Posted 08 October 2010 - 10:17 pm
The unit was formed on 20th December 1915 and the first C.O. was Hptm. Heinrich-Job von Dewall (P), from 10 December15 - 15 April 1916. Then Hptm. Wilhelm Schmoeger took over and this until December 1916 when the individual Kasta’s were disbanded and formed Schusta 1-6.
The new Kagohl 3
This unit would become best known as the Englandgeschwader. This has everything to do with the fact that the unit was created especially to bomb England, an operation which was kept top secret and known under the code name Turekencreuz or Turk’s Cross. London was to be the main target.
March 1917 the first Gotha GIV’s seem to arrive at Gistel aerodrome for preparation of launching bombing attacks on London, which was originally an idea of Major Wilhelm Siegert.
The fact that the unit was formed at Gistel had to do with the fact that the 4 aerodromes for Kagohl 3 were not yet ready. Melle-Gontrode and Sint-Denijs-Westrem were only ready in April and Mariakerke and Oostakker only in July 1917.
Commander of the unit will be Hauptmann Ernst Brandenburg. Brandenburg had seen service in the trenches and later became an observer with the aviation. It was Ernst von Hoeppner who personally picked him out for the command (Hoeppner was Kommandierende General der Luftstreitkräfte). Brandenburg was born on the 4th June 1883, came early in contact with aviation as he had to stay a while at the Study and Research institution for the aviation system in 1991 and was a Oblt. And regimental adjutant in the 6th West Prussian I.R. 149 at Schneidemuhl when war broke out.
On the 1st of November 1915 he joined the Fliegertruppe as a pilot and got the Königlichen Hausorden von Hohenzollern mit Schwertern in January 1917.
A new Kampfgeschwader der OHL (no 3) is to be established. Former Kampfstaffeln 1, 4 and 6 of Kampfgeschwader I will be Kampfstaffeln 13, 14 and 15. Kampfstaffel 16 will be established immediately and the establishment of Kampfstaffeln 17 and 18 will take place in due course in accordance with the availability of personnel and equipment.
Kasta’s 13 and 14 were at Sint Denijs Westrem
Kasta’s 15 and 16 were at the nearby Gontrode
The Kasta’s 17 and 18 were only formed later in July that year.
Later it was so that other Kasta’s would operate from Mariakerke, Oostakker and Scheldewindeke.
We have to tell something more about all this to clarify a number of things. The Kasta’s were very often established before the creation of the Kagohl unit, and in this case some Kasta’s were established twice or even in one case three times.
Kasta 13 was created on the 20th December 1915 at FEA 3 and was mobilized on the 24th March 1916. On the 29th June 1916 it became Kasta 38.
It was created a second time on the 21st July 1916 and was to become Schusta 1 on the 1st January 1917. The third creation followed on the 3rd of April 1917 with the transfer of KG I Kasta 1 to the unit, now becoming Kasta 13 of KG III.
Kasta 14 was created originally on the 20th December 1915 also at FEA3 and was mobilized on the 1st of March 1916, becoming Schusta 2 on the 1st of January 1917. Transfer of KG I Kasta 4 to the unit was the second establishment of the unit, now becoming Kasta 14 of KG III.
Kasta 15 was started also on the 20th December 1915, also at FEA 3 and was mobilised on the 9th of February 1916, becoming Schusta 3 on the 1st of January 1917 ! Transfer of KG I, Kasta 6 to the unit to form the new Kasta 15 of KG III.
Kasta 16 also created on the 20th December 1915, at FEA 3, mobilised on he 26th March 1916, becoming Schusta 4 on the 1st January 1917 and recreated with the formation of the new Kasta 16 of KG III on the 3rd April 1917.
Kasta 17 created also on the 20th December 1915 at FEA 3, mobilised on the 26th March 1916 and becoming Schusta 5 on the 1st of January 1917. Re-creation on the 15th July 1917 with the formation of the new Kasta 17 of KG III.
Kasta 18 was also originally created on that famous 20th December 1915 at FEA 3, was mobilised on the 25th of March 1916 and became Schusta 6 on the 1st January 1917. It was formed again on the 29th July 1917, now becoming Kasta 18 of KG III.
27 March 1916 the first known loss of the unit, Lt. Otto Jeremias, observer at Herfort Betzdorf
21 May dies Lt. Albrecht Schramm, observer with Kasta 13 at Linselles (Messines) Reisberg or Richter was his pilot, not known.
On the 18th of June the plane is lost crewed by Lts.d.R. Heinrich Gecken and August Fromm according to some sources but it seems not to be correct as they both were observers and got wounded at different places. Gecken was instantly killed at Boyelles (Doulleux) while Fromm was WIA at Bapaume and died of his wounds on the 25th at Albert.
On the 22nd of June is WIA Oblt. Bernhardt Freiherr von Tessin, observer at Havrincourt and he dies on the 5th of July from wounds at Douai.
Lt. Erich Zimmermann of Kasta 14 is KIA at la Bassée on the 1st July 1916, serving as an observer.
On the 14th of that month died also Lt.d.R. Hubert Schimpf, a pilot over Valenciennes.
On the 22nd the loss of Lt.Ernst Richter, an observer at Miraumont
On the 15th September there’s the loss of the crew os Kasta 13, Unteroof. Helmuth Carstens (p) and Oblt. Eduard du Cornu (o) over Velu. Carstens died immediately in the crash while Corny died two days later at the field hospital at Gaudecourt.
17 October 1916 there’s another loss of a crew over Bapaume-Rocquigny, Lt.d.R. Emil Dabelow (o) and Lt.d.R. Walter Palm (p)
23 April 1917, the first loss during an operation over Belgium
Gotha GIV 610/16 is brought down over Vron by Flight Sub Lt. Lloyd Breadner of No 3 Squadron RNAS, after the plane had flown over his aerodrome at Marieux.
Crew constisting of LT. Karl Josef Scheuren, observer, Lt. Otto Wirth, also observer and Offizierstellvertreter Alfred Heidner, the pilot, were taken prisoner. They belonged to Kasta 15.
10 May 1917 One of the Gotha GIV’s, 409/16 had to do an emergency landing in unknown circumstances, choosed a ploughed field for it with this final result
18 May 1917 The first raid on London was fully planned and planes went to Nieuwmunster aerodrome for an intermediate landing, but had finally to return to homebase due to the fact that there was much more wind then predicted.
25 May 1917
23 Gotha’s of Kagohl 3 attack London. According to Peter Kilduff 21 planes. 4900 kilograms of bombs were dropped on troop encampments near Folkestone and the Dover fortress.
The planes took of at Gontrode and Sint Denijs Westrem aerodrome at 14.00 hrs. One of the planes did get in trouble soon with one of it’s engines and had to give up. They did refuelling at the Nieuwmunster aerodrome where they took off around 15.30 hours. Another plane did get engine problems and also had to return to the Belgian coast.
The first Gotha’s, led by Brandenburg, were seen in England at about 4.45 PM, British time, ten of them in total near the Tongue lightship. They entered’land’ in Essex between the estuaries of the rivers Crouch and Blackwater, just after five o clock. The last group of bombers seems to have been 10 minutes later then the first one according to some sources. In reality all the planes did pass the Tongue lightvessel, but once past it, before the Essex coast, the formation did split into two groups. They al went for the river Thames, and once arrived they gathered overthere in small formations to prepare the attack.
