How Luftwaffe pilots shot down Boeing with bombs

How Luftwaffe pilots shot down Boeing with FLYING FORTRESS bombs ... BOMBS

From the diary of a pilot Heinz Knocke

February 28, 1943

Lieutenant Gerhard and I sat in my room all night. The Americans give us a lot of concern. We wondered what to do with them.

Dieter came up with a great idea. Why not bomb the dense American formation using our planes as bombers.

All night we calculated the speed and trajectories and came to the same conclusion: the desired result can be achieved by simultaneously dropping bombs with all links on a dense formation of American bombers. This could be followed by a traditional attack using our usual capabilities.

The Messerschmitt-109G is capable of carrying a load of 500 (250kg) pounds. Thus, each plane can take five {17} bombs of 100 (50 kg) pounds, or one bomb weighing 500 pounds, or a bunch of small fragmentation bombs, such as I dropped on Ivanov's heads in Russia.

We need a 15 second fuse. The height for effective bombing is 1000 meters. In the morning I reported to the commander {18} about our plan. He thought it was a joke and burst out laughing. But our serious arguments convinced him, and he agreed to support our plan at the division headquarters.

In the evening, having previously warned the commander, I flew to the division headquarters in Stade. General Schwabedissen {19} and Colonel Henschel (the division's fighter aircraft commander) listened to my report and agreed to help.

Then I submitted for approval a petition for 100 pound training bombs, bomb-throwing mechanisms for all types of bombs, means for loading bombs into aircraft. In addition, I asked to provide us with an airplane for towing a target, preferably a U-88, for one hour a day. This plane, moving at a speed equal to the speed of the Boeing, will carry a target, at which we will begin to shoot.

My requests were immediately granted. Colonel Henschel did not leave the phone until we were provided with everything we needed.

We will take every opportunity to work out every detail in the coming days.

March 8, 1943

48 hours after my visit, three heavy trucks with training bombs arrived at the division headquarters. Everything else was delivered to us this morning.

Meanwhile, the unit conducts exercises every day. All my pilots are very talented and experienced, so we soon mastered the necessary maneuvers. Now we can fly wing to wing, steadily, as a single structure. Each maneuver is performed accurately and accurately, including the synchronized landing of a group of aircraft.

For combat purposes, my flight is separated from the squadron as a separate tactical unit to fight large groups of enemy aircraft. I was even assigned my own "" system.

In the evening, Dieter and I dropped the first training bombs on a target towed by the Ju-88. The results are far from perfect.

March 10, 1943

Today we practiced bombing all day in Zwischenahn. The results are great.

March 12, 1943

The first batch of military bombs arrived. The unit is now ready for new tasks.

March 16, 1943

Our mechanics work like hell, loading bombs on the plane as quickly as possible. They try very hard and I am pleased with their enthusiasm. They are really nice guys.

March 22, 1943

14.24. The siren began to sound.

A curse! Again, we don't have time to load the bombs. The Americans are approaching from the north, flying over the sea. They gathered, as usual, in the same sector of Dora Dora, above Yarmouth.

A few minutes later we received an order to return. Enemy planes have turned back and are heading west. Will they come back?

After landing, the planes are immediately refueled, the pilots are waiting for a new alarm. The intentions of the enemy are not clear as they are constantly changing course.

I am trying to load a 500 pound bomb on my plane as quickly as possible. At this time, an order comes in to take off, but I am not ready yet.

“Sergeant Wennekers, take command, ” I conveyed the order.

Wennekers waved his hand. He understood me and began to run down the runway. The others followed him. In close formation, the link rises into the air.

Sweaty mechanics work feverishly under the belly of my Gustav. I sit in the cockpit, strapped on, smoking impatiently.

- Come on, come on, faster, faster!

My comrades disappeared from sight, heading towards the sea. The Yankees crossed the coast of Holland.


My overloaded plane rumbled toward the far end of the runway. With a bomb, I can't take off with the wind. During the turn, my plane suddenly began to roll to the left - a tire burst.

I fired a red flare. My people got it. Twenty or thirty people climbed into a truck that rushed towards me. The left fender was propped up by strong backs, the wheel was changed within a few seconds, I didn't even turn off the engine.

Everything is fine! They scattered, I started to take off, but the plane again banked to the left. Despite this, I tried to climb, after 200 meters I took off, passing a few centimeters above the roof of the second hangar.

I climb at full speed into the cloudless sky, heading for the sea. Above my head are traces of the exhaust from our and American planes. A battle has already erupted here.

7000 meters. My plane can barely move with an incredibly heavy load. I barely climbed to 10, 000 meters, spending 25 minutes.

