Tag Archives: Chris Vlotman

488 (NZ) Squadron camera gun footage

The Imperial War Museum has added some web-accessible RAF Camera Gun footage to it’s online collection. The video, which can be found by following this link, has over 250 clips of 16mm cine “camera gun” film showing successful combats.

The collection includes 7 clips of 488(NZ) Squadron kills. The quality of the footage is understandably poor, and nothing like the shocking combat footage that we have been shown of more recent war zones. However, we must take into account the quality of the film itself; and the fact that all these combats were filmed in the dark. I believe that they do all add to the story of the Squadron.

For ease, I have listed the combats below, and referenced the time stamp on the video so that you can easily find the clip you are interested in. I should point out that the dates on the clips refer to the actual date of the combat which may differ to the dates quoted on this site. This is because my reference is the Squadron’s ORB which will record a victory on the day the pilot took off – therefore flights that span midnight may be a day out.

Timestamp Pilot Date
07:48 Sqn Ldr Bunting 14/iii/44
10:02 Fg Off Vlotman 22/iii/44
10:10 Flt Lt J Hall 22/iii/44
10:16 Sqn Ldr Bunting 22/iii/44
21:41 WO Bourke 19/iv/44
21:48 Flt Lt J Hall 19/iv/44
38:22 Flt Lt J Hall 15/v/44

 

Advertisements

07/viii/44 – 48 hour pass and a trip to France

7th August 15:35
Airspeed Oxford II T1018
Pilot: F/O Scott
2nd Pilot: F/O Cook
Navigator: Self
Passenger: F/Lt Carcasson
BASE ~ HENGISTBURY HEAD ~ Point de BARFLEUR ~ ALG A-15
Tyre burst on landing as a start to a 48 / “liaison” visit. Dinner at 21 Base Defence Sector HQ at Tocqueville Chateau, an evening in St Pierre Eglise & then to GCI 15072 (Robust) near Barfleur. Slept on the floor of the library & next morning to the airfield to check on the A/C, then into Cherbourg.
1:05

As A Flight came off the state and handed over to B Flight, Broody, Jack Scott, Bill Cook and George Carcasson went on a 48 hour period of leave, and flew to France on a visit. ALG A-15 was an Advanced Landing Ground, a temporary airfield use to support the invasion of mainland Europe. A-15 was located in Maupertus-sur-Mer, some 7 miles ENE of Cherbourg. Today it is Cherbourg Airport (Aéroport de Cherbourg – Maupertus).

Broody has pasted a couple of postcards into his journal that are worth sharing.

The church door - St Pierre-Eglise

The church door – St Pierre-Eglise

Tocqueville chateau - 21 Base Defence Sector HQ

Tocqueville chateau – 21 Base Defence Sector HQ

A bridge in St Pierre Eglise

A bridge in St Pierre Eglise

Also of note on the night of 06&07/viii/44 were further successes for the Squadron. The Jameson & Crookes crew claimed one JU88 destroyed and one damaged. Vlotman and Wood had an unsuccessful chase; but the most interesting combats of the night came from F/Lt Allen Browne and his navigator, W/O Tom Taylor. they were credited with the destruction of one Ju188 and two further unidentified enemy aircraft who both crashed into the ground during the chases. Browne’s personal Combat Report makes for interesting reading:

“At 0234 hours I was told to investigate a bogey at Angels 13 on a course of 280 degs. I climbed to Angels 12 an after being given several vectors contact was obtained 3 ½ miles above and to port. The target appeared to be weaving as many alterations of course were given me by my navigator.

I closed in and a visual was obtained at about 1500ft. slightly above and about 5 degs to port. The target was taking violent evasive action and while attempting to identify I overshot by reason of such evasive action. I pulled hard to port and lost a little height and contact was reobtained on turning back starboard. We closed in and I obtained another visual at 1000ft range above and dead ahead. I identified bogey as a JU188 and this was confirmed by my navigator using Ross night glasses.

The E/A continued violent evasive action. I closed to 250 yards range when the E/A momentarily ceased evasive action, and I opened fire with a 2 or 3 second burst. Strikes were observed in the port engine which burst into flames. E/A broke away to port. I followed him and closed in again giving him another burst of about the same duration. The E/A caught well alight peeled away to port and went down slowly at first and then with increasing speed hitting the ground in a mass of flames and with a violent explosion. I was then at Angels 5 and I called control and gave a fix.

Almost immediately Control took us over and asked us to investigate another bogey. After several vectors were obtained contact range 3 miles well above and dead ahead. I opened to full throttle and climbed to 10,000’ which was approx. bogey’s height. I saw a reddish amber light at a range of 4,000ft moving from port to starboard. I followed visual and pulled in at full throttle dead behind it. The light then commenced to dive and I followed at 350 ASI but failed to close range. The light was going down very steeply and at a constant angle, which I estimated to be 45 degs.