Primary target was London, but it seems that the city under a very dense layer of clouding and there was decided that they could forget about that and would go the south. They followed the railway line towards the Channel harbours.
According to British sources the first bombs were dropped at 5.42 PM at Luddesdown and Harvel near Wrotham. No damage one bomb did not even explode. Further bombs fell at Linton and Marden, killing… one sheep ! In Marden it seems that the railway itself had been targeted. Some sources also say that bombs fell in the area of Pluckley, Smarden and Bethersden, however all without damage. Until they reached Ashford. Important railway point, even today it still is, 2 bombs came down at Bond Road, 2 at Providence street, and 1 at Rugby Gardens and Beaver Green. One woman was killed and two men and a boy got injured overthere. The northern group of planes still dropped 4 bombs on Kingsnorth, Shadoxhurst and Mersham, killing another sheep…
The southern planes carried on too Ruckinge and Bilsington (good for a total of 5 bombs, no damage) and Lympne where they also bombed the aerodrome with some 3 50 kg bombs and 19 12.5 kg bombs, however without any damage that was mentionable. Just before an unfortunate British pilot in an unarmed Bristol F2B fighter ran into the Gotha group, got attacked of course and it’s pilot, Flight Lt. Baker had again bad luk as the airfield he landed on, Lympne, was about to be bombed ! Another single bomb was dropped in an effort to destroy the railway just next to Sandling tunnel, without success again.
Next was Hythe, where one woman was killed, one man deadly wounded and another woman injured (the wife of the vicar). Here the Gotha’s dropped a total of 16 bombs, seven of 50 kg and nine of 12.5 kg. The fatalities occurred all in one area, the churchyard.
Also bombs on the military camp of Shorncliffe which killed 16 and wounded 19 Canadian soldiers of which two died later. This was an attack by the northern group of Gotha’s. Six 50 kg bombs and an unknown number of smaller bombs came down here. One bomb killed four Canadians and one American, which where blown apart, and in such a way that their bodies had to be gathered in bags for burial. An unexploded bomb also took the life of another Canadian soldier and one British soldier had been killed by a bomb in the quarantine tent section. However, the largest number of casualties in the camp, eleven men, as far as I could find, from the Central and Western Ontario regiments, fell to a bomb exploding next to them as they were preparing for a march.
In the Cheriton area, another few bombs were aimed on the railway, without result but again with casualties, a man, a sixteen year old girl and a five year old boy.
The southern group attacked Sandgate, with just five bombs causing no casualties and little damages.
Finally Folkestone was bombed, killing 16 men, 30 women and 25 children and also injuring 92 people according to sources at the time. In my research I came to a total of 18 men, 29 women and 31 children (that is less then 18 years old) that were killed in the raid (Folkestone, Cheriton, Hythe and Ashford and only civilian casualties). Other researchers came to a number of 102 certainly injured civilians in the raid, but again, that figure was probably even quite higher and some sources even talked about figures as high as 195, which are to my opinion exaggerated .
It is curious that several sources have made the remark that although there were so many military in and outside the town, and a very large number of military installations, that the city was totally unprepared on an enemy attack from the air at all. But is gets even worse. The complete lack of presence of any AA guns at all in the whole area (except Dover that is).
It even seems that when the first bombs were falling, nobody was alarmed because they were thinking that it had to do with one or other military exercise at Shorncliffe camp.
Casualties fell at Shorncliffe road (2) Jointon road area (1), Central Station (1), Radnor Park Road (1), Manor road (1), Bouverie road east (5), but a real carnage would happen due to a single bomb that fell at Tontine Street, killing 61 men, women and children. Most of them were people waiting in a queue at Stokes grocery store. It has to be said that there is discussion on the number of casualties from the raid at Folkestone, but it is a fact that newly done research has shown that 44 people were killed instantly and that 17 died later in the hospitals in the area, concerning the bomb that fell at Tontine street alone…
A total of 51 bombs had been dropped on Folkestone and 20 of them did not explode at all… It seems that 21 of them were of 50 kg’s and the others of 12.5 kg’s.
The raid also killed a few of my own countrymen, Belgians that is. A Belgian soldier, Constante Houdard, 33 years old and his collegue Verschueren Hyppolite, 41 years old from the staff quarters, who both were standing together in the line at Tontine street, possibly with Marie Snoawert (Snauwaert ?) a 44 year old nurse from Mechelen who was shopping with two fellow refugees, Elizabeth Bosmans and Paul Merton which was still a child, those last two were injured.
The planes went back over sea and were fired at by the AA guns at Dover and Capel, but this was without any result.
RNAS seaplanes attacked the KG 3 and claimed to have shot down three planes. 33 other planes never did get in reach of the German planes to launch an attack.
Concerning the claims and losses of that day we know :
One machine crashed near Tielt shortly after take-off
One machine probably shot up on return flight by Fl.Lt RFS Leslie between Dover and Gravelines, broke of the attack due to the fact he was fired upon by other Gotha’s. Seems that large quantities of black smoke came from one engine.
According to German sources one Gotha went down and crashed in flames in the Channel due to AA fire. If this is the case, the AA at Dover or Capel may have been more succesfull then they had thought.
Two machines were claimed by the Dunkirk pilots
18:30 N Westende, Flt Sub-Lt A J Chadwick 4 RNAS in Pup N6176 and Flt Sub-Lt L F W Smith 4 RNAS in Pup N6168, Gotha G Broke Up
18:30 N Westende, Flt Lt G M T Rouse, 4 RNAS in Pup N6198 and Flt Sub-Lt E W Busby 4 RNAS in Pup N5196, Gotha G Broke Up
The real losses of the unit concerning personnel :
One crew was :
+ Oblt. Manfred Messerschmidt gen. v. Arnim, at sea near Dunkirk, ° 12/02/91 Berlin, observer Kasta 15
+ Lt.d.R. Willy Neumann, at sea near Dunkirk, ° 14/03/1896 Frankfurt aM, pilot Kasta 15, KIA
+ Lt.d.R. Werner Scholz, Dunkirk, ° 24/04/1895 Bitsch, observer Kasta 15, KIA
Other losses were :
+ Oblt.d.R. Kurt Paul Kleemann, KG 3, location death unknown, ° 11/12/1884 Berkenfelde, observer with Kasta 15
+ Vizefeldwebel Wulkow Wilhelm a gunner was KIA (D)
According to von Eberhardt, died 25 September 1917 at Beernem
- Unteroff. Dickhaut Alfred of Kasta 15 was wounded in action that day and died of his wounds the next day, the 26th at Gent. (D)
According to Peter Kilduff only two men were lost that day, no planes, being Klemann (written with one E according to Kilduff) and Hans-Hennig Parschau, the older brother of Otto Parschau, who served as a pilot in Kasta 15 and who indeed was KIA that day.
n the 28th May attack on the Sint Denijs Westrem aerodrome by Naval 5. Four D.H.4s and the Sopwith B1 prototype, serial N50, left Coudekerque at 12.30 - two of the D.H.4s provided the fighter escort. At Saint denis Westrem two direct hits were recorded on a large hangar and another hangar hit with a 112lb bomb. Eight very large white aircraft were reported to be dispersed on the aerodrome and it was felt that some of them must have suffered from shrapnel damage.
