31 - Black Friday Feb 9th 1945

An incredible

lucky pilot!!

One of the Fw190s, a Fw190 F-8 "White One" from 9./JG 5 was hit in the engine and the pilot was forced to bail out.

 

He was too close to the ground for the chute to open and fell to a certain death

 

But, instead of being crushed against the ground, he hit a steep snowy hillside, slided down and survive against all odds!

 

The pilot was Heinz Orlowski.

 

In 1994 he and his newly-restored "Weisse 1" (White One) was actually reunited in Texas, survivors of a fierce battle some 49 years before!

From Weltwebel Rudolf Artner's battle report::

"About 50 km north of Sogne-Fjord, we saw the enemy formation which consisted of approximately 30 Beaufighters and 10 Mustang escort fighters.

During a combined attack with my Staffel, I managed to gain hits on a Beaufighter which I attacked from behind and above. The Beaufighter crashed burning in a flat

angle. The crash was noted at 16.10 about 10 km north-west of Førde. The crew did not leave the plane."

"As the battle developed I managed to hit another Beaufighter twice during a low-level tailchase. The plane finally turned and crashed straight into the ground after yet another salvo.”

This was Artners 19th victory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Black Friday

The aerial massacre at the Førde Fjord (Norway) February 9th 1945

 

Models by Bjørn Jacobsen

 

The North American Mustang IV

 

The Mustang IV was the RAF designation for the P-51D (282 delivered).

 

Seventeen RAF and three SAAF Squadrons used the Mustang IV

 

With its great range, the Mustang was ideal for escort missions (the Spitfire had

far too short range) and since the Beaufighters was going to an area where

German fighters were operating, they needed the Mustangs for protection.

 

The Strike Force's Mustangs was from RAF 65th Sqn which had moved to

Scotland just a month earlier to give escort services to Costal Command

attacking shipping off Norway and Denmark

 

I had previously made a P-51D Mustang from the 55th FG/8th AF. This was

exactly the same plane as the British Mustang IV. I just had to dress it up in the

RAF camouflage to become a 65th Sqn Mustang.

 

The color would be Dark Green, Ocean Grey and Medium Sea Grey with

Duck Egg Blue spinner and tail band.

 

The Mustang was one of the best fighters in WWII, but the late models of the

Focke-Wulf 190 A-8 Würger was an equal opponent.

 

The leader for the Mustangs, Lieutenant Foster was very surprised of the aggressive attack from the German fighters.

To his astonishment, the Focke-Wulfs flew right through the intensive fire from their own ships and went straight for the Beaufighters

 

The Mustangs dropped their external fueltanks and went after the Würgers

 

It is a little strange that the potent Mustangs performed so badly in protecting the Beaufighters against the Focke-Wulfs

The Germans were actually heavily outnumbered by the Allied aircrafts (even if the Beaufighters were slow, they had an enormous punch in their cannons and machine guns)

 

Operating at low altitude in a narrow fjord was probably not to the Mustangs advantage and the war hardened pilots in the Eismeer Geschwader did not make situation easier for the British pilots.

 

Whatever the reason, the result was disastrous for the Allied Strike Force

 

 

 

I have used the "wrong" Mustang model

 

It has come to my attention that the RAF 65th Squadron used the Mustang III

on the escort mission to the Førde Fjord, not the Mustang IV

 

The Mustang III is the same as the P-51B/C model which you can see in the

picture to the right, except that it had a Spitfire hood.

 

I am sorry for the mistake, but it makes little different to the Black Friday story

Rudolf Artner (to the left) in front of his Fw190 A-8 "White 10"

The Strike Force

On the 9th February 1945, two RAF Beaufighters discovered

the German destroyer Z-33 and several other vessels at the

Førde Fjord on the Norwegian west coast.

 

Even before the two Beaus had returned to base, the planning

of an attack had begun and a large strike force was assembled:

 

11 Beaufighters from 404 Sq RCAF

11 Beaufighters from 455 Sq RAAF

9 Beaufighters from 144 Sq RAF as outriders

12 Mustang MK III from 65 Sq RAF as escort

2 Warwick MK I from 276 Sq RAF as sea-rescue

 

The strike force of 43 planes was led by Wing Commander

Colin Milson.

 

The German fighters

In February 1945, German fighters were still to be reckoned

with, even if Luftwaffe only had about 45 single-engine fighters

in Norway south of Trondheim, barely more than the total

number of planes in the strike force.

 

But they were flying high-performance Focke-Wulfs or

Messerschmitts and most of the pilots were battle-hardened

veterans from the northern front, having fought the Russians

for over three years.

 

The famous JG5 Eismeer Geschwader was stationed at Herdla,

just outside Bergen and could easily reach Førde Fjord and

intercept the Strike Force if alerted in time

 

Prelude to Disaster

Shortly after take-off one of the Mustangs had to return because

of engine-trouble

and another joined in as an escort, in case of a forced bail-out.

Now they had only 10 escort fighters, but hopefully that would suffice.

The plan was to attack out of the fjord and head for the relative safety of the North Sea.

The time was just past 16.00.

