I. Gruppe Jagdgeschwader 77 - I./JG77
Messerschmitt Bf 109E1 I./JG77 France 1940
While the Sitzkrieg was punctuated by sharp clashes, it provided plenty of time for recreation. This aircraft, an E-1 belonging to 1/JG77, demonstrates the new lighter scheme which came into use late 1939. No longer afraid of being caught on the ground, more concerned with being seen in the air, Lt. Blue was painted high up the sides of Bf 109s. The spinner and propeller blades are painted Black-Green. The camouflage net is not a net as such, but stretched wire with faggots of weeds of weeds and straw attached. (Bundesarchiv)
Messerschmitt Bf 109E 1./JG77 (White 11+o) partially hidden in trees France 1940
Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 1./JG77 (W13+) Oblt. Hans-Jurgen Ehrig crash-landed Tenterden, Kent POW 01
Photo 01: The Bf 109E-4, 'White 13' of Oblt. Hans-Jurgen Ehrig, the Staffelkapiilin of 1./JG77, lies crumpled in a field at Gates Farm near Tenterden, Kent on the afternoon of POW . Damaged by fighters while over Hornchurch on an escort mission, Ehrig attempted to return to France but, harried by F/Lt. M.L. Robinson of 601Sqn, he was forced to put his damaged aircraft down and was subsequently taken prisoner. POW was disastrous for JG77 which, newly introduced to the Battle of Britain, lost five aircraft from 1.Staffel and one from 2.Staffel.
Messerschmitt Bf 109E 1./JG77 (White 15+o) Germany 1939
2nd Staffel I. Gruppe Jagdgeschwader 77 - 2./JG77
Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1 2./JG77 (R1+o) Hannes Trautloft Juliusburg Germany Sep 1939
Messerschmitt Bf 109E 2./JG 77 (Red 4+o) crash site German territory 1940
Messerschmitt Bf 109 T-2 2./JG77 (Red 5+) See Adler Lister Norway 1941
Profile 01: This Messerschmitt Bf 109T2 2./JG77 (Red 5+) See Adler Lister Norway 1941
Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1 2./JG77 White 13 Germany 1939
Messerschmitt Bf 109E1 Hptm. Hannes Trautloft, 2./JG 77, Juliusburg, Germany, September 1939
Red '1' was flown by veteran of the Spanish Civil War, later the ace and Knight's Cross recipient Hptm. Trautloft, and was an example of the oldest camouflage scheme used on the E-1. The upper surfaces are in the standard irregular patterns of two dark greens, RLM 70/71. The sharp demarcation between these and the lower RLM65 was very low on the fuselage, Upper surface colors also curled under the leading edges of the wings to extend to the bottom surfaces. Inconsistent upper and lower color demarcation appears on the engine cowling. The striking red markings reveal service with 2. Staffel and the shoe emblem identifies the planes connection to I./JG 77, which descended from IV./JG 132. It was with this aircraft that Hptm. Trautloft commanded his Staffel during the Polish campaign.
"Èervená 1" veterána španìlské obèanské války, pozdìjšího stíhacího esa (58 vítìzství), nositele Rytíøského køíže a rebela Hptm. Trautlofta je pøíkladem nejstaršího kamuflážního schématu používaného na Bf 109E-1. Horní plochy jsou tvoøeny dvìma odstíny tmavì zelené barvy (RLM 70/71) se standardizovanými lámanými hranicemi. Ostré rozrhaní mezi horními a spodními plochami (RLM 65) bylo velmi nízko. Svrchní barvy byly navíc pøetaženy pøes nábìžnou hranu až na èást spodních ploch. Neobvyklé øešení pøechodu svrchních a spodních ploch se objevuje na krytu motoru. Pestré èervené doplòky znaèí pøíslušnost ke 2. Staffel a rozbitá bota byla znakem I./JG 77, který jednotka pøevzala od IV./JG 132. Se zobrazeným strojem vedl Hptm. Trautloft svou Staffel bìhem polské kampanì.
Additional Information Eduard plastic models - http://www.eduard.com/
Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 2./JG77 (Black 13+) belly landed Battle of France 1940 0A-0B
3 Staffel I. Gruppe Jagdgeschwader 77 - 3./JG77
Messerschmitt Bf 109 T-2 3./JG77 (Y3+) Luftwaffe pilot Franz Josef Wienhusen Norway July 1941
Profile 01: This Bf 109T2 3./JG77 (Y3+) Franz Wienhusen Norway July 1941
Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 3./JG77 Red/Brown 13 Karl Raisinger crash-landed Brighton POW
Profile 00: Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 of 3./JG77 flown by Gefr. Karl Raisinger. Gefreiter Karl Raisinger forced landed his Bf 109E-3, 'Red 13', north of Saltdean near Brighton on 25 October after it was damaged in combat with RAF fighters. The aircraft was camouflaged in a high demarcation 02/71 finish with light 02 mottling on the fuselage and fin. The upper and lower cowling, spinner and rudder were painted yellow and the '13' was a dull brownish red thinly outlined in black. Beneath the windscreen there were signs of wear or repainting and some of the paint of the starboard Balkenkreuz appeared to have flaked off revealing the 02 primer coat beneath. A small Danish flag was painted beneath the bottom rear corner of the canopy and four black Abschussbalken were applied unevenly on the fin either side of the Hakenkreuz. Although not visible in any of the photographs, RAF reports state that the name 'ROCHO' was painted on the port side of the cowling in red.
Messerschmitt Bf 109E 3./JG77 (R13+) Raisinger crash-landed Brighton Oct 25 1940 01-04
Photo's 01-04: On 25 October, Gefr. Karl Raisinger of 3./JG77 was flying this Bf 109 'Red 13' on a mission to London escorting Bf 109 Jabos of 1. and 2 Staffel. Approaching the target area, a great number of Spitfires and Hurricanes were observed apparently awaiting the German formation. However, the bombs were dropped and the whole formation was on the return journey at 17,000 ft when the British fighters attacked. Raisinger dived towards the Channel, not realizing his aircraft had been hit in the engine and radiator. Soon the cockpit filled with smoke and Raisinger was low over the Channel when his engine stopped. He turned back and crash-landed at Harvey's Cross, North Saltdean, near Brighton. On interrogation, Raisinger said he thought he had been hit by a cannon shell - note the large hole in the cowling, but this was more likely to have been the result of a fire, the Crashed Enemy Aircraft Report stating that the starboard side of the engine cowling was burnt out level with the sparking plugs. The aircraft showed signs of previous ownership. A row of flags under the cockpit had been painted out leaving only the Danish flag partly visible on the port side and the victory bars on the tail recorded the success of the previous pilot.
Messerschmitt Bf 109E 3./JG77 (R13+) Raisinger crash-landed Brighton Oct 25 1940 05
Photo 05: Gefr. Raisinger's 'Red 13' on display in Rootes' car showroom in Maidstone, Kent.
II. Gruppe Jagdgeschwader 77 - II./JG77
Messerschmitt Bf 109 T-2 4./JG77 White 10 Johannes Ranwig Dronthelm June 1941
Profile Source : FlugClassic November 2013
Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 5./JG77 Black 5+ propaganda Aalborg Aug 1940
Photo 01: Propaganda photo of 5.Staffel II. / JG 77 in Aalborg in August 1940. The squadron had shot down, a total of 15 machines an entire Blenheim squadron. 2. From the left: First Lieutenant Frederick. 3. From left: Lt. Schmidt, 4. From the left: Sgt Smith. 5. From left Fw. Robert amount the top scorer of the season. The group, as well as the squadron insignia under the cabin was removed in the photo by the censor.
III. Gruppe Jagdgeschwader 77 - III./JG77
Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 7./JG77 (W2+~) Morlaix airfield Normandy 1941
Photo 01: Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 7./JG77 (White 2+~) Morlaix airfield Normandy 1941
Messerschmitt Bf 109E 7./JG77 (W2+~) Wolfdieter Huy WNr 4931 Tanagra 01
Photo 01: On 27 April 1941, the 11,363 BRT troopship 'Slamat' was bombed and sunk. The Staffel kapitan of 7./JG77, Hptm. Wolfdieter Huy and his Rottenflieger, Uffz. Pfeiffer, were both credited with direct hits and the ship sank after also being attacked by Ju-87 and Ju-88 units. Photographed at Tanagra on the same day as the sinking, the tail of Hptm. Huy's Bf 109E 'White 2', W Nr. 4931, has already received an appropriate marking, the 'Slamat' being represented by the fifth and largest ship silhouette. Tanagra is a town and a municipality north of Athens in Boeotia, Greece. The seat of the municipality is the town Schimatari. It is not far from Thebes
In January 1941 she resumed convoy defence duties, and in March formed part of the escort of military convoys taking British troops to Greece as part of "Operation Lustre". In April, with the fall of Greece, Wryneck returned to assist in the evacuation of Allied troops. On 26 April she and Diamond rescued troops from Nauplia. The next day, 27 April, she sailed with Diamond to assist in the rescue of survivors from from the Dutch troopship Slamat, which had been disabled in air attacks. After picking up 700 crewmen and troops, the two ships came sustained air attack from Ju 87 Stukas of JG 77. Wryneck and Diamond were both sunk about 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi) east of Cape Maleas, Greece, in position 36°30′N 23°34′ECoordinates: 36°30′N 23°34′E. Of the 983 men from all three ships, only 66 survived.
