Disaster at Bari, Italy

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Erich, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    few folk know about this operation kept secret by the Allies till post-war when all the investigations took place. there is still much doubt in what actually took place over that hell hole of a harbor that evening of December 2nd 1943. Of course being an operational LW nut since the 1950's am trying to place more info in my database concerning this horrific event. the LW for once it appears exacted a heavy toll in Allied shipping 17 being the total with the harbor and outside sunk though figure suggest up to 25 may have been destroyed.

    if any of you can add your 2 cents please do right here on the ww2 aircraft site but will give an old thread I started up with some interesting comments within on another forum that I mod on :

    Bari disaster
     
  2. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    I remember seeing/reading that along with the bomber groups, the 1./JG 77 was envolved with that operation. to what capacity I don't know.
     
  3. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Ratsel no not really, this was done in effect by a very brave Me 210 recon crew who flew over the harbor and no Allied AA in response to the fly over which they did two times, upon heading out they radio'd back in to the Luftflottile that was responsible for LW T/E bomber units in the MED and they set up their attack as mentioned in the web-site link. no day fighter gruppen were involved since this was a night raid and a very effective one at that since the LW bomber/torpedo units had very few successes this late in the war.
     
  4. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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  5. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    thanks for that link, very good read. Allied Ships in possession of and transporting Mustard Gas bombs.. I did not know that.
     
  6. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    ssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhh don't tell anyone, it's still a secret. and I can believe it. please note the multi-use of second Pearl harbor.

    we got a butt-pasting with our pants down on this air raid no denying it.

    looking through my records there were other Allied ships of varying size outside of the harbor a total of 8 that were shot to pieces by 2cm cannon fire and bombs.
     
  7. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    Despite article 171 of the Versailles Peace Treaty. looking very foward to reading contributions too this thread.
     
  8. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Every nation in WW2 was doing research on chemical and bio weapons during WW2. Each knew the other side had the weapons, but nobody used them first. Maybe because nobody knew exactly what the other sides capabilities were. But the stocks were kept on hand in case they were needed. No doubt, there was a ample supply ready at Normandy, if it was needed. The ship or ships holding it just didn't have the misfortune of getting bombed.
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Erich, give me a sec and I can post something I wote years ago with some help from other sources.
     
  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    WOW, I'd never heard of that event. Thanks Erich!
     
  11. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Just caught the link. Thats one of the main sources I used so no sense re-posting.
     
  12. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Article 171 of the Versailies Peace treaty was binding on Germany, no one else.
     
  13. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    oh. thanks. so which one banned the other countries from using chemical weapons? I know there was one in place. otherwise, why the allied secret hush hush policy on it? Hitler had no big desire to use it.. not after his WWI experiance.
     
  14. kettbo

    kettbo Member

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    a few epic disasters out there that seldom get mentioned
    Bari and the chem weapons stash
    A US troopship off Italy sunk by the Luftwaffe
    German E-Boats sink LSTs rehearsing for DDay at Lyme Bay
    German losses leaving East Prussia, OMG
    Loss and circumstances related to the USS Indianapolis 1945

    Now think about this
    Ever hear of any of the Troop Convoys from the US to the UK or Africa getting attacked?
    Interesting that the cargo convoys had a rough time til mid-late 43

    Japanese Merchant codes were easily cracked. Each day each ship reported in at noon with exact position, etc. Easy Cherry-Picking for the US Subs....don't tell them what, just say be at XX XX on certain date/time and patrol. This alone and Japan had no chance at all.
     
  15. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Not sure on that, because there were lot in GB it probably was not necessary to transport gas shells and gas bombs to France in 44. But I agree with the first part of your message.

    Juha
     
  16. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Probably some convention, Geneva? IIRC only the first use was forbidden not the stockpiling.
     
  17. razor1uk

    razor1uk Well-Known Member

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    All the main powers had vast yet aging stockpiles from 1st WW of Chem/Bio-chem types, most of us still have proportions of them currently in known and/or fogotten arsenals around our current military establishments or nations. I don't mean to sound explaining to those who know more, whom I'll defer too, but to the unkowing.

