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Old 16th May 2011, 00:48
Larry Hickey Larry Hickey is offline
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Larry Hickey
Luftwaffe Reports of Allied a/c Crashes in German territory

Hello,

One of our EOE researchers set me a copy of the information below about microfilmed Luftwaffe reports concerning Allied plane crashes in German-held territory. As you know, a large team of researchers is working on what is expected will be the definitive set of volumes on the air war 9.39 - 12.40. Obviously, the surviving reports are incomplete, and can only reflect a small percentage of total Allied losses. Is anyone familiar with this data base, and perhaps has come up with a more detailed index of what reports may be available for the time period of our interest? Section 7a appears to apply. Any reports on British or French crashes in German territory up to the end of 1940 would be extremely helpful to the research that we're doing. Who knows about this and can possibly help? This appears to be a US NARA general summary of this collection:

"1. The various German Luftgau (a "ground-based" administrative area) prepared reports on all Allied aircraft that crashed in or near German-held territory.
2. Around 7,000 reports, in their original German language, are held by NARA (National Archives & Records Administration) in the United States. These are on paper and many have never been microfilmed. They are held in Record Group 242 under "Luftgaukommando Records Relating to Captured Allied Personnel" (the 'captured' is a bit of a misnomer as the reports also include KIA). It is interesting to note that these particular documents were NOT transferred back in to German custody, as most of the other captured documents have been over the last 30-40 years. It should also be noted that obviously, although reports were prepared for most, if not all, crashed Allied aircraft, the Luftwaffe managed to destroy a fair portion of their records in the closing days of the war (in addition to those destroyed by Allied bombing), therefore only reports for well less than half of all RAF/USAAF aircraft lost over German territory appear to survive....
3. An index, prepared shortly after the war, is available but only on microfiche in Record Group 92. This 'set' consists of 18 microfiche covering the period Sept '39 to the end of Mar '45. There are also some roughly translated sundry reports on the last microfiche, including one for an RAF Stirling.
4. What do the Luftgau Reports offer to the researcher? These reports contain information on casualties often not available elsewhere because of the unavilablity of all pertinent documents in British custody.For example:
- crash location
- crash time
- cause of loss
- sometimes whether a bomber was on the way to or returning from a target
- burial details of crew members including place and date
- capture details of PoWs including place and date
5. What's the downside? Firstly, a report only exists for (probably) less that half of all RAF aircraft lost over German territory. Secondly the index does not enable the exact identity of most aircraft to be established. Only by viewing a copy of the whole report can an identity be confirmed (via names of crew members mentioned)
6. From late 1942 onwards, increasingly the majority of the reports in the index are for USAAF losses. More on this is explained below under document types. However, I can confirm that there are a number of reports for RAF aircraft that do exist but are not in the index or at NARA. During a survey of around 250 RAAF casualty files for 1945, I found four references to reports not held by NARA. Extrapolate this figure across the board and it is possible that quite a number of reports for RAF aircraft are not held in the US....
7. There are several document types that can basically be defined by the reference/report number:

(a) xxxxxx (where x is a numeral) - these reports are referenced by a six figure number that corresponds to the microfilm frame number from a film supplied by the British to the Americans. NARA holds paper prints from this microfilm, the film itself is not available. These reports appear to relate to Luftgaukommando XI in northern Germany and, as such, only concern losses in this area. The British captured a substantial amount of documentation from LGK XI in the closing stages of the war. I can only presume that the original microfilm and/or reports are still locked away in Britain (these reports were not, to the best of my knowledge, returned to Germany). Although covering both British and American losses, almost all of the losses from 1939-42 originate from this source.
The first report in this series is frame number 101401 from 4/9/39 and the last frame number is 132744 from the 25/3/45 (thus there is around 31,000 pages for the period '39-'45).

(b) KU xxxx (where x is a numeral) - these reports concern USAAF bomber aircraft, primarily flying from the UK. Most of these particular types of report appear to have survived. The first report is KU 7 from the 12/8/43 and the last report is KU 3797 from 3/3/45 (although several earlier numbered reports are from a later period, including KU 3716 from 23/4/45 - the only Luftgau report past Mar 45 in the index)

(c) KE xxxx (where x is a numeral) - these reports concern RAF bomber aircraft (although some fighters are also present), primarily flying from the UK. Sadly, this archive is woefully incomplete as held by NARA. The only positive news is that a substantial number of further reorts may be held in Britain as mentioned in (4) above. The first report at NARA is KE 6250 from the 30/7/43 (where are the previous 6249!) and the last is KE 10399 from the 27/2/45 (some earler numbered reports are from Mar 45). An intereting point is that from report 10133 to 10399 (267 reports), NARA only holds 23, while the small number of RAAF cas files surveyed refer to a further 4 reports within this number range.

(d) ME xxxx (where x is a numeral) - these relate to both British and American losses in the Mediterranian and Italy. The first report is ME 24/43 89 from 10/1/43 and the last is ME 2963 from 6/3/45 (a Spitfire from 1435 Flight)

(e) AV xxxx/yy (where x is a numeral and yy is the year) - these are primarily for US aircraft although some British ones are included. This may be another fairly complete archive. The first report is AV 15/43 from 14/9/42 and the last is AV 2126/45 from 12/3/45.

(f) KSU xxxx / KSJU xxxx (where x is a numeral) - these relate to US and British losses in the Balkans and (I think) Czechoslovakia and Austria. I haven't noted the first but the last report held is KSU 2947 from 2/3/45.

(g) J xxxx (where x is a numeral) - these reports mainly concern US and some RAF fighter losses. However, some bomber aircraft are also mentioned as well. The first report held is J 315 from 25/11/43 and the last is J 3192 from the 3/3/45."

Regards,
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Larry Hickey
Eagles Over Europe Project Coordinator
http://airwar-worldwar2.com
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Old 28th November 2016, 20:21
aquarya aquarya is offline
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Re: Luftwaffe Reports of Allied a/c Crashes in German territory

Larry,

I know it's been several years since you posted this, and perhaps you have all the records scanned in by now, but I just spent two months at NARAII this summer scanning in bomber unit and Luftgaukommando records.

What I found was:

1 - The Luftgaukommando reports have chronological indicies, which I have scanned in from 1940-Feb 1944. After this,even the indices themselves are truly huge files, with hundreds of tissue-thin pages.

2 - The American bombers I am researching, which were shot down over northern France in the same timeframe as above, are to be found randomly in all of the below:

a. The 6-digit numerical files,
b. KU files
c. KE files
d. ME files
e. even occasionally J files

3 - Those Luftgaukommando reports that were missing from the above , could be found, in an even more abbreviated form, in the Red Cross files also found in RG242.

Cheers,

heather
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