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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 52993
Last updated: 17 February 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic ME09 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4
Owner/operator:II./JG 2 Luftwaffe
Registration: 7058
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Waalhaven airfield -   Netherlands
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Calais-Marck airfield, France
Destination airport:
Notlandung infolge Brennstoffmangel (emergency landing as a result of fuel shortage).

Damage: 85%

On 22 March 1941, following many successful attacks on the Atlantic Convoys that were so vital to Britainís survival, the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau entered the port of Brest for repairs. They were joined on 1 June by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. With the ships under constant Allied air strikes and Hitler demanding increased protection for occupied Norway, the German Naval War Command decided to bring all three vessels home to Germany. The Berlin Admiralty preferred the Denmark Strait passage but also considered the shorter but more dangerous route through the English Channel, that was chosen by Hitler. The code name of the operation was Cerberus.

Aware this run for home might take place, the Royal Navy set up Operation Fuller to deal with the threat and Coastal Command flew air patrols over Brest and the English Channel both day and night to monitor the situation. Their plans were based on the assumption the German ships would leave Brest by day and complete the most dangerous part of their journey, the narrow waters of the Dover Straits, by night. Actually the German ships left Brest in the evening of 11 February 1942, prefering to sail as far as possible before being detected and attempting a daylight passage.

Oberst Adolf Galland, the General der Jagdflieger, had devised the air side of the operation, code names Donnerkeil. He had at his disposal 252 days fighters (from JG 1, 2 and 26 and the fighter school in Paris) and a few night fighters. The plan called for 16 fighters to cover at all time the formation. The aircraft then would land on fields to the east of their take off points, refuel and rearm and take off again, some pilots flying four missions during the day.

The German naval formation was not detected by the submarine and the Hudsons patrolling near Brest and almost reached the Dover Straits before being seen by some British fighter pilots, at about 11.00am on 12 February. The first attacks on the German fleet were made by coastal guns and by MTB and were unsuccessful, as was then the attack by the only available Fleet Air Arm trained for torpedo attack, 6 Swordfishs of 825 Sqn that were all shot down. The RAF flew 675 sorties (398 by Fighter Command, 242 by Bomber Command and 35 by Coastal Command). The weather was reported to be from 8/10th to 10/10ths cloud cover, down to 400 feet (121 metres) with rain showers, making any air attack especially difficult. Only 39 of the 242 bombers which took part found and attacked the ships and no hits were scored by them or by the other aircraft. The British lost 40 aircraft (8 Spitfires, 8 Hampdens, 6 Swordfishs, 6 Wellingtons, 4 Whirlinds, 3 Beauforts, 3 Hudsons, a Blenheim and a Beaufighter) while Spitfire pilots claimed 18 victories, 3 probable and 17 damaged. The German fighter units lost only seven aircraft shot down or wrecked (and four pilots killed) while claiming 37 victories, including 15 for Swordfishs.

Six old British destroyers also engaged the fleet but the only result was that the HMS Worcester was heavily damaged. The complete success of the operation so far was marred by the fact that the Scharnhorst stroke two mines and the Gneisenau one, but both reached safely Germany.

JG 2 had a very successful day and claimed 17 victories (including 8 Swordfishs, more than the actual number present) for very limited losses, two aircraft damaged beyond repair and six damaged, all in accidents in Belgium or Netherlands. All the pilots were unhurt.

The two JG 2 losses were the Bf 109 F-4 WNr. 7058 of II/JG 2, that was destroyed at 85% in a crash-landing due to fuel shortage on Waalhaven airfield, near Den Haag, and the Bf 109 F-4 WNr. 7651, that was also destroyed at 85% in a crash-landing on Vlissingen airfield due to bad visibility and low cloud base.

"The JG 26 War Diary, volume 1: 1939-1942", by Donald L Caldwell. ISBN 1-898697-52-3
"Fighter Command War Diaries Volume Three: January 1942 to June 1943", by John Foreman. ISBN 1-871187-39-7
Luftwaffe claim lists by Tony Wood and Jim Perry (
Wood, JG2 Loss-List s.14

Related books:

Revision history:

17-Dec-2008 11:45 ASN archive Added
13-Feb-2016 06:56 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Phase, Source, Narrative]
11-Feb-2017 20:03 TigerTimon Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Source, Narrative]
16-Feb-2017 06:54 TigerTimon Updated [Damage]
16-Feb-2017 09:32 TigerTimon Updated [Damage]
06-Jan-2018 22:21 TigerTimon Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
03-May-2019 12:52 stehlik49 Updated [Operator]
04-Nov-2019 18:28 TigerTimon Updated [Time]
04-Nov-2019 18:31 TigerTimon Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
04-Nov-2019 18:32 TigerTimon Updated [Departure airport]
04-Nov-2019 19:02 TigerTimon Updated [Departure airport, Source]

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