Operation 22 FEB 1944 - Aalborg Updated: 28 MAY 2019
4 planes were lost that day. Hot
Rock and Pot O'Gold were shot down by Oberleutnant
Müller in his Ju-88 over the North Sea.
Ball Turret Gunner Lester Schrenk and the other airmen of B17 42-31377 were escorted to landfall by the German Pilot! In 2012 they became friends!
B17 42-31377 (AirmenDK)
Pot O'Gold Pilot 2nd Lt
William R. Lavies See
Sgt Schrenk and Obl Müller in 2012 and
many links from there.
TIMELINE FEBRUARY 22ND 1944 – MISSION 230 – AALBORG DIVERSIONARY RAID
23.15 21.02.44 MAXIMUM
EFFORT orders forwarded to
305th Bombardment Group at
Chelveston and the
92nd BG at Podington.
01.15 22.02.44 ORDERS
arrive via teleprinter from FIRST BOMBARDMENT DIVISION HQ at Brampton Grange
for specialist staff at Chelveston and
03.15 AIR raid sirens sounded at both bases – Luftwaffe bombers detected operating in the area. Work continues to prepare the aircraft for the raid.
04.00 CREWS destined to fly on the mission are woken.
04.31 ALL-CLEAR. Air raid siren sounded to signify Luftwaffe bombers have now left the area.
05.00 CREWS at both bases
are briefed on the forthcoming mission, which is intended to divert
Luftwaffe fighters from heading southwards to intercept
08.00 AIRCRAFT begin taking off from Chelveston and Podington. The main force heading to Germany departs an hour later.
09.06 THE amalgamated
formation, with the 92nd BG leading, gathers then finally departs from its
rendezvous point above Louth in Lincolnshire, heading
13.01 LUFTWAFFE fighters
are scrambled to meet the formation of B17s, tracked
heading towards Denmark. They are on a route which could see
13.08 THE B17s sight the
Danish coast – but the country is covered in solid cloud, with the cloud
topping out at 8,000 feet. The formation is flying
13.25 ENEMY fighters
encountered for the first time over the Danish coast. The interceptors are
deterred from pressing home their attack by strong
13.38 GERMAN pilots
confirm to ground control that not only is the mission, given the number of
aircraft, a diversion but reveal that some of the aircraft
13.55 LUFTWAFFE ace Hans
Müller is vectored to the American formation. Flying a
JU-88, he is told
to observe the bomber formation, particularly
14.13 THE bomber formation
arrives at Aalborg (here
- zoom), but visual bombing is not possible. The crews
circle the city, twice. Radio messages
14.26 LUFTWAFFE fighters, though limited in number, began attacking the B17s with vigour, with further anti-aircraft fire at 14.43
14.42 HANS Müller attacks,
and shoots down, ‘HOT ROCK’. The aircraft is last seen heading out to sea
heading in the direction of Sweden, but
14.45 WITHIN minutes, Lt.
Müller engages ‘POT O’GOLD’ causing severe damage.
He takes a position behind and to one side of the stricken bomber
14.55 – 15.20 ALL bombs carried by the B17s are jettisoned into the North Sea.
15.00 DEFENDING fighters
again engage the American bombers, with Herbert Christmann claiming ‘’ace’’
status with the downing of ‘’LIBERTY RUN’’ –
15.02 ERICH Naujokat,
flying his first interception mission and operating as wingman to Herbert
Christmann, engages ‘MI-AMIGO’ in what his colleagues
15.10 THE Luftwaffe fighters begin heading back to base as the B17s head towards home across the North Sea, now travelling at 19,000-feet.
15.15 ‘MI-AMIGO’ – trailing smoke from her wings and at least one engine – begins lagging behind the formation and eventually is lost from sight.
16.10 RADIO transmission
from ‘MI-AMIGO’ using call-sign LIFTBOY VICTOR is received and answered.
The badly damaged bomber is still airborne,
16.28 THE B17s travelling
ahead of ‘MI-AMIGO’ make landfall over the English coast only to find heavy cloud
blanketing much of central England.
16.59 ‘MI-AMIGO’ emerges from low cloud over Sheffield, South Yorkshire, with engines faltering.
17.02 NO survivors as ‘MI-AMIGO’ crashes into Endcliffe Park. See also Sheffield Bomber Crash: Flypast on 75th Anniversary.