“Mosquitos over Berlin” – the “little brother” has arrived

Ever since I published the German version of “Mosquitos über Berlin”, the story of the Messerschmitt Me 262 Night Fighters, Kurt Welter and 10./NJG 11, I was asked if there would be an English version.

And my initial answer was “Hopefully very soon!”. For a variety of reasons, this did not work out – there is the problem of finding a publisher willing to have almost 600 pages translated to English, taking the risk of an unknown market, the needs of good distribution channels to make shipping affordable no matter if a copy is ordered in Australia, North America, or the UK.

When it became obvious that an English version would not be available anywhere in the near future, and after many discussions with a variety of people, it became evident that I needed an “alternative approach”.

The key focus of most people I spoke with was on the history of Kurt Welter as a person and then “Kommando Welter” and the story of 10./NJG 11 (which formed from “Kommando Welter”).

To a lesser extent, an interest was expressed in a discussion of Kurt Welters claims and potential victories – although the topic is heatedly discussed, most people I spoke with asked for a fair listing of the potential claims and possible matches to allied losses. It was not so much about “Did he overclaim and lie?” or “How many victories did he really get?”.

Last but not least, I wanted to add a chapter on the aircraft flown by Kurt Welter and his men and – most importantly – I wanted to add a chapter on the people – the men that flew with Kurt Welter which are mostly forgotten in the story of the Messerschmitt Me 262 Night Fighters. Finally, I wanted a book on the lower end of the price range to make it affordable to anyone and at the same time produce a book that can be easier shipped than the original version.

The result is a 113-page strong book I called “The Jet Night Fighters”. It is compiled from the much larger (but also much more expensive) “Mosquitos über Berlin”. It adds new insights that I gained after the original book was published but it leaves out most of the Mosquito operations that are not directly related to Kurt Welter and his unit (e.g. the original book covers every single night of Mosquito operations, this one only those nights that the Mosquitos actually either “met” with the Luftwaffe or where suspected claims are discussed. Many of the photos that went into the original also went into this one – but not all.

So here it is – the “little brother”, an English version that tells the history of the only night fighter unit of World War 2 that operationally deployed Messerschmitt Me 262 into nocturnal combat. 113 pages, 57 images, a load of information.

If you decide to grab a copy, please consider getting back to me via feedback@nachtjagd-me262.org and I would appreciate an honest review on Amazon if you want to spare a few minutes…

(Paperback, 113 pages, 57 b&w photos. ASIN: 1671986083)

14,99 EUR14,99 USD19,99 CAD12,99 GBP

On a professional level, I must also make a comment on the production and the publishing process of the book: I have opted to publish via Amazon, purely because it saves everyone the problems with international shipment and the cost associated with it.

With that decision comes the fact that Amazon only does paperbacks as self-published books – no hardcover available, not even for books with more pages. Secondly, that means that not going through an established publisher means no professional editor. The cost for an editor are exceeding the potential sales by far – therefore, I have made every attempt possible to a) review my own writing with as much accuracy as possible and as many tools as possible to be able to catch most of the errors, b) I had help from native English-speakers that helped me decide if from a language perspective this was good enough (not perfect but good enough) to publish, and c) I deliberately decided to keep the cost low because I did not have additional expenses (see above: editor, hardcover, etc.).

I hope, you all do enjoy what I put together, and I am happy to receive and constructive feedback you might have.

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Jagdgeschwader 3 – A Loss in July 1941

Last year, when I wrote my short eBook on Jagdgeschwader 3 in the early days of “Operation Barbarossa”, I also tried to include as much information in the losses that I could possibly find. However, one thing was in short supply: actual photos. Now, this one has come along, and I was able to acquire the image…

In my book, I wrote the following about him:

“In the early evening hours, 3./JG3 is on a mission to fight barrage balloons in the vicinity of Kiev. One of the pilots, Ofw. Heinz Schmidt, is likely lost to enemy flak.”

“Jagdgeschwader 3 – Eastern Front 1941: Early Operations June – December 1941” by Andreas Zapf

So sometimes, you just have to wait… new information can still turn up to those that can patiently wait for it.

Ofw. Heinz Schmidt was most certainly lost to anti-aircraft fire, landed his aircraft and was captured by the Soviet forces. For all I know, he never returned home after the war.

