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Mosquito attack on Aalesund, 17 March 1945

Mosquito attack on Aalesund, 17 March 1945



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Mosquito attack on Aalesund, 17 March 1945

This picture shows one of six ships attacked by Mosquitos of Coastal Command at Aalesund, Norway on 17 March 1945.

Mosquito Bomber/ Fighter-Bomber Units of World War 2, Martin Bowman. The first of three books looking at the RAF career of this most versatile of British aircraft of the Second World War, this volume looks at the squadrons that used the Mosquito as a daylight bomber, over occupied Europe and Germany, against shipping and over Burma. [see more]


No. 617 Squadron RAF

Number 617 Squadron is a Royal Air Force aircraft squadron, originally based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and currently based at RAF Marham in Norfolk. [3] It is commonly known as the "Dambusters", for its actions during Operation Chastise against German dams during the Second World War. In the early 21st century it operated the Panavia Tornado GR4 in the ground attack and reconnaissance role until being disbanded on 28 March 2014. The Dambusters reformed on 18 April 2018, and was equipped at RAF Marham in June 2018 with the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning, becoming the first squadron to be based in the UK with this advanced V/STOL type. The unit is composed of both RAF and Royal Navy personnel, [4] and operates from the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. [5]

  • Fortress Europe (1943–1945)* (1943)*
  • Biscay Ports (1944)*
  • France and Germany (1944–1945)* (1944)* *
  • Channel & North Sea (1944–1945)*
  • German Ports (1945)* (1991) (2001–2014) (2003–2011)*

Operation Carthage – The Shell House Raid – 21st March 1945

By the end of 1944 the Danish resistance movement in Copenhagen was in danger of being wiped out by the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo). Many of their leaders were arrested and a lot of material was filed in the Gestapo archives in the Shell House (Shellhus in Danish) which was located in Copenhagen. To address this situation leading members of the resistance movement requested an attack by air on the Shell House via SOE (Special Operations Executive) in London.

The Shell House prior to the attack – the camouflage is clearly visible

On 21st March 1945, after several months planning, 20 Mosquitoes from RAF 2nd TAF (Tactical Air Force) escorted by 28 Mustang Mk. IIIs from the 11th Group took off from RAF Fersfield in Norfolk. 18 of the Mosquito bombers were F.B. Mk. VIs, from 21 Sqn RAF, 464 Sqn RAAF and 487 Sqn RNZAF, from No. 140 Wing, and 2 were Mosquito B. Mk. IVs from the Photo Reconaissance Unit/Film Production Unit (PRU/FPU).

The Mustang Mk. IIIs, from F/Lt. David Drew’s No. 64 and Maj. Austen’s No 126 Squadron (Austen from Norway, KIA May 1945), had 3 Mustangs abort the mission shortly after takeoff: F/Lt. Sharpe and F/Lt. Holmes both from No. 126 Sqn and Sgt. Wyting from No. 64 Sqn who was hit by seagulls.

The Mosquito force attacked in 3 waves: the 1st wave with 7 Mosquitoes (one PRU/FPU), the 2nd with 6 Mosquitoes and finally the 3rd wave with 7 Mosquitoes (one PRU/FPU). The primary objective for the Mustangs was to attack flak positions in central Copenhagen.

Mosquitoes fly at roof top level over Copenhagen, heading for the Shellhus

When the 1st wave passed the Enghave Station, Mosquito SZ977, ”T for Tommy”, with Pilot W/Cdr. Peter A Kleboe and Navigator F/O Reginald J.W. Hall, hit a 30 metre lamp post and then the wingtip of their Mosquito hit the roof of No. 106 Sønder Boulevard. The two 500lb bombs ripped off and exploded killing 12 people. The aircraft crashed seconds later in a garage near the French Jeanne d`Arc Catholic school at Frederiksberg Alle. The forward section, including the cockpit with the two crew members, was thrown down on Dr. Priemes Vej and they were badly burnt. Pilot W/Cdr. Peter A. Kleboe and Navigator F/O Reginald J.W. Hall were laid to rest in København Bispebjerg Cemetery on 28th March 1945.

The rest of the wave with Bateson, Carlisle, Air Vice-Marshal Basil Embry, Henderson, Hetherington and Moore found and bombed the Gestapo Headquarters successfully. Six bombs exploded in the Western wing and of the nine prisoners in this part of the building, six were killed instantly and one more died when jumping from the 5th floor to the ground.

