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  #11  
Old 10th February 2017, 01:03
Andrey Kuznetsov Andrey Kuznetsov is offline
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Re: Did KG 26 hit the cruiser Molotov in 1942?

Hello, Paul,
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Originally Posted by Paul Thompson View Post
Perhaps it was 4./KG 26, not 6./KG 26, flying that night?
Yes, it is another puzzle. 4.Staffel or 6.Staffel or both.
Exact time and location of 1T+JH loss is really interesting.

Warm regards,
Andrey
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  #12  
Old 10th February 2017, 10:30
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Re: Did KG 26 hit the cruiser Molotov in 1942?

I hope some forum members who have seen relevant ULTRA material will comment here. I would pin some hope on Signatur RL 10/65 at Freiburg. Has anyone seen that?
Not a year I've ever looked at but anyone who wants to try can view the material via the National Archives website. DEFE3/185, German Naval messages deciphered 5–10 August 1942, and /186 (10–16 August) might be a good place to start.
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Old 10th February 2017, 21:19
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Re: Did KG 26 hit the cruiser Molotov in 1942?

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Originally Posted by Nick Beale View Post
DEFE3/185, German Naval messages deciphered 5–10 August 1942, and /186 (10–16 August) might be a good place to start.
Thank you for the hint, Nick! I have now skim-read quite a bit of DEFE 3/185 and found not a hint that any messages from the Black Sea were intercepted. I wonder whether there is a card index for these files. The files would have been almost useless for wartime operations without indexing, so do you think there is an index somewhere at Kew?

Does Schmidt indicate that II./KG 26 flew more bombing that torpedo-bomber missions?

Warm regards,

Paul
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Old 10th February 2017, 21:27
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Re: Did KG 26 hit the cruiser Molotov in 1942?

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Originally Posted by Andrey Kuznetsov View Post
According to Kriegsmarine, it was MAS-boats success. More surprising that Fliegerführer Süd (i.e. local Luftwaffe command) after investigation had accepted the Kriegsmarine's conclusion without any mention about KG26 attacks.

Maybe KG26 really took part not as air recce only but by torpedo attacks too, but where are the primary sources about Kleeman's attack?
Perhaps Fliegerführer Süd knew that no aerial torpedoes were used, although it is frustrating if they didn't state it clearly.

I am not sure Kleemann was involved. 6./KG 26 was a famous unit, so perhaps somebody chose to assume that the attack on the Molotov was carried out by them. They could have also found out that Kleemann was the Staffel commander, put 2 and 2 together and got 5

Warm regards,

Paul
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Old 10th February 2017, 23:04
Andrey Kuznetsov Andrey Kuznetsov is offline
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Re: Did KG 26 hit the cruiser Molotov in 1942?

Interesting what means the record "Ab 22.45 Uhr eigene Torpedo-Flugzeuge an russ.Verband".

Is it means that planes were with torpedoes or simply from Torpedo Staffel?

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They could have also found out that Kleemann was the Staffel commander, put 2 and 2 together and got 5


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Andrey
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  #16  
Old 10th February 2017, 23:30
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Re: Did KG 26 hit the cruiser Molotov in 1942?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Thompson View Post
Thank you for the hint, Nick! I have now skim-read quite a bit of DEFE 3/185 and found not a hint that any messages from the Black Sea were intercepted. I wonder whether there is a card index for these files. The files would have been almost useless for wartime operations without indexing, so do you think there is an index somewhere at Kew?

Does Schmidt indicate that II./KG 26 flew more bombing that torpedo-bomber missions?

Warm regards,

Paul
They didn't start a specific Russian Front naval message series until October 1943 (with the ZTPGR prefix) unfortunately' so all you can do is read a few thousand signals, allowing for the possibility that the decrypt occurred after some delay.

A card index? In your dreams! There was one at Bletchley Park but it may not have survived. Alternatively it may be among the 3,000,000 pages of material that the Bletchley Park Museum is digitising, with no word of an end date. Meanwhile, why wouldn't a person want to read thousands of decrypts?
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Old 11th February 2017, 00:13
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Re: Did KG 26 hit the cruiser Molotov in 1942?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrey Kuznetsov View Post
Interesting what means the record "Ab 22.45 Uhr eigene Torpedo-Flugzeuge an russ.Verband".
That should mean that the word greifen - "attack" was left out so save space, so the text means "at 22.45 our torpedo aircraft attacked a Russian squadron". However, one can also speculate that the staff clerk knew that a torpedo-bomber unit was operational that night, but did not know that it was not carrying torpedoes on the specific mission in question

Warm regards,

Paul
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Old 11th February 2017, 00:19
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Re: Did KG 26 hit the cruiser Molotov in 1942?

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Originally Posted by Nick Beale View Post
They didn't start a specific Russian Front naval message series until October 1943 (with the ZTPGR prefix) unfortunately

A card index? In your dreams! There was one at Bletchley Park but it may not have survived. Alternatively it may be among the 3,000,000 pages of material that the Bletchley Park Museum is digitising
Most of the important events in the Black Sea were long past by October 1943, but ZTPGR may prove useful anyway, thank you.

It takes 6 years to fight a catastrophic World War, but 71 years and counting to find one of the card indexes created during the conflict! Given just how much information there is in the various decrypts, it is a great shame that the card index has either been lost or is yet to be rediscovered.

Warm regards,

Paul
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Old 11th February 2017, 11:11
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Re: Did KG 26 hit the cruiser Molotov in 1942?