If you would like to get the full story, check out my initial post. If you have already grabbed a copy, I would appreciate a feedback / comment on amazon’s web site.

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The Writing has started

For quite a while now, I have been collecting data and photos to create an updated version of a Stuka unit’s history: Sturzkampfgeschwader 77. I know there is “some stuff” out there but as always, I have a long-time goal: to create a book that allows the readers to trace the sources, draw their own conclusions and have a starting point to do some digging of their own if they want to.

My data comes from three different personal sources as well as the official Bundesarchiv/Militärarchiv in Freiburg. Now it is time to get going – the writing has started. So what does that mean? How does a book on a topic like that evolve? Well, certainly not “over night”.

First of all, the writing of a book like that starts with the planning – you cannot just “jump in” but then, if you want to provide an introduction to the topic, you need to carefully balance the reader’s need for background information vs. the actual topic of the book.

I am writing my books straight in Adobe InDesign – the reason simply is that I will use it later to create the printable PDF Files. The downside is that InDesign is great for the layout of the text and the images but does not offer much in terms of text analysis and so on.

This issue, however, can be overcome by transferring the text into other authoring software packages such as Papyrus Author if one wants to use these features.

My text is organized in chapters and each chapter is a dedicated Adobe InDesign file – that way, I can track the status of parts of my text (e.g. draft, proof-read, final, etc.) while working on other areas of the book. It is also easier to move chapters around or – if the size grows too large – to split into more than one volume.

The most important thing in the beginning is to write – of course, the writing should make sense but at this time, I don’t really care about cross-checking with other sources, etc. I am setting out to draft the text, mostly I will follow one source (e.g. the files retrieved from the military archives or the diary of a pilot or something alike) and only if my first draft is written, I will double-check with other sources, amend and correct as required and bring additional aspects into the game.

This way, I may have more work but at the same time, I am reading my own text over and over again, constantly fine-tuning it as required. It’s some kind of “polishing” the work.

One very important thing is sources. The more you write and the longer your text gets the more difficulties you will have to remember your sources. I am trying to mark my source as a footnote right away – when I come back later, I don’t have to remember where I took my wisdom from, I can simply look it up.

The other important part of the book – next to the text – is the images. Either photos or graphics. I am trying to place both types as early as I can. That way, I can get a really good idea of stuff missing (or also noting where I am having too much).

Photos are one thing – the biggest challenge is finding one that fits your needs – both in content and size (and of course, all my photos are either received from friends or I own the original – no “stealing” from the Internet!)

Graphics are more cumbersome – mine are “hand-drawn” or at least custom created. Like the map you see in the second screenshot above. These are mostly done in Adobe Illustrator and it can take hours (actually, countless hours!) to create them. All of these are custom, vectorized drawings that cannot be found anywhere out there: custom coastlines (yes, they were different in the 1930s and 1940s!), custom borders (they certainly were different and changed quite a bit!), and custom labels – the maps need to show exactly the information you want to transport – everything else just “clutters” it.

With a chapter finished, it goes out to some friends. Some of them are doing the proof reading just for the typos and grammar – and general readability. Others are looking into the content in terms of completeness and correctness. I am typically running with a handful of people supporting me. And I am lucky they are willing to help and render their support (which also costs them quite a bit of their own time).

So you can see – there is quite a bit of work ahead – but it has started moving. So stay tuned, I will keep you updated on the progress 🙂

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StG 77 in the early days of “Operation Barbarossa”

There are few photos of Stuka operations that can be dated so clearly as this set of two – taken by a propaganda company. Both are labeled August 23, 1941. However, despite clear and authentic evidence in the caption, we will see that this still might be misleading – possibly on purpose.

According to the first image’s caption on the back, the aircraft pictured is on its way to the target, flying over the Dnjepr river and ready to dive and attack.

A Junkers Ju 87 B-2 of 7./StG 77
(Archive Andreas Zapf)

With respect to this individual aircraft, it can be said that this is a Junkers Ju 87 B-2 of 7./StG 77.

The coat of arms – displayed below the windshield – shows a dark top area over the yellow background of the shield. The symbol is a gryphon’s head – this is the coat of arms of 7. Staffel.

Furthermore, this aircraft shows the tactical markings F1+AM – again matching the markings of a III. Gruppe aircraft as the loss lists of the Generalquartiermeister confirm (although this specific aircraft is not listed).

