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26 April 1945
Start of the final Soviet attack on "Fortress Berlin"
Soviet troops take Stettin and Brno
French troops now occupy the Swiss border from Basle to Lake Constance
Allied troops take Bremen
US 3rd and 7th Armies establish bridgeheads over the Danube
Allied troops cross the Adige
Italian Partisans take control of Genoa, and open fighting breaks out in Milan
Heavy fighting takes place on Okinawa
Petain is arrested
War at Sea
German submarine U-78 sunk at Pillau
The Horrifying Discovery of Dachau Concentration Camp—And Its Liberation by US Troops
When the men of the 42nd “Rainbow” Division rolled into the Bavarian town of Dachau at the tail end of World War II, they expected to find an abandoned training facility for Adolf Hitler’s elite SS forces, or maybe a POW camp.
What they discovered instead would be seared into their memories for as long as they lived—piles of emaciated corpses, dozens of train cars filled with badly decomposed human remains, and perhaps most difficult to process, the thousands of “walking skeletons” who had managed to survive the horrors of Dachau, the Nazi’s first and longest-operating concentration camp.
𠇊lmost none of the soldiers, from generals down to privates, had any concept of what a concentration camp really was, the kind of condition people would be in when they got there, and the level of slavery and oppression and atrocities that the Nazis had perpetrated,” says John McManus, a professor of U.S. military history at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and author of Hell Before Their Very Eyes: US Soldiers Liberate Concentration Camps in Germany, April 1945.
The liberation of Dachau by American troops on April 26, 1945, wasn’t the first such deliverance by Allied troops. The Soviets had found and freed what remained of Auschwitz and other death camps months earlier. But the wrenching images and first-hand testimonies recorded by Dachau’s shocked liberators brought the horrors of the Holocaust home to America.
WATCH: No soldier survives alone. Based on an extraordinary true story, "The Liberator" is available now on Netflix. Produced by A+E Studios. Watch previewhere.
Today in World War II History—April 26, 1945
75 Years Ago—April 26, 1945: US Fifth Army takes Verona, Italy.
Italian partisans take Genoa and revolt in Milan.
British take Bremen, Germany.
RAF begins Operation Exodus, ferrying 75,000 British POWs home in Lancaster bombers in 469 flights through May 7.
As demand for meat rises in liberated Europe, US rations all meats again except mutton and raises point values for most meats. [Read more: “Make It Do: Meat and Cheese Rationing in World War II” ]
African-American soldiers of the US 92nd Infantry Division entering the Galleria Giuseppe Garibaldi, Genoa, Italy, 27 Apr 1945 (US National Archives: 111-SC-337144)
Today in World War II History—March 26, 1940 & 1945
80 Years Ago—March 26, 1940: In Canadian election, Mackenzie King retains position as prime minister.
First flight of Curtiss C-46 Commando cargo plane in St. Louis, MO.
US commercial airlines complete a year of flying without a fatal accident or a serious injury.
Men of the US 77th Division landing from LVTs onto Zanami Island of the Kerama Islands near Okinawa, Japan, 27 Mar 1945. (US Army photo)
75 Years Ag o—March 26, 1945 : The Battle of Iwo Jima officially ends: in the campaign, 5400 US and 20,000 Japanese troops were killed—and only 216 POWs taken Adm. Chester Nimitz will say, “Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
US Eighth Army lands on Cebu in the Philippines.
US Tenth Army lands on Kerama Islands 15 miles west of Okinawa to build an artillery base seizes 350 suicide torpedo boats.
David Lloyd George, British prime minister during WWI, dies at age 83.
Flag raising at US Headquarters on Iwo Jima after US Navy military government is established, 14 Mar 1945. (US Naval History and Heritage Command: NH 104584)
2002 October - US and its key Asian allies Japan and South Korea halt oil shipments following North Korea's reported admission that it has secretly been developing a uranium-based nuclear programme.
2002 December - North Korea announces it is reactivating nuclear facilities at Yongbyon and expels UN inspectors.
2003 January - North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, marking the beginning of a series of six-party talks involving China, the Koreas, the US, Japan and Russia to try to resolve the nuclear issue.
2003 May - North Korea withdraws from 1992 agreement with South Korea to keep the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons.
What Next, General?: Konev and the Battle for Berlin, 1945
It is mid-April 1945 as you assume the role of Marshal Ivan Konev, commander of the Red Army’s 1st Ukrainian Front. You have commanded Soviet troops in some of the fiercest battles on World War II’s Eastern Front since the war in the east began with Germany’s June 22, 1941, invasion of Russia. During three years and nine months of horrific combat, you have led your armies from the gates of Moscow to the Oder-Neisse river line only 60 miles from Berlin, the capital of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s crumbling Third Reich. Now, with American, British and Canadian armies thrusting into central Germany from the west and south and the Red Army poised for its final offensive to overrun Germany from the east, your front is set to take part in the operation to seize the European war’s ultimate prize – Berlin.
Almost two weeks ago, on April 3, you and your greatest rival within the Red Army, Marshal Georgi Zhukov, commander of 1 st Belorussian Front, were summoned to Moscow to meet with Josef Stalin, the supreme leader of the USSR. Stalin is a master manipulator and a sly practitioner of “divide and rule,” expediting the achievement of his goals while fragmenting any real or potential opposition by setting rivals against each other.
During the meeting, it became clear that Stalin’s intent was to speed the capture of Berlin by exploiting the rivalry between you and Zhukov. On a large situation map depicting central Germany, Stalin drew a boundary line between your 1st Ukrainian Front and Zhukov’s 1st Belorussian Front. However, when he reached the town of Lübben, 50 miles southeast of Berlin, he suddenly stopped drawing. The obvious implication was that from that point, either your front or Zhukov’s would be free to attack Hitler’s capital.
Although Zhukov’s 1st Belorussian Front is positioned much closer to Berlin, before it can reach the capital it must first break through strong German defenses centered on the dominant terrain of the Seelow Heights. Meanwhile, your 1st Ukrainian Front, before reaching the capital, must first defeat a sizable grouping of German forces in the extensive area between Dresden and Berlin, as well as send strong forces westward to meet the advancing Americans at the Elbe River.
This last objective is politically important to Stalin. At the February 1945 Yalta Conference, the Elbe River was agreed upon as the dividing line between the Soviets’ sector and the Western Allies’ sector of Germany. The always-suspicious Stalin wants the Red Army positioned along the Elbe in strength to enforce this agreement.
Your 1st Ukrainian Front, situated between 1st Belorussian Front on your right flank and 4th Ukrainian Front on your left, primarily faces German 4th Panzer Army, which holds the Neisse River line from Guben to Görlitz (see COA maps). Under the command of General Fritz-Hubert Gräser as part of Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner’s German Army Group Center, German 4th Panzer consists of V Army Corps, with five infantry divisions between Guben and Forst Grossdeutschland (GD) Panzer Corps, with two panzer divisions and one infantry division between Cottbus and Spremberg Hermann Göring (HG) Armored Parachute Corps, with three infantry divisions, one grenadier division and a panzer kampfgruppe south of Muskau and LVII Panzer Corps, with two panzer divisions and two infantry divisions near Görlitz.
Meanwhile, your 1st Ukrainian Front contains seven armies: 3d Guards and 5th Guards rifle armies 3d Guards and 4th Guards tank armies and 13th, 52d and Polish 2d armies. Air support is provided by 4th Air Army’s 2,148 fighters, bombers, reconnaissance and transport aircraft. You have 1st Guards Cavalry Corps in reserve, and after the offensive opens on April 16 you will receive 28th Army, transferred from 2d Belorussian Front. Your powerful force totals 511,700 soldiers, 1,388 tanks, 667 self-propelled guns, 1,444 artillery guns, and 917 rocket launchers.
Although the German army is no longer the powerful, qualitatively superior force that won smashing victories in 1939-42, it nonetheless remains a well-led, dangerous foe skilled at conducting defensive operations. The Red Army has greatly changed as well since suffering the horrendous opening war disasters of 1941-42. Soviet commanders and soldiers have learned costly but valuable lessons on Eastern Front battlefields, and the Red Army has evolved into a superb combined arms force spearheaded by combat-experienced tankers, skilled artillerymen and battle-hardened riflemen. (See Great Warriors, p. 16.)
