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Mission: Attack on London, England.

Date: 19
th April 1944

Time: 02.34 hours.

Unit: 3 Staffel./Kampfgeschwader 54

Type: Junkers Ju 88A-4


Coded: B3 + PL

Location: R.A.F. Bradwell Bay aerodrome, Essex, England.

Pilot: Unteroffizier. Heinz Brandt. 67412/305 – Captured POW.

Observer: Unteroffizier. Maximillian Oppel. 67412/306 – Captured POW.

Radio/Op: Obergefreiter. Walter Kobusch. 67412/307 – Captured POW.

Gunner: Gefreiter. Heinz Oberwinter. 67412/308 – Captured injured POW.


Started from Wittmundhafen to bomb London. Having bombed target was hit in the port engine by A.A. at 12,000 ft. The engine eventually caught fire and in the ensuing confusion the crew lost their bearings and belly landed at the RAF airfield under the impression that it was a Continental airfield. The fire in the port engine was quickly extinguished by the fire tender crew.

Pilot: Heinz Brandt (Croft via Kobusch).

(2) Oppelcc3 Oppel
Max Oppel on his wedding day (via Rotter).
ccccccccccccccccccccc Observer: Max Oppel (via Rotter).cccccc

4 Kobuschcc5 Oberwint
Radio/Op: Walter Kobusch (Croft via Kobusch).
cccccccccccccccc Gunner: Heinz Oberwinter (via Kobusch).ccc

Personal report of the incident by Walter Kobusch, 25.01.1998
I am the former Obergefreiter Walter Wilhelm Kobusch (born 19.12.1922 in Lunen). Since I don't know where your interest lies I'll confine myself to the period commencing on the 18th April 1944.

Our Junkers Ju 88 left Wittmund in Ostfriesland at 22.00 hours on 18.04.1944 to head for London. Our Target was Tower Bridge. Our flight route was over the Netherlands to a point about 80 kms (50 Miles) east of Cambridge,(British Nightfighters were observed on our way out across the Netherlands) . From this point we were given our new course for London. To simplify our approach flares (Light grenades) were fired at a certain time in Brest, Northern France,to help us to steer the correct course. The Anti Aircraft units had us in their sights even before we reached the outskirts of London. We remained unscathed. The closer we got however, the worse it became - eventually a veritable inferno of defences. We had to get through it to reach our target. We were finally hit as we neared our target, the gunner Gefr.Heinz Oberwinter was injured in the foot. After dropping our load we set course for home, a point east of Paris, then change course north­ east for Wittmund. Our pilot followed an exact compass bearing. We soon spotted a few small flames coming from the starboard engine,we stuck to the compass bearing nonetheless, but the further we went the worse the flames became . We had to shut the engine down.

With only one engine we obviously lost height, a good 75 minutes had passed since the attack. To gain height we had to switch the engine back on, we could not risk running it for too long as the fire was increasing and becoming more dangerous. We could not bale out as we were flying too low, we had to land as soon as possible. It was now about an hour and half since we had left London. Suddenly we saw search-lights ahead of us, perhaps they were beacons for us or help from below as our fire must have been clearly visible from the ground. We had to risk a landing and made preparations, the under carriage would not come down. We had to crash-land and other than a little difficulty in releasing the cockpit canopy all went well.

We moved away from the aircraft in case it exploded, we did not know where we were, but according to our flight time assumed that we had to at least have reached the Netherlands . I now know that it was the airfield at Bradwell Bay. A vehicle approached and we hoped to find out where we were. It was the 19th April and about 02.15 hours. We learnt nothing from those on board but I noticed the number plate as we got in, a crown, we had to be in England. Now that Maximilian Oppel knew where we were, he ran back to the aircraft and fired a few signal flares into the cockpit to speed up the fire. This would destroy our documents. Our "driver" behaved neutrally. When we had got in though and opened up our flying suits, they saw our insignia, stopped abruptly and threatened us with fixed bayonets. We were taken to the guards at the perimeter entrance. A sergeant took command and our "drivers" disappeared in a flash. We handed in our guns and spent the rest of the night in a small room (well provided with woollen blankets).

At daylight we were taken by lorry to an interrogation centre at Lingfield near London, here we were split up, I was put in a room that I was to share with an airman from another unit - I had become a prisoner of war. The stay, treatment and provisions were very good.
The standard interrogation took place in a good atmosphere,I think the Officer in charge was a Lt. Heller, a very nice, decent bloke. I now learnt what I had been unable to explain. The one and a half hours flight time from London on a homeward course and yet we were still over England, Lt. Heller cleared the matter up. We were actually well into France on our return flight but the course change that we adopted brought us back over England.

The compass had been hit by the Ack Ack fire and broken. I remained in Lingfield for a few weeks, then it was off to London for the next round. This was not quite as civilised as with Lt. Heller. A few days later we were put on a train to Scotland, it was a place near Glasgow. A lot of soldiers of all services were lumped together here. Once a week we marched out into glorious surrounding countryside. Then came the time when the Vl's and V2's were fired at London and the Allied invasion of the continent had begun D-Day, that brought a fresh stream of POW’s to the camp. We suddenly had to leave Glasgow, we were transported by ferry to the Queen Mary which was lying well off shore. Two years in the States, but that is another chapter in my life.

(6)Ju 88
From the journal of Adam Forrest’s grandfather (formerly No. 488 Sqdn) comes this excellent photograph of the Junkers at Bradwell Bay shortly after the landing (Forrest).

R.A.F. Air Intelligence reported the following on their aircraft;

Markings: B3+PL, the P being outlined in yellow and the L outlined in white. On the nose bola is the letter F in red 4" high. Call sign CE+ZN.
It would appear that this aircraft had recently been involved in an accident as various parts were marked 1083. The upper surfaces were greenish grey whilst lower surfaces spray painted black.The spinners originally had red tips with 2" yellow rings round, but since painted over with gun metal grey paint.

Engines: Jumo 211 J-1, starboard no> 1061302465 made by JRN. Port engine MZK 211 J-1 4755 made by Junkers. It was noted that the port engine bearers were the normal cast and drilled dural alloy whilst the starboard bearers were welded steel tubing. Schwartz VS 11 wooden propellers fitted.

Armament: two MG 81 in dorsal position with twin MG 81 in the ventral position. No forward firing armament fitted. Under the port wing was an ETC 1,000 bomb carrier whilst under the starboard wing was an ETC 1,000 and a ETC 500 carrier. No internal bomb stowage due to both bomb bays being fitted with petrol tanks.

Equipment: FuG 10 P, FuG 16, FuG 101 A. PeGe 6, FuB1 2F. BZA dive bombing equipment fitted but no dive brakes. No Kutonase cutter fitted. Pilots and bomb aimer’s screens were electrically heated.

Burial detail: None.

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless & Mike Croft. Special thanks to Walter Kobusch, Patrick Rotter and Adam Forrest. Also thanks to Clive Ellis. April 2014.
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