continued …

Other onlookers saw four parachutes open and in fact six of the crew survived: two evading, three as prisoners and one in hospital. Cogswell also described what happened to Lt. Richard S. Fawcett’s aircraft:

“I saw two Me 109s attack ship number 50 … After a few seconds of violent fire from the attacking fighters a fire started in the bomb bay of that ship. The right front bomb bay door was flapping. One man immediately bailed out of the right waist window. The ship then pulled up sharply then started down in a straight glide.”

S/Sgt. Thomas E. Lodder:

“I saw ship number 50 … blow up just before we reached the target. The ship broke up in three pieces.”

S/Sgt. Horace A. Warren:

“From my position as tail gunner I saw ship number 51 (2/Lt. Frederick L. Dunn) attacked by fighters. Immediately after the attack engine number one began to smoke. The ship then peeled off from the formation. I looked away for a moment and when I looked back I saw what appeared to be [number 51] circling and six to eight chutes blossomed out during that period. Then I was forced to direct my attention to enemy fighters.”

The machine that ditched was 1/Lt. William A. Barnes’s #53, “Dwatted Wabbit”, this entire crew being posted missing.

The 465th BG lost one aircraft, its pilot Capt. Robert Swanzy being killed by gunfire from a Bf 109; the ball turret gunner also died but the remainder of the crew returned to duty. A B-24 of 464th, thought to have been hit by Flak, succeeded in reaching neutral Spain and a machine of the 464th crash landed with its crew safe.

At 19.30 hours that day, Jafü Süd reported that JGr. 200 had shot down six Liberators and a Mustang (332nd FG did lose an aircraft, its pilot being saved). In addition the Gruppe had shot two B-24s out of formation, claimed two as probables and four damaged. The claims later acknowledged were:

JGr. 200 claims

 

 

 

 

10.48

Ofw. Läbe

2./JGr. 200

B-24

shot out of formation

Draguignan

10.48

Ofw. Isken

2./JGr. 200

B-24

 

S. Toulon

10.49

Uffz. Heumann

2./JGr. 200

P-51

shot out of formation

Salon

10.50

Ofw. Läbe

2./JGr. 200

B-24

 

Draguignan

10.50

Lt. Bell

2./JGr. 200

B-24

 

Manosque

10.55

Ofw. Felder

2./JGr. 200

B-24

 

S.E. Valence

11.13

Uffz. Cöster

1./JGr. 200

B-24

 

Manosque

11.16

Hptm. Seckel

1./JGr. 200

B-24

 

Manosque

11.18

Uffz. Ohmert

1./JGr. 200

B-24

 

Rians

The timings and attributions of the claims point to the composition of the Gruppe's two scrambles, with the 2. Staffel probably taking off first, to engage over the sea and coast; and the 1. Staffel following 15–20 minutes later to engage further inland. The information necessary to fit 3./JGr. 200 into the sequence of events is lacking.

Ohmert’s claim was not accredited initially and not long after setting down in his Bf 109, white 1, he took off in the unit’s Fi 156, RR+XX, to look for wreckage. He made an “outside landing”, spending 1 hr. 40 min. on the ground exploring. He appears to have found a crash site because once again he wrote down “three points” and his kill features on the official list.

The bombers’ gunners claimed 14-4-4 (including 7-1-1 by 464th BG alone). The 332nd FG claimed 3-0-0 Bf 109s (as reported in the daily summary) but these were later awarded as 4-0-1 Fw 190s — one to 1/Lt. Harold E. Sawyer, the rest to 1/Lt. Joseph D. Elsberry (he was awarded the DFC for this achievement).

German losses were four Bf 109s force landed, of which one was burned out and three were damaged under 60% (i.e. not written off); one pilot had slight burns, another was slightly injured and two were unhurt. There are no further particulars of these casualties unfortunately.

Around 12 July, II. Jagdkorps ordered JGr. 200 to send three or four pilots to Wiesbaden-Erbenheim; they would be ferried over from Villacoublay by 2./Fl.ÜG West and were to report to the Head of Fighter Supplies (Jägernachschubführer).

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