The 2nd wave got confused by the smoke and flames from Kleboe’s crashed Mosquito and attempted to bomb the crash site but W/Cdr. Iredale realized the mistake before he bombed and turned towards the Shell House but two of the Mosquitoes in the 2nd wave dropped their bombs on the Jeanne d`Arc school and only F/Lt. Smith was able to bomb the Shell House.

W/Cdr. Denton’s 3rd wave approached Copenhagen from the West. All but one of the Mosquitoes dropped their bombs by mistake on the Jeanne d`Arc School killing 86 children and 16 adults out of 482 children and adults, while 67 children and 35 adults were wounded. Mounted on the wall of the Shell House today is a bronze-cast of a propeller from one of the crashed Mosquitoes. A plaque is placed below the propeller with the names of the nine crews members who were killed in the attack.

F/O Bob “Kirk” Kirkpatrick (an American serving in the RCAF), flying one of the FPU aircraft, recounts some of the action described above as it unfolds:

“On March 20th I flew a Mk. IV Film Production Unit Mossie to (RAF) Fersfield where I picked up a Sergeant camera man preparatory to our following Operation Carthage, the raid on the Shell House building in Copenhagen. We followed 21, 487 and 464 squadrons and filmed as much of the raid as we could.

As I was about 2 minutes from target I saw four Mossies coming from my left and turning east towards a big pile of smoke, I thought “Am I lost?” They have navigators and they were so close I either had to turn right 360 or get close to them because of the delayed action bombs. 30 seconds for first 3, 11 for 2nd three. I slipped right next to #4 and we went thru the smoke and they unloaded their bombs, unfortunately as we later learned on the French School. I was carrying incendiaries and told to drop them a few blocks from the target to create a diversion in case some of the prisoners were able to escape. Turns out I burnt up a few houses east of the school and west of Shellhaus. Our windscreens were fouled with salt spray and difficult to see through, this precluded my right 360 and prompted me to join the four from 487 [Squadron]. As it turned out 464 Squadron, the second wave, also were diverted by the school crash and missed their run-in, they orbited and the leader bombed Shellhaus, 2 were shot down and one took his bombs home. Good news, bad news had 464 been successful in their orbit and 487 on target, 487 would probably (have) been blown up, had everybody been on target, no prisoners would probably have survived.”

Mosquitoes flying low over Copenhagen during the raid – PRU/FPU following on the right

Most of the Mosquito Mk. VIs taking part in the attack returned safely but F/Lt. Pattison and F/Sgt. Pygram’s Mosquito NT123 was hit by flak over Copenhagen harbour and announced over the radio that they would try to reach Sweden. However, with the left engine on fire they had to ditch East South-East of Hven, about two kilometres off Hakens lighthouse, not far from Sweden. The crew was seen to crawl on top of the floating aircraft by locals at Hven but because they did not have any boats that could go out in the stormy weather they contacted the Island Police who called Landskrona in Sweden for help. Sadly the two airmen had drowned by the time help arrived and were both listed as KIA. The wreckage was located after the war, but there was no trace of either of the crew.

F/O ”Shorty” Dawson and F/O Murray’s Mosquito SZ999 was hit by flak on the return trip at low altitude and crashed into the Nyrup Bay, about thirteen kilometres north of the town of Nykøbing Sjælland. Both of the crew were KIA. The wreckage was found later, washed ashore in Nyrup Bay, but there was no trace of Dawson or Murray.

The formation then turned to the West and precisely at that moment F/O ”Spike” Palmer’s Mosquito RS609 was hit and he and Fenrik Becker (from Norway) crashed into the sea. Both were KIA. A body was recovered to the east of the island of Samsø and was laid to rest in Tranebjerg cemetery on Samsø on 26th March 1945 as an unknown airman. In the year 2000 it was proved by Danish researchers that the body that had been buried was that of Fenrik Becker.

F/Lt. David Drew, in Mustang Mk. III, HK460 from No. 64 Squadron, was hit by flak from the German light cruiser Nürnberg during the raid and crashed in flames at Falledsparken. He was buried in København Bispebjerg cemetery on 28th March 1945.

During the return flight Mustang KH446 was also hit by flak, and P/O Robert ”Bob” C. Hamilton had to belly-land near Lomborg. Hamilton was unhurt and started walking towards the farm of Anne Jacobsen on the Bølvej road. He was quickly captured by the crew of the German observation post at Sortehøj Hill, located less than a kilometre from the landing site. The guards had been able to see the Mustang for miles and tracked him down before he reached Bølbæk stream and he had therefore no chance of escaping and he became a POW.