COURSES OF ACTION
As approved by Stalin and the Red Army High Command, your front’s main effort will be launched in the northern part of your sector along a 20-mile stretch of the Neisse River, from just north of Forst to Muskau. The first German defensive line runs along the Neisse, the second one lies between the Neisse and Spree rivers, and the third defensive line runs along the Spree between Cottbus and Spremberg. Both the Neisse and Spree are about 50 yards wide and the terrain between them is mainly dense forest cut occasionally by broad sandy passages.
While you will ensure that your front accomplishes all of its assigned tasks, you have made clear to your staff and commanders that you want to reach Berlin before Zhukov. In particular, you have stressed this point to General Pavel Rybalko, commander of 3d Guards Tank Army, and Dmitri Lelyushenko, commander of 4th Guards Tank Army, since any attack on Berlin will depend on the speed, mobility and shock action of your armored forces. With this in mind, you have developed three possible courses of action to accomplish your front’s objectives.
COURSE OF ACTION ONE: RIFLE ARMIES BREAK THROUGH. Under this plan, which the Red Army High Command particularly favors, 1st Ukrainian Front’s 3d Guards, 5th Guards and 13th rifle armies will break through the three German defensive lines and secure crossings over the Neisse and Spree rivers. Once the rifle armies have pierced the defenses and seized the river crossings, the tank armies will then surge forward to lead the front as it destroys the enemy forces and advances west to the Elbe River and north to Berlin. A secondary attack by 52d and Polish 2d armies will target Dresden.
COURSE OF ACTION TWO: TANK ARMIES BREAK THROUGH. This option calls for 3d Guards and 4th Guards tank armies to break through the three German defensive lines, creating chaos and disorder in the enemy ranks. Your rifle armies will follow closely behind the armored forces to eliminate pockets of resistance and secure the tank armies’ lines of communication. Once the tanks have penetrated German defenses, they will pave the way for the front to overrun and eliminate major German forces in the sector, moving west to the Elbe River and north to Berlin.
COURSE OF ACTION THREE: RAPID ADVANCE TO BERLIN. As in COA One, in this course of action the rifle armies will break through the three German defensive lines and seize the bridgeheads over the Neisse and Spree rivers. However, once that is accomplished, 3d Guards Tank Army, reinforced with a tank corps and an infantry division from 3d Guards Rifle Army, will race north ahead of the front’s leading elements in a direct attack on Berlin. Meanwhile, the other forces will move west to the Elbe River and support the move north. Again as in COA One, a secondary attack by 52d and Polish 2d armies will target Dresden.
Now, without further delay you must decide which plan best accomplishes the missions assigned to your 1st Ukrainian Front.
COURSE OF ACTION ONE: RIFLE ARMIES BREAK THROUGH
You decide it is in your best interest to follow the Red Army High Command’s – and therefore Stalin’s – preferred plan, which involves your rifle armies breaking through German defensive lines and seizing the river crossings before the tank armies are unleashed. This prevents the tank armies from potentially suffering heavy losses during the offensive’s breakthrough phase and thus preserves their combat power for the front’s subsequent advances west to the Elbe and north to Berlin.
At 4:15 a.m. on April 16, your artillery units begin the offensive with a massive 2.5- hour barrage of German defensive positions. Afterward, your forces lay down a smoke screen, blanketing the Neisse River crossing points and the enemy’s first-line defenses to conceal your assault crossings. At 6:45 a.m., the rifle armies’ advance units cross the river in assault boats. Over the next five hours, your combat engineers emplace pontoon and heavy bridges.
The barrage and smoke screen disrupt the German command and control, resulting in poorly concentrated defensive fires. However, your artillery shelling and aerial bombing cause forest fires to erupt west of the Neisse, hampering maneuver by both German and Soviet units. Nonetheless, your front penetrates the enemy’s first defensive line, both in the main attack and in the secondary attack to the south.
However, as your rifle armies begin assaulting the second defensive line, German commanders react decisively by launching their tactical and operational reserves in immediate counterattacks against your main attack. Tenacious fighting by German panzers and infantrymen delays your rifle armies for three days.
Anxious over the slow pace of the advance, on April 19 you decide to commit the tank armies early. This, however, proves a mistake. Sending them forward while the rifle armies are still attempting to break through the second and third defensive lines creates a massive traffic jam over the increasingly congested roads. Although you order the tank armies be given priority of road use, their progress remains slow.
Finally, your luck turns when Rybalko’s 3d Guards Tank Army discovers previously undetected fords spanning the Spree River. Now able to cross in strength, his leading units break through the German third defensive line and roll into open terrain.
On April 22, as the rest of the front’s main attack units complete the destruction of the third defensive line, forcing German 4th Panzer Army units into a pocket between Cottbus and Spremberg, you order Rybalko to advance northwest toward Berlin. How ever, south of Zossen on April 23 he runs into the retreating German 9th Army, which blocks his approach to Hitler’s capital. In bitter fighting over two days, both armies suffer heavy casualties before 9th Army’s remnants drift west out of Rybalko’s path.
Seething at the slow pace of the advance, on April 25 you order Rybalko to speed up and to disregard any concerns about open flanks. By the end of the day, his lead elements reach Berlin’s southern boundary at the Teltov Canal – only to find Zhukov’s 8th Guards Army already there.
Zhukov has won the race to Berlin. This fact is made official when you receive a call from the Red Army High Command informing you that it has drawn the boundary between 1st Belorussian Front and 1st Ukrainian Front and has placed all of Berlin in Zhukov’s sector.
Despite your disappointment at losing the race to Berlin, your front has accomplished its assigned tasks of linking up with American forces at the Elbe River and defeating German forces in the area between Dresden and Berlin. At least Stalin is pleased.
COURSE OF ACTION TWO: TANK ARMIES BREAK THROUGH
You fear that waiting for the rifle armies to break through German defensive lines before committing your tank armies wastes too much time. You therefore decide to order 3d Guards and 4th Guards tank armies to lead the front’s breakthrough, followed by the rifle armies to eliminate bypassed enemy strongpoints and to secure the surging tank armies’ lines of communications. You believe that the speed at which this plan allows you to destroy German defenses will allay any anger Stalin and the Red Army High Command might feel as a result of your front not using their preferred course of action.
At 4:15 a.m. on April 16, your front kicks off the offensive with a massive 2.5-hour artillery barrage of German defenses. Under the cover of a smoke screen, your combat engineers emplace heavy bridges, and then at 6:45 a.m. the tank armies’ forward units cross the Neisse River. Attacking swiftly, their leading elements penetrate the first German defensive line. The tank armies’ main forces finish crossing during the night, despite the increasing vehicle congestion on the roads and at the crossing points.
The following day, the tank armies rapidly push through a second line of defenses midway between the Neisse and Spree rivers and then press on toward the third defensive line at the Spree. During the night of April 17-18, German 4th Panzer Army’s tactical and operational reserves hit your tank armies’ follow-on corps with multiple counterattacks. After heavy fighting your forces defeat the counterattacks, but this delays the arrival of the tank corps, which are necessary to break through the third defensive line.
Over the next three days of fighting, German 4th Panzer Army uses its last remaining reserves in an attempt to block your tank armies from crossing the Spree River. Each furious counterattack involves 60-70 panzers, and defeating them proves costly as they erode your tank armies’ combat strength. Moreover, bypassed pockets of enemy resistance delay the delivery of vital supplies to the tank armies, which are now forced to fight with reduced combat loads of ammunition and fuel. Although the armored forces slug their way forward, their average rate of advance is slower and more costly than you had planned.
You attempt to reinvigorate the advance by ordering your tank armies toward Berlin regardless of casualties and open flanks. For three days Rybalko’s and Lelyushenko’s forces each continue northward while encountering stubborn resistance from remnants of previously engaged German units. On April 24, Rybalko’s men capture Zossen, home of the German High Command headquarters, as Lelyushenko’s army swings farther west toward Potsdam.
Meanwhile, German Army Group Center launches a counterattack from your front’s southern flank targeting Spremberg. You react by advancing 52d and Polish 2d armies to repel the threat, but you also have to divert units of 5th Guards Army to reinforce the effort before the German counterattack is finally defeated. This, however, delays 5th Guards’ advance to the Elbe River, prompting an angry call from Stalin threatening dire consequences if your forces are not at the river by early the next morning.
