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MB_Avro_UK
07-20-2007, 03:21 PM
Hi all,

Hope this works. Are the RAF aircraft Blenheims or Beauforts?

It seems that one of the RAF planes is hit. The commentary states that 5 RAF planes were shot down.

I was impressed as to how hard the crews pressed home their attacks..


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/MB_Avro/th_ee0ff0aa.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v82/MB_Avro/?action=view&current=ee0ff0aa.flv)

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

Waldo.Pepper
07-20-2007, 03:43 PM
Blenheim. Nice footage - thanks.

leitmotiv
07-20-2007, 03:48 PM
The first two "torpedoflieger" shown are Blenheim IVs, and the rest are real ones---Beauforts. Talk about press on regardless. The Beauforts came at the transports straight and level and you can see their torp splashes right beneath them (they are also distingushable from the Blenheims by their deep bellies). The Blenheims came at the transports like greased pigs, squirming all the way. Were they there just to draw fire away from the vulnerable Beauforts?

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s261/G6AS/Picture1-19.png

MB_Avro_UK
07-20-2007, 04:09 PM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
The first two "torpedoflieger" shown are Blenheim IVs, and the rest are real ones---Beauforts. Talk about press on regardless. The Beauforts came at the transports straight and level and you can see their torp splashes right beneath them (they are also distingushable from the Blenheims by their deep bellies). The Blenheims came at the transports like greased pigs, squirming all the way. Were they there just to draw fire away from the vulnerable Beauforts?

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s261/G6AS/Picture1-19.png

Hi Leitmotiv,

Good observations http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

The first aircraft seemed to release a 'double' load as it passed over the stern of the filming KM (German) warship.

One of the RAF aircraft appeared to be hit by flak from the filming warship as it passed overhead.

One of the supply ships was hit.

It would be interesting to establish the date of this clip and relate it to ship and aircraft losses.

Cool courage IMHO by the RAF guys... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

Xiolablu3
07-20-2007, 04:14 PM
NIce footage, thanks!

Rommel always suspected somehting was a miss.


He could not understand how, with the thousands of miles of ocean to search, that in so many cases a British plane could find his supply ships and destroy them.

It led to him being short of equipment and fuel and it was of course, that Enigma traffic was being read constantly.

SOmehow the ALlies managed to keep up the ruse that they had not broken Enigma all through the war. You would think that if Rommel suspected, that the NAzis would have launched a thourough inverstigation into whether Enigma had been broken.

However, I think ROmmel actually suspected a traitor more than the codes being broken, as he was assured how complex the Enigma machine was.

3.JG51_BigBear
07-20-2007, 04:25 PM
Great clip.

If anyone is interested in ops like this "Torpedo Leader" by Wing Commander Patrick Gibbs is a great book about the author's time flying anti-shipping missions in the Med.

Those were some unbelievably tough missions.

leitmotiv
07-20-2007, 04:38 PM
Right you are, Avro. I winced looking at that Blenheim getting chopped up by auto-cannon fire:

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s261/G6AS/Picture1-20.png

As it passed over the ship, it looked like it was spewing gas or smoke:

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s261/G6AS/Picture2-20.png

Here is your Blenheim chucking its eggs at the fantail of that KM ship---I missed this completely---good eyes:

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s261/G6AS/Picture4-16.png

Here is one of a Beaufort as its torp impacts in the water---note it is straight and level as all torp bombers must be---a dead givaway:

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s261/G6AS/Picture3-15.png

MB_Avro_UK
07-20-2007, 05:20 PM
@ Leitmotiv,

I've had this clip on my H/D for some time but I can't remember where I found it.

But to me it's a fantastic clip of wartime action. It's almost similar to US clips of Japanese Kamikaze attacks. The attacking aircraft are so close and determined.

Wish I could find out more about this mission... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

leitmotiv
07-20-2007, 05:30 PM
As far as I know, it is a clip from the German weekly news shown in the cinemas during the war like the Pathe news in the UK. I'd date it 1941 on the basis of the aircraft types in use. I am not sure when the Blenheims were withdrawn from Malta. Maybe it is 1942. It certainly demonstrates the determination of the Blenheim and Beaufort crews. Those "Vierling" quad 20mm pieces were murder. If the Germans had had a decent medium, like the 40mm Bofors, they would have been dead ducks (the German naval 37mm was a lousy piece---they finally dumped it for the Army 37mm). I have many books on Blenheim operations (I'm a Blenheim fanatic). I'll try to find some info on this.

