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  #1  
Old 5th October 2019, 14:01
Ferreira Ferreira is offline
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Luftwaffe OOB at Operation Donnerkeil

Hi all!

Which was the Luftwaffe Order of Battle at Operation Donnerkeil, in February 11–13, 1942?

Were the day and night fighters all subordinate to Jafü 3?

My biggest interest is to know which headquarters the NJG 1 and NJG 3 were subordinate to.

Thanks a lot!

Franklin
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  #2  
Old 12th January 2020, 12:05
Ferreira Ferreira is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe OOB at Operation Donnerkeil

I searched several sources and found nothing.

For example: John Deane Potter, "Fiasco: The Breaking of German Warships"; Ken Ford, "Run The Gauntlet: The Channel Dash 1942", Donald Caldwell, "The JG26 War Diary, Vol. 1: 1939-1942"; David Williams, "Nachtjager v. 1: Luftwaffe Night Fighter Units 1939-1943".

I found a quote from Jafü Schiff, but that's all. No mention of subordinate units, etc.

Apparently, there is no information available about the Luftwaffe OOB in the Donnerkeil operation.
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Old 12th January 2020, 13:43
rof120 rof120 is offline
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What about Adolf Galland's famous first book (Die Ersten und die Letzten, 1953 / The First and the Last, published 1955 in English). IIRC two chapters are devoted to this operation, which is described in great detail. He gave it this name (the German navy called it "Cerberus" - admiral Ciliax). Galland organised and led the protection of the ships by German day and night fighters. This operation was one of his greatest triumphs, possibly the greatest. He explains on which airfields he transferred his headquarters as the ships moved towards N. France, Belgium, the NL and Germany. The English translation of this book is about 20 % shorter than the German original so choose the German text if possible, or the 1985 French edition "Les premiers et les derniers* (no cuts). In German there are various shortened editions - better use a comprehensive one.

You might add the following books:

- Adolf Galland - General der Jagdflieger - Biographie - von Toliver und Constable - Published 1992 by Herbig in München (Munich).

Many details on "Donnerkeil".

Actually Galland himself corrected many errors in this book, so that he is probably more its author than T and C.

A luxurious (large size, illustrated color dust cover) American edition of the above German book was published 1996 by Schiffer with the title "Fighter General Adolf Galland" if my memory serves me well.

I'm not quite sure but I think Galland was the supreme commander of all German fighter forces deployed for this operation (mainly JG 2 and 26 but others too including night fighters for dawn and dusk). This was not a routine situation (Jafü) but a short, very special one-of-a-kind operation.
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Old 16th January 2020, 14:37
Ferreira Ferreira is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe OOB at Operation Donnerkeil

Quote:
Originally Posted by rof120 View Post
I'm not quite sure but I think Galland was the supreme commander of all German fighter forces deployed for this operation (mainly JG 2 and 26 but others too including night fighters for dawn and dusk). This was not a routine situation (Jafü) but a short, very special one-of-a-kind operation.
What you say makes sense.

I have two Brazilian editions of the classic "Die Ersten und die Letzten". The oldest (1964) seems to be a translation from the French edition, the latest (2011) is a translation of the German edition. The chapters on the operation are very informative, but there's no mention of Luftwaffe Donnerkeil's OOB.
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Old 16th January 2020, 15:51
rof120 rof120 is offline
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Operation Donnerkeil

QUOTE:

"I have two Brazilian editions of the classic "Die Ersten und die Letzten". The oldest (1964) seems to be a translation from the French edition,..."

- In this case it's good for the dustbin (poor dustbin). The 1954 French edition, claiming to be a "translation", is not. It's a TERRIBLE abstract of Galland's text, the original being about 2.5 times longer. What was left was mostly nonsense, like an ejection seat and TWO parachutes in Galland's 109 on 21 June 1941, a ludicrous, invented mention of Mozart in connection with the airfield near Salzburg, and "Riehm" (sic), which was and still is part of München (Munich), becoming "a suburb" of Salzburg, the distance between Munich and Salzburg actually being about 100 km (60 miles), 140 Autobahn kilometers.

"... the latest (2011) is a translation of the German edition. The chapters on the operation are very informative, but there's no mention of Luftwaffe Donnerkeil's OOB."

- As I mentioned, there are some (many?) shortened editions in German. In a comprehensive edition we can read that Galland was the top officer responsible for the aerial part (protection of the ships by German fighters against British air attacks) of this operation, and he led this aerial part during the whole transfer of the ships and all the air combat. Colonel Max Ibel was on board flagship "Scharnhorst" with a corresponding team of fighter control experts and radio personnel and equipment.

- TO BE CONTINUED -

PS: I called Ciliax "Admiral" but he was a vice-admiral. It seems that he was promoted to admiral all right a little later, possibly in part thanks to the success of the "Channel-dash" (operation "Cerberus").

