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Old 24th October 2015, 15:36
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Post Dates of withdrawal of Zerstörer Gruppen from Eastern Front in 1942 1943

Gentlemen,

I have been compiling a summary of ZG movements, in order to determine when various Zerstörer units were withdrawn from the Eastern front and when they became operational elsewhere. The information that I have seen is vague and somewhat contradictory, so may I ask for comments from the experts?

The data that I have at the moment is summarised below:

I./ZG 26 – Withdrawn from the Eastern Front in October 1941, disbanded in Germany in April 1942.
II./ZG 26 – same as I./ZG 26

III./ZG 1 – Withdrawn in June (or possibly July?) 1942, operational in North Africa from November (or October?) 1942
I./ZG 2 – Withdrawn in June (or possibly August?) 1942, disbanded in August 1942
II./ZG 2 – Withdrawn in July 1942, operational in Germany from November (or October?) 1942 as I./NJG 5
III./ZG 2 – Withdrawn in July 1942, operational in Tunisia from November (or December?) 1942
II./ZG 1 – Withdrawn in March 1943, operational in Italy from April 1943
I./ZG 1 – Withdrawn in May (or April?) 1943, operational in Germany from June 1943

Regards,

Paul
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Old 24th October 2015, 18:52
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: Dates of withdrawal of Zerstörer Gruppen from Eastern Front in 1942 1943

Hi Paul -

This should fill in most of the unknowns and gaps:

I./ZG 26 – Withdrawn from the Eastern Front in October 1941, disbanded in Germany in April 1942.
- Ordered to transfer from Smolensk in Rußland Mitte to the Reich on 18 Oct 41 to rest and refit. At Kitzingen until it transferred to Jessau/East Prussia on 30 Dec 41 where it was disbanded a few days later and its assets used to form I./NJG 4. I./ZG 26 never returned to Russia. Re-established at Bad Lippspringe on 13 Oct 43 and operated over the Reich until it was renamed I./JG 6 at Prowehren on 4 Sep 44.

II./ZG 26 – same as I./ZG 26.
- Returned to the Reich from Dugino airfield in Rußland Mitte for a long overdue rest and refit. In early Apr 42 it was re-designated II./NJG 4 at Laupheim/S Germany. I./ZG 26 never returned to Russia. Re-established at Hildesheim on 13 Oct 43 and operated over the Reich until it was renamed II./JG 6 at Hildesheim on 4 Sep 44.

III./ZG 1 – Withdrawn in June (or possibly July?) 1942, operational in North Africa from November (or October?) 1942.
- Ordered to transfer from Taganrog/Rußland Süd to the Mediterranean theater on 15 Aug 42. Arrived at El Daba/Libya on 25 Aug 42 on transfer from South Russia. Operated in North Africa until 29 Oct 42 when it turned over all of its remaining assets to I./Schlachtgeschwader 2.

I./ZG 2 – Withdrawn in June (or possibly August?) 1942, disbanded in August 1942.
- Ordered to transfer from Barvenkovo/Rußland Süd to the Reich in mid-August 1942. At Wiener-Neustadt on 30 Sep 42. ZG 2 ordered disbanded on 3 Oct 42. I./ZG 2 renamed III./ZG 1 at Foggia/Italy on 29 Oct 42.

II./ZG 2 – Withdrawn in July 1942, operational in Germany from November (or October?) 1942 as I./NJG 5.
- At Kuteinikovo airfield/S Russia in mid-Aug 42 where it was ordered to turn over all remaining Bf 110s to elements of ZG 1 and transfer without aircraft to Wiener-Neustadt. Equipped with new Bf 110s at the Wiener-Neustadt Messerschmitt plant during Sep 42. Renamed I./NJG 5 on 3 Oct 42.

III./ZG 2 – Withdrawn in July 1942, operational in Tunisia from November (or December?) 1942.
- Ordered to transfer by train from Rußland Mitte without aircraft to Augsburg during the second half of July 1942 to begin conversion to the Fw 190. Conversion and work-up in Germany and France to early November 1942. Alerted 10 Nov 42 for immediate transfer to the Mediterranean theater via Comiso/Sicily (11-12 Nov) and then to Bizerte – Sidi Ahmed on 15 Nov 42. Renamed III./SKG 10 at Bizerte – Sidi Ahmed o/a 14 or 15 Dec 42.

