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Old 21st March 2007, 09:23
Jochen Prien Jochen Prien is offline
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June 15th, 1943

Gentlemen,

I am again facing contradicting information with respect to allied air attacks in the West, this time concerning 8th USAAF activities on June 15th, 1943.

According to what information I have from the American side it is apparent, that a number of B-17 - the exact figure varying between 155 and 80 + - was sent on an attack against the Le Mans marshalling yards in France, the operation being aborted owing to bad weather and the formations being ordered to turn back before they crossed the French coast.

German information on the other side - KTB OKW and KTB SKL - state that three formations totalling 65 a/c and consisting mostly of four engined bombers attacked targets around the Channel islands - mostly around Guernsey - and the western coast of the Cotentin peninsula between roughly 07.00 and 08.40 hrs a.m.

Could someone please set matters straight ? Did parts of the US formation stray that far to the West and drop their bombs over said area or was there even another formation around ? Did British four engined bombers venture out in the daylight ? I know that there was a Roadstead- or Ramrod attack flown by a mixed formation of 17 - 20 Whirlwinds and Spitfires against shipping around the Channel Islands, but that took place at 06.14 hrs a.m. and thus an hour or so before the attacks of the three formations in question.

As usual, any help will be gratefully appreciated.

Regards

Jochen Prien
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Old 21st March 2007, 10:02
Seaplanes Seaplanes is offline
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Re: June 15th, 1943

The best I can advice you is to check out the National Archives (PRO) Kew, London, reference AIR 40/413: US 8th Air Force Mission No. 64
Le Mans and Vire airfield June 15, 1943. This record should contain all information you are looking for. Link: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
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Old 21st March 2007, 10:03
alessandro bray alessandro bray is offline
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Re: June 15th, 1943

Mr Prien,
I have an attack by 2 separate formation of B-17 , respectively 108 against Le Mans and 45 against Bernay airfield; both formations started around 7,20, but returned without further actions to bad weather.
RAF Spitfire accompanied these missions as Ramrod 95/1 (Le Mans without contact with the Germans) and Ramrod 95/2 with the Kenley Wing. This Spitfire formation, lead by WCdr J. Johnson engaged I/JG2 and claimed 3 FW190 (2 by Johnson) with no losses. I/JG2 lost 2 FW190.
At least for the 45 B-17 group, the rout was Dungeness-turning back 60km N of Le Havre- Brighton-then back toward Fecamp and after 8,00 returned definitely to England.

In the early morning (5.43-6.45) a mixed formation of Spitfire (616 Sqn) and Whirlwind (263 Sqn) were employed as ship reco and probably attacked the enemy, as losses from flak were 2 aircrafts.

Regards
Alessandro Bray
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Old 21st March 2007, 13:35
Jochen Prien Jochen Prien is offline
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Re: June 15th, 1943

Dear Allessandro, dear Seaplanes, dear Rob,

thanks for your kind assistance on and off board. The part of the American Heavies seems pretty clear after that, but the question remains, which four engined a/c were responsible for the attacks mentioned in both the Tagesmeldung Genst. Lw and the War Diary of the Naval High Command.

Regards

Jochen Prien
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Old 22nd March 2007, 03:12
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SMF144 SMF144 is offline
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Re: June 15th, 1943

Hello Jochen,

Here's what I have for this date.

15 June 1943
GENERAL SUMMARY: Attacks on the railway marshalling yards at LE MANS, with a divisionary attack on the aerodrome at BERNAY St. MARTIN by FLYING FORTRESSES of the U.S.A.A.C., escorted and supported by 3 WINGS of THUNDERBOLTS and 10 Squadrons of SPITFIRES, were rendered abortive due to unsuitable weather conditions. According to R.D.F., there was a hostile reaction of about 18 enemy aircraft from the EVROUX area to the main force, while the diversion evoked a slight reaction of about 12 enemy aircraft from the AMIENS/POX area. The main force was recalled over the CHANNEL and the diversionary force was recalled in MID-CHANNEL, together with the first fighter cover. Second and third fighter cover, first and second high cover, however, continued on, making uneventful sweeps over the FRENCH Coast, save for KENLEY WING, as second high cover, which engaged 2 formations of 15 enemy aircraft. As a result combats, 403 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron destroyed 1 Fw.190, probably destroyed another and damaged a third. W/C J.E. Johnson, W/C Flying, KENLEY WING, destroyed 2 Fw.190s*. No losses were sustained. Some small scale offensive operations were also undertaken, in the course of one of which 2 mine-sweepers were damaged in the CHANNEL ISLANDS area. A WHIRLWIND bomber and pilot of 263 Squadron, a SPITFIRE and pilot of 616 Squadron are missing from this operation. Enemy activity was on a small scale. No enemy aircraft flew over this country.
No.10 GROUP: Four MUSTANGS of 414 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron left PREDANNACK at 0905 hours to escort 4 MOSQUITOS II of 264 Squadron on patrol against enemy aircraft operating S.W. of BREST. One MUSTANG I and it’s pilot, P/O R.W. POTTS, are missing* (not due to enemy action). Reason unknown. Eight SPITFIRES V (L.R.) of 412 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron left PERRANPORTH at 1159 hours to escort 8 MOSQUITOS of 25, 151, 167 and 307 Squadrons, on patrol against enemy aircraft operating S.W. of BREST. These patrols were without incident. Three MUSTANGS I of 414 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron provided return cover for 4 MOSQUITOS of 264 Squadron, patrolling S.W. of BREST of 1505 hours. There were no incidents.
No.11 GROUP: RAMROD 95 – 23 SPITFIRES IX of 403 and 421 (R.C.A.F.) Squadrons left KENLEY at 0745 hours to act as second high cover to divisionary attack on BERNAY St. MARTIN aerodrome, led W/C J.E. Johnson. At the rendezvous point, FECAMP, no bombers appeared, having been recalled in MID-CHANNEL, and the WING was instructed by CONTROLLER to proceed free lance. Upon reaching 29,000 ft., cover YVETOT a number of enemy aircraft were seen climbing from the ROUEN area. Two formations of 15 Fw.190s, flying line abreast towards coast in YVETOT area 2,000 ft., below the WING height (24,000 ft.), were attacked. W/C JOHNSON shooting down 2 Fw.190s; S/L H.C. GODEFROY, C.O. of 403, destroyed another; F/L H.D. MacDONALD, DFC., probably destroyed a fourth, while F/O A. Bowen, D.F.C., damaged a fifth Fw.190. There were no losses.

Mighty Eighth War Diary for 15 June 1943
VIII BC 64 - Remarks - 155 B-17 despatched, but were recalled before reaching the French coast. 2 91BG a/c attacked by e/a, no claims or casualties.

Stephen
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Old 22nd March 2007, 10:47
Jochen Prien Jochen Prien is offline
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Re: June 15th, 1943

Dear Stephen,

many thanks for your input and your kind assistance.

Regards

Jochen Prien
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