Junkers 88 B3+EC

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Junkers 88 B3+EC, Cheshire

3 May 1941. After dropping their bombs on Liverpool, the crew of Luftwaffe Junkers 88 B3+EC prepared to return to base at Brétigny-sur-Orge, south of Paris but were hit by bullets from a Boulton-Paul Defiant night fighter at about ten minutes to midnight.

The port engine of the Ju-88 stopped and pilot Leutnant Hans Glänzinger ordered the other 3 crew members to bail out.

Leutnant Glänzinger’s parachute failed to open while wireless operator Unteroffizier Gerhard Harmgart had failed to secure his parachute harness properly and both men fell to their deaths. The bomber crashed here at Lostock Gralem in Cheshire.

Flight engineer Feldwebel Helmut Richter and co-pilot Unteroffizier Hans Stettwieser both survived and were taken prisoner.

Hans Stettwieser, in a letter written in 1977, said he badly hurt his knee leaving the burning Ju-88 and “dropped into a river (it must have been the Mersey or Weaven), swam with my heavy airman-outfit to the river-bank, where a lot of (not very friendly) people were waiting. That was on 3rd of May 1941 about midnight.”

According to Smith (2003) and other sources, credit for shooting down the Junkers went to New Zealander, Flying Officer Verity and Sergeant Wake in Defiant N1803 of 96 Squadron based at RAF Cranage which is just a few miles south of the crash site.

However in a more detailed (if confusing) account, Bamford & Collier (2005) say that the claim for the kill was disputed between the men of 96 Squadron at Cranage and their rivals at 256 Squadron at Squire’s Gate near Blackpool. According to them, credit was given on 6 May 1941 to men of the latter, Flight Lieutenant Deanesly and Sergeant Scott in Defiant N3450.
A contemporary photo of this air crash graces the cover of the English Heritage document Military Aircraft Crash Sites

Sources
Luftwaffe over Manchester, Peter J C Smith, 2003
Eyes of the Night, Joe Bamford & Ron Collier, 2005
RAF Cranage 1939-1957 (http://www.rafcranage.org.uk)


Publicity photo of a Boulton-Paul Defiant, source wikipedia

5 comments on “Junkers 88 B3+EC
  1. Ang Wickham says:

    A great tale here, the controversial nature of the ‘kill’ typical of the time: and when it comes to Night Fighting who ever could tell. A difficult and pretty much impossible task expected of those men, and in a Dauntless – not my kind of fun in a defensive role. Great post this Ian. Still, have to say: LOVE how your presentation comes up here.

  2. Danny Fray says:

    hi just looking at the picture of the crash site the picture on the English heritage document appears to be taken from the other side of what I think is wade brook hard to tell because the a556 now runs through the site.do you know if there is any evidence left at the site or was all trace removed.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Danny, I found nothing but then wasn’t particularly looking as the crash site was in the middle of a potato field. I got the location from Luftwaffe over Manchester by Peter J C Smith, but it’s not precise. I imagine the farmer has found scraps over the years and a metal detector might reveal something under the surface. Crash sites of German bombers rarely have debris left, have always been a prize for souvenir hunters.

  3. Dave Firth says:

    Hi can anybody help me with pointers towards stats on German aircraft numbers brought down over Merseyside during 1940-41 period? Locations of sites would be an added bonus. Thanks in advance!

  4. Paul Smitham says:

    I live locally and was told the crash site was Lostock Green not Lostock Gralam .

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