A total of four Mosquito Mk.VIs and two Mustang Mk. IIIs were lost with 9 crewmen KIA and 1 POW.

All fourteen prisoners in the Southern wing of the Shell House survived as this part of the building was not bombed. The three remaining prisoners were under interrogation on the 5th floor, one of whom died. 18 out of 26 prisoners survived the bomb raid. A total of 133 Danes died during and after the raid. Telegrams from Copenhagen modstandsbevægelse (Resistance Movement) thanked the RAF for the successful raid, and with the destruction of the Gestapo archives the threat against its members was neutralised.

The Shell House seen two months after the attack

Lead Navigator on the raid was Acting Sqn Ldr (later Air Commodore) Ted Sismore, sadly no longer with us, who shared his story shortly before his death in Ed Balkan’s fascinating short film “The Shell House Raid” (Journeyman Pictures 2012) narrated by actor Martin Sheen. This superbly produced and moving tribute to the raid features interviews and archive footage of the raid itself. A trailer is available to watch here.

Sqn Ldr E.B. (Ted) Sismore DSO DFC – Lead Navigator, Operation Carthage

Some of the prisoners in the Gestapo Headquarters:

Lt. Carl Wedell Wedellsborg, died later from the wounds sustained when jumping from the 4th floor.

Admiral Carl Hammerich was killed, his body never recovered.

Poul Sorensen (Secretary-General-Conservative Party), was saved by a doctor. Police Commissioner Jorgen Odmar, who had worked with Sorensen in the past, sent him to a hospital were the doctors fought for his life for several months. He survived.

Morgens Prior – badly beaten by Gestapo, he died later from wounds sustained when jumping from the 4th floor.

Capt. Peter Ahnfeldt Mollerup (Copenhagen Resistance Headquarter)

Aage Schoch – two days after his escape from the Shell House, he rejoined the Danish Freedom Council (Frihedsrådet).

Police Inspector Lyst Hansen

Jorgen Palm Petersen – killed

50 German personnel and 47 Danish collaborators were killed.

Ed Balkan/Journeyman Pictures

This post is based on a number of articles and web posts combined with our own research.

The People’s Mosquito is not responsible for external sites or their content.

Have you visited the TPM shop yet? Our profits from sales go directly towards returning a Mosquito to British skies.


Results

On the following day, a reconnaissance plane surveyed the target to assess the results. The damage was heavy, with the west wing of the six-story building reduced nearly to ground level. The Danish underground supplied a photograph showing the building burning from end to end.

The raid had succeeded in destroying Gestapo headquarters and records, severely disrupting Gestapo operations in Denmark, as well as allowing the escape of 18 prisoners of the Gestapo. Fifty-five German soldiers, 47 Danish employees of the Gestapo, and eight prisoners died in the headquarters building. Four Mosquito bombers and two Mustang fighters were lost, and nine airmen died on the Allied side.

The fatalities at the Jeanne d'Arc School were 86 schoolchildren and 18 adults, many of which were nuns. [1]

On 14 July 1945 parts of the remains of an unidentified male casualty were recovered from the ruins of the Shellhus and transferred to the Department of Forensic Medicine of the university of Copenhagen. This happened again four days later. The two casualties were buried in Bispebjerg Cemetery on 4 and 21 September, respectively. [2]


Want to know more about No. 139 (Jamaicia) Squadron Royal Air Force?

Flight Sergeant Alexander "Sandy" Rattray 139 Squadron

I am looking for history of pilot Alexander "Sandy" Rattray, Flight Sergeant 1571518.

All I know is he was in 139 squadron and flew Mosquitos. Any information, or where I should look, would be of great assistance.

Sqn Ldr. Lionel Hubert "Waker" Wakeford DFC MiD. 139 Squadron

My father, Lionel Wakeford, was born in Weymouth in 1915 and joined the RAF, at age 15, as an apprentice at RAF Halton. By the outbreak of WW2 he was a Sergeant Pilot in Egypt (Heliopolis), flying Bristol Bombay aircraft with 216 Squadron throughout Egypt, North Africa and Greece. Later returning to the U.K. flying Wellington Bombers. He was an early member of the Pathfinders with 139 Squadron flying Mosquito aircraft.

