Apr 25

    Led by S/Ldr potocki were F/Lt Malczewski, F/S Furman, W/O Seredyn, F/S Marszycki, F/Lt Wyrozemski, F/O Zaleski, W/O Sztramko, P/O Pinkowski, F/O Drozdowski and F/O Michalski. Takeoff: uncertain. Landing: ~12:10 p.m.
Officially, the objective was to destroy the nazi headquarters1 and discouraged them form taking the stand in Bavarian Alps. It is apparent that the idea of bombing Hitler’s den was particularly appealing for every one involved in any way in this operation. The date coincided with a special day for Australians and New Zealanders; the Commemorations of the terrible losses at Gallipoli in 1915. Therefore, this mission must have had an extra oomph for 460 RAAF Lancaster Squadron. Nor was this any different for Poles from 300 "Mazowiecki" Lancaster Squadron, as well as Polish fighter squadrons, among them 315 "Deblinski". Altogether, some 240 Mustangs from 11 Group RAF and VIII USAAF, supplied the escort.
Since 300 Squadron flew most of its operations at night, this flight, with about 50 Mustangs, marked with red and white checkers, flying close escort, brought a lot of enthusiasm for the bombers’ crews. Their target was SS barracks and they bombed in the second wave. Bomb load: one 4000 lb HC ("Cookie"), four 1000 lb MC, one 500 lb AN-M64 and one 250 lb GP.2 Their route: Faldingworth, Andrews Field, Cap Gris Nez, Berchtesgaden and back. Total 14 of Polish bombers went up and 13 returned safely. Lancaster I PD383 BH-Z, with pilot and flight engineer wounded by a flak’s shrapnel, landed at Juvincourt, NW of Paris, for medical attention.


F/O Pinkowski in February 1945.

    F/O Pinkowski recalls: That morning was briskly and the weather clear. The beautiful day lay ahead. For breakfast we had a couple of eggs, bacon, some beans, bread, margarine and jam. We soaked this with a hot tea. "Fueled-up" like this we went for a briefing in the dispersal which, started around 7 a.m. Operations officer outlined our mission, gave us the route, altitudes, usual staff... We took off - two a/c at the time - at 8:50 a.m. and formed around the airfield. I flew in Flight B led F/Lt Malczewski. My wingman was W/O Sztramko. As a whole Wing we went over to France where we waited for bombers, circling at 20K. They came for a rendezvous 30 minutes later. We took our designated position and with whole shebang headed for Germany.
    Weather was fantastic and we had a spectacular panoramic view of magnificent scenery. Especially, passing over Lake Constance towards the Alps with its snowy peaks lighted up on sunrise. I was concentrating on the flight all the time checking the sky for e/a. We knew that the war was almost over, yet we all wanted to do our job well. Nobody really expected any German fighters, but what surprised us a little was a fact that there was virtually no flak. Closing on Berchtesgaden, on our right we had Alps in a very picturesque scene. Once over the target, we started to circle and basically watch the show.
In pairs, Lancasters were unloading theirs bombs, methodically slamming them in the center of a big dark cloud of dust and debris. Every time one of those big ones (4,000 or 8,000 lbs) went off down there, a huge tongue of fire adorned a dark whirling mass. Thus, we could not see the target itself. This lasted for almost an hour, and all the bombs where dropped in one place.3
    In the middle of this S/Ldr Potocki noticed some a/c low on the deck. He R/T to W/Cdr Rutkowski and went down with his section. Theirs tanks came off with a tiny, glittering streaks of sprayed fuel. Everybody's attention went up a notch, but the a/c below, happened to be a silver P-38s messing up something on the ground.
    Our coming home was uneventful. Some pilots had to land on the continent to refuel. I went directly to Andrew's Field like some other guys who estimated to have enough fuel to do this. My estimation was right and I landed without any problem. Less lucky was F/Lt Wyrozemski who landed his a/c about 1 km before airstrip with a stationary propeller. His a/c hit couple of horses while landing, and this slowed him down a little bit, probably saving him, at least from a serious injury. Seeing him approaching the airfield and then going down, we climbed a jeep a sped toward him. We found him O.K. Those two horses were O.K. not! Leaving the scene we even joked a little; somebody pointed to the horse liver lying around and asked: "Say, Ksawery. Didn't you forget something?" We all had a good laugh and that helped to release the tension.
This was the last mission flown during the WWII.
Based on an author's interview with Mr.Pinkowski


In the cockpit of a Mustang

 1. At the briefing, three targets were pointed to the crews: Eagle’s Nest on a summit of Kehlstein, Berghof and adjacent buildings  lower down in Obersalzberg and SS guard barracks together with SS Chief Spahn residence and control center.
 2. This combination was known as "Plum duff" for a pudding of many ingredients.
 3. Later, somebody commented that actually, the mission was to get rid off the bombs.

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