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Mission: Reconnaissance, W of England.

Date: 27
th June 1941

Unit: 1 Staffel./Fernaufklärungsgruppe 123

Type: Junkers Ju 88


Coded: 4U + AH

Location: Buc, near Paris, France.

Pilot: Oberfeldwebel. Hollerbach

Observer: Oberleutnant. Gottfried Berndt. 69004/5. Born 19.12.1916 in Linz / Grossenhain.

Radio/Op: Oberfeldwebel. Reiche

Gunner: Unteroffizier. Josef Reiser. 69004/62. Born 31.05.1919.


The „Anton“ is a short distance from the target, a harbour on the English west coast. Deep under the St George’s Channel. Its wide, grey-green surface is only interrupted at times by a few wisps of clouds drifting towards the south-east. A massive cloud bank lay ahead and about a thousand meters above the altitude of the machine. Oberfeldwebel. Hollerbach pulls the machine towards it. He is satisfied. One always wishes to have such a cloud at your service. Still it didn’t turn out that way.

The machine was still pushing upwards, when already it was clattering in the crate. Ricochets from the engine cowling and the slats come crashing through the cockpit. In a flash, Oberfeldwebel. Hollerbach grasps the situation, which in the last few seconds has already neared its dramatic highpoint. Then everything went so fast. Words could hardly describe it.

It started out of one of the few clouds, which were pushing about 500 metres deeper towards the direction of flight. The Gunner, Unteroffizier.
Reiser, who as usual was keeping a careful eye on everything in his field of vision, suddenly sees two fighters, as if shot from a pistol, chasing steeply upwards out of the fog. „Spitfire“ he thinks and grabs for the trouser leg of the Radio Operator Oberfeldwebel Reiche, and warns through signals. He releases the safety catch of his machine gun. Calmly he watches the attack and waits. 1500 m, 1000 m still divide. The Spitfires catch up more and more. 800 m, 600 m! There he lets off the first burst of fire. He releases the trigger guard for a split second. Around him all hell has broken loose. Directly in front of his eyes a bullet is stuck in the bulletproof glass. Others hit and clatter nearby. „Just wait“ he thinks and continues to shoot determinedly. The tracer bullets dance around the engine cowling of the fighter which was coming closer and closer.

The Radio Operator has now also opened fire. Change of magazines. He knows the first attacker has been taken care of and now trains his sights on the second one and continues to keep him at a distance with well-aimed bursts of fire.

Shortly after the warning, Oberfeldwebel
. Reiche finds himself opposite three opponents. Two attack from below. The third from the right. At a distance of 700 m the battle is already underway. The bursts of fire from the Radio Operator are well-positioned. It is not the first time he has been in this situation. The one Spitfire becomes cautious. It keeps its distance. The others on the other hand push slightly and catch up. More and more. Still 400 m. The flash from the muzzles of the enemy machine guns and the aircraft cannon flash.

The enemy machines push closer. 300 m, 200 m, 150! Cold-bloodedly the Radio Operator aims a long burst of fire into the engine. That hit home! A powerful trail of smoke behind it, the fighter nose-dived over the left wing and disappeared into the thin cloud cover which lay beneath us. Shot down!

It was over in seconds. The best nerves had won. The Pilot turned the machine upside down so that the crew could evade further attacks. The crew had broken away from the enemy. There was jubiliation on board. The Observer Oberleutnant. Berndt was the first to congratulate the victor. Then the others. The observations over the individual phases of the battle are exchanged and only now a complete picture of the air battle develops for the crew.

Hours later the „Anton“ rolls onto the airfield to the hangar. Everything is ready for a festive reception. There are two reasons to celebrate. Not only is it for the victorious Radio Operator, but also for the old Pilot Oberfeldwebel.
Hollerbach, who with this eventful day has his 50th enemy flight behind him.

27th June 1941, the crew return from a successful sortie and claim one victory. (Brownless)

Ofw. Hollerbach, Oblt. Berndt, Ofw. Reiche and Uffz. Reiser
pictured 27.06.41 after
their successful return to Bucfollowing the combat with two Spitfires. (Brownless)

Staffelkapitän Oberleutnant. Göbel congratulate them and they interpret the pride and joy of the whole Squadron.
Oberfeldwebel. Hollerbach, together with Oberfeldwebel. Reiche were both awarded the
Frontflugspange in Silver.

Staffelkapitän, Oblt.Göbel congratulates Oblt. Berndt. (Brownless)

Congratulations to the pilot, Ofw. Hollerbach. (Brownless)

“Battle damage”. (Brownless)


Junkers Ju 88 (4U + AH) suffered between 15 – 20 bullet strikes from the attacking Spitfires.
The bola received a direct hit but luckily the armored glass saved the life of Josef Reiser. (Brownless)

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless with special thanks to Armin Goebel and Fritz Schlichting, December 2013.