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Old 21st September 2011, 16:46
Jagdkommando Jagdkommando is offline
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The death of Gen.Ltn Wilhelm Süssmann & staff - Glider crash 20.05.1941

Dear members,

I'm doing a research on the accident of a DFS 230 glider containing 9 persons, including the commander of 7. Flieger-Division, Gen.Ltn. Wilhelm Süssmann and his staff.
The glider was towed to Crete on Tuesday 20th.May 1941 (some sources says roundabout 18.00 hours) but over the island of Aegina the wire attached to the JU-52 broke as the JU-52 pilot had to make an evasive action from a JU-52 coming out of the clouds, head-on. As the wire broke, the glider was caught up in the slip-stream of the other JU-52 or JU-52's (some sources says one JU-52, others more, even HE-111's have been written).

This strain resulted in the gliders left wing to brake and from 300 meters the glider was seen spinning before hitting the Mt. Oros on the southern part of the island.

Yesterday I spoke to an 87 year old greek man that served as a translator for the germans on the island for several years, and he was an eye witness to this accident. Here is his exact words :

"Concerning the crash of the DFS 230, I am of the opinion that the discription (which I have located on the internet) contain some errors. My opinion is that the only thing that happened was that the rope broke. Personally I cannot recall that there where other planes coming from the same direction while I was looking at the glider from my parents home.
Suddenly after the tow broke, I saw the glider circling only once before it went into a spin and disappeared down in the Mt. Oros.
The next day I was asked to translate the discussions between the greek Mayor of Aegina and 3 german officers that came with a german ship/boat to collect the bodies from the crash scene. I spoke to a Kapitänleutnant and told him that I saw the hole incident. He listened to what I said to him, but didn't answer me. During the discussion the Kapitänleutnant just expressed his doubts about, how could such a solid rope just brake ?? Another thing that is not mentioned is that a short time after the crash, a Fi-156 plane was seen landing near the scene in the mountains of Oros, and also the enourmous amount of german money that was scattered on the entire mountain is also not mentioned anywhere.
Also the same day the chief of the greek Gendarm sent a guard to the crash scene, untill the next day when the germans came. My opinion is also that the accident must have been earlier than 18.00 hours. Anyway after 70 years it probably doesen't exist any human being that could tell any details about this incident anymore".

For my research I'm curious to know if there are anybody in this forum that know about any existing reports of this incident and what really happened ??

I'm not after the names of the nine persons that where in the glider, cause all these details I already have. From the info I have I can see that the reports concludes with "Seilabriss" - rope broke.

If it's true that there weren't any planes coming head-on, and the rope should brake of some other reason I still find it hard to believe that a glider would fall down from 300 Meters. There MUST be another reason for this glider with its 21,1 meter wingspan, to just fall down from the sky. From what I have read on the internet, the pilot of the JU-52 that towed the glider, personally gave his testimony about what happened up there.

I have flown in a glider only once myself, and I can recall that the gliderpilot was the one that released the rope after receving permission via the radio from the towing plane. I'm not sure about wether the gliderpilot had radiocontact with the towing plane, but it must be assumed. If so, the JU-52 pilot had probably not time to warn the gliderpilot as all this happened so quickly.

Another thing is, how could one send the commander and his staff all together in a glider above the sea to Crete ?? They probably had their reasons, but it would of course been safer to send them to Crete in a JU-52 and in different planes......

Thanks!


Warmest Regards,
Flemming
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Old 21st September 2011, 18:51
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: The death of Gen.Ltn Wilhelm Süssmann & staff - Glider crash 20.05.1941

From my understanding, Süssmann's glider was a part of one of the first waves of the German air assault against Creete, in the morning, so should have crashed at 6 am rather than 6 pm.

At this stage there was no airfield in German hands so he could either bail out or land by glider. To set up an HQ with radio and so on, the latter solution was better. And I don't know if Süssmann was trained as a parachutist, even if he commanded 7 Flieger Division.
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Old 21st September 2011, 21:35
Jagdkommando Jagdkommando is offline
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Re: The death of Gen.Ltn Wilhelm Süssmann & staff - Glider crash 20.05.1941

Yes, I forgot to add to the text that this incident had to do with the invasion of Crete. You are right about he could not bail about, especially not from a glider, but the hole point in sending them in a glider was that they were not dependent on landing on an airdrome, but in the terrain like the 230 other gliders that were used against the invasion of Crete.
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Old 22nd September 2011, 00:15
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Snautzer Snautzer is offline
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Re: The death of Gen.Ltn Wilhelm Süssmann & staff - Glider crash 20.05.1941

When line breaks and swings backward of the glider the drag and weight of it could be enough the change the COG enough to make it stall and crash.
Even so more as the pilot circled not gaining enough speed to hold it stable.
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Old 22nd September 2011, 03:11
Jim P. Jim P. is offline
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Re: The death of Gen.Ltn Wilhelm Süssmann & staff - Glider crash 20.05.1941

DFS 230, , Kruppe, Oblt., , St., Stab, Fl.Div. 7, , , , , 20-May-41, Killed in crash along with 8 passengers., , Fl.Truppe-Sonstige/Mittelmeer, Gen.Qu.6.Abt. (mfm #3)-Vol.5, , Insel Aigina, 100%, F, Kdr. Gen.Ltn. Wilhelm Süssmann, Oblt. Hans von Schuler, Oblt. Ferdinand Dr.Frhr. von Liliencron, Oberstabsarzt Dr. Johnske, Fw. Wagner, Gefr. Lehnert, Gefr. Weise & unreadable, ,
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Old 22nd September 2011, 11:37
Jagdkommando Jagdkommando is offline
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Re: The death of Gen.Ltn Wilhelm Süssmann & staff - Glider crash 20.05.1941

Hi Snautzer,

Very interesting theory you are coming up with.

I do not know wether the line could have broke from the glider or from the JU-52, but if it broke from the glider, I can't imagine that this would result in any sirious problems for the glider, but if the opposite happened, the rope could as you say, have caused serious and irreversible problems.

So this could mean that the drag of the line could be enough to slow down the speed of the glider and make it loose height and stall......

Thanks for sharing this theory with me, Snautzer

Warmest Regards,
Flemming
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Old 2nd October 2011, 22:32
Jagdkommando Jagdkommando is offline
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Re: The death of Gen.Ltn Wilhelm Süssmann & staff - Glider crash 20.05.1941

One source on the internet says that the pilot of the JU-52 saw other JU-52 coming out of the clouds head-on and therefor had to make an evasive action. The interesting thing is that the 87 year old greek eyewitness told me some few days ago, that there are normally NEVER clouds over the island Aegina in May month. Other witnesses have also told that their were no other planes involved in the sky when the accident occured.

Warmest Regards,
Flemming
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