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Thread: Bombing Bastogne

  1. #1
    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    Default Bombing Bastogne

    Recently I acquired a document grouping of a radio operator that flew 22 late war operations with a Ju88 and because his "Leistungsbuch" (flightlog) is in the group the research was really easy.
    I hope you guys enjoy reading his story.


    Friedrich (Fritz) Hufnagel (°1924) from Pforzheim had learn to fly with gliders with one of the NS glider clubs and thus it can't be a real surprise that he volunteered to serve as an aircrew member in the Luftwaffe.
    He was accepted on October 1 1942 and he started his basic training on October 20 1942 with the 8th company of Fliegerregiment 51, this was a training company for truck drivers, he gets some further infantry training with the 9th company of his regiment and in March 1943 he is transferred to a Nachrichten unit in Plauen.
    In May 1943 he starts his radio operator training in Koninggrätz which will last until mid December 1943 and finally he attends pilot school B33, where he gets trained in blind flying.
    On February 1 1944 he gets his LW Borderfunkschein and a month later he arrives in his first combat unit: 13/(Kampf) Lehrgeschwader, a bomber unit equipped with Ju88's, with this Staffel he will still not fly combat mission but is trained further and in August 1944 his training is finally completed and he becomes a member of the 5th Staffel of his Geschwader and at the end of the month he will fly his first combat mission.

    At the end of August 1944 the Luftwaffe bomber squadrons are just a shell of what they were at the start of the war five years ago, they are limited to small group night strikes and harassing missions.
    His first combat mission is a night raid on Verdun on August 28 1944, followed by a second mission to the same target three days later .
    His third mission is flown on the second day of the battle of the bulge, a bombing mission on the Dutch city of Sittard, his Ju88 is hit by AAA in the right wing.
    The fourth mission is on December 18 1944, bombing AAA positions and searchlights in Liege, on December 23 1944 this mission will be repeated.
    His sixth mission is one that is well known in history, on Christmas eve his Ju88 L1+AM drops two 1000 Kilogram bombs on Bastogne.
    His seventh mission is a special one, dropping two magnetic mines in the Scheldt river estuary on Christmas day; it is in support of the Kriegsmarine special forces (midget submarines and small speed boats) that hold a Christmas offensive against allied shipping on the river.
    Later on the same day he flies in a different Ju88 a mission to bomb the south edge of Bastogne again.
    The ninth mission is flown on December 29 1944, once again bombing Bastogne (Westside) and the next day again, this time the North side of the town, this is where the Belgian army barracks are located which were used by General McAuliffe as his HQ.
    On new years day he flies his eleventh mission, again to Bastogne but the priority target, USA Army positions in the woods aren't very visible and the secondary target, Liege, is bombed, their bombs explode in the town and start a fire but their Ju88 is also hit by AAA in the hull and wings.
    His twelfth mission is to bomb Laroche on January 13 1945.
    On January 18 1945 they bomb a concentration of tanks with firebombs in "Dideren", I think this is Dieteren in Holland.
    On January 22 1945 he is awarded the EKII.
    About his fourteenth mission I have a bit more information, on January 23 1945 20 Ju88's will drop magnetic mines in the Scheldt river estuary, it turns out to be the last attempt of the German to mine the Scheldt river, in the next five days the minesweepers manage to clear the 36 mines they dropped.
    This is his last mission flown in the West, his unit packs up and moves East to confront the crisis on the Oder river front in March/April 1945.
    He will fly seven mission on the Oder front, trying to bomb bridges, roads and Soviet AAA; his last mission is flown on April 20 1945, a midnight bombing mission on the interstate between Lübben and Zössen (the battle of Berlin).
    He is extremely lucky that he survived 22 combat missions this late in the war for this he will be awarded the Flrontflugspange in Bronze in April 1945 and finally a promotion to Uffz on May 1 1945 just before he became a POW.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    An image of his Leistungsbuch, a detailed flight log, it contains way more information then the much more common Flugbuch you come across once in a while.
    It is written in Sütterlin but most of it I was able to read.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    RKI- Reasonably Knowledgable Individual heavy_mech's Avatar
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    Fantastic stories again Peter! Thanks so much for your continued efforts to bring this history to life. Some very interesting actions I had not previously known of and now have some more understanding. Great work!
    "Wen Tausend einen Mann erschlagen, das ist nicht Ruhm, das ist nicht Ehre, denn beinsen wird's in späteren tagen gesiegt hat doch das Deutsch Heer. Podest nicht die Paten der Soldaten doner die da Sterben sollen, soll man geben was sie wollen, sahs sie Herzen, sahs sie Küssen, den sie wissen nicht wann sie sterben müssen"

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    Senior Member jack944's Avatar
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    Default Flight

    Nice to hear about the Flyboys.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Eh jbmauser's Avatar
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    Another fascinating read! Thanks Peter!
    WTB: Rough milled, blued, unnumbered floor plate as found on late MO rifles. Unnumbered MO bands, both KM and standard type, MO KM stocks including an unaccepted one, MO bands and stock 5897, upper band 0643

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