My Cousin

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Erich, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    this may not show up but want to add to it when I find my old data. just a brief from our old web-pages

    By the autumn of 1944, JG 301, like other former Wilde Sau night fighting Geschwader had long since converted to the daylight fighter role and its Gruppen like the Sturmgruppen were organised in 'heavy' and 'light' wings. According to Reschke I. Gruppe and II. Gruppe were to have 2 Staffeln as the light, high cover and 2 Staffeln as the heavy Staffeln to combat the bombers. During the poor autumn weather months of 1944 it was hoped that those pilots who had been trained in blind flying techniques ( Blindflugausbildung ) could form a specialist Schlechtwetterverband but losses and a lack of experienced formation leaders meant that this idea was to be still-born. ( Reschke P 158 )

    Sunday 26 November 1944 was to be a black day for JG 301. Young Nachwuchs such as Unteroffizier Siegfreid Baer were to fly perhaps only their second or third mission. Baer flew a Fw 190A9/R-11 with 5./JG 301. 5th Staffel could have been a 'heavy' or schwere Staffel. Baer's 'weiße 2' WNr 206085 was built in Focke Wulf's Cottbus plant, Gruppen of JG 301 receiving the first A-9s off the Cottbus production line in September 1944. We have portrayed Baer's 'white 2' with the yellow red Rumpfbände and a II Gruppe bar. The R-11 Rüstzustand was a 'bad weather' package featuring the PKS 12 autopilot and heated canopy glass. The A-9 featured the Schiebehaube blown canopy and an up-rated BMW 801 TU/TS engine with wide-bladed wooden prop, although these could also appear on the A-8. The A-9 variant in JG 301 service was equipped with two 2cm Kanonen and two 13mm MGs with the outer wing cannon perhaps only fitted in the schwere Staffeln. (None of the JG 301 machines pictured in Peter Rodeike's Jagdflugzeug 190 have cannon in the outboard position) It would almost certainly have been equipped with the standard ETC 501 Zusatztank carrier fitting. Pilots in the Reichsverteidigung had long complained of the absurdity of hauling 250kg reserve fuel tanks and their bulky carrier fittings around when flying missions to close to their home bases ( … " Die Aufhängung unseres 300 Ltr Zusatzbehälters an dem schweren Bomben ETC war uns jungen Jagdfliegern damals schon unverständlich.." see Schröder in Rodeike, P 198 P 299, for more on this. The ETC 501- Einzel Träger C-Munition - had been initially conceived as a bomb carrier, it being always the intention of Luftwaffe commanders to use fighters in the Jabo role where necessary as Staffeln of IV./JG 3 had discovered to their cost over Normandy back in June. The more streamlined ETC 504 carrier was never fitted to the Fw 190 A model. Technicians from JG 26 in association with Erla in Antwerp had developed a light combined carrier/tank fitting whose use was not widely endorsed )


    On Sunday 26 November 1944 the storm front that had been stationary over central north Germany for much of the previous week was clearing. Fortresses of the 1st Bomb Division and Liberators of the 2nd set out to raid the Misburg hydrogenation plants near Hannover, the Hydrierwerk Miesburg, partially destroyed only a few weeks previously. The Fortresses led the raid, followed by Squadrons of B-24s from the 389th, 445th and 491st Bomb Groups, an armada of over one thousand bombers. High and Low Squadrons all jockeying to remain in tight defensive formation. Several B-24s aborted and timings began to go awry which was bad news for the 491st flying 'tail-end charlie' . Over the North Sea the 389th and the 445th turned late, spreading the Divisions over an area stretching for forty miles instead of twenty and effectively rendering the escort ineffectual. The B-24s were on their own for some 30 minutes to Misburg. Willi Reschke takes up the story.


    .." that morning had been like other recent mornings for the pilots of the III Gruppe in Stendal….dickes QBI....even the birds were on foot and it wasn't long before the pilots had settled down to games of chess and skat. But weather conditions were improving and gradually communication between the operations room and Central Fighter control at Döberitz became more intense. Games were soon put aside as pilots moved to readiness . Everyone was gripped by mission fever. There was a hive of activity around the planes as the 'black men' helped their pilots into the machines. The order to scramble was not long in coming. At around 11h40 all three Gruppen took off setting course to the west. The enemy was heading directly towards us. None of the pilots knew that they were about to face the biggest air battle in the short history of the Geschwader ….." ( Reschke, Jagdgeschwader JG 301/302 Wilde Sau )

    All three Gruppen of JG 301 converged on the bombers as the lead elements were approaching Hannover. Visibility was good and the contrails from the bomber streams stretched out into the far distance.

    ".. Zusatzbehälter ab ! .."

    The following is extracted from the official 8th AF report.

    "… As the two Liberator Groups left the IP and headed for the target of Misburg, with the squadron of 9/10 enemy a/c in trail, the escort fighters atacked a large concentration of 190's and 109's east of the I.P….. The middle squadron (491st), of the second group released its bombs early.......