5 June 1917
On this day the airfield of Nieuwmunster was not used for refuelling as the planes carried additional fuel tanks.
22 Gotha’s attack Sheerness, Shoeburyness and surroundings. 5500 kg of bombs were dropped. British sources counted 51 large and 13 smaller bombs, killing 13 people and injuring a total of 34.
Targets were the Army’s gunnery establishment at Shoeburyness, naval dockyard of Sheerness where mostly military targets were hit.
At Shoeburyness two soldiers were killed. The British claim that their accurate AA fire dispersed the planes so much that they abandoned the target of London. On the other hand, I have no proof that the Germans were going to attack it…
As mentioned, Sheerness was the next target, and it was bombed with 32 50kg bombs and 12 12.5 kg’s, which mainly seem to have hit military targets as already mentioned, but also killing 3 civilians.
Other casualties were military.
It seems that at this location two planes left the group early, an possibly were in some kind of trouble.
Also there was taken a try to bomb the power station and the airsheds at Minster it seems, without any luck.
Gotha GIV 660/16 was brought down due to AA fire at 6.31 PM in the sea, 3000 yards north of Barton’s Point. The pilot drowned, the observer died shortly after he was picked up and the gunner only seems to have had a broken leg
This was the crew of the bomber :
+ Vizefeldw. Erich Kluck, Sheerness, ° 11/08/1896 Berlin, pilot with Kasta 14
+ Lt.d.R. Francke Hans, observer, died on the 6th June 1917, also at Sheerness (D), he originally was in a Fuss Artillerie Regiment, number unknown.
- Unteroff. Schumacher Georg Gustav pilot-gunner of Kasta 14 was taken POW (D)
The plane itself, or what was left of it was salvaged two day later. The Sheerness and Shoeburyness guns had fired 329 rounds to the German planes.
During the return flight the Gotha’s were escorted by fighter planes during the last half hour of flight.
It seems that planes from 4 and 9 Naval Sqdn attacked the bombers and British sources claim tree planes downed from the escort. However, we have found no losses at all that day which may correspond with eventual claims by this unit, which we didn’t find either...
9 June 1917
+ Lt.d.R. Lang Hans Georg, pilot with Kasta 13, died at Gent KIA (D)
The circumstances are unknown, but most certainly had nothing to do with a raid on England. German sources mention ‘Tödlich abgesturzt’, so it seems he was involved in a deadly crash, in which he was the only victim.
12 June 1917
+ Vizefeldwebel Brandt Bruno was KIA this day (D), he died at Gontrode and is buried at Vladslo military cemetary.
This has possibly to do with the one of the planes which force landed and which are mentioned under the 13th.
13 June 1917
22 planes left, 2 forced to land due to engine trouble, one was diverted to Margate and Harwhich.
According to British sources the planes entered England at the mouth of the Crouch and the first bombs came down on London between EastHam and the Royal Albert Docks, next bombs fell round Liverpool Street Station between 11.40 and 11.42 AM Three bombs even did hit the station itself. Further bombs came down at Tooley Street and Bermondsey, others bombed Dalston and Saffron Hill going further to Stepney, Limehouse, Poplar. Hit were schools (killing 16 young children at Poplar), stables, Sundry domestic works, a brewery and lots of private houses. At Liverpool Street Station it also seems that one of the bombs did destroy a train coach and so also set ablaze two others.
According to the same sources about 126 bombs in all were dropped. German sources say 4400 kg of bombs. Anyway a total of 162 persons were killed and 432 injured, most of them civilians and the largest number of casualties that were suffered in one single bombing attack on England during World War One.
3 machines attacked by Capt CWE Cole Hamilton in a Bristol Fighter of 35 Training Squadron over Ilford, result not known, was killed himself by the Gotha’s
According to other sources Cole Hamilton landed the plane at Northolt aerodrome was unharmed and his observer-gunner Cap CHC Keevil was killed. This seems to be the right version.
Flight Sub Lt LFW Smith DSC who flew N6362, a Sopwith Camel of 4 N Sqdn is very often also related to be KIA when attacking 16 Gotha’s at 12 PM and is reported to have broke up, lost wing and gone down 5 miles NW of Brugge-Gent. Only problem there are about 30 miles between both city’s. In reality his plane broke up when he was stuntflying over the German aerodrome of Vlissegem, which is a few miles west of Brugge.
No casualties found on German side. One plane was damaged by AA fire and another one by aerial combat. There were some victories credited that day :
Lt.d.R. Meyer and Oblt. Joachim von Seydlitz-Gerstenberg of Kasta 16 with a single-seater near ‘Raylight’ (probably Rayleigh in Essex ?) and probably shared with kasta 13 Officierstellvertreter Fleischer who also claimed a single-seater at ‘Raylight’.
Another Kasta 16 crew, Lt. Schwieder and Vizefeldwebel Pfeiffer was credited for a Martinsyde near London. There are sources on British side that say that a plane crashed into the Thames river.
The day after the raid Hauptmann Brandenburg was summoned to the Kaiser at his HQ at Kreuznach and would become the first bomber commander to get the PlM. He selected one of his best pilots to fly him to Kreuznach, Oblt. Hans-Ulrich von Trotha, one of the original members of the BAO and pre war flier with German license number ….
The following Tuesday von Trotha and Brandenburg took off in an Albatros to Gent when the engine cut and the machine crashed. Von Trotha was killed, and Brandenburg was seriously injured.
Due to this attack the British made some decisions to enhance the strenghth of their air force in the area. 66th Squadron RFC was moved to Calais on the 20th June to strike the raiders an their way home, and on the 23rd of the month 56th Squadron was moved to Bekesbourne
19 June 1917
+ Oblt. von Trotha Hans-Ulrich, CO of Kasta 15 and a pilot was killed in a crash. He joined the unit in February 1917 and came from KG 1/1
20 June 1917
- Lt. Noack observer of Kasta 13 was injured in a crash.
ack, who was not harmed in the crash, which happened near Gontrode.- Vizefeldwebel Paul Witte pilot of Kasta 13 was injured in a crash. (D)
The third member of the crew was Hauptmann Noack, who was not harmed in the crash, which happened near Gontrode.
On 23rd June command of KG 3 was transferred to Rudolf Kleine, former Staffelfuhrer at KG 1.
Kleine was born at the city of Minden in Westphalen on the 26th August 1886. He was the son of a military man, a Hauptmann who was commanding part of the Infantry Regiment 15. Like father like son, and Rudolf Kleine also entered in the army, first in the cadets corps and later when he was commissioned Leutnant on the 14th June 1905 with the Infantry Regiment no 65. Het later became battalion adjutant and after three years at this post he was transferred in 1913 to the Herzog Karl-Eduard flying school which was at Gotha. He followed training as a pilot and went to FA 3 at Köln.
Just before outbreak of the war he did get his pilot’s license and it seems that he was one of the very first flyers to have contact with the enemy over Liege as a reconnaissance pilot. Promotion to Oblt. Followed and he got wounded in the arm, awarded the E.K. I class and once he had left hospital promptly got promoted to Hauptmann around the end of July 1915. Halfway December the same year he became commander of Kasta I of the BAO. At the end of August 1916 he became CO of Feldflieger Abteilung 53. In this unit he received the Königlichen Hausorden von Hohenzollern mit Schwertern partly due to the fact that he was the first one to see the massive enemy troop concentrations for the to be campaign in the Champagne area.