Rybalko’s forces fight hard to retain their hold on Zossen in the face of counterattacks by German 9th and 12th armies, which have linked up to launch a relief effort to Berlin ordered by Hitler. Although your 3d Guards and 4th Guards tank armies manage to advance to positions from which to launch assaults on Berlin, they have lost too much combat power in the tactical battles and now lack the strength, fuel and supplies to punch through German defenses and fight their way into Hitler’s capital.
Zhukov’s attack, on the other hand, has steadily gained momentum after a slow start in overcoming the Seelow Heights defenses. At Stalin’s direction, the Red Army High Command draws a boundary line between 1st Belorussian Front and 1st Ukrainian Front south of Berlin, giving the honor of the city’s capture to Zhukov.
COURSE OF ACTION THREE: RAPID ADVANCE TO BERLIN
To avoid arousing Stalin’s ire, you decide to follow the Red Army High Command’s preferred plan and use your front’s rifle armies to forge the breakthrough of German defenses – yet you are also determined to beat Zhukov to Berlin. Therefore, once the breakthrough is achieved, you will launch Rybalko’s 3d Guards Tank Army, reinforced with a tank corps and infantry division from 3d Guards Rifle Army, ahead of the front’s leading elements in a rapid advance aimed directly at the capital. Although this plan entails risk since all major German forces won’t be destroyed before the reinforced tank army surges toward Berlin, you are confident that by the time Zhukov bludgeons his way through the formidable Seelow Heights defenses Rybalko will have already won the race to Berlin.
On April 16, following a massive 2.5- hour artillery barrage that began at 4:15 a.m., your front’s first-echelon units of 3d Guards, 5th Guards and 13th rifle armies begin the assault crossings of the Neisse River under a dense smoke screen. As your artillery begins blasting the German defensive lines to open routes for your rifle armies, the dense forests are set ablaze. The fires and heavy smoke affect both sides’ ability to maneuver, but your rifle armies press on relentlessly.
German 4th Panzer Army counterattacks aggressively to slow your advance. Yet in spite of hard fighting, your front is progressing faster than Zhukov’s front, which is embroiled in fierce combat at the Seelow Heights defenses. By noon, 5th Guards and 13th armies have penetrated the enemy’s second defensive line, and your front’s leading elements are breaking through the third defensive line along the Spree. You order your tank armies forward to reinforce the rifle armies and to exploit their success.
When Rybalko’s tanks discover fords for immediately crossing the Spree, you capitalize on this tactical windfall by shifting Lelyushenko’s 4th Guards Tank Army north to cross there as well. This hastens your armored forces’ advance into the depth of German defenses. Rybalko’s reinforced tank army launches northwest toward Berlin, while Lelyushenko’s army swings farther west before turning north, thereby protecting Rybalko’s left flank and approaching Berlin from the west.
By April 20, your tank armies are bypassing built-up areas to avoid bogging down in protracted fighting, while 13th Army protects their lines of communication. After both sides suffer heavy casualties, your front destroys four enemy divisions, leaving the remnants of German 4th Panzer Army isolated in a pocket between Cottbus and Spremberg.
Rybalko’s army, however, is not advancing quickly enough to beat Zhukov’s front to Berlin. You berate your subordinate for “moving like a snail,” and he responds by exhorting his unit commanders to push on rapidly at all costs. On April 21, his army captures Zossen, only 10 miles from Berlin’s southern boundary.
That evening, Rybalko’s forces block German 9th Army, which is retreating from Zhukov’s sector. You rush 28th Army forward to contain the German army, and you reinforce Rybalko’s army with artillery, anti-tank and tactical air support. His men press on, reaching Berlin at the Teltov Canal.
Rybalko’s tank army assaults Berlin on April 24, becoming the first Red Army unit to enter Hitler’s capital. Lelyushenko’s army continues completing the city’s encirclement from the west and defeating German 12th Army’s attempt at a relief attack Hitler ordered. Your 13th and 28th armies join Zhukov’s approaching forces in isolating German 9th Army from Berlin. That evening, elements of 5th Guards and 13th armies reach the Elbe River, and on April 25, 5th Guards Army makes contact with American troops.
Over the next four days, Rybalko’s army, along with 28th Army, engages in brutal street-by-street battles, fighting their way toward central Berlin. However, at midnight on April 29, Stalin orders a new boundary line between 1st Ukrainian Front and 1st Belorussian Front and directs you to withdraw Rybalko’s forces from the city’s center. Although you have beat Zhukov to Berlin, Stalin has decided that your rival will have the honor of completing the capture of Hitler’s capital.
HISTORICAL COURSE OF ACTION AND ANALYSIS
Konev decided to strike directly at Berlin (COURSE OF ACTION THREE: RAPID ADVANCE TO BERLIN), and the battle unfolded as described in the COA Three narrative. His powerful 1st Ukrainian Front conducted an assault crossing of the Neisse River, broke through three successive German defensive lines, and sent the reinforced 3d Guards Tank Army racing toward Berlin to arrive ahead of Zhukov’s 1st Belorussian Front. Meanwhile, Konev’s other forces fanned out to the south and west, and on April 25, 1945, at Torgau on the Elbe River, 58th Guards Rifle Division of 1st Ukrainian Front’s 5th Guards Army made the first linkup with American forces (U.S. 69th Infantry Division).
Stalin’s crafty plan to speed the capture of Berlin by setting the two rival marshals against each other worked exactly as the Soviet leader had planned. Both Konev and Zhukov ruthlessly pushed their forces toward and then into Berlin as rapidly as possible and with scant regard for casualties. Stalin’s April 29 decision to let Zhukov have the honor of completing Berlin’s capture seems just another example of his manipulations: Since Zhukov was already going to end the war as the most famous Red Army marshal due to his previous victories, regardless of whether he captured Berlin, why create two potential postwar rivals by greatly elevating Konev’s fame by permitting him to seize the war’s greatest prize?
In mid-1946, Stalin made his inevitable move against his only realistic potential rival among the World War II Red Army marshals. He banished Zhukov far from Moscow (until Stalin’s death in 1953) to command first the Odessa Military District and then, in 1948, the remote Urals Military District.
In June 1945, Konev received his second Hero of the Soviet Union “Gold Star” medal (the USSR’s highest valor award), and in 1946 he replaced Zhukov as commander of Soviet ground forces and first deputy minister of defense. A decade later, in 1956, Konev was appointed commander in chief of Warsaw Pact military forces, and he led the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution that year. (See You Command, September 2012 ACG.) Konev retired in 1962, died in 1973 at age 75, and is buried in the Kremlin Wall.
Colonel (Ret.) Richard N. Armstrong, author of “Soviet Operational Deception: The Red Cloak,” is an adjunct history professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Originally published in the November 2014 issue of Armchair General.
On This Day: April 26
On April 26, 1986, the world&aposs worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl plant in the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire in the No. 4 reactor sent radioactivity into the atmosphere at least 31 Soviets died immediately.
Go to article »
On April 26, 1914, Bernard Malamud, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, was born. Following his death on March 18, 1986, his obituary appeared in The Times.
On This Date
|1607||An expedition of English colonists went ashore at Cape Henry, Va., to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere. (They later settled at Jamestown.)|
|1785||Naturalist and artist John James Audubon was born in Haiti.|
|1865||John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was surrounded and killed by federal troops near Bowling Green, Va.|
|1937||Planes from Nazi Germany raided the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.|
|1945||Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France&aposs Vichy government during World War II, was arrested.|
|1964||The African nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.|
|1989||Actress-comedian Lucille Ball died at age 77.|
|1998||Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera, a leading Guatemalan human rights activist, was bludgeoned to death two days after a report he&aposd compiled on atrocities during Guatemala&aposs 36-year civil war was made public.|
|2000||Vermont Gov. Howard Dean signed the nation&aposs first bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions.|
|2005||Syria&aposs 29-year military presence in Lebanon ended as Syrian soldiers completed a withdrawal brought about by international pressure and Lebanese street protests.|
|2008||Police in Austria arrested a man accused of holding his daughter captive in a windowless cellar for 24 years, fathering her seven children and killing one of them. (Josef Fritzl is serving life in a psychiatric ward.)|
Historic BirthdaysBernard Malamud 4/26/1914 - 3/18/1986 American novelist and short-story writer.Go to obituary »
Konigstiger vs. M-26 at Dessau, April 1945
Post by Kilgore Trout » 29 Feb 2012, 00:50
Re: Konigstiger vs. M-26 at Dessau, April 1945
Post by Mark Lawson » 29 Feb 2012, 12:06
Re: Konigstiger vs. M-26 at Dessau, April 1945
Post by Kilgore Trout » 29 Feb 2012, 22:17
Re: Konigstiger vs. M-26 at Dessau, April 1945
Post by Mark Lawson » 01 Mar 2012, 00:31
Re: Konigstiger vs. M-26 at Dessau, April 1945
Post by Kilgore Trout » 01 Mar 2012, 01:59
Re: Konigstiger vs. M-26 at Dessau, April 1945
Post by ChristopherPerrien » 01 Mar 2012, 08:09
Yep , fable, Even Belton Cooper does not say that the super Pershing ever engaged a KT, rather it shot at a target that blew up. What ever the target was, is unknown.
