At 17.05 hours that day, SG 4 put up 18 sorties against troop concentrations and supply columns at Palombaro, 12 km south of Pescara on the eastern side of the peninsula, Allied radio monitoring overhearing Fw 190s airborne between 17.25 and 18.30 hours local time. The escort of about 20 Bf 109s drawn from II./JG 77 and III./JG 53 joined up south of Viterbo. At 17.40 hours, 12 aircraft of II./SG4 were over the target and dropped 11 bombs. Smoke and dust were seen to rise, there was strong AA fire and the Bf 109 G-6 of 4./JG 77’s Uffz. Werner Engelhardt was hit as the formation turned for home.
Six Fw 190s of I./SG 4 (presumably the number that got airborne) were included in the sortie total but did not attack, instead dropping five unfused bombs on German-held territory. The Kittyhawks had not only weakened the bombing mission but had, as ULTRA decrypts confirmed, shot down two Fw 190s, killing both pilots:
Source saw torn copy of a report stamped 1930/7/4, signed ARC 9/VII:-
…(several lines torn off)… from 1705 to 1733 hours, in which period 4 Spitfires were shot down. 2 German a/c were shot down by the enemy a/c in air combat. Both pilots killed (including Gruppenkommandeur, Hptm. ZIPF). 3 more German a/c damaged by a/c armament. One bomb was dropped on the town of Rieti.
Two communications seen by source, dated 7/4:-