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Losses

None of the ships in the convoy or its escort was lost or damaged. Mosquito HK 192 of No. 256 Squadron, shot up and with both tyres punctured, crashed on landing at Réghaia without injury to its crew. This aircraft was apparently repaired since it was not struck off charge until 1946. Also, as we have seen, the Beaufighter of Flight Sergeants Rowsell and Satchell (No. 272 Sqn.) was missing, possibly shot down by III./ZG 1 (see above).

Just one German prisoner was taken, Ltn. Gerhard Haseney, a 9./KG 26 pilot whose Ju 88 was shot down by a night fighter after launching its torpedoes and (so Haseney believed) scoring a hit on a cruiser. The captain of USS Wilhoite noted that “Two German aviators were reported found on a raft at the scene [of the attack] by local vessels” but so far I have not come across another mention of this. In its report on the action, Luftflotte 3 recorded its units’ losses over enemy territory as follows:

 

III./KG 26

7 Ju 88

 

I./KG 77

3 Ju 88

 

III./KG 77

5 Ju 88

 

I./ZG 1 [sic]

1 Ju 88

Although the action over the convoy took place within about 10 km of the coast, none of the attackers appears to have come down in Algeria although three crashed on Spanish soil or in Spanish waters (see below). At around 300 km from the scene of the attack, the Balearics offered a better prospect for the crew of a damaged aircraft than the 700 km flight back to France.

 

7./KG 26

Ju 88 A-4

W.Nr. 801619

1H+ER

 

 

Crashed off the Far de la Mola lighthouse, Formentera. Fw. Leopold Reinegger, Uffz. Heinz Sowinski, Ogefr. Josef Zenk killed; Fw. Gerhard Meyer (FF) rescued and returned to unit.

 

I./KG 77

Ju 88 A-17

W.Nr. 801605

3Z+KL

 

 

Damaged by fighter, crashed near Cartagena. Uffz. Heinz Wolf injured; Uffz. Otto Killian dead; Uffze. Georg Goll and Horst Kollwitz missing.

 

III./KG 77

Ju 88 A-17

W.Nr. 822672

3Z+KL

 

 

Crew baled out off Cap Llentrisca, Ibiza; three survived and were repatriated (Fhr. Walter Schulten, Uffz. Gerhard Henze, Uffz. Paul Grüning) but Uffz. Fritz Lemnitzer died and was buried locally.

NOTES: It is highly unlikely that two aircraft with the markings 3Z+KL took part in one operation, so one or other’s code was probably given incorrectly in the casualty report.

MACAF’s report on the action adds that a damaged German bomber crashed “on the Spanish coast North of Alicante”. I have not been able to identify a loss corresponding with this report; Alicante is around 90 km from Cartagena so confusion with W.Nr. 801605 (see above) does not seem a good explanation.

When Southern France was liberated just over three months after the UGS-40 action, a document was recovered enumerating four Ju 88 A-4 from III./KG 26 lost on 11 May. All had originally been delivered to the Gruppe at Stendal.

 

W.Nr. 550729

BF+YI

1H+CD

 

W.Nr. 550819

BJ+HW

1H+KT

 

W.Nr. 801591

KS+BU

1H+CT

 

W.Nr. 801593

KS+BW

1H+GT

The Allies also found the airfield log book for Istres/Le Tubé, one entry stating that 16 Ju 88 had taken off at 18.23 on 11 May to attack a convoy of the Algerian coast and that five of these had failed to return (figures which match the after-action report).

German casualty returns also list the following aircraft and crews missing in action:

 

7./KG 26

Ju 88 A-4

W.Nr. 550849

1H+KT

 

 

Ltn. Karl-Heinz Mohren, Fw. Helmut Becker, Uffz. Gustav Kehrer, Ogefr. Eugen Jungnickl

 

8./KG 26

Ju 88 A-4

W.Nr. 301160

1H+XS

 

 

Uffz. Karl-Heinz Eichner, Ogefr. Konrad Scheller, Ogefr. Herbert Saxl, Gefr. Franz Hobiger

 

 

Ju 88 A-17

W.Nr. 550729

1H+CD

 

 

Uffz. Albin Zimmermann, Uffz. Willy Bössow, Uffz. Walter König, Gefr. Franz Bäuml

 

9./KG 26

Ju 88 A-17

W.Nr. 801591

1H+CT

 

 

To strength of III./KG 26 on 28.04.44 (ULTRA decrypt)

 

9./KG 26

Ju 88 A-17

W.Nr. 801593

1H+GT

 

 

Ltn. Gerhard Haseney (PoW); Uffz. Gerhard Teigel, Uffz. Johann Eigener, Uffz. Gerhard Noack missing.

(Allied Signals Intelligence and Haseney’s interrogation give his Ju 88’s code as 1H+IT)

 

7./KG 77

Ju 88 A-17

822940

 

8./KG 77

Ju 88 A-17

822596

 

 

Ju 88 A-17

822680

 

9./KG 77

Ju 88 A-17

801611

 

 

Ju 88 C-6

360391

NOTES: The units given are those of the crews who might fly machines belonging to other Staffeln if their own were unserviceable.

The Germans should have learned of the Formentera casualties from the Spanish authorities and through the International Red Cross that Ltn. Haseney was a prisoner.

The Ju 88 C-6 is unlikely to have fallen foul of the convoy’s defences if the escort fighters had turned back as Haseney stated (see above).

continued on next page …

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CONTENTS

Introduction

Shadowing

The attackng force

The convoy escorts

Air cover

The Attack

Aftermath

Losses

Assessments

Propaganda

Sources

Map

© Nick Beale 2019

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