II./ZG 1 – Withdrawn in March 1943, operational in Italy from April 1943.
- Transferred from Bryansk/Rußland Mitte to Brünn (Brno)/Czech. to rest and refit on 22 Mar 42. Moved from Brünn to Lechfeld/S Germany on 30 Apr 42. Transferred from Lechfeld to Belgorod II airfield/S Russia on 1 Jun 42 for operations under Luftflotte 4. Ordered to transfer from Poltava/S Russia to München-Neubiberg for a brief rest and refit on 23 Mar 43. Ordered from M-Neubiberg to Trapani/Sicily at the beginning of April with the transfer completed o/a 12 April. Remained in Italy to 1 Aug 43 and then moved to Kerlin-Bastard airfield near Lorient/W France.

I./ZG 1 – Withdrawn in May (or April?) 1943, operational in Germany from June 1943.
- Transferred from Ledna/Ost airfield near Orel in Rußland Mitte on 27 Jul 43 for reassignment to Luftwaffen-Befehlshaber Mitte for air defense operations over the Reich. Renamed I./ZG 26 at Bad Lippspringe on 13 Oct 43.

I can provide footnote sources for virtually all of these entries should you need them.

Hope this helps!

Larry
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Old 24th October 2015, 23:06
John Manrho John Manrho is offline
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Re: Dates of withdrawal of Zerstörer Gruppen from Eastern Front in 1942 1943

I./ZG 1 received the order to return to Germany on 30.7.1943 although it was already anticipated for a few days. On 7.8.1943 arrival in Wunstorf, transfer to Bad Lippspringe on 12.9.1943.
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Old 24th October 2015, 23:24
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: Dates of withdrawal of Zerstörer Gruppen from Eastern Front in 1942 1943

That's correct John. I left out some of the details after its departure from Russia because it was more than Paul T. was asking for. Actually, there were some taxiing accidents at Wittmundhafen on 27 and 31 July followed by a Bf 110 G-2 belly landing at Wunstorf on 2 August. So the Gruppe or elements of it may have gone to Wittmundhafen initially, then to Wunstorf a few days later.

L.
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Old 25th October 2015, 01:18
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Evgeny Velichko Evgeny Velichko is offline
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Re: Dates of withdrawal of Zerstörer Gruppen from Eastern Front in 1942 1943

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry deZeng View Post
I./ZG 26 – Withdrawn from the Eastern Front in October 1941, disbanded in Germany in April 1942.
- Ordered to transfer from Smolensk in Rußland Mitte to the Reich on 18 Oct 41 to rest and refit. At Kitzingen until it transferred to Jessau/East Prussia on 30 Dec 41 where it was disbanded a few days later and its assets used to form I./NJG 4.

Larry
I./NJG4 used same VbKz (3U+_B, H, K, L) as I./ZG1, and fought hard during battle of Moskow along with II./ZG26 (minus 5./ZG26) from december 1941 to april 1942, based at Gugino a/f.
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Old 25th October 2015, 02:00
Leo Etgen Leo Etgen is offline
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Dates of withdrawal of Zerstörer Gruppen from Eastern Front in 1942 1943

Hi guys

Many thanks to Larry for his detailed posting regarding the movements and redesignations of the various Zerstörergruppen. It is certainly very interesting and useful. However, I have also seen some reference that I./ZG 26 was redesignated I./JG 6 on 14 October 1944 and that II./ZG 26 was redesignated II./JG 6 on 5 August 1944. Can anyone please confirm the above or is this information in error and both units were indeed redesignated on 4 September 1944? Many thanks.

Horrido!

Leo
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Old 25th October 2015, 13:39
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: Dates of withdrawal of Zerstörer Gruppen from Eastern Front in 1942 1943

Thanks for your nice comments, Leo!

