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Old 12th July 2017, 17:41
Cofian Cofian is offline
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23rd December 1944 - raid on Koln/Cologne - VC for plane shot down

Ladies, Gentlemen,

Having run onto interesting footage of a RAF Mustang of the 65 squadron shooting on a ‘long-nosed FW 190’ who in turn is shooting on a Lancaster. The latter might well be the Lancaster of squadron leader R.A.M. Palmer, who won a posthumous VC for the operation. Ofcourse unknown to all at the time….

In order to keep matters clear, it is suffice to say that Palmer had ended up in the lead position, the 65 squadron were chasing to get close(r) to them being their escort and the JG-26 planes by chance stumbled upon the Palmer group and started to attack.

The German records of the JG-26 indicate the following:
- The Kommandeur (Hackl) shot down the leader of this bombing raid (his 167th kill) which Palmer was not as indicated above, although the Germans would not know the real story, hence it is more than explainable that they considered this to be the case;
- This however did cost the life of fellow JG-26 pilot Werner Frass;
- Frass is further the only one shot down at the time near Koln (timed at 12:50);
- It further is clear that the German fighter attacked by the Mustang of the 65th Squadron is shot down (she has her belly tank still in place and moves sharply to starboard). The combat report of the Mustang clearly indicates (and claims) this, she visibly crashed and is claimed by the RAF pilot;
- It also is assumed that the Lancaster shot at by the German fighter is shot down too: she is clearly hit, and her port (inner) engine is on fire and she is turning to port sharply. The 65 squadron combat report claims the attacked Lancaster further to be ‘in flames’;
- The Lancaster (lead-plane) claimed by the Kommandeur is shot down at 12:54.

Now I do understand that two Lancasters have been shot down near Koln: the PB120 and the PB137. The PB120 crashed two KM short of the target, apparently the Palmer Lancaster more or less on target. The only surviving crewmember of the PB120 again thinks to have been shot at by an ME-109.

The issue here that Werner Frass is NOT credited with a kill and it is highly likely that the Lanc he shot at has gone down too. Further the crash-time of Frass and the Lancaster shot down by Hackl are more or less equal (there is some 4 minutes difference – the Lancaster of Hackl crashed 4 minutes later then Frass – the other timings differ much more). The only two German planes shot down by a P-51 (Mustang) were Frass and a plane near Munster, although Frass is named to be shot down by the 364 Fighter Group (?).

I think, for a variety of reasons, that the Lancaster going down was the one of Palmer. This means that the Kommandeur might well have claimed to have shot down a plane that was actually shot down by Frass, since Frass went down too following the 65 squadron attack…..

Are there any (other) views on this one?
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  #2  
Old 13th July 2017, 19:49
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Alfred.MONZAT Alfred.MONZAT is offline
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Re: 23rd December 1944 - raid on Koln/Cologne - VC for plane shot down

In fact II./JG 26 claimed 7 Lancaster (+ the Mustang and a Mosquito, possibly from No. 105 Squadron RAF) during that combat. They did not encounter the 364th FG (which claimed victories near Tier) but No. 65 Squadron RAF which claimed one victory (over Frass) and 2 damaged in the same area.

That being said, it would't surprising that a leader took victory credit of a wingman, dead or not.
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Old 13th July 2017, 20:21
Cofian Cofian is offline
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Re: 23rd December 1944 - raid on Koln/Cologne - VC for plane shot down

Seen these Lancaster claims too, but most of these would not fit the 582 and the Koln/Cologne location. In fact, as far as I can dig, there are only 2 Lancasters which do: the earlier '120' (crashing 2 km short of the target - precise address even given) and the later '371' of Palmer (said to have crashed on target - no further detail). The issue is that Palmer is said to have been shot down after bomb release (that's why he got the VC) and also the combat report of the 65 squadron claims that the planes have already dropped their bombs upon the attack(s) taking place. These two combined would indicate the plane being shot by the 65 squadron escort is the plane shooting down Palmer, hence it would seem to be some very interesting footage! A VC in the making!
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Old 13th July 2017, 20:53
Kutscha Kutscha is offline
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Re: 23rd December 1944 - raid on Koln/Cologne - VC for plane shot down

It is possible that Hackl finished off the Lanc that Frass had damaged.

PB120 was a Lanc of 582 Sqn
Missing on mission to Cologne 23-DEC-1944
http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=159043

PB137 was a Lanc of 15 Sqn lost
Missing on mission to Heinsberg 16-NOV-1944
https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=159031
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Old 13th July 2017, 21:18
Cofian Cofian is offline
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Re: 23rd December 1944 - raid on Koln/Cologne - VC for plane shot down

Appologies... The Palmer Lanc was PB371, not the 137....
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Old 13th July 2017, 21:52
Cofian Cofian is offline
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Re: 23rd December 1944 - raid on Koln/Cologne - VC for plane shot down

It seems I have missed a response I send earlier. Retry...

