Daily Event for February 22, 2008

On the night of Feb. 22/23, 1940 an He-111 bomber returning from a mission along the east coast of Britain
found what he thought was a group of British destroyers, he lined up on them and started his attack, dropping four bombs. Hitting a small destroyer from the air is not an easy thing to do, but today he scored two direct hits on the last destroyer in the line, she exploded, broke in two and sank taking 282 crewmen with her.

The other destroyers scattered to avoid the same fate, the evasive action kept bombs from hitting any other
ship in the group, but one strayed into a British minefiled, blew up and sank with all 308 men. Sinking two
enemy warships would normally be cause for a medal, but when you sink your own ships it is cause for a courtsmarshall.

The ships were not British as he thought, but a squadron of German destroyers that sailed from Wilhelmshaven to locate a group of British minelayers. The ships were the Z-4 Richard Beitzen, Z-13 Erich Koellner, Z-6 Theodor Riedel and Z-16 Friedrich Eckold with the Z-1 Leberecht Maass and Z-3 Max Schulz, the latter two being the ships sunk Leberecht Maass by the aircraft and Max Schulz by the mine.
© 2008 Michael W. Pocock

Z-1 Leberecht Maass


Z-3 Max Schultz


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2007 Daily Event