11 mei 1940: bombardement van bruggen over Albertkanaal door eigen luchtmacht

ID: 194005111587

The Lone Attack

The Belgians, despite their air force being mostly destroyed on the ground, bombed three bridges on the Albert Canal. The bombing was done by Fairey Battles of the 5/III/3, the fighter escort was provided by 1/I/2.

On the 11th of may, an attack was launched by following planes on following targets:

-An attack on the bridge of VELDWEZELT, by :

-Fairey Battle T-60, pilot Adjt. Désiré, gunner Adjt. J.Dome

-Fairey Battle T-58, pilot Adjt. G.Timmermans, gunner 1Sgt. Rolin-Hymans

-Fairey Battle T-73, pilot Kpt. E. Pierre, gunner Lt.L.Cloquette

-An attack on the bridge of VROENHOVEN, by:

-Fairey Battle T-70, pilot Kpt. A. Glorie, gunner Sub-Lt. J. VandenBosch

-Fairey Battle T-61, pilot Adjt. F. Delvigne, gunner Sgt. A. Moens

-Fairey Battle T-64, pilot Adjt. A. Binon, Gunner Korp. G.H. Legrand

-And an attack on the bridge of BRIEGDEN, by:

-Fairey Battle T-62, pilot Adjt. D. Jordens, gunner Sgt. X. De Ribeaucourt

-Fairey Battle T-68, pilot 1Sgt. G. Wieseler, gunner Adjt. A Deconinck

-Fairey Battle T-71, pilot Adjt. M.Vandevelde, gunner Korp. J. Bergmans

They would have been escorted by six Gloster Gladiators. These came in two waves. The first existed out of:

-Gloster Gladiator G-22, pilot 1Sgt Denis Rolin

-Gloster Gladiator G-19, pilot Sgt Pirlot

-Gloster Gladiator G-31, pilot Sgt Vandenbrouck

The second one existed out of:

-Gloster Gladiator G-27, pilot Kap. Guisgand

-Gloster Gladiator G-25 (or G-34), pilot 1Sgt. Clinquart

-Gloster Gladiator G-32, pilot 1Sgt. Winand

The first wave of the escort was intercepted by Messerschmitt Bf 109E's of the JG1 (8, to be exact). G-22 was shot down, the pilot survived to be a prisoner of war, G-19 was shot down too, and the plane and pilot are still missing, but G-31 escaped. Some minutes later, the second wave of Gladiators was also attacked by the Bf 109's of the JG1. G-27 was shot down, its pilot wounded, G-25 (or G-34) was also shot down, its pilot killed, and again a Gladiator was lucky: G-32 escaped. The attack was also having some troubles: Battle T-60 was intercepted by a Dornier 17, and had to make a belly-landing, its gunner wounded. Battle T-58 was shot down by Messerschmitts of the I/JG27, its crew killed, and only Battle T-73 managed to hit the bridge in Veldwezelt (with 1 bomb). Battle T-70 was hit by flak while attacking its objective: it caught fire, the gunner managed to bail out, but the pilot was killed. 3 of its bombs hit the bridge, without causing damage. Battle T-61 was hit directly by a shell: the crew died. Only T-64 returned from the Vroenhoven bridge, its bombs having missed it. Battles T-71 and T-62 never got near their objective: T-71 was hit by friendly fire and aborted its mission, making it back to the base with a wounded gunner. T-62 was also hit by friendly fire, its crew bailing out of the burning aircraft. Only Battle T-68 reached its target, but its bombs hung up below the plane, and it was hit and had to make a belly-landing. Surprisingly, its bombs didn't explode under the aircrafts weight. The crew managed to get out. Of the 9 Battles and 6 Gladiators, only 3 Battles and two Gladiators returned. (20031009)

Land: BEL