I believe the account/story may be a mishmash of various M-26 accounts , and inaccurate recollections. And all the KT's losses and locations have been accounted for, AFAIK.
As to a German tank crew on a KT possibly being "incompetent" in the last days of the war , that was often the case. Crew quality and training and maintenance and morale was failing badly in the end. Combined with the fact many of the KT's near the end were pulled directly from the training grounds/school, KT tanks and their crews in the West were often ad-hoc, with a mix of trainees and a very few old tankers left, it is no wonder.
The Fall of South Korean Strongman Syngman Rhee — April 26,1960
Syngman Rhee, a staunch anticommunist and authoritarian, was the first president of South Korea. Backed by the United States, Rhee was appointed head of the Korean government in 1945 before winning the country’s first presidential election in 1950. He led South Korea through the Korean War, but because of widespread discontent with corruption and political repression, it was unlikely that he would be re-elected by the National Assembly. Rhee ordered a mass arrest of opposing politicians elections were held, with Rhee receiving 74% of the vote.
In March 1960, a protest against electoral corruption took place in Masan. Violence erupted as police started shooting, and the protesters retaliated by throwing rocks. A few weeks later, the body of a student who had disappeared during the riots was found in the Masan Harbor. Rhee’s regime tried to censor news of this incident however, it was reported in the Korean press along with a picture of the body. The incident became the basis of a national movement against electoral corruption.
On April 19, students at Korea University began protesting against police violence and called for new elections. The protests were again violently suppressed, leading to a demonstration before the presidential Blue House by thousands of students, who dispersed only when police fired point-blank into their ranks. By April 25, the protests had grown even larger as professors and other citizens began to join the students, nearly throwing the country into complete anarchy. Rhee stepped down on April 26 and was flown out of South Korea by the CIA. He died in exile in Honolulu in 1965. (His fall was also immortalized in Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”) In these excerpts from his oral history, Marshall Green discusses the chaos of the elections and the student protests, as well as his role in Rhee’s resignation.
Green was interviewed by Charles Stuart Kennedy in 1988. Read other Moments on Korea.
Election fraud and the Masan incident
GREEN: The story goes back to the time of my arrival. The principal event that we were heading towards at the time of my arrival were the elections, originally scheduled for May 1960, but Syngman Rhee suddenly decided to hold them in the middle of March, which was two months, roughly, after our arrival. The United States was hopeful that these would be free and fair elections to determine who was going to be the next president and vice president. That’s essentially what the elections were about.
The government candidates, the candidates of the Liberal Party, as they called themselves, were Syngman Rhee, who was going in for the fourth term, I believe, and his vice president, Lee Kibung. The opposition party had two principal contenders that belonged to different factions, as I recall it, of the Democratic Party. One was Chang Myun. The other was Cho Pyong-ok. Cho Pyong-ok, who became the principal opposition candidate, had cancer and died in a hospital in Washington shortly after I arrived in Korea. One of the most searing memories I have was of the funeral services that were held for him in the sports arena. All the diplomats were there. I’ll never forget that mournful day in Seoul. The weather added to the general atmosphere of gloom, with cold rains and lowering clouds.
I thought to myself, “Poor Korea, with all that it suffers, now to lose the one man who might have led a successful opposition against Syngman Rhee and his corrupt government.” Rhee was increasingly unpopular, especially with people in the cities and the educated. Cho Pyong-ok had a reputation of being a doer, whereas Chang Myun was regarded as a nice man, but rather weak personally, not the kind of leader that Korea really needed. So that was my initial introduction to the Korean political scene.
Then the elections were held on March 15. I was, by the way, chargé d’affaires at the time when the elections were held. There was a United Nations Commission for Korea, UNCRK, that was supposed to supervise the elections, but they didn’t have enough people. They couldn’t get around. The elections were obviously rigged, and the results were clear in that regard, because Rhee seemed to have won just about all the votes in the country, and we knew perfectly well there was overwhelming opposition to him in the cities, but not in the rural areas. In those days, the great majority lived in the rural areas.
Reports of election fraud were rife, and this contributed to growing unrest, especially on the part of the young people, the students. On April 12, there was an incident in Masan, which is about halfway down the peninsula from Seoul, in which a student had been killed and a photograph of his body, in which there were four pegs protruding from his eyes, was widely published. This grisly photograph touched off such a reaction, especially in the student population of Korea, that clearly Korea was headed towards a real first-rate crisis. The question then arose as to what position we should take in that situation.
Q: Were you still chargé at this time?
GREEN: I was chargé during the elections and for about two weeks after that. As the issue came to a climax, the ambassador was back.
I did a great deal of the drafting. The ambassador did relatively little. He would review drafts in which other sections of the embassy made contributions, but I often brought it all together. My wife used to say I was the thinker and the drafter, and the ambassador was the talker and the doer. We had that kind of relationship.
We reported all these developments to Washington and presented the policy options, but Washington relied very heavily upon us for our advice. Our advice in this situation was to call upon the Korean people to try to maintain order and respect for law and authority, but to call on the government to recognize the justifiable grievances of the people. The phrase “justifiable grievances” is one that I cooked up, and that phrase was to become a very famous one, because when we used it publicly, “justifiable grievances,” identified the U.S. with the people. The minute we used the words “justifiable grievances,” the students were with us. The populace, by and large, especially the better educated people, were also with us.
April Revolution: “The carnage was fearful”
This brings us, then, to the events after the Masan incident, after these things all came out in the open. The demonstrations became more and more frequent, particularly in Seoul. On April 19, 1960, the largest demonstrations Korea had ever seen were about to lead to a very bloody week. The afternoon of April 19, there were probably about 100,000 demonstrators in the streets. The Rhee government, in fearful reaction against the masses, ordered the militia and the palace guard and the police to put down the demonstration. In so doing, there were estimates that between 100 and 200 students were killed and maybe 1,000 or more wounded.
In fact, my wife went to the hospital with two of her friends to see if she could help, and she said that the corridors were jammed with wounded students. The worst thing of all was, she said, the wounds caused by armor-piercing shells. The carnage was fearful. The electricity in the streets that night was very, very high, one of the reasons being that when any student was killed, they would take his body and hold it up on top of a jeep that was weaving through the masses of people, whipping them up into a fury. Obviously, the sentiments of the country were turning very strongly against Rhee.
The ambassador and General Magruder called on Rhee the following day, and they tried to persuade the old man this was a situation that needed to be redressed. This was April 20. They didn’t get too far with him. Rhee made some sounds that this was all caused by troublemakers, and also he was critical of the Japanese, as he always was. He was shaken, but he obviously was still obdurate.
The next several days were relatively quiet. Meanwhile, Chang Myun, the vice president, had resigned on the 22nd of April. But on the 25th of April, since Rhee clearly had not heard the voice of the students and there were some 200 professors who started a procession down the street. I’ll never forget that. They were followed by little kids, primary schoolers, followed by their parents, followed by secondary school-level and, finally, by university students. A tremendous parade down the street. That night I had a feeling of deep apprehension. I got up early in the morning, the morning of the 26th of April, and I drove around the streets in the dark. I could see already there were large formations of students on the outskirts that were about to move in massive phalanxes into the city, obviously to the palace where Syngman Rhee’s offices were located.
Meanwhile, I saw that around the palace and the headquarters of Rhee’s government, tanks were lining up with their barrels facing out towards what were going to be the advancing phalanxes of students. In other words, carnage was impending.
