W/Cdr W. Ferris -- 408 Squadron
The twin engined aircraft was identified as a JU-88 and made an attack from the starboard beam, breaking away at 200 yards on the starboard beam after a short attack from 400 to 200 yards. Evasive action taken by the Halifax was a corkscrew.
The JU-88 again positioned himself for attack on the starboard beam, up at a range of 700 yards. As the enemy aircraft came to attack at 600 yards, the rear gunner gave the order to corkscrew and later a diving turn to starboard, the enemy aircraft broke away at 400 yards on the fine port quarter. During both these attacks, no one opened fire.
The third attack came from the same or possibly a different JU-88, however on this occasion the attack was made from dead astern, down, where it was first sighted at a range of 600 yards. At 500 yards the order to corkscrew was given and the rear gunner opened fire at 400 yards giving 3 bursts of approximately 100 rounds and again at 200 yards getting a long burst of approximately 100 rounds. The JU-88 opened fire at 400 yards and ceased firing at 200 yards as it broke away.
Sgt McKay believes the JU-88 was hit and damaged as it was last seen peeling off into the clouds below. The time was 20:00 and the airspeed and course were the same.
There was no searchlight activity or anything unusual in the way of lights or flares. The IFF was not on although the jammer switch was in.
F/Sgt J. Harty -- 408 Squadron
The first took place at position 51:11N-05:43E at approximately 20:46
when a unidentified single engined aircraft was sighted by Sgt Hamilton,
the rear gunner on the starboard quarter below. Visibility was excellent,
with a ½ moon on the part and 10/10ths cloud 3,000 to 4,000 feet
The rear gunner gave instructions to turn into the attack and these orders were carried out promptly by the pilot. The enemy aircraft did not open fire, but both Sgt Taylor, in the mid upper turret, and Sgt Hamilton, in the rear turret, opened fire at 300 yards with a short burst each of approximately 50 rounds. Hot hits were observed on the enemy aircraft, which was not seen again after breaking away at 250 yards.
The second encounter took place at 21:18 at a position 41:29N-04:10E while on course of 293 degrees and travelling 210 mph. Visibility was excellent with a ½ moon above on the port side and 10/10ths cloud 3,000 to 4,000 below. Searchlights shining on these clouds appeared to the crew to indicate the position and track of their bomber. The jammer was on, but no affect was noticed on the searchlights or on the little light flak that was around.
The enemy aircraft was first sighted by the rear gunner, who identified it as an ME-110 on the starboard quarter below at 600 yards. The enemy aircraft levelled up and came into attack and the rear gunner gave instructions to turn starboard and dive, and at 300 yards both the rear gunner and mid upper fired at short burst of 50 rounds. No hits were observed on the enemy aircraft, which broke away at approximately 250 yards without firing. Still not deterred the ME-110, he again positioned himself on the starboard quarter level at 600 yards and attacked.
Again our rear gunner gave instructions to turn starboard and dive and although the enemy aircraft did not fire, our gunners fired at 300 yards with a burst of 100 rounds each. The ME-110 again broke off at 250 yards but was still undismayed, for it once more positioned itself for an attack, this time from dead astern, at 600 yards.
The rear gunner gave instructions to corkscrew and at 300 yards opened
fire with a burst of 150 rounds and saw tracer entering the fuselage of
the ME-110. The enemy aircraft did not open fire and was last seen diving
into cloud below.
P/O I. MacKenzie -- 408 Squadron
P/O McIlroy, the mid upper gunner, sighted an enemy aircraft after leaving the target at position 51:10N-05:45E. The aircraft was first sighted on the port bow level at 1,000 yards and was identified as a JU-88. The time was 20:55, visibility was good with a bright moon above on the port side and a good back ground of 10/10ths cloud at 8,000 feet. The Halifax was flying at 14,000 feet on a course of 291 degrees at 205 mph.
The JU-88 moved from the port bow level to the port beam and positioned himself for a beam attack at 800 yards. As the enemy aircraft came in to attack at a range of 600 yards, P/O McIlroy gave the order to port, which cramped the enemy aircrafts curve of pursuit, and he was unable to allow enough deflection to fire at the Halifax.
