Heinkel He177

Heinkel He177A-5
4/KG40
Ofw Werner Neuenfeld and crew (baled out)
Crashed 13 June 1944
Nr Bolbec, France

On 12th June 1944 Ofw Werner Neuenfeld and crew took off from Toulouse to attack invasion shipping off the Normandy coast with Hs293 missiles. As they approached Le Havre the He177 was intercepted by a Mosquito crew from 410 (RCAF) Squadron who had taken off from Hunsdon. P/O Kearney was guided onto the He177 by his AI operator F/O Bradford from two miles away and closed to just 600 feet to make a positive identification of the target, which was observed to have ‘an object slung outboard of each engine’ – the Hs293s. The first burst of fire missed, but a second set the whole starboard wing root and engine on fire. The bomber then down in a steep dive from 6,000 feet with the flames spreading until it hit the ground and exploded with such force that the Mosquito was shaken by it.
It would seem likely that return fire had damaged the Mosquito as both engines began to fail, forcing Kearney to make a wheels-up landing at a landing ground in the beachhead. As the Mosquito slid along the ground it collided with a truck, killing the luckless driver.

The He177′s crash site had been located by historian Laurent Viton and was excavated in September 2012. All four DB605 engines were recovered together with the gear boxes and drive shafts that coupled them together. The engines were buried vertically in the ground at a depth of 1.5 metres, and in the centre of the crater the tailwheel leg was discovered. Unfortunately the airframe itself had been totally consumed by the fire and reduced to pile of ash.

Links:
He177 images (YouTube)
He177 video (YouTube)

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