I rushed to the ambassador’s residence. He was asleep. I woke him up, told him what I thought was about to happen. He immediately got on the phone to the Minister of Defense, Minister Kim, and together they called up Syngman Rhee and urged that he meet with them, which he did. As a
result of this meeting and before the students had actually reached the palace, Syngman Rhee had announced that he was going to meet the grievances of the people, and that he was going to consider the question of his continuation in office.
This broke up the student march. They began to cheer wildly. I remember when the ambassador drove back from his meeting with Rhee, the embassy was surrounded by thousands of people cheering the American government, the American people….
[Ambassador] McConaughy was a true Southern gentleman, who, as guest in the country of Syngman Rhee, treated Rhee with proper deference and respect, and listened to him. When the critical moments came later on, when the ambassador, accompanied by the Minister of Defense, called on Rhee, Rhee heeded their advice about resigning. Why did Rhee heed the advice? After all, in 1959, the year before I arrived, Eisenhower had sent Dr. Walter Judd, who was a member of Congress and a friend of Rhee, out to Korea to try to persuade Mr. Rhee to name a successor and step down, grooming his successor for the job. Rhee had simply laughed in the face of Dr. Judd.
But he accepted McConaughy’s advice, partly because of the gravity of the situation, but also partly because he saw McConaughy as being well-informed as to the facts. After all, McConaughy had listened so attentively to what Rhee had said, that he was seen as the repository of wisdom. Any counsel he supplied was based upon knowledge of the facts and therefore was an objective recommendation. All those many hours of painful listening paid off. This was one of the greatest lessons I learned in diplomacy: the importance of attentive listening.
RAF Crash Sites 1942 – 1945
A Blackburn Botha Mk1 crashed 1.5 miles North of Hooton Park Cheshire. Registration No L6290.
2 Killed Including Russell Charles Denny from Western Australia. Plane stalled on approach.
Hi Joe, this is not one I have documented. Was Flight Sergeant Denny a relative?
I went home to UK after 35 years in Australia and noted a grave site at St Pauls Church Hooton.
I have traced the family of Russell Denny and sad to say he was one of two that were lost out of a crew of 4. Three months after his crash the plane was withdrawn from service. I have met family members and still search for information. Flt Sgt Denny was the only son in the family with 3 sisters still surviving out of 4.
I was in the ATC at Hooton Park which was our private playground as kids. We often played in the Spitfire that was left in one of the hangars at Hooton.
Thanks for adding that Joe. I feel inspired now to visit the crash site and add it to these pages.
Great memories of playing in the Spitfire at Hooton. I’d have loved that as a kid. I’d love it now, in fact.
Hi can anyone give me information on Russell Charles Denny ?
Looking for information for a crashed plane in the area of stocking farm mowacre hill Beaumont leys, in Leicester, what I have to go on is that it was a Wellington with American crew around about April 1942 there’s always been rumours of a crash but no evidence I’ve seen, hoping to share the details with a local site to put rumours to rest, any help be appreciated thanks
Will have a look at what I have and let you know if I find anything James. If I can’t, maybe someone else can shed light on it?
It was a Canadian pilot
Who’s remains and war commissions grave is at Wymeswold cemetery
I researched this years ago.
I will try and find all the info and post it later
It crashed in the area that is Woodstock
My Nans house Was on Halifax drive And she always talked about how close it got and she could see the pilot who managed to lift it over the houses to crash in the fields behind.
Any chance this could have been a Spitfire with a Canadian pilot who crashed near combe, Woodstock? If so I know some one who has pieces of the plane.
Halifax Bomber MKII crashed in isle of Harris on 9th April 1945 …i can find no record of this on any site ….please advise
You might find a couple of pieces I have put on YouTube/Lossie History of interest. They are eye-witness accounts of two crashes I witnessed. One was Aug 1St 1039, the other in 1944.
I seem to remember that there were about 370 men lost in crashes from RAF Lossie
Does anybody have any details of Halifax DK 192 that crashed at Garrowby Hill on 7th Feb 1944
Hi everyone. I’m Terry Rafter from Australia. My uncle (SHC Thrower) was killed 16/11/1943 when “Wellington Mk 1c, DV918, from 21 Operational Training Unit took off from RAF Enstone at 2010 to carry out a training exercise. The aircraft crashed ten minutes later in the circuit of Enstone airfield, at Hookerswell Farm on south-east side of Little Tew”. I was wondering by any chance does anyone know of any photographs (old or new) of the crash site/remains? Kind regards, Terry
I’ve been asked to find the site where Lancaster ED835 crashed in May 1943 when returning, badly damaged, from a combat mission. It is supposed to be on a farm in the area of Hotham and North Cave in Yorkshire. Any info gratefully received.
Hi John, sorry for the late reply. I will take a look and let you know if I find anything.
Hi. This is the first time I have visited this site. Fantastic. What great work being done here. Wondered if anyone has any info on a crash that occurred on 27/08/1944 one mile n/w of Stowmarket in which my wife’s father was killed. He was the flight engineer.
Thanks for your visit and comment Mike. I will take a look but it’s not my neck of the woods really. But if I find anything I will let you know.
Aircraft identified as Stirling BK772.
Hi Mick this would be William Hughes from Ticknall? Doing a short piece on one of my facebook groups. Not come across any photos of him yet. Also looking into the other two RAf men buried at Ticknall and both were training accident victims.
Im not the William Hughes from Ticknall hes an imposter pinched my ID.
Looked at the 1944 Chorley bible there is no record of an air crash near Stowmarket on 27/8/44 nor a few days either side of 27th.
Without sounding sarcastic a name and possible sqn would be helpful. Bill
Hi there. Martin here. Does anyone know of the crash site of my uncle. I think he crashed in chorley . Cheshire. While he was traning another pilot. His name is flight sergent robert sidney brothwell raf 1238487. Hope you can help.
Can anyone tell me anything about a crew of 4 all killed and buried in a civilian cemetery Aadum, Denmark. Date of crash/deaths is 29 April 1943. Crew were, Hailey, Sindrey, Barton and Surtees all RAFVR 218 (Gold Coast) Sdn. What were they doing? Any news appreciated.
On the 28/29th April 1943 was a hugh 207 aircraft force on a ” gardening radish” mine laying
operation and because of low cloud base forced the aircraft to fly very low over the German and
Danish coasts.. total of 22 aircraft were lost… thats all i know ..
Does anyone have info on the crash of an Albemarle in the fields just below the Westbury White Horse in Wiltshire. The Albemarle/Waco combi took off from Keevil. I saw the crash which was caused by the Waco on tow getting out of position and pulling the tail of the tug to starboard. The result was that the Albemarles port wing stalled and she dived vertically into the ground. I remember being interviewed by an RAF Officer who was interested that the Albemarle cast off the tow rope before falling out of the sky, thus saving the Waco. Had the glider still been attached the sudden dive/spin of the tug would have broken the Waco in half.
Researchers in Germany are investigating the loss of RAF Lancaster PB209, 156 Pathfinder Squad. on 13 Aug 44 near Wasserliesch, SW of Trier. We have no photo of this aircraft and would very much appreciate any input. Numerous aircraft parts have been recovered by metal detection and some witnesses have come forward. I am a relation of a crew member located in Australia.
Hi Geoff, have you seen this? This is the pilot who shot down PB209.
Yes, thanks David. Schnaufer survived the War, took over the family wine business & was killed in a collision with a Citroen truck carrying gas bottles in the Bordeaux region near the tiny hamlet of Jauge. He was driving an open-topped Mercedes & was struck on the head by a gas bottle, whether full or empty is not recorded. Also whether or not the truck driver was full or empty. Also worth noting that one can stay at the Restaurant les Grépins & that the UK company http://www.solognac.co.uk has a campus there. We like to do research in depth.
Hi could you give me any info on this crash site iam a relative of Flight Sergeant Valencia
Searching for accurate location of Mitchell crash 30 August 1944 near Peper Harrow/Shackleford, not far from Godalming Surrey. Pilot Fl.Lt. Cees Waardenburg, DFC, and Gunner FO Harry Payne were only men aboard, up from Dunsfold, and both killed.
Hoping to help Dutch son of Cees’s best friend from those days.
I’m also hoping to find a more accurate crash site for this aircraft. I know that it crashed close to a Canadian Army vehicle park which I have since found. I work for the local council and would seek to put some sort of memorial up should it be located on the part of the heath that we manage.