    Instead of staying in the column this squadron went ? toward the R.P.? point, leaving a gap between the first and the third squadrons…. (Jerry), probably spotted this opening, and if on signal, the heavy flak stopped abruptly. Just after the isolated third squadron released it's bombs and turned toward the I.P. 50-70 109's and 190's launched a company front attack in mass of 7-10 abreast. Some fighters hit from 5 o'clock, others from 7 o'clock. The entire squadron of 9 B-24's were shot down…... Enemy aircraft went after the middle squadron catching it just before the rallying point. They attacked singly from 4 o'clock high and low and from 8 o'clock high and low. Enemy fighters broke off early when gunners opened fire at long range, but resumed their attacks to within 100 yards if they were not fired on…."

    Six of the ten B-24's in this squadron were lost. Research indicates that this is the squadron that Siegfried Baer attacked.

    As the Geschwader pressed home attacks on the bomber formation, the escort having let its screen be penetrated, made frantic efforts to intercept. The ensuing combats were some of the most intense in the history of home defence or Reichsverteidigung. "...it worked again for the Americans as we'd seen so often before , radio communications between the bombers and their escorts brought the P-51s to the battle from all directions. A few of our fighters were still able to press home their attacks on the bombers but as the battle progressed pilots of JG 301 were left fighting for their lives against the escorts..." ( Reschke )

    Staffelkapitän of 5./JG 301 Oberleutnant Alfred Vollert flying Fw 190 A-9 'weiße 1' was killed in combat, shot down over Rethen as he was pursuing a B-24. Siegfried Baer was also shot down and killed, possibly shot down by 339th FG P-51's while attacking the 491st BG south east or so of Hannover around Peine. Plotting the demise of Baer and his Staffelkapitän and their crash locations reveals that they fell along the B-24's route. This tends to confirm that Siegfried Baer attacked the B-24's in a pass and possibly scored hits if not an Abschüß and in so doing was hit by the devastating fire of the B-24 boxes crashing to his death. Eye witnesses on the ground reported that each attacking Focke Wulf was set upon by several P-51's after diving through the Pulks. The bomber escorts had a tremendous tactical advantage and their numerical superiority was overwhelming.

    JG 301 did have some notable success. Oberfeldwebel Hans Müller of 2. Staffel claimed three B-24 Liberators shot down. Jupp Keil in 10 Staffel claimed two B-24s. 12 Staffel suffered no losses at all but were comparatively experienced. As I./JG 302 12 Staffel had flown escort missions with IV./JG3 back in July.

    The first part of the official account quoted above concerns the 491st BG. The 445th lost 5 bombers. Again quoting from the 8th AF report..

    "… In a ? from this battle, some aircraft made single attacks on the lead squadron at this same group shorlty before the R.P. But this squadron which was in tight formation and only 20 seconds behind the Group(445th) ahead, suffered no losses……The low squadron of the preceding group (445th) however, lost 5 of it's 11 bombers to a series of single attacks, apparently made by some of the same fighters. Here again the enemy aircraft hit from 4 and 8 o'clock high and low, making numerous belly attacks. Enemy fighters which made individual attacks frequently broke away to the side without losing altitude, pulled ahead of the bomber formation, then turned to make a new attack, flying across the bombers path without attempting a pursuit curve..".

    It may be that JG 301 accounted for these B-24's as well. However Willi Reschke makes no mention in his book of the extra victories. In total some forty bombers were lost that day along with eleven P-51s. Over 40 JG 301 pilots were either killed or wounded on 26 November 1944 alone, more than a third of JG 301's pilot complement, a terrible blood-letting in defence of the homeland….' die Luftschlacht über Deutschland war jetzt in einem Stadium, daß man 'Ausbluten der Jagdfliegerei' nennen mußte'…( Reschke )

    JG 301 would be unable to make good its enormous losses in trained pilots. Siegfried Baer is buried in the cemetery at Holtensen near Hannover. ( see below )


    Profile, Rainer Kliemann,

    Research inspiration, Erich Brown. Thanks to Al Blue for the Microfiche

    Text, Neil Page
     
  2. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    At the end of August 1944 JG 301 as a complete unit was in need of new recruits and new aircraft. During the month of Spetember and October 1944 these needs were fulfilled and tactics at odd hours were drawn to releive themselves from the looks of Allied escort fighters supporting the 8th US air force on their bombing runs.
    Jg 301 was to be equipped overall with the Fw 190A-9 and some R-11 all weather variants in the Ist and IInd gruppes. III. gruppe was to be designated the Schwere(heavy) gruppe with the sole task of operating in similiar fashion to the three existing Sturmgruppen. Attack in a wedge, line-abreast by individual staffeln with succeeding staffeln flying 50 to 100 feet higher. And attack close-in to the bombers till almost ramming stage. III. gruppe was to operate the standard Fw 190A-8 with four 2cm weapons and also a good portion as Fw 190A-8/R-2 with the cowling mg 131's and the outboard 2cm weapons replaced by the deadly Mk 108 3cm cannon.
    In the I and II gruppe pilots of the seperate staffeln choose under their own discretion to remove the outboard 2cm weapons thus giving the Fw 190 pilots a little more quickness in the turn and in the dive when combating the P-51. Two staffeln of both these groups were to supply Höhenschutz(high cover) while the remaining two of each gruppe were to provide supplementary Schwere staffeln and go after the bombers if not overwhelmed by P-51's.

