April 10, 1945

April 10th, 1945, is a beautiful day in central Germany – almost no clouds, temperatures at about 16°C and nine hours of sunshine. Perfect flying conditions – and the 8th USAAF is using this to their advantage – 1200 heavy bombers are sent out to bomb the jet airfields in central Germany.

Oranienburg, Neuruppin, Brandenburg-Briest, Zerbst, Rechlin-Lärz, Parchim and Burg are on the target list. Burg/Magdeburg for example is the operational base for units such as JG 7, NAGr. 6 (both with Messerschmitt Me 262), KG 76 (Arado Ar 234) as well as 10./NJG 11 (Me 262).

The attack is executed in a classic pincer move – the 1. Bombardment Division (BD) and the 3. BD are flying east to the Schelde estuary, then into Germany. They are following a course via Wesel – Münster – Bielefeld – Hannover to Braunschweig. Here, they split up.

The 1. BD (about 450 aircraft) flying north-east via Salzwedel and Wittenberge to Neuruppin where they are attacking the airfield in Neuruppin and continue to the airfield at Oranienburg.

The 3. BD (also about 450 aircraft) are going from Braunschweig to Magdeburg, attack the airfield at Burg/Magdeburg, then continue to the airfield at Zerbst and then the airfield at Brandenburg-Briest.

The 2. BD is flying over the North Sea, entering Germany in the Husum area. They are continuing via Neumünster – Lübeck – Parchim to attach the airfields at Parchim and Rechlin-Lärz.

Einflug 1945-04-10

The after action reports show that all attacked airfields – Oranienburg, Neuruppin, Brandenburg-Briest, Zerbst, Rechlin-Lärz, Parchim, and Burg – are not longer in a shape to sustain operational flights. The Luftwaffe had lost – at least to a large extent – their operational capabilities with respect to flying operational missions with their jets.

The effects of the attack on Burg/Magdeburg are devastating – for the airfield, for the Luftwaffe in general and for 10./NJG 11 in particular: their base is out of operations, most likely, three of their jets have been destroyed or damaged beyond repair, the remaining ones have no runway and no infrastructure to operate with.

There are personal accounts available from three of the members of 10./NJG 11 which include the events during and directly after the attack. They are slightly different and – in their respective detail – too long to be published here. Taking out the individual differences, they all agree in the assessment that after the attack, the unit had lost 3 – 4 of their jets, and the pilots had lost most of their personal belongings since their barracks were directly hit. They also all confirm that the remaining aircraft (which were sheltered in the woods south of the airfield) were towed to the near Autobahn and took off from there to ferry to Lübeck.

The report Einsatzbereitschaft der fliegenden Verbände[1]engl.: Operational Readiness of Flying Units dated April 12th, 1945, reports 10./NJG 11 with a to-be strength of 12 Messerschmitt Me 262 and a current strength of 4 Me 262 – 0 of them ready for operations.

During the night to April 11th, 1945, the Mosquitos of the Light Night Striking Force attacked Berlin again – this time, they attacked in three waves: 28 Mosquitos bombed the city starting 22:09 hrs, 19 more Mosquitos reached the city at 22:41 hrs. Finally, the third wave was over Berlin at 22:48 hrs. with additional 25 Mosquitos. So in total, 72 of the fast light bombers saw action over the German capital that night. One Mosquito was lost from the Berlin raid, ML963 of No. 571 Sqn., flown by F/O Olivier and F/SGT Young.

1945-04-10 - ML963The morning report of the Luftwaffeführungsstab Ic for April 11th, 1945, does not show any operations against the Mosquitos to Berlin – and likely, this is right since the airfield at Burg/Magdeburg did not allow for any sort of flying following the attack.

Despite the fact that some sources note a claims for 10./NJG 11 in that night[2]Foreman, John et al: Luftwaffe Night Fighter Combat Claims 1939 – 1945; Page 246, there is no evidence that even a mission was mounted, let alone a success scored.

References   [ + ]

1. engl.: Operational Readiness of Flying Units
2. Foreman, John et al: Luftwaffe Night Fighter Combat Claims 1939 – 1945; Page 246
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