Does anyone know if there is a memorial to the 4 aircrew members of 157 Squadron who died when their Airspeed Oxford (HM763) crashed after a dummy attack by an American Pilot flying a Mustang near Methwold in Norfolk on 1st May 1945?
Aircrew members who died were: F/O Thomas James Michael Nash (Pilot), P/O James Cunningham Porteous, W/O Peter Alfred Merrall and Flt/Sgt. Frederick Fraser.
Do you know of an aircrash or have a photograph of which I witnessed as a 4 year old at Cairnbulg It occured at the beginning of the aerodrome near where we were staying about 1944 I think it was a spitfire and the trainee pilot had come in too low and his rear wheel caught on the railway fence. My father Cpl JR Matthews ran along the adjacent railway(Fraserborough to St Coombs)opened the hatch and pulled out the bewildered pilot.
Hi Derek, thank you for your enquiry. This site only details air crash sites in England and Wales, you may be better off asking the site admin for air crash sites scotland.
Expect they will be better placed to help with your query.
remember avro anson crashing from walney airfield in field next to where i live avon street killing all crew .i believe two brothers were with them .1942 ? over the years think of them when i walk that way .
would like to see aplaque in remembrence .anybody any info?
I am looking for information on a tragic double Halifax collision on 21st August 1944 over the skies of Birkin, North Yorkshire. Flights MZ633 and N1687 collided mid air during unauthorised flying formation.
The 75th anniversary is looming and me being the Parish Chair for Birkin we are to erect a memorial to the flight crews at the crash site.
The problem is I don’t know exactly where it is. I was shown the site many years ago by an eye witness to the crash but memory has faded. Is there anyone out there who can either supply info or point me in the right direction .
Thanks. David White.
Hi David, I will take a look when get chance (busy this weekend) but will get back to you in a couple of days, see if I can find anything that might jog your memory!
I am trying to find the Exact location of Blenheim X3338 that crashed on a training exercise 1.5 miles North East of Woodford Northants on 13th January 1945? Info on this can be found here http://aircrewremembrancesociety.co.uk/styled-5/styled-10/styled-269/index.html
Any info gratefully accepted.
Sorry, it was a Wellington 3.
remember as a lad finding a canopy of either a spitfire or hurricane on spare land between clifton,the irwell and agecroft collery in manchester,never did find out which it was and i think its been dug up
My Uncle William Pinfold was involved in an aircrash after taking off from RAF Harwell where he lost a leg. The crash was at Blewbury Hill Didcot. I have found a report in Jim Jones Personal history of RAF Harwell which I think my be this accident”march 11th Wellington X3874 observed by schoolboys to roll over on it’s back 600feet over Didcot and spiral down, it crashed and burnt outin Fleet meadow.It’s said the pilot was practising single engine flying when he got into trouble” the accident was thought to be 1942 but not sure.
Can you confirm if this is the accident or give me any more details thank you
I have since found out that Uncle Bill’s accident was on 8t h Oct 1941 he was in 15 OTU.
The Adobe does sound like a discription from what has been handed down but I have an open mind
Any help would be appreciated
Our uncles were killed in the same crash.Family lore says the aircraft (possibly L4323) was attempting a spiral manoeuvre before crashing.
“Flight Sergeant J M Wilde, Sergeant B R Stevenson (RCAF), Sergeant A W Beynon: killed Flying Officer L C Boore, Pilot Officer W H Pinfold, Sergeant S Davies, Sergeant Holden: injured aircraft accident at Banham Farm, Blewbury, Berkshire, Wellington L4323, 15 Operational Training Unit, 8 September 1941.” ref:https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C16997728
Thank you for the information Lance. My aunt, W.H Pinfold’s sister and I have search for years My Uncle Bill continue as a trainer for navigators, although he had an artificial leg, for the duration of the war.
Sorry to hear your uncles did not survive
I was looking to see if you had any details relating to a crash on Wrotham Hill, Kent 21st December 1944? I believe it was an Oxford I. 5 lives lost + 1 seriously injured
Hiim looking for the exact location crash site of Stirling Lk116. It crashed by the river chelmer great dunmow 20/3/1945. One air crew survived. I have shown some photos of possibley that aircraft. But a friend from the Stirling society is a doubtful they are of a Stirling crash.
I am 85 years old and I have a vivid memory of a spitfires or huracane crashing at Heanor Derbyshire in a farmyard .I can’t find anything locally can you help?
I don’t know of that one sorry, but maybe someone else on here might be able to provide some infor for you.
I have been searching for an aircraft crash that occurred in 1943-4 in Holmes Chapel (Church Hulme, Cheshire. I was four years old at the time, but have a vivid memory of very small pieces of aircraft scattered, of what seemed to me at the time over a wide area. I lived with my mother in the middle of three houses opposite the site (my father was serving in the RAF in the Sudan at the time). I remember one of the older girls next door (the coal man’s daughter) holding my hand and taking me over there to see the crash site.
The grid reference is SJ764674, just North of the A535 and East of the A50.
Sorry, I have not been able to identify this crash, I’m afraid. Your memory of the exact spot is interesting, but I have not been able to find any air crashes at Holmes Chapel from around that time. It is not unlikely as there were a number of aircraft which crashed taking off and landing at RAF Cranage. Maybe someone else reading this might be able to help?
I’ve gone through what lists I have (which are far from being complete), looked through ‘Eyes of the Night’ by Bamford & Collier (the book provides a lot of detail about RAF Cranage) and have looked up the air crashes listed on my page about RAF Cranage. Do take a look at the comments section, there is quite a lot of info people have added about air crashes in the area (link below).
Other than that, all I can suggest is the usual approaches which you may have already made or considered a trawl though the mircrofilm archived local newpapers of the time at the local library is time consuming but can turn up all sorts of stuff. The Winsford & Middlewich Guardian, for example. Or you could ask at the Holmes Chapel local history group or put a post on the RAF Commands Forum the group members there may be able to help?
Trying to find the exact location of crashed Avro Lancaster 11 683
Reg Ds827 Feb/5/1944
Crashed Great Dunmow En route to RAF Witchford.
All 8 occupants killed.
Regards Levi Wilson
On October 17th 1940 a wellington bomber returning from a raid on the Kiel canal ran out of fuel. The crew parachuted to safety over Penrith and the pilotless bomber crashed into Brownrigg fell near Plumpton, a village a few miles north of Penrith. Is this site known to you and do you have any further information? I couldn’t find anything on your website,
Hi Allan, not a site I have visited, but it was Wellington L7857, crashed 17 October 1940. I haven’t much info, but do you have a copy of Michael J Hurst’s book on Lake District air crashes? He says the crash site presents a “large discoloured patch of soil” following the fire as the Wellington was still carrying its bombs, apparently?
Hi Ian, thank you for the prompt reply. Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of Michael Hurst’s book however I learned of the crash site reading a review of a new book ‘ Cumbria At War 1939-45’ written by Ruth Mansergh and published by Pen and Sword.
Hurst says that a machine gun was found at the site in 1973.
He provides a rough grid reference for the crash site NY521371
Just read your threds on the Plumpton Wellington L7857 crash site. I have visited the site, although theres nothing to indicate there has been a crash with nothing on the surface. Some small fragments, showing signs of burning can be found amongst the heather at the site. The site is on the west side of Brown Rigg roughly at Hurst grid ref, a path goes through the site. Unfortunately Michael Hursts book, whilst being detailed, many of the locations are wrong, he deliberatly did this.
Lancaster 2 LL683 of 514 Sqn crashed out of fuel just west of Sawbridgeworth airfield on 31/3/44. Pilot Warrant Oficer W L McGowan and all crew were ok.
See fuller details in ‘Where the Lysanders Were …..’ (the story of Sawbridgeworth’s airfields) by Paul A Doyle, ISBN 0 9525624 0 5
Trying to find the exact site of crash landing of Lancaster R5905 24/9/42 “near madum” Denmark? My father was the pilot (William V. Rickards not V.H.Richards) he and his crew survived the war apart from Sgt William Gregor who died in POW camp.
Flying to Denmark for first time in April.
I’m doing some research for a family friend who is the daughter of John William Hargreaves (one of your dad’s crew) at the time of the incident in Denmark.
I have some further information that you may, or indeed may not already have.