The mid upper and P/O Ball, the rear gunner, both opened fire at the JU-88 with 2 bursts of 50 rounds each. The JU-88 broke away at 200 yards dead astern and flew in the opposite direction. After straightening up and getting back on course, the mid upper again sighted the same or possibly another JU-88 on the port quarter up at 800 yards, the position, course and speed were the same as before, time was 21:00.
He opened fire at 600 yards and gave the order turn port and climb, firing 2 burst of 100 rounds. The JU-88 broke away at 300 yards and once again flew away dead astern in the opposite direction.
As the Halifax once again got on to course, the mid upper sighted a JU-88 on the starboard beam, down at a range of 1,500 yards, time was now 21:05 and height was down to 14,000 feet. The enemy aircraft positioned himself for attack on the starboard beam, level at 1,000 yards and came straight in to attack. At 600 yards the Halifax took evasive action by turning to starboard and the enemy aircraft opened fire with 2 cannons firing from the nose.
His aim was inaccurate due to the evasive action taken by the Halifax and once again the curve of pursuit was cramped. The two gunners both opened fire at 400 yards and continued firing until the JU-88 broke away dead astern at 100 yards after firing 500 rounds each. Tracer was seen to enter the JU-88 cockpit and fuselage and is claimed by the gunners as a probable as it was last seen diving steeply into cloud at 8,000 feet on the port quarter below.
At 21:05, the mid upper sighted another JU-88 on the starboard bow level at 1,000 yards. The enemy aircraft came straight in to attack and the mid upper gave the evasive action, turn starboard and dive. No one opened fire and the JU-88 broke away at 50 yards on the starboard bow down, passing under underneath the Halifax to the port quarter level. At 1,000 yards on the fine port quarter the JU-88turned around and made an approach to 700 yards, then it turned and flew away dead astern in the opposite direction. The bomber did not take evasive action although the pilot was prepared to corkscrew.
There was no searchlight activity for these attacks and nothing unusual in the way of lights or illuminating shells were seen.
The pilot spoke very highly of the gunners during these attacks, especially
of their acute night vision.
F/Sgt P. Townsend -- 420 Squadron
Sgt Murray, the rear gunner, and F/Sgt Dorland, the 2nd gunner, first saw the enemy aircraft simultaneously, directly below at a range of 150 yards. The 2nd gunner was in the astrodome at the time.
The Wellington was 60 miles from the target on the return trip, flying at a height of 13,000 feet, 150 mph on a course of 325 degrees. The visibility was good with a ½ moon, 10/10ths cloud which tops at 7,000 feet.
Immediately the enemy aircraft was sighted, evasive action was taken by diving to the starboard. The next attack came from the port beam slightly below the Wellington. Evasive action was taken by turning into the attack. The ME-110 made 5 attacks from alternate sides, in each case from below and on the beam or quarter. No stern attacks were made. The enemy aircraft pressed home these attacks to within 150 yards, firing several bursts which were indicated by the muzzle flash, as no tracer was used.
The 2nd gunner was directing the action from the astrodome while the
rear gunner was firing each time he was able to bring his guns to bear
on the ME-110. Tracer was seen to straddle the ME-110 several times and
the crew were of the opinion that some hits were made. After the
last attack the enemy aircraft broke away into the clouds and the Wellington
also took cover in the clouds, continuing to take evasive action. Nothing
more was seen of the ME-110. There was no damage to the Wellington. No
other activity was observed prior to the attack.
Sgt G. Perks -- 420 Squadron
The ME-110 was first sighted by Sgt Day, the 2nd gunner, who was standing in the astrodome as they were leaving the target at a range of 800 yards on the starboard quarter up.
When the enemy aircraft closed to 600 yards F/Sgt Graham, the rear gunner,
told the pilot to do a tight turn to starboard. The enemy aircraft broke
away to port at about 400 yards. As he broke away the rear gunner fired
a burst of about 150 rounds. No damage was observed. The ME-110 did not