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 1/.JG77 (White 11+o) Germany 1939
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 1/.JG77 (White 13+o) Germany 1939
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 1/.JG77 (White 13+o) Germany 1939 B
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 1/.JG77 (White 15+o) Germany 1939
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 2/.JG77 (Red 1+o) Hannes Trautloft Germany 1939 RLM 70/65
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 2/.JG77 (Red 1+o) Hannes Trautloft Germany 1939 RLM 70/71/65
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 2/.JG77 (Red 13+o) Germany 1939 RLM70/65
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 2/.JG77 (Red 13+o) Germany 1939 RLM70/71/65
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 2/.JG77 Red 11 Sepp Herbet Kunze Germany 1940
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 2/.JG77 Red 4+o German 1940
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 4/.JG77 White 12+ Germany autumn 1939
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 4/.JG77 White 5 Norway 1940
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 4/.JG77 White 7 Norway 1940
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E1 4/.JG77 White 8 Norway 1940
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E3 4/.JG77 White 11 Heinz Demes Kjevik Apr 1940
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E3 4/.JG77 White 12 Georg Schirmbock Kjevik Apr 1940
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E3 4/.JG77 White 13 Helmut Henz Kjevik Apr 1940
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E4 4/.JG77 White 1 CK+CI Norway 1940
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E4 4/.JG77 White 1 CK+CI Norway 1940 B
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E3 5/.JG77 Black 1 Norway 1940
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- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E3 5/.JG77 Black 5 Norway 1940
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E3 5/.JG77 Black 8 Norway 1940
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E3 6/.JG77 (Y5+-) WNr 1279 Hans Troitzsch Wangerooge 1939
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E3 6/.JG77 Yellow 9 Norway 1940
- COD game skin by asisbiz Bf 109E4 6/.JG77 (Y13+-) Oslo Fornebu Airport 1940
- COD game skin by EH Bf 109E1 4/.JG77 (W13+-) Helmut Henz Norway Jun 1940
- COD game skin by JG26 EZ Bf 109E3 4/.JG77 (W12+-) Helmut Henz Norway Apr 1940
- COD game skin by JG26 EZ Bf 109E4 2./JG77 (Black 13+) Graf Merseburg belly landed Battle of France 1940
- COD game skin by JG26 EZ Bf 109E4 2./JG77 (Black 13+) Graf Merseburg belly landed Battle of France 1940 NM
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JG77 was formed in May 1939 with I, II gruppes. III/JG77 was formed on 5 July 1940 in Trondheim from the II(J)/JG186. I/ JG77 was reorganized on 21 November 1940 into IV./JG51 and a new I/JG77 re-formed. In April 1942 1 Staffel and became the defence unit for the Poesti oil fields at Mizil. (This staffel became in August 1942 1./JG4.) JG77 took part in the Invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, and was attached to Luftflotte 3. The first Jagdwaffe victories in the West occurred on 4 September 1939, when II/JG77 shot down 2 RAF bombers over the North Sea.
In April 1940 JG77 took part in Operation Weserübung, the invasion of Norway. A third Gruppe was created in Norway in July, while the original two Gruppen took part in the Battle of France from May. After the successful invasion of France the majority of JG77 remained there, while I. Gruppe initially supported
Fliegerkorps X(under Luftflotte 5) in operations against Britain from bases in Norway. While the rest of JG77 was based in France during the Battle of Britain, III/JG77 remained deployed around Berlin. 7 & 8 Staffel was transferred to Dinan, France, in late 1940.
In May 1941, II and I2./JG77 were used in support of the invasion of Greece and the paratroop assault on Crete. Elements of JG77 also flew fighter-bomber anti-shipping missions, sinking the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Fiji and severely damaging the battleship HMS Warspite. Following the operations in Crete, JG77 was withdrawn to Romania in order to prepare for Operation Barbarossa. During this time, III Gruppe was in the process of converting to the new Bf. 109-F, a process that would be completed shortly after the attack on the Soviet Union began. As Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, started on 22 June 1941 II. and III. Gruppe plus Stab supported the advance East as part of the Southern Front. In spring 1942, JG77 was involved in the heavy air battles over the Kerch Peninsula area in the Crimea.
Hauptmann Gordon Gollob( 86 kills) was sent from the Test Centre at Rechlin to take over as Geschwaderkommodore, and Hauptmann Heinrich 'Pritzl' Bär (91 victories) was sent from IV./JG51 to command I./JG77. During May 1942, Bär and Gollob would dominate the air war over the Kerch area. The total victory tally of Jagdgeschwader 77 by 19 May was 2,011. Gollob became the first fighter pilot to claim 150 air victories in August 1942, and left JG77 soon after, being replaced by Major Joachim Müncheberg.
I. Gruppe was reorganized into I. Gruppe Jagdgeschwader 5 in January 1942, and the entire JG77 (with a newly created I. Gruppe) was then transferred south to the Mediterranean area. During operations against Malta from June-Oct 1942, I/JG77, under the leadership of Hpt. Bär, claimed 99 aircraft shot down to add to the 900 claimed in Russia. Oblt. Freytag claimed 25 kills over Malta, Obfw. Walter Brandt claiming 14.
III/JG77, with GeschwaderKommodore Major Joachim Müncheberg, arrived direct from the Russian Front,
replacing Jagdgeschwader 27 in North Africa in October 1942. II/JG77 arrived in December 1942, with 1,300 victories claimed on the Eastern Front. The two gruppen had claimed between them a total of 775 Soviet aircraft in the last four months, with a quarter of these claimed by just four pilots(Setz, Hackl, Clausen and Reinert).
JG77 saw extensive action against the Desert Air Force fighter-bombers, the unit's aces continuing to build their scores. During the Mareth offensive in Feb-March 1943, JG77 claimed 18 Kittyhawks on 26 February. Total Allied air superiority led to the various JG77 bases in Tunisia coming under constant air attack, large numbers of Bf 109's written off on the ground. After claiming a further 23 kills, Major Joachim Müncheberg was killed in action with USAAF Spitfires on 23 March.
Even under increasingly difficult circumstances, the Geschwader did their upmost to protect the retreating Afrika Korps forces. Hpt. Bär claimed 61 victories during their African service (45 over Tunisia), while Oblt Ernst-Wilhelm Reinhardt of II/JG77 claimed another 51 kills. By the 20 April 1943, JG77 were the sole fighter presence in Northern Africa. The unit flew out on 8 May, withdrawing to Sicily, leaving most of their ground crews behind. The Wing had suffered heavy losses in the air and on the ground, while claiming 333 air kills in total in North Africa.
Oberstleutnant Johannes Steinhoff now took over as unit CO, as the Geschwader, now part of FleigerKorps II (Sud)., prepared for the Allies to invade Sicily. For a vivid account of Luftwaffe operations at this time see Steinoff's book 'Messerschmitts over Sicily: Diary of a Luftwaffe Fighter Commander' (Stackpole Military History Series)
During 1943 and 1944 JG77 was stationed on the Southern Front, mainly in the Balkans Sardinia and Italy, but also in Romania. On 24 April 1944 III/JG77 intercepted USAAF heavy bombers raiding Ploesti, losing Hpt. Emil Omert (70 kills) killed in action. By June 1944, just two gruppen of JG77 were the sole air defense left in Italy and the eastern Mediterranean. In 1945 JG77 was relocated to Germany itself to help with Reichsverteidigung (Defence of the Reich). In the last months of the war part of JG77 was employed against Soviet Air Force in Silesia. In this area on 7 March, 1945 Kommodore Major Erich Leie, a 118-kill ace, was killed in combat with Yak-9 fighters.
Web Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JG77
Units: Legion Condor, Stfkpt 1./JG-77 (Channel)
Awards: Spanish Cross, EK 2, Fighter Operational Clasp
Known Aircraft: Bf 109E-4 WNr 5105 'White 13' (lost 8/31/40)
Remarks: POW , shot down during aerial combar by F/O Robinson of RAF No. 601 Sq, and belly landed at Gates Farm, High Halden while on an escort mission over Kent and Essex. One victory in Spain. One known victory, his 1st, a Morane 406 north of Valenciennes, .
|Date||Pilot Name||Unit||Enemy A/C Type||Height||Time||Location|
|Hans-Jurgen Ehrig||1./JG77||Morane 406||15.25||North of Valenciennes|
Units: 3./JG-77 (8/40 Channel)
Awards: EK 1 & 2, Fighter Operational Clasp
Known Aircraft: Bf 109E Stammkennzeichen Sktz GH+DR (dam 9/14/40), Bf 109E-4 WNr 5104 'Brown (or Yel) 13' (lost )
Remarks: POW after belly landing his E-model at Telscombe, Sussex England when he suffered engine and radiator combat damage during a Jabo escort mission to London. His 'Brown 13' was later put on display displaying one bent propeller bearing witness to his enforced dead-stick arrival (Weal). Crash landed his GH+DR at Marquise, no cause reported, pilot OK. His first victory, a Hurricane S of Tunbridge Wells on . Flugbuch.
|Date||Pilot Name||Unit||Enemy A/C Type||Height||Time||Location|
|Karl Raisinger||3./JG77||Hurricane||17.55||South of Tunbridge-Wells|
Units: 4./JG-77 (renamed JGr Drontheim)
Awards: EK 2, Fighter Operational Clasp
Known Aircraft: Bf 109F
Remarks: His first victory, a Spitfire at Stavanger (western Norway) on 1 September, 1941
|Date||Pilot Name||Unit||Enemy A/C Type||Height||Time||Location|
Hannes Trautloft with Wolfgang Falck 1942 01
Photo 01: During a tour of the Eastern Front in August and September 1942, Falck visited numerous Luftwaffe units to evaluate their ability to protect themselves at night against Soviet bombers. He is seen here visiting the Geschwader kommodore of JG54, Hannes Trautloft.
Pilots JG54 Hannes Trautloft 00-02
Photo 02: Officers of JG54. From left Oblt. Reinhard Seiler, who returned as Staffelkapitan of I./JG54 on 28 June 1941 after having recovered from wounds suffered on 5 August 1940; Hptm. Dietrich Hrabak, Major Hannes Trautloft and Oblt. Hans Philipp.
