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Old 11th March 2008, 19:36
Steve Coates Steve Coates is offline
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Re: Cham, Germany Losses April 1945

There is an event described in my book 'Helicopters Of The Third Reich' which might tie in.

A detachment from Transportstaffel 40 had travelled to Berlin-Tempelhof to try and secure new production Fa 223s from the Weser production line. As it transpired, none had reached a sufficient state of completion and the detachment decided to return to Ainring. As there was no possibility of flying out of Berlin-Tempelhof, the Transportsaffel 40 pilots made their way to Berlin-Staaken where they were able to secure the use of three aircraft belonging to the Kurierstaffel OKL, a Bf 108 and two Fi 156s. The Bf 108 was flown by Uffz. Max Schmid and is believed to have been coded GS+EO, Oblt. Franz Lankenau flew an Fi 156 D-0 CQ+QD (W.Nr. 4437). Uffz. Heinz Lex flew the other Fi 156, whose identity remains unknown as Lex's Flugbuch was 'lost'. The return flight was not without incident. It is known that all three were separated by anti-aircraft fire over Cham on 23 April. Lex was forced to make an emergency landing and was captured by the Americans. Schmid and Lankenau both made their own separate way back to Ainring, arriving on 24 April.

Owing to space restrictions, I had to condense the information I had on this episode in the book. It would appear that the 'girlfriend' was possibly a signals auxiiliary, Frau Kufthe. Schmid also conveyed an auxiliary by the name of Frau Holste.

This small convoy had taken off from Prag-Gbell at around 19.15 and landed at Geisling at 21.25 so this fits in with your timeframe. I should mention at this point that Lankenau's Flugbuch refers to this flight taking place on 24 April but a contemporary journal of his refers to 23 April. I have always been more inclined to believe the journal as Flugbuch entries at the stage of the war were often written up much later.

I will try and dig out Lankenau's chronicle over the next couple of days and will post this up but I'll have to translate it first so please bear with any delay.

It goes without saying that I am very interested in anything more you might have on this. Is there any possibility a photo of Lex or his Fi 156 might exist. Is there a veterans association for the unit ? What is your interest ?
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