    On 21 November 1944 for many this was to be their first mission agasint the 8th air force and possibly their last. Over 1290 US bombers of B-24's and B-17's escorted by over 950 long range P-51/P-47's were sent over Merseburg/Leuna, Meppen, Quakenbrück, Heersfeld, Friedburg, Osnabrück giessen, Lingen, Bielefeld, Wetzlar and in the Hamburg area(s) by the 2nd Bomb Divisons B-24's.

    JG 301's target this date was the 1st bomb divisions B-17's heading to known oil targets. lousy weather of 8/10ths clouds did not deter the Luftwaffe unit as most of the new cadre had already come from blind flying schule. My cousin being one of them.
    I. gruppe took off from their airfield at Salzwedel with I. gruppe Kommandeur flying with them; Hauptmann Wilhelm Burggraf and II. gruppe took off from Sachau. The "Heavy" III. gruppe under Hauptmann Karl-Heinz Dietsche left Stendal at 10.55 uhr with grim determination to bring down as many US heavy bombers as they possibly could.....
    the masse of Fw 190's meeting together as one large Gefechtsverbaand in the area of Gardelegen-Stendal.

    TEnsions were on edge as the pilots readied themselves flying in tight formation with the I. and II. gruppe nearly 1000 feet above and slightly behind the Heavy gruppe. US Bobmers were detected by ground radar and Gruppenkommandeurs that were flying with their respective gruppen were given preceise orders of the flow of the American 'Pulks'. The German fighters heading in a Südwest direction as the US B-17 were coming up from the southeast in the direction of the area of: Magdeburg und Thüringen............at once the Mustangs were in formation and started to break up into individual sections to take on the Fw's of I. and II. gruppe Höhenschutze and a vicious battle ensued.............


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  3. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    .........into the fray rode the I. and II. gruppes of JG 301 with the I. gruppe first pounced on in an uneven battle with the 359th, 352nd and the 364th P-51 Mustang groups. II. gruppe also felt the brunt of the heavy fighter attacks and did their best to weave in an out of the heavy deck of clouds and rain in the vicinity. I./JG 1's task was also to attack the long wave of US bombers but they were set upon by P-47's and P-51 in the area west of Merseburg and in so doing came into the same general area of combat as JG 301. What a mix up of Fw 190's trying their best to get on the tails of the US "Indianer". Closing in for the kill and at the last moment having to peel off right or left being pursued by two P-51's; repeated over and over again, the ranks of JG 301 machines getting smaller and smaller minute by minute..............Siegfried Baer doing his best as 'Kaczmarek' to clear the tail of his Staffelkapitän in Weiße 1, Oberleutnant Alfred Vollert. Over and over again warding off the scores upon scores of Allied escorts, diving, banking and seeking refuge in the clouds to just plain survive.....coming out again and being at once engaged in a death struggle.

    an exerpt from the official 359th FG history...........

    Major Roy Evans leads the 359th fg as the fly penetration, targer and withdrawl support for the B-17's bombing the oil industry around Meerseburg. The group puts up 59 fighters this morning and four return early. The first action takes place at 11.35 west of the target area. The leader of the 369th fs Green flight, Lt. Claude Crenshaw and his wingman Lt. Harold Tenebaum at 31,000ft. spot about 100 Fw 190s with a top cover of about 35 more(I.and II./JG 301), trailing above a formation of B-17's. The pair drop down behind the bandits and observe 8 P-51's from the 352nd fg closing in. Crenshaw lines up on a 190 but a 352nd P-51 cuts in, forcing him to select another target. After a two second burst of fire the bandit rolls over and the pilot bails out. Popping out of the haze/clouds, Crenshaw finds 50 Fw 190's firing on the bombers(III./JG 301). Slipping in behind one of the attacking Fw 's he fires two short bursts into the engine. The 190 rolls over, with fire trailing from it's engine and goes down. Climbing back up through the haze Crenshaw engages about 30 bandits and scores hits on one, in the cockpit. He is then forced to break combat with the smoking bandit since two Fw's are on his tail firing at him. After clearing his tail Crenshaw jumps two bandits and they head for the deck. While firing on one of these fighters the second one gets behind Crenshaw and a P-51 from the 352nd fg nails it. Tenenbaum, Crenshaw's wingman engages a Fw 190 on Crenshaws tail, at the beginning of the fight scoring hits in the wing roots. The German jettisons his canopy but Tenenbaum continues firing until the 190 wings over in a spiral, the pilot apparently dead.
    At 1200hrs the 370th fighter squadron engages a large number of Fw 190's roughly half way between Kassel and the target and to the south (remnants of JG 301 and I./JG 1)............the total aerial scores for the day is 18-3-3, all Fw 190's.

    From the 352nd FG official history........