Pilots 5./JG54 Hannes Trautloft Russia Aug 6 1941 01
Photo 01: Major Hannes Trautloft, right, the Kommodore of JG54, in discussion with Generaloberst Keller, CO of Luftflotte 1. The aircraft in the background coded (B1+) is probably the Bf 109F-2 flown by Oblt. Hubert Mutherich, the Staffelkapitan of 5./JG54.
Pilots JG54 Hannes Trautloft with Wolfgang Falck 1942 01
Photo 01: During a tour of the Eastern Front in August and September 1942, Falck visited numerous Luftwaffe units to evaluate their ability to protect themselves at night against Soviet bombers. He is seen here visiting the Geschwader kommodore of JG54, Hannes Trautloft.
Pilots JG54 Hannes Trautloft signed 01-02
Web Ref: http://www.leisuregalleries.com/
'We all feel that a powerful drama is unfolding.. . '
I arrive at the airfield at 02:30 while stars still shine in the dark skies. As a result of the cool night, dew covers the clover undeRGoot and my fur-lined flying boots are damp. The airfield is alive with activity.
In the parking. places, 45 engines are being warmed-up and create a monotonous roar as the chief mechanics rev them up. Bright, blue-yellow flames shoot from the exhaust stubs and the air is filled with a rare scent from the mixture of soil, flowers, grass, petrol and oi1.As the eastern skies are tinged with colour, there is the first chirping of birds and the shadows and darkness quickly disappear. Everyone on the airfield is aware that this is the dawn of a fateful day.
Shivering, we climb into our aircraft. The metal seat is cold and the harness is damp. The chief mechanic straps me in and wishes me luck as I close the canopy. The engine starts with a thunder. As always before a combat mission, my throat is dry and perhaps my heart is beating faster than normally. At 02.50 hrs we take off. The order is for all Geschwader of the I. Fliegerk01ps to cross the border at 03.00 and as we fly over it, the front comes alive.At 03.05, heavy artillery is brought into action and everywhere, all along the front, we see the muzzle flashes of the guns. It is a rousing scene, and at this moment the Eastern Front is born. From our vantage point we can see to the north across the Memel River, while to the south the Romintener Heath is visible. We all feel that a powerful drama is unfolding, that a door is being opened on a new phase of history, but one which will possibly be fateful for us all.
We fly in the direction of Kowno. The pilots fly nervously. I recognize this from the first operations of previous campaigns. It is due to anxiety, as so much is unknown: What will the Russians do? Will our surprise attack succeed? Will the Russian fighters engage in combat? Are their aircraft superior to ours? Before and below us on the dark ground is the city and airfield of Kowno, which can be identified only through its outline and contours.At this moment the sun rises above the eastern horizon, suddenly bringing glittering rays of light on our aircraft as we fly through the crystal-clear air of the dawn of a new day.
Our bombers attack the airfield at Kowno, the bombs landing in the middle of the parked aircraft. Suddenly, there are two fighters in front of us, but they disappear as quickly as they had appeared. There is no combat with them. We fly back. Numerous fires blaze along the entire front and thick black columns of smoke rise high in the sky.
The Russians wtre not prepared in any way for the first, surprise attack and most of their bases are attacked without any resistance. Soon, however, this situation changes and our bases at Gerlinden and Lindental report that they have spotted enemy bombers flying overhead. The alert squadrons take off to prevent the penetration of East Prussian airspace and, of the 26 SB 2 bombers which enter the area, 17 are shot down. Everywhere we see parachutes and burning, crashing aircraft. The other enemy aircraft flee in a wild panic but are followed all the way to Schaulen. We fly operations throughout the day, each pilot flying five to seven sorties. Our spines and backs ache. Escort for bombers, fighter sweeps, and low-level attacks are alternated. This afternoon we gained air superiority over our area. No Russian fighter dares to appear.
During a fighter sweep late that afternoon, we carry out a surprise attack on an enemy bomber formation which consists of 50-60 SB 2s. Unfortunately, because we are short of fuel we can only make two attacks. The first one is unsuccessful, but during the second, the right engine of the bomber in front of us is burning. The aircraft jettisons its bomb load but then explodes in the air. As we turn away, we encounter strong return fire from the tailgunners in the other bombers. The enemy formation flies south but our fuel shortage compels us to return to base. We radio for reinforcements which intercept this formation and shoot down another 11 aircraft. One of our Me 109s has been hit and is unable to lower its landing gear. The pilot makes a careful and successful crash-landing. One hour later we take off for our next mission. One pilot loses his bearings during air combat but reports from Litzmannstadt in the late afternoon.
Toward dusk we fly one last mission in the direction of Schaulen but there is no contact with the enemy. We fly low over our ground troops who are half way to Kowno and Schaulen. Dense clouds of dust reveal the direction of the advance of each column, just as in Poland. There are fires everywhere; entire villages are in flames. Tauroggen is burning and produces a large column of black smoke which can be seen from far away. After the final mission, the successes of the day are reported to the Fliegerkorps. The Geschwader destroyed 45 aircraft in the air and 35 on the ground.
The strain of the day's fighting is very noticeable. We are all dog-tired and need rest, but this is a bad time for fighter pilots to sleep and we are unable to relax until the middle of the night. After just two hours, however, we have to prepare for the next day's operations.
HANNES TRAUTLOFT, KOMMODORE OF JG54
'...there was no throttle!'
During the Balkans campaign, the 'Green Hearts' Geschwader, then stationed at Belgrade-Semlin, was withdrawn from combat operations. Before our aircraft were passed on to another unit, the ground personnel did their best to bring them up to first-class condition and parked them around the edge of the airfield. Until they took delivery of new aircraft, the 'Green Hearts' therefore led a peaceful existence and each person used his free time in his own way. For the pilots, this involved some high-peRGormance Yugoslav gliders which they had found in a hangar and had made ready to f1y.Thus, every Friday, while the war raged elsewhere, such famous glider pilots as Wolfgang Spate, Franz Eckerle, and 'Hubs' Miltherich peRGormed their masterly aerobatics displays over the Semlin air base.These so impressed me that I decided I wanted to take part so, one Friday, 'Hubs' Miltherich gave me the necessary instruction, a Go-145 tow-plane was coupled up to the glider, and off I went.
At first everything proceeded smoothly. Then, at a height of 1, 000 metres, as I banked the glider into a turn, I saw below me a Do-17 which had carried out an emergency landing in one of the tributaries of. the River Danube which ran close to the airfield. Fascinated, and purely out of habit, I rolled the glider upside down to take a better look at the crash-landed Dornier. This cost me a considerable loss in height, but 1 was so engrossed that it was only as I automatically reached for the throttle that I realised that I, the experienced fighter pilot, was not seated in my Bf 109 and that there was no throttle!
Struggling to return to the airfield in a shallow glide, I saw before me, as if forming a barrier, the proud lines of Bf 109s which the ground personnel had so carefully serviced. The whole Geschwader was watching and a collision seemed inevitable, but I pushed the stick forward and hoped for the best. The nose dropped and the glider picked up a little speed, but I was still heading straight towards the parked Bf 109s. I hauled back on the stick and the glider staggered to a height of three metres, rose over the parked aircraft - and stalled.
The glider fell like a stone. There was a loud crash as it broke apart, losing its canopy and wings. I sat in the wreckage surprised but uninjured until one of the workshop foremen arrived and, anxious to be helpful, set about freeing me from the smashed remains. However, he clearly had not recognised me as the Geschwader Kommodore, for as he pulled away the splintered wood and torn fabric, I heard him dryly remark, 'I should have known! Bloody Friday again!'
Hannes Trautloft was born on 3 March 1912 at Groß-Obringen near Weimar in Thüringen. On 1 April 1931 he joined the Deutsche VerkehRGliegerschule at Schleißheim and learned to fly. In 1932 he spent four months at the secret training base in Lipezk, Russia. He returned to Germany to serve in the army until 1934 when he was transferred to Jagdfliegerschule Schleißheim as a Leutnant.
Trautloft was one of six pilots that sailed aboard the Ursaramo arriving at Cadiz, Spain on 7 August 1936 to support Franco's Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. Initially flying He 51 biplane fighters Trautloft and Kraft Eberhardt (seven victories, killed in action 13 November 1936) recorded the first German victories in Spain by each claiming a Breguet XIX shot down on 25 August 1936. On 30 August, Trautloft claimed a Potez 540 for his second victory but became the first German pilot shot down over Spain. He baled out and landed near Nationalist forces and returned unharmed. In December 1936, four prototype Bf 109s were delivered to counter the Russian SB twin-engine bombers and the I-15 and I-16 fighters supporting the Spanish Republican forces. Trautloft went on to record three more confirmed victories flying the Bf 109 for a total of five victories in Spain. Perhaps more importantly, Trautloft was responsible for developing tactics for the deployment of the Bf 109 in service. He was awarded the Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwertern for his service in Spain. On his return to Germany, Trautloft served with different units, including winning the international roundthe-alps air race in Switzerland as part of the 'Dreier-Patrouille' flying Bf 109s, before being appointed Staffelkapitän of 12./JG132 on 1 July 1938. 12./JG132 was redesignated 2./JG331 on 1 November 1938. At the outbreak of World War 2, Trautloft was serving with 2./JG77.
He participated in the Polish campaign. He gained his first victory in the new conflict when he shot down a Polish PZL P.23 attack aircraft near Warta. Trautloft was promoted to the rank of Hauptmann and became Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG20 on 19 September 1939. He gained two victories with the unit during the French campaign. I./JG20 was to be redesignated III./JG51 on 4 July 1940. The Battle of Britain saw Trautloft record two further victories to raise his victory total to five in World War 2 and 10 overall. On 25 August 1940, Trautloft was appointed Kommodore of the newly formed JG54, a post he would hold until July 5, 1943. He led the Jagdgeschwader during the remainder of the Battle of Britain. Trautloft flew 120 missions over the Channel before JG54 was relocated to Germany for rest and refit. He recorded three further victories over England to raise his overall victory total to 13.