Very happy to share it with you if you wanted it?
Hi Joe, excited to hear you know John Hargreave’s daughter. Through a Danish WW2 history buff I found the location of the farmers field where the crew crash landed. It was raining hard that night. Very nostalgic for me as I visited the farm where the crew sheltered the first night night and Ulich and Helga Jensen gave them food at great risk to themselves. We also saw the jail were the crew was taken after capture. It was well maintained being part of the city square.
This was all in a 10 day trip to Denmark in 2018 which my wife and I greatly enjoyed.
I would really appreciate any information you have on John, his daughter and/or the crash.
W. Barry Rickards
Great that you are helping John Hargreave’s daughter with finding info on 44 squadron and Lamsdorf. I would appreciate any information you have on John, 44 squadron or Lamsdorf.
My wife and I travelled to Denmark in 2018 and I found the field where my dad crashed, the farm where they sheltered for the night and the Ulfborg jail where they were taken after capture.
Hi Barry, many thanks for getting in touch .. delighted to make your acquaintance.
Very happy to share what I’ve got with you.
Also, I spoke with John Vardy’s daughter this afternoon, so it looks like 3 families are now joined up.
In short, if you wanted to reply to my email address I can send it all over to you.
Alternatively I could sent it to you via WhatsApp &/or give you a bell if that works for you?
Hi Barry, many thanks for making contact. I’ve got quite a few bits & bobs that you may be interested in. I’ve also spoken with the daughter of John Vardy so it looks like three families of the original crew are now joined up and in contact, which is great news. If you wanted to send me an email to [email protected] &/or WhatsApp me on +44 (0)7753252946 I can then send you what I have. With every best wish and kindest regards, Joe
Great site! I am looking for any info on my Uncle, Pilot Officer Arthur Glyndwr Thomas, who died in a plane crash (Lancaster?) on April 3 1945. I believe(?) it was near Gainsborough? This is all the info I have and as you can see I’m not as sure on some of it.
Thank you for your comment.
It looks like your uncle was the pilot of Lancaster ME323 which was shot down at eight minutes past one on the morning of 4 March 1945.
From Bomber county aviation resource are these details
“Coded PH-P, Shot down by an Intruder during a night training flight and crashed 0110 4th Mar between Stockwith and Blyton, two villages 3 miles NW and NE respectively from Gainsborough. The five Australians were buried in the Cambridge City Cemetery and the other two were taken to their home towns. P/O A.G.Thomas KIA, F/S T.McCaffray KIA, F/S E.L.Horstmann RAAF KIA, F/S W.N.Pridmore RAAF KIA, F/S G.E.Davis RAAF KIA, F/S A.Cryer RAAF KIA, F/S A.H.Weston RAAF KIA.”
Apparently two Lancasters, ME323 and PB476 of 12 Squadron were on training flights when shot down by Luftwaffe Junkers 88s. They had the misfortune to be undertaking night navigation exercises the same night that the Luftwaffe launched its last big revenge attack against the RAF. It was called Operation Gisela, lots of aircraft were shot down that night, with some of the last Luftwaffe Junkers 88s crossing the North Sea to wait for RAF bombers returning to base from their attacks on German targets. In the Luftwaffe crash sites section of this website is the memorial to what is alleged to be the last Luftwaffe aircraft shot down in England during this raid.
There is a link to the wikipedia page about this raid below. Your uncle is mentioned in the reference to ME323 under the British losses section. The crews, including your uncle Arthur, were based at RAF Wickenby and had only been there a few days before losing their lives.
In the village of East Stockwith is a memorial to the crew. It appears to be quite new as it is not on Google street views. But anyway it is on the corner of Back Street and St Peter’s Close in the village.
Photo from this page
Society for Lincolnshire History & Archaeology
There is also this distressing reference in a book called ‘Intruders over Britain’ by Simon W Parry (2003)
“Mrs Nelson, wife of the Station Commander at RAF Blyton, was outside when she saw a fire overhead. There were two explosions as the aircraft began to disintegrate in the air and a third as it hit the ground. When the station’s crash crew appeared at the site they found the remains of a No.12 Squadron Lancaster scattered over the ground and among the wreckage, the bodies of its seven crew. They were later identified as Flying Officer Thomas and his crew who were overdue from a cross country navigation exercise.”
If you look on Google satellite maps, you can still make out the runways of what was RAF Blyton.
The downing of Lancaster ME323 is also mentioned in ‘Nachtjagd War Diaries Vol 2 – An Operational History of the German Night Fighter Force in the West, April 1944 – May 1945’ by Dr. Theo Boiten and Roderick J MacKenzie (2008) in which they identify the possible credit for the shooting down of ME323 to Lt. Günther Wulf. He attacked the Lancaster over Hull.
wikipedia page about Operation Gisela.
Hope this helps and fills in some of the gaps! But there is more out there about this if you want to look for it. Google search “Lancaster ME323” to find more.
That is fantastic info!! Thank you so very much for finding all that. I know that Uncle Arthur is buried in Holy Cross Churchyard in Taibach Port Talbot, his birthplace, with his mother and father. I also knew from my mother, Hetty Allen (sadly died May 19 2019) that he was also shot down over Malta and that he was a member of the Guinea Pig Club. His name is listed in the GPC book. Thank you very much!
Thanks Beth. Sad to read of your mum’s recent passing.
Beth, could you get in touch with me? I live approximately a mile from where the Lancaster your uncle was flying crashed. I’m researching it’s history. The land owner who owns the field where it crashed had one of the propeller blades go up his potato harvester, still intact and with paint still on it. That’s recently been made into the memorial mentioned above. I’d love to hear from you.
My late father Vincent Place was rear gunner lancs I have been told his aircraft crashed on a training flight in Snowdonia only him and the pilot survived 1943/44 I would be great full if you have any info on this as I can’t find any info on his war records any where thank you
Hi Mark, have you any more details at all? Approximate location, date such as time of year, the name of the pilot, anything from memory such as stories you heard from your father or other family – anything like that could help enormously.
Thanks Ian. Her 98th birthday is today June 6, and her funeral is tomorrow.
Does anyone have any information regarding the collision of two Lancaster’s, just outside Waltham airfield, on Black Thursday?
I was serving as a wren air mechanic at RNAS Donibristlein the summer of 1944 when I witnessed aplane , possibly a Barracuda
which crashed into a field killing the pilot and a wren radio mechanic who were on a t3st flight. Further information required please
Can anyone confirm the crash location for Westland Whirlwind P7094 that went down in the early hours of 16 May 1943 given as either Melcombe Regis, Dorset or Higher Metcombe, Devon, killing F/Lt HJ Blackshaw of 263 Squadron based at Warmwell, Dorset?
I am trying to obtain details of a Beaufort that crashed off the West Coast of Scotland on 25th May 1943.
Hiya, I.. looking for any further information/pictures if possible of Wellington DV936. Crashed April 21 1943 near Elmley Lovett, Worcestershire. My great uncle was navigator. All crew lost all buried in there local cemeteries other than Boyes, of the RAAF whose buried in Pershore. The Aircraft suffered an engine explosion followed by a fierce fire which led to the wing becoming detached before the plane crashed. I’ve not been able to find much else out about the incident andvthe family has no pictures of Sgt H M Holmes. I’m trying to put together a memorial frame for him. Cheers
Still searching in hope of finding more accurate location and any possible pictures of crew or plane Wellington DV936, 15 OTU
Hi, My Father was a fitter in bomber command and the Bomber that he was in crashed at the end of 1944 or the beginning of 1945.
They were visiting the factory where the Bombers were made but on takeoff the Bomber just touched the top of some trees and crashed.
I understand the crew all survived although my Father had a broken
neck.Would you have any information regarding the crash.
Thank you William Baker. My Father William George Baker.
Would you have anything on this. Sorry report isn’t that clear but can’t identify it from your site info
Hi Martin, it is not a crash site I have visited – but maybe I need to, was not aware of it!