    The 352nd sent up two groups of P-51's A and B each with a slightly different assignment. A group protecting the B-17's, went into action just before the target runnning into a gruppe of 109's. A furious battle ensued with the 'Blue-nosers" claiming 6 1/2-2-3- victories and Lt. Frank Kebelman became the 328thfs top scorer for this date. B-group went on a free lance sweep starting at Dummer Lake and in the area near Leipzig east of the target ran into 50 plus Fw 190's at 27,000 feet with a top cover at 29,000ft. The enemy's flight path was parallel with the bombers withdrawl route and it was apparent that they planned to attack as soon as possible. 8 P-51's led by 487th fs L/Col John Meyer. At 1225hrs we saw a gaggle of approx 50 E/A flying on an intercept course to the last box of bombers which had already left the target area(JG 301). We were climbing at 23,000ft and immediately started wide open after the E/A, closing in behind them at 29,000ft. major Preddy, leading a three ship formation from the 328thfs, was close behind us.
    The Germans were flying 20-plus ships in close formation with 6, three ship cover flights(Gefechtsverband). these cover flights were flying fairly wide, above, to the sides and rear of the formation(I. and II./JG 301 above III./JG 301). As we approached from the rear these coveer flights began split-essing away, I identified them as Fw 190's and saw that they all had belly tanks ( Göring felt that in the fall of 1944 that all Luftwaffe pilots should keep their fuel tanks fitted even in combat due to the shortage of fuel reserves, which in many cases would reamin costly to the jünge Flieger)............

    more soon
     
  4. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    at that moment Colonel John Meyer told Captain Whisner to attack a straggler on the starboard and rear of the German formation and the battle was joined. After missing with his initial burst, whisneer closed to 200 yds adn ripped big chunks of metal from the 190 with a well placed burst from his fifties. As this Fw fell in flames Whisner turned his attention to another 190 and peppered it from about 150yds. the E/A fell away and was hit by another burst of fire from Whisner before it went down in a flat spin and disappeared into a layer of haze/cloud.
    "At this time the enemy seemed to be worried (I.gruppe/Jg 301). I saw two of them break off and dive below while taking violent evasive action. I did not attempt to follow them but stayed with the enmey formation."
    Captain Whisner then closed behind a 3 ship formation flying line abreast approx 50 yds apart. Lining up on the leader, but the FW broke away and Whisner found himself between the two remaining Fw's and decided to attack the one to his right. Before the German could react Whisner destroyed the 190 with a well placed burst from 100 yds and sent him down in flames (in-experienced, probably his first mission). Whisners wingman Lt. karl Waldron then zoomed in and shot down the other 190.
    As Whisner pulled up another Fw crossed in front of him and was shot down. Aand Waldron shot down another in flames. Only two Fw 190's from the higher formation were left as the rest were either destroyed or in combat with the rest of the P-51's. Whisner is credited with these two unsuspecting Fw 190's . As Whisner zoomed back up to 25,000ft he spied an Fw 190 on the tail of a P-51 and Whisner went after it closing to 50yds and fired, smashing the 190's engine and cockpit, banking off whisner met up with Col J.C. Meyer and headed back to their base at Bodney.
    In addition to Whisner's 5 confirmed and two probable claims the 487th fs claimed another 7 Fw 190's. The total given to the US fighter group for the date was 19 1/2-2-6 against no losses. Proof that inexperienced German pilots suffered greatly at the hands of the US fighter formations.....

    exerpt kindly given by historian Bob "Punchy" Powell, as I am a friend (member) of the 352nd fg. continued............
     
  5. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    as our high escort (I. and II. gruppe) were engaging the Mustangs we dropped down out of the clouds and off to the right. As we descended we got out of the clouds and we noticed immediately condensation trails from the heavy bombers. Verbandsführer Hauptmann Fulda ordered us to get into position and attack the bomber pulk on our right. As old hands we knew what a frontal attack would mean...........we attacked in a wedge formation to disrupt the B-17's (398th bomb group) and went through the US formation very fast. so fast as I could not really observe the results as we immediately were set upon by P-51's from all directions. The only thing I remember was the attack made upon my B-17. I looked everywhere for my wingman but could not find him. My attack with the mg 131s, 2cm and finally 3cm weapons were to the inner engines of the B-17 causing a fire to break out which then moved along the fuselage. In a quickened pace and not wanting to be shot down by the Allied escorts I landed at 12.51 hrs at Fliegerhorst Burg bei Magdeburg.........exerpt via translation by me of Pilot Willi Reschke of 9./JG 301.

    398th bomb group sources said even with the heavy Mustang escorts that a gruppe of Fw 190A's jumped them ut of the clouds and shot down 10 to 15 B-17's with a quote from the group historian........Geroge Hilliard " Erich, we lost an entire squadron on this mission; 15 a/c and crews were lost". According to official US sources in the NARA there are only 5 MACR's documented for downed bombers. another source via a crewman on this mission mentions at least 10 B-17's of the group were shot down......

    JG 301 with it's first official mission flying the Fw 190A-8 and A-9 was hammered. I. gruppe hit the hardest and first lsot many a/c to the P-51 groups in the Thüringer Becken from Eisennach towards Jena. II. gruppe in less bad shape was spread out from Gotha to Eisenberg. III. Schwere grupp after making a quick attack through the B-17 formation tried to get back to their base but were pursued by Mustangs as they were flying northward towards Magdeburg and near Altenburg.............
     
