Calling on Luftwaffe researchers

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jeff Hunt, May 29, 2014.

  1. Jeff Hunt

    Jeff Hunt Well-Known Member

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    #1 Jeff Hunt, May 29, 2014
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
    I need some help with tracking down some information.

    On the night of September 12/13 1942, Handley Page Halifax BB205, NP B marked from 158 Squadron took off from East Moor Yorkshire to take part in a 448 ship raid on Bremmen. She was carrying 3 X 1000 lb GP bombs, 6 containers of 90 X 41 lb incendiaries and 6 containers of 8 X 30 lb incendiaries. After bombing the target and while flying home in the area of Idaard Netherlands she was attacked and shot down by a night fighter being flown by Hptmn Ludwig Becker.

    Becker was assigned to 6./NJG2 and I believe they were equipped with Dornier 215B-5 aircraft at the time. There is a possibility that Becker's aircraft was marked as G9 + OM.

    I am looking for confirmation that this was the aircraft Becker was flying and if so I would also be interested in the colour scheme of this aircraft.

    The reason for my interest in this is that my Uncle was a part of the crew of BB205. All 7 crew members were able to escape the aircraft and were all captured almost immediately after floating down to earth.

    Becker went missing on an interception of B-17s on February 22/23 1943. His shooting down of my uncle's aircraft was his 37th confirmed kill. At the time of his death he had a total of 44 kills. All were obtained in night flying operations. I have learned that he was shot down while flying a Me.110. If you are really feeling like looking for more, it would be neat to try to find out who the pilot was that shot down Becker and what aircraft he was flying.

    If all of the above could be learned it would make for a really cool trifecta of model aircraft that I could work on over the next few years.


    Thanks to all for any information you may be able to provide.






    Cheers,

    Jeff
     
  2. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Here's the man in the aircraft you are looking for. Don't have to much on the Do-215 but I'll keep looking...

    jeff.JPG

    Geo
     
  3. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    6./NJG2 Sept 1942 had the following a/c:

    8 Do 215B-5
    2 Bf 110E-1
    22 Bf 110F-4
    12 Do 217J

    Becker made his claim for the night of 13/14 Sept 1942.

    Height 5.700 m. Time 02.21

    http://lesliesawyer.com/claims/tonywood.htm
    Reich Western Front 1942. Vol III
     
  4. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link Milosh.

    Geo
     
  5. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    The photos I have seen so far indicate that the "G9" codes belonged to NJG1.

    Geo
     
  6. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    I did a quick check in one of Theo Boiten's books that I have. Didn't see mention of the mission you're talking about but lots of mention of Becker. Will check tonght and revert if I find anything.
     
  7. Donivanp

    Donivanp Well-Known Member

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    Don't know if this helps but according to this site he was flying for NJG1 at the time, which would go with the G9

    Ludwig Becker - Pilot Profile - Ludwig Becker
    13/10/1942 Oblt. Ludwig Becker 12 NJG 1 Stirling 444 7O5: 3600m [35km NW Texel] 23.49 Western Front
    14/10/1942 Oblt. Ludwig Becker 12 NJG 1 Wellington 446 2A4: 2700m [30km NW Vlieland] 0.2 Western Front
    09/11/1942 Oblt. Ludwig Becker 12 NJG 1 Wellington 546 9B8: 2600m [5km W. Dokkum] 22.55 Western Front
    08/01/1943 Oblt. Ludwig Becker 12 NJG 1 Lancaster Hackfort 7km SE Zutphen: 800-1000m 19.23 Western Front
    17/01/1943 Oblt. Ludwig Becker 12 NJG 1 Stirling 543 2A in See: 3800m [20km N. Ameland] 23.03 Western Front
    17/01/1943 Oblt. Ludwig Becker 12 NJG 1 Stirling 544 8F4 3800m [40km N. Terschelling] 23.28 Western Front
    31/01/1943 Oblt. Ludwig Becker 12 NJG 1 Lancaster 24. 5 in See: 6500m [15km E. Texel] 3.1 Western Front
     
  8. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Looking through "Battles with the Nachtjagd" by Boiten and Bowman, there is no reference to the particular action you describe Jeff. However, I can relate the following regarding Ludwig Becker as quoted from the book:

    "Becker, born in Dortmund in August 1911, volunteered for the Luftwaffe in 1934 and became a Stuka pilot before joining Bf110 Zerstorer and becoming a night fighter pilot in July 1940. In 1941-42 Becker became one of the leading Experten in the Luftwaffe night fighter arm. He shot down 40 bombers in 1942 and taught the new and young crews from his experiences. To them Becker 'the Night Fighting Professor' was an inspiring fatherly figure. Instrumental in introducing the Lichtenstein AI radar into the night fighter arm in 1941 though most night fighter aircrew were sceptical about it (they liked to rely on the 'Mk I Eyeball). Becker had one of the still experimental sets installed in his Do217Z night fighter at Leeuwarden. Guided by the revolutionary radar, his and Nachtjagd's first AI victory was in the early hrs of 9 August 1941 in a Do 215B-5 night fighter version of the Do 215....."

    Break for supper. More later.
     
  9. rogerwilko

    rogerwilko Member

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    I find it amazing that the Halifax crew were found in the dark after bailing. How is this possible ?
     
  10. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    #10 Crimea_River, May 29, 2014
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
    BBQ Salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and cucumber salad in case anyone cares…..Anyway, some more from the same reference:

    In August 1941, Becker scored victories with 4/NJG 1 in Do-215 G9+OM. Bordfunker was Uffz Josef Staub. Note the date.