Link here to Aviation Safety Network has an overview plus links to other websites it references
Hello , An allied aircraft crashed in front of my father, Cpl R.A.Jacksons platoon in the village of Hollot Normandy France on 1st or 2nd August 1944. He and 2 others ran to rescue the crew but sadly they ran into an enemy mine field, he was killed and the others were wounded, I would like to know if possible? what aircraft it was and if the crew survived. I would appreciate any information which might help me in my search. thanks in advance P. Jackson
Can you tell me if Lancaster ED548 ph-1-x was recovered after the crash on 07/07/1943 at the Pow burn near Airth, 1/2 mile west of Kincardine Bridge.I live in Kincardine, my father told me as a boy of the crash.During this lockdown I have collated all the crew and their positions.Was it based at Grangemouth,did it fly from there and was an explosion the cause of the crash.
Hi, I was wondering if you had received any more info regarding Lancaster ED548 PH-X. I believe my great uncle John Ernest Hindmarch was on this flight and I have been trying to find out a little more background info to pass on to the Washington History Society with his RAF Photograph. I no longer have any family members who can remember. I was told by my late grandmother he was killed near the Firth of Forth on a training exercise, unfortunately, I wish I had listened more when I was younger.
Hi – I am trying to find the location and the type of plane in which W/O Robert L. Double DFM., aged just 22, was killed on May 18th 1944. He had survived many missions over Germany and Occupied Europe but apparently was killed while doing some training flights, possibly in the Salop area. He was originally from Stowmarket in Suffolk and I am the town’s historin trying to put a nice piece together about his short life. Any information will be gratefull received. Thank you.
Hi Steve, I have looked in the books I own but can find no reference to it. Maybe someone on here can help? If you were to post your query in the general forum on RAF Commands website, I am sure someone there will help you.
OK thanks for that. I shall keep trying.
hi steve Just come across your query about Robert Leonard Double. Ive done a bit of checking and it seems he was a navigator with RAFVR and fell out of a Whitely at 1400ft in the peak district of Derbyshire while attached to 81 OTU at Ashbourne. Little bit of confusion though it seems 81 OTU disbanded Jan 1944. I would guess as he had the DFM he was on his 2nd tour. If you google Robert Double RAF 175954 you will see the info. regards Bill
Hi again Steve Done a bit more checking and the only place I can find with info is peakdistrictaircrashes and the reference to Robert takes some finding but it is there. Bill
I was an evacuee staying on a farm close to Silian. My brother and I visited a plane crash site one evening in 1942. The crash site was close to Lampeter, Mid Wales. There was a lot of debris scattered around the site and we were prevented from getting any closer to the wreckage owing to a police cordon. I have investigated the crash files but I am unable to find any information concerning this particular crash. Is there anyone out there who may have more information about this particular incident?
Couldn’t see this one listed, which RAF Brize Norton has just had on their FB page 27th Aug 20: https://bit.ly/3jnkhfQ
The village of Black Bourton was the scene, 76 years ago when tragically, returning from missions, Albemarle V1782 overshot the runway at RAF Brize Norton, crashing and burning out in a field on Mill Farm, with the loss of life of all five crew.
The plaque is by the entrance to Mill Farm at 51°43.8″N, 1°34.1″W and reads:
In Memory Of
The R.A.F. crew of 297 Squadron
who were killed near this site
on 27.8.1944 at 04.05 in Albemarle V1782
F/S A.H.Busbridge (Pilot)
Sgt. E.F/Bonser (296 Squadron)
They will not be forgotten
Thanks David, not a site I have visited. Good of you to provide the crew details. If you have any photos, it would be good to add them here.
I’ve now taken pictures of my own, how do I upload to the site?
Three photos of the memorial for the Albemarle V1782 which overshot the runway at RAF Brize Norton, courtesy of David Harrison.
Looking for information on Sergeant Walter Thompson service number 1066764 died 5th June 1942 buried in Bergen General Cemetery. Originally from N.Ireland, age 20 years. I have been told Walter was air crew (possibly Wellington) shot down over Holland.
Excluding the well-known Liberator crash in Chichester,West Sussex- if anyone out there has any data on a possible WW2 crash-site in the Fishbourne area, on farmland just outside the village, would like to know. At present, have no details as to year/date of crash, aircraft type,unit or no of crew/casualties, so this may be a ‘non-starter’ best consigned to realms of rumour. However, one local source mentions a possible plane crash so it seems worth following up…..thanks in advance for any help or advice- PD
Looking for the exact location of RAF 78 SQN Halifax BIII MZ311 which crashed on Cleeve Hill in a quarry 4 miles NE of Cheltenham, Gloucester in the early hours of 26 August 1944 after a mining sortie off the French Coast. All crew were killed. This question has been asked on-line before (not at this site) but I have not seen a response or answer. I will be grateful for the smallest item of information which might help. Thanks.
Bomber crash at the village of Wellington Heath in Herefordshire in 1943. No records are available. Does anyone know about this crash.
Bomber crash in the village of Wellington Heath in Herefordshire in 1942-43. Cannot find any records relating to the crash. Maybe it was a Wellington, or a Whitley bomber. Crew bailed out safely. Maybe they were Canadian!
Hi i am looking for information about a aircraft accident ( service record) at netheravon on the 17/11/1942 . I am told it was a Armstrong whitly but can find no colabaration.
Spitfire K4164, flown by Polish Pilot Officer Roman Suwalski, crashed in Bees Nursery, Chester on 26th Jan 1942 due to mid-air collision, thought to be in bad visibility.
Any information please, his family are trying to find out about it.
I have been trying to find information of an aircraft crash during WW2 some time in Westbury Wiltshire.
Apparently it crashed just North of the Main Railway line to the east of Westbury Station Not far off the Ham road.
Tantalisingly I was offer info and pics from a local but they never materialised after the death of the locals brother.
Any info would be fantastic.
hello looking for information on allied aircraft which crashed in village of Hallot in France at the end of July 1944 my farther died and two others were wounded trying to rescue the crew, they ran into a mine field, Be nice to know if the crew survived and what aircraft it was.
I’m looking for any info in regards to Lancaster LL701 that went down on February 24/25 1944 on a Schweinfurt night raid. Originally marked as lost with out a trace, new information was found according to German night fighter logs. These mention that Lancster LL701 went down in the North Sea.
http://www.fredtrendle.de/images/pdf/Buchauszug-Februar-1944-Nacht.pdf (Page 213)
115. Sqn. (RAF) / Avro Lancaster Mk. II / # LL701 / Operation Schweinfurt / Ursache unbekannt / Absturz in die Nordsee / Flight Lieutenant James Clement Hornby / 7 vermisst.
115. Sqn (RAF) / Avro Lancaster Mk. II / # LL701 / Operation Schweinfurt / Cause unknown / Crash in the North Sea / Flight Lieutenant James Clement Hornby / 7 missing.
Any other information would be greatly appreciated.
For those looking for downed aircraft information may I suggest looking at the below resources. They might assist you in finding more information. Good luck to you all in your searches.
-Theo Boiten Nachtjagd War Diaries book.
-Fred Trendle Point Blank book – PDF Links on his website — http://www.fredtrendle.de/
(Great Nephew Of Francis Leonard Kennedy MUG LL701)
Mid-air collision between two Whitley V medium bombers (Z9471 and LA879) from RAF 10 OTU based out of Abingdon/Stanton Harcourt, roughly 2 miles south-east of Stanton Harcourt, on 17th September 1943. This accident is documented, but I have not seen it listed in any air crash sites or even in any number of “incident” lists. Ten aircrew died, including my uncle. Any further background on it? Aside from this…
How common were these losses in training exercises? This was apparently a “bullseye sortie” that went badly wrong. It says in one link that it was a daytime flight, but the time-stamp elsewhere is 23:48, which suggests night to me. It also suggests to me that there is no full and formal documentation of the crash, despite the loss of rather valuable aircrew. would there not have been an official (though not public) inquiry after the event?
A peaceful Europe – the beginnings of cooperation
The European Union is set up with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbours, which culminated in the Second World War. As of 1950, the European Coal and Steel Community begins to unite European countries economically and politically in order to secure lasting peace. The six founding countries are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The 1950s are dominated by a cold war between east and west. Protests in Hungary against the Communist regime are put down by Soviet tanks in 1956. In 1957, the Treaty of Rome creates the European Economic Community (EEC), or ‘Common Market’.
The historical roots of the European Union lie in the Second World War. Europeans are determined to prevent such killing and destruction from ever happening again. Soon after the war, Europe is split into East and West as the 40-year-long Cold War begins. West European nations create the Council of Europe in 1949. It is a first step towards cooperation between them, but six countries want to go further.