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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 177240
Last updated: 6 April 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic me11 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Messerschmitt Bf 110 D-0
Owner/operator:Stab./Erp.Gr.210 Luftwaffe
Registration: 3338
C/n / msn: S9+AB, grüne A
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Bletchingly Farm, Catts Hill, Rotherfield, Sussex, England -   United Kingdom
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:Calais-Marck airfield, France
Destination airport:
Mission: Dive-bombing attack on Kenley aerodrome, London, England.

Pilot: Hauptmann. Walter Rubensdörffer. – Killed - Ritterkreuzträger

Radio/Op: Obergefreiter. Ludwig Kretzer. – Killed


Flying in over Sevenoaks, Rubensdorffer, leading his Gruppe turned on a south-westerly course to commence his run up on Kenley. By this time airfields in the immediate area had been alerted and fighters scrambled to intercept. For a reason only know to Rubensdorffer, Erprobungsgruppe 210 dived to attack Croydon.

Lt. Karl-Heinz Koch, Gruppe Technical Officer, believed it was the haze which led Rubensdorffer to attack the wrong airfield; Otto Hinze believed maybe the mist and the presence of English fighters over the area of the aerodrome, who began to attack E.G. 210, is the reason that Rubensdorffer suddenly attacked the aerodrome which was laying below him. In this stuation, and from this height, about 3,000m – it was very difficult to decide whether this aerodrome was Kenley or Croydon.

Shot down in combat with Hurricanes of No.’s 32 and 111 Squadron following dive-bombing attack on Croydon aerodrome. Dived into ground after combat with fighters and disintegrated over a wide area. Markings: A in green and on stabilising fin werke/Nr.3338. Aircraft made by Gotha Waggon Fabrik. Engines: DB 601. Armament: Two 20 mm cannon and four 7.9 machine guns recovered. Traces of .303 bullets in various parts of the aircraft.

The pilot was found with a telegram from General Kesselring, congratulating him on his Iron Cross, for courageous leadership. On the 19th August 1940 he was awarded Knights Cross posthumously. The Gruppe lost seven aircraft in its attack on Croydon aerodrome and this loss was more poignant as the Gruppe had lost its Kommandeur. Walter Rubensdorffer had only two weeks earlier celebrated his 30th birthday.

Sussex police report regarding a crashed aircraft at Catts Hill, Rotherfield. (Pat Burgess Collection).

Walter Rubensdorffer. x2 (Pat Burgess Collection).

Ludwig Kretzer. x2 (Pat Burgess Collection).

Both airmen share the same grave at the Deutsche Soldatenfriedhof Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, England. Block 9 Grave 20.

Rubensdörffer and Kretzer share their grave with Ofw. Oskar Strack + 26.10.1940 (Vasco).

Researched and compiled by Melvin brownless. Special thanks to John Vasco and the late Pat Burgess. April 2015.


Luftwaffe losses


Revision history:

24-Jun-2015 05:29 Daniel Nole Added
30-Sep-2015 16:32 sandman56 Updated [Operator, Narrative]
09-Jul-2019 18:35 TigerTimon Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
10-Dec-2019 20:30 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]
04-Jan-2020 20:13 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Operator]

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