I have now come across a record of a UXB being found in the gorse as late as 9 March 1942. Given that 75 years later in many places WW2 bombs are still being uncovered, one wonders what may lurk on that site!
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Old 24th February 2021, 14:39
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe Raid On Portreath 20/21 May 1941

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Beale View Post
You can find the relevant sitrep entry here (with St. Eval and Mullion on the following page).

Quick translation:
00.07 to 00.30 Portreath (20 km north west of Falmouth) by 10 bombers from 100 to 4000 m altitude with 252 SD 50 and 234 incendiary bombs without sight of the ground. The impacts of the bombs ran transversely across the airfield, 3 fires were perceived.
German time then was GMT+2 hours.
The SD 50 was a 50 kg fragmentation bomb.
The unit concerned is not identified.
Just a small remark, but it seems to me that you are wrong when you translate "without sight of the ground". The german words "nach erdsicht" mean IMHO the contrary "by sight of the ground". The same expression is used for the three attacks on the next page, including the one at 20 m altitude.... Bombing from this altitude without seeing the ground will be a very bold move...
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Old 24th February 2021, 15:00
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Re: Luftwaffe Raid On Portreath 20/21 May 1941

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurent Rizzotti View Post
Just a small remark, but it seems to me that you are wrong when you translate "without sight of the ground".
You're right. I read it as »ohne« rather than »nach« for some reason. Sorry about that.
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