"Palm Sunday Massacre"

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Klaus1943
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"Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by Klaus1943 » 14 Mar 2015 19:10

On Sunday, 18 April 1943, 65 Ju 52s were returning to Sicily from Tunisia, which were escorted by 15 Bf 109s of II./JG 27 and 7./JG 53 and 4 Bf 110s and Me 210s destroyers of ZG 1 and ZG 26. This formation was intercepted by 46 P-40s and 11 Spitfires. This date became to be known among the Allies as Palm Sunday Massacre. According to Eric Hammel's Air War Europa,61 Ju 52s and 15 Bf 109s were shot down by the Allied fighters which included claims by three American fighter pilots who were credited with five apiece. The loss was six P-40s and one Spitfire.

The latest information I have from the German side comes from Jochen Prien's Die Jagdfliegerverbände Vol.11/I which states that 24 Ju 52s crashed into the sea and another 35 were forced to land in Tunisia. There is no indication of how many, if any, were written-off or to what degree, if any, they were damaged. One twin-engine destroyer was lost in addition to one Bf 109 of JG 27, plus one damaged 20% and one forced to land due to engine defect. The Germans claimed one Spitfire and three P-40s.

It appears that the Allies heavily over-claimed, especially the 15 Bf 109s and the Germans underclaimed Allied fighters. If anyone has detailed information regarding the Ju 52s, I would very much appreciate it.

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Prosper Vandenbroucke
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Re: "Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke » 14 Mar 2015 20:34

Hi Klaus,
Difficult to give you an exact number of Ju-52 which been shot down.
Here below you will find some links:
http://www.57thfightergroup.org/history/goose_shoot/
http://forum.armyairforces.com/info-on- ... 50482.aspx
http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=24
According to this webpage:
http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=12518
fifty one Luftwaffe tri-motor air-transport planes and sixteen escorting fighters
http://members.iinet.net.au/~gduncan/1943.html
According to this blog in french language
http://airplane.over-blog.com/article-6363251.html
Le massacre dura dix minutes au cours desquelles les P-40 revendiquèrent 59 Junkers et 16 Messerschmitt
Kindly regards from Belgium and very sorry for my poor english knowledge.
Prosper :wink:

Klaus1943
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Re: "Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by Klaus1943 » 14 Mar 2015 22:42

Thank you for the links, all of which I read. My source, the excellent multi-volume works on the German fighter arm by Jochen Prien, et al. do list the German fighter losses by units which includes damaged aircraft. Unfortunately, a similar work on transports, bombers, Stukas, etc. does not exist, as far as I know.

The fact is that the Americans heavily overclaimed as did the British and Italians. The Germans also at times overclaimed but not nearly as much as did the other air forces. In this case, the Allies claimed around 15 German fighters when in fact only one Bf 109 and one twin-engine fighter was lost, a total of two. The Italians were not involved. This is a ration of claims to kills of more than 7:1. The fact that this occurred over the sea can partly excuse this overclaiming. It is unlikely that the Allied fighters had gun-cameras.

The Allies were reading the Enigma transmissions which may explain the Allied claim of more than 60 transports matching the 24 losses plus the 35 forced to land. This does not explain the heavily overclaiming of German fighters.

Hopefully, the third volume of Christopher Shores' Mediterranean Air War will answer these questions.

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redcoat
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Re: "Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by redcoat » 14 Mar 2015 23:35

The Germans also at times overclaimed but not nearly as much as did the other air forces.
There is no evidence that this is correct.

Klaus1943
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Re: "Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by Klaus1943 » 15 Mar 2015 19:20

To the redcoat:
The Palm Sunday fight is a good example of Allied overclaiming where they claimed 15 Bf 109s but actually downed only one, whereas the Germans claimed four Allied fighters but accounted for seven. I had read one of the fighter pilots accounts where he believed his gunfire hit and/or downed a couple of Allied fighters but because another Allied fighter got onto his tail, he was unable to observe his victim crash and he did not have the opportunity to witness his comrades' claims. Check out Christopher Shores first two volumes of the Mediterranean air war where this information comes from.

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redcoat
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Re: "Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by redcoat » 15 Mar 2015 21:40

Luftwaffe fighter pilots claimed around 3,000 RAF aircraft during the Battle Of Britain, nearly 2,000 more than the RAF lost in total to all causes (including accidents)

Klaus1943
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Re: "Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by Klaus1943 » 17 Mar 2015 00:42

The RAF lost a total of 1557 aircraft during the BoB:
Fighter Command: 1023
Bomber Command: 376
Coastal Command: 148
Source: Stephen Bungay: THE MOST DANGEROUS ENEMY
These losses are the Category 3: Total Loss. (The Luftwaffe equivalent is 100%)
Not listed are the Category 2: Wrecked beyond unit repair and repairable only at the unit contractor. (The Luftwaffe equivalent is 60 to 99%) The Luftwaffe would have considered these as losses because they considered this type of damage as a loss of their own aircraft. The Luftwaffe loss of 1887 aircraft comprises both categories.

The Luftwaffe claimed 2079 Spitfires and Hurricanes between 8 August and 30 September. The actual Cat. 3 and 2 British losses of these types was 1205. The Luftwaffe knew of double-claiming and the limited range of its Bf 109s over England meant that the confirmation process could not be strictly adhered to.
Source; Jochen Prien: Die Jagdfliegerverbände Vol. 4/I

On the other hand Derek Wood in his TARGET ENGLAND lists 1140 RAF fighters as Category 3 (total loss) and 710 as Cat. 2 (wrecked) for a total of 1850 fighters lost. Wood list a total of all types: Cat.3--1603 and Cat. 2--876 for a total of 2479. So the Germans were perhaps not so far off. But this is the type of information of which the vast majority of the British public is unaware.

