Fritz X guided bombs in Cherbourg - 1944

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Manuferey
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Fritz X guided bombs in Cherbourg - 1944

Post by Manuferey » 15 Jan 2011 00:29

Here are two intriguing photographs of Fritz X guided bombs in Cherbourg. These pictures were taken by the father of a member of Atlantikwall.Superforum after the liberation of the city at the end of June 1944. Three different Fritzes are visible. It looks like they had been transported in a covered railcar that was hit by a bomb.

What were the Germans planning to do with them in this area in the Spring of 1944? The airfields around Cherbourg had not been used by bombers for a while. Did the Germans plan to send a detachment of III./KG100 (the only unit that employed the Fritz X) to Cherbourg in case of Allied landings in Brittany or in the Gulf of Biscay?

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Larry D.
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Re: Fritz X guided bombs in Cherbourg - 1944

Post by Larry D. » 15 Jan 2011 01:10

Good question and one not previously encountered by me. It was common practice for the Luftwaffe to pre-position munitions for a series of missions or a special mission. Here is an example for III./KG 100 at the end of April 1944:

"Finally on 29 April the Gruppe was assigned a mission: a night attack with 12 Do 217s from 7. and 9.Staffel on two Royal Navy battleships spotted in Plymouth harbor. The raid was staged through Orleans, and on arriving in the target zone in the early hours of 30 April at an altitude of 7,000 meters (22,978 feet) the crews were forced to abort because the flare-dropping aircraft from I./KG 66 arrived too late to illuminate the harbor area. One FX was launched blindly, but no results were achieved. Two Do 217K-3s (6N+AD,IT) and their crews were shot down over the target and among the dead was the Gruppenkommandeur, Hptm. Pfeffer."

[de Zeng, Henry L. IV and Douglas G. Stankey. Bomber Units of the Luftwaffe 1933-1945: A Reference Source. Two volumes. ISBN (10) 1 903223 72 5 and ISBN (10) 1 903223 87 3. (London: Ian Allan Publishing/Midland Publishing, 2007 and 2008). Vol. 2, page 275].

It may be that a couple of FX guided bombs were pre-positioned at Cherbourg-Theville as reloads in the event hits were scored in Plymouth harbor and it was decided to launch a couple of more to ensure the BBs went down. They would not have had time to return to Orleans to re-arm and make a second run on the target in darkness, but from Cherbourg it would have been possible. That's pure guess work but consistent with the way these missions were often planned.

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Re: Fritz X guided bombs in Cherbourg - 1944

Post by Manuferey » 15 Jan 2011 19:42

Larry,

I don't think that the Germans would have stored these Fritzes on a railcar at this location (near the harbor: two towers of "Gare maritime" are visible in the background of the 1st picture and thus, very far away from Maupertus (Theville) airfield, or even Querqueville airfield) before the April 29th raid and then left them there until June 1944 instead of storing them in a bunker. But the idea of a re-load or pre-position for special missions is interesting.

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Re: Fritz X guided bombs in Cherbourg - 1944

Post by Larry D. » 15 Jan 2011 20:04

Manuferey wrote:Larry,

I don't think that the Germans would have stored these Fritzes on a railcar at this location (near the harbor: two towers of "Gare maritime" are visible in the background of the 1st picture and thus, very far away from Maupertus (Theville) airfield, or even Querqueville airfield) before the April 29th raid and then left them there until June 1944 instead of storing them in a bunker. But the idea of a re-load or pre-position for special missions is interesting.
Emmanuel
Perhaps they tried to get them out of there following 6 June but found the rail lines out of the Cotentin Peninsula cut by Allied bombing. So they were shuttled back and forth a bit over the next two weeks before ending up on rail cars in the harbor area. The harbor area was also the location of the Garé Maritime with a large switching and marshalling yard as well as the Arsenal. That area was taken by the U.S. 9th Division 26-27 June. The title cited below makes reference to the difficulties the Germans encountered trying to evacuated personnel and equipment from Cherbourg after 6 June.

Rawson, Andrew. Cherbourg. Barnsley/South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword, 2004. ISBN: 1 84415 083 6.

L.

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Re: Fritz X guided bombs in Cherbourg - 1944

Post by Manuferey » 15 Jan 2011 22:35

Larry D. wrote:Perhaps they tried to get them out of there following 6 June but found the rail lines out of the Cotentin Peninsula cut by Allied bombing.
Yes, that's a possibility. Thanks, Larry.

Emmanuel

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