Trautloft and JG54 participated in the Balkans campaign and Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia. Major Trautloft was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 27 July 1941 for achieving 20 victories and outstanding leadership. By the end of 1941 he had recorded 26 victories. He recorded 19 victories in 1942, including his 30th victory on 16 March, his 40th on 9 May and his 50th on 15 February 1943. On 6 July 1943, Trautloft was appointed Inspizient Ost with the General der Jagflieger's office. He was appointed Inspekteur der Tagjäger on 27 November. Trautloft's involvement in the so-called 'Mutiny of the Fighter Pilots' in 1945 led to his removal and subsequent posting to 4 Flieger-SchulDivision based at Strassburg. He ended the war with this unit based at Döberitz-Elsgrund. Post-war, Trautloft joined the Bundesluftwaffe on 1 October 1957 with the rank of Brigadegeneral. During the 1960's,Trautloft served as the Inspector General of the Bundesluftwaffe. He retired on 30 June 1970 with the rank of Generalleutnant. Trautloft was active in many veterans' organizations until his death on 11 January 1995 at Bad Wiessee near München.
Hannes Trautloft was credited with 58 victories in 560 missions. He recorded 45 victories over the Eastern front. Included in his total are five victories recorded during the Spanish Civil War.
|No||Date||Time||A/c Type||Unit||Location / Comments|
|3||1.9.1936||-||Nieuport 52||V. J/88||Spain|
|4||30.9.1936||-||Potez 54||V. J/88||Spain|
|6||5.9.1939||8:20||PZL P.23||2./JG77||Warta 15km NW Sieradz|
|7||29.5.1940||18:40||Spitfire||Stab I./JG20||SE Dünkirchen|
|8||31.5.1940||18:06||Spitfire||Stab I./JG20||N Dünkirchen|
|9||19.7.1940||13:42||Defiant||Stab III./JG51||S Folkestone|
|26||4.10.1941||10:40||I-26||Stab/JG54||Leningrad / Ljuban|
|51||17.1.1943||10:01||Il-2||Stab/JG54||N Mga: at 200m|
|54||14.2.1943||14:30||Il-2 m.H.||Stab/JG54||10 524|
|56||17.2.1943||15:02||Il-2 m.H.||Stab/JG54||10 522|
Awards :Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (27 July 1942)
Ritterkreuz (27 July 1941)
Units :J/88, JG77, JG51, JG54
|Date||Pilot Name||Unit||Enemy A/C Type||Height||Time||Location|
|05-Sep-39||Hannes Trautloft||Stab I./JG77||PZL P-23||08.20||Warta 15km NW Sieradz|
|29-May-40||Hannes Trautloft||Stab I./JG20||Spitfire||18.40||SE Dunkirk|
|31-May-40||Hannes Trautloft||Stab I./JG20||Spitfire||18.06||N Dunkirk|
|19-Jul-40||Hannes Trautloft||Stab III./JG51||Defiant||13.42||South of Folkestone|
|08-Aug-40||Hannes Trautloft||Stab III./JG51||Spitfire||12.48||Dungeness|
|25-Aug-40||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Spitfire||20.20||armelkanal|
|07-Sep-40||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Hurricane||19.00||Maidstone|
|27-Oct-40||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Spitfire||15.05||Ashford|
|30-Jun-41||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||DB-3||15.10|
|30-Jun-41||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||DB-3||15.50|
|06-Jul-41||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||SB-2||19.10|
|13-Jul-41||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||I-18||17.34|
|24-Jul-41||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||SB-3||19.52|
|04-Oct-41||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||I-26||10.40|
|07-Oct-41||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||I-18||15.15|
|07-Oct-41||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||I-16 Rata||15.10|
|25-Oct-41||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Pe-2||09.38|
|25-Oct-41||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||SB-2||14.26|
|29-Oct-41||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Il-2 Sturmovik||11.07|
|09-May-42||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Yak-1||15.50|
|09-May-42||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Pe-2||16.10|
|05-Aug-42||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Pe-2||6500m||18.35||SE Shimsk (Novgorod)|
|09-Aug-42||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Pe-2||1000m||10.00||NO Reschew (Reshev)|
|22-Aug-42||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||LaGG-3||10.15||N Uljanovo|
|28-Aug-42||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||LaGG-3||800m||05.12||N Rschev|
|17-Jan-43||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Il-2 Sturmovik||200m||10.01||North of Mga|
|14-Feb-43||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Il-2 Sturmovik||300m||14.10||10 523|
|14-Feb-43||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Il-2 Sturmovik||200m||14.15||10 562|
|14-Feb-43||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Il-2 Sturmovik m.H.||300m||14.30||10 524|
|15-Feb-43||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||P-51 Mustang||1000m||09.28||00 444|
|17-Feb-43||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Il-2 Sturmovik m.H.||400m||15.02||10 522|
|18-Feb-43||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Il-2 Sturmovik||400m||09.50||10 382|
|07-Mar-43||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||Il-2 Sturmovik||200m||14.10||18 324|
|30-May-43||Hannes Trautloft||Stab /JG54||MiG-3||09.24|
Awards: EP, EK 1 & 2, Fighter Operational Clasp
Known Aircraft: Bf 109E 'Yellow 1' in 3/JG-77, Bf 109F & G in JG-77, Bf 109G-6 (7/43 in JG-5), Bf 109G-10 WNr 130282 'White 21' (lost 12/3/44) in JG-4
Remarks: KIA after taking a flak hit near Aachen. Buried at Hürtgenwald-Vossenack Cem., found in 1993). He was killed making low level attacks against ground forces. He and 15 other German pilots, including Ernst Scheuffele, of IV and I Groups failed to return. WIA 20 July, 1943 during aerial combat with Soviet fighters southeast of Varde (Source: SIG Norway). One known victory, his 1st, a Blenheim 30 km S of Stavanger on 5 July, 1941. His 2nd, a Hudson W of Bergen on 5 August, 1941. One known while in JGr Ost, a B-24 N of Neuhausel on 7 July, 1944. Magnus, 12 victories. Bowers/Lednicer, 12 victories.
|Date||Pilot Name||Unit||Enemy A/C Type||Height||Time||Location|
|Tuesday, August 05, 1941||Franz Wienhusen||3./JG77||Hudson||6300m||13:31||W. Bergen|
|Saturday, July 05, 1941||Franz Wienhusen||3./JG77||Blenheim||11:52||S. Stavanger|
|Friday, July 07, 1944||Franz Wienhusen||4./JGr.Ost||B-24 Liberator||10m||12:40||14 Ost N/DR-19 (N. Neuhausel)|
Units: Orig. Naval Offz., Stab II/TrGr-186 (5/40), I./JG-77 (10/42), Stfkpt 7./JG-77 ( 7/41 SU & N.Africa)
Awards: RK(7/5/41)-EL(3/17/42), EP(1/23/42), EK 1 & 2, Wound Badge, Fighter Operational Clasp w/Pendant
Known Aircraft: Bf 109E-7 WNr 4931 'White 2' in 7/JG-77, Bf 109F WNr 8334 'White 1' (7/41), Bf 109F-4 WNr 8282 (25% dam 7/9/41; hit obstruction, pilot OK), Bf 109F-4 WNr 7111 'White 3' (25% dam 1/23/42; WIA at Tarpowka, combat, force landed), Bf 109G-2 WNr 13633 'White 1' (lost 10/28/42)
Remarks: POW Shot down in 'White 1' by Spitfires over the lines near Alamein and taken prisoner. Near Crete, he damaged and sunk several warships during strafing attacks. Wounded seriously in Russia in 1942. Over 500 missions. 37 victories in Russia. First two victories were at Dunkirk, one a Spitfire on 31 May, 1940, while in TrGr 186. His 31st, a Soviet SB-2 on 5 January, 1942. His 32nd and 33rd, both I-301's on 15 January, 1942. His 34th & 35th victories, both 'unidentified AC' on 19 January, 1942. An I-153 on 1 March, 1942. A double on 5 March, 1942; a MiG-3 and an I-16 Rata. A Yak-1 on 16 September, 1942. His 40th and last victory, was a Spitfire V of RAF No. 33 Sq. in the El Alamein area on 28 October, 1942. Bowers/Lednicer, 40 victories. Deceased 13 July, 2003. Flugbuch.
|Date||Pilot Name||Unit||Enemy A/C Type||Height||Time||Location|
|31-May-40||Wolf-Dietrich Huy||Stab II./JG186||Spitfire||Dunkirk|
|05-Mar-42||Wolf-Dietrich Huy||7./JG77||I-16 Rata||17.17||56 73|
|05-Mar-42||Wolf-Dietrich Huy||7./JG77||MiG-3||1800m||09.35||56 67|
|16-Sep-42||Wolf-Dietrich Huy||7./JG77||Yak-1||6000m||07.44||00 282|
On April 15th 1941, the Commanders of the Navy ( Admiral Cunningham ); the Airforce (Commodore Longmore) and the Army (General Wavell) decided that the British Expeditionary Force should retreat from Greece. This operation was code-named Demon. Responsible for the operation at sea was Rear Admiral Pridham-Wippell and for the embarkation Rear Admiral Baillie Grohman. The first evacuation took place on the night of April 24th to 25th ( D1) at Port Raphtis and Navplion. At Navplion the Ulster Prince ran aground and blocked the harbour. The next night April 25th to 26th evacuation took place at Megara. On the night of April 26th to 27th evacuation was planned for Navplion, Tolon, Port Raphtis, Raphina,Kalamata.
Signal From FOAM to VALF, SNO Suda (R), C in C, RAL, GHQME T.O.O. 1336/25/4 T.O.R. 2044/25/4 ...............Embarkation points marked by three vertical lights. Ships should arrive off embarkation point at 22.00 26 April and leave no later than 27 April. Positions C and T must each be worked by craft of 1 Glenn ship, D by 1 A-lighter, S by boats of destroyers and 1 A-lighter and Z by ships alongside.