The point is, (as far as I can see/dig sofar) there are two Lancasters that could apply: one that crashed 2 km short of the target (specific crash site address even mentioned - the PB120) and Palmers Lancaster that was shot over the target or on the target (no specifics on the crash site). Also the combat report of the 65 squadron mentions the bombs having been released before the attack(s) took place and/or were completed. This fact (not the combat-report of the 65 squadron) was the reason for Palmer to being awarded the VC in the first place.
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Old 14th July 2017, 01:31
Kutscha Kutscha is offline
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Re: 23rd December 1944 - raid on Koln/Cologne - VC for plane shot down

To add to the confusion, Wiki states Palmer's a/c had been hit by flak before the target.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert...Maurice_Palmer
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Old 14th July 2017, 03:15
RodM RodM is online now
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Re: 23rd December 1944 - raid on Koln/Cologne - VC for plane shot down

here is what the Bomber Command Operational Research Section (ORS) records for the causes of loss of the aircraft missing from the attack on the Gremberg M/Y on 23 December 1944:

35 Sqn PB678/F and 35 Sqn PB683/H - collided and crashed in sea
582 Sqn PB558/A - Flak and Fighter
582 Sqn PB141/F - H.Flak & Fighter
582 Sqn PB523/J - H. Flak & Fighter
582 Sqn PB120/P - H. Flak & Fighter
582 Sqn PB371/V - H. Flak (Palmer's Lancaster)
109 ML998/E - H. Flak

Of the aircraft damaged, 21 were damaged by Flak (including 105 Sqn ML981/D2 - Heavy Flak (Cat B damage)) and none due to fighters.

The ORS information for missing aircraft was based on the observations of other bomber crews and the testimony of repatriated aircrew PoWs. The information on damaged aircraft was based on ballistics investigation of the damaged aircraft.

Cheers

Rod

Last edited by RodM; 14th July 2017 at 03:46.
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Old 14th July 2017, 05:13
RodM RodM is online now
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Re: 23rd December 1944 - raid on Koln/Cologne - VC for plane shot down

...and here is some corresponding information from German documents, some of which is rather contradictory:

582 Sqn PB141/F - Lancaster, 1156h, Porz/Bahnhof, Jäger & Flak / Lancaster, etwa 1130h, bei Porz Bahnhof, 9 km Suedost Koeln (NP 4-5), Flak, Aufschlagbrand, 98% Bruch, 7 Tote, 1 Gefg (sic, probably should read 7 Gefg., 1 Tot)

582 Sqn PB120/P - Halifax, 1300h Rodenkirchen, 3 km Suedlich Koeln (NO 63), Flak / Lancaster, 1158h, Lancaster, Rodenkirchen, Jäger & Flak

582 Sqn PB371/V - Lancaster, 1200h, Köln-West, Jäger & Flak / Lancaster, 1400h, am Gueterbahnhof Koeln - Nippes (NO 32)

109 ML998/E - Mosquito, 1156h, Rhein bei Porz, Jäger & Flak / 1303h, Juchen, 8 km Suedost Rheydt, Jäger & Flak

Additionally:

582 Sqn PB558/A - (crashed France)

582 Sqn PB523/J - (crashed Belgium)

Last edited by RodM; 15th July 2017 at 01:50.
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Old 14th July 2017, 09:32
Cofian Cofian is offline
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Re: 23rd December 1944 - raid on Koln/Cologne - VC for plane shot down

What an extra info.... Ths calls for a return favour....

If I do a quick response:
- course no way certain that the fighter was decisive in Palmer being shot down, I can ofcourse only assume this to be the case. The footage shows however a firing 190 (smoke around the plane - she gets a bit blur in the footage - that is just before the Lanc's port inner engine gets a fire trail) and several hits on the fuselage.
- what seem to be timings in the second response-message is quite difficult to fit.

When I try to get as much as possible info, then one sees (see also attached compilation):
- the German 190 in view in a slow curve to port getting into position behind the Lanc;
- the Mustang curving in to the 190's port quarter and from slightly above;
- one then sees (indeed) typical flak clouds (first frame – the fresh flak cloud just springs up in this frame – pretty dangerous for ones own planes – an older flak cloud dis-appears just right of the lower crosshair mark – the Lanc is also in view now, assumed to be moving slightly to starboard, the 190 still having to move to port to get the Lanc in sight, the Mustang homing in to the 190, also turning to port);
- the next shots are the 190 firing (the fuselage is less(er) visible);
- then a frame in which the Lanc’s inner port engine is emitting flames (a slight smoke-cloud is left behind the plane) following some smoke around the 190, which seems to have been hit by the Mustang on the starboard wing at about the same time. You then see further hits on the Lanc’s fuselage itself (this can not be flak alone) and the Lanc turning sharper to port and downwards;
- the 190 then clearly gets hit, bits are coming off and she turns to starboard in a cloud of smoke, which blocks view of the Lanc as well. The last you see of the Lanc is a continues flame at her port inner engine.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg frames of 65 squadron Mustang.jpg (143.9 KB, 30 views)
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