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Uufflakke
01-22-2009, 12:33 PM
B-17 throws his load out on bomber below him and breaks off the tail.

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh195/Uufflakke/B17.jpg

I don't have any statistics, but it mut have happened more often during bomb runs in large formations.

JG52Uther
01-22-2009, 12:37 PM
Happened all the time.

JG53_Valantine
01-22-2009, 01:08 PM
I recpgnise this series of pictures from one of my refence books - I think several places say the bomber made it home but the reports are wrong and it was actually lost with all crew. Il have to see if I can find the info on it as I remember it being an itneresting read
V


EDIT - Found an online reference - http://www.daveswarbirds.com/b-17/tail3.htm

SlickStick
01-22-2009, 01:40 PM
Oh my....if that was in-game, the bombs would have "magically" stuck to the tail until the delay expired and the bomber went BOOM! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

SkyPiggies
01-22-2009, 01:42 PM
That's over central Berlin on May 19 1944. The planes are following the river in a SE direction. I don't know the identity of the damaged plane, but would be surprised if it got back safely.

Buzzsaw-
01-22-2009, 03:11 PM
Salute

In standard Squadron and Wing formation, this type of thing would not happen. The placement of aircraft within the formation allows all the planes to bomb without hitting one of their own.

However, when one of the bombers fell out of formation as a result of flak or enemy fighter attack, you could see this type of occurance.

Here is a standard 3 aircraft element formation diagram:

http://www.398th.org/Images/Images_Formations/Formation%20Drawings/B-17%20Element%20Formation.jpg

Four elements make up a Squadron box:

http://www.398th.org/Images/Images_Formations/Formation%20Drawings/B-17%20Squadron%20Formation.jpg

Below is a photo of parts of two elements, in the distance can be seen a Squadron box:

http://www.398th.org/Images/Images_Aircraft_B-17/Images/44-8398-K8-Q_19441229_MD.jpg

Photo taken just after bomb release.

3 Squadrons would make up a Bomb Group of 36 aircraft. The three Squadrons would be organized as 'Lead', 'Low' and 'High'.

In turn, three Bomb Groups would make up a Combat Wing, again organized as 'Lead', 'High' and 'Low'.

All of these aircraft had to take their positions after takeoff, in the course of forming up over England, prior to setting out for their targets in Germany. Sometimes, in the case of large 1000 plane raids, it would take two hours for all the aircraft to get into their formations. The various Combat Wings would be strung out in a line, which could be hundreds of miles in distance.

Aircraft, elements, Squadrons and Groups were always staggered high/low so that the aircraft were closer together and their guns could protect all aircraft in the formation:

http://www.398th.org/Images/Images_Aircraft_B-17/Images/Mission_19450411_Kraiburg_c.jpg

Photos and diagrams courtesy 398th Bomb Group:

http://www.398th.org/index.html

There was never any time when the density of aircraft in war was greater than during the Battles over Germany, we will never see such formations again.

In February, RAF74 will be holding an online campaign recreating 'BIG WEEK', the decisive battle in February of 1944, when the 8th AAF began to assert its dominance over the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Germany.

We are particularly looking for players who enjoy flying heavy bombers in formation, B-17's and B-24's, to participate in this online campaign.

Any Squadron or individual who is interested should contact us at our website or PM me here.

http://www.raf74.com/

Uufflakke
01-22-2009, 03:14 PM
Originally posted by SkyPiggies:
I don't know the identity of the damaged plane, but would be surprised if it got back safely.

The plane didn't make it home safely according JG53-Valentine's link.

"later information revealed that the B-17 went straight down and crashed, with all crew lost"

Sad but true...

SkyPiggies
01-22-2009, 03:32 PM
http://www.airwarweb.net/usaaf/8af_1944-05.php

It seems that 16 fortresses were lost on this raid

Buzzsaw-
01-22-2009, 03:36 PM
Salute

As per above source:

FRIDAY, 19 MAY 1944

STRATEGIC OPERATIONS (Eighth Air Force):

Mission 358: 888 bombers and 700 fighters are dispatched to hit targets in Germany; very heavy cloud cover forces the bombers to use H2X PFF methods; Luftwaffe resistance is heavy and 28 bombers and 19 fighters are lost; the fighters claim 77-0-33 Luftwaffe aircraft:

1. 588 B-17s are dispatched to Berlin; 495 hit the primary, 49 hit the port area at Kiel and 1 hits a target of opportunity; 16 B-17s are lost, 2 damaged beyond repair and 289 damaged; 3 airmen are KIA, 16 WIA and 137 MIA.