AI contact was maintained throughout but I followed without difficulty by sight. I could not identify as I saw no silhouette, but was satisfied in the dive that it was a very large singular circular light. The light hit the ground and exploded and a volume of fire was seen. The colour of the flame was reddish. I thought at first the object had navigation lights. This explosion is believed to have occurred roughly west of Rennes. No fix could be obtained though Tailcoat control was asked for one. An endeavour was made to obtain a fix from AI beacons but this was unsuccessful. I pulled out of the dive at 500ft and orbited the burning wreckage.

I then climbed to 5000ft and Tailcoat gave me a northerly vector and a little later asked us to investigate another bogey at about 12,000ft. I opened to full throttle. Contact was obtained range 3 miles 20 degs port at angels 12. Closed range very slowly though I was at full throttle. Visual, 1500 range dead ahead on an A/C taking exceptionally violent evasive action which was held by both visual and AI means. Visual having been lost by evasive action.

I could not identify as I could not close range and the bogey peeled off to starboard. I followed and experienced a long burst of fire from dorsal turret of aircraft, which burst went above my starboard mainplane. I turned to port still diving and lost visual. Contact was picked up again at 1 mile range, slightly below and 30 degs to starboard when we were at 3000’. I levelled out and closed in when visual was obtained at range 1000’ slightly below.

The A/C opened fire again with a very erratic burst and missed. The A/C was still continuing severe evasive action and half rolled to port, then going down vertically. This caused me to overshoot as I was not prepared to duplicate the aircraft’s manoeuvres at that low altitude. I did a hard turn to port at the same time losing height. At that juncture while in the hard turn my navigator and I saw a violent explosion on the ground with large volumes of flame over to port which would have been the aircraft’s approx. position.

By reason of the evasive action and the speed of events I was not able at any time throughout the chase to identify the aircraft, which was always below. I endeavoured throughout to position myself but was unsuccessful through the flying skill of the other pilot. I would add that I have never experienced such violent evasive action. The aircraft crashed at 0331 hours approx. SW of Rennes.

I claim 1 JU188 and 2 unidentified E/A destroyed.”


Summary for June 1944

SUMMARY for JUNE

TOTAL MOSQUITO DAY 9H05M
TOTAL OXFORD DAY 2H35M
TOTAL DAY FLYING 11H40M
TOTAL MOSQUITO NIGHT 18H00M
TOTAL NIGHT OPERATIONS 18H00M

Poor weather reduced the activity of the Squadron this month, although there was a slight increase in Night Flying hours for Broody compared to May.

The month was, however, the most successful to date for the Squadron, with a total of nine enemy aircraft destroyed as follows:

S/Ldr Bunting – 2
F/Lt Jameson – 2
F/Lt Hall P – 2
F/O Robinson – 1
P/O Vlotman – 1
P/O McCabe – 1

(See entries 21 to 29 on the Squadron Victories page for more detail)


07/vi/44 – Patrolling the invasion beaches

7th June 02:30
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL – Fighter Direction Tender 217
Patrolling in Pool 2 & Beach-head area. Completely uneventful – not even the expected FW190’s at dawn. A very draughty aeroplane.
2:30

The image below shows a section of Broody’s flying map for today, showing the location of Fighter pool 2 to the ENE of Pointe de Barfluer and the positions of the 2 Fighter Direction Tenders FDT216 and FDT217 in the Bay of the Seine.

Broody's flying map, showing the positions of Fighter Pool 2, and the FDT craft.

Broody’s flying map, showing the positions of Fighter Pool 2, and the FDT craft.

 

The Operations Record Book describes how the aircraft of 2 crews (W/O Patrick & F/Sgt Concannon and P/O Vlotman & F/Sgt Wood) were damaged. W/O Patrick’s by friendly bombers which disabled the Port engine; and P/O Vlotman’s by Allied flak which damaged the tail plane. In respect of W/O Patrick’s one-engined return to base, the ORB says:

“… the Crew landed their Aircraft safely on one engine at their base; bringing the damaged aircraft back from France was a very meritorious feat on the part of W/O Patrick.”

The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was a German single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft.

