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Old 21st September 2011, 01:35
Martin Gleeson Martin Gleeson is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Limerick, Ireland.
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Unidentified FW 200C Condor losses in 1940 from I./KG 40

Based on recent information on early C versions of the FW 200 Condor I would like to put forward the following speculation and suggestions in the hope that it might provoke discussion and thereby clear up some problem identifications. I am not referring here to the transport versions of the Condor, just the purely combat aircraft.
There are 6 unidentified FW 200C Condors of
I./KG 40 which were lost during the period April to August 1940. These were;
22-4-1940..Oblt. Beckhaus..Lost on reconnaissance to Narvik.
25-5-1940..Oblt. Schopke....Shot down over Norway.
29-5-1940..Lt. Freytag.........Shot down over Norway.
20-7-1940..'F8+EH'..Hptm. Steszyn...Shot down off English east coast.
24-7-1940..'F8+BH'..Hptm. Zenker.....Ditched in Belfast Lough, Northern Ireland.
20-8-1940..'F8+KH' (?)..Oblt. Mollenhauer...Crashed on mountainside, Ireland.
All of the early Condors - except for 6 - can be accounted for by Werk Nummer as they served after August 1940 or their fates are known. The missing 6 are Werk Nummern 0002, 0005, 0006, 0007, 0011 (all C-1s) and 0015 (a C-2). Based on evidence from a variety of sources, including the Norwegian article recently highlighted by Goran, I would like to speculate or suggest possible tie ups.
The first three C-1s in service with 1./KG 40 during early April 1940 were almost certainly 0003, 0004 and 0005. The last one mentioned was delivered to 1./KG 40 on 5-4-1940 (Gunther Ott, post on TOCH, January 2003). The two new aircraft delivered during April 1940 were 0002 (assigned to 1./KG 40 on 20-4-1940; Salgado, page 43) and probably 0006 (delivered to 1./KG 40 on 12-4-1940; G. Ott, post on TOCH, January 2003).
Therefore the 22-4-1940 loss has to be one of 0002, 0005 or 0006 (as 0003 and 0004 can be accounted for).
Four more Condors were delivered during May 1940. These were probably 0007, 0008, 0011 and 0012 (all C-1s). The two 'missing' numbers, 0009 and 0010, were transports. The two losses over Norway in late May 1940 were almost certainly from 0002, 0005, 0006 or 0011. (0008 and 0012 have later histories, for 0007 see below). A total therefore of 3 losses from 4 possibilities (0002, 0005, 0006 and 0011) during April and May 1940 by
I./KG 40.
One or two more C-1s were probably delivered to
I./KG 40 during June 1940; 0013 and 0014 - if the latter was a C-1. All the above indicates that only the C-1 served during the Norwegian campaign.
Jan-Carlos Salgado on page 47 of his very good book quotes Gunther Ott concerning 0007. The latter Condor historian believes that 0007 was the first 'F8+EH' to carry that unit code and that its fate was unrecorded. However we know that KG 40 lost a 'F8+EH' on 20-7-1940 off the English east coast. It seems likely therefore that this was 0007, and very unlikely that any other Condor carried the 'E' letter before this time. .
By a process of elimination the Condor lost on 24-7-1940, 'F8+BH', could have been 0011 or the surviving one - if it did - of the trio 0002, 0005 and 0006. As C-2 deliveries began in June or July 1940 there is a possibility that it could have been 0015 also, but see below.
My real interest in this exercise is the last loss, that for 20-8-1940 in Ireland. The Condor lost on this day is sometimes referred to as 'F8+KH' and Werk Nummer 0015, but I admit many aviation historians dispute this. These designations first appeared long ago but the original sources cannot now be traced unfortunately. However there clearly was some basis for using them in the first place. Some years ago a local historian in County Kerry where this aircraft crashed interviewed a local man who had obtained a data plate and a piece of metal from the wreck. Both have '0015' stamped on them. Some experts including, as I understand it, Gunther Ott believe the data plate was from a component of the aircraft and not for the aircraft itself. I have long believed that the '0015' number, while it may indeed be on a component, also refers to the Werk Nummer of the Condor itself. Various assemblies and sub-components for a certain aircraft, even though manufactured well in advance, could all have had the aircraft Werk Nummer stamped on them to facilitate later assembly. I am very keen to obtain evidence to prove this belief correct, or to have it proved incorrect !
The date of this loss, 20-8-1940, leads me to speculate the following based on what I have noted already for the other losses. Of the 6 unidentified Werk Nummern 0015 has to be the most likely as it was the most recently delivered and the only other date it could have been lost was 24-7-1940. If 'F8+KH' was 0015 then 20-8-1940 is the only possible date for its loss. 'F8+KH' is recorded flying with 1./KG 40 in the period between 24 July and 20 August 1940. Furthermore I can find no trace of a C-1/C-2 coded 'F8+KH' flying after 20 August 1940. It is also in my opinion highly unlikely that the 'K' letter would have been used on any of the earliest Condors delivered to KG 40.
What I have written above is partly speculation, but based on any relevant details available to me at this time. I will be very happy for any errors to be corrected and if anyone can add any new information then that would be wonderful. Please join in !
Martin Gleeson.

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