WWII Mining the Danube

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Wellington Bomber.

mineload

Loading a Sea-Mine.

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Mining the Danube from 8th/9th April 1944 till October 1944 by the 205th RAF Bomber Group/15th US Airforce Army. After a brief spell in North Africa, by 1944 US 9th AF was based in Britain and later in liberated Western Europe, providing tactical support to the American Army. US Air Forces in the Mediterranean in 1944-45 were the 12th and 15th (tactical and strategic forces, respectively). It was part of Mediterranean Allied Strategic Air Forces (MASAF) which was itself part of Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF). Its main equipment was Wellingtons and then Halifaxes and Liberators. It included a number of South African Air Force Squadrons and at least one Polish one.

The German counter-measures were:

Forming a huge flotilla of mine-sweeping boats by the German navy and other Axis navies

Forming a squadron of mine-sweeping Ju 52/MS responsible for the Danube by the German Air force.

Erecting of two Entmagnetisierungsschleifen (~ demagnetization slopes).

All in all these German counter-measures couldn’t prevent the decline of the cargo transport on the Danube down to a third. (at least partly)

Sometimes even the complete route on the Danube had to be closed for days after aerial mining missions.

205 Group RAF was a part of MASAF –> MAAF, which was a formation under joint command of RAF and USAAF.

In regard to unit subordination, e.g, No 208 or No225 Squadrons, both TAC/R, were under command of 63.FW, which was an USAAF unit, but in the same time 79.FG flew for DAF, which was a RAF unit late 1944/early 45.

Mission Dates [Nights]

April (3)

8/9

12/13

14/15

May (4)

5/6

9/10

29/30

31/1 Jun

July (3)

1/2

2/3

30/31

August (5)

7/8

10/11

26/27 or 27/28

28/29

29/30

September (3)

5/6

6/7

10/11

October (1)

4/5

Losses

8/9 Apr 1944 – LP139/B – No 70 Sqn – 2KIA, 3? – Yugoslavia

14/15 Apr 1944 – EV825 – No 178 Sqn – CR on T/OFF – Italy

14/15 Apr 1944 – EV920 – No 178 Sqn – CR on T/OFF – Italy

31 May/1Jun 1944 – BZ894 – No 178 Sqn – CR on LAND – Italy

1/2 Jul 1944 – LP497/A – No 40 Sqn – 4 KIA, 1 POW – Yugoslavia

1/2 Jul 1944 – LN744/N – No 40 Sq – 5 EVD – Yugoslavia

1/2 Jul 1944 – MF131 – No 104 Sqn – 2 KIA, 3 MIA – Yugoslavia

1/2 Jul 1944 – MF137/H – No 104 Sqn – 5 KIA – Yugoslavia

27/28 Aug 1944 – EW160 – No 178 Sqn – 1 RTD, 1 MIA, 3 KIA, 2 ? – Yugoslavia

28/29/Aug 1944 – EW165 – No 34 Sqn SAAF – 5 KIA – Hungary

10/11 Sep 1944 – EW205 – No 34 Sqn SAAF – ? – Czechoslovakia

4/5 Oct 1944 MF458/A No 40 Sqn 1 KIA, 4 MIA Czechoslovakia

THROUGH DARKNESS TO LIGHT by Patrick MacDonald; Maurice G. Lihou: Out of the Italian Night – Wellington Bomber Operations, 1944-45; In Dicey Flying Wimpys there is recollections on 4 gardening sorties and the Appendix II is Bombing, Mining and Supply Operations Carried out by No. 205 Group, MASAF February 1944 – May 1945 (pp 183 – 192).

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1 thought on “WWII Mining the Danube

  1. My father Arthur Edward Gowen, flew in a single liberator night mission to mine the Danube on 29/30 August 1944. It consisted (I believe) of just the pilot Capt Potgieter and himself of RAF 178 squadron.

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