4 July 1917
Daylight attack on Harwich, main objective naval air station of Felixstowe reached coast at 07.00 AM Probably 25 machines took off 7 ran into trouble with engines or bad take off and never made it to England
According to British sources, 17 men were killed, 30 injured, mostly naval personnel of the naval air station and also one seaplane was destroyed by fire and reports also mention the killing of 21 sheep and a total of 29 injured animals at the Trimley marsches and … broken glass ??!!!
On return home 16 Gotha’s were seen by 5 Pups of Dunkirk station
Fl.Cdr AM Shook 4 RNAS in Camel N6363 opened fire on one who went down in black smoke north west of Oostende at 08.30 hours British time, claiming it went down in flames.
Fl.S.Lt SE Ellis 4 RNAS in Camel N6337 fired over 300 rounds at one machine who went diving down with smoke issuing from it’s back seat north west of Oostende at 08.30 hours British time
Other sources say the plane broke up.
No casualties found… at von Eberhardt !
According to Kleine the unit suffered no losses at all !
Some people had some serious trouble with their eyesight !
5 July 1917
British squadrons 56 and 66 are ordered to return to the Expeditionary force. It is unclear why.
7 July 1917
Return of the Gotha’s to London. 24 planes participated, two had to do a forced landing early in the operation. A total of 4475 kg of bombs was dropped and one of the planes did hit the Margate port with 200 kg (?) of bombs.
According to British sources the Gotha’s approached London in two flight in a V shaped formation and the attack started from the north and north-west and later direct to the city. Between 10.20 and 10.30 AM the right wing was seen over Hendon, Golders Green and Hampstead while the left one was over the valley of the Lea.
Seventytwo bombs were dropped in the City and in the Metropolitan Police district, killing in total 57 people and injuring another 193. The building of the Central Telegraph’s Office in St-Martins was as good as completely destroyed. It is said that about 100 planes were launched to counter attack.
There is discussion abouth this number, some sources say 55 killed, however there is no discussion about the fact that 10 of the victims were civilians killed by British AA fire which was, the least one can say, very inaccurate that day.
One single Gotha attacked Margate and Rnas Manston, dropping three 50 kg bombs, destroying 3 houses and killing 3 people.
This are the British claims :
Armstrong-Whitworth 50 Sqdn FK8 B247
2nd Lt FAD Grace (p) and 2nd Lt G Murray (o)
Off Harwich over the sea on return flight, black smoke seen falling into the sea.
Would have downed at 1300 hours British time a Gotha G near Girdler Lightship in which area it should have crashed.
Frederick Arthur Darien Grace and George Murray both receiving the Military Cross (announced in the London Gazette of 18 December 1917) “In recognition of gallantry and distinguished service in connection with anti-aircraft service in the United Kingdom.”
Manston naval air base
Sqdn Cdr. CH Butler
Shot down a Gotha crashing at sea 20 miles west of Oostende
Manston naval air base
Flight S.Lt RH Daly in Triplane N5382
Shot down Gotha crashing down in flames in the vincinity of Thornton Ridge, a shoal 20 miles WNW of the mouth of the Schelde
A number of sources says the plane went down near Oostende at 11.30 British time
Manston naval air base
Flight S.Lt AH Loft reported one driven down off the Walcheren island
Manston naval air base
Fl.Lt JE Scott claimed another one 30 miles ENE of the North Foreland
This is probably the Daly claim :
+ Lt.d.R. Max Elsner, Zeebrugge, ° 14/03/1890 Berlin, Kasta 14, observer, KIA, he came from Jager Batt. 3 before he went for a flying carreer.
+ Vizefeldwebel Franz Hölger, Zeebrugge, ° 16/07/1891 Berlin, Kasta 14, pilot, KIA We also found the name of Hans Hilger in a few sources instead of Franz Hölger...
+ Unteroff. Georg Mickel, at sea north of Zeebrugge, ° 18/11/1890 Schirgiswalde, gunner Kasta 14
This plane crew didn’t finally make it either as their plane crashed and burned on landing
+ Lt. Hans Richter, Gent, ° 12/03/1897 Weissenfels, pilot, Kasta 16, KIA
+ Lt.d.R. Röselmüller Max, observer with Kasta 16 was WIA and died of his wounds on the 10th July 1917. (D)
+ Vizefeldw Wilhelm Weber, DOW St Denijs Westrem, ° 23/05/1895 Hahlen, gunner Kasta 16
In fact Kleine reported : one plane reported missing due to aerial combat , another one crashed on landing and burned, killing one officer and a Vizefeldwebel, one officer badly injured. This confirms the loss list.
There were also British losses. Sopwith Strutter A8271 of 37 Home Defense Squadron was shot down, crashing in the sea near Malpin Light Ship, killing instantly 2nd Lt. JER Young and 2nd AM CC Taylor died on his injuries. There are two possibilities the Gaede/Radke claim of that day, or more possible it was shot down by own AA fire in the surroundings of Rochford…
The other loss, probably the claim made by Gaede and Radke, was a Sopwith Pup A6230 of 63 Trg Sqdn which was in combat with a Gotha over Joyce Green, it’s pilot 2nd Lt. WG Salmon was hit in the head, almost landed the plane, but still crashed it and died of his wounds.
22 July 1917
16 Gotha’s seen attacking Harwich according to some British sources, 22 is probably more correct. They came in shortly after eight near Hollesley Bay and twelve minutes later they were no longer above British soil. 55 bombs were dropped from Bawdsley to Harwich harbour. Damage to goods was not important but there also was a number of casualties, 13 killed and 26 injured, most of them were service personnel.
British home defence had no luck to get in touch with the enemy planes but a formation of Bristol fighters of 48 Squadron, stationed in Belgium went up to intercept the bombers.
This are the British claims :
Bristol Fighter 48 Sqdn F2B A7146
Capt R Baker (p) and Lt GR Spencer (o)
Attacked one of 5 Gotha’s 8 miles NW of Oostende which crashed in the sea, at 10.40 hours British time.
It seems there was also another claim in the Dunkirk area.
No casualties found… but have to recheck that
Concerning the 48 Sqdn attack it seems to have happened together with Lt.R.D. Coath and 2nd Lt. A.D. Merchant of the same squadron. Also in a report the Squandron’s CO, Major A.V. Bettington reported that the wreck was still visible 4 hours later ! According to British sources the plane crashed very close to the coast of Oostende . According to Cole and Cheesman, the German’s admitted one plane loss at landing, and this should be the one.
However the British planes suffered some losses, due to the fact that in London the red alert had been given in mistake and maroon rockets were fired off which made some AA batteries in the southern Essex area that the bombers were near them, which resulted in opening fire on their own planes of which some British sources said that 2 were shot down by them.
This seems to have been Claude Ridley of 37 Sqdn, whose Pup was leading a formation of 6 over Shoeburyness who had his engine cowling shot away, but still was able to land his plane safely and a certain Barrett from Orfordness landed his FK8 at Rochford with two gashes in his wing fabric. The were also 8 pilots from other units that were complaining that they had been shot at by their own AA guns.
‘Gunners do not seem to have realised that the aircraft might not be German. Such a mistake points to a want of familiarity with aeroplane tactics on the part of personnel of the anti-aircraft batteries and observer companies’ was reported by the GHQ Home Forces Intelligence.
