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Old 9th April 2019, 06:49
RodM RodM is offline
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Re: Location of Preisenzath/Priensenzath in Germany

Hi Wolfgang,

the Americans chose Margraten as a site to bury Allied personnel recovered from Germany and this included many British and Commonwealth soldiers and airmen. Thus, the Margraten location has no direct bearing on the location where the Americans originally found deceased personnel. In this case, the location of Friesenrath doesn't tie-in with the loss of KB870 because it is roughly 75 kilometres SSW of where KB870 and the bomber stream crossed the Rhine while flying homeward. Also, the Lancaster crashed within a few minutes of a night fighter attack, which occurred near the Rhine roughly between Duisburg and Düsseldorf.

Hi Horst,

thanks for the suggestion. I had considered the location of Priesterath previously but ring-fenced it with a large question mark (Priesterath does show up on the 1944 1:100,000-scale maps I use). Given the testimony of surviving crew members, Priesterath as the location seems unlikely (although not impossible).

After bombing Hagen, the crew had to fly past the target for a minute of two and then turn on a course of 260 degrees True (using H2S radar to map the contours of the Hengsteysee and locate the turning point).

After flying a distance of a little under 30 nautical miles, they should have reached a specific bend in the Rhine between Duisburg and Düsseldorf and then turned on a course of 247 degrees True.

The pilot's testimony confirms he turned on to a course of 247 degrees True at the Rhine, so the aircraft should have been within a few miles of the briefed track (the waypoint at the Rhine was at 51 20 N, 06 43 E). Even if the Lancaster turned off target immediately after bomb release, flying 260 then 247 degrees true would still take them north of München-Gladbach. It would have taken a course or compass error of greater than 20 degrees from the briefed track to fly south of München-Gladbach and reach Priesterath.

The pilot mentions he could not manoeuvre the aircraft after the attack, so the Lancaster presumably continued a course of 247 degrees until it went into a spin. As mentioned previously, the Lancaster went into a spin and broke up within a few minutes of the night fighter attack.

While an aircraft could conceivably fly a reasonable distance after being mortally attacked, Priesterath is roughly 15 miles SSW of where a night fighter likely attacked the Lancaster (if it was on course). I've plotted all other losses from the same raid and all but one of the other losses crashed within a five-mile distance of the briefed track. The exception was a Lancaster severely damaged by falling incendiary bombs over Hagen that crashed a little under ten miles off track because it became difficult to control.

Cheers

Rod
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