Signal From FOAM to VALF (R), SNO Suda Cin C, RAL, GHQME, PSTO Egypt T.O.O. 1103/26/4 Correction to my 1336/25. Present situation requires that position S now be worked by Glen ship and landingcraft tonight 26th-27th. One A-lighter will be on position T. Possible caique may assist at S. RAL pos to GHQME and also my 1010
Signal From VALF To FOAM (R), Calcutta,Havock,NOIC Suda. T O.O. 1505/26/4 Your 1103/26 and 1151/26 not to Calcutta and my 0205/26. Have provided Glenearn and two destroyers for 2500 at T and two transports Calcutta and two destroyers at S. Inform Calcutta by WT if you want any change. Havock will arrive Myli (R) at 2230.
Telegram From VALF to Calcutta T.O.O. 1514/26/4 Ships detailed for position S (Nauplia) harbour may have to go to position T (Tolon) and visa versa. If so FOAM will inform you
At about 13.00 on April 26th the convoy , AG14,sailed ,from near Creta ,westward and then split into 2 parts- one part was destined for Kalamata ; the other to the rest of the embarkation harbours. The Dutch ship Costa Rica was part of the convoy to Kalamata. After a few hours the convoy split again – one convoy destined for Navplion (S-beach)/Tolon(T-beach) and the other convoy to Port Raphtis and Rafina. The Navplion /Tolon convoy consisted of the following ships:- Slamat (Tjalling Luidinga) Khedive Ismail (?) HMS Glenearn (Hill) Anti-Aircraft cruiser Calcutta (Lees) Destroyer Diamond (Cartwright) Destroyer Griffin (John Lee Barber) Destroyer Hotspur (H.Hodgkinson) Isis (Casper B.Swinley) Havock (Watkins)
On the Glenearn were the landing craft needed for the embarkation.
The Luftwaffe got a signal about the convoy by aerial reconnaissance. This was sent to the Jagdgeschwader JG77 situated at Almiros.
26.4.41 Feldflugplatz Almiros, zeltlager Gegen 12.00 uhr Aufklarungsmeldung Uber einen Starken Geleitzug, etwa 6 Transporter mit 20.000 ton. Kampftagebuch JG77 (Airfield Almiros, At twelve o'clock a reconnaissance signal about a large convoy, about 6 troopers of 20.000 tons)
And the headquarters of the VIII Fliegerkorps wrote: Nach Unterstutzung greifen wir Englischen Truppen sudlich Theben an , und solche bei Argos, ferner Einzelschiff zwischen Piraeus und Kreta, dabei werden 2 Gleitzuge ausgemacht. Einer besteht aus 7 groszen Schiffe (15000-20000 ton) geschutzt durch 15 Kreuzer und Zerstorer und durch Blenheim Zerstorer in der Luft. Scheinbar sollen diese Schiffen bei Einbruch der Dunkelheit an Land gehen und die fluchtende Englischen truppen an bord nehmen.Leider scheitert erst mal ein Stuka-Angriff wegen zu starker Flak- und Jagd-Abwehr. Einzelne Schiffe werden noch in die Laufe des Tages beschadigt. Die Ju-88 Gruppe findet bedauerlicherweise die Gleitzuge nicht. Jedoch folgt noch abends ein erfolgreiche Angriff durch die Kampfgruppe Woldenga, wobei auf drei groszen Schiffen 5 Treffer erzielt werden. Ein Schiff brennt. Etwa 40.000 t werden wieder erledigt.
(After air support we will attack the English troops south of Thebe and those at Argos; furthermore single ships between Piraeus and Kreta. We spotted 2 convoys.
One consisted of 7 large ships 15.000-20.000 tons, protected by 15 cruisers and destroyers and Blenheim planes. It is likely that these ships will embark the fleeing English troops at dark.
Unfortunately a Stuka attack failed because of heavy gunfire and enemy planes.
Some ships were damaged during the day. The Ju-squadron, unfortunately, cannot find the convoy.
On the contrary, in the evening, the squadron Woldenga carried out an effective attack with 5 hits on three ships. One ship is burning. About 40.000 tons is again eliminated.)
The convoy was first attacked at 16.40. No ships were hit. This attack was seen by the Minesweeper Salvia which was on her way to Navplion to search for mines.
At 18.00,when the convoy entered the Gulf of Navplion, it was attacked by two groups of nine airplanes of the type Ju-87 and Ju-88. One Stuka damaged the Glenearn. The hullplates were damaged, water came in the ship and the engines stopped.The Glenearn had to be towed to Suda bay by the Griffin. The landingcraft on board had to be brought to Monemvasia.
Signal From:Griffin To VALF (R), C in C, FOAM, SNO Suda, Calcutta T.O.O. 2000/26/4 T.O.R. 2052/26/4 Glenearn in tow, position 37º04'N 23º07'E heading for Sudabay.
The Khedive Ismail got a near miss and some people were wounded.
The Slamat was hit on the afterdeck near the 2nd Class Smoking room. On the Upper Deck nr A the motorsloop at starboard was destroyed and the sloop nr 12 at portside. Heavy damage was sustained on deck B on the children's deck and at deck C in the Smoking room. Only one person-a Chinese- was seriously injured The Captain and Officers ascertained that the ship was seaworthy and continued their journey to Nauplia. In the evening the Cdt General von Richthofen ordered squadron JG77 to attack the convoy at Nauplia the next morning.
"Am Abend teilt das Kommodore eine eingesunde Lastwertung uber den Morgen Angriff fur den 27.4 aus den an marschierenden Geleitzug (Navplion) ab.
The forced return of the Glenearn was a serious problem for the embarkation as the landing ships sailed with her. At 21.50 Slamat and Khedive Ismail reached the blocked harbour of Navplion. The Ulster Prince was still on fire in the harbour. They dropped their anchors far enough away from the harbour to prevent beaching as the Slamat had no sea map at all and the Khedive Ismail only a small one.
The Salvia had swept Navplion bay for mines- she found none and left for Monemvasia.
The Calcutta sailed near the harbour and let down her motorsloop and several whalers for the embarkation of soldiers. In the port embarked a small caique HMS Dolphin the soldiers and brought them to the Hotspur.
The wind was WSW4. A whaler of the Calcutta was drawn forward by the motorsloop. Due to the heavy swell the whaler capsized and the motorsloop got a rope in the propeller.
A motorsloop of the Hotspur saved the drowning men and brought the motorsloop of the Calcutta in to safety.
In a first run the caique Agios Giorgos brought 600 men to the Calcutta including several wounded soldiers.
In Tolon the embarkation was started.
The A5 and the Isis were available. Two whalers and a motorsloop brought the soldiers to the ships. The rate was 80 soldiers an hour. But not for long as the motorsloop broke down, one whaler collided with a caique and another damaged her rudder. Captain Lees from the Calcutta , who saw that the embarkation staggered ,sent out a message to Pridham-Wippell on the Orion.
Signal From Calcutta To VALF T.O.O.23.45/26/4 T.O.R. 0001/27/4 Very few light craft, my boats and boats from destroyers are bringing off all they can. A lighter is at T beach. Merchantship incapable of getting their boats themselves.Suggest Perth and Stuart go to T-Beach forthwith.
Reply Your 23.45 Perth and Stuart are going.
At 23.40 the Perth and the Stuart anchored at Nauplia. At that time no soldiers were embarked on to the Khedive Ismaill nor the Diamond. The last ship was on anti-submarine patrol.
HMAS Stuart sailed to Tolon. The A5, which had embarked 600 fully equiped soldiers, was waiting. These soldiers were transferred to the Stuart. The Stuart then sailed to Nauplia where the soldiers were transferred to the Orion at about 0100/27.
The Perth sailed at 00.50 away from Nauplia and anchored at 1.40 at Tolon where 300 men were embarked from the A5. The A5 was instructed that the next trip would be the last one so she had to take on the maximum load.
At 2.40 the Stuart returned to Tolon.
The A5 now delivered 911 soldiers to the Perth and 109 to the Stuart.
The Hotspur got orders to relieve the Diamond. Unfortunately they could not raise the anchor, so they had to do it by hand. This took one hour, and because of this the Diamond could not embark any soldiers.
The Havock had picked up Baillie-Grohman (FOAM) and his staff at Myloi at the other side of the bay of Navplion. In the meantime in Navplion the Agios Giorgios brought 500 soldiers to the Slamat on its second trip. This took time as the Slamat lie on the road. At 2.08 Pridhamm-Wippell signalled to the Calcutta: From :VALF To : Calcutta T.O.O.:0208/27/4 Convoy and escort are to sail at 3.00 promptly at maximum speed.
And the Calcutta sent a message to the Slamat to sail at three o' clock. At that time the Slamat was still taking on troops and it did not sail before 04.15. At 04.00 Calcutta and Khedive Ismail sailed away at a speed of 12 knots. The Calcutta had taken 1000 men on board; the Khedive Ismail none. At 04.05 the Orion sailed for Sudabay, the wind was NW4, temperature of the air 64oF, temperature of the seawater 50degrees F. At 04.15 the Orion had a speed of 24 knots. At 4.15 the Slamat departed and her speed was 16 knots. It is estimated that 700-2000 men were left behind. Perth weighed anchor at 04.05. At 04.30 she left with Stuart at a speed of 29 knots. At about 5.15 Stuart got machine trouble and Perth diminished speed to give her assistance if necessary. But the problem was soon solved and both ships continued on their way At 7.00 Perth and Stuart reached the Orion which was sailing at that time near Parapola. The convoy was 15 miles behind. The convoy sailed at 06.45 on the 27th of April at 37 degrees North.
