Details of attack by KG26 on SS Henry Bacon

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mjbollinger
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:57 pm

Details of attack by KG26 on SS Henry Bacon

Post by mjbollinger » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:49 pm

Hi everyone,

First, my best wishes for a Happy New Year to each of you -- and especially our webmistress Siri!

Second, I'm looking for details on the Luftwaffe aircraft involved in the attack on SS Henry Bacon on 23 February 1945 in the Barents Sea. I believe torpedo aircraft (Ju 88 and/or Ju 188) from 8./KG26 were involved in the attack. Other units might also have been involved.

Can anyone provided accurate details on how many aircraft of which type launched on the mission, how many actually participated in the attack, and how many returned safely? I understand two Ju 88 (Ju 188?) aircraft were lost. Any details relating to Vbkz. or Wk.Nr. of individual aircraft would be greatly valued.

I do have a copy of Rudi Schmidt's history of KG26 (Achtung! - Torpedos Los) but it is packed away somewhere in the large number of boxes we have yet to reopen from our recent move to a new home.

Many thanks.

Marty
Jordi Comas
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:21 pm

Re: Details of attack by KG26 on SS Henry Bacon

Post by Jordi Comas » Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:30 am

Hi Marty,

23 Ju-88 and Ju-188 bombers attacked the ship.

Source: United States Merchant Marine Casualties of WW2

Regards
Darius
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:50 pm

Re: Details of attack by KG26 on SS Henry Bacon

Post by Darius » Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:57 pm

Hi Marty,

KTB Skl for February, 23rd 1945 has:
Im Nordmeer wurde das QP-Geleit um 0420 Uhr 160 sm westl. der Lofoten wiederum durch Luftaufklärung
erfaßt. Gegen Mittag eingesetzte 26 LT-Flugzeuge haben zum Teil den Auftrag wegen technischer Störungen abgebrochen, zum Teil das Geleit nicht gefunden. Dagegen wurde um 1419 Uhr 290 sm NNW-lich Drontheim ein einzelfahrender D. von 7.4OO BET von diesen Flugzeugen versenkt.
Reports on RA.64:
ADM 199/2193/96: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov. ... /C10274907



Regards

Darius
Darius
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:50 pm

Re: Details of attack by KG26 on SS Henry Bacon

Post by Darius » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:04 pm

add:

You Know US Merchant Vessel War Casualities Of World War II by R. Browning? There´s a side on this loss.

Regrads

Darius
mjbollinger
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:57 pm

Re: Details of attack by KG26 on SS Henry Bacon

Post by mjbollinger » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:20 pm

Thanks, Darius.

We now have three different numbers of aircraft attacking SS Henry Bacon.

Sources taking the perspective of US forces (e.g., Browning), probably all referencing the original estimates of ship personnel as initially reported by Morison, say 23 aircraft (both Ju 88 and Ju 188) were involved in the attack and claim five shot down.

Most sources taking the perspective of the German torpedo bomber units (Thiele, Weal) report that only 19 aircraft were involved in the attack and that only two -- not five -- were lost.

The Kriegstagebüch SKL source referenced by Darius indicates that 26 aircraft "deployed" on the mission though that does not indicate how many may have actually participated in the attack. Perhaps some aborted or never found the target. Perhaps some were scout aircraft without an attack role.

Note that I tend to dismiss the US-based accounts (23 aircraft) as less accurate since they are based on observations by ship's personnel.

So the situation is confusing. Could it be that 19 8./KG26 Ju 188 A-3 aircraft participated in the attack but that seven other Ju 188 or Ju 88 aircraft from another unit also participated. Could it be that 26 Ju 188 aircraft from 8./KG26 were deployed but that only 19 actually participated in the attack?

Marty
mjbollinger
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:57 pm

Re: Details of attack by KG26 on SS Henry Bacon

Post by mjbollinger » Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:43 pm

After reviewing the account in Schmidt's history of KG26, and factoring in other generally authoritative sources, I believe the following aircraft took part...

10 Ju 188A-3 aircraft from III./KG26 (Staffel 8./KG26)
9 Ju 88A-17 aircraft from II./KG26

Any corrections or augmentations greatly appreciated!

Marty
igorr
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:45 am

Re: Details of attack by KG26 on SS Henry Bacon

Post by igorr » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:56 am

According to Ultra interceptions (DEFE 541/537), 24 Ju.188 fly against "QP-convoy" from Vaernes on 12.01-12.29 Berlin time. Alexander in his book about KG 26 wrote that hauptmann Walter Prinz, staffelkapitan 8./KG 26 was man who sank HENRY BACON. This was first mission for III./KG 26 in Far North in 1945.
Aircraft losses were all Ju.188A-3
- Wr.Nr. 190348 from III./KG 26 - loss 100%, reason unknown (motor damage), nobody hurt.
- Wr.Nr. 190604 1H+LR from 7./KG 26 - loss 100%, seen downed and burned by other crews, Hptm. O. Fischer and other 3 man MIA
- Wr.Nr. 190349 1H+GS from 8./KG 26 - loss 100%, disappeared without trace while attacking convoy, Uffz. G. Zierke and other 3 MIA
- Wr.Nr. 190608 1H+BR from III./KG 26 - damage 10% - left UC collapsed, Nobody hurt.
mjbollinger
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:57 pm

Re: Details of attack by KG26 on SS Henry Bacon

Post by mjbollinger » Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:53 pm

Thank you, igorr.

The only discrepancy here is the number that attacked. Various accounts indicated that 24-26 aircraft were allocated to the attack and repositioned accordingly. However, Prinz's own statements indicate that not all aircraft participated in the actual raid. The weather was very bad (the attack was delayed one day) and they decided that only the most experienced aircrew should participate. Hence only 19 aircraft of the 24 (or 25 or 26) actually flew in the attack.

Marty
igorr
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:45 am

Re: Details of attack by KG26 on SS Henry Bacon

Post by igorr » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:33 am

There is possibility that 24 planes started, but some abort mission. Ultra interceptions is only reliable source we have now.
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