SeaFireLIV
07-20-2007, 05:42 PM
That`s an amazing clip. Never seen it before. I was really willing for those guys not to be shot down and winced when one looked like it was hit. It also reminds me of an IL2 track where similar planes are making an attack on ships. And it`s REAL, not some sim that those pilots can get up from if killed. Notice how they also make small weave moments to minimise being hit and STILL drop their torpedoes. Brave, brave men. salute.

cheers, MB_Avro_UK.

leitmotiv
07-20-2007, 06:01 PM
OK Avro, found it. The newsreel was shown in November 1942. You can buy a good, sharp copy of it on DVD here:

http://ihffilm.com/vol50nov19.html

I'm getting it.

MB_Avro_UK
07-20-2007, 06:09 PM
Originally posted by SeaFireLIV:
That`s an amazing clip. Never seen it before. I was really willing for those guys not to be shot down and winced when one looked like it was hit. It also reminds me of an IL2 track where similar planes are making an attack on ships. And it`s REAL, not some sim that those pilots can get up from if killed. Notice how they also make small weave moments to minimise being hit and STILL drop their torpedoes. Brave, brave men. salute.

cheers, MB_Avro_UK.

Hi SeaFireLIV,

I agree http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif Real courage in my opinion. And genuine filming..nice to see.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

3.JG51_BigBear
07-20-2007, 06:10 PM
More nifty stuff:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=fnwvYcbHZew

MB_Avro_UK
07-20-2007, 06:12 PM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
OK Avro, found it. The newsreel was shown in November 1942. You can buy a good, sharp copy of it on DVD here:

http://ihffilm.com/vol50nov19.html

I'm getting it.

Hey leitmotiv,

You are the Chief of Detectives http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Nice find mate..I'll be ordering also.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

Ratsack
07-20-2007, 06:26 PM
Did you see the part where one of the Beauforts' torpedoes skipped out of the water? There were clearly two splashes.

I think I've seen a clearer version of that particular incident before. In that one you could see the fishie as it jumped. Most unnerving view of it: from the receiving end.

cheers,
Ratsack

leitmotiv
07-20-2007, 06:59 PM
Cheers, Avro. Good eyes on the Blenheim bomb lob. I've seen this video several times and never noticed this. Talk about a wild bomb run.


That was a hot fish, Ratsack. Must have been dropped while the Beaufort was going too fast. Good eyes!

Beaufort-RAF
07-20-2007, 08:07 PM
This has been on Youtube for a while, there was a thread about it in in May (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/23110283/m/1461024855?r=2981074855#2981074855).

To clear up a couple of points up the first aircraft isn't a Blenheim IV, it's a Blenheim V (Bisley) from 15 SQ SAAF and the aircraft seen being hit by AA fire is a Beaufort.

I've believe the footage is from the 26th October ˜42.

To cut a long and very complicated story short the Axis were trying to get a convoy through to Tobruk of 2 merchant ships and a tanker called the Proserpina.

Of course the British particularly wanted to sink the tanker and a force of Blenheims, Beauforts and Beaufighters were despatched from North Africa (not Malta) to attack.

However when they reached the convoy unbeknown to them the tanker had fallen back and some of the crews mistakenly thought the leading merchant ship was the tanker and 3 Blenheims and half a dozen Beauforts attacked (unsuccessfully) which is what I think is shown in the film.

Fortunately 2 Beaufort and 2 Blenheim crews realised the tanker wasn't there and carried on until they found the Proserpina which was torpedoed and sunk (although one of the Blenheims crashed into the mast).

As I said it's a complicated story, which also involves Wellingtons, USAAF B24s and a Beaufighter battle with He111s!

I've a couple of Beaufort books with detailed accounts of the operation and would like to post some of the details when I've time as it's a remarkable episode.

leitmotiv
07-21-2007, 12:54 AM
Caught me out fair and square on that one, Beaufort. I can't get a clear enough view to distinguish between Blen IV and V, but the date rules out the IV. And, by George, that "Blenheim" being hit by flak has too deep a belly (I thought the depth was bomb doors hanging down, but the fly over view clinches it as a Beaufort). Must have been a right Donnybrook. Thanks for the corrections.

leitmotiv
07-21-2007, 04:17 AM
Blenheim V

http://www.lietadla.com/lietadla/anglicke/blen/01.jpg

Roblex
07-21-2007, 04:57 AM
Originally posted by 3.JG51_BigBear:
Great clip.

If anyone is interested in ops like this "Torpedo Leader" by Wing Commander Patrick Gibbs is a great book about the author's time flying anti-shipping missions in the Med.

Those were some unbelievably tough missions.