  6. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    The battle for the oil refineries had been a tough one for JG 301. Such confusion that III. gruppe could not even confirm it's kills except for the 1 B-17 shot down by Willi Reschke. 4 P-51's had been claimed by pilots of the Stab I./JG 301, 2nd, 5th and 7th staffels. The losses were tragic. The I. gruppe Kommandeur Hauptmann Wilhelm Burggraf was shot down and killed in his Fw 190A-9 with a Mustang near Jena.
    1./JG 301 lost two pilots wounded
    2./JG 301 lost three pilots KIA and 1 wounded
    3./JG 301 lost two pilots KIA and 2 wounded
    4./JG 301 lost 1 pilot KIA

    II. gruppe

    5./JG 301 my cousins staffel.......lost 2 pilots, one of these wounded and the other MIA. My cousin flying as wingman and the Staffelkapitän Oberlt. alfred Vollert made it back to Sachau.
    6./JG 301 lost one pilot KIA and one pilot wounded.
    7./JG 301 lost one pilot KIA
    8./JG 301, Unteroffizier Herbert Bartenieck had engine trouble with his Fw 190A-8 blue 12 and he crashed at Neustadt but was unhurt.

    III. gruppe

    9./JG 301
    after going through the bomber formation, W. Reschke's wingman Obergefreiter Rudi Bender was hit by return fire of one of the B-17's and landed at Waldeck, Bender not returning to action due to his wounds....
    10./JG 301 lost one pilot KIA.

    During the next two days the pilots of JG 301 would reform their tactics to the tried and true method of "angriff vom den hinten" ........ from the rear and this is what they did till war's end. Larger flights would be reduced to flights of 4-5 a/c, attacking in these small units in the wedge formation in the staffel as well as in the gruppe as a whole and also some 'tough' talk to the wingmen to stay on the alert for enemy fighters.........


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    Nur die jenigen, die man vergisst, sind wirklich tot
     
  7. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Luftwaffe victories are sketchy at best

    in addition to the 4 P-51's claimed one source (German) states thus:

    I./JG 301 3 B-17's, 1 P-51
    II./JG 301 2 B-17's
    III./JG 301 1 B-17

    odd eh ? From one B-17 crewman on the mission.......Dear Erich, my squadron was alone at 31,000 feet when we were swamped by about 150 fighters both 190's and 109's. They destroyed 10 of our 13 a/c in about 5 minutes. The radar operator who was the best man at my wedding was shot down on the 11/26 mission to Misburg and became a pow with me at stalagluft 1 at Barth.

    (would post two images but the mail server here is not functional) mail error

    in additon to the gentlemans posting to me as a private,

    Gene, I saw as you did the large numbers of Fw 190's over Germany, as previously noted my squadron was almost decimated by the on 21 November 1944 over Merseburg. Even tho there were large numbers of P-51's in the immediate area we had no effective escort. We lost 9 of 13 forts in a head on attack. It must have been pretty somber back at base, my ship the Nutty Hussy was blown up and 9 of us got down safely. We had no poop on our pilot who apparently did not survive the attack. We often in retrospect wondered if he was killed by civilians on the ground.

    Marve
     
  8. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    ok this is basically the first page of 4 long pages being sorted out by me, and some things are out of order. the first pages is primarily the 21 November 1944 mission, my cousins 1-2nd ? mission. His last the third was on 26 November 44 which I will be dealing at length shortly.....

    E ~
     
  9. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Merseburg, November 21, 1944 by Pilot Staver Hyndman of the 603 squadron, 39th bomb group as he remembers.........

    The German city of Merseberg lies about 100 air miles SW of Berlin. In 1944, this city was the home of one of the most sinister targets in Nazi Germany, as far as US 8th A/F bomber crews were concerned. The Leuna synthetic oil refinery was located here, and US bomber crews were pounding German oil production wherever it copuld be found. But a mission to Merseberg often spelled disasteer to the attacking US forces, as this was one of the most heavily defended targets in all of the Recih. Hundreds of AA gunse ringed the refinery, and some of the Luftwaffe's best piston-engined fighter units were nearby. It was into this mael;storm that First Lt. Hyndman and crew aboard the B-17G "Ole Blood N Guts", N7*U would find themselves on the afternoon of 11-21-44.

    Thirteen a/c made up the high squadron, B Group. Of these 13 a/c that departed England 3 would return.

    As the B-17 formation approached Osnabruck the lead a/c VHF radio went out, limiting the groups contact with wing and division. Weather was also becoming a factor, as clouds and contrails were becoming thick and persistent. And it was here that the German AA claimed it's first victim. One B-17 was hit in the engines and damaged, feathering the prop the B-17 turned and struggled for home.....

    Wingmen were now finding it impossible to see not finding the lead squadron. Orders from major R. Templeman (lead ship) said to keep climbing. Some daylight found at 28,000ft. But unknownst to the 603sq the rest of the wing had been ordered to approach the target at low altitude. Now the low squadron of the 398th, the 601st was completely scattered. All opportunity was lost for this squadron and they bombed individually with three B-17's making forced landing in Belgium.

