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 Post subject: Magdeburg 7 Nov 1941
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:06 pm 
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I'm unsure where to post this query, or even if this is the correct forum, so I would appreciate any advice.

On 7 November 1941 a Spitfire of 1401 Meteorological Flight was tasked to fly a meteorological reconnaissance sortie to Magdeburg. The route was Bircham Newton - Magdeburg - Hawkinge; it was flown at 30000 ft and was expected to take 3 hours and 45 minutes.

The aircraft never reached Hawkinge but, obviously off course, was seen to crash near Beachy Head at 1430 GMT (1530 DSZ), about 60 miles west of Hawkinge, after 4 hours in the air.

That's the bare bones of the story, but what I would like to do is find out if any attempt was made to intercept the Spitfire over Germany, or if an air-raid warning was sounded in Magdeburg at about 1130-1200 GMT (1230-1300 DSZ).

Is there any archive or data source that would help answer the questions?

Even a statement that the aircraft was in the vicinity of Magdeburg would be a great help.


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 Post subject: Re: Magdeburg 7 Nov 1941
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:10 pm 
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I've reason to believe I gave some incorrect information in my first post. I now think that having reached the Magdeburg area the return was not direct to Hawkinge, but via a turning point between Cologne and Mannheim. At some point I think the pilot either lost his way or was forced south of track by NW winds stronger than forecast. I'm guessing/estimating that the latter stages of the sortie saw the aircraft passing near Luxembourg, Rheims and Beauvais before crossing the French coast between Berck and Le Havre - say Dieppe.

OK, a lot of uncertainty in all this and I'm hindered by not knowing which Luftawaffe fighter units were based at coastal airfields during November 1941 (or anytime for that matter), but does anyone have access to the equivalent of the RAF ORBs, that might record fighters being scrambled from any coastal airfield to attempt an interception during the afternoon of the 7th?

I know four Hurricanes were scrambled from Tangmere in the time-frame I believe important (1500-1530 GMT) which might suggest an unidentified aircraft was approaching from the south.

You'll have gathered I'm really clutching at straws, and I'd very much appreciate any help - even if proves my thinking is totally up the creek.


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 Post subject: Re: Magdeburg 7 Nov 1941
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:28 am 
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Location: Queensland, Australia
Hi Brian,

The problem is that there was quite a bit of British air activity over the Channel and France in the mid- to late-afternoon period, with Ramrods to Bourbourg and Beauchamps, a Rodeo to Dunkirk-St. Omer-Boulogne, and patrols by Whirlwinds. There were four German victory claims against these Allied operations, including one Spitfire (which Don Caldwell attributes to No. 72 Squadron). German anti-aircraft gunners also claimed a Spitfire near St. Aubin.

Scrambles were certainly flown (e.g. 'Addi' Glunz of II./J.G. 26 scrambled 12:07-12:46, and then again at 15:00-15:29, but recorded no combats), but whether they were against this lone aircraft is impossible to say.

Also, the Luftwaffe Lagebericht for 7 November 1941 mentions 4 British aircraft over Holland, 78 over northern France, 16 over Normandy, and 2 over Norway, but none over Germany itself, so I'm not sure that this lone aircraft was detected.

Cheers,
Andrew A.
Air War Publications - http://www.facebook.com/airwarpublications

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 Post subject: Re: Magdeburg 7 Nov 1941
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:30 am 
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Thank you Andrew. I've become so fixated with this one aircraft I'd totally overlooked other RAF activity, and you've made me realise how difficult the problem is.

Your suggestion that the Spitfire was undetected over Germany, or at least was unchallenged, is useful in itself. This was the first sortie ever attempted to obtain meteorological data deep into Germany. I believe this Spitfire's still air range was just over 1100 miles and I've calculated the planned distance of the sortie was just under 1000 miles, which doesn't leave room for any diversions from a straight-line track. That should have allowed controllers to have at least set up a possible interception.

I'm guesstimating the actual return track from Magdeburg was via Koblenz, Beauvais and Dieppe to Beachy Head - over 1100 miles, leaving him very short of fuel, especially as I know there was quite a strong headwind.

Where was II./J.G. 26 based?

One last question if I may? Some RAF ORBs/documents include brief summaries of the weather - was this also the case with the Luftwaffe Lagebericht?


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 Post subject: Re: Magdeburg 7 Nov 1941
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:42 am 
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Location: Queensland, Australia
Hi Brian,

Glad to help.

Unit Locations, 7 November 1941
Stab J.G. 2, St. Pol-Brias
I./J.G. 2, Brest-Nord
II./J.G. 2, Abbeville-Drucat
III./J.G. 2, St. Pol-Brias
Stab J.G. 26, Audembert
I./J.G. 26, St. Omer-Clairmarais
II./J.G. 26, based at Wewelghem, but with detachment at Coxyde
III./J.G. 26, based at Coquelles

I've attached the detailed German daily weather report for western Europe.

All the best,
Andrew A.
Air War Publications - http://www.facebook.com/airwarpublications


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File comment: 7 November 1941 weather
7 November 1941 weather.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Magdeburg 7 Nov 1941
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:10 pm 
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I'm in your debt Andrew, very many thanks.

Brian


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