    Most European forces had good and bad times in WW1 with the new nerve and toxic weapons, most of forces brass or leaders knew very intimately the horrendousness of these weapons they 'used/tested' in WW1. And so they waited for someone to use something that would mean they had no choice but to use them militarily.

    Churchill and Hitler each expected the other to use them 1st, so they could use them if needed in their view of internationalism, as a 'last direst, folorn hope' - Hitler kept enough control (or his brass did) or he/they weren't pushed enough, so that their usage was limited rarer against military forces than Churchill would have liked.

    In the Chinese and Pacific fronts, it was considered more normal, they US being more reserved and of expediencies need, deciding in their usage, but I these are my conjectures from memory, and so most likely wrong.
     
  18. Snautzer01

    Snautzer01 Well-Known Member

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    From the book "Dirty Little Secrets of WWII"

    Thousands of tons of various chemical agents were produced, and shipped to the front, by all nations. While no one wanted to use chemicals, no one wanted to be caught unpreparedif the enemy decided to "go chemical." One of the worst ofthese accidents occurred in 1943, when a German air raid on the Italian port of Bari managed to hit an Allied cargo ship carrying mustard gas.Few people in the harbor knew what the ship was carrying. Mustard gas is basically an oily substance that on contact with the skin (or lungs, if inhaled) begins to burn through the flesh. Very nasty stuff. It got into the water of the harbor and floated to the surface along with oil from the fuel tanks of the ships that were sunk. The survivors were hauled out of the water and wrapped in blankets, but they were still covered with oil and mustard gas. Hours later, many of these victims began to die in agony. It took a while before the medical personnel could figure out what wasgoing on. But even more quickly, the security people made sure that everyone was sworn to secrecy. This incident did not become generally known until many years after the war.
     
  19. Snautzer01

    Snautzer01 Well-Known Member

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    From Usaf The Army Air Forces In Ww 2 Volume 2 (note the lack of mentioning mustard gas, date 1949)

    As if to lend weight to this inference, the GAF carried out on the night of 2/3 December its most successful raid of the year, at Bari. Around thirty aircraft made the attack, coming in behind planes which dropped Window. Normally, a thirty-plane night attack by the Luftwaffe would have produced only limited damage, but this time the enemy enjoyed a freak success. His bombs hit two ammunition ships which blew up in the ship-crammed harbor; the resulting explosions and fires destroyed seventeen ships totaling 62,000 tons and carrying 38,000 tons of cargo (mostly hospital supplies and 10,000 tons of steel plank), caused many casualties, and so damaged the port facilities that Bari’s capacity was not back to normal for three weeks. The success of the raid owed much to the enemy’s good luck in hitting the ammunition ships and to his skillful use of Window; but the extraordinarily heavy damage occurred because the Allies had unwisely crowded their ships in the harbor. The weakness of fighter and AA defense reflected poor and perhaps inadequate-communications, incomplete liaison among the several defensive elements, and insufficient guns and searchlight
    The Bari raid caused renewed concern for the safety of Allied bases and installations in eastern Italy.a7 It indicated that the Germans were in a position to launch sudden and even heavy attacks anywhere in the central Mediterranean because of the large number of air bases which were available to them in Italy and the Balkans. This conclusion appeared to be confirmed on the night of 13/14 December when the GAF again visited Bari. Although the attacking planes did little damage, the raid was significant because the planes came from Greece-the first time that bombers from that area had attacked an Italian target. The Allies drew some comfort from the deduction that the attack had come from Greece probably because the enemy was withdrawing most of his long range bombers from Italy to Germany. Subsequently, this was confirmed by photographic evidence. Captured GAF records revealed after VE-day that at the end of December the enemy’s bomber force in the Mediterranean was down to 29 serviceable planes as against 214 on 30 November-which explains why the Luftwaffe, except for its two raids on Bari, seldom bothered the Allies in December
     
  20. Ratsel

    Ratsel Banned

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    these wern't WWI stock piles, these were new chemical weapons, manufactured in England if I'm not mistaken, housed in american made bombs.
     
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