    As the squadron/ group approached the IP at Nordhausen, the lead planes were at 29,500ft. One more B-17 departed, and this a/c joined the 601st heading for home. German AA fire reamined fierce, Iz Rovinsky tried to attract some friendly fighter support while pilot Stevens tried to keep his flak hit B-17 in the air. What fighter support in the area was invloved with a large group of Fw 190's(JG 301), soon to meet head-to-head with Hyndman and the rest of the squadron/group.
    Fortunately for Stevens he was able to jettison anything extra including the belly turret and he was able to belly in on a field 30 miles SE of Paris.

    Barely within sight of the lead squadron at the IP, the 603rd was soon to be on it's own. Ready to turn for the taarget at the IP, there suddenly appeared out of the cloud an of-course group of B-17's flying at the same altitude. Banking hard the B-17's turned with the lead squadron leader blowing his radar fuse, so PPF was now impossible.

    The decision now was to abandon Merseberg as the 603rd was well above the other three squadrons of B-17's so the bombs were dropped well off course.

    Fighter activity had been reported off and on for about 30 minutes, first at 8 o'clock low and now at 2 o'clock high. The sky, murky as it was at 30,000ft, was filled with criss-cross vapor trails, the unique signature of high-altitude combat: _-51's had tangled with a group of Fw 190's.........

    Suddenly two waves of 5-6 Fw 190's each roared head-on through the B-17 formation (III./JG 301). Staver recalls that the fighter and bomber wings almost overlapped in the split-second attack. he recalls seeing the faces of the Luftwaffe pilots as they reaced through the unit.

    All three panes in the leaad element were hit by 20mm(30mm) fire. Lt. Buzza, his plane falling off to the right with one engine afire and Lt. Hastings fatally wounded beside him, ordered his crew to jump. Hastings was found in the plane where it crashed near Eisenach. the rest of the crew was captured and sent to POW camps. The deputy lead a/c took cannon shell hits in the right wing, sending the B-17 into a tight spin and ultimate explosion. the third a/c of the lead element, flown by Lt. charles Howell, also went into a violent spin with his left wing on fire. Three men managed to bail out from the sticken Fort.
    The second wave of Fw's took out three engines on Fred Wismers B-17, the only remaining one in Hyndman's flight. With no chance of survival in the air, a;; 9 men took to their parachutes and were captured.

    Lt. Hyndman's B-17 got more than her fair share of attention from the German fighters too. An exploding cannon shell ripped into navigator Lt. Ken Carlson's groin, injuring him severly. Other cannon hits shot out # 1 and # 2 engines completely, and did some minor damage to # 4. The Forts entire hydraulic sysstem was shredded, and the electrical system had been hit as well. 2nd Lt. E.D. Ebbeson, bombardier, and top turret gunner/engineer C.F. Gray immediately treated Carlson with first aid and tended to him as the wounded B-17 limped westward. Carlson never lost consciousness from his wounds, and lay on the catwalk below the pilot on the trip home. Hyndman said that his oxygen mask had a longer than normal hose, and that Carlson would tug on it once and awhile to let him know that he was still with them........

    Realizing that he was never going to make England, Staver crash-landed at an RAF field at Bruges, Belgium. He attempted a wheels-down landing with no brakes but once the Fort settled down on the muddy field, her landing gear folded. Staver had to spin the a/c around to bring it to a stop before he would crash into a pillared and cordoned off area at the far end of the runway where there was a construction sight. No one was injured in the landing, and Lt. Carlsonwas taken to a British hospital. later he was sent to a US hospital in Great Britain and fully recovered. He would, however, never fly combat again.

    Staver Hyndman received the Distinguished Flying Cross for the disasterous Merseberg mission. He was also awarded the US Air Medal with 6 clusters, and the WW2 Victory and European Theateer of Ops medals.

    Discharged in October of 1945 after 35 missions, Hyndman returned to his pre-war job at Caswell's. Shortly thereafter, he began working for the US postal service, a job from which he retired in 1984..........

    As I write this I have been notified that Mr. Hyndman is declining quickly in health and remains in a nursing home. A standing salute to a very brave man and crew.

    ~Erich~
     
  10. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    the next couple of days following the 21 November raid were very quite with attacks on the Gelsenkirchen oil plant and nearly nil as to resistance. The 8th stood down except for 36BS sending out 6 B-24's on recon and on the 24th of November, the 25th Bomb group sent out 2 Mossies on Weather recon over the UK and 2 B-17's and 2 B-24's on weather recon over the Atlantic.

    On the 25 November in incredibly terrible weather the US 8th AF sent another mass of Heavy bombers back to Merseburg/Leuna and to the Bingen marshalling yards. The Luftwaffe was not up in force due to the terrible weather and only JG 300 and JG 301 had pilots trained in bad weather flying. JG 301 was still licking their wounds and JG 300 pilots were sent from their fields at late notice and practically missed the bombers. All 8th AF fighter groups were operating and these were involved with ground attacks; 137 9th AF forces were also present. The evening of the 25/26th November was carried out with B-24's and B-17's dropping night leaflets.