There are likely more photos of this series than just the two shown here – the numbers on their back sides are giving them away as No. 1163/1 and 1163/4 – so at last two more must have existed. (or maybe still exist, I’d be curious to learn…)

The second photo shows the results of the Ju 87’s operations – a bridge (said to be at “Nawos am Dnjepr”) which had been attacked by Ju 87’s of 2./StG 77.

Bridge over the Dnjepr River, said to be at or near Navozy Dneprovskie
(Archive Andreas Zapf)

Again, the date given is August 23, 1941. That, however, is a bit awkward: from the chronicles of I./Sturzkampfgeschwader 77 written by Kurt Scheffel it is confirmed that at least I./StG 77 and II./StG 77 are located at the airfield of Biala-Zerkow between August 6, 1941 and August 16, 1941. As of August 17, 1941, Kurt Scheffel writes:

“The entire Gruppe had been withdrawn from the front lines, most likely on the 17th or 18th. It was sent to Kanth, southwest of Breslau.”

Lt. Kurt Scheffel in his written unit history of I./StG 77

Between August 11, 1941, and August 17th, 1941, at least I./StG 77 was involved in heavy counter attacks of Soviet forces in the area of Boguslaw. There, few Wehrmacht units were left while all others are now moving towards the city of Kiev. With the result of a Red Army push into that area. Here is how Kurt Scheffel remembers these days:

“Up until my last day in the east, we were battling two armored trains which manged to cross the Dnjepr near Kanew westbound and were giving our ground forces a hard time.

We managed to destroy both trains but our attempt on the bridge was futile. For one thing, the bridge was pretty high and secondly, the bridge had a wooden construction, some kind of a grid, and our bombs would simply fall through. In addition, the bridge was heavily guarded by flak which happily picked us up as targets but we got away with no losses.”

Lt. Kurt Scheffel in his written unit history of I./StG 77

A closer look at the photo of that destroyed bridge shows two things: it could be a railway bridge as tracks seem to be visible on the bridge. And secondly, there is indeed a lot of blown away wooden grid structures visible in that image – and the bridge in fact seems undamaged.

Magnification of the Dnjepr Bridge photos (Archive Andreas Zapf)

Is there proof that this is the bridge at Kanew (as opposed to “Nawos”)? Nope – it is not. The bridge at Kanew was a metal grid structure which even today is standing in parts. If you want to check it out, use Google Maps.

Part of 1:100.000 Map M-36-X (East) Bjelaja-Zerkoff (Archive Andreas Zapf)

The map – which is dated 1940 – does not show the bridge itself but it is not hard to complete the map by connecting both “dead ends” of the railway running along. Given that the bridge structure does not match, this can’t be the bridge in our photo.

Following the river north, the next potential bridges are at Kiev but these are unlikely the one in out picture above – the surrounding landscape does not match that of a major city stretching to the banks of the river – so these three are likely “no matches” either.

Part of 1:100.000 Map M-36-VII (West) – Kiev (Archive Andreas Zapf)

Unfortunately, the next map “north” – M-36-IV (West) Njeshin – is missing. The next one, M-36-I (West) Tschernigoff, however, is available. It shows the village of Nawosy on the southern part of the clipping and another railway bridge north at Nedanchichi.

Part of 1:100.000 Map M36 I (West) – Tschernigoff (Archive Andreas Zapf)

Currently, I don’t have any photos of the bridge itself but at the German military archives in Freiburg, there is a set of reconnaissance photos available, stretching from Nawozy to Tschernigow so maybe – just maybe – that bridge is also covered. We will see…

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“Mosquitos über Berlin” covered by FalkeEins – The Luftwaffe Blog

Over the past few weeks, I had regular contact with Neil over at FalkeEins, one of the leading Luftwaffe Blog site.

Neil was kind enough to pick up the topic of Mosquitos, Messerschmitt Me 262 Night Fightgers, and the Nachtjagd with the jets. He had some interesting interview questions that I hope I was able to provide him with some interesting answers and background information.

If you are interested, head over to his space at FalkeEins Blogspot

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A first “scouting mission” – eArticle on Jagdgeschwader 3 up on amazon now

I have been pushing this back and forth for some time now – writing articles in magazines is great and earns some money and reputation but the downside is the “global reach” – especially when you are writing for a German magazine.

