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  #1  
Old 18th March 2012, 18:44
keith A keith A is offline
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Bf109 massacre on 30 July 1943

On this date, over southern Sardinia the 325th Fighter Group flying P40 Warhawks was in combat with an LW Unit. At the end of the engagement the group made claims for 21 Me109s! Does anyone know which LW unit this was? Apparently after the war one of the pilots of the 325th found that in fact 30-35 Bf109s had been shot down, and several others damaged. The german unit was apparently new to the theatre and was withdrawn afterwards.

I suspect overclaiming but even 10-15 losses in a single LW gruppe would be catastrophic!

regards

Keith
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Old 18th March 2012, 19:43
Khorat Khorat is offline
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Re: Bf109 massacre on 30 July 1943

hm if I get all Luftwaffe losses in this area together - all means also Bombers and other units I get 11 aircraft lost (7 of them bombers) and around 3 of them lost due to accidents. ?

JG 77 lost 4 Bf 109 in combat and 1 due a recce mission to unknown reasons...


khorat
Michael Balss
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Old 19th March 2012, 00:08
yogybär yogybär is offline
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Re: Bf109 massacre on 30 July 1943

Yes, these 5 109's are from III./JG77 which was based in Sardinia in that time. Looks like an overclaiming of 300% too high.

What were the losses of 325th Fighter Group?
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Old 19th March 2012, 00:55
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Bf109 massacre on 30 July 1943

In this area, it is possible that Italian fighters (Bf 109 or Macchi fighters) were involved in this battle and that some were shot down too, even if overclaiming is very, very probable in all cases will still be important in this case.

"Apparently after the war one of the pilots of the 325th found that in fact 30-35 Bf109s had been shot down, and several others damaged. The german unit was apparently new to the theatre and was withdrawn afterwards."

As in all other cases I have read about like that of wartime-confirmation or just after the war, it is impossible to confirm it in any other source now available. A whole German Gruppe decimated in just its first fight and withdrawn would not have gone unnoticed.
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Old 19th March 2012, 01:00
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: Bf109 massacre on 30 July 1943


July 30, 1943
SARDINIA: While undertaking a fighter sweep over the island, 20 P-40s of the 325th Fighter Group’s 317th Fighter Squadron and 16 from the 319th Fighter Squadron are attacked by 40 Bf 109s at about 0950 hours. During the course of a 35-minute melee over the Sassari area, 21 Bf 109s are downed against the loss of one P-40 and its pilot. 1stLt Walter B. Walker, Jr., of the 317th Fighter Squadron, achieves ace status in this action when he downs three of the Bf 109s. For once, GAF records show USAAF claims to be on the slim side; apparently 30 Bf 109s fail to return to their bases.
[Eric Hammel: Air War Europa (Pacifica Press, 1994), page 161].


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Old 19th March 2012, 01:38
Oberst Oberst is offline
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Re: Bf109 massacre on 30 July 1943

You forgot to mention the spitfire top cover.
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Old 19th March 2012, 03:13
Andrew Arthy Andrew Arthy is offline
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Re: Bf109 massacre on 30 July 1943

Hi,


There was definitely no new Luftwaffe fighter Gruppe in Sardinia on 30 July 1943: III./J.G. 77 and the remnants of II./J.G. 51 were the only units on the island at that time. A strength return on the evening of 29 July shows:

II./J.G. 51, 5 Bf 109s, 2 serviceable
III./J.G. 77, 29 Bf 109s, 23 serviceable

The reconnaissance Bf 109 was shot down by the 52nd FG at 07:45 north-east of Bizerta, and was from III./J.G. 77. This combat was unrelated to the 325th FG combat. The Spitfires had scrambled at 07:27, and claimed two FW 190s shot down near Bizerta.

The 325th FG flew the sweep from 08:00 to 11:05, and made claims from 09:45 to 10:15. Final tally was:

- 21 Bf 109s destroyed
- 3 Bf 109s probably destroyed
- 1 Mc. 202 probably destroyed
- 3 Bf 109s damaged

III./J.G. 77 scrambled from Chilivani at 09:25. Four Bf 109s from the Gruppe were shot down, with one pilot killed and three wounded. A first-hand account from Eduard Isken mentions the presence of Lightnings as well. III./J.G. 77 pilots claimed five P-40s shot down between 09:40 and 10:10.

The Checkertail Clan book confirms that only one of the 36 American aircraft involved was lost on this mission, and none were damaged. Lt. Bob Sederberg failed to return, and was taken prisoner.

An account of the combat appeared in 9th and 12th Air Forces in the Sicilian Campaign:

"Taking off at 0800, the 317th Fighter Squadron flew up the west side of the island. At a point due west of Sassari they were attacked by a force of 25 to 30 Me-109's which was augmented during the course of the ensuing air battle by additional flights of Me-109's and Mc-202's, bringing the total number of enemy aircraft engaged to between 40 and 50. Approaching from a northwesterly direction the Jerries attacked the rear of the formation on the same level as the P-40's, whose altitude was about 9,000 feet. During the first attack four Me-109's were seen to crash almost simaltaneously, while in one area alone there were nine fires from burning aircraft. In the course of the 20- to 30- minute running battle there were 21 enemy aircraft destroyed and four probables reported for the loss of one P-40."

III./J.G. 77's first two victory claims were made in the Sassari area, so it seems very likely that it was the first Axis unit to engage the Americans.

The account goes on to describe the "poorly executed tactics" and "lack of coordination" demonstrated by the Axis pilots.


Sources
- Hanf, Logbook
- ULTRA
- Luftwaffe victory claims material
- Genst.Gen.Qu.6.Abt. loss material
- 9th and 12th Air Forces in the Sicilian Campaign
- McDowell & Hess, Checkertail Clan
- Olynyk, USAAF Claims
- Prien, Jagdgeschwader 77


That covers the German and American sides. I hope someone can provide information about any Italian involvement in this combat. Alex Ragatzu's book would be the best source for this combat, but unfortunately I don't own a copy.


Cheers,
Andrew A.

Air War Publications - www.airwarpublications.com
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Old 19th March 2012, 05:18
Oberst Oberst is offline
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Re: Bf109 massacre on 30 July 1943

No mention of JU-52's?
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Old 19th March 2012, 06:14
Andrew Arthy Andrew Arthy is offline
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Re: Bf109 massacre on 30 July 1943

Oberst,

On 30 July 1943 there were no American claims for transport aircraft destroyed or damaged, and one German report of an Me 323 lost in north-western Corsica.


Cheers,
Andrew A.

Air War Publications - www.airwarpublications.com
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Old 19th March 2012, 16:28
Oberst Oberst is offline
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Re: Bf109 massacre on 30 July 1943

Thanks for the additional information!
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