28 July 1917
Attack by 55 Squadron on the Melle aerodrome. British sources claim that 30 German soldiers were killed. If this was indeed the case it did not concern any personnel from Kagohl III.
12 August 1917
13 Gotha’s were seen that where to bomb Harwich, but it seems that they were awaited by a large number of British fighter planes.
Nine planes came over Southend, one was making a feint for Margate. Bombs mainly were dropped in the Southend area, killing 32 and injuring 46 in total, a few houses were destroyed as were some windows. In Margate one woman was injured and an unoccupied house was destroyed.
Sopwith Pup from Walmer
Fl.S.Lt HS Kerby in a Sopwith Pup N 6440 at 20.00 hours British time ?
Attacked Gotha 4000 feet below main formation and drove it down to the water, where it turned over, one of the occupants seen hanging on the tail, Kerby threw life belt to him, not known what happened, probably all perished
This was the crew :
+ Vizefeldw. Heinrich Putz, Zeebrugge, ° 15/05/1892 Solingen
+ Lt.d.R. Hans Rolin, Channel, ° 28/03/1895 Schrimm, observer with Kasta 16, KIA
+ Unteroff Otto Rosinski, Channel, ° 27/09/1895 Lebus, gunner with Kasta 16, KIA
+ Unteroff Rudi Stolle possibly crewmember other Gotha died at Gontrode, °22/08/1891 Altgersdorf, was pilot of Kasta 16, KIA
In fact according to Kleine : one aircraft was shot down and four seem to have crashed at landing.
One of the crashes at Gontrode airfield was the Kasta 15 Gotha of pilot Unteroff. Kurt Delang, observer Lt. Paul Döge and gunner Vizefeldwebel Paul Ruhl who suffered a broken leg when he jumped out of the Gotha just before it touched down, afraid as he was that it would burn down.
The crash was due to the fact that during landing they were avoiding another plane and just some time before the real landing, completely ran out of fuel.
This crew also claimed one plane, which seems to have been attacking them constantly from the east coast of England and which finally was hit, flames were bursting out of it, and it was leaving a trail of black smoke, until it finally plunged into the North Sea.
If the plane was plunging in the North Sea is another question however, two British planes did get into trouble. A Sopwith Camel B3798 from Eastchurch was shot up by a Gotha off kent and was forced to land, while the pilot, Flight Comm. AF Bettington, was OK. Antoher Sopwith Camel was attacking a Gotha when his guns jammed and ended up being shot in the engine. N6333 from Manston, piloted by Flight Lt. AA Wallis probably was the victim of the Döge crew.
18 August 1917
This day 15 planes started from Sint Denijs Westrem and 13 from Gontrode. The planes were to abandon formation over sea because of the strong wind and rain and tried to return home. Due to the wind it seems that quite a number of machines were forced over Holland to return over Zeebrugge.
According to British sources two Gotha’s were shot down by the Dutch AA in defence of their neutrality. As already mentioned the Gotha’s were accidently over Holland due to bad weather conditions.
+ Lt.d.R. Adolf Hochgräbe, Gent, ° 17/07/1895 Schüren, Kasta 14, observer and killed in aplne crash on return from England
Fact is that the two lost Gotha’s were Gotha G IV's 1055/16 and 1059/16. The first one came down at Beerta and went in Dutch service as LA50 and later as G700. The second one seems to have been set a fire by it’s crew and destroyed, having landed at Blijham. Other Dutch sources say it was at Oude Pekela near Groningen.
1055/16 had Mercedes engines 28721 and 28400 and the last engine seems to have been defective on the moment of the landing.
1059/16 had Mercedes engines 28451 and 28462. The machine was completely destroyed by the fire but the Dutch were able to salvage the two engines and also two machine guns.
One of the interned crewmembers probably was the CO of Kasta 13, Oblt. Rudolf Bäuerle who had joined the unit on the 25th July 1917 and who came from FA206.
22 August 1917
10 Gotha’s were seen attacking Kentish coast from Margate to Dover. 50 bombs seem to have been dropped according to British sources and killed 12 people and injuring 25 others, destroying an unmentioned nupber of houses and damaging a military hospital at Ramsgate.
Two Gotha’s were claimed by AA guns
Also a number of planes, five from Manston, which were naval planes, six from Walmer and two from Dover were awaiting the enemy formation and these are their claims :
Flight Commander H S Kerby in Sopwith Camel Pup N6440
Shot down a Gotha IV off Margate at 10.45 hours British time ?
Fl.S.Lt J Drake in Sopwith Camel B3844
Shot down a Gotha in flight over Dover around 11.20 British time ?
These are the crews that were lost :
+ Lt.d.R. Werner Joschkowitz, Margate, ° 31/07/1889 Magdeburg, pilot Kasta 15 KIA
+ Lt. Walter Latowsky, Margate, ° 22/02/1893 Rüdelsdorf, observer of Kasta 15, KIA
+ Unteroff. Heinrich Schildt, Margate, ° 08/08/1895 Hessen, pilot Kasta 15, KIA
+ Vizefeldw. Walter Brennecke, Gent, °08/08/1894 Leipzig – pilot Kasta 15 KIA
+ Oblt. Walter Dachne, Gent, °03/11/1890 Berlin – observer and CO of Kasta 15 KIA
+ Gefr Max Dittmann, Gent, ° 29/03/1895 Berlin was with KG 3 Kasta 15 – gunner KIA
+ Vizefeldwebel Eickelkamp Ernst, Kasta 15, gunner was KIA at Westkapelle (D)
+ Oblt. Fulda Eckart, Kasta 15 an observer, KIA at Maryerte ???? (D)
+ Lt.d.R. Joschkowitz Werner, Kasta 15 and Pilot, KIA at Margate (D)
+ Unteroff. Schneider Bruno, Kasta 15 gunner, KIA (D) not found in von Eberhardt
+ Lt.d.R. Hans Rolin, Kasta 16, observer, KIA at Channel
+ Unteroff. Otto Rosinsky, Kasta 16, gunner, KIA at Channel
+ Unteroff. Stolle Rudi, Kasta 16, pilot, KIA at Gontrode
Due to these losses it seems that Kleine halted the daylight operations and a small period of special night training followed for the crews.
In Britain the 46th Squadron finally returned to France by the end of August.
Three new Squadrons were raised, the 61st at Rochford, the 112th at Throwley and the 44th at Hainault farm.
25 August 1917
+ Lt. Freiherr von Lersner Rolf, pilot with Kasta 15, killed in a crash, joined the unit on the 3rd August and previously was with Jasta 2
in von Eberhardt mentioned that he died on the 7th August 1918, not correct
26 August 1917
+ Gefreiter Bronner Josef, a gunner was KIA at Knackenburg Belgie ??? (D)
+ Vizewachtmeister Haas Max, a pilot was KIA at Knackenburg Belgie ??? (D)
+ Lt.d.R. Sperling Ewald Gustav, an observer was KIA at Knackenburg Belgie ??? (D)
2 September 1917
Two planes attacked Dover at about 11 PM and a total of fourteen bombs did explode, killing one officer, injuring six other people and damaging an unknown number of houses.