The other downside is the limitation in size – a magazine article typically ranges anywhere between four to eight pages, if there is more about it, it often is split across two issues. Which is what has happened to my article on Jagdgeschwader 3 on the Eastern Front in 1941. Published in the German Jet & Prop Magazine, it was split into two and it still was short one some details and photos.

There is only one solution to both, “global reach” and content size: one needs to take publishing into his own hands. The platform? A global player – amazon. The format? A Kindle eBook. The price? Less than two issues of a magazine that would take the article in print – and free if you are a Kindle Unlimited reader.

Now the next problem is: how do I hyperlink from here to amazon to make accessing the eBook easy for everyone? There is a plugin for my website that would help but it requires me to register as “amazon affiliate” which is not what I want – the solution: do it myself:

Jagdgeschwader 3 – Eastern Front 1941 – Early Operations June – December 1941

Follow the story of Hans Papenhagen, a Gefreiter with Jagdgeschwader 3, as the fighter wing moves from the French Coast to the vast steppes of Russia. Based upon entries of his original diary, the story of the famous fighter wing unfolds as the men around Kommodore Günther Lützow move into Russia as part of “Operation Barbarossa”. Their initial push into the Soviet Union takes them to the Battles of Kiev and Uman, then north to support “Operation Typhoon”, the Battle of Moscow.

(Kindle eBook, no charge for Kindle Unlimited users. Article Size: 14.000 words, 23 b&w photos, 7 maps. ASIN: B07BMD14RM)

4,99 EUR 6,16 USD 7,99 CAD 4,39 GBP
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“Mosquitos über Berlin – Nachtjagd mit der Messerschmitt Bf 109 und Me 262” now in print

Following a research project that lasted for the better part of the last five years, I can now say that the result – an almost 600-page strong book – is in the publishing and should be available soon.

The book is written in German but the publisher and me are open for interested English-language publishers since a good portion of the work covers the operations of the Mosquito-Squadrons of the Light Night Striking Force.

We are aiming for availability around mid of April 2018 so stay tuned, I will update with possible sources as they become open or orders. For the non-German readers, here is a transcript of the book’s cover text:

“Late in the summer of 1944, the skies over the Reich were mostly dominated by the Allied air forces. The heavy bombers of the USAAF at day, the ones of the RAF at night. In addition more and more the fast deHavilland DH.98 ‘Mosquito’ of the Light Night Striking Force which can – with little to no opposition – road the skies over the German Cities more or less unchallenged. Besides the ever present Flak, there is not much they have to fear.

‘Not much’, however, is relative. With their fast and agile Messerschmitt Bf 109, some specialized units such as the 10./JG 300 and later II./NJG 11 are operating especially against the fast ‘Wooden Wonder’. And starting December 1944, first nocturnal missions using the Me 262 are added to the threat. Starting out as ‘Kommando Welter’ and being taken into regular operations as 10./NJG 11 later, a handful of skilled pilots are flying the single-seated Me 262 A and later the Me 262 B-1a/U1 twin-seater to counter the nightly Mosquito attacks.

This book shines a light at the almost untold story of the Nachtjagd with the Me 262. 596 pages, 160 b/w photos, 69 reproduced documents, 24 maps and flight maps are adding to a story reproduced from material hidden in archives around the world, flight logs, written accounts and many hours of personal discussions with those involved. Enjoy the untold story of a unique unit and their nocturnal stalking of the famous ‘Mosquito'”

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available…

On a further note, I will retire some articles written early on as the information contained within is not up-to-date with the latest findings of my research – these articles include the ones on

  • The Messerschmitt Me 262 of 10./NJG 11 published here in 2015
  • New “home” for “Kommando Welter” published here in 2015
  • “Kommando Welter” – The 10./NJG 11 published here in 2014
  • …and the data keeps coming in! – 10./NJG 11 Status Update published here in 2014
  • Flying the Me 262 at Night – 10./NJG 11 published here in 2014

The original post has been maintained and updated with a link referring to this post so any other web sites referencing the original articles can operate without broken links.

I will also adjust the information contained in www.kommando-welter.de since the information contained there is also deprecated and in many ways is outdated and/or contradicts later findings. Again, I will try to make sure that no broken links remain but since that site has covered the topic in much more detail, I might settle for a simple referral to the book’s new web site which will go live in a few days.