By the end of the war he had flown over 2,400 hours at which time he had the rank of Squadron Leader. He was twice Mentioned in Dispatches and received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Post war followed service with 29 Squadron. Moving to RAF Pembrey to form 233 Squadron a conversion unit in 1952 where he ran the tactical wing. On September 22nd 1953 he was training Pilot W.H. Williams in flying the Vampire Jet, and the aeroplane took off from Pembrey Airfield. However shortly after take-off he requested permission to return to base. The aircraft was seen to weave for 2 miles approaching the airfield which was a method of losing speed. Unfortunately, the Vampire crashed at the edge of the runway. The inquest found that the aircraft had suffered a severe fire probably starting immediately after take-off (possibly a re-ignite after a flame out) which had led to the crash. Both my father and PO Williams were killed on impact, Sqn Ldr Wakeford is buried at Pembrey (St. Illtyd) Churchyard. At his death he had completed 3,281 Flying Hours.

Flt.Lt. Guy Jerrold Menzies DFC. 139 Squadron (d.22nd January 1941)

Guy Menzies was born in Christchurch, 5 Nov 1920, son of Charles and Blanche Grove Menzies. He joined the RAF in October 1938 and flew as captain of a Blenheim bomber both during the Battle of France and in subsequent raids against targets in France. Guy was killed on air operations with 139 Squadron, on the 22nd of Jan 1941. He took off at 1020 from Horsham St. Faith. On return, and while crossing the East Anglia coast, Blenheim Bomber MkIV T2435 1220, the crew failed to give any recognition signals and the Blenheim was promptly engaged by AA fire from naval ships. Shortly afterwards the tail assembly broke away and the Blenheim dived into a field 250 yards from the Police House at Oulton, 2 miles WNW of Lowestoft, Suffolk. All the crew were killed, F/L G.J.Menzies DFC, Sgt E.J.Bonney and Sgt R.Tribick.

Guy Menzies is my Grand Mother Jean's brother. I remember she told me (some time in the 70`s) that his navigation and identification lights were shot up and that he could not signal that he was friendly. My first cousin has the DFC. My Grand Mother said that Guy flew in The Battle of Britain.I will do some research. Next time I am in England I will visit Guy`s grave at, Old Catton (St Margaret) Churchyard, Norfolk, England.

Sqdn.Ldr. J. D. Robins DFC 139 Squadron

Sqn. Ldr. Cyril Hassall DSO, DFC & bar. 142 Squadron

Squadron Leader Cyril Hassall, DSO, DFC and BAR flew Mosquitos in 1944 with 139 and 692 Squadrons. He then apparently served as a Navigation Flight Instructor before joining 142 Squadron on Mosquitos. He completed a total of 102 sorties, of which 67 were on Mosquitos.

Any picture of S/L Hassall, DSO, DFC and BAR is welcomed. It seems he started operations in August 1940, but I do not know in which Squadron. Any information is most welcomed.


RAF Bomber Command 7 Mosquitos attack port of Sassnitz 6/7 March 1945

191 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitos of No 5 Group attacked the port of Sassnitz on the island of Rügen, in the Baltic. Considerable damage was caused to the northern part of the town and 3 ships were sunk in the harbour. 1 Lancaster lost.

Comments ( 1 )

What could have happened to the lone last Lancaster? Was it a mechanical or pilot error or was the plane shot down?

On June 18, 1946, a fisherman in the Baltic Sea discovered the body of a British airman in his net. There were various items.

What could have happened to the lone last Lancaster? Was it a mechanical or pilot error or was the plane shot down?

On June 18, 1946, a fisherman in the Baltic Sea discovered the body of a British airman in his net. There were various items on the body which assisted in identification namely a letter addressed to THORNTON, Sgt.'s Mess, Air Force, SPILSBY. Sgt. W. Thornton was a crewman aboard that lost Lancaster.

My maternal great-uncle, Fg. Officer Bernard Francis Boyle was the pilot. Of the 7 crewman aboard that Lancaster, Thornton's was the only one recovered, the rest remain Lost At Sea.