I just started reading that a few days back. So far in early 1942 he has not seen much action


"There was just one solitary Beaufort squadron in Egypt, No 39....it was continually short of aircraft and at present overstrength in crews..........instead of the steady anti-shipping offensive I which I had expected, it appeared that operations were few and far between; the squadron had made just two torpedo attacks in the whole of its existence, one in January and one on March 9th"

Because they had many more aircrew than aircraft he ended up with a nominal desk job where all he did was watch the Axis convoys being plotted across the Med to re-supply Rommel without any opposition at all. When they finally made a push in April, sending all 9 airworthy Beauforts to attack an important convoy, they bodged the planning so badly that only a single Beau returned and they lost the Flight Commander. This is the point where Gibbs gets the job and I have not read any further yet.

Beaufort-RAF
07-22-2007, 02:09 PM
Here are the details of the operations against the Axis convoy on the 26th October 1942.

It was codenamed ˜TT' (Taranto to Tobruk) and consisted of:-

- Proserpina (Italian, 4869 tons) carrying 4553 tons of fuel, 888 for the Luftwaffe, 2500 for the Panzerarmee and 1165 for the Italian forces.

- Tergestea (Italian, 5890 tons) carrying 1000 tons of fuel and 1000 tons of ammunition.

- Dora (German, 584 tons)

The Italian torpedo boats Calatafimi, Ciclone, Lira and Partenope provided escort.

During the night of 25th/26th October Wellingtons attacked the convoy with torpedoes and bombs without success.

Between 1210 and 1230 eighteen B24s, flying in three boxes of six, bombed the convoy from 20,000 feet. They were from the 98th Bombardment Group based in Egypt and caused no damage, although they had several near misses.

At 1430 while 30 miles from Tobruk the Proserpina developed an engine room problem and fell back with the Calatafimi giving protection. Repairs were quickly made and they started to catch up with the other vessels.

At 1230 8 Beauforts from 47 Squadron took off from the forward airfield of Gianaclis (Egypt). Wing Commander Richard Sprague was the squadron C.O. but as he had little torpedo experience he chose Beaufort veteran Flight Lieutenant Ronald Gee to lead the formation.

The Beauforts were joined by 5 Blenheim Vs of 15 Squadron SAAF (carrying 4 x 250lb GP bombs) and 9 Beaufighters from 252\272 Squadrons.

The Beauforts flew at low level with the escorting Beaufighters at various heights above. They flew westwards around 50 miles from the enemy coast. They came under fire from heavy flak batteries as they approached Tobruk and then came across a large group of F-boats which also opened fire.

At 1525 the Beaufighters waggled their wings as from their higher altitude they had spotted the convoy. The Dora was in the lead followed by the Tergestea. The torpedo boats Partenope and Ciclone guarded the seaward flank with the Lira at the rear. Above were 2 Ju88's, 2 Mc202s and a Me109. The Beaufighters headed for the aircraft and the majority of the bombers for the merchant ships.

Most pilots assumed that the Dora, the leading vessel, was the tanker and 3 Blenheims went in first. Lieutenant James Lithgow lead the trio but his bombs narrowly missed and his aircraft was damaged by flak as he pulled away. The second Blenheim of Lieutenant Algie Groch was hit as it released it's bombs, a shell exploding in the nose, killing the navigator Lieutenant Johnson and stunning Groch. Another shell burst in the port engine, the wing dropped and clipped the mast. Groch struggled to regain control but the aircraft crashed into the sea. The gunner, Air Sergeant Twigg pulled Groch from the wreck and dragged him into the dinghy.

The bombs of Lieutenant Sven Leisegang missed and his aircraft appeared to be hit but carried on flying.

5 Beauforts aimed their torpedoes at the Dora while a sixth targeted the Tergestea. Sprague's aircraft was hit but he regained control with half the rudder shot away. Flying Officer Haraldur Davidson, a Canadian on his first operation had his aircraft hit by flak immediately after dropping his torpedo. The Beaufort turned on it's back and crashed killing all the crew except the navigator, Pilot Officer Trevor Jones, who became a POW.

2 Beauforts did not attack, they were flown by Pilot Officer Ralph Manning and Flying Officer Norman Hearn-Phillips. They did not believe the tanker was present and decided to continue searching along the coast. They were joined by 2 Blenheims, flown by Major Douglas ˜Pip' Pidsley, the Commanding Officer of 15 Squadron SAAF and Lieutenant Dustow. They did not communicate with the Beauforts by RT but guessed what they were doing.

They were proved correct after a few minutes when the Proserpina, with the Calatafimi guarding the seaward flank, appeared ahead.

However Hearn-Phillips aircraft had been hit by a shell, a chunk of flak passing through the wireless operators position and smashing the electrical panel in the fuselage which caused the torpedo to drop from the aircraft. Fortunately the Wireless Operator Flight Sergeant' Ginger' Coulson had gone forward in readiness to take photographs or else he would have had his head blown off! Now all Hearn-Phillips could do was draw enemy fire and observe.

