September 10, 1944

During the night of September 10th, 1944 to September 11th, 1944, the Mosqutios of RAF 8 Group are back in the sky of Berlin. It’s their first mission to the “Big City” after almost two weeks of absence.

A total of 46 Mosquitos[1]Middlebrook, Martin; Everitt, Christ: The Bomber Command War Diaries; Middlesex, England: Viking Books Ltd., 1985, Page 579 lists 47 aircraft.are on the missions, they are from No. 128 Sqn., No. 139 Sqn., No. 571 Sqn., No. 608 Sqn., and No. 692 Sqn.

Taking off just before 21:00 hrs, the Mosquitos are leaving the British Isles, flying along the Frisian Islands to a point north of Hamburg where they turn east into the area of Jüterbog and finally to Berlin. They are reaching their destination after a flight time of roughly 2½ hours, just shortly after 23:30 hrs[2] Mehner, Kurt (Hrsg.): Die geheimen Tagesberichte der Deutschen Wehrmachtführung im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939 – 1945; Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag, 1984, Page 25.

Einflug 1944-09-10Their return flight takes them on a north-westerly course, then – avoiding the Flak belt around Hamburg and Bremen – towards the city of Osnabrück and into the direction of Soesterberg and Amsterdam. From there, it is home to England.

This night, the master bombers of No. 139 Sqn. are failing to properly „illuminate“ the target – they are late dropping the target indicators::

„After nearly two weeks absence, the Mosquitos went back to BERLIN to deliver what the Germans call a ‘Terror Raid’. The effect of last nights effort was somewhat spoilt by an unlooked for increase in the winds and the Marker Aircraft from the Squadron were late dropping their T.I’s.“[3]No. 139 Sqn. Records of Events, September 1944 (AIR 27/961/18)

Originally, No. 139 Sqn. provides 7 Marker Aircraft, two of which (KB217 and KB225) have to abort the mission early. A further three are unable to drop their Target Indicators as planned, mostly due to technical issues. In the end, only two of the Mosquitos are able to mark the target. Both are dropping closely but late and by the time the Target Indicators light up, many of the other crews had already released their bombs on their own account and without the target marked.

The Bomber Command Report on Night Operations is providing the following information for the operation against Berlin during the night of September 10th/11th,1944:

Berlin: 41/47 Mosquitos bombed Berlin in clear weather. Only 2 of 7 marker aircraft were successful, and both were late, so most of the main force attacked in D.R. The bombing was very scattered. 2 aircraft bombed Lübeck and Cuxhaven, and 4 were abortive. No aircraft was lost in this night.”[4]Bomber Command Reports on Night Operations, 10/11th September 1944 (AIR 14/3412)

In the skies over Berlin, the Mosquitos are running into the German capital’s defenses – mostly heavy flak. All crews are reporting many searchlights in operation – together with the low flak coverage a sign for the presence of German Night Fighters in the area. And the crews of the Royal Air Force are reporting sightings of their winged adversaries. In addition, several dummy Target Indicators are ignited by the ground defense, trying to lure the pilots of the bombers into dropping their loads into areas where they would not cause any damage.

The Geheime Tagesberichte der Deutschen Wehrmachtführung im Zweiten Weltkrieg [5]engl.: „Secret Daily Reports of the German High Command“ for September 10th, 1944, remark:

“In the night to the 11th […] During night attack on Berlin and Magdeburg deployment of 11 Mosquito-Hunters, 1 loss, no success.“[6]Mehner, Kurt (Hrsg.): Die geheimen Tagesberichte der Deutschen Wehrmachtführung; a.a.O; Page 25

All of the Mosquitos seeing combat action this night are safely returning to their bases in England – mostly, their landing times are between 01:30 hrs. and 02:00 hrs. The „Summaries of Aircraft Damaged on Operations – Dec 1942 – May 1945“ as showing battle damage assessments for 8 of the Mosquitos, all of them attributed to flak.[7]Summaries of Aircraft Damaged on Operations – Dec 1942 – May 1945 (AIR 14/3460)

References   [ + ]

1. Middlebrook, Martin; Everitt, Christ: The Bomber Command War Diaries; Middlesex, England: Viking Books Ltd., 1985, Page 579 lists 47 aircraft.
2. Mehner, Kurt (Hrsg.): Die geheimen Tagesberichte der Deutschen Wehrmachtführung im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939 – 1945; Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag, 1984, Page 25
3. No. 139 Sqn. Records of Events, September 1944 (AIR 27/961/18)
4. Bomber Command Reports on Night Operations, 10/11th September 1944 (AIR 14/3412)
5. engl.: „Secret Daily Reports of the German High Command“
6. Mehner, Kurt (Hrsg.): Die geheimen Tagesberichte der Deutschen Wehrmachtführung; a.a.O; Page 25
7. Summaries of Aircraft Damaged on Operations – Dec 1942 – May 1945 (AIR 14/3460)
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