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February 22nd, 1945: 10./NJG 11 and “Operation Clarion”

Some sources in Literature say that Oblt. Kurt Welter and at least some of his pilots flew daylight missions to counter “Operation Clarion” on February 22/23, 1945. It is also said, that they made five claims, Oblt. Kurt Welter and Fw. Fritz Reichenbach scoring two Mosquitos each, while Fw. Gustav Richartz claimed a single twin-engine bomber[1]Bowman, Martin: German Night Fighters Versus Bomber Command 1943-1945, Page 201.

2nd Tactical Air Force – A Loss List

Before we are taking a look at the Luftwaffe side of things, here is a quick summary of the documented Mosquito losses for “Operation Clarion”:

  • No. 21 Sqn. RAF lost 2 Mosquitos, two crew members being killed, two indicated as “safe”
  • No. 107 Sqn. RAF lost 1 Mosquito, both crew members being captured.
  • No. 305 Sqn. RAF lost 1 Mosquito, one crew member being killed and one captured.
  • No. 418 Sqn. RAF lost 4 Mosquitos, four crew members being killed, two captured and two indicated as “safe”.
  • No. 464 Sqn. RAF lost 2 Mosquitos, three crew members being killed, one captured.
  • No. 487 Sqn. RAF lost 5 Mosquitos, eight crew members being killed, two indicated as “safe”.
  • No. 605 Sqn. RAF lost 6 Mosquitos, five crew members being killed, three captured and two indicated as “safe”.
  • No. 613 Sqn. RAF lost 3 Mosquitos, four crew members being killed, two indicated as “safe”

So on Mosquitos, the 2 TAF lost a total of 24 aircraft – a major loss record for just two days.

The Luftwaffe Record of Events

The Luftwaffe records “Operation Clarion” as follows:

“Strong fighter activity over NW-, W- and SW-Germany, a total of about 1.000 aircraft with focus on the Rhine-Westphalian industrial area and the Münsterland (450) as well as the central Rhine area (250).”[2]BArch. RL 2-II/388: Tagesmeldungen Reich Ic Februar 1945

Unfortunately, the Morgenmeldung Luftwaffeführungsstab Ic only records the air operations of 1. Jagd-Division, 10./NJG 11 (or “Kommando Welter”) was flying under the authority of 2. Jagd-Division during the month of February 1945.

The US Missing Air Crew Listing of Allied A/C Losses

NARA holds a summary document containing a listing of crashed allied aircraft in Germany which has likely been compiled from German records captured after the war was over. This document – for February 22nd, 1945 – lists a total of 21 Mosquitos crashed in German occupied territory.

Some of those Mosquitos listed can be traced back to the actual losses of “Operation Clarion” – others can only be guessed, some remain open.

Details on Mosquito Operations

Working from the squadron’s Operations Records Books, we can “work backwards”, analyzing the known Mosquito operations of the day:

No. 21 Sqn. RAF

As mentioned earlier, No. 21 Sqn. RAF lost two Mosquitos in “Operation Clarion”, two crew members being killed and two indicated as “safe”.

The two Mosquitos in question are PZ305 (with P/O Adams and F/SGT Nicholas as crew) and HR150 (with F/LT Hugh Henry Fielding Johnson [130659, RAFVR] and F/O Leonard George Harbord [152426, RAFVR])[3]The National Archives, AIR 27/265: Operations Record Book No. 21 Sqn. RAF.

While the first one performed a successful belly-landing at Brussels, the latter one failed to return. The crew rests at the Hannover War Cemetery, the Graves Concentration Report Form shows the cemetery of Ströhen as initial burial location, which usually is very close to the place of the actual crash.

No. 107 Sqn. RAF

No. 107 Sqn. RAF has a single Mosquito which fails to return, HR188 flown by MAJ. Hunt and P/O Collins[4]The National Archives, AIR 27/845: Operations Record Book No. 107 Sqn. RAF. She left her base at Cambrai/F at 11:18 hrs. and reportedly crashed near Meyenburg, north of Bremen[5]see Website Fliegerschicksale, Mosquito HR188. Cause for this loss was Flak, both crew members where taken prisoner.