Manning was a 26 year old Canadian. His crew consisted of 23 year old Londoner Sergeant Spark (Navigator), Sergeant Bladen (Wireless Operator) and Sergeant Nimerovsky (Gunner), who was Jewish and from Manchester.

Proserpina turned to port towards Manning spoiling his aim so he circled over the shore while under continuous fire in order to find a better angle. The ship reversed her turn to point her bows once more towards the Beaufort and for a few moments was almost motionless in the water. Manning saw his chance and flew straight at the tanker at 80ft and 140 knots and closed to about 600 yards in his determination to achieve a hit.

As he did so the Blenheims streaked ahead on their bombing runs while a Beaufighter dived on the Calatafimi. Pidsley released his bombs and cleared the tanker although he was peppered with holes. Dustow was also hit, his aircraft struck one of the masts and cart wheeled into the sea with no survivors.

Out of the corner of his eye Manning was distracted by the sight of the Calatafimi under attack from the Beaufighter and almost failed to pull up over the masts of the tanker. The delayed action bombs from the Blenheims exploded almost underneath his aircraft and there was an enormous jolt. A piece of superstructure from the ship flew up and caused a dent in the starboard wing.

At this point the aircraft which had attacked the Dora and Tergestea caught up with Manning and his torpedo was seen running through the water and then bumping agonizingly along the side of the tanker before exploding near the stern. Flames and a billowing mass of smoke gushed from the vessel. Calatafimi and Lira picked up 62 survivors from the sea with 15 crew members being lost.

The bombers grouped together in a loose formation of 10 aircraft and began the journey back to Gianaclis. A few Mc202s were still circling around and dived repeatedly on the bombers and although Manning was damaged the Italian fighters did not manage to shoot any of the aircraft down. 25 Me109s were seen but the bombers kept down low and were not attacked again.

Meanwhile a Beaufighter had damaged a Ju88 and another Beau had been shot down into the sea with the crew surviving to become POWs. One Beaufighter was pursued for 60 miles by a Me109 and badly holed but was able to make it back to base.

However there was to be a further tragic loss. Lieutenant Leisegang's Blenheim began to weave and slid under the Beaufort of Pilot Officer Walter Garriock, an Australian. The Blenheim climbed and collided with the Garriock's aircraft, a Beaufort crew member was thrown through the nose into the sea and the aircraft flew locked together for fifteen seconds before crashing into the water with no survivors.

A second strike of 5 Beauforts from 39 Squadron and 9 Beaufigters from 252/272 Squadrons was launched from Gianclis to attack the remaining vessels. They met 5 He111s off the enemy coast and the Beaufighters attacked while the Beauforts continued to search fro the convoy.

Pilot officer Smith of 272 squadron destroyed one and Pilot Officer Patterson from the same Squadron set another on fire and saw it limp towards the coast on one engine. Sergeant Kernaghan of 252 Squadron followed Flight Lieutenant Frecker in a head on attack and was riddled with nearly forty bullets. He then positioned himself above and behind the bombers and dived on a Heinkel and shot it down into the sea with debris from the resulting explosion damaging his starboard wing.

The Beaufighter of Pilot Officer Derick (Canadian) and Pilot Officer McCann was shot down although they managed to get into their dinghy and floated for 8 days before they reached the coast. McCann went to find water and was captured but Derick was helped by Arabs and returned to the Squadron on the 9th November.

After the combat the Beaufighters chased the Beauforts and met them coming back. They had not found the convoy but had dropped 3 torpedoes at a convoy of F-boats without result.

3 torpedo Wellingtons of 38 Squadron led by Australian Flight Lieutenant Albert Wiggins took off from Gambut in the late afternoon in a last attempt to stop the ships reaching their destination. As the remaining vessels were approaching Tobruk the sailors saw the 3 Wellingtons. The aircraft of Sergeant Viles was hit and crashed into a fuel dump near the port but the crew survived. 3 were taken prisoner but 2 managed to evade capture and reached British lines on the 11th November. Wiggins and Pilot Officer Bertram were able to turn for home despite being damaged. At least one torpedo hit the stern of the Tergestea which disintegrated with a pall of smoke rising to 3000 feet above the wreckage. The entire crew of 80 men were killed.

Only the little Dora reached Tobruk and unloaded her cargo of around 400 tons.

Beaufort-RAF
07-22-2007, 03:21 PM
http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/3131/60161069mx9.jpg
http://img146.imageshack.us/img146/6259/51847407an3.jpg
http://img267.imageshack.us/img267/3547/83189539bt7.jpg
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/5453/63422690ic5.jpg
http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/2240/27006428ne9.jpg
http://img267.imageshack.us/img267/5302/78199561bv3.jpg

SeaFireLIV
07-22-2007, 03:25 PM
Cheers, Beaufort. It`s funny, but you don`t expect such jovial looking lads to have undertaken such a dangerous ride through near death! Thanks again.