Mosquito attack on Aalesund, 17 March 1945 - History

Before March of 1945, Hildescheim had 68,000 inhabitants. The town contained established civilian hospitals and the town center held no military installations or anything else of military importance. However, industries outside of the small city did, and many of the townsfolk had worked in these factories. There were factories that produced parts for fuses, ignitions and gearboxes for tanks as well as other important war equipment, one that built parts for torpedoes (even one that was later rumored to have built nose cones for the elusive V-2 rocket). Other plants produced machinery, engine parts, airplane parts, and various weapons. There was also a rubber factory making gas masks, life jackets, rubber boats for both Army and Navy, and rubber parts used for torpedoes and cockpits of aircraft. At this point in the war, however, many industries were not functioning.

Although there had been seven or eight minor bomb strikes beginning in July of 1944 hitting a factory, a railroad installation, St. Michaels church and a few buildings in town, nothing was a clue as to the devastation which would utterly destroy the town on March 22, 1945.

In Bomber Command Diaries, it is noted that marking the city center by the “pathfinders” was very accurate. First the city area was “framed” by red and green lights on the ground. The target area was first bombed by a massive shock bomb that destroyed the roofs and windows of the buildings. Bombs from the first wave fell concentrated in the city center. Corner houses were the most beneficial hits, because the rubble quickly choked the roads, preventing access by emergency vehicles as well as escape routes for citizens. The incendiaries followed, and in minutes turned medieval towns into towering infernos. By this point in the war, this procedure was well rehearsed.

Following the guide for efficiently burning medieval city centers, they flew very low over Hildesheim, bombing the medieval city center until everything caught fire. The huge fires and heavy smoke then predictably prevented people from escaping. 438.8 tons of mines and high-explosive bombs plus 624 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped, and the high-explosive bombs, as intended, tore open the houses so the deadly 300,000 incendiary bombs could kindle a fire tower.

The city center, which had retained its medieval character until then with 1,000 half-timbered houses, ceased to exist. The Romanesque St. Mary’s Cathedral, below right, dated from the 9th century.

The death toll was not as great as in many other bombed cities, but at least 1,645 civilians were killed, among them 204 women and 181 children, 68 of which were under the age of six, 79 under fourteen and 34 of unknown age. 277 victims’ ages could not be ascertained. Many of the other victims were elderly. 50 orphans were created. The sad irony is that, while the obliterated town center held no military installations, Hildesheim’s several vital factories in prime war industries and also the major plants of importance and subsidiary factories on the outskirts of the town were virtually untouched by the bombing, even the large central goods station with connections to all of the German Reich! The VDM Works was the only clearly established factory which was precisely bombed, but it was previously bombed on March 14, 1945 by 60 US bombers, and it was still not completely destroyed during this attack, only the Senking factory was.

22 March 1945: 227 Lancaster bombers, 8 Mosquito’s of 1 & 8 Groups. 4 Lancaster bombers lost. The target was the railway yards these were bombed but the surrounding built up areas also suffered severely in what was virtually an area attack. This was the only major Bomber Command raid of the war on Hildesheim and the post-war British survey found that 263 acres, 70% of the town, had been destroyed. The local report states that the inner town suffered the most damage. The Cathedral, most of the churches and many historic buildings were destroyed. A total of 3,302 blocks of flats containing more than 10,000 apartments were destroyed or seriously damaged. 1,645 people were killed.

Hildesheim is 20 miles SE of Hannover and is a railway junction of some importance. The town centre is largely built of half timbered houses and has preserved its mediaeval character. There are various industries, mostly in the hands of small undertakings. In addition to the works mentioned the town’s activities include the manufacture of agricultural machinery and a sugar refinery. Lancasters and Mosquito’s attacked the town. The Master Bomber assessed the markers as being 200 yards off the aiming point, and therefore a good concentration of accurately placed markers was maintained. Bombs were seen to fall in the marshalling yards to the north west of the aiming point and the (?) centre of the built up area was soon a mass of smoke. Smoke rising to 15,000 feet could be seen for approximately 200 miles on the return journey. The intention was to destroy the built up area and associated industries and railway facilities. Almost the entire town was devastated, only the extreme suburban areas having escaped destruction. (End)

In 1701, musician Georg Philipp Telemann did his preparatory studies at the Gymnasium Andreanum at Hildesheim, a school first mentioned in the year 1225. The school buildings of the Andreanum were destroyed as was the state theater. Hildesheim, like many bombed cities, was poorly rebuilt in concrete after the war. However, in the late 1970s, reconstruction of the historic center began with replicas of the original buildings using their old plans. Today, it looks un-bombed, in that “theme park” sort of way. It is not easy to find pictures of Allied bomb damage. Cameras were confiscated from German civilians during occupation, and such photos were kept top secret for many years, only to come top life with the internet. It is especially difficult to find images of German cities that fell under communist occupation for decades.