2. 300 B-24s are dispatched to the industrial area at Brunswick; 272 hit the primary and 1 bombs a target of opportunity; 12 B-24s are lost and 64 damaged; 1 airman is KIA, 8 WIA and 119 MIA.

Escort is provided by 155 P-38s, 182 P-47s and 363 P-51s of the Eighth Air Force and 264 Ninth Air Force aircraft; the P-38s claim 0-0-2 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 1-0-0 on the ground, the P-47s claim 29-0-16 in the air and 2-0-0 on the ground and the P-51s claim 41-0-5 in the air and 4-0-10 on the ground; 4 P-38s, 4 P-47s and 11 P-51s are lost; 2 P-38s are damaged beyond repair; 5 P-38s, 4 P-47s and 7 P-51s are damaged; 17 pilots are MIA.

SkyPiggies
01-22-2009, 03:46 PM
Berlin was the most heavily defended city in Europe - bombers under heavy flak and fighter attack would tend to become disorganized and break formation, leading to incidents like this.

Buzzsaw-
01-22-2009, 03:55 PM
Salute

Couple photos, first showing railyard/factory complex, second showing bomb hits.

http://www.398th.org/Images/Images_Targets/Images/Lichtenfels/Lichtenfels_19450223_Bef.jpg

http://www.398th.org/Images/Images_Targets/Images/Lichtenfels/Lichtenfels_19450223.jpg

ElAurens
01-22-2009, 04:18 PM
How many interceptors would the Luftwaffe have sent up to defend against a raid like this?

I mean individual aircraft, not counting multiple sorties?

SkyPiggies
01-22-2009, 04:40 PM
This page (http://www.airwarweb.net/usaaf/8af_05-44.php) lists 14 B-17s and 12 B-24s lost on 19 May 1944:

19-05-44 42-39990 B17G-10-VE 4958 452 730
19-05-44 42-31386 B17G-15-BO 4949 303 359
19-05-44 42-97454 B17G-15-VE 4932 381 533
19-05-44 42-97481 B17G-15-VE 4941 457 751
19-05-44 42-97455 B17G-15-VE 4829 91 401
19-05-44 42-39783 B17G-1-VE 4929 379 526
19-05-44 42-31540 B17G-20-BO 4946 94 331
19-05-44 42-97607 B17G-20-VE 4948 100 349
19-05-44 42-38026 B17G-25-DL 4815 401 612
19-05-44 42-38191 B17G-30-DL 4947 100 418
19-05-44 42-32080 B17G-35-BO 5030 381 532
19-05-44 42-97339 B17G-45-BO 4937 398 600
19-05-44 42-97290 B17G-45-BO 4928 95 334
19-05-44 42-102532 B17G-50-BO 4935 390 570
19-05-44 41-29474 B24H-15-CF 4936 392 579
19-05-44 42-52638 B24H-15-FO 5029 448 714
19-05-44 41-29129 B24H-1-CF 5096 392 576
19-05-44 42-95060 B24H-25-FO 4925 392 578
19-05-44 42-110153 B24J-140-CO 5240 492 858
19-05-44 42-110151 B24J-140-CO 5241 492 857
19-05-44 44-40133 B24J-145-CO 5245 492 858
19-05-44 44-40088 B24J-145-CO 5246 492 857
19-05-44 44-40065 B24J-145-CO 5247 492 858
19-05-44 44-40171 B24J-150-CO 5242 492 857
19-05-44 44-40152 B24J-150-CO 5243 492 858
19-05-44 44-40151 B24J-150-CO 5244 492 858

mortoma
01-22-2009, 04:46 PM
Originally posted by ElAurens:
How many interceptors would the Luftwaffe have sent up to defend against a raid like this?

I mean individual aircraft, not counting multiple sorties? By 1944 I bet they didn't even have specified numbers. They probably scrambled every available fighter that was operational in a certain reasonable radius. If it were your decision, wouldn't you throw everything at them?? I would!!

