Sunday, 31 January 2016

Sonderkommando Elbe. Compiled by Cesar Winkelmann

Colonel Hans Joachim " Hajo " Hermann
On 7 April 1945, a group of 180 Messerschmitt bf 109 fly on Germany's skies, however, they are not armed, their mission is: rammed against the American bombers. This bold tactic of the Luftwaffe was created by Colonel Hans Joachim " Hajo " Hermann; a desperate attempt to regain control of the sky.
  The American bombers killed many civilians mainly in Dresden, which led to Luftwaffe take extreme measures. The main objective of the mission was: ramed and scare the American bombers to the point that they stop up the bombers by 4 or 6 months, which would be enough to to build Messerschmitt Me 262 top models, the first Luftwaffe´s jet plane to recover the domain of the sky.

The aircraft of choice for this mission was usually a later G-version (Gustav) of the Messerschmitt Bf 109, stripped of armor and armament. The heavily stripped-down planes had one synchronized machine gun (usually a single MG 131 in the upper engine cowling) instead of up to four automatic weapons (usually including a pair of 20mm or 30mm underwing-mount autocannon) on fully equipped Bf 109G interceptors, and were only allotted 60 rounds each, a normally insufficient amount for bomber-interception missions.
To accomplish their mission, Sonderkommando Elbe pilots would typically aim to ram one of three sensitive areas on the bombers: the empennage with its relatively delicate control surfaces, the engine nacelles which were connected to the highly explosive fuel system, or the cockpit itself. One of the most famous reports of cockpit ramming was against a Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bomber, nicknamed “Palace of Dallas”, along with another bomber that the German plane careened into after slicing the cockpit of the “Palace of Dallas”.
Adding to the last-ditch nature of this task force, the only mission was flown on 7 April 1945 by a sortie of 180 Bf 109s. While only 15 Allied bombers were attacked in this manner, eight were successfully destroyed.

A B-24 Liberator spirals out of control, its tail end sliced off by the ramming attack of a Bf-109 of the "Sonderkommando Elbe" task force.

Order of the battle

Successful missions

Rank / Name / Former Unit e/a Unit Status

Uffz. Heinrich Rosner, (ex-III/JG.102), two B-24 Liberators of the 389th Bomb Group; the first B-24 rammed was lead bomber 44-49533 “Palace of Dallas”; Rosner’s aircraft then careened into an unidentified second B-24, possibly the deputy lead bomber; Survived

Obfw. Werner Linder, (ex-EJG.1), 1 B-17 Flying Fortress 388th Bomb Group, KIA

Fhr. Eberhard Prock, 1 B-17 452nd Bomb Group, KIA, Shot while descending in his parachute.

Fw. Reinhold Hedwig, 1 B-17 452nd Bomb Group, KIA, Shot down by 339 Fighter Group P-51.

Uffz. Werner Zell, 1 B-17 100th Bomb Group.

Uffz. Werner Zell, 1 B-17 452nd Bomb Group, WIA Shot down by P-51.

Ogfr. Horst Siedel, 1 B-17 452nd Bomb Group, KIA

Lt. Hans Nagel, (ex-IV/JG.102), 1 B-17 490th Bomb Group, KIA, Shot it down by conventional armament, damaged a second B-17 by ramming.

Fritz Marktschaftel

Uffz. Klaus Hahn, 1 B-17 487th Bomb Group, WIA – Left arm by 4 P-51Ds fire.

Heinrich Henkel, 1 B-24 “Sacktime” 467th Bomb Group, WIA by P-51s, Survived.

Unknown Bf 109 pilot, 1 B-17 100th Bomb Group, KIA

Unknown Bf 109 pilot, 1 B-17 490th Bomb Group, KIA

Luftwaffe records claim at least 22-24 American aircraft fell victim to the Sonderkommando Elbe unit.