3 September 1917
Five Gotha’s bombed Chatham, Sheerness and Ramsgate. This was a night raid. As already mentioned, after the 22nd August Kleine halted the daylight raids, some night flying training followed and this was the first ‘trial’.
According to British sources ten planes were observed. Disaster did struck at Chatham as one of the bombs did fell on the drill hall of the naval barracks where several hundred men were sleeping at the time. 131 servicemen were instantly killed and ninety others were wounded. Also at Chatham 6 more victims fell, but there were no casualties in the other place that were bombed, Margate, Saint Peters and Sheerness.
16 British pilots of the home defence went up but did not even see the enemey. Three planes of 44th Squadron also went up for practise night flight and made it back without problems.
5 September 1917
In the night of the 4th on the 5th new attack on Britain. Ten machines went to London while sixteen others were attacking the Thames mouth. Bombs fell on Orfordness, in Essex, on London, Margate, Dover. In London bombs fell in Agar Street, Strand, outside of the Charing Cross Hospital it’s main entrance, on the back of the Little Theatre, on the Victoria Embankment Gardens, and one near Cleopatra’s needle. In this last place, a tramwaycar was wrecked, three passengers of it were killed and three others injured. Also 6 other people were injured on the street. London suffered a total of 16 killed and 56 injured. In Dover and Margate also casualties, 3 killed and 15 injured in total. In Dover it was reported that two bombs fell on Priory Hill but failed to explode.
British claims : One machine by the Borstal AA gun, which said they had registered a hit on a Gotha between Cobham and Gravesend.
Eighteen planes got into the air but without result.
This are the German losses :
+ Unteroffizier Friess Theodor, pilot of Kasta 13 KIA at Margate (D)
The place of loss of this crew makes it very bizarre :
+ Vizefeldwebel Hansen-Neck Hans, gunner of Kasta 13 KIA at Emden , according to von Eberhardt name is Hansen-Beck (D)
+ Lt.d.R. Raulfs Robert, observer with Kasta 13 KIA near Emden (D)
+ Oblt. von Zanthier Helmuth, observer with Kasta 13, KIA at Emden (D)
9 September 1917
+ Gefreiter Gäbler Anro a pilot of Kasta 15 is KIA at Gontrode, according to von Eberhardt name is Arno (D)
22 September 1917
+ Offizier Stellv. Höhne Gustav, pilot of Kasta 14 KIA at Sint Denijs Westrem (D)
24 September 1917
21 one planes were counted by the British, three of the planes made it till London, and the British also menion that a total of nine planes die try to get to London. It is unclear why the other six should not have made it.
Probably these six machines did in fact attack Dover, dropping 48 bombs killing five and injuring eleven.
London was hit by 30 bombs, 14 killed, 49 injured. The largest number of casualties seems to have fallen at the entrance of the Bedford Hotel in Southampton row.
The whole raid resulted in 21 killed and 70 injured.
It was estimated that this night over 100.000 people had sought refuge in the tubes. And on the 25th it’s number had already raised by another 20.000 !!! People went into the tubes even without awaiting the warning of the bombardment. Whole families with even supplies, provisions, bedding, the pets.
The number seems even to have increased to a final 300.000 men and women.
Thirty British machines went in search of the bombers, without result. The AA guns from Barton’s Point to Port Victoria claimed two planes, but the British said also that it probably was one and the same machine.
Anyway, this is the only German loss that day :
+ Unteroffizier Gerstan Franz KIA at Tielt (D)
25 September 1917
This was an attack on the south-eastern districts of London, attacks on east Kent between North Foreland and Folkestone.
Enemy machines say British reports were first seen between 7 and 7.30 PM. A total of about 10 machines took part at it and one hour later they were gone.
Four went to London. Casualties were not heavy that night, 9 killed and 23 wounded, mainly in Camberwell and Bermondsey, where many dwelling-houses were hit.
Twenty defending planes did get up, but only one pilot did get in contact with one of the enemy bombers but lost it near Gravesend. He seems to have fired at it repeatidly for some 10 to 15 minutes.
One Gotha did not return, British claim to have it crippled or wrecked by their AA guns
One plane crashed at return, killing all of it’s crewmembers.
+ Flg Hermann Machatzki, Gent, °05/08/1895 Markee, was with KG 3 St 14, gunner
+ Lt. Hermann von Scharfenort, Gent, °08/12/1892 Gumbinnen, observer Kasta 15 KIA
+ Lt.d.R. Alfred Herzberg, St Denijs Westrem, °24/10/1895 Elberfeld, Kasta 15, pilot, KIA
Another one also crashed but only two out of three members of the plane are known to us.
+ Lt.d.R. Rahning Franz, observer of Kasta 15 KIA at Zuydcoote, according to von Eberhardt name is Rahming (D)
- Vizefeldwebel Wienecke Wilhelm gunner of Kasta 15 was taken POW (D)
28 September 1917
Planes left on the 27th.
It seems that the majority of the planes returned home without dropping bombs and that a number of them unloaded over Essex and Kent. There were no casualties at all and only minor damage.
Twenty planes from the home defence went for an attack but failed to find them.
One Gotha claimed by the Chatham gun defences
One Gotha claimed by HM Monitor Marshal Ney off Ramsgate
One Gotha claimed by the Deal guns
+ Vizefeldw. Heinrich Schreiber, Dutch coast, °11/01/1896 Paderborn, gunner Kasta 16 KIA
+ Lt.d.R. Martin Emmler, North sea (also mentioned Kempen), °04/01/1886 Breslau was observer with Kasta 16, KIA
Third crewmember and faith unknown.
Also killed that day was :
+ Vizefeldwebel Haas Emil, an observer of Kasta 16, not found in von Eberhardt (D) He is possibly the missing crewmember
However there were two losses that day. When attacking the wharfs near Sheerness, a Gotha was caught in the spotlights and probably hit by AA at a control cable of the elevator controls. It came down in Belgium (place not mentioned) and crashed into a row of poplar trees. Lt. Döge was slightly wounded, Kurt Delang had a light brain concussion and was found under the wreckage, and Unterofficier Jödicke, the gunner, had a broken arm and was found in the end of the fuselage.
The crew was reunited at Feldlazarett 396 at Eernegem. So this gives us an idea of the area were it was lost. This was a plane of Kasta 15.
According to the Dutch archives, two Gotha’s GIV were interned that day. Gotha G IV 602/16 landed at Sas van Gent but never came into Dutch service, probably the plane was too damaged.
Gotha G V (?) 668/16 landed near Sneek but was set a fire by it’s own crew.
Some sources say that the plane 602/16 crashed with it’s bombs still on board. One officer of the crew was wounded and the other two crewmembers were interned at Bergen.
One of the internees of these planes was Oblt. Rudolf Bäuerle, CO of Kasta 13, who had joined the unit on the 25th July 1917 and previously served with FA 206. Plane had the Mercedes engines 29967 and 30019. The first one was salvaged by the Dutch, the other one seems to have been completely useless.
Conderning plane 668/16 there were no Dutch details concerning the engines, as it seems to have been completely destroyed. The crew seems to have consisted of a Lt. Starck, which was also the pilot and two feldwebels.
In fact, Gotha 668/16 was from Kasta 13, crew Oblt. Rudolf Bauerle was the observer and CO, Unteroff. Heinrich Schreiber was the gunner and Lt. Hans Starck was the pilot. Schreiber was KIA and the two others were interned.