This aircraft is listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany, it is #17 of the above list:

No. 305 Sqn. RAF

This unit reports one Mosquito missing, the “J-Aircraft”, Mosquito PZ380. She was flown by W/O Smith and F/SGT Robertson, leaving base at 11:35 hrs. She was last seen by the “A-Aircraft” of the squadron with one engine on fire and preparing to land about 8 miles south-west of Bremen[6]The National Archives, AIR 27/1672: Operations Record Book No. 305 Sqn. RAF.

While F/SGT Robertson survives the crash, W/O E. Smith (1268888, RAFVR) is killed in the crash, the initial burial recorded at the cemetery of Kassebruch which is located approx. 30 km north-northwest of Bremen.

This aircraft is listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany (#15):

No. 418 Sqn. RCAF “City of Edmonton”

The squadron lost four Mosquitos over the course of action, all listed under the date of “21st/22nd” in the Operations Records Book of the unit. All four crews had the operational target “Patrol Zwolle – Osnabrück” listed as assigned duty.

First listed is the “X-Aircraft”, Mosquito PZ397 with W/CDR Wickett and F/O Jessop. It appears that the Mosquito has been shot down near Groningen/NL by flak, both crew members taken POW.

This aircraft is possibly listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany (#5):

Also listed is the “R-Aircraft”, Mosquito PZ388 with F/LT Hugh Murdo Hope [C23855, RCAF] and F/O Leslie Amos Thorpe [163879, RAFVR]. According to Canadian documents, the Mosquito was shot down by flak and crashed approx. 450 yards from the depot of Nieuwe Schans, about 27 miles east of Groningen/NL. Both airmen were killed in the crash.

Next up – or rather: down – is Mosquito RS604, the  “M-Aircraft”, flown by F/LT Hackett and F/O Brittain. Not much is known about this crash, however, both crew members seem to have survived the crash as there is no record of any deceased airmen by this name and date. It is said that they have been lost south of Terschelling/NL, over sea.

This aircraft is possibly listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany (#19):

Finally, Mosquito RS569 with F/LT Herbert Edwin Miller [138448, RAFVR] and F/SGT Wilfred Hooper [196283, RAFVR] is also lost, both crew members are killed in the crash. While F/SGT Hooper is still listed as “missing in action”, F/LT Miller is buried at the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery with no initial burial location noted.

This aircraft is listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany (#4):

No. 464 Sqn. RAAF

Two Mosquitos are lost from No. 464 Sqn. RAAF in “Operation Clarion” – the first one being NT177 with F/O Ronald William Alexander Rankin [J25391, RCAF] and P/O Derek Stephen Judd [165090, RAFVR]. While latter one survives the crash, F/O Rankin is killed.

Canadian documents indicate his initial burial location as Rotenburg an der Wümme, just south of Hamburg which suggests that the location of the crash is somewhere near, maybe at the airfield of Rotenburg.

Two aircraft are listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany as having come down at Rotenburg (#6 & #14) – which one of those is NT177 remains open, although one source suggests it is the one that crashed at the local airfield:

Also missing is Mosquito HX920, flown by F/O Allan John McMahon [422870, RAAF] and P/O Kennedy Gowlett [426457, RAAF]. While F/O McMahon is still listed as “missing in action”, P/O Gowlett is today buried at the Hannover War Cemetery with the initial burial recorded at the Engelbostel Cemetery, north-northwest of Hannover[7]The Grave Concentration Report Form lists an “unknown navigator”, died on Januar 10, 1945, which is a strong indication that – if correct – this identification in fact might … Continue reading.

Given that the aircraft of the squadron operated in the same area, it is also possible that the second Mosquito crashed at Rotenburg is in fact HX920 – but that is a far shot.

No. 487 Sqn. RNZAF

This squadron suffered the second highest loss of Mosquitos in “Operation Clarion” – a total of five aircraft went missing.

First noted is Mosquito PZ395 with W/CDR Reginald William Baker (401748, RNZAF) and F/LT Alexander John Fowler (422654, RNZAF). Both crew members were killed in the crash of their aircraft, their bodies discovered at the cemetery of Bevern/Bremervörde.

A second Mosquito lost is NS963, flown by F/LT Paul Christopher Wendover Sage [113425, RAFVR] and F/O John Cockburn [145110, RAFVR]. Both crewmen are killed, ther initial burial is recorded at Bevern/Bremervörde.