The formation turned towards land, expecting to see the enemy at the entrance

of the Førde Fjord.

They turned north with the intention of making an attack out to sea when they

suddenly was under fire from German ships deep inside the fjord and

almost underneath them.

 

The German was quite familiar with the RAF tactics and had

sailed further into the fjord. Here the mountains rise almost

vertically from the fjord and it would be very difficult for a plane

to hit the vessels with cannon and rockets.

The Beaufighters had no other choice but to initiate a new

attack east to west. Abandoning the operation was not an option.

They had to get further east to make the attack run out the fjord.

 

As the formation turned east, Wilson led his strike force south

toward Førde and then west just south of the fjord, but now

they realized that they would have to continue on a westerly

direction and then make a 180 degree turn northeast again to

attack into the fjord; just the opposite of the usual practice.

 

All this maneuvering had taken a long time and suddenly

German fighters appeared at the scene

 

Alarm at JG5 at Herdla (Bergen)

The alarm sounded shortly before 15.50.

 

9. Staffel (Squadron) had nine Focke-Wulfs on readiness,

12. Staffel had three. All twelve Fws took off immediately

 

Feldwebel (Sargent) Rudolf Artner, a very experienced pilot

from the Eismeerfront was leading the 9. Staffel in his

Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-8, "White 10".

He was credited with 17 victories up to this date.

 

There were no novices that set course towards the Førde Fjord

 

The Battle at the Førde Fjord

The Førde Fjord is about 40km (25miles) long, very narrow on

some places and with steep, almost vertical mountain sides.

 

Commander Milson in his Beaufighter made the first attack.

 

Behind him others were queuing up to make theirs.

It was simply not room in the fjord for more than two or three

Beaus to attack at the same time. Projectiles of all calibers

were streaming towards the planes from the German ships,

making the entire fjord a very dangerous place to be.

 

Some planes attacked from south-west, others from a more

western direction, the latter used cannon and rockets against

the Z-33 destroyer

 

Suddenly one of the attacking Beauforts saw a fighter a couple

of hundred yards behind and noticed the characteristic broad

cowling of a radial-engined Focke-Wulf.

 

Then things happened quickly. Cannon shell exploded and the

pilot was serious wounded. He managed to crash land the plane

at the sea and was rescued by civilians and survived.

 

9. Staffel had attacked directly into the swarm of Beaufighters

waiting to attack the ships.

 

At about this time the Mustangs discovered the German

fighters which was heading directly towards them and was

immediately in aerial combat. One of the Fw190 caught fire and

crashed into the sea. The pilot bailed out to safety.

 

The battle soon spread over a large area in all directions.

The Beaufighters suffers heavily at the hands of the Focke-Wulfs.

Terrified civilians witness how a Beaufighter pursued by a

Focke-Wulf was hit several times and crashed in a hillside.

 

A single Mustang tried to help out, and attacked the German

fighter. An aerial duel developed and the Mustang caught fire,

and crashed in a pine forest

 

Further north, in Naustdal two Fw190 and one Mustang was

fighting. Suddenly one of the German planes burst in fire and

crashed. It was Lieutenant Rudi Linz, one of the most successful

German pilot in Norway at this time with 70 victories.

 

Beaufighters were shot down over a wide area.

 

One Beaufighter bellied in on the ice, but turned over and

trapped to crew.

Another Beaufighter fell at the entrance to the fjord. The crew

survived the crash landing.

 

The battle lasted only about 15 minutes. Thus at about 16.30

the last combatants withdrew from the battle and set course

for home.

 

Artner had led his Staffel into combat with his “white 10” and

landed at Herdla at 16.55, barely more than an hour after

take-off. His kills had risen from 17 to 19.

 

The remaining Beaufighters and Mustangs, many of which were

damaged, flew singly or in small groups all the way to Dallachy.

 

Two damaged Beaufighters had wheels-up landing in the dark.

Both crew survived.

 

The Facit

One Mustang and nine Beaufighters were shot down.

Altogether 14 young lives were lost and five ended as POW

on the Allied side.

At this stage of the war with the end clearly in sight, it was a

heavy price to pay.

 

The Germans suffered losses too, but not anything like the

Allied Force. Two Fw190 was shot down and two German pilots

died due to the aerial combat.

 

In view of the enormous effort and terrible losses, the result of

the attack was very disappointing.

 

The Z-33 Destroyer was just lightly damaged and continued its

journey to Trondheim.

The German destroyer Z33

Beaufighters from 144 Sq RAF

Focke-Wulf Fw190

Attacking the Z33 destroyer

Beaufighters attacking in the Førde Fjord

A Baufighter from 144th Sq bellylanded at Dallachy

No wonder that the RAF later referred to this event as

The Black Friday

Building the Black Friday models:

 

The Fw190A-8 Würger “White 10” of 9./JG5 “Eismeer”

 

The kit is from Hasegawa/Hobby Boss

 

The parts fit nicely together and required just a little filler.

