This should have gone up on 4/22 (if not 4/20), but I've had it in mind to do something with Notre Dame for a while, and by the middle of last week, I was also in the middle of that one, and you see where that went.
22 April 1943 is the day of the Holy Thursday Massacre. Per Wikipedia, 21 of 27 Messerschmitt Me 323s were shot down attempting a resupply flight from Sicily to Tunis. According to Njaco at WW2Aircraft. Net, this is not quite what happened:
"The Holy Thursday Massacre came on the heels of the Palm Sunday Massacre which involved [the shootdown of 24] Ju 52s. ...
[On 22 April, 1943] [t]he Luftwaffe again tried to supply the forces in Tunisia. . . 10 Ju 52s of Kampfgruppe zbV 106 took off from Pomigliano at 06:40 hours bound for Tunis. The formation was led by Staffelkapitaen Oblt. Biedermann. the Junkers were supposed to fly with a group of 14 Me 323s which took off from Pomigliano at 07:10 hours with the maximum available fighter escort. . . .
....The fighter escort of 39 Bf 109s assembled over Trapani at 08:30 hours. Another 35 fighters were supposed to fly out from Tunis to meet the formation. At 08:35 hours, the formation overflew the island of Marettimo, west of Sicily and descended to a height of 20 to 50 meters above the sea. The specified route [was followed by the Ju52s, but not the 323s, which deviated for unknown reasons.] Most of the escort fighters which had taken off from Sicily stayed with the Ju 52s . . . . This splitting of the fighter force meant that the Giganten had only 36 escorts instead of the planned 104.
....The SAAF sent out 38 P-40s, covered by a[n] SAAF Spitfire squadron and additional flights of British and Polish-manned Spitfires. . . . [at] 09:25 hours, two large groups of Allied fighters began attacking the Me 323s between Cap Bon and the island of Zembra. Conditions were hazy. The first group of Allied fighters engaged the Bf 109s of II./JG 27 which were flying at an altitude of about 2400 meters, and forced them away from the transports. This allowed the second formation, which was larger and made up mainly of P-40s of the SAAF to attack the Giganten. . . ..The Allied fighters estimated the size of the Me 323 formation at 20 aircraft instead of the actual 14. Once attacked, the Me 323s took evasive action . . . . the Me 323s were shot down one after another . . . fighters from JG 27 . . . claimed 2 Kittyhawks [and a Spitfire].
.... . . All 14 transports with 700 drums of fuel were shot down, [along with 7 fighters; only 19 of 138 shot down survived]. . . .
.. According to Me 323 pilot, Oblt. Ernst Peters, from the end of November 1942 to 22 April 1943, KGzbV 323 had transported 15,000 meteric tons of equipment to Tunis and Bizerte in approxiamately 1,200 sorties. Among the items delivered: 309 trucks, 51 medium prime movers up to 12 tonnes, 209 guns up to 150mm caliber, 324 light guns, 83 anti-tank and AA guns, 42 AA radars including'Wurzburg Riese' and 96 armoured troop carriers and self-propelled guns
Credit to Njaco where credit is due. There were 14 aircraft in the flight, not 27, and all were shot down, not 20 of 27. I would add that the Allied aircraft were from 1, 2, 4 and 5 Squadrons SAAF. Or, "shot down."
If you haven't heard of the Me323 before, here's today's stoner moment:
They sent men up in that? Yes, they did.