When the Hildesheim Cathedral suffered near total destruction, a legendary 1,000 year-old rosebush next to it was also burned and buried beneath the rubble in 1945 its roots remained unharmed and soon the bush was thriving once again.


The Mosquito in Combat

The first Mosquito combat mission was on September 20, 1941 when a Mosquito flew a reconnaissance flight over France. Four Mosquito bombers attacked Gestapo headquarters in Oslo, Norway on September 25, 1942. The mission was timed to coincide with a rally for German sympathizers. An FW 190 shot down one of the bombers. Four bombs struck the building and all failed to explode.[i] On the night of May 28/29, 1942 a Mosquito was credited with a “probable” over Great Britain.[ii] The Mosquito’s first night fighter “kills” occurred on the night of June 24/25, 1942. Wing Commander Irving Stanley Smith shot down 2 Dornier Do 217s.[iii]

January 30, 1943 – RAF Bomber Command tasked Mosquitoes to attack Berlin twice. The attacks were to coincide with a speech by Hermann Göring in the morning and a speech by Joseph Goebbels in the afternoon. The bombing raids disrupted both speeches. Ground fire shot down a Mosquito on the second mission. Squadron Leader Darling and Flying Officer Wright were killed.[iv] These were the first daylight attacks against Berlin.

May 16/17, 1943 - Focke-Wulf FW 190A-4/U-8s attacked England’s south coast. Mosquitoes shot down 4 of the FW 190s.[v] This was the same night of the famed �m Buster” raids. Also on this night 9 Mosquitoes attacked 4 German cities, including Berlin, all returned safely. [vi]

From the summer of 1943 the Mosquitoes flew night intruder missions. In these missions the Mosquitoes would patrol areas around known Luftwaffe airfields and attack the German night fighters as they were taking off or landing. The Luftwaffe tried to counter this threat by having their Me-110s patrol over German airfields. Me-110s only shot down 4 Mosquitoes in 1943.[vii]

January 21/22, 1944 – An RAF Mosquito shot down a Ju 88 flown by Prinz Heinrich zu Sayn-Wittgenstein after Wittgenstein made his 83 rd kill. Wittgenstein was killed when his parachute failed to open. That night Manfred Meurer was killed when the bomber he shot down, his 65 th kill, fell onto his He 219.[viii] RAF Bomber Command lost 58 bombers that night.[ix]

Claims the He-219 shot down 6 Mosquitoes during their first 10 days of operations[x] are inaccurate. Bomber Command didn’t lose any Mosquitoes during this period.[xi] In the conclusive Mosquito vs. He 219 combats the Mosquito was almost always the victor.

In December 1944 the Luftwaffe night fighters shot down 66 bombers for the loss of 114 night fighters. Mosquitoes caused many of the night fighter losses.[xii] Bomber Command lost 8 Mosquitoes, 3 of them intruders. [xiii]

Over Great Britain Mosquitoes accounted for over 1,000 Luftwaffe aircraft, 471 of them were the pilotless V-1s. The Mosquito’s speed made it difficult for the German fighters to catch Mosquito bombers and reconnaissance aircraft. On July 25, 1944 Flight Lieutenant A. E. Wall and Pilot Officer A. S. Lobban encountered a fighter they couldn’t outrun. A Messerschmitt Me 262 was attempting to shoot them down. By turning his Mosquito Wall survived 5 firing passes by the jet fighter. Wall escaped into cloud cover. Wall’s report proved the Me 262 was being used operationally.[xiv] A Mosquito pilot was also the first to report the Me 262 was being used at night. The RAF summarily dismissed the account.[xv] The Luftwaffe did use day fighter and night fighter versions of the Me 262 at night.

March 16, 1945 – Feldwebel Rolf Glogner, flying an Me 163 Komet rocket fighter, intercepted a Mosquito over Leipzig. One of Glogner’s 30mm shells found its mark and severely damaged the Mosquito. Glogner believed he shot down the Mosquito. Pilot Officer R. M. Hays managed to fly his damaged Mosquito to France where he made a forced landing.[xvi]

The last attacks by RAF Bomber Command was against Kiel on the night of 2/3 May, 1945. The attacks involved 231 aircraft, 142 of them Mosquitoes. One Mosquito was lost and its crew, Flying Officer R. Catterall, and Flight Sergeant D. J. Beadle were killed. Bomber Command lost 2 Halifaxes in these raids.