Both aircraft are likely listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany (#8 & #9) – which one is which, however, will remain unknown for the time being:

The third Mosquito which did not return is NS981 with F/O Lance Dixon Gilbertson [421368, RNZAF] and F/O A. J. Askew [RNZAF]. They are noted as having been heard to say “baling out” and in fact, both survived the crash of their Mosquito, becoming prisoners of war. Likely, their aircraft came down near Barchel.

This aircraft is listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany (#3):

The fourth Mosquito lost is HP933 with F/O Peter Harold Burne [J88797, RCAF] and F/LT Allan Jerry Vickers [J13115, RCAF]. She was hit by flak near Hüttenbusch / Worpswede and exploded in mid-air. The remains of both crewmen were initially buried at Geestmünde.

This aircraft is listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany – although identified as HP833 (#11):

Last but not least, Mosquito HR177 fails to return with F/LT David Potts [129379, RAFVR] and F/SGT Frank Valentine [1625056, RAFVR] at the controls. Both were initially buried at the cemetery of Ostermede (today known as “Osterwede”), south-west of Bremervörde. She most likely crashed near Brillit, the next village to the west of Osterwede.

This aircraft is listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany (#1):

No. 605 Sqn. RAF

The first Mosquito lost is HR355, flown by S/LDR McCall and P/O Caulfield. Both survive the crash of the Mosquito and become prisoners of war.

Possibly, this aircraft is listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany #10):

The above match is made under the assumption that the aircraft of the squadron may have operated in one specific area and that other aircraft lost in this area are identified in the listing, leaving only this one entry unmatched.

Next, Mosquito PZ406 with F/LT Edward Leonard Jones [131857, RAFVR] and F/O Gerwyn Phillips [153228, RAFVR] is lost. This crew is not so lucky – both airmen are killed. The initial graves are located at the cemetery at Lehe, south of Papenburg.

This aircraft is listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany (#13):

The third Mosquito lost is PZ416, flown by F/O Robert James Rex Owen [171378, RAFVR] and P/O George Thirlwell [165656, RAFVR]. Both are killed in the crash, their initial graves located at Lehe cemetery, south of Papenburg.

This aircraft is listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany (#2):

This Mosquito is followed swift by PZ409, flown by F/LT Jack George Enticott [129748, RAFVR] and F/SGT Derek Cecil Hinton [1602154, RAFVR]. While the navigator survives the crash by baling out, the pilot, F/LT Enticott, is killed. The crash location is said to be located near Eelde airfield, supported by the fact that F/LT Enticott is today buried at the Eelde General Cemetery.

This aircraft is listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany (#7):

A little bit later, another Mosquito is lost, HR205. She is flown by F/LT Archibald Vincent Rix [109142, RAFVR] and F/O Robert Burrows [154847, RAFVR]. The Mosquito is damaged by flak and is belly-landed at RAF Blackbushe where is is rated as “damaged beyond repair”. Both crewmen escape the wreck unharmed.

No. 613 Sqn. RAF

Another three Mosquitos are lost to No. 613 Sqn. RAF – the first one being LR338 with F/LT David Walter Thomas Stealey [66552, RAFVR] and F/O Arthur John Backshell [154555, RAFVR] at the controls. The crew is still “missing in action”, both are remembered at the Runnymede Memorial.

Also lost is Mosquito RS563, flown by F/LT Albert Eric Arnold [116563, RAFVR] and F/O Arthur William Higginson [163646m RAFVR]. Their initial graves are located at Hohn near Rendsburg.

This aircraft is listed in the US Listing of Allied Aircraft crashed over Germany (#12):

Finally, Mosquito NS899 is lost, flown by F/O Harold Maurive Dean [136502] and F/O Muir. Both are indicated as “safe”, meaning they not only survived the loss of their aircraft but also walked away from the landing on own territory.

Back to 10/NJG 11…

So back to Kurt Welter and 10./NJG 11: none of the Mosquitos lost during “Operation Clarion” – at least those, that I was able to identify – are lost anywhere close to Kurt Welter’s area of operations.

Most of the Mosquitos lost are attributed to anti-aircraft fire – or “Flak”. None of them is remotely connected to a claim of a Messerschmitt Me 262 as Welter and his men flew them.

