Air raid on Gemünden

26 March 1945

Gemünden was a important marshalling yard at the route Würzburg - Frankfurt and Würzburg - Hamburg. However the town and the railroad installations remained undisturbed until 15 October 1944. At this day Gemünden hat its first attack with fighter bombers. After the allied air operation "CLARION" against railroad installations in the area Kassel - Leipzig - Regensburg - Stuttgart on 22 February 1945, Gemünden was regarded to be a endangered air target. The intention of the German Army Command to relocated troops from the Würzburg area via Gemünden and Lohr towards the endangered Main-frontline at Aschaffenburg, became the fate for the town. The comprehensive transport preparations for the relocation of the so called "Leuthen-Forces" (ca. 18,000 troops) was observed by the US-Air Reconnaissance.

Gemünden at the Main with Railroad station

(Photo: Film-Photo-Ton Museumsverein e. V.)

The railroad installations were protected by light Air defense. Around the railroad triangle were some wooden air defense towers and also along the railroad tracks were positions for light weapons. 

Anti-aircraft machine gun at the Gemünden station

(Photo: Film-Photo-Ton Museumsverein e. V.)

 

 

Another Flak-emplacement on the Jail - called "Moschele"

(Photo: Film-Photo-Ton Museumsverein e. V.)

In the period between 18 - 25 March 1945, there were several American air raid with fighter bombers against the railroad installations of the town. On 26 March 1945 the Ninth US Air Force executed a large air raid against marshalling yards in Main Franconia and Hessia, which were used for the German supply towards the Main-frontline at Aschaffenburg. About 300 light and medium bombers of the types A-20 HAVOC, A-26 INVADER and B-26 MARAUDER started from their airfields to attack the railroad installations at Würzburg, Gemünden and Flieden. The bomber squadrons were escorted by large numbers of fighters.

B-26 MARAUDER

(Photo: Copyright Dr. Franz Reisdorf)

320th BG Reunion Association

 

Due to several inflights, air raid alert was executed at 1250 hours. The population, traveling civilians and soldiers went into the shelters of the town. At 1630 hours began the attack on the railroad installations. The bomb runs were in part inexact an destroyed parts of the ancient town as well as the residential area north of the station. There the shelter under the court house was hit. After the attack, 65 death were recovered there, among them 12 soldiers. The post office was also hit and all telephone connections were cut. The railroad installations were mostly destroyed or damaged. All train traffic from north to south and from west to south was seriously disturbed. As a result of the bombing, a large numbers of trains had to wait around Gemünden to proceed.

(Photo: Herbert Hausmann)

The last unexploded bomb from this air raid was found on 26 February 2004 near the railroad station, during the excavation for a new super market. It was a US AN-M64 GP (General Purpose) 500 lbs bomb. The bomb was disarmed by the Bavarian EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) without any problems.

2005 © Copyright Peter Domes -  Date of last change: 2013-09-22