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Old 9th April 2019, 21:34
James A Pratt III James A Pratt III is offline
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Duel Under the stars

My local library just got a new copy of the book "Duel Under The Stars" by Wilhelm Johnen

Does anyone have any more information on his claims not mentioned in his wiki bio or this site? Here is what they have:

26 mar 42 Wellington 115 Sqn X3589
22/23 Jun 43 Halifax 419 Sqn W1271
28 Apr Halifax 35 Sqn ND759
26 Jun 44 Wellington 142 Sqn LN748
11 Aug 44 B-25 337 AP DD badly dmaged
29 Aug 44 B-24 34 SAAF Sqn EW165
21 Sep 44 B-24 31 SAAF Sqn KH102

he also mentions some German losses:

page 295 6 Sep 44 2 bf 110 destroyed on ground and 2 badly damaged Hungary USAAF fighters
page 246-7 3 Bf 110 shot down Hungary USAAF fighters

page 312 15 mar 45 his Bf 110 shot up and destroyed on the ground by a Mosquito 2 other Bf 110s destroyed on ground
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Old 9th April 2019, 22:40
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Marcel Hogenhuis Marcel Hogenhuis is offline
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Re: Duel Under the stars

Hello James,

I am only familiar with the first German edition 'Duell unter den Sternen' but as it has been long ago when I read this book, I must look whether your english version has not been upgraded with claims and losses that the original German edition had not. Will check my records of his exploits with the I./NJG 1before he was transferred to the II./NJG 5 in October 1942.

Till then, best regards, Marcel Hogenhuis
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Last edited by Marcel Hogenhuis; 9th April 2019 at 22:41. Reason: small error
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Old 10th April 2019, 05:02
RodM RodM is offline
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Re: Duel Under the stars

Hi James,

the incident on page 312 appears to be an attack on Leipheim airfield on the evening of 16th March 1945.

Firstly, it's worth noting the Heinz Graßhoff Flugbuch records that the Johnen crew flew in Bf110 2Z+ES on the night of 16th March, taking off from Leipheim at 20.16 hrs and landing back at Leipheim at 22.36 hrs. The Flugbuch's hand-written comment reads: "15 Abschusse 2141 Lancaster 1800 m im ST s. Wurzburg Angriff auf Nurnberg. ?????angriff aus Wurzburg. Tiefangriff am platz durch Mosquito".


For evidence of an attack on Leiphiem, a Namentliche Verlustmeldung records:

Fliegerhorst Leipheim
16.3.45, 22.40 Uhr
Kein Feindflug
Ogefr. Willy Möllmann
7./NJG.6
Fl.Waffenwart
Verwundet

The brief description of the incident is mostly blacked out on the copy I have but concludes with the word "...Fernnachtjäger".

An OKL FüSt Ic Schadensmeldung for 16.3.45 records:

"Fliegerhorst Leipheim: 22.42 Uhr. Bordw.-Angriff durch Klebeflugzeuge auf landenden eigengene Nachtjäger. Kein Sachschaden. 2 Verwundete".

The hand-written Kriegstagebuch of Stab NJG6 doesn't mention the Leipheim attack - only attacks on Kitzingen, Gerolzhofen, and Groß-Sachsenheim airfields, which damaged three aircraft:

"Rege Fernnachtjägertätigkeit an den Plätzen. Auf die Plätze Großsachsenheim und Kitzingen wurden durch Fernnachtjäger Brandbomben geworfen. Keine Schäden, Zweck unbekannt. Tiefangriffe auf Kitzingen und Gerolzhofen, wobei 3 Flugzeuge leicht beschädigt wurden".

From what I can tell, the OKL FüSt Ic material only confirms an attack on Groß-Sachsenheim airfield during the day on 16.3.45 (not the night attack):

"Fliegerhorst Großsachsenheim: 12.15 Uhr 6 Sprb. 1 Me 110 leichte beschädigt".

The OKL FüSt Ic Schadensmeldung for 17.3.45 records:

"Fliegerhorst Gerolzhofen: 21.50 Uhr 2 Sprb. und Bordw.-Angr. Keine Flugzeugeverluste, 1 Baracke zerstört".

The Johnen crew flew 2Z+ES again on 10th April 1945 (their first mission since 16th March) and enemy anti-aircraft fire damaged the Bf110.

Cheers

Rod
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Old 10th April 2019, 09:28
Theo Boiten Theo Boiten is offline
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Re: Duel Under the stars

Hello James,

Please check Johnen's early claims in:

https://www.wingleader.co.uk/series/...combat-archive

Can't type long as I broke my collar bone in a racing cycling crash which will keep me out of action for a few weeks.

Cheers,

Theo
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Old 10th April 2019, 09:57
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Re: Duel Under the stars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theo Boiten View Post
I broke my collar bone in a racing cycling crash which will keep me out of action for a few weeks.

Cheers,

Theo
Sorry to hear that. Get well soon.
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Old 10th April 2019, 10:14
RodM RodM is offline
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Re: Duel Under the stars

further to my comments on the attack at Leipheim on the night of 16 March 1945, the Mosquito crew responsible was likely F/O Skerrett RCAF and F/L Mackenzie RCAF from 406 Squadron.

They claimed a twin-engined aircraft damaged on the ground at "Crailsheim" at 22.40 hrs. The Combat Report reads:


"After several fruitless orbits around Giebelstadt which was lighted we went due south to Crailsheim arriving at 2230 to find it lit with perimeter track and runway lights. On approaching the a/d we saw an a/c up wind of the drome expose its navigation lights for a few seconds, about five miles from us. When these disappeared we dived down to the a/d and began a starboard orbit. We had completed our orbit at 500 feet without contact when I noticed a landing light flash off the end of the runway. the e/a then flashed its navigation lights on and off and his landing light again. I peeled off and opened fire at about five hundred feet in a starboard turn, seeing strikes on the fuselage, e/a believed to be twin engine. We did a climbing port turn and all the lights then doused. Patrol was continued and the a/d re-lit at 2315 but no activity was seen and we returned to base".

Unfortunately, there seems to be no documentary information available to confirm damage to Wim Johnen's Bf110 2Z+ES. As mentioned, he flew ES again at a later date, but that could be a new/replacement aircraft.

However, based on available documentary evidence, it seems the account of the incident in 'Duel under the Stars' is embellished somewhat or at least partly mistaken for a different incident (three aircraft destroyed, one dead and one wounded).

Cheers

Rod
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Old 24th April 2019, 21:00
James A Pratt III James A Pratt III is offline
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Re: Duel Under the stars

Thanks for the info Theo get well soon. I would like to buy all of the above Nachtjagd Combat archives one day if I can find the money is there a place in the US that sells them?
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Old 25th April 2019, 11:30
Theo Boiten Theo Boiten is offline
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Re: Duel Under the stars

Hello James,

This morning, I've had a word with my Publisher Wingleader on this. He told me that the Nachtjagd Combat Archive series is available in the USA with:

http://www.aberdeenbookstore.com/Home.htm

I've checked the site and it appears that they have the 1943 volumes currently in stock, you can ask them when they'll have the Early Years volumes in the series in stock too.

Cheers, Theo
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Old 25th April 2019, 14:19
SteveR SteveR is offline
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Re: Duel Under the stars

For what it's worth, I've had very good experiences ordering direct from Wing Leader. UK to Minnesota in one week and they're packaged to withstand a small thermonuclear blast.
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