Last edited by rof120; 18th January 2020 at 14:20.
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Old 16th January 2020, 18:28
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Re: Luftwaffe OOB at Operation Donnerkeil

I looked at Galland's first book (The First and the Last, 1953) again - a comprehensive edition (no cuts whatsoever).

When planning the aerial part of operation "Donnerkeil-Cerberus" - the fighter protection of the German naval ships - he decided to have three aircraft control centres at Le Touquet in N. France (N° I), Schiphol near Amsterdam (N° II, today Amsterdam's airport) and finally at Jever (N° III) near Wilhelmshaven in Germany, of course in order to follow the ships' march towards Germany and to adapt to it according to its speed and to circumstances. In the event of a delay at the beginning of the journey he had foreseen to use an alternative flight control centre at Caen (N° Ia). I presume this means the airfield of Caen-Carpiquet, about 10 km West of Caen, today Caen airport. Galland himself moved from I to II and III according to the ships' advance.

The two long book-chapters he wrote on this make very interesting, exciting reading, for people interested in naval operations too. This one was really unique in world history. If you want to read it make sure you get an edition without any cuts (German, French (1985 NOT 1954), possibly in some other language(s) too like Spanish or Portuguese).
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Old 17th January 2020, 16:38
rof120 rof120 is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe OOB at Operation Donnerkeil

In hindsight I fear I did not answer your question entirely: order of battle of the German fighters. A little problem here is of course that they had to protect some capital ships which were moving toward North-East along the French Channel and further, and were sailing at a fairly high speed of 25-30 knots (1 knot = 1 sea mile, or 1,852 m, an hour), which is about 47-55 km/h. Scharnhorst hit a mine and was stopped, or slow, for part of the time and needed protection too; this happened twice during this journey (no really serious damage).

Apart from the permanent fighter Geschwader JG 2 and 26 based near the French coast and the night fighters for dawn and dusk Galland was given a Staffel (about 12 fighters) from fighter school Paris or so. All German military leaders, especially Galland, felt that the number of fighters - about 250 flying in relays of 16 overlapping each other for a certain time if possible (32 then) - was far too low but it was impossible to get reinforcements from the East front or the Mediterrenean.

Well, under Galland's orders the fighters used various airfields near the French channel coast, following the ships' advance. As you know normally one airfield was the base of a maximum of one Gruppe (40 fighters). I suspect that nearly all French airfields close enough to the Channel were more or less used, like Beaumont-le-Roger (JG 2), Bernay (both in Normandy) and all others. Obviously they used airfields as close to the moving ships as possible. The ships left Brest harbour during the night (no fighter escort then). Night fighters were used at dawn and dusk. I'm not sure if they used Caen-Carpiquet too. They did use the airfields of, or near, Le Touquet and Abbeville (not "Abbéville", as many Germans foolishly insist on writing - the correct pronunciation of Abbeville - to an English-speaking person - is "Abveel" with continental European A like in Amiens or Colmar) and the other airfields along the coast in France, Belgium, the Netherlands (Schiphol) and Germany (Jever). I guess you can find more details on the Internet.

Last edited by rof120; 20th January 2020 at 14:31.
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Old 17th January 2020, 19:05
rof120 rof120 is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe OOB at Operation Donnerkeil

About operation "Cerberus-Donnerkeil" I mentioned the English edition of Galland's book, "The First and the Last". Unfortunately this translation follows the usual rule for translated books: it is scandalously poor, often directly wrong. For lack of time I'll give you only two examples:

1. Galland was chasing a Potez 63.11. "The rear-gunner had been put out of action." English "translation": I had shot away part of his tail.

2. "On August 1st, when Marshal Kesselring pinned the Knight's Cross on my tunic…". A KC pinned on the tunic, not bad. See page 52, Champlin Museum Press edition.

In one word, the English edition is not reliable and full of nonsense. This is the usual stuff for translated books.
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Old 17th January 2020, 19:18
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Re: Luftwaffe OOB at Operation Donnerkeil

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In one word, the English edition is not reliable and full of nonsense. This is the usual stuff for translated books.
Please stay on topic, the OOB of the forces deployed for Donnerkeil.
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  #10  
Old 19th January 2020, 16:35
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Marcel Hogenhuis Marcel Hogenhuis is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe OOB at Operation Donnerkeil

Hello,


From the I./NJG 1 in Venlo, the Stab, 2./NJG 1 and 3./NJG 1 took part in Operation Donnerkeil with a total of 20 Bf110's. The operations of the II./NJG 1 are described in a chronic, written by the Nachrichtenoffizier Oblt. Cord Stegeman. If I am correct, at least the 4./NJG 1 was involved.


All the best,


Marcel
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