The official and effective date for the re-designation or renaming of I. u.II./ZG 26 is given in the source below as 4 September 1944. Jurleit bases this date on a General der Jagdflieger order that he cites on page 40 of his book.

Jurleit, Manfred. Strahljäger Me 262 im Einsatz: Alle Geschwader, Gruppen und Kommandos. Berlin: Transpress Verlagsgesellschaft, 1993. ISBN: 3-344-70778-7. Hb (card cover). 199p. Heavily illus. Tables. Appendices. Glossary. Source notes.

L.
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Old 25th October 2015, 15:54
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Re: Dates of withdrawal of Zerstörer Gruppen from Eastern Front in 1942 1943

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry deZeng View Post
Hi Paul -

This should fill in most of the unknowns and gaps...

I can provide footnote sources for virtually all of these entries should you need them.

Hope this helps!
Hello Larry,

A quite incredible post from you and it is far from the first time that you have made a major contribution to the subject! Your information fills almost all the gaps and in rather more detail than I had a right to expect . I have to add that I am somewhat embarrassed by the fairly low 'hit rate' of my original message . I will take up your very kind offer of footnote sources in a couple of days, once my file covering KG, St.G. and Schl.G. movements extracted from your and Doug’s books is in some kind of order!

A couple of minor Zerstörer-related points which I wanted to clarify, for the sake of completeness, are below. They relate to the second part of my initial query, namely the return of the Zerstörer Gruppen to operational status following their withdrawal from the Eastern Front:

II./NJG 4 (ex-II./ZG 26)
Did this unit become operational immediately upon re-designation in April 1942, or sometime later? The Bewegungsmeldungen report the first non-operational loss in July 1942, but I have used this source to check other units and have made serious mistakes, so I would like to check my reasoning this time round .

I./NJG 5 (ex-II./ZG 2)
Same question as above, was this unit operational immediately upon re-equipment in October 1942?

I./ZG 1
A look at Don Caldwell’s War Diary suggests this unit was off operations, or at least not intercepting raids by the Eighth Air Force, until 2 October 1943. This suggestion is reinforced by the fact that the Bewegungsmeldungen report the unit was accumulating Bf 110Gs from other units in August-September 1943, but not suffering combat losses. Is this correct?

Regards,
Paul
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Old 25th October 2015, 15:55
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Re: Dates of withdrawal of Zerstörer Gruppen from Eastern Front in 1942 1943

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Manrho View Post
I./ZG 1 received the order to return to Germany on 30.7.1943 although it was already anticipated for a few days. On 7.8.1943 arrival in Wunstorf, transfer to Bad Lippspringe on 12.9.1943.
Thank you for your contribution concerning I./ZG 1, John. Since you mentioned that the order to return had been anticipated, may I ask whether you know the reasoning behind this move? The Orel salient was under heavy Soviet pressure by this time, yet it would appear that I./ZG 1 spent the next couple of months resting instead of contributing to the German defence either in the East or the West.

Regards,
Paul
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Old 25th October 2015, 15:58
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Re: Dates of withdrawal of Zerstörer Gruppen from Eastern Front in 1942 1943

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evgeny Velichko View Post
I./NJG4 used same VbKz (3U+_B, H, K, L) as I./ZG1, and fought hard during battle of Moskow along with II./ZG26 (minus 5./ZG26) from december 1941 to april 1942, based at Gugino a/f.
Thank you for your contribution too, Evgeny! Another point of embarrassment for me – I did not know I./NJG 4 existed at this time, let alone that it was operational. I have now consulted another source and have seen that the last loss of I./NJG 4 in the East was reported in early April 1942. Was I./NJG 4 then disbanded and re-formed in September 1942? Since you have mentioned this unit, do you know whether it had any significant intruder successes against Soviet long-range bombers during this period? I have read Soviet sources which mentioned night fighter attacks on bomber airfields at this time, now I know that there may have been something substantive behind this.

Partly based on your comment above, I assume that 5./ZG26 left the Eastern Front together with I./ZG 26 in October 1941.

Regards,
Paul
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