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Old 6th March 2018, 04:06
Col Bruggy Col Bruggy is offline
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Re: Friendly fire WWII

Originally Posted by Laurent Rizzotti View Post
No idea, may be worth a thread on the Luftwaffe side of the forum.

Next case I am not sure of the date, either 21 or 22 November 1942, possibly both:

From the history of the American 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion (
"On the 21st [December 1942], the convoy reached its temporary destination, Souk El Khemis, Tunisia, in the heart of "Stuka Valley". Several hours later [possibly on the 22nd according to my search, see below], the Kraut planes came in fast and low and when the thunder of the fifties, the thrities, the 20 millimeters and the rifles, tommy guns ans spistols had quieted down, Michael Syrko, a harmless little guy who asked nothing more out of life than a chance to go back to his farm in Pennsylvania, lay dead in the Tunisian sand. Ten minutes later, the enraged Tank Destroyers shot down their first Spitfire."

Note: the Tunisian town of Souk El Khemis has since been renamed Bou Salem, and is situated about 20 km WSW of Beja.

According to the ABMC database, Pvt Micheal [sic] Syrko of 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion was killed on 22 December 1942.

According to the book "Fw 190 in Africa", on the 21st two Fw 190s of III./SKG 10 glown by Lt Graf von Westerholy and Fw Esau took off from Sidi Ahmed at 0900 hrs to attack targets of ooportunity in or around the town of Beja. Loaded with SD 250s, they found and bombed a cncentration of vehicles. AA fire was encountered but they were not hit. There was no other raid launched by this unit that day or the 22nd. The fighters of II./JG 2 flew unventful sorties on the 21st and escorted on the 22nd Stukas of II./StG 3 to attack tanks and vehicles south of Medjez-el-Bab.

According to the book MAW3, on the 21st six Spitfires of 152 Sqn and six of 93 Sqn took off at 1100 hrs to escort two Hurricanes over Beja and Oued Zarga. Sgt W A Dobson of 152 Sqn failed to return and it was reported that his Spitfire Vb ER721 appeared to have been hit by Flak south of Makin, when over Allied lines. Dobson was killed.
-> I have been unable to find a place called Makin, but "Flak" "over Allied lines" might be Allied AA fire ?

From the same book, on the 22nd, ten Spitfires of 111 Sqn escorted Hurricanes TacR sorties over the Allied advance to the height that will be named Longstop Hill at 0825 hrs. Over Pont de Trajan (some km south of Beja) they were fired on by the US troops' AA defences and three Spitfires were hit. The pilot of one, Plt Off H D Christian, having been wounded, undertook a forced landing "on a/d" ("on airfield" in my understanding), but died of his wounds next day. He was flying the Spitfire Vb ER605 (History of this aircraft in the Spitfire production list has two possible end: ER605 Vb CBAF M46 38MU 27-9-42 222MU 6-10-42 SS625 20-10-42 Gibraltar 6-11-42 CE ops 28-12-42 Engine cut bellylanded 5m E of Setif 16-11-43. So possibly the aircraft was considered as damaged beyond repair (CE) in December 1942, probably due to damage suffered on the 22nd, but if the next entry is correct was repaired and then wrecjed in another accident in November 1943)
Also on the 22nd, Hs 129 of 5.(Pz)/SchG 2 made 13 sorties over the Pont ud Fahs area, claiming a dozen vehicles destroyed.
Re: Plt Off H D Christian, actually, AUS400779 P/O (Pilot) Harold David CHRISTIAN RAAF.

I initially rejected Spitfire ER605 on account of its subsequent history, but later decided to accept that Christian was wounded in that aircraft.

Others I toyed with were:

ER602 - Wrecked by Allied AA 22/12/42
ER815 - C2 Ops 22/12/42
ER820 - C3 Ops 22/12/42
ER860 - FAC3 22/12/42

The following, from Tony Bartley's, Smoke Trails in the Sky (pp.124-5), might be of interest:

In the afternoon, we patrolled the road between Teboussouck and Mejez, while the army were very busy running up their supplies to the front line. Everything looked fairly peaceful on the ground and we didn't see any e/a. On the way back, the Americans opened up on us over Khemis, and shot down one of my boys.
Jimmy (Baraldi) took some of the boys over to see him in hospital and he seemed quite cheerful. He had been shot in the rectum with a .50 cal bullet, and was lying on his stomach awaiting an operation to remove the slug.

In the evening, we heard from the field hospital that my pilot had died on the operating table, and I blew my top. I determined to hold an investigation, and told our Doc to go over to the hospital, first thing in the morning, and bring a damn good explanation from the surgeons, or else. What else, I hadn't figured out, so Doc poured me stiff whisky and told me to cool it. (Thanks Roy[Nixon]).

Harold Christian's medals (1939-45 Star, Aircrew Europe Star, British War Medal and Australian Service Medal) were auctioned by I S Wright (Ballarat, Vic.), in Postal Bid Sale No.42 (Item 2069) c.March, 1996. The reserve was AUS$125.00), never got the results of the auction.

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