Last nights mission was an absolute classic.There was 28 Tangmere Pilots in this mission in HyperLobby last night.I flew as No4 in A Flt flying a Battle with my trusty wingman(Flt Sgt Kluge) as my Air Gunner(who managed to bag a hun from there rear seat).
We knew it was going to be a tough mission,and our escorts had the work cut out to cover the slow Battles.
The Hurricanes did a fantastic job and not one of the 7 Battles where destroyed by enemy a/c.
Alas the battles did not destroy there primary tgt but had many hits and taking out quite a few enemy transport had a long flight home,harried by enemy 109s,that is until our escort came and clobbered the buggers!!!
A Fantastic mission,made by our Wing C/O Mothyp.
For those that weren’t sure, Mothy’s mission last night recreated one of the most iconic & heroic missions undertaken by the RAF during WW2. In real life the Battles had to travel much further than us from their base at Amifontaine. They also had to brave some 300 flak guns of all calibers around the target bridges. The Germans were amazed that it had taken the British command from the Friday – when these vital bridges were captured, to the Sunday, to launch an attack.
Here is an extract from Valiant Wings by Norman Franks.
…..In Battles F & G, Thomas & Davy constituted the first section & their target was the concrete bridge at Vroenhoven, while Battles K,N & J would go for the metal bridge at Veldwezelt. The two section leaders having decided upon their approach, headed for the target.
Seven No.1 squadron Hurricanes led by Bull Halahan went ahead (as was policy at the time) with the intention of clearing enemy fighters over the target, while three more flew with the low level Battles. Halahan & his pilots were promptly swamped by 109s from JG27 & were therefore helpless to protect the bombers.
When still some miles from the target, the bombers saw more 109s, & the three Hurricanes with them were quickly engaged. Then the target was ahead. The sky became black with exploding AA fire as the town came into view, while seemingly all around them flew 109s.
Gordon Patterson noticed abandoned gliders on the ground, used by German troops when they flew behind Dutch lines to capture the bridges.
Thomas’s Battle was quickly shot down & he & his crew captured. Tom Davy with his machine streaming smoke & flame, headed down, & ordered his crew to bail out. Davy managed to nurse his aircraft back to finally crash land at St Germaincourt. Mansell came down safely & got back on a bicycle, but Gordon Patterson was taken prisoner.
Meanwhile Don Garland was heading in at low level, but this didn’t fool the defenders. They knew how important the bridges were & they were ringed by anything up to 300 guns of all calibers, which could put up a wall of iron.
Ian McIntosh had his petrol tank holed & the Battle caught fire. He jettisoned his bombs, crash landed & was taken prisoner. Fred Marland dived into the flak, released his bombs but was then hit. His Battle pulled up, winged over & dived into the ground.
Garland too was down. He headed in, his Battle surrounded by exploding gunfire. He was hit repeatedly, but the bombs went down, then the Battle dived into the ground, smashed by a veritable curtain of steel.
What damage had been done was not clear at the time. Later, damage appeared to have been inflicted to the Veldwezelt bridge…….
Whatever doubts there might be about the damage done, what was not in doubt was the heroism of the attack. All five Battles had been shot down, two crews had been captured, two lost & one safe, though minus their gunner….
Garland damaged one section of the Veldwezelt bridge, but this was quickly repaired, & in the meantime pontoon bridges were placed across the canal to compensate.
Donald Garland & his observer, Tom Gray both won the VC. For reasons that still aren’t clear, his gunner LAC Lawrence Reynolds went without recognition.
Thanks Mothy for an excellent mission, & Tom for hosting us all.
Some pics of the Battles and there "Little Friends".
Report to moderator 220.127.116.11 .No1_Cheese
Re: Tangmere pilots are recruiting
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This week sees us going back to the same tgts as last week!!!!!
The Battles did a valiant job,but we have to return to finish the job,this time with NO fighter cover!!!!!
This weeks breifing..........
Mission 1 of 1
Operations Order to 67 Wing, 75 Wing, repeated to 71, 75 Wings and North Eagle. From Panther:
Operation Order 617 dated 12.5.40 timed 09:50
Confirming telephone instructions, Blenheims of 15 Squadron are to attack Bridges 190 degrees AM30, 2 miles and 180 degrees AM30, 4 miles. Time over target 1100 hours. Aim of attack is to destroy or damage bridges.
12th May 1940 ZERO:- 10:30 hours – Nevilles
OPERATIONAL INFORMATION:-15 Squadron:
Gentlemen, following a raid earlier this morning by 12 Squadron Battles on the bridges on the Albert canal, west of Maastricht, we are to follow home the attack on the same targets. I must warn you that the Battles encountered heavy flak near the target area and stiff fighter defence by the Luftwaffe. This is a very well defended target and this will be a tough mission. Due to heavy commitments by our Hurricane Squadrons in France, there will be NO fighter escort. We believe that the bridges have been damaged but not destroyed. It is crucial that these bridges are taken out of commission.
The two bridges over the Albert canal are only four miles apart, the Veldwezelt bridge is the northerly bridge with an alignment of roughly east-west (WNE-ESE), the Vroenhoven bridge has an alignment of roughly SW-NE) both are vital to the German advance and must be destroyed. We will attack in Squadron strength using a LOW LEVEL DIVING ATTACK.
AIRCRAFT:-Bristol Blenheim Mk IV
SKIN:- TP_ skins
FUEL & WEAPON LOAD:- 100% 2x500lb bombs
METHOD:- Take off from Nevilles and climb to Angels TEN. Keep close formation at all times on transit to target area. Head to Lieges. At Lieges, descend to Angels TWO and follow the river NE. Eventually you will need to turn NW and follow the canal to the bridges. Attack BOTH bridges simultaneously using a LOW LEVEL DIVING attack. A flight will attack the Veldwezelt bridge and B flight will attack the Vroenhovem bridge. After your attack, egress the target area at TREE TOP LEVEL and head to home base or nearest friendly airfield.
INTELLIGENCE:- Expect heavy flak around the target area. Enemy fighters will now undoubtedly be patrolling the area due to the attack made earlier this morning by the Battles. Possibly in large numbers.
4/10ths cloud at 9000ft extending to 12,000ft.
Wind 120 at 03 knots.
No. 15 Squadron call sign - CROW
Ground Control call sign T O P H A T
MISSION POINT AWARD:- 1 Mission Point will be awarded if two or more Blenheims return to any Friendly airfield. OR 1 bridge is destroyed.
This mission is to be played 1 game per Squadron. I would like to have at least 9 players per Squadron. It might be the case that we need to "transfer" surplus pilots from a squadron to fill the gaps in other squadrons to even the numbers up. This will be done on the Sunday night.
F/Lt Bunny DSO** DFC***
145 Squadron B Flight Leader, Blue Section
Executive Officer 145 Squadron.