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 (Image Source Wikipedia)

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 (Image Source Wikipedia)


Summary for March 1944

SUMMARY for MARCH

TOTAL BEAUFIGHTER DAY 3H40M
TOTAL MOSQUITO DAY 12H55M
TOTAL OXFORD DAY 4H10M
TOTAL TIGER MOTH DAY 1H30M
TOTAL DAY FLYING 22H15M
TOTAL MOSQUITO NIGHT 22H00M
TOTAL NIGHT OPERATIONS 22H15M

March 1944 was Broody’s busiest month to date. By comparison, during January and February, he only flew a combined total of  14 hours and 50 minutes of Night Operations. Indeed, March was a good month for the Squadron as a whole. The ORB summarises the month thus:

“This has been the most successful month in the Squadron’s history – 6 enemy aircraft destroyed – 3 by S/L E.N.Bunting, DFC, 2 by F/Sgt Vlotman. C.J and one by F/L J.A.S.Hall – ‘B’ Flight in each instance.

This makes 16 destroyed, 1 Probable & 1 Damaged since our arrival at Bradwell Bay, a very satisfactory score indeed.

We had two unfortunate losses, the crash of F/Sgt Anderson and the unexplained loss of the F/O’s Wilson.

The Squadron spirit remains high and the many congratulatory messages show that our efforts are appreciated in high places.”


21/iii/44 – Pleasant trip to Gosport, but a busy night for B Flight

21st March 11:10
Airspeed Oxford II X7293
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator: Self
Passenger: F/Lt Norman
Passenger: W/O Aviss
BASE ~ GRAVESEND ~ BRIGHTON ~ GOSPORT
Pleasant trip, apart from mild front near Brighton
1:00

14:10
GOSPORT ~ WINCHESTER ~ READING ~ AYLESBURY ~ BASE
Very low cloud just past Reading, so had to fly for some while in cloud, by rough D.R [Dead Reckoning]. Whence well off track to North. “Senior” passenger panicking!
1:15

Later in the evening of 21/iii/44, with B flight having taking over operational duties, a mass raid gave 488(NZ) squadron a very busy night. A number of JU88s and JU188s were sent to bomb the Marconi factory in Chelmsford in retaliation for the RAF’s earlier raid on the  Philips factories in Eindhoven, Holland during Operation Oyster in December 1942. F/Sgt Chris Vlotman shot down two Ju 88s, including the leader of the formation,  and in fact 488(NZ) Squadron were credited with destroying all five of the first ‘pathfinder’ force.

I could never give a better account of the subsequent events than the author of the Squadron’s ORB – the excitement and pride palpable as you read:

“The most successful night in our history – 5 Huns destroyed by 488. A very large raid was plotted from the Dutch Islands and very appropriately, the first aircraft of the formation; a JU88 was shot down into the sea by our Dutch Pilot F/Sgt Vlotman C.J, with Sgt Wood J.L (British) as Navigator. Shortly afterwards F/Sgt Vlotman intercepted a second Hun and shot this down into the sea near Herne bay. Pieces of wreckage hit our Mosquito and the Pilot was compelled to feather his starboard engine, making a brilliant landing at base on the remaining engine. A very fine performance.

F/Lt J.A.S Hall & F/O J.P Cairns (British) who had witnessed the destruction of F/Sgt Vlotman’s first Hun, intercepted a JU88 over Essex and shot it down in flames near Earls Colne; the wreckage fell on an American airfield causing some damage but no casualties. This is their third Hun this year.

S/L E.N. Bunting DFC and F/L C.P.Reed, DFC were also meeting with success and intercepted a JU88 near Sudbury, Suffolk, shooting it down 10 miles away at Clare[?]. They had searchlight assistance and made use of this a few minutes later when they pursued a JU188 which they destroyed near Rochford (Southend area). Once again this wreckage bore evidence of S/L E.N. Bunting’s excellent marksmanship.”

21March44

© IWM (CH 12537) – Air Marshal Sir Roderick Hill, Air Officer Commanding ADGB, is shown the wreckage of one of five enemy aircraft shot down by aircrews of No. 488 Squadron RAF, flying from Bradwell Bay, Essex, on the night of 21 March 1944.

In the photo above are, (left to right) F/Lt Phil Reed (Navigator), S/Ldr Edward Bunting (Pilot, pointing toward the wreckage), AM Sir Roderick Hill, W/Cdr Richard Haine (Squadron CO) and F/Sgt Johnny Wood (Navigator). This particular aircraft, a Junkers Ju 188E-1 (3E+BK) of 2/KG6, came down at Butler’s Farm, Shopland, Essex, and was Bunting and Reed’s second ‘kill’ of the evening.

The crew of the 3E+BK were: Lt Günther Lahl (Pilot), Uffz Julius Fromm (Observer), Ogefr Ericn Schiml (Radio Operator), Uffz Rudolf Budrat (Gunner) (all killed) and Uffz Erwin Kosch (Gunner) who baled out injured and was then captured.