    There is a picture of Becker after returning from a sortie “probably on 17/18 August 1942”. At the time, he was Staffelkapitan of 6/NJG 2. On the same page there is a picture of a Bf110F-4 coded R4+EN of the same Staffel in the summer of 1942. It is not stated to be Becker’s machine but it’s worth noting that he was more likely to be flying a Bf110 with the code R4+?? at the time of your engagement. He was flying Do-215 G9+OM the year before. The picture of R4+EN shows the camouflage to be the early style splinter green scheme (possibly 02/71 or 72? – this is me guessing as the colour demarcation is quite pronounced which I would not expect with a 71/72 scheme). There’s another picture of Bf110 R4+CC flown with the Gruppe Adjutant with a similar paint scheme. So, I’d bet that Becker’s machine on that fateful night would have been a Bf110 coded R4+??.

    “At Leeuwarden on 26 February [1943] 30-year-old Hptm Ludwig Becker, Staffelkapitan 12/NJG1 a great night fighting tactician with 44 night victories, waited to fly his very first daylight sortie. Shortly before taking off from Leeuwarden 1135 hours in a formation of 12 Bf110s of IV/JG I led by Hptm Hans-Joachim Jabs, in pursuit of American daylight raiders Becker was informed of the award of the Eichenlaub (Oak Leaves) to the Ritterkreuz (Knight’s Cross), which had been bestowed on him on 1 July 1942 after his 25th night victory for his leading role in the development of the night fighter arm. They intercepted B-17s and B-24s, returning with claims for two shot down but Becker’s Bf110 was lost without a trace. Completely at ease and master in the night battle against the British bombing offensive, the ‘Night Fighting Professor’ and his Funker Fw Josef Straub fell victim to the gunners of B-17s and B-24s of the 1st and 2nd Bomb Wings.” Location of his disappearance is later given is “N of Schiermonnikoog”.

    EDIT: re the code G9. II/NJG 2 became IV/NJG 1 on 1 October 1942 so aircraft codes would probably have converted from R4+ to G9+ at that point. So Becker's Do215 would have been G9+, then his Bf 110 in Sept/42 would have been R4+, then when he went down in his 110 in 43, the code would have been G9 again.
     
  11. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the code change dates Andy. The book I have is in German and I couldn't figure out what they were saying. I have found way more photos of night fighters with the R4 code than with the G9 code if interested. There were only 100 Do215B-5s made due to the engines being needed for fighters.


    Geo
     
  12. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    I'm further suggesting the code would be R4+?P, the "P" typically designating 6 Staffel. Are there pictures in your book of 110's with that code Geo?
     
  13. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Found this chart...

    Capture.JPG

    ...I'll start looking for the -110s

    Geo
     
  14. Jeff Hunt

    Jeff Hunt Well-Known Member

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    Just amazing at how quickly you fellas have dug into this little project. Many thanks from my end....I truly appreciate your efforts and await, if possible, the smoking gun piece of evidence, if it exists, which will prove what aircraft (type) and code was carried on the eventful night.

    As a secondary project and seeing as you fellas seem to have way more resources at your disposal that I, the Mk II Halifax came in different versions with different noses and turrets and tailplanes I believe. Can anyone give me what the "layout" of BB205 would have been vis a vis the nose, turret and tail fins ( square vs. the smaller ones )

    I know I am asking a lot but you guys are good at this detective game and I suspect some of you may even enjoy it!

    Cheers,

    Jeff
     
  15. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Is this of some help Jeff?

    Halifax Technical

    35 LAPG built Halifax B MK 2 srs 1 BB189-BB223 Jan-Jul
     
  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Crimea River means RLM 70, not RLM 72 in his post above re: colours of the Bf 110 flown by Becker. In any case I'd be amazed if the old 71/02 or even older 70/71 schemes were still on any front line fighters (night or day) in 1942.
    The Bf 109 F series didn't enter production until very late in 1941, after the September decision to resume Bf 110 production. The standard scheme was by then 74/75 and had been for some time at Messerschmitt. What NJG 1 did to modify this I don't know. Much of the specialised equipment for night fighters was already being fitted post production by the spring of 1942 and modifications may have been made at this point too.

    At least some NJG 1 aircraft were painted a single very dark colour (presumably black) in 1942. There is a good picture of G9+CM (showing 'spanner' the I.R. detection device nicely, so this is pre 'Lichtenstein') crash landed near Paderborn and it looks very black indeed :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  17. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Steve, the photo in Post#2, showing Becker in his aircraft, looks like two colors, in the lower right corner, through the "IV" marking. The caption says "Hauptmann Ludwig Becker, Commander of the IV. Gruppe of NJG1 in his Do 215B-5....". Would these have been 74/75?

    Geo
     
  18. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The photograph in post #2 is of a Dornier. I doubt that it would be 74/75 as these were fighter colours and Dornier produced primarily bombers and was still applying bomber colours to the Do 335 at the end of the war!

    My guess (and we're all guessing when we interpret B+W photos!) for the two colours in the photograph would be 70/71 without evidence to the contrary. These are the two most likely applied to such an aircraft, by Dornier, at that time.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  19. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Steve.

    Geo
     
  20. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Steve, you caught me. Yes, I meant the 70/71 scheme, not 71/72. My apologies to all.

    The picture of R4+EN in Boiten's book to which I referred carries the caption "...BF110F-4 R4+EN at Leeuwarden airfield in the summer of 1942. Note the early wartime camouflage pattern on the 110..."

    I too questioned this but the B&W photo unquestionably shows two tones. Of course, it's possible that it's a field application of available colours.
     
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