View Single Post
Old 12-13-2010, 06:10 PM
No1 Cheese's Avatar
No1 Cheese No1 Cheese is offline
Approved Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 291


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.
More details...............................

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".

Reply With Quote