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GuerraCivil 20th September 2014 20:57

K/88 of Legion Condor
When it comes to Legion Condor, the most usual thing is to think first the famous pilots of fighter unit J/88.

Günther Lützow and Werner Mölders combat tested Bf 109 and created the modern fighter tactics based on Rotten (pairs) and Scwarmen (finger four). And among J/88´s ranks were celebrities like Adolf Galland and Walter Oesau...

However, there was a Legion Condor unit at least as important than J/88 - it was the bomber unit K/88. One could even say that the main task of J/88 was to serve K/88 - create air superiority to bombing campaigns and escort bombers, which with their bombs opened the way to advance of Franco´s ground troops and also to halt the Republican counter-offensives like Ebro Campaign.

As the bombers of Legion Condor - K/88 - have been so overshadowed by the fighters - J/88 - I think that it is time to open thread discussing this unit and its importance. Also the famous "bomber aces" like Hajo Herrman could be discussed in the context of K/88.

Welcome to discuss, ask questions and give opinions!

hucks216 23rd September 2014 19:34

Re: K/88 of Legion Condor
Here is a snippet from a Wehrpass to a pilot who served with K/88 and shows the Spanish Campaigns he was involved in.

GuerraCivil 25th September 2014 22:25

Re: K/88 of Legion Condor
By the way could you give the name of the pilot? The data there is not enough for me to find out in which Staffel of K/88 he served. I could see that he flew also first bombing missions over Poland on 1.9.1939 - he was very likely selected to do that due to his combat experience in Spain.

hucks216 26th September 2014 12:32

Re: K/88 of Legion Condor
The pilot was Gerhard Richter who won the Knights Cross in November 1940 with LG-1. With K/88 I believe he served in 1 Staffel.

GuerraCivil 27th September 2014 01:02

Re: K/88 of Legion Condor
Yes, leutnant Gerhard Richter was posted in 1.K/88 on July/August 1937. During his service time 8/37 - 1/38 it seems that the unit had still to fly with bomber versions of old Ju 52. The more modern Heinkel 111 went to other Staffels of K/88.

It is likely that Richter flew night bombing missions, as Ju 52 was considered too vulnerable for daylight operations (if fighter escort was not available). It is known that K/88 carried out a large-scale nightbombing attack against Santander on August 1937. When Santander fell, the last Republican base in Northern Spain was Gijón, which fell on 21.10.1937. Although Spanish Nationalists and Legion Condor were victorious, the campaign was not a picnic for K/88. Planes were lost to flak and to enemy fighters. Also engine failures and weather difficulties caused damages and losses.

Teruel campaign 12/37 - 1/38 was also difficult. In the montaneous areas of Spain temperatures could go as low as minus 18 Celsius and weather conditions were challenging for flying operations. The whole K/88 was concentrated to take part in Teruel campaign. On 29.12.1937 all airworthy planes of Gruppe attacked Teruel. After that the efforts were more dispersed. The normal combat risks were there - both enemy flak and fighters took their toll.

By January 1938 the K/88 was installed at Burgo de Osma and it was regrouping to support Nationalist offensive toward Mediterranean coast. But it seems that Gerhard Richter did not took part on it and in spring 1938 he was back in Germany with his combat experience.

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