MB_Avro_UK
07-22-2007, 04:04 PM
Thanks Beaufort...good posts as ever http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

I didn't realise that this action had been discussed before.But an amazing action clip IMO.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

leitmotiv
07-22-2007, 07:54 PM
What was the source for the info, Beaufort, I would like to get the book?

stathem
07-23-2007, 03:19 AM
At an educated guess it's THE ARMED ROVERS by Roy C Nesbit.

Even if it isn't, that's one you should read, leitmotiv, since it deals with "Beauforts and Beaufighters over the Mediterranean", and is a very good read.

Hoatee
07-23-2007, 03:24 AM
Excellent thread.

leitmotiv
07-23-2007, 03:36 AM
ARMED ROVERS, will seek, thanks stathem.

Beaufort-RAF
07-23-2007, 06:44 AM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
What was the source for the info, Beaufort, I would like to get the book?

Two books, the one stathem recommends and 'The Ship Busters' (Ralph Barker).

Friendly_flyer
07-23-2007, 07:08 AM
Man, that clip is intense!

Blutarski2004
07-23-2007, 06:23 PM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
What was the source for the info, Beaufort, I would like to get the book?


..... Another good book on the subject by Nesbit is "The Strike Wings: Special Anti-Shipping Squadrons 1942-45".

luftluuver
07-23-2007, 06:31 PM
OK not the MTO but the North Sea.

Cdn Squadrons in CC
Andrew Hendrie
ISBN 1-55125-038-1

Lots of day to day operations described. Appendix A and B list U-boats and ships sunk

Roblex
07-24-2007, 01:31 PM
A lot has been written about the bravery of 'The few' and the low life expectancy of bomber crew over Germany but I reckon anti-shipping missions in the Med were worse than anything faced back in Britain and yet they hardly get mentioned.

Imagine taking the average fighter or bomber pilot and saying "You have just one bomb and You must deliver it flying in a straight line at 120kts at 20feet straight into the teeth of anything from 5 to 25 AA guns, possibly with a fighter CAP and wait until you are within 100ft before dropping then pass right over the guns...oh and by the way, the bomb has only about 50/50 chance of exploding" Sure they may do it once for a special target, like the Dambusters, and a big fuss will be made and medals handed out but those Beauforts & Wellingtons & Swordfish did it every mission and very often lost most of their aircraft in the process!

okb001
07-24-2007, 02:30 PM
Most excellent posts Beaufort-RAF, thanks for all the shared details. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Choctaw111
07-24-2007, 04:10 PM
That was a very interesting clip. I have not seen one quite like that before, at least not one in which the RAF was doing an anti-shipping strike from the Germans perspective.

SeaFireLIV
07-24-2007, 04:15 PM
Originally posted by Choctaw111:
That was a very interesting clip. I have not seen one quite like that before, at least not one in which the RAF was doing an anti-shipping strike from the Germans perspective.

Yes, the only similar thing I can compare too are the footage japanese attacks on the US ships.

I looked at it again the other night and tried to imagine what it must have been like, but it`s impossible to truly know without being there. All I know is those men had a job to do, they may or may not have been scared, but once they committed they committed. It`s incredible stuff really.

p.s. It`s interesting to note that the civilians don`t quite seem to understand the potential danger they were in....

MB_Avro_UK
07-24-2007, 04:22 PM
Originally posted by SeaFireLIV:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Choctaw111:
That was a very interesting clip. I have not seen one quite like that before, at least not one in which the RAF was doing an anti-shipping strike from the Germans perspective.

Yes, the only similar thing I can compare too are the footage japanese attacks on the US ships.

I looked at it again the other night and tried to imagine what it must have been like, but it`s impossible to truly know without being there. All I know is those men had a job to do, they may or may not have been scared, but once they committed they committed. It`s incredible stuff really.

p.s. It`s interesting to note that the civilians don`t quite seem to understand the potential danger they were in.... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

Rickustyit
07-25-2007, 12:45 AM
Excellent read, thank you!