Here is the translated KTB SKL entry for the Black Sea on 3 August 1942:
"Long-range air reconnaissance reports that on the afternoon of 2 Aug., a force of 1 cruiser, 1 destroyer, and 4 escort vessels, proceeding at high speed on a westerly course, was observed 20 miles west -northwest of Tuapse. According to continuous reports from shadowing planes,' the force was steering a northwesterly to northerly course, and at 1945 it was 50 miles south of Anapa. By evaluation of photographs the larger vessels have been tentatively identified as a heavy cruiser of the KIROV class and the flotilla leader KHARKOV. From 2245 on, our torpedo planes followed the force whose position at 2351 was reported as 10 miles southwest of Cape Opuk on a 20° course. After midnight, Italian submarine chasers attacked the force some 20 miles south of Feodosiya. According to further sighting reports, at 0455 the 2 vessels were located with 7 escort vessels on a 110° course south-southwest of Anapa and at 0650 with 15 PT boats on a 150° course southwest of Novorossisk. Since, in addition to the force which was sighted, the Main Naval Direction Finding Station at Constanta located the cruiser KRASNY KRIM in the same area at the same time, it is not impossible that several groups participated in the thrust towards the Crimean coast. Group South has requested the Air Commander, South to check on this possibility."

The actions of the three Italian MAS boats that were at sea to cover a convoy of landing barges is also described:
"Of the three Italian submarine chasers protecting the break-through, MAS-573 stopped in her patrol position 5 miles south of Feodosiya as a result of engine failure. At 2400, she sighted an enemy force of 1 three-funnel cruiser and 1 flotilla leader and launched 2 torpedoes against the cruiser at a distance of barely 100 m. One of the torpedoes hit the target. At 0130, the MAS-568, which had been notified in the meantime, attacked the cruiser with 2 torpedoes, hitting her with both. The Italians are certain that the burning ship sank. The 2 subchasers were then pursued by the flotilla leader but reached the base undamaged. During the subsequent search on the morning of 3 Aug., subchaser MAS-569 found wreckage and equipment at the place where the torpedo attack had occurred. It is not yet quite clear what vessel was attacked and probably sunk, since the force located on the morning of 3 Aug. was located later in its original strength. During the same night, around midnight, Ivan-Baba was under continuous air attack and a simultaneous attack from the sea. The attack from the sea may be taken as another proof that other enemy naval forces were operating off the Crimean coast."

Entry from 6 August 1942 concerning the night of 2/3 August:
"Concerning the sinking of a Russian vessel by an Italian submarine chaser on the night of 2 Aug., the Air Commander, South reports in accord with the Italian subchaser flotilla command that, after checking all the data, he now shares the belief that 2 separate enemy forces were involved on the night of the operation and that the Italian submarine chasers sank the cruiser KRASFY KRIM. This opinion is based on findings of the radio intelligence
service."

There is also an entry on 13 August 1942 concerning the night of 2/3 August:
"Since according to interpretation of photographs taken on 9 Aug. and according to radio intelligence, the cruiser KRASNY KRIM is evidently undamaged, the vessel sunk by Italian subchasers on 3 Aug. was probably a three-funnel destroyer. This assumption on the part of the Naval Staff is recorded in the War Diary, 3 Aug."

Here is what can be found in the KTB Admiral Schwarzes Meer about this action:
2 August 1942: "Radio intelligence reports: Increasing fleet movements and continued lively U-boat activity. In the sea area of the middle east coast a large unit - possibly cruiser - the flotilla leader CHARKOV and two destroyers at sea. After detection by the M.P.H.S. this force proceeded northwards in the evening. After midnight the cruiser KRASNY KRIM was also in the middle of the east coast, also the same guard ships, minesweepers and motor torpedo boats active in the northeast of the Black Sea as the day before.
3 August 1942: At 0003 on 3 Aug. aircraft employed as shadowers by Air Commander, South report that they observed gunfire from the discovered force about 27 nm southeast of Feodosiya. Situation dispatches indicate that the coast in the above area has been shelled from sea. After the bombardment was completed the force withdraw at high speed and was spotted leaving on a main couse of 120° 30 nm west of Novorossiysk at 0455 and lying at anchor in the roads of Tuapse at 1957. Apparently the ships kept radio silence during the whole operation as the M.P.H.S. reported waning activity."
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Last edited by Rainer; 11th February 2017 at 15:04. Reason: Corrected typos
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Old 11th February 2017, 11:56
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Re: Did KG 26 hit the cruiser Molotov in 1942?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Thompson View Post
That should mean that the word greifen - "attack" was left out so save space, so the text means "at 22.45 our torpedo aircraft attacked a Russian squadron". However, one can also speculate that the staff clerk knew that a torpedo-bomber unit was operational that night, but did not know that it was not carrying torpedoes on the specific mission in question

Warm regards,

Paul
Whilst you could infer the absence of »greifen«, it just looks like the clipped language that armed forces use the world over: "From 22.45 hrs. own torpedo aircraft against Russ. formation."

It's not anything provable but I think that if the clerk wrote "torpedo aircraft", that's likely what they carried. Look at KG 26 in Summer 1944 when the II. Gruppe was converted from torpedo to conventional bombing. This entailed fitting bombsights, bomb shackles and oxygen for the crew (none of which a torpedo machine needed) so switching a Ju 88 from one role to the other wasn't a quick process.
it is a great shame that the card index has either been lost or is yet to be rediscovered.
On the other hand its absence does enable you to read and draw your own conclusions from the material …
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