e-Newsletter for August 2002
Aircraft of World War Two: A Visual Encyclopedia. by Michael Sharpe, Jerry Scutts, Dan March - If it flew during WWII, it is in this book. Everything you wanted to know, and more. Includes some beautiful photography of restored aircraft and historical images. If you flew it, maintained it, or just to love reading about old warbirds, this is a great book to have. Retails for $24.95.
Ghosts II: A Time Remembered by Philip Makanna - A follow on to the original "GHOSTS" book co-authored with Jeffrey Ethell. Beautiful images of beautifully restored aircraft. This would make a great coffee table book. The only shortcoming of this book, is the photo of the Bf-109, is actually a Spanish built version of the 109 made to look like the German original. Retails for about $30.
The Great Book of Bombers: The World's Most Important Bombers from World War I to the Present Day by Jon Lake, Ray Bonds. The title says it all. If you flew it, maintained it, it is in this book. From the wood and fabric bombers of WWI to the strategic bombers, and fighter/bombers of today, you'll find plenty of information about all the aircraft, and some great photos of restored aircraft, and historical images. Retails for $39.95.
The Messerschmitt Me109: Volume I From 1939 to 1942: by Anis Elbied and Andre Jouineau (published by Historie & Collections). Mistakenly, and commonly referred to as an Me109, the actual designation was Bf109 (Bayerische Flugzeug Werk). That technical error aside, this is a wonderful book for the modeling enthusiast. This book details the markings of groups and staff that adorned the aircraft of the Luftwaffe as well as camouflage schemes.. This book describes the "Berta," "Clara," "Dora," "Emil," and "Friedrich" (B- through F) variants of the famous German fighter. Fighter markings of other nations flying the 109 are also included. This is a must have for the aviation modeler! Retails for $19.95.
It is a bitter fact of warfare, that there will always be a "last to die" in direct combat. Many will continue to succumb to their wounds, die in accidents, or die of war related causes long after the ink on the surrender papers have dried, but to hear the last call when peace is so near is hard to imagine. For the 486th Bomb Group, that distinction belongs to the Bartl crew (so far as records have shown). The 486th lost the Allbright, and Bartl crews on April 17th, 1945, as they flew on a mission to bomb Dresden. The first groups over the target left a mess for those that followed to deal with. On a mission that involved 1,054 B17s, and B24s, the 8th AF lost only two. Both from the 486th. Smoke, fires, weather, and contrails led to navigational errors that took the 486th over the Brux/Most Flak zone in what is now the Czech republic. The Allbright crew would survive their ordeal, and would be repatriated shortly thereafter. The Bartl crew would never return. Following the mission on the 21st, the 8th Air Force would stand down. Peace came on the 7th of May (the 8th is the publicly recognized date.)
For the past year, I have been working with Radovan Helt of the Czech Republic sending him historical information. He in turn is writing a history of the Brux/Most area of WWII. On June 1st of this year, he dedicated a memorial to the Bartl Crew at the Brux/Most Airfield.
What follows is a portion of the After Action Report sent to the 8th Army Air Force HQ at High Wycombe:
Consolidated Lead Crew Mission Report
4B Group in Division Column - 5
Navigator Report 486A Squadron (W. J. Earley, 1st LT, 5 group leads). Times and Positions:
Navigation Report B squadron (C. B. Holcombe, 2nd LT, 1st lead)
Time and positions:
Note: Lead Navigator of "C" squadron lost his log when the chin turret cover was opened in flight. Examination of wing logs show that C squadron made a 360 deg turn in the Brux area, used a point (5019N-1333E) as the IP and made a run on Aussig (5040N-1401E); made a 270 deg turn to the right at Aussig and intersected the briefed route back at 5100N-1310E, joining B squadron at CP 5.
Bombardier Report (J. W. Nolte, 1st LT, 24 leads)
Attacked Dresden M/Y with H2X. At IP:
Bombardier Report 486th B (A. Goodman, 2nd LT, 5 leads) Target attacked: Dresden M/Y (H2X).