 

The major problem was however rather unusual: The lower part of the starboard stabilisator was

missing from the box. This is very rare: I have never experienced it before and made contact with the

UK Amerang Group which is responsible for the Hasegawa products in UK and asked for a

replacement part. They don’t even bother to answer me, and I therefore had to make my own part

(out of Styrene). It turns out OK and I was just happy it wasn't the upper part of the stabilisator.

 

The cockpit building is strait forward.

 

To have more details in the cockpit, I used the

Eduard PE-interior which fitted well into the

model.

 

Around the front of the instrument panel, is a

padding which I made with a thin electrical cable.

 

The cowling in the kit has 6 hinges scribed into

the top port and starboard sides.

These hinges was not on the A-8 model and

needed to be removed (filling and sanding)

 

The multi-piece cowling needed a little sanding

on the forward cowling.

 

The cooling vents on the fuselage sides are

molded shut in the kit, which does not look very

good.

I therefore made the vents with thin metal strips.

 

The flaps on the kit, hang almost vertically, but

again, this is easy to correct.

 

The landing gear is nicely molded and needed

just a brake hose made by a thin wire to be

perfect.

 

The interior painting of the cockpit is dark grey,

and the interior of the wheel wells, flaps and

cowling are RLM 02 (grey-green)

 

In common with the vast majority of Fw 190A-8s,

the aircraft is finished in RLM74/75/76

(Dark Grey/Grey/White Blue) with mottling of

both 74 and 75 and darker grey.

 

The painting process started with masking the

canopy and placing it on the aircraft. The next

step was priming and then the RLM74 and 75

on the upper wings and upper fuselage.

 

Before I started painting the pale blue/gray the

underside and lower fuselage sides, I had to fix

all the bits and pieces on the underside

(wheels, antennas and so on)

 

The Bristol Beaufighter TFX

 

The Beaufighter was a two seats long-range heavy fighter.

 

With its four nose-mounted 20mm cannons and six 7,7mm machine guns in the

wings it was the most heavily armed aircraft with RAF during WWII.

 

But, as most twin engine fighters, it could not stand up against the agile and fast

single-engine fighters.

 

When operating in areas with enemy fighters, it needed an escort (P-51 Mustang) to

keep the German fighters at bay.

 

The Beaufighter proved to be effective in the Mediterranean against shipping,

'aircraft and ground targets and the Coastal Command became the major user of

the Beaufighter.

 

By the end of 1942 the Beaufighters were being equipped with torpedo-carrying gear,

enabling them to carry a torpedo externally.

 

The first successful torpedo attacks by Beaufighters came in April 1943, with

No. 254 Squadron sinking two merchant ships off Norway.

 

With new stronger Hercules XVII engines, the TF Mk.X model became the main

production mark for the Beaufighter (TF=TorpedoFighter)

 

The TFX model could make precision attack on shipping at wave-top height with

torpedo or “60lb” RP-3 rockets.

 

The Beaufighters in the strike force at the Førde Fjord, was the TFX model, but

without torpedoes.

They would rely on rockets and cannons when attacking the German ships – and they

would rely on the Mustangs to fight off possible attacks from German fighters

 

The kit I am using is a 1:48 from Tamiya

The building is strait forward and the kit gave no problem. As always it started with the cockpit

mounted in the fuselage.

I chose to have the crew included because I intended to show the plane in the air.

 

The propeller shafts is lubricated so the propellers will spin if I blow on them with a hairdryer.

This makes the presentation of the model in the air more realistic

 

The camouflage on the Coastal Command Beaufighters was mostly differnt shades of grey.

This plane is SeaGrey and GreyGreen on the upper side and White Grey on the underside.

 

 

 

Beaufighters from 404th Sqn RCAF February 1945

Beaufighter TFX with RP-3 rockets

Spesifications

Beaufighter TFX

 

Crew: 2: pilot, observer

Length: 41 ft 4 in (12.6 m)

Wingspan: 57 ft 10 in (17.65 m)

Height: 15 ft 10 in (4.84 m)

Empty weight: 15,592 lb (7,072 kg)

Max. takeoff weight: 25,400 lb (11,521 kg)

Powerplant: 2 × Bristol Hercules 14-cylinder radial engines, 1,600 hp (1,200 kW) each

 

Performance:

Maximum speed: 320 mph (280 kn, 515 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m)

Range: 1,750 mi (1,520 nmi, 2,816 km)

 

Armament

4 × 20 mm Hispano Mk II cannon (240 rpg) in nose and 6x7,7mm machineguns in the wings.

1 × manually operated .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning for observer

External loads

2× 250 lb bombs or

1× torpedo

8 × RP-3 "60 lb" (27 kg) rockets (underwing)

 

That was the three main participants in the air battle of the Førde Fjord:

 

The Focke-Fulf Fw190, the Bristol Beaufighter and the North American Mustang.

 

It is impossible to make a traditional diorama of an air battle, but I have put all three models together in front of the camera and painted a background of the fjord.

 

It’s the best I can do to create a kind of feeling of what happened the 9th February 1945.

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this website! Thank you for visiting!

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments

(bjorn@dioramas-and-models.com)

 

 

Bjørn Jacobsen

 

 

February 2015