    Dawn was approaching over the continent and the day was to be one of the bloodiest encounters of Luftwaffe and US aircraft during the war........


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    Nur die jenigen, die man vergisst, sind wirklich tot
     
  11. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Schwarze Tag für JG 301
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Sunday 26 November 1944, young nachwuchs such as Unteroffizier Siegfried BAeer were to fly perhaps pnly thier second or third mission. Baer flying the Fw 190A-9/R-11 with 5./JG 301 with the second gruppe of JG 301 split between a heavy(Schwere) staffel and Licht (Light)to attack the Mustangs. The R-11 package was Rüstzand with extra compasses, radio equipment and possibly a heated cabin. The Fw 190 was also equipped with the ETC 501 Zusatztank carrier fitting. Piots in the Reichsverteidigung had long complained of the absurdity of hauling a 250kg reserve fuel tanks and their bulky carrier fittings around when flying missions to close to their home bases (Die Aufhängung unseres 300 Ltr Zusatzbehälters an dem schweren Bomben ETC war uns jungen jagdfliegern damals schon unverständlich).........

    on the morn, the storm front that had been stationary over central north Germany for much of the previous week was clearing. The B-17's of the 1st Division, B-24's of the 2nd Division and the B-17's of the 3rd Divsiion were sent out to bomb Altenbeken, Osnabrück M/Y, Bielefeld, Misburg O/I and the Hannover M/Y plus smaller targets at hamm and Herford. In all some 1137 US heavy bombers were sent with nearly 700 US fighter escorts. Taking on this huge offensive force were Luftwaffe single enigne fighters of JG 27, IV./JG 54 // JG 301 // JG's 1 and 6.
    Fortresses of the 1st Bomb division led the raid followed by the Liberators of the 2nd Bomb Division to bomb the Misburg hydrogenation plants just east of Hannover. (Hydrierweerk Misburg). What was not destroyed a few weeks ago was to feel further this date by the bombs with special emphasis on the Deurag-Neurag oil refinery which normally produced some 27,000 tons of crude per month..........
    the B-24 wings, the as follows; the 389th in the lead followed by the 445th and finally the 491st (the Ringmasters). High and low squadrons all jockeying to remain in tight defensive formation. Several B-24's of the 491st aborted leaving 28 Libs on their fateful trip to Germany...
     
  12. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    that morning had been like any other morning on the German airfields. Ground techs were tracking the weather pattern(s) as well as the local and direction of the offending US bombers, plotting the best location(s) for a defensive attack. dickes QBI........even the birds were on foot (selbst die Vögel geh'n zu Fuß), the pilots had settled down to games of chess and skat. But weather conditions were improving and gradually communication between the operations room and central fighter control at Döberitz became more intense. Games were soon put aside as pilots moved to readiness. Everyone was gripped by mission fever. There was a hive of activity around the planes as teh 'black men' helped their pilots into their machines. the order to scramble was not long in coming. At around 11.40hrs III. gruppe took off and headed west.

    Timing is everything ! Over the North Sea the 398th and the 445th bg's turned late and placed them four and five minutes behind schedule when they crossed the coast. the Libs were to be some 11 minutes late in bombing while the B-17, 1st division had arrived 6 minutes before the ordered time this point as such allowed the Fw 190's to hit the 2nd Air division. 28 minutes seperated the two air divisions and the Allied escorts could not be everywhere at once. The B-17's of the 1st AD were spread over some 40 miles instead of the 20 recommended and the three US escort groups could not cover even all the B-17's..........

    III./JG 301 had left it's base at Stendal and while approaching Gardelegen, II. gruppe took off from Sachau and I. gruppe from Salzwedel. In the area of Gilfhorn the three gruppen came together and formed a combat formation (Gefechstverband). I. and II. gruppe flying the Fw 190A-9 and A-9/R-11 were to set up a "Mustang" trap just to the north and east of Misburg thus allowing the whole III. gruppe to attack in masse-wedge formation from the rear on the B-24 groups.

    From the official 8th Air Force reprot fro 26 November 1944 from micro-fische some of it very hard to read.......

    ".........As the two Liberator groups left the IP and headed for the targert of Misburg, with the squadron of 9/10 plus enemy a/c in trail, the US escort fighters attacked a large concentration of 190's and Me 109's (JG 6), east of the I.P.........the middle squadron of the (491st); the second group released it's bombs early........
    Instead of staying in the cloumn this squadron went ? toward the Rallying Point, leaving a gap between the first and third squadrons......Jerry, probably spotted this opening, and if on signal, the heavy flak stopped abruptly. Just after the isolated thrid squadron rleased it's bombs and turned towards the I.P., 50-70 109's and 190's launched a company front attack in mass of 7-10 abreast. Some fighters hit from 5 o'clock and others from 7 o'clock. the entire squadron of 9 B-24's were shot down...........Enemy aircraft went after the middle squadron catching it just before the rallying point. They attacked singly from 4 o'clock high and low and from 8 o'clock high and low. enemy fighters broke off early when gunners opened fire at long range, but resumed their attacks to within 100 yeards if they were not fired on...........