So far, there is no conclusive evidence available that suggests that Kurt Welter and 10./NJG 11 have been operating against the Mosquito raiders of “Operation Clarion”. Leave alone that any of them would have scored a Mosquito…or five.


1 Bowman, Martin: German Night Fighters Versus Bomber Command 1943-1945, Page 201
2 BArch. RL 2-II/388: Tagesmeldungen Reich Ic Februar 1945
3 The National Archives, AIR 27/265: Operations Record Book No. 21 Sqn. RAF
4 The National Archives, AIR 27/845: Operations Record Book No. 107 Sqn. RAF
5 see Website Fliegerschicksale, Mosquito HR188
6 The National Archives, AIR 27/1672: Operations Record Book No. 305 Sqn. RAF
7 The Grave Concentration Report Form lists an “unknown navigator”, died on Januar 10, 1945, which is a strong indication that – if correct – this identification in fact might be incorrect.
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In search of: Mosquito MM233, Royal Air Force

On Sepmber 2, 1944, a lone Mosquito of No. 544 Sqn. RAF, flown by F/O Harry Woods (Serial: 139965) and F/SGT Philip Bullimore (Serial: 1545776), is on a long-range reconnaissance mission down the river Elbe.

West of Jüterbog, the Mosquito is intercepted and shot down by a Messerschmitt Bf 109, flown by Ofw. Heinrich von Stade, 10./JG 300 – a unit specialized in Mosquito hunting.

The crash site is documented as “Weddin, 12 km NE of Wittenberg”. Both crew members are killed, they are initially buried in the church yard of the tiny village. I have recently visited the village of Weddin to take photos for a book project.


To the south of the village, the vast woodlands of the Korpstädter Heide are covering the landscape, frequently interrupted by farm fields. To the north, west, and east, open country with fields dominates.


The village itself is tiny, probably only 20 – 30 houses. It is a remote, very quiet place and today, it is hard to believe that it was the staging area of a Mosquito loss and subsequent burial about 70 years ago.


The only cemetary on the village is in the church yard of the small church – the size fitting the size of the village.


The crew now rests on the British War Cemetery in Berlin, both graves have been photographed.


I am interested in the following:

  • any detailed information with provisioning of the originating source that states where exactly the aircraft came down.
  • any detailed information incl. publishable photographs of the two crew men – their backgrounds, their education, families, etc.
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In search of: Mosquito MM231, Royal Air Force

On September 18, 1944, a Mosquito of No. 544. Sqn. RAF, flown by F/LT Geoffrey Colin Devas Hunter, DFC, (Serial: 126596) and F/O John Fielden, DFC, (Serial: 141154) left her base at Benson/UK at 11:55 hrs. for a mission to northern Germany.

The Operational Records Book of No. 544 Sqn. states: “Objective: Targets at Hitzacker, Hamburg, Lübeck, Parchim.” – the aircraft failed to return from the mission.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists their initial burial site as the cemetery of the small village of Meetzen, south-east of Lübeck, west of Schwerin in northern Germany (see here).

German documents show the crash of a Mosquito at 15:07 hrs. between the villages of Holdorf and Meetzen, 4.5 km NW of Gadebusch – the Mosquito disintegrated mid-air and burnt on ground impact. Clear evidence of a fighter attack is noted.

The claims of the Luftwaffe do not include a matching entry but sources attribute the loss of the Mosquito to Lt. Joachim Weber from EKdo. 262 who supposedly claimed a Mosquito that day (the only one).

I have recently visited the approximate crash site – or more prescisely: the road between the villages of Meetzen and Holdorf.


That part of Germany is wide open country with miles and miles of farm fields in between. The roads are usually lines with big old trees and the villages are remote and tiny.

I have also visited the small cemetery at Meetzen where the two crew members were intially buried – like the village, it is a tiny, peaceful place.


Both crewmembers have been relocated after the war, their final resting place is the Berlin War Cemetary at Heerstrasse.


With respect to a book project I am working on, I would have the following questions:

  • Can anyone provide conclusive evidence of the claim made by Lt. Joachim Weber?
  • Is anyone able to provide background information including publishable photos of the two crew members?
  • Does anyone have a more detailed location for the crash or material from German archives that would help to isolate the exact location where MM231 came down?
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