The convoy consisted of : The Slamat(500 men), Calcutta (1000 men), Hotspur ( 500 men), Isis (400men), Khedive Ismail (0 men), Diamond (0 men). The convoy sailed at a speed of 14 knots to the South. At 05.00, 60 German bombers from JG77 started from the airfield of Almiros. Their instruction was to destroy the convoys sailing south of Navplion and south of Akra Taineron.
27.4.41 Feldflugplatz Almiros 5.00 Uhr Start Stab/J.G.77 mit 4 Jabo, II/J.G.77 4 Jabo 6 Jager, III/J.G.77 3 Jabo 6 Jager, III St.G.77 21 Ju 87 III/St.G.2 23 Ju 87 Auftrag: Vernichtung von feindlichen Geleitzugen sudlich Navplion und sudlich Akra Taineron. Kampftagebuch J.G.77
At 06.45 the convoy was attacked by Jagdgeschwader JG 77 and the attack continued till 10 o'clock. The Calcutta took the position between the two troopers. Captain Lees from the Calcutta saw three Me-109 planes attack the convoy. Next came planes of the type Ju-87, Ju-88, Me-109 and Do-17. The bombers concentrated their attack mainly on the Slamat as it was the largest ship in the convoy. First came in planes from Stab/JG77. who fired with machine and canon guns. Then the ship was bombed by planes of II/JG77. In the beginning the ship was not hit, thanks to anti-aircraft fire from Calcutta, Diamond and Hotspur. and the manoevering of the Slamat. At 7.10. the Slamat was hit by a 250 kilogram bomb behind the bridge and before the first chimney. The Captain's cabin, the control room and the bridge were set on fire. The ship was out of control. The Calcutta could avoid a collision. The fire extinguishers were damaged and fire swept through the ship. Captain Tjalling Luidinga gave the order to abandon ship. In the meantime the Slamat was continuously attacked and got another direct hit. The convoy sailed further on and the Diamond stayed behind for the rescue-operation because the Hotspur had troops embarking at Navplion. A few minutes later the Diamond came along side the Slamat to save the men.
HMS Griffin sent a message to VALF Pridham-Wippell
Signal From :Griffin To: VALF (R), C.-in C., Diamond T.O.O. 0710/27/4 T.O.R. 0743/27/4 Slamat bombed and badly on fire in position 37'01'' 23'10''. Diamond standing by to take her troops on board. Number not known but not large.
Signal From Calcutta To VALF (R) SBNO Suda T.O.O. 0755/27/4 T.O.R. 1011/27/4 Number embarked Calcutta 960,ISIS 408, Hotspur 500, Diamond nil, SS Khedive Ismail nil. Diamond embarked from Slamat number unknown.
In the diary of the JG77 the following was noted: 27.4.41 Feldflugplatz Almiros Der Angriffe hatte folgeden Verlauf 1. Angriff Stab JG77 beschieszt Schiff mit MG und Kanon. 2. Angriff II/JG77 Oblt Rahn erzielte einen Voll treffer mit S.C.250 Schiff stoppte und brennte 3. Angriff III/JG77. Oblt Huy erzielt einen Voltreffer. Explosion und Brand. 1 Zerstorer ging langstseit, um Truppen aufzunehemen. 4. Angriff II JG77 9.15uhr 2 Volltreffer SC250 Schiff zeigte nach Steuerbord, 2 Zerstorer waren langs seit. Die Besatzung ging in die Boote 5 Erklarung durch Do 17 der 2.(F) 11Schiff gesunken Kampftagebuch JG77
Translation: 27.4.41 Airfield Almiros The air attack gave the following result 1. Staff JG77 attacked the ship with machine gun and canon fire 2 Lt. Rahn of II/JG77 hit the target with a 250 pounder. The ship stopped and is on fire. 3 Lt Huy hit the target.Explosion and fire. 1 Destroyer alongside to embark troops 4. II JG77 attacks at 9.15 hour, 2 hits with 250 pounders Ship lists to starboard. 2 Destroyers alongside Men boarded the sloops. 5 Aerial survey by Do17 der 2. (F)11 Ship sunk Diary JG 77
Erklarung Bertold Jung II/JG 77 fuhrer 5/JG 77
An dieser Tag flog ich fruh am morgen mit zwei Schwarmen meiner Staffel eine Jabo- Einsatz auf die englischen Schiffseinheiten vor Nauplion, die im Laufe der Nacht die Zuruckgehenden Truppen von den Stranden abgeborgen hatten. Ich fuhrte dabei den ersten Schwarm, wahrend der andere von unseren "Stuka"-Mann, Olt. Rahn, gefuhrt wurde
Declaration Bertold Jung II/JG77 cdr 5/JG77
On third day I flew early in the morning with two units of our squadron on a bombing raid upon the convoy near Navplion, which had taken the retreating troops on board during the night. I led the first unit, while Oberleutnant Rahn ,our "Sturzkampf " man, led the other unit.
Wir suchten uns einen grossen, auf etwa 20.000 BRT geschatzten Dampfer- ich meine , es ware eine P&O Dampfer- heraus und griffen ihn an; Olt Rahn mit seinen Schwarm kam in Sturzflug aus der Hohe, wahrend ich im Tiefflug heranging. Ich kam dabei etwa fruher zum Wurf und muszte zusehen wie unsere Bombe das Schiff samtlich verfehlten. In Abflug konnte ich dann erkennen, wie aus den Schwarm von Olt Rahn zwei Bomben als Volltreffer auf dem Schiff einschlugen. Aus der entfernung beobachten wir dann noch, dasz der Dampfer seine Boote ausbrachten und man offensichtlich dabei war, da Schff zu verlassen.
We selected a great estimated 20.000 BRT steamer – I think it was a P&O steamer- and attacked her: Olt Rahn with his unit attacked from above and I attacked from sea level. I dropped my bombs too early and saw my bombs missing the ship.When I left I saw that the unit of Oberleutnant Rahn made two hits on the ship. From far away we saw that the ship let down her boats and that the crew abandoned ship. ( Bericht Berthold Jung, 17.2.1990 )
At the same time III/JG 77 was in the sky above the Gulf of Navplion
05.15- 6.30 Uhr: Jaboeinsatzeiner Rotte der 7.Staffel mit Olt Huy und Uffz Pfeiffer gegen Schiffsziele vor den Griechische Kuste in Raume Nauplion
Erfolge: Olt. Huy und Uffz. Pfeiffer erzielten Volltreffer auf einen auf 20.000 BRT geschatzten Transporter; dabei handelte es sich offenbar um denselben Transporter der etwa zur gleichen Zeit von der 5. Staffel angegriffen wurde.
Huy became short of petrol on the return journey. He landed on the airfield of Corinthr, refuelled and flew back to Almiros.
II./JG 77 Bericht von Bertold Jung
Bei unseren zweiten Einsatz uber der Bucht von Nauplion an diesen Morgen fanden wir auch den zuvor getroffen 20.000 Tonner wieder, um den herum eine ganze Zahl von vollbesetzten Rettungsbooten im Wasser zu sehen war. Ein oder zwei Fluzeugfuherer meiner Staffel griffen diese Rettungsboote im Tiefflug mit MG-feuer an; da ich selbst von der Marine kam , widerstrebte mir derartiges ganz grundsatzlich und ich habe es sofort nach unseren Ruckkehr fur die Zukunft unterbunden und meinen Leute vor Augen gefuhrt, daz, wer im Rettungsboot als Schiffbruchiger treibe, schon an sich ein "armes Schwein" sei, den es zu schonen gelte."
II/JG 77 Message from Bertold Jung
On our second raid above the sea of Nauplion on this morning we found the stricken 20.000 tonne ship again and we saw a great number of fully laden sloops around the ship. One or two pilots in my command fired on the sloops with machine guns. As I was enlisted in the navy, I do not like this from the bottom of my heart and when we were again on the airfield( that in the future this should not happen again) I said to my collegues, that if shipwrecked sailors are in the sloops , they are already poor fellows ( poor pigs) who you have to spare.
Statement D.M.Lees, Captain Calcutta
At 7.00 three Me 109 aircraf skimmed out from the lee of the land flying very low and from this time, for the next three hours, the convoy was continuously attacked by a mixture of Me 109, Do 17, Ju 87 and Ju 88. It is very difficult to compute the number of attacking aircraft as several attacks were beaten off by gunfire before bomb release and the same aircraft probably came in again later. A conservative estimate is 30. At 7.10 the Slamat was hit by a large bomb just before the bridge and an extensive fire broke out. Diamond who had been doing A/S patrol during the night, and had no passengers aboard, was told to go to the rescue.
During the rescue operation the air attacks continued. Hodgkinson of the Hotspur saw four bombs falling on the Slamat. Hendrik Rijnbergen ,second officer of the Slamat,was in command of boat 4 at the portside and succeeded in lowerering the boat into the water.There were about 60 soldiers in the boat. When Rijnbergen looked at the destroyer Diamond he saw about 20 Dutchmen on deck. At 8.15 Diamond asked for assistance.
Signal From:Diamond To:VALF T.O.O.0815/27/4 T.O.R.0851/27/4 Am constantly being dive bombed. Request assistance to pick up survivors.Boats in position 37'00"N 23'10"E.
At 9 o'clock Rijnbergen tried to come alongside the destroyer but there was another air attack and the Diamond had to give full speed to evade the bombs. As a result boat no. 4 capsized and several people drowned. Rijnbergen succeeded in seizing another boat.Boat no. 10 was commanded by sailor Jasper de Jong. Mr Trijsburg, A. Lokkerbol and about 60 soldiers were sitting in the boat. Because of too many people the boat capsized after two hours. Several people drowned. But after a while one succeeded in turning the boat. Then for a second time the boat capsized and again someone turned the boat.Trijsburg, de Jong and 30 soldiers were still in the boat. At 9.25 the Diamond sailed away with 600 survivors from the Slamat aboard. Unfortunately they had to leave several people behind on floats. These people were machine gunned in the water.
