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Bulge - Bastogne bombing

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  • Bulge - Bastogne bombing

    Hello folks,

    I am currently watching Band of Brothers. In episode 6, 101th is resisting the Ardennes German offensive and there is a scene where the town of Bastogne is bombed heavily, seemingly by German bombers. I had the idea that at this point, the Allies exerted complete air superiority in the West, thus German air activity was minimal. Was Bastogne bombed from the air, or by artillery?

    Just curious.

    Cheers,

    LK

  • #2
    It was bombed from the air as well as being attacked from the ground.

    24th Dec.1944 - Ju 88 bombers of I/KG 66 attacked Bastogne along with aircraft from LG 1. As a prelude to the attack the town centre was marked with magnesium flares and once the attack was over some strafing took place.

    29th Dec.1944 - Ju 88s and Ju 188s. from KG 66 formed the majority of
    the 52 aircraft, sent in two waves to attack Bastogne after dark and before dawn on the 30th. The attack was severe, being the largest single ground attack operation of the Ardennes offensive, sending the local civilian population into headlong flight
    More details here:
    Christmas 1944–New Year 1945 in the West

    At 14.00 hours on 29 December, II. Jagdkorps gave orders to 3. Jagddivision and Jafü Mittelrhein that “all aircraft carrying bombs” (which would include Ju 88, Ju 87 and Fw 190) were to make the attack on Bastogne that had been cancelled on the previous two nights. Presumably in view of recent American aerial resupply missions, orders were also given that any transport aircraft and gliders sighted were to be shot down. The Allies intercepted and deciphered this particular signal in time to issue a highest priority ZZZZZ warning to commanders in the field.

    Two hours earlier, LG 1 and I./KG 66 had been told to prepare two concentrated operations against Bastogne, the first at 17.30 and the second at 06.30 hours. If target recognition for Bastogne could not be guaranteed, Liège would be the alternative. At 17.00 hours, I./KG 66 reported that an Egon aircraft was out of commission but clearly the raid on Bastogne went ahead without it.

    On the 30th, Varel aerodrome indented for engine equipment for I./LG 1. Two days earlier a request had been made for the allocation of a first issue of Jumo 211 F and J for about 30 Ju 88 A-4. LG 1 and I./KG 66 were stood down on the night of the 30/31st December but the Bastogne area was to be the target again the next night for both bombers and Nachtschlacht aircraft. Between 17.00 and 17.10 hours, the bomber Gruppen were to make concentrated attack on stretches of road north of Bastogne, from Height 454, 1 km north west of Savy to Height 500, 1.5 km south east of Withimont. They were to carry fragmentation bombs and if the target was not clearly recognisable they were to bomb Bastogne itself or Liège. It was also intended to attack again after midnight. The I./KG 66 was told not to use its Truhe and Y-Verfahren aircraft for these missions.

    At 18.30 hours on the 31st, Uffz. Gerhard Rössiger's 2./LG 1 crew was shot down near Arlon, Belgium. They were on the Bastogne mission, flying Ju 88 S-3 WNr. 330561, L1+AH, because their own L1+BK was unserviceable and had taken off from Varel with about seven other machines. Flying below cloud, their Ju 88 was hit in the fuselage by light AA, control was lost and all four were able to abandon the aircraft and arrive in captivity unhurt.
    Last edited by CarpeDiem; 04 Jan 16, 15:58.

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    • #3
      Great info, thank you very much!

      Comment


      • #4
        The bombing in 'Band of Brothers' is the raid of the night of the 24th. The siege officially ended on the evening of the 26th when 326th Airborne engineers reported contact with "three light tanks believed friendlyThe later raid was after the so called siege.

        The 24th was a decent day for flying and during the day aircraft of the 9th Air Force had been busy around the perimetre, I think there was an air drop to re-supply the defenders too (would have to check). The Luftwaffe only came out at night! The raid killed about twenty US soldiers and a Belgian nurse.
        Last edited by ruspren; 08 Jan 16, 14:14.

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