Bournemouth raid 1943.

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Wildcat, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Gents, looking for info on the Luftwaffe raid against Bournemouth on the 23rd of May 1943. Could someone tell me what unit(s) were involved? (Fw190's made the attack), German losses and what was their target?
    I ask because Bournemouth was the locations of 11 PDRC (Personnel Despatch and Recieving Centre) which was the receiving station for RAAF aircrew arriving in the UK. From what I can gather six RAAF airmen plus many civilians were killed in the raid. Was this a delibrate attack on RAAF personnel or were they simply in the way of a more important target?
     
  2. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    It was also used for the same purpose by the RCAF(and much hated as it was run by those who thought we were colonials) the targets being the Hotels or Pubs where the aicrew gathered I'm try to determine how many RCAF guys were killed
    from some source

    "At times these were ME10-9 fighter bombers, but the favorite attacker was the Focke-Wulf 190. They operated out of a number of airfields in the vicinity of Cherbourg and Caen. The pay-load was a 500 kilogram bomb carried under the fuselage. Their objective was to hit the railway, stations or gas depots, but other inviting targets were the hotels of the Bournemouth and Torquay where the German Command knew the Canadian Airmen were billeted.

    For the most part they were young, recently graduated officers and NCOs awaiting posting to operational Training Units or active Squadrons. The time usually chosen for an attack was lunch time or tea time when most everyone was eating or relaxing.

    On May 23, 1943, the peacefulness of a beautiful Sunday morning was abruptly shattered when 22 German aircraft, led by Leutnant Leopold Wenger, conducted their most audacious raid on Bournemouth. The Kingsway Hotel, the Congressional Church and Beales Department Store sustained significant bomb damage, but at the Landsdowne Circle the Metropole Hotel was virtually destroyed when it took a direct hit.

    Casualties were high. Among the 128 killed that day were 51 service men.
     
  3. Goodrapid

    Goodrapid New Member

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    Sounds like that attack was quite cost-effective then, although deplorable.
     
  4. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Thanks for the grim story, never heard it before.
     
  5. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that info Pb. I wasn't aware the RCAF used the same location, obviously a tempting target for the Germans and a wake up call for the many young and eager aircrew waiting to get on operations. Do you know of any German losses? I have read a first hand account from someone who was there and he stated some were shot down by AA and one or two by the RAF.
     
  6. Hop

    Hop Member

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    I think it was just a bit of luck for the Germans. The tip and run raids sometimes had specific military targets, sometimes they targeted shipping, other favourite targets were city centres. Bournemouth was a typical city centre raid.

    From an article in the RAF Airpower Journal by Sqd Ldr Chriss Goss:

     
  7. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Try to get your hands on a copy of Chris Goss' "Luftwaffe Fighter Bombers Over Britain". I believe this attack, as well as many others, are described there in great detail, from both sides.

    I used to have a copy, donated it to the local library ...
     
  8. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Hop, thanks for the info mate, that pretty much outlined what I wanted to know. :)
    Cheers for the heads up on the book mhuxt.
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I would be guessing that it would be aircraft from 10(J)./JG 26 and 10(J)./JG 2 as these were the jabostaffeln involved in these type of attacks in early 1943 - see the Great London Raid of 20 January 1943.

    although according to this website:

    World War 2 Awards.com - WENGER, Leopold

    Lt. Leopold Wenger was awarded the KRIEGSORDEN DES DEUTSCHEN KREUZES IN GOLD on October 17th, 1943 as a member of 3./Schnelles Kampf-Geschwader 10.

    and just found this from:

    Jagdgeschwader

    We now have 10. (Jabo)/JG 26 was redesignated 10. (Jabo)/JG 54 on 17.2.43 and a new 10./JG 26 was formed 1.5.43 in Vitry from parts of II./JG 26. And 10.(Jabo)/JG 2 became part of the new IV./SKG 10 formed on 10.4.43 as did 10. (Jabo)/JG 54 which would match the unit Wenger was part of. The Gruppe was based at Cognac and flew Fw 190As.

    So its possible that the unit involved would be IV./SKG 10 with Lt. Wenger leading.
     
  10. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Hi Again Wildcat:

    The wife suddenly scheduled in a visit to the local library after my previous post - lo and behold there was the book.

    There's twelve-and-a-half pages on the events of 23 May 1943, including photographs and maps, and for both the attacks on Hastings and Bournemouth.

    Hastings was attacked by 20 aircraft of II/SKG 10, with Bournemouth attacked by 26 from IV/SKG 10. One of 15./SKG 10was lost to AAA fire, flown by a fellow on his first operational flight. Seems another from the same Staffel was lost in an accident in France.