I notice that you do not give any sources for your claims.

Andrew Arthy
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Re: "Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by Andrew Arthy » 22 Mar 2015 02:52

Hi,

From the German loss returns for 18 April 1943, these Ju 52s were all attacked by Allied fighters:

Ju 52 WNr. 3256 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 10064 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 7734 35%
Ju 52 WNr. 3367 50%
Ju 52 WNr. 7390 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 6872 0-10%
Ju 52 WNr. 7745 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 7744 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 10062 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 7722 30%
Ju 52 WNr. 7690 30%
Ju 52 WNr. 7747 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 3397 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 6511 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 6190 40%
Ju 52 WNr. 1361 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 6559 70%
Ju 52 WNr. 6865 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 2960 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 5391 70%
Ju 52 WNr. 5527 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 5826 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 7299 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 5512 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 5381 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 3210 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 7201 90%
Ju 52 WNr. 7601 15%
Ju 52 WNr. 7072 0-10%
Ju 52 WNr. 5903 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 3254 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 5164 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 6494 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 5734 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 6534 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 6537 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 7149 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 3079 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 3226 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 5003 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 2970 30%
Ju 52 WNr. 6574 100%
Ju 52 WNr. 7551 100%

Totals are, by my count:
31 Ju 52s completely destroyed (100%)
3 Ju 52s badly damaged (60-99%)
6 Ju 52s damaged (20-59%)
3 Ju 52s lightly damaged (0-19%)


Cheers,
Andrew A.
Air War Publications - http://www.airwarpublications.com/earticles

PF
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Re: "Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by PF » 30 Mar 2015 01:49


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Prosper Vandenbroucke
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Re: "Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by Prosper Vandenbroucke » 30 Mar 2015 10:51

Yes indeed.
I noticed that link to Klaus on the 14th of march 2015 at 20:34
Many Thanks and kindly regards
Prosper :wink:

Hop
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Re: "Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by Hop » 05 Apr 2015 23:51

Klaus1943 wrote:The RAF lost a total of 1557 aircraft during the BoB:
Fighter Command: 1023
Bomber Command: 376
Coastal Command: 148
Source: Stephen Bungay: THE MOST DANGEROUS ENEMY
These losses are the Category 3: Total Loss. (The Luftwaffe equivalent is 100%)
Not listed are the Category 2: Wrecked beyond unit repair and repairable only at the unit contractor. (The Luftwaffe equivalent is 60 to 99%) The Luftwaffe would have considered these as losses because they considered this type of damage as a loss of their own aircraft. The Luftwaffe loss of 1887 aircraft comprises both categories.
You have the RAF categories wrong. Category 3 covered not just total losses but also aircraft beyond economic repair. As such it was comparable to the German "loss" of 60% damage or more.

From The Most Dangerous Enemy by Bungay:
The term "damaged" covers a broad range. The RAF's "Category 1" meant that the necessary repairs could be effected on the station, which meant the machine could be in action again within a few days. "Category 2" meant repairable at a maintenance depot or by a contractor. This took the machine off strength for far longer. For the sake of simplicity, this distinction has been ignored here. The Luftwaffe had a more precise damage classification system, giving the level as a percentage. In practice, up to 40% corresponded to the British "Category 1", 40 - 60% to "Category 2" and 60% and above meant an airframe write-off with parts available for cannibalisation.
The Luftwaffe claimed 2079 Spitfires and Hurricanes between 8 August and 30 September. The actual Cat. 3 and 2 British losses of these types was 1205.
That's a false comparison though. The Luftwaffe were claiming for destroyed aircraft. Category 2 was damaged aircraft.

Actual losses of Spitfires and Hurricanes between 8 August and 26 September were 641 according to Wood and Dempster in Narrow Margin. Another 78 were lost 27 September - 3 October, so the figure for 8 August - 30 September would be around 690. That means an approximate 3 to 1 overclaiming rate.
On the other hand Derek Wood in his TARGET ENGLAND lists 1140 RAF fighters as Category 3 (total loss) and 710 as Cat. 2 (wrecked) for a total of 1850 fighters lost. Wood list a total of all types: Cat.3--1603 and Cat. 2--876 for a total of 2479. So the Germans were perhaps not so far off. But this is the type of information of which the vast majority of the British public is unaware.
Category 2 is equivalent to the German 40% - 60% "Damaged" category, as Bungay confirms.

Wood and Dempster in The Narrow Margin give the figures for RAF "Fighters" as 1,140 lost 11 July - 31 October. This includes 110 Blenheim's. In other words the RAF lost 1,030 single engined fighters during the BoB.

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PanzerBrigade
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Re: "Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by PanzerBrigade » 24 Sep 2015 23:23

Hello,

I remember to have read somewhere, that also Ju-52's with well-marked Red Crosses -carrying wounded- were shot down ??
Can anybody comment on this ?

Von Bock
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Re: "Palm Sunday Massacre"

Post by Von Bock » 21 Mar 2024 22:09

I found this on another forum:
From notes I made from the Luftwaffe loss returns some time ago there were 33 Ju 52's missing or crashed (100% losses) and another 9 with damage between 30-70% ( more with lesser damage). From these there were 20 aircrew killed, 28 wounded and 50 missing the crew of w.n. 6534 were rescued by the Seenotdienst as was the pilot of w.n. 5734. One of these Ju 52s is shown as falling to a Nightfighter on the 18th so it was not on this mission, perhaps returning at night.
Seems that the loss of human life was not that high. (Although I imagine that most of these JU 52's were full of troops that had to be evacuated)

And I am curious, did these planes actually land on Tunisian or Sicilian coast?

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