Me 109 Attack on Catania Harbor Sept. 1943

German Luftwaffe 1935-1945.
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Me 109 Attack on Catania Harbor Sept. 1943

Post by dsetzer » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:59 pm

Does anyone have additional information or sources for the September 2, 1943 attack on the harbor at Catania, Sicily?

Here is what I have so far:

The 340th Bomb Group did not spend a great deal of time on Sicily. They arrived at Cosimo on August 2, 1943, then moved to Catania on August 27th. They were off the island and on the mainland of Italy by October 15th.

The Germans raided Catania on September 2, 1943.

I found mention of injuries to Canadian nurses from friendly anti-aircraft fire.

The War Diary of the 489th Squadron includes this entry for September 2nd:

"Speaking of raids, we had a bit of excitement here ourselves. Three ME 109's dived out of the sky and attempted to bomb the harbor of Catania. We were all pretty scared even though the attack was negligible in its effect."

We do not have a diary for the 488th and the 486th did not mention the incident.

The 487th Squadron had this to say:

"Excitement in the afternoon around mess time. 4 ME 109's attacked Catania Harbor. A/A opened up. Some hit slit-trenches, others watched an ME draw away from a pursuing Spitfire. A barrage balloon was knocked down."

The most intriguing item, however, is a passage from the second anniversary souvenir booklet published by the 340th while overseas. The entry for their stay in Catania contains the following:

"Jerry welcomed us with a raid just as we sat down to supper. Nobody spilled his coffee. But the guns on the line and all around the area in spots we didn't know about opened up and the group hit the ditch as one man. Supper was "meat and vegetable stew" again anyhow. Little damage was done although some of the folks up at Group HQ were chased around a shelter by fragments.

We had frequent Jerry visits but on only one was there any real excitement -- the afternoon the ack-ack got one Jerry, the Spitties another and one of our barrage balloons was sent down in flames, all in the space of a few minutes."

Dan Setzer
Baltimore, MD USA
Memoirs of a German Private in WWII:

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