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NEWS:  29.05.2009  Tekst: Andrzej Chmielewski

69 Rocznica Bitwy powietrznej nad Międzyrzeczem

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69 Rocznica Bitwy powietrznej nad Międzyrzeczem

 65 years ago on Whitsun the sky over Meseritz (Międzyrzecz) was a witness of an air-battle between German and American planes.

On may 29th 1944 nearly 1000 heavy bombers and more than 600 fighters from the 8th Air Force started from different airfields in England, with the mission to bomb targets in Germany and in the occupied parts of Europe.
The attacks were focused on the active arm industry and feedstock production, which were important for the warfare. Civilians weren't been spared from the bombardments, too, this led to demoralization.

  Foto:  powiększ

69 Rocznica Bitwy powietrznej nad Międzyrzeczem 149 B-17 G bombers, called "flying fortresses" of the 1st Bomb Division bombed the Focke-Wulf plants in Posen (Poznań) and the nearby airfield, 52 headed for Sorau (Zary), 48 flew to Cottbus and 19 to Schneidemühl (Piła).

 

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  The bomb raid on Posen took 25 minutes, 430 explosive bombs and 550 firebombs were dropped. To warn the Polish inhabitants, there were thrown leaflets in Polish language:
" We request you to save yourselfes during the bomb raids! Save your lifes! Save your families! Keep attention to the cautionary measures when air alert appears! You are needed for the reconstruction of free Poland!"

   After dropping the bomb load, the formations didn't fly straight ahead to the West, they took direction to the North. They wanted to fly across the Baltic Sea and then back to England, because this seemed to be the safer way. The bombers were escorted by P-51 "Mustang" fighters, but some planes were lost over Germany due to Flak or enemy fighters.69 Rocznica Bitwy powietrznej nad Międzyrzeczem
The 1st Bomb Division suffered the heaviest damages namely 8 bombers, 3 of them belonged to the 305th Bomb Group, which bombed the Focke-Wulf plants in Cottbus. While the return flight the group was attacked by German Focke-Wulf 190 fighter planes, there was a large air fight. Two "flying fortresses" were shot down, one crashed near Janau (Janowo), one crew-member was killed, the others were captured. The 2nd bomber downed near Prittisch (Przytoczna), the crew was captured. The Germans had to pay a high price for this two victories - eight German planes were shot down, only three pilots survived. One of this planes had to crash-land Sout of Meseritz, the others crashed in Meseritz area.


 Stanislaw Socha, a Polish forced laborer in Poppe (Popowo), remembers the happenings:
"... This was on Pentecost 1944, May 29th midday. I saw a large group of American bombers flying high, so high, that I could only see small points on the blue sky. This heavy bombers were escorted by small fighter planes. Then they were attacked by German planes, there were heavy fights between them. Suddenly I noticed a low-flying German plane, comming from  South, followed by an American fighter. The hunted plane then started to burn and black smoke appeared and then it catched the top of three pine trees and crashed on the ground. It was frezzled in pieces, the engine was about 100 feet away from the wreckage. ... All the people wanted to go there and to see what had happened. But when the German authorities realized, that it was one of 69 Rocznica Bitwy powietrznej nad Międzyrzeczemtheir planes, they had sent the civilians back. Me and my father in law, we were sent there by the mayor. We went there with a small wagon, we had to recover the pilot's body. We saw the dead man lying on the field. It was a young guy. We took him on the wagon and then to the mortuary in Poppe. Later his family arrived and they took the coffin.
After this disaster, they ordered the forced labourers to the crashplace to pick up the ammunition. I had to do this work, too. This were pieces of the ammunition belt with 3 - 5 rounds, which were lying in the field....
"
 

   (Hopefully) You will be able to read more in our projected book about the air-fight over Meseritz. For this reason we are still looking for documents, information and eye witnesses. If anybody has information about the happenings on Whitsun 1944, please send them to: pilot05@op.pl.

 

obraz

69 Rocznica Bitwy powietrznej nad Międzyrzeczem

Author: Andrzej Chmielewski

 

 

To remember the happenings from 1944, the artist Marek Dziewa painted an oil painting, showing the air battle over Meseritz.
 

[ click on image to enlarge ]

29 May 1944 - The airfight over Meseritz
Author: Marek DZIEWA



 

69 Rocznica Bitwy powietrznej nad Międzyrzeczem 69 Rocznica Bitwy powietrznej nad Międzyrzeczem 69 Rocznica Bitwy powietrznej nad Międzyrzeczem 69 Rocznica Bitwy powietrznej nad Międzyrzeczem 69 Rocznica Bitwy powietrznej nad Międzyrzeczem 69 Rocznica Bitwy powietrznej nad Międzyrzeczem

 

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