Signal From:Diamond To: VALF T.O.O. 925/27/4 T.O.R. 0938/27/4 Have picked up most of the survivors. Am proceeding to Suda bay.Remaining boats might make shore.
At 9.16 three destroyers from Suda bay- Wryneck, Waterhen, and Vendetta- approached the convoy. Wryneck was ordered to assist the Diamond.
Signal From :Calcutta to VALF (R), Diamond 09015/27/4 T.O.R.:1124/27/4 Wryneck proceeding to help Diamond
Waterhen and Vendetta changed positions with Isis and Havock. These last two destroyers went with full speed to Suda bay to deliver their troops. Cdt Swinley saw from the Isis that the burning Slamat was still being attacked. Aboard the Isis there was only one third of the anti-aircraft ammunition and 17 % of the 3" ammunition left. The convoy sailed at 12 knots. The Coventry would relieve the Calcutta and the convoy would sail for Alexandria instead of Suda bay because of the risky situation.
Signal From:VALF To: Coventry, Calcutta(R0, N.O.I./C Suda T.O.O.0900/27/4 0957/27/4 My 1811/26. Coventry sailing to relieve Calcutta escorting Khedive Ismail. Last position 37'00"N 23'10"E at 0720 steering 155 at 12 knots. Calcutta to proceed to Suda, disembark troops, fuel if necessary and rejoin convoy.
Signal From :VALF To C in C (R), NOI/C Suda, FOAM TOO 0917/27/4 My 1811/26 Although ships are only partially loaded, intend to sail tonight.The convoy re- routed to Alexandria. There is no room in Suda and changing situation makes further delay hazardous. Reported ARGOS aerodrome now in enemy hands.
At about 10 o'clock the Wryneck reached the Diamond. At 10.25 the Wryneck asked for immediate air support. Both ships sailed together to the disaster zone and reached this place at 11 o'clock. People from Slamat boat no. 10, Trijsburg ,de Jong and about 30 soldiers were picked up. Also Slamat boat no. 4 was found and 2nd officer Rijnbergen and several others were rescued. Then the burning ,but still floating, Slamat,was torpedoed by the Diamond. The torpedo hit the Slamat at portside near the engine room and the ship sank at 37'01"N 23'10"O. The air attacks were finished now. The convoy, commanded by Captain Lees, had no further damage sustained. The Calcutta fired more than 1200 4"grenades and several thousand rounds with pom pom and machine guns. At 12.00 Coventry and Vampire relieved Calcutta. Calcutta arrived at Suda bay at 14.30 on the 27th. Pridhamm- Wippell had asked for fighter protection for the convoy.
Signal From VALF To NOI/C Suda (R), Carlisle,Calcutta. Request fighter protection for convoys in following position- A 7 minutes East of Shalconer at 1000 B 23 minutes South of Belo Palo at 10.00 Also for convoy G.A.14 assembling 20 miles North of MALAME at 15.00.
Signal From Wryneck To Suda Bay W/T T.O.O. 1025/27/4 T.O.R.1128/27/4 Request immediate fighter protection
Aboard the Diamond about 600 men stood packed together. Captain Luidinga was below deck with boatswain Philip Sluyter drying their clothes.Afterwards they went upstairs to give food to the men and to relieve them up. Stoker petty officer H.T.Davis was relieved at one o'clock. He was just sitting at the deck near the torpedos when he saw a plane coming in from the direction of the sun with motors stopped. As far as Davis could see the Diamond and the Wryneck were attacked by two planes each.The plane dropped two bombs- one was a near miss at portside and caused a hole in the hull at the foredeck. The other bomb hit the engine room. and caused the engines to stop. The mast, the telegraph mast and the chimney came down. Davis let the steam escape from boiler no. 3 by opening the valves. Both sloops were destroyed and three carley floats were thrown over board. 30 men were in each. Then Davis jumped in the sea from the nearly perpendicular standing Diamond. The Diamond sunk in eight minutes. The plane machine gunned the men in the rafts. Most people died during this action.
The time was Sunday 13.30 on April 27th.
Waldron was warrant engineer aboard the Wryneck and gave medical assistence to an Australian officer, who was saved from the Slamat ,when the destroyer was attacked. As far as Waldron could observe the destroyers were attacked by 9 Ju-87. First there was machinegun fire and in a second attack the planes dropped bombs. It was a surprise attack and the sailors at the 4" guns were killed immediatly and no guns could come into action. The first bomb fell on the port side and crushed the hull, causing many deaths and wounded men.The second and third bombs hit the engine room and the bridge. Waldron shut down the boilers and brought the Australian Officer to the deck and took him down on a float..
The Wryneck capsized over on to its portside and went down within approximately 10 to 15 minutes after the air attack. ERA 3d class S.J.Gordine R.N.R. of the Wryneck was told in the morning by the Cdt that air support had been asked for but this support did not show up. At 13.15 he heard the alarm bells and saw how the Wryneck was hit at the portside and in the engine room. The sloop of the Wryneck could be let down in the water. Also the Carleyfloats were dropped in the water.
Petty Officer H.T.Davis of the Diamond ,who sat on a float, saw how Cdt. Cartwright,who was on the float too, let himself down into the water and so made a place for another sailor. Cdt Cartwright was not seen later. The sailor Broos who was aboard the Diamond could save himself on a float.On this float was Brand,the ship's doctor from the Slamat, a comrade and 20 soldiers. During the day the ship's doctor and his comrade died The Cdt of the Wryneck, R.H.D. Lane, two sub- lieutenants, Jackson and Griffiths, and mid-ship man Peck came aboard a float and were assisted by Able Seaman Taylor.
Because of their serious injuries, and the heavy swell, they drowned.
Waldron, Warrant Officer of the Wryneck, came aboard the sloop of the Wryneck.
Two Carley floats were towed by the sloops. In the evening the total crew consisted of :- Waldron, Fuller ,Gordine, 49 sailors and eight sailors. Among the sailors were three Dutch namely Rijnbergen, Second Officer, Trijsburg, Assistant Purser ,de Jong,sailor and Sebastias Cavelho, servant on the Slamat with Goanese nationality. They were sitting in the sloop.
Two holes in the sloops were repaired. With the aid of four oars the sloop sailed in an easterly direction. On the evening of April 27th VALF Pridham- Wippell became uneasy about the whereabouts of the Wryneck which should be assisting the Diamond. Enquiries to the Phoebe and the Perth did not clear up the situation. So HMS Griffin was sent to the place where the Diamond and the Wryneck were seen for the last time. HMS Griffin with Cdt. John Lee Barber left Suda bay at 22.30 on April 27th. The 250 sailors of the Glenearn had to stay on board.
Signal From VALF to Phoebe, Carlisle T.O.O. 2004/27/4 A Was Wryneck at 27 with G.A.14 B How many destroyers went on with convoy?
Signal From Carlisle To VALF (R), Phoebe Your 2004. Regret I did not observe WRYNECK and on instructions from D10 I left for Suda before convoy was formed. Decoy and Hasty were detached later to proceed to assistance of Costa Rica.
Signal From Phoebe To VALF T.O.O.2231/27/4 T.O.R. 2235/27/4 Your 2004 Destroyer was too distant to be individually noticed but it is thought that six destroyers were on with the convoy
Signal From VALF To Griffin T.O.O. 2136/27/4 Proceed towards Nauplia at 25 knots order follow by W/T
Signal From Griffin to VALF T.O.O. 2250/27/4 T.O.R. 2250/27/4 Have on board 150 men from Glenearn. Should these be landed before proceeding, please?
Signal From VALF To Griffin (R), Ajax, NOI/C-inC Proceed forthwith to position 037'01"N 023'10"E where Diamond was reported being bombed at 815/27 while picking up SLAMAT survivors. She reported at 9.25 that she was proceeding towards Suda. Wryneck who was sent to her assistance asked for fighters shortly afterwards. Return to Suda by 900/28.
Signal From VALF To NOI/C Suda T.O.O. 2344/27/4 Request you will arrange flying boat reconnaissance of area within 20 miles of 37'03"N 23'15"E at daylight tomorrow Monday. Object:- to locate destroyer Diamond which has not been in communication since being bombed in that neighbourhood at 0800/27.Transport boat Slamat may be in that vicinity.
On the evening of the 27th the wind rose from the West. The floats struck against the sloop. Warrant officer Waldron had to take the difficult decision to loosen the floats from the sloop. In the sloop were 4 sailors from the Slamat, eighteen men from the Wryneck and a Sargeant Major from the embarked troops. On board were four oars, a damaged compass, some food and a contaminated barrel of drinking water. Most people were wet. To warm themselves they had to row & slap themselves to stimulate blood circulation. The sloop floated eastwards. Leading Seaman Fuller had bullet wounds in his belly and thigh. Waldron was nursing him. At 02.00,in the early hours of the 28th the Griffin arrived at the place of the disaster. Twelve hours had passed since the attack on the Diamond and Wryneck. Screaming was heard from the sea and two Carley floats were found from the Wryneck. Fourteen survivors were picked up. During the morning some more floats were found.Four men were sitting on one of the floats- one of them was Broos ,the Dutch sailor from the Slamat. There were originally 23 men on this float. Stoker Petty Officer H.T.Davis of the Diamond was picked up at 07.00 by the Griffin. Griffin asked to VALF if they could continue to search. The answer was negative. So Griffin returned to Suda bay at 07.10
At that time the sloop of the Wryneck was not found. The survivors aboard the Griffin were landed at Kreta. On that island sailor Broos meet four Goanese servants of the Slamat. The five of them were than transported by hospital ship to Alexandria.
