January 13, 1945

The Bomber Command mounted a major nocturnal attack on the Oil Refineries at Pölitz near Stettin (today: Police in Poland). The British Air Activity Summary No. 1961 shows the reaction of the Luftwaffe’s Nachtjagd units to this raid:

1945-01-14 - Air Activity Summary 1961

The British identified aircraft of IV./NJG 5 and two unknown units attacking the bombers near the target area. Possible that one of them is Kurt Welter on one of his early nocturnal missions. The Royal Air Force is losing two Lancaster bombers during the night – PB842 and PB880.

The first one, PB842, makes it to Pölitz where she is attacked by a German night fighter – this should have been around 22:20 hrs., when the attacking bombers were over the target. There is no direct evidence of a night fighter jet available, just general observations of night fighters in the area.

1945-01-13 - PB842

If Kurt Welter attacked this Lancaster, he did not shoot it down immediately – and in addition, other aircraft were in the area so it is by no means conclusive that the attack was carried out by Kurt Welter.

The second Lancaster lost, PB880, certainly did not fall to his guns (nor those of any other German night fighter): it developed an engine fire on the inbound leg, deviated to the Swedish coast and was abandoned by her crew.

1945-01-13 - PB880

What makes this night interesting, though, is one of the few surviving primary sources from German archives, a message transmitted January 15th, 1945 (see here).

Also, the British Damage Assessment Reports[1]Summaries of Aircraft Damaged on Operations – Dec 1942 – May 1945″ (AIR 14/3460); Page 372 show two Lancaster with combat damage, categorized as 20mm rounds. Another 7 aircraft were damaged by Flak.

References   [ + ]

1. Summaries of Aircraft Damaged on Operations – Dec 1942 – May 1945″ (AIR 14/3460); Page 372
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