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    Nur die jenigen, die man vergisst, sind wirklich tot
     
  13. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    6 of the 10 B-24's in this squadron were lost. Research indicates that this is the squadron that Siegfried Baer may have attacked south of Misburg.
    III./JG 301 had been successful in their attack on the 491st and kept flying westward till they met the 445th where they engaged them and then pursued onward and claimed at least 4 B-17's of the 1st air division.

    The US fighter screen was broken the P-51's started to go after the III gruppe but also portions of the Fw's of the I. and II. gruppe which had broken off to attack the B-24 pulks. JG 301 pilots wishing to down a Viermot now had to contend with the Mustangs on their tails........

    "As the Geschwader pressed home attacks on the bomber formation, the escort having let it's screen be penetrated, made frantic efforts to intercept. The ensuing combats were some of the most intense in the history of home defence ........... it worked again for the Americans as we'd seen so often before, radio communications between bomberrs and their escorts brought the P-51's to the battle from all directions. A few of our fighters were still able to press home their attacks on the bombers but as the battle progressed pilots of JG 301 were left fighting for their lives against the escorts."...........Willi Reschke.........
    Siegfried's Staffelkapitän in Weiße 1, Oberleutnant Alfred Vollert was closing on 1 B-24 when he was suddenly jumped by two P-51's and in the fight was shot down and killed, his Fw 190A-9/R-11 crashed by Rethen southeast of Hannover.

    From the US 2nd Scouting Force. Captain Moore led a 12 ship force of P-51's and a large gaggle of Fw's were seen North of the I.P. E/A split into two forces with fighter escort (P-51's) going after one section. the remainder of the Fw's attacked the last box of B-24's in waves, line abreast from 10-11 o'clock high. Scouts top flight intercepted the second wave while the lead flight intercepted the third wave. encounter lasted approx. 35 minutes and claims for 6-1-2 were made. Lt. Whalen accounted for 3 Lt. Ceglarski 1, and Captain Whitlow 2. Also 1 probable and 2 damaged were recorded. As the Scouts came to the rescue they were followed closely by P-51's of the 355th fighter group. The 355th claiming 26 Luftwaffe fighters along the three B-24 bomb group's route.

    My cousin flying his A-9/R-11, Weiße 2 was seperated from his Kapitän and flew through one of the B-24 squadrons and as he left the pulk he was attacked by P-51's and was shot down with his Fw 190 crashing into the fields just south of Holtensen near the twon of Wülfinghausen.........
    Eye witnesses on the ground reported that each attacking FW was set upon by several P-51's after diving through the bombers. The bomber escorts had a tremendous tactical advantage and their numerical superiority was overwhelming.

    continued........... ~


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    Nur die jenigen, die man vergisst, sind wirklich tot
     
  14. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    I now include a map image of the area where my cousin crfashed. Notice the + just to the north of the Wülfinghauser river. This was the general area and within the blue lines a friend took some nice pics of the surrounding countryside which I will display a bit later.

    Cousin Siegfried BAer was to fall some 13 miles from his Staffelkapitän Alfred Vollert at Rethen ..........
     

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  15. Nonskimmer

    Nonskimmer Active Member

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    Those are outstanding, Erich. Thanks for posting them.
     
  16. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    almost done my freind..........reember this needs to be re-written. this time a photo of the area where my cousin crashed

    The battle contiued west and the next B-24 group the 445th was assualted from the rear losing 5 Libs. From the official 8th AF report again........." In a ? from this battle, some aircraft made single attacks on the lead squadron at this same group shortly before the R.P. But this squadron which was in tight formation and only 20 seconds behind the Group 445th, ahead, suffered no losses..........The low squadron of the preceding group(445th) however, lost 5 of it's 11 bombers to a series of single attacks, apparently made by some of the same fighters. Here again the enemy aircraft hit from 4 and 8 o'clock high and low, making numerous belly attacks. Enemy fighters which made individual attacks frequently broke away to the side without losing altitude, pulled ahead of the bomber formation, then turned to make a new attack, flying across the bombers path without attempting a pursuit curve...... "

    More losses occurred as the Fw 190/Mustang battles raged along the miles long bomber stream farther and fartehr westward. Siegfried Baer lost his life from the II. gruppe and the I. gruppe was to bear even worse losses with the four losses from the 1st staffel alone........
     

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  17. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    strange in some way............. I had heard that my cousins remains were found near the Wülfinghausen Monastery and the nuns buried him but this was not the case. this past fall a German researcher wrote me privately and said upon further investigation the field that Siegfried had crashed in, the farmers son found the crash-site and had my cousin buried at Holtensen to the south. My cousins Weiße 2 Fw 190A-9 still remains partially buried in the field.......his old oak crosee seems to stand out amonst the concrete and most modern stones
     

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  18. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    no comments good or bad ?? :(
     
  19. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I think it is outstanding Erich! Have you been to the field where his aircraft crashed and is partially buried still today. It would be something to check out probably.
     
  20. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    I've got a German team of friends/archaeology nutz who love this stuff; they are actually trying to find the field owners but there are many fields that adjoin one another. I think in time as it was reported to me that part of the fuselage and who knows what else is still there ! :D

    E
     
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