Data at IP
NARRATIVE: The second priority target was attacked (PFF) because of obscurations over the first priority target. I could not see the squadron ahead of me, so I don't know in what order we went in. I picked up the first priority on the first run, but lost it in the haze and light clouds. We then did a 360 deg and attacked the second priority. Results were unobserved. There was meager FLAK over Dresden, but accurate FLAK and moderate FLAK over BRUX. The radar navigator picked up the target at 30 miles. The clouds broke over the target, and we noted that we were off course and managed to swing in 12 degree correction right before bombs away. The radar navigator synchronized for both rate and deflection. Eight aircraft attacked in this squadron.
Bombardier report 486th C (T. A. Roberts, 2nd LT, 3 leads). Attacked secondary target Dresden M/Y (H2X)
Data at IP:
Narrative: The second priority target (PFF) was attacked. Accurate and heavy FLAK was encountered. We were following other groups into the target in hopes of dropping on their smoke bombs, as our radar set was out. There was no traffic interference encountered. AFCE was not properly set up due to changing of altitude from 24,500 ft to 18,800 ft. Sighting was done for both rate and deflection. And bombs were released on, and hit a marshalling yard. Eight aircraft attacked in this squadron.
1. NOTE: Photo interpretation shows these bombs dropping on the marshalling yards at Aussig, Germany. Critique of all crew members returning in this squadron indicates that extreme weather conditions with this area caused difficulties bringing about this failure to attack the assigned target and ultimately target misidentification. The Navigational error involved in taking the squadron into this area is explained elsewhere in this report.
3rd AD operational intelligence report - Dresden - Aussig - Roudnice Mission:
4 enemy A/C observed burning on Eger A/F (5005N-1224E) at 1444 hours. 15 to 20 E/A observed on A/F at 5049N-1230E (North of Zwickau) at 1441 hours. 2 or 3 E/A parked on A/F at 5016AN-1419E (possibly Prague/Ruzyne A/F).
Ineffective smoke screen observed at Brux at 1409 hours. Much traffic on autobahn between Chemnitz and Dresden. Heavy traffic was noted on the road between Meissen and Nossen at approximately 5110N-1325E. Large forest fire covering approximately a 3 mile area reported at 5054N-1025E (SW of Gotha, behind our lines) at 1605 hours.
450 A/C were airborne of which 189 A/C attacked Dresden main RR station visually with fair to excellent results, 121 A/C attacked Dresden M/Y visually with fair to good results, 117 A/C attacked Dresden West M/Y on H2X with visual assist with unobserved results. Weather was generally good on route with ground haze at target and 10/10 cloud and high cirrus at 20,000 '. FLAK was meager and accurate at targets (battle damage: 99 minor, 31 major, 1 salvage). 6 to 7 Me262s attacked the seventh group in the bomber column over Dresden. E/A came in singly from the nose and tail but did not press attacks very closely on formation. Only one pass was made by these E/A. Claims: 8 A/C lost (1 to FLAK, 1 to E/A, 3 to collision, and 2 for unknown reasons).
194 A/C were airborne of which 61 A/C attacked Beroun RR junction and station, visually with very good results. 55 A/C attacked Fishern RR junction and facilities, visually with good results. 37 A/C attacked Flakenau RR bridge and facilities visually with fair results. 36 A/C attacked Kladno RR junction and facilities visually with fair to good results. Weather was good with haze. FLAK was nil. No E/A sighted. All returned.
410 A/C were airborne of which 162 A/C attacked RR facilities in Dresden using visual and H2X techniques with fair to unobserved results. 87 A/C attacked Aussig RR facilities visually with very good to fair results. 115 A/C attacked Roudnice oil storage visually with very good to poor results. Weather was 8/10 to 10/10 high cirrus clouds over Dresden and clear with heavy haze at Aussig and Roudnice. Flak was nil at Aussig, and Roudnice, and meager to moderate at Dresden. (Battle damage: 40 minor, 7 major). No E/A sighted, and 2 A/C lost to FLAK.
E/A claims: 11-0-4 (mostly Me 262s) in the air and 273-0-103 on the ground.
The next mission report was written by George Rubin, 835th BS, who flew with the Wiley Crew. They were shot down on the 25th of February, and the entire crew would become POWs. The following page is a lengthy download:
The last mission of George Rubin
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