The Yankees bombed Wilhelmshaven, as far as I can tell from the smoke and fires below. They return via Heligoland.

I walked slowly forward until I was above the front vehicle of the enemy formation, which consisted entirely of Boeing. For a few minutes I was under fire from below, while with great difficulty I tried to aim, tilting one or the other wing in order to see the enemy aircraft below. Two or three holes appeared on my left wing. I lit the fuse, took aim finally and dropped the bomb. She went downstairs. Turning aside, I watched her fall. It exploded in the very center of the formation of bombers. One of the cars had a wing torn off, two more were thrown to the sides.

50 kilometers west of Heligoland, my third heavy bomber fell into the sea. There are no signs of fire. It was followed by its severed wing, falling, swaying like an autumn leaf. The bomb hit the target. This hit created a furor among the high command.

Immediately after landing, I was demanded to report to the commander of our wing. He himself was in the air at the same time as me and watched the fall of the Boeing.

- My God, Knoke, you must repeat this with all your link!

“I intend to do so, commander.

- Do you think it will work?

To be honest, I was not very confident about the success. Maybe today I was just lucky, but maybe we can shoot more of these "babies" in this way.

Colonel Henschel called later:

“I am delighted, my dear Knooke. It was delicious. I want to congratulate you.

He bleated rather and seemed flustered. I hope his monocle didn't fall into the cocoa cup with excitement.

The aviation of the German North Sea coast got its sensation.

The last delights awaited me at our airfield. To me this excitement about one downed bomber seems rather absurd. First, this bomb could have been dropped by anyone. Secondly, the idea was not mine, but Dieter's. Third, I have eight holes in the plane.

At night I was awakened by a phone call. It was a switch.

- You are called from the command of the air force.

- What? To me?

I gave my name.

On the other end of the line was a major from Reichsmarschall Goering's headquarters:

- You shot down an enemy plane today by dropping a bomb on it?

- Yes, Major.

He began asking me in detail: what type of bomb? what kind of fuse? how accurately was the attack calculated? what was the result?

- Who gave the order for the bombing?

- Nobody, mister major. I acted on my own initiative.

Silence fell on the other end of the line. The first time I thought that I had not received the order to lay such a large egg on the heads of the unfortunate Yankees, and this could be considered as highly impermissible arbitrariness.

At this time, the major returned to the line:

- I put you in touch with the Reichsmarshal.

I went through the biggest shock of my life. I was petrified, lying on the bed, and reported:

- Lieutenant Knocke, commander of the fifth flight of the first air group.

- I am very impressed with your actions. I would like to personally express my appreciation to you.

So that's it!

So we got a newly fledged Prussian lieutenant of the German Air Force, talking to his commander-in-chief lying on his bed, wearing nothing but a pajama jacket. Incredible!

If the old man had seen! I wasn't even wearing panties, the tightness annoys me. I could not help laughing at the thought.

May 14, 1943

The enemy is bombing Keel. We hurry to it, having loaded our bombs. Several times we launched a collective attack at 10, 000 meters above Holstein. Each time, enemy planes eluded us. They obviously knew our intentions.

Over Keel we got into heavy fire from our anti-aircraft guns. Unfortunately, the sailors shoot so well that we are completely disorganized.

I watched the Yankees being bombed. They dropped their bombs exactly at the German shipyard. I'm impressed with the precision with which these bastards work - fantastic!

I had a chance to carry out my plan, so I gathered everyone to complete our work.

My bomb didn't go off. But Sergeants Fuermann, Fest and Biermann managed to get in. Three "6oing" were destroyed in the air.

Relying on my machine guns and cannons, I launched a frontal attack on a separate group of 30 Boeing.

Almost immediately I felt a hit into my fuselage and had to abandon the attack. My engine is running smoothly, the gauges show that everything is normal.

I made another attack. My first salvo hit the Boeing's cockpit. He darted about like a mortally wounded animal, and abruptly went to the right. At an altitude of about 10, 000 meters, a wing came off. He crashed near Guzum at 12.17.

I returned with several holes in the fuselage and tail.

Today my flight shot down 5 bombers. The total number of bombers we shot down reached 50, and the 50th was shot down by Sergeant Wennekers. Thus, my 5th flight shot down more bombers than the staff officers, 4th and 6th flights combined.

During the squadron inspection tonight, General Holland, Fighter Commander, left an entry in the Guest Book, expressing his best wishes and congratulations on our 50th "baby."

May 15, 1943

The Americans repeated their attack on Kiel today.

I can only get five planes into the air, since almost all of our planes are seriously damaged. We met enemy planes at St. Peter-Peninsula before they reached the mainland.

Only one of our bombs, dropped by Sergeant Lennartz, hit the target. One of the Boeings crashed down