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Old 24th May 2009, 17:33
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Ar234 shot down 2 March 1945

According to available evidence, Flt. Lt. Daniel Reid of 41 Squadron shot down Ar234B, F1+QT, WNr. 140178, flown by Lt. Eberhard Rogele of 9/KG76, near Enschede. Despite being seen by Reid and a second pilot to have baled out, I understand Rogele did not survive the incident.

However, a search of the VDK database reveals no matching name or anything similar.

Can anyone tell me, please, (i) if the name, serial and Werknummer are indeed correct for this victory, and (ii) where 9/KG76 was based at the time?

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Old 24th May 2009, 18:50
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Re: Ar234 shot down 2 March 1945

In my book about March 2, 1945
An ordinary day in 1945

I wrote:

Friday 2 March 1945. Aircraft took off from forward airfields of the 2nd Tactical Air Force, RAF, for patrols over the front line. Their task was to repel any raid by jet bombers, the activities of the latter constantly growing. And indeed that day 21 Arado Ar 234 Blitz German jet bombers left Achmer[1]. Two machines belonged to Stab Kampfgeschwader 76, led by Oblt. Robert Kowalewski, and the remaining 19 machines to III Gruppe KG 76, led by Major Franz Zauner who had replaced Gruppenkommandeur Major Hans-Georg Bätcher on 26 February 1945. Their task was to attack Allied positions in the area of Maastricht-Aachen-Jülich. The bombers were escorted by a group of aircraft from JG 27, namely 71 Messerschmitt Bf109K-4 fighter aircraft from III and IV/JG 27 from Hesepe and Achmer airfields, and older Bf109G-14s from II/JG 27 from Hopsten.
Above the target, British tanks at Düren, the Luftwaffe met RAF Spitfire XIVs of 41 Sqn and Tempests of 222 Sqn RAF. The British intended to intercept the attractive prey, the jets, but the German fighters had their tasks and wanted to fulfil these as best they could. In the ensuing air combat both sides scored victories and suffered losses. Overall, the Allies fared better.
III Gruppe KG 76 lost two machines on 2 March 1945. The Arado Ar234Bs from 9/KG 76, flown by Oberleutnant Sutterlin and Leutnant Eberhard Rögel (F1+QT [W.Nr. 140178]), were both shot down. Lt. Rögele was killed at Hamnermühle, 3 km west of Recke, while Oblt. Sutterlin managed to bale out uninjured. A third Arado Ar234, F1+EY (W.Nr.140166), was damaged in the combat. Its pilot, Oblt. Arthur Stark, Einsatzstaffel veteran, managed to perform an emergency landing on the German side, at Lippstadt. The pilot walked out of his aircraft with only minor wounds.
After the combat two British pilots claimed jet bombers shot down: F/Lt Dennis J. ‘Danny’ Reid[2] of 41 Sqn and F/Lt George W. Varley of 222 Sqn RAF. It was F/Lt G. W. Varley, flying Hawker Tempest (EJ882, ZD-E), who downed Lt. Rögel and one 109 which he claimed as destroyed upon return to his base. He said that ‘his’ Arado exploded in mid-air.
Clearly, Oblt. Sutterlin was shot down by D. Reid. Damage of an Ar234 at 07.55-08.10 was claimed by W/O T. B. Hannam of 222 Sqn. This may have linked with the machine of Oblt. Stark, but that is just a hypothesis.
The course of the entire action was described by F/O Vic Murphy of 130 (Punjab) Squadron RAF, who noted in his diary:
‘I was flying from Eindhoven, Netherlands in 130 Squadron together with a Belgian Squadron which made up 125 Wing commanded by Group Captain ‘Johnnie’ Johnson (famous RAF war ace). When ‘Johnnie’ flew with the Wing I was usually his ‘wingman’. On this particular day (March 2nd), I was leading a Section of Spitfires – noticed an oncoming dot ahead, approaching tremendously fast! Within seconds it passed approx 500’ below me (our combined speed would have been 1,000 m.p.h.) I noticed German Air Force markings on a black fuselage. It was a twin engine jet!! I immediately radioed my location, the compass reading of the German plane and the height. This information was acknowledged by one of our pilots in that section. It enabled the pilot to gain good height above the German and enabled the pilot to dive on the German jet to match its superior speed and shoot the German jet (Arado 234) down…’[3]
This account links with the victory claimed by 41 Sqn’s F/Lt Reid. We can find more information in Pierre Clostermann’s book of memoirs, ‘The Big Show’[4]:
‘Another poisonous day. Snow, wind. Visibility nil; flying was quite impossible. However, G.C.C. maintained two sections of Tempests at immediate readiness – one from 486 and one from 56 – together with a section of Spit XIVs from 41 Squadron. There was a time for one pair of Spits took off, followed at least three minutes later by the rest. A quarter of an hour later these last four came back and landed, not having been able to join-up in the clouds. They told us, however, that the first two had jumped a German jet-aircraft.
We got the remainder of the story that evening in the bar, when the pilots of 41 were distinctly pleased with themselves and let nobody forget it. Flying Officer Johnny Reid D.F.C., shortly after he had scrambled and as he was patrolling Nijmegen bridge at 10,000 feet, had spotted one of the very latest and rarest Luftwaffe planes – an Arado 234 – sneaking into our lines at ground level. Diving straight down, flat out, ignoring the risk of his wings coming off, Johnny succeeded in catching the bastard in a turn, fired at him point blank and gently landed him in flames less than 100 yards from Broadhurst’s H.Q. at Eindhoven.
We naturally retorted that this particular Hun must have been very keen to commit suicide. Besides we’d seen Reid’s plane after he landed: his poor Spit’s wings were buckled like a concertina, all the paint had come off the surfaces, the rivets had sprung and the fuselage was twisted. Good for the scrap heap!’

[1] 9/KG76 moved to Münster-Handorf on 17 December 1944, and remained there until March 1945. It is not known if that Staffel still operated from this airfield on 2 March 1945, or had it joined the rest of the Gruppe at Achmer by then.

[2] Danny J. Reid died of cancer on 1 May 1993 in Melbourne at the age of 72. It was for the action on 2 March 1945 that he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).

[3] Vic Murphy was shot down on 19 April 1945 in Spitfire XIVe RN203 during a mission over Celle.

[4] This memory is mistakenly dated 25 February 1945. On this day also one Ar234 was shot down by P-47s. It was Ar234 (F1+MT) W.Nr.140173 crashing near Seegesdorf. But Danny Reid claimed only one Ar234 and it happened on 2 March 1945. On February 25, 1945 Reid claimed an Fw190D-9 at 08.15 over Rheine a/d.
Peter Kassak
peterkassak (aT)

also: Zerstorer Research Work Group,
"Geschichte des Zerstörergeschwader 76"
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Old 24th May 2009, 19:11
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Re: Ar234 shot down 2 March 1945

Hi Peter

Thanks for your comprehensive reply. I am eager to discuss this with you further as this contradicts the information I have. I do not mean this as a criticism; on the contrary, I am seeking to clear up the situation and would appreciate any further available data. Would you kindly contact me off board, please, at brewATclientsDOTch?

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Old 15th June 2009, 20:45
Chrisyates Chrisyates is offline
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Re: Ar234 shot down 2 March 1945

Fascinating insight, not meant as criticism, but I believe W.NR 140166 was coded F1+ET. Interested to know more, regards, Chris.
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