SeaFireLIV
01-22-2009, 04:51 PM
It`s a pity to see a bomber hit by its own friendly like this, but, like said it happens. Probably happened a lot, but kept relateively quiet cos no one likes to admit to friendly fire. It`s very difficult to keep the needed discipline especially if the enemy manage to blow your plan. In war, accidents tend to be deadly.

ElAurens
01-22-2009, 05:49 PM
Originally posted by mortoma:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by ElAurens:
How many interceptors would the Luftwaffe have sent up to defend against a raid like this?

I mean individual aircraft, not counting multiple sorties? By 1944 I bet they didn't even have specified numbers. They probably scrambled every available fighter that was operational in a certain reasonable radius. If it were your decision, wouldn't you throw everything at them?? I would!! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think you are missing my question.

Let me re-phrase.

By the middle of 1944 what were the number of combat capable interceptors available to the Luftwaffe for home defence? Not the total number, but the ones actually capable of combat?

ImMoreBetter
01-22-2009, 05:51 PM
Here (http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/155.pdf) is a report (and two stories) about the 303bgs experience over Berlin on May 19, 1944.

Claims 200+ enemy aircraft seen. 28 bombers lost (16 B-17s, 12 B-24s). 14 of which were lost to enemy attacks.

Bremspropeller
01-22-2009, 07:25 PM
Claims 200+ enemy aircraft seen.

Highly doubtful.

Buzzsaw-
01-22-2009, 08:38 PM
Originally posted by ElAurens:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by mortoma:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by ElAurens:
How many interceptors would the Luftwaffe have sent up to defend against a raid like this?

I mean individual aircraft, not counting multiple sorties? By 1944 I bet they didn't even have specified numbers. They probably scrambled every available fighter that was operational in a certain reasonable radius. If it were your decision, wouldn't you throw everything at them?? I would!! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think you are missing my question.

Let me re-phrase.

By the middle of 1944 what were the number of combat capable interceptors available to the Luftwaffe for home defence? Not the total number, but the ones actually capable of combat? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

This has been discussed at great length with many disagreements, however, below is a chart listing day fighter monthly strength averages over 6 month periods.

http://img263.imageshack.us/img263/4016/thtrlossii8.gif

Not all the fighters listed would be able to intercept a given raid, but then again, not all escorts or bombers would be involved in any given interception.

Luftwaffe Fighter controllers would pick a section of the Bomber stream to attack, usually one Combat Wing, and set up plots so that their available interceptors attacked in groups and concentrated their strength on one area. This way damage on a particular group of bombers could be maximized, and previously damaged bombers could be finished off by succeeding waves.

Only the USAAF fighter escort tasked with escorting a Combat Wing under attack would have a chance to defend it.

Total USAAF fighter strength can be effectively halved, since the number who were actually with the bombers at any one time was only half of the total sorties. Fighters did not have the endurance to stay with the bombers the entire trip, and there were a minimum of two relays of fighter escort aircraft for any given Combat Wing. One relay would escort to the target, the other would pick up the bombers after target. Neither the Luftwaffe or the USAAF escorts would normally accompany or intercept directly over target, since the flak was so heavy that losses from it made this counter-productive.

Using the May 19th attack as an example, we know there were 11 B-17 Combat wings on the attack on Berlin, and 4 B-24 Combat wings on the target at Brunswick. There were a total of 155 P-38s, 182 P-47s and 363 P-51s of the Eighth Air Force and 264 Ninth Air Force aircraft, for a grand total of 964 escorts. Divide this total in half for the two relays and you get 482 escorts with the bombers at any one time. Divide these 482 escorts between the 15 Combat wings of bombers, and you get an average of 32 escorts per Combat Wing. (32 not coincidentally is the standard total for a USAAF Fighter Group) A Fighter Group would take as its responsibility their assigned Bomber Combat wing, and would focus on protecting it. They would normally not leave their assigned wing.

Since we know that both the Brunswick and Berlin raids lost bombers to enemy fighters, we know at least one Combat wing from each raid was attacked by Luftwaffe interceptors.

Here is another chart.

http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/643/sizeofopposingforcesac1hw2.jpg

You can see out of the approx. 1600 Luftwaffe Fighters available on the West Front, on average some 300 were actually able to make interceptions in and around May of 1944.

That would mean there would likely have been around 300 Luftwaffe day fighters attacking the two May 19th raids. How many were directed against the Brunswick raid and how many against the Berlin raid I cannot tell you.