Signal. From Griffin to VALF(R), C.-in C, Ajax, ABNO Susa. T.O.O. 0230/28/4 T.O.R. 0436/28/4 Your 2250. Have recovered 14 survivors from Wryneck on two Carleyfloats in position 036'30"N 34'E. Both ships sank immediatly at 13.30 about one mile apart. Only boat to get away-one whaler not yet located. Am searching area. Shall I continue search after daylight or comply with your 22.50.
Signal From VALF to Griffin T.O.O. 0532/28/4 Your 0230 Comply with my 2250/27.
On the morning of April 28th the sloop from the Wryneck drifted about 30 miles off Milos. It was decided to reach that island. After a while the Ajax and a Destroyer passed within 6 miles of the sloop but did not pick up on her distress signals. Both ships came from Port Raphtis where they had helped in the embarkation of troops on the night of 27/28.
Some time later three destroyers- Kingston, Kimberly and Havock- passed the sloop and there was a fly-over of three Blenheims. None of them noticed the sloop.On April 28th at 12.00,Ananes Rock was seen and it was decided to land there as everybody was exhausted. A Greek caique was hidden in the bay. Aboard this caique were Greek fugitives and English soldiers.They came from Piraeus and were on their way to Kreta. They sailed only at night so they would not be discovered. The survivors from the sloop were able to come aboard the caique. In the evening all but five boarded the caique and sailed for Kreta.The remaining five boarded the sloop which was towed by the caique.
De A6 (Waters and Sutton) a small landingcraft was on his way back from Port Raphtis where they had helped in the embarking of the troops on the night of 27th/28th. On the morning of April 29th they were called by people in a full-packed caique. In the caique were the survivors of the Slamat,Diamond and Wryneck. The survivors boarded the A6 and the next day they arrived at Suda bay. On the island they were interrogated and brought to an internment camp. Leading seaman Fuller was praised by everybody for his courageous attitude. Despite serious injuries he stayed at his post and in the sloop his attitude and cheerfullness was a support to all. The Hotspur had taken back fugitives from Milos to Suda bay. After a short stop at Suda bay the survivors from the Diamond, Wryneck and Slamat came aboard and they sailed for Alexandria. As the harbour was blocked by mines they sailed to Port Said.where they landed on May 1st. There the survivors were interrogated again and sent into quaranteen. On May 6th they were released. They contacted the agent of the Slamat, the English Mining company and the Consul of the Netherlands.
Neither in Port Said nor in Alexandria was anything known about the fate of the rest of the crew of the Slamat. Also after questions to the British Marine authorities and the Dutch Embassy in Cairo no clarification could be acquired regarding the other crew members. On May 16th at Port Said, a reunion took place between Trijsburg, de Jong, Rijnbergen and Cavelho, on the one hand,and Broos and 4 Goanese servants on the other. From the crew of the Slamat only 4 Dutch sailors and 5 Goanese survived the disaster.
The others were missing in action.
The body of Second Officer G. van der Woude washed ashore on the beach at Alexandria & was buried in that city. He was identified by means of the buttons of his jack. On these buttons were engraved the name of his ship's company- Rotterdamsche Lloyd. The body of lamp trimmer J.v.d.Brugge washed ashore at Gaza (Palestinia) & was buried there in the cemetry. His family was informed on Sept 1st, 1943. The body of student steersmen,J.Pille,washed ashore at Stamperia – a Greek island. It was buried there by a fisherman. After the Germans were defeated in Greece the body was re-enterred in Athens. Every year on May 4th there is a small memorial service at his grave organised by the Dutch War Graves Commission.
The sailor Broos gave evidence in front of the Consul at Alexandria on 11th May 1941.On May 12th Rijnbergen, Trijsburg and De Jong gave evidence in front of the Consul of the Netherlands,Pierre Credy,at Port Said.
According to the previous description of the embarkation at Nauplia , the Slamat departed at four o'clock in the morning of April 27th. According to Cdt Lees of the Calcutta, all ships were given the instruction to depart at three o'clock. At 2.08 Pridham-Wippell sent a message to the Calcutta that the convoy and the escort had to leave at three o'clock. At three o'clock the Calcutta signalled to the Slamat but, because there was no reaction, the Isis was sent to the Slamat to give her an order for departure. The reason for the late departure was, according to Lees, that a great caique was unloading hundreds of soldiers on to the Slamat. It was the last chance for these men to escape imprisonment. According to Lees, the Slamat had to interrupt the embarkation and sail away. Because of the dramatic end of the Slamat was the late departure a contributory factor to the loss of the ship.
Sir Winston Churchill wrote in his book "The Second World War": "At Navplion there was disaster. The Slamat,in a gallant but misguided effort to embark the maximum number of men, stayed too long in the anchorage. Soon after dawn, when clearing the land, she was attacked and sunk by dive bombers."
K.W.L.Bezemer, Dutch maritime historian, dealt with the question in his book about the Dutch Merchant Navy in the Second World War.He wrote that if the convoy had departed on time they would not have been open to attack by German planes. And in other words if the delay was a casual factor in the sinking of the Slamat. Bezemer meant that in one hour and a quarter the convoy could have been about twenty miles more to the south and this was still in the range of the german planes. Also the fact that the fast sailing Diamond and Wryneck, at the moment they were attacked, were tenths of miles further to the south were still found and destroyed gives no evidence that the delay was an causal factor.
Neither the fact that reaching the 37th latitude would bring protection because of the umbrella of the British planes. The air support asked by the Wryneck at 10.25 in the morning of April 27th could not be given three hours later and many miles more to the south. From the recently found data of the Luftwaffe and especially the Jagdgeschwader 77, it is clear that the Nauplia convoy was discovered on the 26th and escaped total destruction as a large number of German bombers could not find the convoy. The Germans knew that the convoy set sail for Nauplia. On the evening of April 26th General von Richthoven,Cdt of the 8th Fliegerkorps planned an attack on the Nauplia convoy for the 27th and gave orders for this attack. Fighting on the land was strongly diminished and support from the Luftwaffe to their own groundtroops was no longer necessary.Support at the paralanding near the Channel of Corint on the 26 th was the last operation for the Luftwaffe. From the afternoon of the 26th the Luftwaffe could give their maximum attention to destroying the convoys.
The conclusion is that the Nauplia convoy arrived in such serious circumstances that it could only lead to a disaster. The one hour delay of the Slamat could not be seen as a casual factor in the sinking of the Slamat. Neither could the blocked harbour by the Ulster Prince or the non-participation of the landing craft of the Glenearn. It only contributed to the delay in the embarkation of the soldiers. The convoy was always in range of a large number of German aircraft.
The convoy was trapped and the only question was how large would the damage be. It is remarked that Baillie-Groman (FOAM) had predicted the catastrophe on D3 on the 24 th of April in a reaction to C- in C Cunningham. He founded this on the arguments that the British airforce at Argos was destroyed,( therefore the lack of air support)and the large number of aircraft the germans had at their disposal. It was clear that the Slamat was the victim. It was a large ship with less firepower, less manoeuvrable and not as fast as the escort ships. We think that in these circumstances only the Navy,and not the Merchant Navy,should have participated in the embarkation The marine ships had a better chance to defend themselves because of their speed and firepower and the skill of their crews. That, nevertheless,the Diamond and the Wryneck went down that day proves the danger of the situation. To the courageous crew of HMS Diamond and HMS Wryneck we are very thankful for their efforts to save our people.
Luidinga F, Het scheepsjournaal van Tjalling Luidinga 1890-1941 gezagvoerder bij deRotterdamsche Lloyd, page 142-166, ISBN 90-802461-1-5, Rijswijk september 1995.
- "HMS Wryneck, destroyer". naval-history.net. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
- "Slamat Commemoration, 27 April 2011". krlmuseum.nl. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
- Preston, Antony (1971). 'V & W' Class Destroyers 1917-1945. London: Macdonald. OCLC 464542895.
- Raven, Alan; Roberts, John (1979). 'V' and 'W' Class Destroyers. Man o' War. 2. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 0-85368-233-X.
Some of the most widely used Book References:
- Jagdwaffe: Battle of Britain: Phase One: July-August 1940 (Luftwaffe Colours: Volume Two, Section 1) Paperback Eric Mombeek (Author), David Wadman (Author), Eddie J Creek (Author)
- Jagdwaffe: Battle of Britain: Phase Two: August-September 1940 (Luftwaffe Colours: Volume Two, Section 2) Paperback Eric Mombeek (Author), David Wadman (Author), Martin Pegg (Author)
- Jagdwaffe: Battle of Britain: Phase Three: September-October 1940 (Luftwaffe Colours: Volume Two, Section 3) Paperback Eric Mombeek (Author), David Wadman (Author), Martin Pegg (Author)
- Jagdwaffe: Battle of Britain: Phase Four: November 1940-June 1941 (Luftwaffe Colours: Volume Two, Section 4) Paperback Eric Mombeek (Author), David Wadman (Author), Martin Pegg (Author)
Some of the most widely used Magazine References:
- Airfix Magazines (English) - http://www.airfix.com/
- Avions (French) - http://www.aerostories.org/~aerobiblio/rubrique10.html
- FlyPast (English) - http://www.flypast.com/
- Flugzeug Publikations GmbH (German) - http://vdmedien.com/flugzeug-publikations-gmbh-hersteller_verlag-vdm-heinz-nickel-33.html
- Flugzeug Classic (German) - http://www.flugzeugclassic.de/
- Klassiker (German) - http://shop.flugrevue.de/abo/klassiker-der-luftfahrt
- Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) - http://boutique.editions-lariviere.fr/site/abonnement-le-fana-de-l-aviation-626-4-6.html
- Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) - http://www.pdfmagazines.org/tags/Le+Fana+De+L+Aviation/
- Osprey (English) - http://www.ospreypublishing.com/
- Revi Magazines (Czech) - http://www.revi.cz/