It was a matter of Göttingen
72 a year ago, 27 September 1944, in the area of the university town of Göttingen, the 445-I bomber air force of the USA was destroyed. A group of X-NUMX heavy bombers B-35 Liberator participated in a massive raid on the Henschel motor factory in Kassel. However, on the way to the goal, she fell into thick clouds and lost her course. Having missed 24 kilometers, the Americans, instead of Kassel, came to Gottingen. Realizing their mistake, they nevertheless bombed the city.
On the way back, they were attacked by interceptors from the 3 and 4 of the Luftwaffe fighter squadrons that had been fired. These squadrons were mainly armed with Fokke-Wulf FW-190A fighters in the Sturmbock version with enhanced armament and armor. Despite the fire of aerial shooters, they gave the Americans a real pogrom, knocking down the Liberators of the 25 in a matter of minutes.
The Mustang fighters, which accompanied the main bomber forces over Kassel, interfered with the complete destruction of the group. Hearing desperate calls for help on their headphones, they left their charges, whom no one had attacked, and hurried to Gottingen. With their appearance, the picture of the fight has changed dramatically, since the heavy and cumbersome “Sturmboki”, designed to fight bombers, could not fight on equal terms with high-speed “Mustangs”, besides, the Germans ran out of ammunition.
In the second phase of the battle, the Focke-Wulfs were subjected to the same rout as they had just committed to the Liberators. The Americans shot down 29 German fighters, while losing only one. However, it is quite possible that part of the victories attributed to the “Mustangs”, in fact, managed to score the arrows of the downed bombers.
The surviving top ten "Liberators" was to fly more than 600 kilometers to its Tibenham base in the UK. However, very few people succeeded, as almost all cars had serious damage. Two of them crashed on the territory of Belgium, two more - in France, two crews made emergency landings at the Manston fighter airfield and only four Liberators reached Tibenham. After inspection, three of them had to be written off as unrepairable. Thus, only one aircraft remained from the air group.
Of the crews of downed 107 bombers, people died, 121 jumped out with parachutes and were captured. 11 pilots who descended on parachutes were captured and killed by residents of Göttingen who avenged the death of their relatives and the destruction of their homes. Also killed the pilot downed "Mustang" Leon Lamb. The Germans lost the Focke-Wolf pilots in an air combat 18.
The leader of the 445-th bomber air group. The bright "anti-camouflage" was intended for better visibility and quick recognition of the commander's car by other crews. However, he, naturally, attracted the attention of enemy interceptors, who sought to destroy such machines in the first place.
Liberators shot down over Germany in 1944.
American-bombed plant in Kassel.
"Focke-Wulf" from the 3 th Fighter Squadron and "Mustang" from the 376 th Air Group who participated in the air battle over Göttingen. Drawings by Klaus Sundin.
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