http://www.finn.it/regia/immagini/macchi/macchi202_des.jpg

leitmotiv
07-25-2007, 02:43 AM
The worst campaign in which Bomber Command was involved in WWII was the "Channel Stop" operation ordered by Churchill which involved 2 Group's Blenheim IVs under Air Marshal Stephenson during 1941-1942. The objective was to strangle German seaborne traffic in the Channel, and, particularly, along the Dutch coast north to Germany. It was a slaughter. The Blenheims were knocked down by flak and fighters in droves. The squadron commanders wanted Stephenson to beg Churchill to cancel the operation. He refused. His name became "Butcher" Stephenson. Many suspected he refused to be an advocate because he placed his career above the lives of the hapless aircrew. The campaign was not a success. The bomb/aircraft expediture rate per sunk ship was completely unsatisfactory. The campaign was finally cancelled late in 1942. There is a book by Blenheim authority, Theo Boiten, on this wretched campaign, BLENHEIM STRIKES, which is available new from Amazon UK. There is a superb chapter in Max Hastings' BOMBER COMMAND on the sacrifice of 2 Group during Channel Stop. There are harrowing images from these attacks in Boiten's book which show the masthead-height level of the attacking Blenheims (a Blenheim which lost a wing crashing into the mast of a cargo ship, Blenheims plowing into the sea at full speed, etc.). People have forgotten the first 4 1/4 years of the war were nasty for the British, to say the least. Later in the war Beaufighters and Mosquitoes were doing these ops (Banff Strike Wing) and wreaking havoc.

The.Tyke
07-25-2007, 10:55 AM
Good find ! Have you seen the other clips by WW2footage on Youtube ?

http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=ww2footage&p=r

Luke5skywalker4
07-25-2007, 04:27 PM
I watched that clip while I unplugged my headphones and the fire of that AA was intense on my surround sound speakers. It would be nice if IL-2 used more realistic sounds like that http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif.

MB_Avro_UK
07-26-2007, 03:08 PM
Hi all,

Ok ...I started this thread and I consider it to be an amazing film clip.

Look at the expressions on the faces of the Grrman Kriegsmarine sailors as the attack begins... very real. And don't forget the abilities of the German cameraman who stood his ground http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

And the bravery of the incoming aircrews is amazing.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

Waldo.Pepper
07-26-2007, 03:51 PM
Great thread.

Another account of the Attack, as Told by Manning in the Beaufort

One of the most important factors in the preparation for the Battle of El Alamein was the strangling of the Panzerarmee's (the Afrika Korps' tank divisions) sea-arteries of supply. "That was my immediate assignment on arrival at Gianaclis airfield, southeast of Alexandria. We were at it day in, day out," Ralph told me. It paid off handsomely. During September, together with the British navy's submarines, the Coastal Air Force squadrons sank nearly a third of the tonnage shipped by the Axis via the Mediterranean and forced other vessels to turn back.

In October these attacks strangled the enemy's lifeline. The most serious losses of all were suffered by the oil tankers. On the eve of the battle the Panzerarmee had a mere tenth of the fuel supply it needed. Rommel had told Hitler, when he was invalided back to Germany in September with dysentery and jaundice, that the army could not advance or even hold its ground without sufficient fuel supplies. Hitler had assured him that Africa would get all the support needed. There was no way, of course, that he could possibly fulfill that promise.

On October 24, the day after the British offensive started, Hitler persuaded Rommel to leave his hospital bed at Semmering in Austria and take charge of the battle. Rommel first stopped in Rome, where he expressed to the German military attache, General Enno von Rintelen, the need to dispatch oil supplies immediately. He then flew on to Crete and arrived at his North Africa headquarters that evening.

According to Ralph Manning, Rommel's conference in Rome must have reaped fast results; next day a 5ooo-ton oil tanker was diverted from Benghazi to Tobruk, 200 miles closer to the battle scene. The tanker, a Greek vessel christened Proserpina after the mythological queen of the underworld, was carrying 3500 tons of precious fuel.

"The first we heard about it," Ralph related, "was when we were called to a briefing that afternoon. Air Recce [air reconnaissance] had spotted this tanker and two freighters escorted by four destroyers off the Libyan coast. The gen [intelligence] was that sinking it was critical to the outcome of the battle. But then everything we were told to do was always critical."

A composite task force of five Bisley light bombers, four escorting Beaufighters, and eight torpedo-bomber Beauforts took off shortly after 1700 hours, headed out to sea, and set a course west. The drill was for the Bisleys to attack the freighters, the Beauforts to take out the tanker, and the Beaufighter crews to keep their eyes peeled for enemy fighters.

"When we made landfall two hours later, we were too far east of where we should have been. There was no sign of any convoy but below us a string of power barges opened fire with the shore batteries joining in." Charlie Bladen, Ralph's side-gunner, let fly a burst or two in retaliation, which drew a sharp rebuke from the Beaufort's other gunner, Nimmy Nimerovsky: "Save your ammunition, you stupid *******. We still have to find that tanker!"

The formation flew on. Ralph continued his narrative to me. "Just past Tobruk I saw a couple of the Bisleys circling over some ships"” three destroyers and two freighters, but no sign of a tanker. It must be further on, I thought. Then to my amazement"”and fury"”I saw our flight leader peel off towards the ships. Hell, he must know there was no goddam tanker there. Well to hell with him! In a rage I pulled up and headed further west"”a bit chancy, two Eyties [Italian fighters] appeared above us. But there dead ahead was a column of smoke. Eureka! The tanker and a destroyer."