Gotha 602/16 was from Kasta 16, crew was Lt.d.R. Martin Emmler, observer and two unknowns, one of them probably was Vizefeldwebel Emil Haas a pilot who was killed on 28 September 1917.
29 September 1917
Four planes attacked the City and four the vincinity according to British sources. Two planes went for Dover. In London 14 people were killed and 78 injured. Two bombs fell into the proximity of Waterloo Station and caused considerable damage it seems. Thirty planes went up in defence.
One Gotha claimed near Dover having caught fire and falling in flames into the sea, leaving a heavy trail of smoke behind it
Flt Sub-Lt L H Slatter, SDF in Pup N6179, Gotha G Forced to land
No confirmation if this is the same incident…
No casualties found…
Seems to be some doubts about 29th September. Kilduff says this happened on the night of the 30th September on the 1st of October. He is wrong however.
30 September 1917
Targets were London, Chatham, Margate and Dover. In London Three people were killed, thirty-one injured, elsewhere 11 killed and 7 injured, mainly at Chatham. Three bombs fell on the Midland Railway clearing sheds at West Ham, damaging three locomotives, some sheds and houses.
33 home defence planes went up but only a few saw the enemy.
Captain WH Haynes of 44 Squadron engaged a Gotha over Lambourne at about 6000 feet and fired over 300 rounds after losing sight of the enemy.
On the 30th September was killed :
+ Gefreiter Egener Friedrich, gunner, of Kasta 18 KIA at Lemberge (D)
1 October 1917
On the 1st of October 1917 the aerodrome of Gontrode had received the visit of the DH4’s of 55 Sqdn RFC which dropped 12 112lb, 32 20lb and 199 1lb bombs on Gontrode airship shed. It is claimed that direct hits were observed and obtained on aeroplanes in front of the shed and that a fire started near the shed.
+ Vizefeldw. Keiler Alois of Kasta 18, a gunner was KIA at Gontrode, he previously served also in Kasta 17 (D) It is not known if this is due to the bombardment or the raid the Germans made that night.
About 18 machines attacked, main target was London, but there were also bombs dropped at various places in Kent, and there was also an attack on the Suffolk and Essex coasts in the area of Landguard and Walton-on-the –Naze.
In London a big bomb fell into Hyde Park, killing all the fish in the Serpentine. A total of 28 bombs came down in London killing 11 and injuring 41.
18 defending pilots went up in the air, but no contact was made.
On the 4th of October Geschwaderkommandeur Rudolf Kleine received the Pour le Mérite.
13 October 1917
Another unexplained loss of Bogohl III. The machine was a Gotha IV 1065/16 who seems to have crashed into the Zuyderzee. The Dutch did look for the wreckage on the 20th and seem to have found some debris of the plane. In 1963 some remains were found when the spot was reclaimed from the sea, not much more then a small boms, parts of the undercarriage and parabellum machine gun dated 1913 with smaller debris.
Crazy thing however, never did we see any report on the casualties, and none are known in the Eberhardt list.
18 October 1917
14:30 N Passchendaele, Flt Cdr R P Minifie, 1 RNAS in Triplane N5454, Gotha G Out of Control
No casualties found that day
No mentioning of shot up planes found
Not certain this is a BG 3 claim !
24 October 1917
Will Barker seems to have attacked a Gotha over Ypres, says he stopped one engine, and saw it gliding steeply down, however he did not claim the machine !
Not certain this is a BG 3 claim !
28 October 1917
2nd Lt Jones + 2nd Lt Watson, 4 RFC in BE2c, Gotha Out of Control
Place unknown, hour unknown, no losses known
Not certain this is a BG 3 claim !
29th October 1917
Bad weather, machines returned over England and only a few bombs were dropped, without any damage at all.
31 October 1917
The raid started in the early evening. First two machines bombed Langdon aerodrome near Dover and later a large number came over the Crouch mouth, a total of 24 according to british sources and half of them attacked the docks and south eastern riverside establishments in and near London, causing no serious damage, but killing 10 people and injuring 22.
Defending machines were not able to intervene.
1 November 1917
+ Flieger Wagemann Fritz, pilot of Kasta 14 was KIA at Mariakerke near Gent
Probably a casualty on the home flight of the attack night before. Certain is that he died in a crash
The model depicts Gotha G IV number 991/16. Built by L.V.G. under license from the Gotha works, she was flown by Kagohl 3 in the summer and autumn of 1917. Based in Belgium, she crashed November 11, 1917. The stylized initials MoRoTas on the fuselage sides stand for the crew - Leutnant Mons, Leutnant Roland and as yet unidentified third crew member.
Thomas Genth surmises that gunner Uffz. Hermann Tasche was in the crew of MOROTAS, giving his initials (TAS) to the aircraft.* MOROTAS is seen here on 11th November 1917.** He provided the photo below of this accident, which Tasche would have had to survive to crash again in FTS on the night of 19 May 1918.* Mr. Genth points out that the crew and the Belgian couple living in the farmhouse were reportedly killed but wonders if this really was the case.
6 December 1917
Attack on Londen in the early hours of this day, 02.00 till 04.00 AM
16 machines counted, Gotha’s and Giants
first blow Sheerness, between 02 and 03 AM
second blow Dover, Whitstable and Margate
third blow London, reached by 6 machines, 3 others had to turn away
A total of 391 incendiary bombs have been counted by British sources and 30 other highly explosive ones.
Casualties in London were 3 killed and 15 injured. Other targets only lost 5 killed and 13 injured.
Bomber entered near Canvey Island was hit by gunfire and turned back, forced to land at Rochford
During removal of some of it’s equipment it accidentally caught fire it was said, however, this is the real story :
December 7th (in fact 6 December) : A Canterbury Red Cross official was held at gunpoint yesterday by a German aviator while his comrade set fire to their Gotha bomber which had just crashed.It came down in the marshes adjacent to Broad Oak Road, injuring two of the crew who were eventually taken into custody by the Rev Philip Somerville, acting in his capacity as a special constable.Before the arrest, however, a most dramatic scene unfolded. The Gotha of Bogohl 3 was on a raid of the area when it was hit by antiaircraft fire and subsequently crash landed in a field after just missing a mill and several houses.
First on the scene was Mr J.B.Wilford of Mandeville Road, Canterbury, an orderly in the Red Cross. He noticed that two of the three German crew were injured and offered to render first aid. One of them promptly produced a revolver and held Mr Wilford at gunpoint while his comrade fired the aircraft. He is almost certainlthe first man to face a German at gunpoint while on English soil. Mr Wilford was joined by the Rev Somerville, Rector of St Stephen's Church and another special, Mr G.WHaimes from Sturry who said: "The plane was alight when we arrived.
The Germans were not hostile and one was able to understand some English. They surrendered their equipment and arms to the Rev Somerville without protest:' The Rector said when he arrived on the scene the men were standing by the wrecked aircraft which was in flames with machine gun cartridges exploding right and left. "They asked me in broken English for a policeman to whom they could surrender and I assured them I was a special constable. An ambulance waggon conveyed the men to Canterbury police station and the two who were injured were then taken to hospital where they were well treated and most profuse in their thanks to the hospital authorities for the attention they received." During the day the burnt?out Gotha was inspected by thousands of people who flocked to Broad Oak. The Red Cross took full advantage of the situation and made a collection; £32 was realised.