    The book says accurate casualty figures are hard to come by, but gives 34 RAF and RCAF personnel killed or missing, 77 civilians, and an unknown number of US servicemen. It doesn't mention RAAF casualties.

    The Luftwaffe said the raid was aimed at the railway station and factories: Lt Leopold Wenger was leading 13./SKG 10 and apparently told Chris Goss that the raid was against the town centre. There's even a shot from his plane. Not sure whether it's a guncam shot, however a woman who was standing on the roof of the hotel in the shot says the aircraft which she saw had been machine-gunning the town.

    So, in answer to the original question, the raid doesn't seem to have been targeted specifically at service personnel.
     
  11. Crumpp

    Crumpp Banned

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    The German data shows daylight missions were socked in due to weather on the 23 May 1943.

    You sure the dates are not wrong?
     
  12. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replys fellas, some great info there. It's always interesting reading up on these lesser known events.
    mhuxt, I did a search on the Australian War Memorial Honour roll and came up with 7 RAAF personnel killed, not 6 as I previously thought. All dates of death were given on the 23rd of May 43.
    Again thanks for the info guys.
     
  13. Crumpp

    Crumpp Banned

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    OK guys.

    I understand what the Austrailain archives say. I also understand it is not convienant. IMHO, some dates are not correct.

    I guess we can just ignore the fact the Germans records show no daylight air activity other than a recon of the English coast on 23 May 1943 due to weather!

    On the 30 May 1943 SKG 10 launched a large daylight raid into England. It would prove to be the last daylight raid on England by the unit.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Pull ya head in.
     
  15. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Got the same dates up here
     
  16. Crumpp

    Crumpp Banned

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    I am just saying that is hard for the Germans to be bombing Bournemouth when their airplanes are not flying.
     
  17. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Your document doesn't show that.
     
  18. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Is that from Tony Wood's site? Even he says that data is incomplete.

    Here is another source that has German aircraft over England that day/night.

    NE Diary 1939-45; Incidents 23rd/24th May 1943 to 9th September 1943

    "Sunday, 23rd/Monday, 24th May 1943 N1359
    The last major raid of the war in the North-East caused the highest death toll. In its 35th raid of the war and its 11th of appreciable dimensions, eleven PMs, sixty-seven HEs, nine firepot HEs and about 600 IBs fell on Sunderland causing widespread damage. Eighty-four people died and 221 were injured; among the dead were a group of joiners from Glasgow who were there to repair earlier bomb damage. Many casualties occurred when a PM landed on St George's Square. Three Public Shelters were hit; three died in the Bromarsh Shelter, North Bridge Street, five in Bonners Field Shelter, Monkwearmouth and thirteen in Lodge Terrace Shelter at Hendon. The Isolation Hospital (now Havelock Hospital) was evacuated because of an UXPM. Including those slightly damaged about 5,000 houses were involved in this last attack and, together with the attack of 15/16th May, about 15,000. The morale of the people is reported as excellent."

    Somebody was flying over England.
     
  19. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I've also read an account from someone who was there, and he said the 23rd also.
     
  20. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Tried to find something on the weather and for what its worth found this :

    RAF History - Bomber Command 60th Anniversary

    "23 May 1943
    12 Venturas of 487 Squadron bombed a power-station at Zeebrugge in the first operation for the squadron since its heavy losses on the Amsterdam raid 3 weeks earlier. The formation's bombs fell on to railway yards near the power-station, No aircraft were lost.

    23/24 May 1943
    After a 9-day break in major operations, Bomber Command dispatched 826 aircraft to Dortmund - a record number of aircraft in a 'non-1,000' raid so far in the war and the largest raid of the Battle of the Ruhr. The force comprised: 343 Lancasters, 199 Halifaxes, 151 Wellingtons, 120 Stirlings and 13 Mosquitos. 38 aircraft - 18 Halifaxes, 8 Lancasters, 6 Stirlings, 6 Wellingtons - were lost, 4.6 per cent of the force. The Pathfinders marked the target accurately in clear weather conditions and the ensuing attack proceeded according to plan. It was a very successful raid. Many industrial premises were hit, particularly the large Hoesch steelworks, which ceased production. Dortmund was not attacked in strength again by Bomber Command until exactly 1 year after this raid."

    Before people's panties get bunched up I am aware that 1.) this is a night raid and 2) its over Germany probably hours after the Bournemouth raid. But it does make you wonder.
     
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