What the task force later realized was that when it was detected by German radar a trap had been set with all the ships, except one of the destroyers and the tanker, acting as bait to protect the Proserpina. It might have worked too, but for Manning's dogged determination.
"By this time," Ralph added, "two Bisleys had joined us, who thankfully chased away the Macchis [the Italian fighters], as well as one of our own Beauforts flown by Norm Hearn-Phillips who, unbeknownst to us, had elected to follow our aircraft instead of attacking the other ships."

That attack was not only a miscalculation but resulted in a disaster as well. Three of the Bisleys took on the smaller of the merchant ships, dropping their bombs on it. Concentrated antiaircraft fire brought down one of the fighter-bombers. Next, the Beauforts struck at the freighters. One of the torpedo bombers was hit by flak but managed to climb away even though half its rudder was shot off. Another Beaufort took a direct hit when it dropped its torpedo, flipped over onto its back, and crashed into the sea. What remained of the group formed up and, covered by the Beaufighters, headed west to try and find Manning and
Hearn-Phillips.

Ralph added: "Norm made the first attack on the tanker, but as he swooped in, a shell struck the fuse box, shorting the electrical system, and his torpedo released itself, falling uselessly into the sea"”a total write-off. I didn't know it then, but that left our Beaufort with the only torpedo left in the entire force.

"I turned the aircraft to aim at the tanker from right angles. But the Proserpina's skipper took the correct evasive action by swinging toward us head on, reducing its silhouette as a target to a minimum. I was tempted to fire off the torpedo anyway, but decided instead to make an attack from the other"”the landward"”side. I turned around and approached the tanker at a 45-degree angle from abeam and, at 700 yards' range, I pressed the release button and saw the torpedo streak toward the target. At that moment, one of the Bisleys dropped a delayed-action bomb on the ship, then pulled up sharply"”a second too late. Its port wing struck the vessel's foremast, which sheared the wing off just as the second Bisley came in to attack. Up in the nose of our aircraft my navigator, Norm Spark, captured the moment on his camera for posterity. But it looked like our attack had been a dud. The torpedo had failed to explode."

As the Beaufort flew on over the tanker, one of the bombs dropped by the Bisleys exploded, slamming the bomber upwards and momentarily stopping both engines. Manning pulled back on the control column and gave the engines full throttle.

"What with bombs exploding, flak all over the bloody place, and aircraft diving in all directions, I wanted to get the hell out of there," Ralph said. "Just then Nimerovsky yelled over the intercom: 'We did it! Wow! She's going up in flame and smoke!' Our attack had been a success after all."

When Manning took aim, the Proserpina was turning inward toward the Beaufort. By the time the torpedo reached the target, it struck it a glancing blow at an angle near the port bow that sent it rolling alongside the hull toward the stern before it finally exploded.
"We didn't stick around to watch the fireworks," Ralph stated, "but we weren't out of the woods yet. In the distance, one of the Beaufighters spotted a formation of ME-iogs [German Messerschmitt fighters] to the north and well above. Fortunately, we were low enough so that they didn't see us, because we were certainly in no shape to take them on. But we had two more casualties before we reached base"”a Bisley and one of our Beauforts collided and crashed into the sea. There were no survivors.

"I hadn't realized how lucky we had been until after we landed. We had taken several bullets in one of our fuel tanks as well as the main spar."
The sequel to the scenario was that, at dusk, a flight of Wellington reconnaissance bombers flew out to finish off the convoy. The smaller freighter had disappeared, sent to the bottom by the Bisley attack. The Wellingtons sank the larger merchant ship with torpedoes, but there was no sign of the destroyers. The Proserpina was still afloat, but the fire that raged in her was visible for miles.

Following World War II, Manning remained in the air force, serving at the RCAF Staff College in Toronto, Ontario, and at NORAD Headquarters in Colorado, before being appointed RCAF Historian in 1960. In that capacity he was instrumental in securing the hangars at Rockliffe Air Station in Ottawa, Ontario, to display the National Aviation Museum aircraft collection. In 1965, he retired from the air force and joined the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa as curator.

Berwick1939
09-08-2007, 10:45 AM
I'm new to this forum so please bear with me. I met Sqn Ldr Hearn-Phillips, one of the pilots involved in the Proserpina attack, (HP to all) in the mid 90's on a trip to RAF Chivenor. HP sadly died a few years afterwards, what a lovely man. I also have the book "The Ship Busters" by Ralph Barker, and a copy of the painting by Charles J Thompson which depicts the attack on the convoy.
HP gave me a copy of a audio cassette on which couple of pilots talking about their successful hi-jacking of an Italian plane en route to a POW camp in Italy, fascinating. As my uncle was a Beaufort pilot I am most interested in this discussion. Anyone wishing to go further into this please contact me via E-mail- mgm1561939@yahoo.co.uk.

