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Normandie-Niemen over BRANIEWO 1945

Article about: The Normandie-Niemen regiment appeared on the Eastern Front in the spring of 1943 then as (Gruppe de Chase 3) GC3 Normandie, the name Niemen was added to them by Stalin on 28.11.1944 to comm

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    Default Normandie-Niemen over BRANIEWO 1945

    The Normandie-Niemen regiment appeared on the Eastern Front in the spring of 1943 then as (Gruppe de Chase 3) GC3 Normandie, the name Niemen was added to them by Stalin on 28.11.1944 to commemorate their achievements in the battles on the river Niemen. The Normandie-Niemen regiment was part of the Soviet 303rd Fighter Aviation Division (including the 9th, 18th and 139th Guards fighter regiments). In 1945, the French appeared over Braniewo. At that time they were stationed at the airfield in Frydland- Mertensdorf (on 14.06.1807 at Frydland, Emperor Napoleon inflicted a defeat on the Russian army, ending the First Polish War). The unit's commander was Colonel (Colonel) Louis Delfino, and they flew the best Soviet Yakovlev Yak-3 fighters. Two Normandie-Niemen pilots stood out in the air battles in the Braniewo area: Lieutenant Fernand Pierrot and Lieutenant Jacques André.

    French pilots appeared in the vicinity of Braniewo several times in February and March 1945. For example, on 15.02.1945 they made 61 combat flights in the area Braniewo - Zinten - Pieniężno, and in one of the fights they shot down 2 Fw-190s over Heiligenbeil (Mamonowo). On 17.02.1945 they made 21 combat flights operating in the area Braniewo - Pieniężno -Heiligenbeil. The only air battle over Braniewo with the participation of the French took place on 8.03.1945 between Yaks-3 from the French Normandie-Niemen fighter regiment and Messerschmitts Bf-109 belonging to III/JG51 Mölders (III group of 51 fighter regiment), which was stationed at Pillau (Baltiysk) airfield. On that day, the French made 30 combat flights to cover Soviet bombers attacking Braniewo and Nowa Pasleka.

    According to the Normandie-Niemen combat action log kept in Russian by the chief of staff of the Soviet regiment, Major Wdowin, the decoration applications and the accounts of the French pilots, the course of the battle was as follows. On 8.03.1945, between 13.25 and 14.35, a group of 6 Yak-3s commanded by Lieutenant Andre(15) and composed of Lieutenant Pierrot (2), Lieutenant Lorillon(8), Lieutenant Maurice Challe(10), Asp. Ougloff(5), Lieutenant Martin(9) flew out to cover bombers in the area of combat operations: Heiligenbeil- Braniewo- Iron Mountain. In the area of cover they encountered 27 Petliakov Pe-2 dive bombers flying southbound at 3000m in a wedge column. During the flight, the last nine bombers were attacked by 12 German Fw-190 fighters that suddenly dropped out of the clouds. One Pe-2 was surrounded by enemy aircraft. Lt André immediately ordered his group by radio to attack the Germans. The yaks gained altitude and with a fighting turn overran the Germans from the Sun, attacking the 6 nearest enemy aircraft. The German pilots, seeing that they were under attack, went into a dive and tried to escape from the French. Thanks to the attitude of the commander and pilots, the bombers completed the task without loss while still being covered by the French Yaks.

    The whole group of Yak-3s went into a dive, and Lt Pierrot, who had the advantage of altitude, caught up with the leading closing pair of Fw-190s during the dive and, from a distance of 150-100m, shot it down with two accurate bursts; the enemy aircraft went down and burned up 10 km south-east of Heiligenbeil (according to the French, near Braniewo). Lt. Challe came in on the tail of the leading first pair of Fw-190s and from a distance of 150-80m fired at it, the enemy plane made a slow barrel roll, at which time asp. Ougloff attacked it from a distance of 120-100m and ignited its right wing, the Fw-190 again went into a dive and Lt. Lorillon caught up with it and in the dive from a distance of 150-100m fired twice. Hit again, the Fw-190 goes into uncontrolled flight and hits the ground 12km south-east of Heiligenbeil (according to the French, south-east of Pillau). A second group of 6 Fw-190s was attacked by fighters of direct bomber cover.

    On 8.03.1945, the target of the Soviet 276BAD (276th Bombardment Aviation Division) was the port of Nowa Pasleka and Braniewo. A total of 26 Pe-2s bombed Nowa Pasleka and 47 crews bombed the backup target of Braniewo. Cover was provided by 47 Yak-3 and Yak-9U fighters from the 303IAD (303 fighter division). The Normandie-Niemen fighters came to the aid of the Pe-2 bombers of regiment 58BAP, which at 14.00 in two groups of 16 and 8 aircraft bombed Nowa Pasleka and Braniewo. Capt. Krykow's group of 8 Pe-2s, after bombing Braniewo, was attacked by 4 Fw-190s while leaving the target, but was repulsed by the covering fighters. It was not without losses, as the Pe-2 crew commanded by Lt. Col. Igolkin due to bad weather conditions, gained altitude and stood off from their group, after which they were shot down by 4 German fighters. Flying in direct bomber cover, 10 Yak-9Us from regiment 139GIAP repelled an attack by 4 Fw-190s, which, however, shot down a Yak-9U piloted by junior Lt. Mikheyev (the same one who in February 1945 landed on the frozen Vistula Lagoon while rescuing a colleague, as will be discussed later). Attacked by 4 Fw-190s, which began to tail them, the pair of Capt. Mukomol - Lt. Mikheyev, seeing the attack, hid in the clouds. after emerging from the clouds, Capt. Mukomol did not see his lead one again, which was most likely shot down by the German fighters.

    continued Historia Braniewa - nieznane wydarzenia - NORMANDIE-NIEMEN nad BRANIEWEM 1945

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  3. #2


    Hi wjflorian,

    Thank you for sharing the story.


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