September 15, 1944

During the night of September 15th, 1944 to September 16th, Berlin is amongst the targets of the Royal Air Force once more. 27 Mosquitos are approaching the capital on a route from the British Isles via the Zuiderzee and Hannover. They are attacking Berlin in the early morning hours of the 16th.[1]Mehner, Kurt (Hrsg.): Die geheimen Tagesberichte der Deutschen Wehrmachtführung; a.a.O; Page 40 One of the Mosquitos is lost to the Luftwaffe.

Einflug 1944-09-15The 10./JG 300 is active during the night – their pilots claiming 3 victories over Mosquitos. First, Fw. Reichenbach claims at 01:57 hrs (“Blue 1” on map), then Kurt Welter claims two more, one at 02:30 hrs, the other one at 02:30 hrs. (“Red 1” and “Red 2” respectively).

Different sources are providing different locations for those victories – the available microfilm are showing the following information:

1944-09-15 - AbschussmeldungenHard to read, therefore I have included a transcript:

1944-09-15 - Abschussmeldungen - TransscriptThe Bomber Command confirms the loss of F/L Smith, flying Mosquito KB639:

1944-09-16 - KB239The loss is also mentioned in the Bomber Command Report on Night Operations for the night of September 15th, 1944, to September 16th.

Berlin: 24/27 Mosquitos bombed Berlin in good weather. The marking and bombing were concentrated, and 2 or 3 small fires were seen burning as the aircraft left. Flak was moderate to intense, and 2 Mosquitos were engaged by fighters. One of our aircraft was lost without trace.”[2]Bomber Command Reports on Night Operations, 15/16th September 1944 (AIR 14/3412)

So that’ one of three possible losses cleared. But for this night, the search for lost Mosquitos has to be extended beyond the reach of RAF 8 Group: RAF 100 Group is flying intruder missions – long-range night fighters – over Germany as well.

And in their records, two more losses come up – first, a Mosquito of No. 157 Sqn-, flown by Squadron Leader Chisholm[3]No 157 Sqn. Records of Events, September 1944 (AIR 27/1046) :

1944-09-16 - TA396Except for their area of operations, around the city of Kiel in northern Germany, nothing seems to be known about this loss – aircraft and crew vanished without a trace and are still missing in action.

The second Mosquito of RAF 100 Group belongs to No. 239 Sqn. and was flown by F/O Osborne[4]No 239 Sqn. Records of Events, September 1944 (AIR 27/1456) :

1944-09-16 - PZ226The three losses are well documented – a German document from the “Bruchunterlagen” – the listings of all identified crashed enemy aircraft are providing the details.

1944-09-16 - Tessin and RaguthThe Mosquito Losses of RAF 100 Group only partially help to answer the question of the three claims made by the JG 300 pilots: the loss of PZ226 is probably to northerly to be attributed to the two Mosquito hunters.

The crash of the RAF 8 Group Mosquito, KB239, matches the location of two of the claims – Rangsdorf has the coordinates 15 Ost S/GG-9, the claims were made for 15 Ost S/GG (Reichenbach) and 15 Ost S/GG-2 (Welter).

1944-09-16 - RangsdorfBut the timing is off – the claims were made shortly before and after 02:00 hrs, the crash is reported for 02:30 hrs. However, I am tempted to attribute this loss to one of the two pilots, assuming that the time written down either is a “switch” in the digits or there is a discrepancy between the crash and the report time.

Which leaves the claim of 02:30 hrs. at 15 Ost S/GC-GB, a location north-east of Braunschweig, close to the city of Gardelegen.

1944-09-16 - The Braunschweig - Gardelegen AreaIt does not look like it on the map above – but the area around Gardelegen is covered with wide ranging forests and open country – a loss of a Mosquito in these woods would probably go unnoticed. If – and only if! – the Kiel-bound Mosquito TA396 was on a route in or out across the area, she might (and only might!) be a potential candidate for the third claim. She certainly is the only other missing “Mossie” I am aware of for this night. The location is reachable for Kurt Welter – no question. If TA396 was roaming the same area? Who knows? The photo below gives an impression of the area around Gardelegen – taken on a flight in 2014.

1944-09-16 - The Forests around Gardelegen 2014But Squadron Leader John Chisholm is not forgotten – the Website “RAF Swannington at War” keeps his memory honored.[5]http://www.swannington-norfolk.co.uk/index-page16.html

The final document to review for the day is the “Summary of Aircraft Damaged on Operations” – for this night, it lists a total of three Mosquitos damaged by flak and two more damaged by night fighters. These are KB208 of No. 139 Sqn. and KB228 of No. 608 Sqn.[6]Summaries of Aircraft Damaged on Operations – Dec 1942 – May 1945 (AIR 14/3460); Page 266 Which also adds up to three claims if those two were attacked by the pilots of 10./JG 300 and damaged but managed to evade and return home…

References   [ + ]

1. Mehner, Kurt (Hrsg.): Die geheimen Tagesberichte der Deutschen Wehrmachtführung; a.a.O; Page 40
2. Bomber Command Reports on Night Operations, 15/16th September 1944 (AIR 14/3412)
3. No 157 Sqn. Records of Events, September 1944 (AIR 27/1046)
4. No 239 Sqn. Records of Events, September 1944 (AIR 27/1456)
5. http://www.swannington-norfolk.co.uk/index-page16.html
6. Summaries of Aircraft Damaged on Operations – Dec 1942 – May 1945 (AIR 14/3460); Page 266
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