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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 248661
Last updated: 21 September 2021
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Date:05-MAR-1943
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic ju88 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Junkers Ju 88 A-4
Owner/operator:1./KG 76 Luftwaffe
Registration: 140497
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Mediterranean Sea -   Mediterranean Sea
Phase: Unknown
Nature:Military
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Narrative:
On 1 March 1943 the convoy MW22 left Alexandria with 13 cargo ships and three tankers, escorted by two destroyers and six escort destroyers (one of each Greek, the other British) and sailed westwards. On the third, one transport detached from the convoy arrived at Tobruk. The next day, the convoy split: 9 cargo ships escorted by three escort destroyers formed convoy XT4 destined for Tripoli, while the remaining ships continued towards Malta: the cargo ships Greystoke Castle (British, 5853 GRT, built 1928), O'Henry (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942) and Tosari (Dutch, 7029 GRT, built 1919), and the tankers Erinna (Dutch, 6233 GRT, built 1936), Yorba Linda (Panamanian, 6900 GRT, built 1921) and RFA Cherryleaf (British, 5896 GRT, built 1917) escorted by the destroyers HMS Kelvin and RHS Vasilissa Olga and the escort destroyers HMS Dulverton, HMS Rockwood and RHS Pindos.

At 1435 hrs HMS Dulverton reported via radio to Malta that she was shadowed by one enemy aircraft. At the tme she was at 33° 22' N, 14° 13' E. This aircraft reported a convoy of 5 steamers and 2 tankers, and 14 (or 18 according to the book Mediterranean Air War) Ju 88s of I./KG 54 and I./KG 76 were dispatched against it. The attack was launched under difficult weather conditions 180 km northeast of Tripoli. The British reported that the attack was launched by 12 Ju 88s at 1910 hrs (at dusk). The German crews claimed two steamers of 10,000 GRT each sunk and two more damaged.

Actually they only damaged two ships: the Panamanian tanker Yorba Linda was damaged by near miss but was still able to steam 8 knots, and the Dutch tanker Erinna was also slightly damaged. Apparenlty there were no casualty on the Allied side. One German aircraft was claimed shot down by AA fire.

Actual German losses were two Ju 88s and their crews. The Ju 88A-4 WNr 142372 B3+GH of 1./KG 54 was shot down by AA fire into the sea 180 km northeast of Tripoli with the loss of its four crew (Lt Anton Schach (pilot), Uffz Werner Auschra (observer), Obgfr Ernst Pippig (radio) and Obgfr Heinz Christof (air gunner)). The Ju 88 A-4 WNr 140497 FI+DH of 1./KG 76 did not return from the shipping strike and was posted missing with its four crew (Lt Kurt Höhner (pilot), Uffz Herbert Polewka (observer), Fw Fritz Nüske (radio) and Obgfr Friedrich Klinkhardt (or Klinghardt?) (air gunner)).

Some books say the Yorba Linda was sunk or heavily damaged in this attack. Real damage was minor, and she reached Malta safely with the convoy MW22 the next day (6 March) at 1446 hrs. Four days later, both Yorba Linda and Erinna left Malta with the convoy ME 19 to return to Egypt.

Sources:

"A history of the Mediterranean Air War 1940-1945. Volume Three: Tunisia and the End in Africa November 1942 – May 1943", by Christopher Shores and Giovanni Massimello with Russel Guest, Frank Olynyk and Winfried Bock. ISBN 978-1-910690-00-0
https://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/4647.html
British Admiralty War Diary, 5 March 1943 (https://www.fold3.com/image/302098012 and https://www.fold3.com/image/302097814)
British Admiralty War Diary, 6 March 1943 (https://www.fold3.com/image/302098171)
War Diary, German Naval Staff Operations Division, Part A, Volume 43, March 1943 (English translation)
German crew lists provided by Matti Salonen (http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=59572)
http://www.denkmalprojekt.org/2018/verlustliste_kampfgeschwader-54_1943_wk2.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
09-Mar-2021 08:59 Laurent Rizzotti Added
11-Mar-2021 09:30 Anon. Updated [Operator, Operator]

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