The crew concerned were Lt. SR Schulte (observer), Vizefeldwebel B. Senf (pilot) and Leutnant PW Bernard as gunner.
What happened was that the bomber had been hit over London and had so it’s port radiator destroyed, leading to overheating of the engine and finally it caught fire. All the crew could do was accept the inevitable and land their plane in England… They had already jettisoned one machine gun during their descent and also destroyed all of the planes instruments.
Another bomber returning from London was hit by AA guns over there and came down near Canterbury and was burnt by it’s crew before they gave themselves up. This was Gotha GV 906/16 crewed by Gemeiner J. Rzechtalski as the pilot, Lt. RWO Wessels who was the observer and Vizefeldwebel OEA Jakobs as the gunner. It seems to have been hit at 04.20 hours over Canvey island , a burst which destroyed the port propeller after which the crew first did get rid of the bombs, then they set course to Rochford aerodrome. During landing they hit a tree and crashed at the nearby golf course. Some sources say that the plane caught fire due to the accidental discharge of a signal cartridge.
One bomber is believed to have been lost on the way home
British sources only.
This is the one lost on the way home as far as we know :
+ Lt. Erich Schwieder, Channel near Dunkirk, °04/05/1895 Kalkberge, pilot Kasta 13, KIA
+ Lt.d.R. Albert Zander, Dunkirk, °12/02/1897 Quedlinburg, observer Kasta 13, KIA
+ Vizefeldw. Paul Pfeiffer, Channel near Dunkirk, °01/08/1894 Breslau, pilot with Kasta 13, KIA Pfeiffer joined Kasta 18 on the 20th August 1916, which became Schusta 6 on the 1st of January 1917 and joined Kasta 13 on the 30th April 1917.
12 December 1917
Mission in the afternoon. Gotha’s were flying at 2500 meters and were at 14.15 hours intercepted by a flight of Nieuport 27’s from 1 Squadron RFC.
One Gotha was shot down by Capt. W.W. Rogers in B6825 who saw it crashing near Frelinghem. The whole crew perished :
Hauptmann Rudolf Kleine, CO of KG 3
Lt. Werner ‘Matz’ Bülowius, observer, (served originally with Jäger Batt. 5)
Lt. Günther ‘Rabatz’ von der Nahmer, pilot (originally from the Garde Regiment zu Fuss 3)
Gefreiter Max Weber, gunner most sources say his name was Michael. He was originally a plane mechanic.
The heroes funeral given to the crew and Hauptmann Rudolf Kleine, who had been shot in the head, was presided over by Hauptmann Brandenburg who still was in convalescent leave, did cut this short to resume command of the Geschwader. He would remain this till the end of the war. From the 13th of December till the early February 1918 Oblt. Richard Walter was in command of the unit.
After the war Brandenburg would be mustered out of active duty. He remained however active in the field of aviation and became Director of the Aviation Department of the Reichs Transport Ministerium. He would also get the honorary degree of a Dd in engineering and would play a rather import role in the early days of the rebirth of the Luftwaffe.
18 December 1917
20 Gotha s and Giants counted between 06.00 and 08.00 PM. The British seems to have been really supprised by this attack ! Surprised because there was almost no moonlight at all that night, and the Germans had never before done an attack in such circumstances. However the snow probably compensated the loss of light from the moon.
The largest bomb that came down on London was from a giant and fell in Lyall street, near Eaton square, slightly damaging 22 houses, but no casualties.
In London 13 were killed, 81 injured and elsewhere one woman was killed and four were injured.
B5192 Sopwith Camel 44 HDS combat with Gotha GIII, forced to land off Folkestone, EA ditched and captured, seems that plane exploded while being towed in by a trawler
Capt Gilbert W Murlis-Green, last of 8 victories, he was flying for the Home Defence, 44 Squadron. He became a major shortly afterwards.
One of the reasons for placing Lewis guns on the upper wing was because it was considered dangerous to fire explosive or incendiaries through the propeller. Murlis-Green was temporarily blinded when a tracer hit his propeller.
Camels eventually came to be preferred for Home Defence rather than S E 5as and Bristols because the latter were difficult to land at night on small fields. Also, rotaries could be flown off without the need for warm-up.
+ Lt.d.R. Friedrich Ketelsen, °10/01/1896 Pellworm, pilot of Bosta 15, KIA at Folkestone
- Oblt. von Stachelsky, observer Bosta 15, was taken POW (D)
- Gefreiter Wiesmann, gunner Bosta 15 was taken POW (D)
+ Lt. Baasch Hans an abserver of Bosta 17 was KIA at Munte. He was with Bosta 17 since the 7th of December and previously was with Kasta 14 and before that with FA 246 (D).
+ Vizefeldwebel Nesemann Reinhold, an observer of Bosta 17 was KIA at Munte (D)
+ Lt. Vüllers Otto, observer with Kasta 14 was KIA at Mariakerke near Gent (D)
Some sources say that Vizefeldweble Ernst Hebestreit, gunner was with the same crew and died also in the crash of the plane, and Lt.d.R. Hans Kirsch was probably with the same crew and died of his wounds on the 22nd of December 1917.
On the 18th December the Kampfgeschwader der OHL became the Bombengeschwader der OHL and Kagohl 3 became Bogohl 3 with the Bosta’s 13 till 18.
Had the Bosta’s 13 to 18
On the 19th December 1917 Lt.d.R. Kirsch Johannes was injured in a crash, while active as a pilot for Bosta 14. He died of his injuries on the 22nd of the same month.
22 December 1917
At a quarter to six a Gotha attacking England dropped it’s bombs at sea and did a forced landing near the Water Tower, probably south east of Westgate, as engines seem to have failed. Pilot fired a red light before landing. Pilot set fire to machine after landing and surrendered to the Margate police with two other crew members. crew (POW) as Uffz. G. Hoffmann, Ltn. W. Döbrick, and Vzfw. H. Klaus.
Two other Gotha’s attacked that day
The second plane passed over Broadstairs three hours later, turned over to Ramsgate and then went back out to sea, it seems without dropping any bombs at all. The third plane seems to come soon after the second but was fired at by the Thanet AA guns and it dropped it’s bombload between Ramsgate and Sandwich over the sea, so not causing any damage at all.
So ended the last raid of 1917 by the bombers on Egnland.
No British claims on German planes known for that day.
German losses that day :
+ Flieger Hubert or Heinrich Lessmann, Sint Andries, °22/01/1898 Gütersloh was part of BG I and was with the Staff. In the (D) mentioned as Hubert again
+ Lt.d.R. Paul Lang, Mariakerke, °29/06/1888 Altenkirchen some sources place him with Bosta 1 of BG 1
IS CORRECT !!!
23 December the loss of a Bosta 17 member : Gefreiter Ernst Gerhardt at Gent.
29 December 1917
+ Vizefeldwebel Hebestriet Ernst, gunner of Bosta 14 KIA died at Gent and according to VDK died on the 1st of January 1918 (D)
3 January 1918
In the night of 19/20 January 1918 a German Friedrichshafen G III landed in Belgian-held territory at Vinkem. It was transported to Houtem air base where the anti-aircraft gun damage was repaired and the German crosses replaced by the Belgian roundels.
This is the plane, no proof that it was of BG 3 untill now