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Old 30th January 2016, 15:29
phasselgren phasselgren is offline
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Daylight attack on Brest 24th July 1941: BC claims compared to Lufwaffe losses

Hi,

On the 24th July 1941 Bomber Command made a daylight attack on Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen in the Brest area. Following info comes from Tony Wood´s Combat Claims and Casualties List:

“Daylight Attack on Brest & La Pallice. A strong force totaling 149 aircraft was detailed for a daylight attack on the Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen at Brest and the Scharnhorst at La Pallice, with Blenheims acting as a diversion at Cherbourg. From reports so far received, 3 Boeings, 56 Wellingtons and 18 Hampdens reached Brest and attacked the German warships. The Boeings opened the attack in ideal weather soon after 14.00 hours and were followed by the main body, escorted by Spitfires, in a sustained attack lasting until 15.45 hours. Enemy fighters and A.A. put up a strong defence but it had no effect on the tactics planned by the bombing force, which carried out its task with great success. Seven direct-hits were registered on the Gneisenau; the Prinz Eugen and the large tanker were both straddled and in all probability damaged. Apart from the hits, many bursts were observed on and around the docks in which the warships are berthed and severe damage was inflicted upon the barracks and dock buildings adjacent to the targets. Owing to evasive action after dropping their bombs, several crews were unable to observe the results of their attack.

The Scharnhorst recently left Brest for a quieter life at La Pallice. Her departure did not past un-noticed and, after receiving a direct-hit from a Stirling on the evening of 23rd July, her new home was well plastered during the same night. Today, whilst the attack was developing at Brest, 15 Halifaxes attacked her again and at least one direct-hit is claimed. In all, this force dropped 127 tons of H.E.

Final figures are not yet available but the latest information indicates that the following casualties to enemy-fighters are claimed by aircraft of Bomber Command during the daylight operations over Brest and La Pallice: 21-7-8.

Ref: Extracts from Bomber Command Summaries (Air 25/201).

Summary for Operation Sunrise at 13.26 on 24th July 1941 to the Naval-Base at Brest. Fighters taking part: 9 squadrons, 99 sorties, 3-0-1 claimed for 2 lost. Bombers taking part: 3 Fortress, 18 Hampdens, 79 Wellingtons and 15 Halifaxes, 16 lost. Ref: RAF/FC Summary of Sorties (Air 16/1307)”

Most of the Bomber Command claims of 21 destroyed, 7 probably destroyed and 8 damaged (21 was nearly a quarter of the claims for destroyed E/A by BC during 1941) were made by Wellington crews from 1 and 3 Groups with the rest made by 5 Group Hampdens and 4 Group Halifax crews. Most of the claims involved Messerschmitt Bf 109s but a 75 Sqn crew was seen to shot down a Bf 110 before their own aircraft crashed into the sea.
  • Were there any Luftwaffe losses on this date that can be identified as caused by the bombers?
  • Did any of the Luftwaffe pilots make any comments about the efficiency of the bombers fire?
  • Were there any Bf 110s involved in the combat? I have only seen claims made by JG2 and JG53. I assume these units only used Bf 109s

Thanks in advance,
Peter

Last edited by phasselgren; 31st January 2016 at 13:20.
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Old 31st January 2016, 11:47
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Chris Goss Chris Goss is offline
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Re: Dalight attack on Brest 24th July 1941: BC claims compared to Lufwaffe losses

Peter
This has been covered before I am sure. The units were Bf 109s of JG 2 and JG 53 and there were no other types involved. JG 2 lost 6 aircraft and 5 pilots killed, one wounded. Another was written off crash-landing and pilot injured, another 3 suffered varying degrees of damage. JG 53 suffered one ac written off after crash-landing. Causes are listed as Spitfires and enemy aircraft so cannot say for sure how many for certain were got by bombers apart from Lt Julius Meimberg of 3/JG 2 who got too close to his final victim
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Old 31st January 2016, 13:00
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Re: Dalight attack on Brest 24th July 1941: BC claims compared to Lufwaffe losses

Hello Peter,

Chris is entirely correct. This is one of the better-known raids of the war, because of the damage caused to the Scharnhorst by the Halifaxes. Chris has written an article about the raid in 2012, see description in Neil's blog post:
http://falkeeins.blogspot.fr/2012/04...july-1941.html

Two threads from the RAF Commands forum fill in details about German activities:

http://www.rafcommands.com/archive/06357.php

http://www.rafcommands.com/archive/06360.php

Warm regards,

Paul
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Old 31st January 2016, 13:26
phasselgren phasselgren is offline
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Re: Daylight attack on Brest 24th July 1941: BC claims compared to Lufwaffe losses

Chris and Paul,

Thanks for information and links. I had forgotten the arcticle in Britain at War but I bought magazine just because of this article.

Regards,
Peter
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