Operations on 25 December 1944 (Pages 131 & 134–135)

The war dairy of Villafranca di Verona records that on 25 December 1944:

After landing from an operational sortie, a Ju 87 rolled into one of the trenches situated on the eastern boundary of the landing ground and was damaged. No personnel casualties.

This information was included in Air War Italy 1944–45 and the loss tables of Ghost Bombers (page 199).

During research in December 2006 in the files of the British Government Code & Cipher School, I found a regrettably rare example of a deciphered aircraft loss report from Komm. Gen. der Deutschen Luftwaffe in Italien:

25/12, 3/NSG. 9, a/f VILLAFRANCA, flight against the enemy. Crash on landing 20 per cent. Reason unknown. Ju 87 D5, marking E8 + KL, works no. 331193. No losses.

An Allied Field Intelligence Party report listed a Ju 87, WNr. 3-1193 E8+KL (call sign SH+BG) among the aircraft found at Villafranca after the Germans had left and it can be seen in the background of the photograph (which confirms the unusual form of the Werk Nummer) on page 146 of Ghost Bombers and a colour profile on page 122. The identities of E8+KL's crew that night were known from a logbook and the time of their landing was 23.55 hours, although no accident is mentioned.

Note: In the photo caption, I described E8+KL as a Ju 87 D-3 and that is how it is depicted in the colour profile. The Field Intelligence report says no more than "Ju 87" but the stripped remains of WNr. 3-1009, E8+LB and WNr. 3-1159 (found at Ghedi) were both recorded as "Ju 87-D3". The photograph of W.Nr. 3-1257 on page 75 shows that it has the wing machine guns and short span characteristic of a D-3, rather than the cannon and extended wing tips of a D-5. If the loss report for 3-1193 could make a mistake over the Werk Nummer then it could as easily have erred over the aircraft's sub-type. For the moment, the evidence seems to favour these "3-" series Werk Nummern being Ju 87 D-3s.


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