Bomber Command lost 310 Mosquitoes during the war. These include 260 lost to enemy action and 50 lost in accidents.[xvii] Bomber Command Mosquitoes flew 39,750 sorties and had a lower loss percentage than any Bomber Command aircraft that flew over 1,000 sorties. [xviii]

The USAAF also flew Mosquitoes. These American Mosquitoes flew a variety of missions. These Mosquitoes were sometimes the target of American fighters. The 8 th Air Force 25 th Group flew Mosquitoes. They painted their tail surfaces bright red so they wouldn’t be mistaken for Luftwaffe aircraft. This didn’t always work. In one tragic incident in March, 1945 a Mosquito with a P-51 escort was on a reconnaissance mission. Some P-47s of the 9 th Air Force 36 th Fighter Group mistook the Mosquito, piloted by Lt. Stubblefield and with Lt. Richmond as navigator, for a German plane. Lt. Stubblefield showed his aircraft markings to the P-47s. The lead P-47 shot down the Mosquito. The P-51s only saw one parachute. The P-51s proceeded to fly onto the tails of the P-47s. The P-51 leader, Lt. William Barsky followed a P-47 back to its base and reported the 𠇏riendly fire” shoot down to Lt. Col. Slayden, the 36 th Fighter Group commander.[xix]

[i] The Bomber Command War Diaries by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt © 1985.

[ii] Aviation-History.com http://www.aviation-history.com/dehavilland/mosquito.html

[iii] History of War(http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_mosquito_night_fighter.html).

[iv] Wings of War Edited by Laddie Lucas © P.B. (Laddie) Lucas 1983.

[v] History of War(http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_mosquito_night_fighter.html).

[vi] Jane’s Vintage Aircraft Recognition Guide, by Tony Holmes, © 2005 by HarperCollins Publishing, Page 148.

[vii] Luftwaffe Fighter Aces by Mike Spick © 1996.

[viii] Luftwaffe Fighter Aces by Mike Spick © 1996.

[ix] The Bomber Command War Diaries by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt © 1985.

[x] Warplanes of the Third Reich by William Green, © 1970, Page 355.

[xi] The Bomber Command War Diaries by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt © 1985.

[xii] Luftwaffe Fighter Aces by Mike Spick © 1996.

[xiii] The Bomber Command War Diaries by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt © 1985.

[xiv] Messerschmitt Me 262: Arrow to the Future by Walter J. Boyne © 1980 Smithsonian Institution.

[xv] Wings of War, edited by Laddie Lucas © P.B. (Laddie) Lucas 1983. The Luftwaffe used both Me 262 day fighters and night fighters at night and shot down some Mosquitoes.

[xvi] Aircraft Profile 225 Me-163 by Alfred Price

[xvii] The Bomber Command War Diaries by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt © 1985.

[xviii] The Bomber Command War Diaries by Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt © 1985. Bomber Command B-24s had a lower loss rate but the Bomber Command Liberators flew only 662 sorties.

[xix] Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger A, Freeman, © 1981, Page 473.


The Douglas A-1 Skyraider First Flight 18 March 1945

The Skyraider went through seven versions, starting with the AD-1, then AD-2 and AD-3 with various minor improvements, then the AD-4 with a more powerful R-3350-26WA engine. The AD-5 was significantly widened, allowing two crew to sit side-by-side (this was not the first multiple-crew variant, the AD-1Q being a two-seater and the AD-3N a three-seater) it also came in a four-seat night-attack version, the AD-5N. The AD-6 was an improved AD-4B with improved low-level bombing equipment, and the final production version AD-7 was upgraded to a R-3350-26WB engine.

For service in Vietnam, USAF Skyraiders were fitted with the Stanley Yankee extraction system, which acted similarly to an ejection seat though with a twin rocket pulling the escaping pilot from the cockpit.

In addition to serving during Korea and Vietnam as an attack aircraft, the Skyraider was modified into a carrier-based airborne early warning aircraft, replacing the Grumman TBM-3W Avenger . It served in this function in the USN and Royal Navy , being replaced by the Grumman E-1 Tracer and Fairey Gannet respectively in those services.

Skyraider production ended in 1957 with a total of 3,180 built. In 1962, the existing Skyraiders were redesignated A-1D through A-1J and later used by both the USAF and the Navy in the Vietnam War.


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