T_O_A_D
09-08-2007, 10:49 AM
Cool, Welcome to the club.

Any chance you can convert the audio over to a PC freindly format?

I'd love to here it.

Berwick1939
09-10-2007, 06:52 AM
Hi T-O-A-D. As a complete novice as far as PC's are concerned it's unlikely unless I find someone to do it for me to get the tape 'on the net'. Briefly it was given to me by HP and is of 2 pilots, one SAAF and one RAF who were talking about this event. Apparently from what I can make out the tape was sent backwards and forwards between SA and Canada each adding their bit. Their Beaufort was shot down in the Med and and an Italian seaplane came alongside. The RAF captain swam to the Italian plane. He showed to his mates apples and oranges etc who realised all was well. They swam over and were made POW's. They were flown to an Italian air force camp (Corphou) and were given a slap up meal and treated as revered guests. They were told the next day they were to be transfered to a German POW in Italy. They hatched a plan. During the flight in an Italian plane they overcame the guard and the flight crew and flew the plane to Malta having (no maps and at low level to avoid radar) had a Hurricane try for a short time to shoot them down. They landed (sic) and immediately the engines stopped, out of fuel.
My original attention was drawn to this site because of the Beaufort connection, and after reading about it for some time realised that it's more for wargaming, which I'm not really interested in.
Seeing the movie of the raid on the fuel convoy was surreal having know one of the participants. Pity I can't get the sound which I believe is on the movie. I'll keep watching this thread.

paddy06
09-10-2007, 11:51 AM
An artists impression of the attack

http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/album/showphoto.php?photo=14565

Couldn't get the picture to stick http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/compsmash.gif

www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/album/showphoto.php?photo=14565 (http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/album/showphoto.php?photo=14565)

MB_Avro_UK
07-06-2008, 06:20 PM
Bump..

JoeShredder
11-12-2013, 09:32 PM
OK Avro, found it. The newsreel was shown in November 1942. You can buy a good, sharp copy of it on DVD here:

http://ihffilm.com/vol50nov19.html

I'm getting it.


Hello and Thank You for the info!
Amazing thread!!!

I was trying to find the specific DVD that you found this newsreel on. The link you posted just lands on the index of DVD's available.
Is it this DVD?

http://ihffilm.com/22909.html

Through Enemy Eyes Vol. 9
(Two Disk DVD Set)
July 29, 1942 - - Dec 2, 1942

LColombo
02-24-2014, 10:05 AM
Hello, I know that this is a years old post, but there I found for the first time a detailed description of the sinking of "Tergestea" and "Proserpina" in 1942, including the fate of the crews. I wonder, does anyone here know so many details also about the sinkings of the tankers "Luisiano" (28.10.1942) and "Thorsheimer" (21.2.1943) and of the MV "Foscolo" (13.12.1942), all sunk by British planes while carrying fuel to North Africa?

Tully__
02-24-2014, 10:42 AM
Hello, I know that this is a years old post, but there I found for the first time a detailed description of the sinking of "Tergestea" and "Proserpina" in 1942, including the fate of the crews. I wonder, does anyone here know so many details also about the sinkings of the tankers "Luisiano" (28.10.1942) and "Thorsheimer" (21.2.1943) and of the MV "Foscolo" (13.12.1942), all sunk by British planes while carrying fuel to North Africa?
This forum doesn't get many visits any more. You could try these where a lot of the community are now active:
http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=ForumsPro
http://forum.1cpublishing.eu/forumdisplay.php?f=189
http://riseofflight.com/Forum/
http://forum.il2sturmovik.com/

LColombo
02-24-2014, 10:59 AM
Thank you, I will try there. Do you know if the user "Beaufort" is active on one of these forums (which one) and, if yes, under which name? I was trying to contact him.

Tully__
02-24-2014, 11:02 AM
I couldn't say, I'm afraid I haven't kept track much in the last few years. Family changes have kept me too busy :( (but good changes :) )

DebNiven
06-28-2019, 05:20 PM
I couldn't say, I'm afraid I haven't kept track much in the last few years. Family changes have kept me too busy :( (but good changes :) )

I’m a few years late to this thread, but Cyril ‘Nimmy’ Nimerovsky was my grandad and was the gunner in Ralph Manning’s plane. I’d love to find out more about RAF squadron 47 if anyone can help and I’d love to see the film clip mentioned if anyone has access to it or can repost a link.