But if the Luftwaffe controllers followed standard doctrine, we can make the assumption the approx. 300 interceptors focused in on one or two Combat wings of each raid, which would mean they would have been up against between 64 and 128 escorts, and between 100-200 B-17's or B-24's.

My estimates are supported by the actual combat reports in the links above, where the Berlin Raid USAAF Combat Wings reports 200+ enemy interceptors.

Kurfurst__
01-23-2009, 03:20 AM
Originally posted by ElAurens:
By the middle of 1944 what were the number of combat capable interceptors available to the Luftwaffe for home defence? Not the total number, but the ones actually capable of combat?

For 31 May 1944, Price in the TLYoLW gives 444 s-e fighters, 71 t-e and 421 night fighers for the Reichsverteidigung. To that one should mention Luftflotte 3 in France, possessing 115 s-e and 37 t-e fighters capable of combat, and 56 n-f.

These are the combat capable planes, he also lists the total on strenght on each unit, but I am a bit lazy to add it up; however servicability was low, given the circumstances and heavy combat, so I would reckon there were about twice as much actually 'on hand' as far as day fighters go.

Swivet
01-24-2009, 10:08 AM
Dont they look before they drop?. I know we weren't "high tech" back then but geeez..Common sense to look before you shoot. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif I know these guys might of been under heavy fire, but you'd think they could move a little to the left or right, so above bombs hadda clear path of travel http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif

ImMoreBetter
01-24-2009, 07:57 PM
Most of the time, only the lead bomber would be looking at the target. Everyone else would be watching his bomb bay. As soon as the lead dropped, everyone else would toggle their bomb release switch. No one except the lead bomber would know exactly when the drop would happen.

The bomb run was an extremely dedicated time. So much attention is focused on dropping the bombs on target. Getting pushed out of formation was a reality.

Plus, the bombardiers/toggeliers did not have a very good field of view, other than in front of them.

It looks like the picture came from the film camera that was positioned under the floor of the radio room. Likely a blind spot for all but the ball turret.

There was usually radio silence between separate bombers, so those who could see the doomed bomber may not have gotten to say anything before it was too late.

It also appears that the B-17 that got hit was being overtaken by the formation. I don't know how quickly, however.

You also have to take into account the ammount chaos when two bomber formations end up passing through each other over the target. They are not supposed to do so, but it occasionally happened, and without much warning.

Certainly, someone could have seen the bomber below them, but things likely happened very very fast. Unfortunately, an error was made, and 9-10 men paid the price for it.

JG53_Valantine
01-24-2009, 08:26 PM
Swivet, there is very little room to look around in a mass formation, if you move out of position you are very likely to put someone else in the same position. That is indeed if they even saw that they were out of position, human error in a very stressful situation combined with focus on the job at hand I very much doubt anyone in the "camera" aircraft saw the bomber below, and I doubt anyone saw it coming from the bomber below as the pilot would have been concentrating on keeping his position, gunners scanning for fighters, bombardier keeping watch on the bay of the primary bomber for when to drop.

It was an accident, a sad one that cost airmen their lives, but ultimately one incident in the overall tragedy of the war.

Swivet, I am certain that IF/WHEN the crew of the bombing aircraft saw this film they would have felt very guilty about it, but the way you seem to pin the fault on them seems unfair to me - we do not know the exact conditions, locations and processes of the incident so blame cannot be piled on anyone, and nor should it be. An accident is just that - I very much doubt this crew went out there wit hthe intention of dumping their bombs on a bunch of buddies in another aircraft, yet that is waht happened.

I doubt this was an ultra rare occurance either, if you have that many aircraft in the air at one time you are bound to have accidents.
V


EDIT - Just another picture of a seperate incident that DID NOT cause the loss of the bomber or crew -

http://www.daveswarbirds.com/b-17/photos/tail/stabil4.jpg

This 91st BG B-17 named Old Ironsides had its stabilizer knocked off by a 1000 pound bomb dropped by another bomber flying above it during a mission over Bremen.
SOURCE: The Mighty Eighth by Roger A. Freeman

nnorb
03-31-2009, 02:03 PM
Hi Folks,
An original photo of this accident is currently on eBay. It is eBay number 260386097636. Thought it would interest you all. Thanks,
Norb