Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6

Flown by Hautmann Klaus Meitusch, Stab III./JG 26, Vendevile/France, March 6, 1944


Hawker Typhoon Mk 1b

Flown by Pilot Officer Charles A Tidy, No 3 Squadron, Swanton Morley/England, March 6, 1944


On March 6, 1944 Americans launched 814 bombers and 944 fighters from bases in southern England in the first maximum-effort daylight raid on Berlin. It was the largest aerial armada ever assembled up to that time and more USAAF aircraft and airmen were lost that day than any other during the Second World War. Few would have forecast that such high losses actually constituted a victory, but the activities of that afternoon spelled the beginning of the end of the Jagdwaffe.

Sixty-nine bombers and and eleven fighter failed to return to England. However, the bomber loss rate of 10%, was no hindering to further operations. The Luftwaffe losses of sixty-six fighters, 12,5% of those scrambled was losses that the already depleted Luftwaffe could not sustain.

During this day at 1200 Hauptmann Klaus Meitusch was scrambled from Vendeville to intercept a formation of B-26s that was raiding Poix. Meitusch led his Stabsschwarm and the 9th Staffeln to attack the medium bombers escort, and Meitusch manage to shot down one of them, a No. 3 Sqn Typhoon 5 km North of Armiens at 13.05 for his 59th abschuss.

This Typhoon was flown by Pilot Officer Charles Arthur Tidy. Tidy manage to free himself from his stricken fighter-bomber and manage to evade capture. In September after the liberation P/O Tidy was able to return to his squadron and was back into action flying Tempests.

Meitusch was not so lucky, two days later on the 8th of March he was shot down by the USAAF fight ace Capt. Virgil Meroney, with injuries severe enough to keep him in hospital for the next few weeks (more of this story next week).

In all JG 26 claimed to have shot down five 4-engine bombers and a P-47 during the Berlin raid on the 6th, losing one Fw 190 A-7 to the escort.

The Hawker Typhoon Ib
Although the Typhoon had some fighter qualities, by others their low level performances, the new type must have been a great disappointment to the RAF fighter command. With years of trying to sort out the problems with its unreliable Sabre engine it also proved to be less-suited to the pure fighter role, compere to the much earlier Spitfire design. So by 1943 the Typhoon was instead used by the RAF as an ground-attack aircraft, nicknamed "Bombphoons".

No 3 Squadron was equipped with Typhoon Ibs in February 1943 and flew mostly fighter-bomber sorties and anti-shipping strikes. Flying the type for a year the 3 Sqn lost 29 Typhoons in combat, most of them to enemy fighters. In fact the last Typhoon lost by the 3rd Sqn was the machine flown by P/O C A Tidy shot down by Hauptmann Mietusch.

The next Hawker design, the Tempest, the new fighter No 3 Squadron was re-equipped with in April 1944, was an totally different story, a excellent aircraft, and arguable the best fighter on the Allied side, something that the 3rd Sqn pilots would proven to the Jagdwaffe.

Please note that there is no photos of Tidys Typhoon, this profile is therefor based on other Typhoons from his unit during this period.

© Claes Sundin 2016