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Old 15th April 2013, 15:24
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Exclamation Question regarding loss of 2 Bomber Gruppenkomandeure on 22 April 1943

Hello!

While searching the excellent "Luftwaffe Officer Career Summaries" for Luftwaffe losses over the Kuban bridgehead in 1943, I've noticed what appears to be an extraordinary coincidence. The Kommandeure of III./KG 3 and III./KG 27 were lost in this area on the same day, 22 April 1943. Since this is an event of some significance, may I ask the experts on this forum for any information they might have about Luftflotte 4 losses on this day?

The 'Career Summaries' list contains the following information:
"JUNGKLAUS, Siegfried. 12.42 Hptm., appt Kdr. III./KG 3 (to 22.04.43). 22.04.43 MIA – in Ju 88 A-4 (5K+BD) that failed to return from an attack on the Soviet naval base at Poti on the coast of the Black Sea." and "THIEL, Erich. 01.03.42 Maj., appt Kdr. III./KG 27 (to 22.04.43). 22.04.43 KIA – in He 111 H-16 (1G+AD) shot down in Pl.Qu. 7532 by a Russian fighter during a heavy raid on the Black Sea ports of Poti and Gelendzhik. One source claims that he died in captivity."

In August last year, Matti Salonen provided the loss details for Major Thiel's crew - see http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?p=153193. I've copied them below for ease of reference:

1943-04-22, Stab III/KG 27, He 111H-16, 8476, 1G+AD, 20 km südlich Anapa, 3 km von der Küste (Pl.Qu. 7532), Jägerbeschuß. Bruch 100 %.
Flugzeugführer (Gruppenkommandeur) Major Thiel, Erich, +
Kampfbeobachter Fw Heins, Günther, +
Bordmechaniker Uffz Prätorius, Wilhelm, +
Bordschütze Uffz Deutsch, Hans, +

Regards,

Paul Thompson
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Old 15th April 2013, 16:59
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: Question regarding loss of 2 Bomber Gruppenkomandeure on 22 April 1943

Generally,

Apr 43
[Luftflotte 4 with: I. Fliegerkorps, IV. Fliegerkorps, VIII. Fliegerkorps, Comandamentul Aviatiei de Luptã (Romanian Combat Aviation Command), 102. Repülődandár (Hungarian 102d Air Brigade), Fliegerführer Krim, Seefliegerführer Schwarzes Meer].
Ukraine.
N Caucasia and Crimea. Flew in direct support of ground forces in the Kuban bridgehead, attacking troop and armor concentrations, enemy-occupied villages, artillery positions and road columns. Additionally, attacks were continued on rail targets and Black Sea shipping. Air assets were concentrated on a Soviet breakthrough at Krymskaya (Krymsk) on 14 April and provided assistance to ground forces in bringing it to a halt before much penetration had been achieved. Supported an unsuccessful effort by V. Armeekorps to destroy the Novorossisk beachhead (Operation “Neptun”), flying more than 1,464 Stuka sorties on entrenched enemy positions while fighters overhead claimed several hundred Russian planes shot down. I. Fliegerkorps also flew numerous bomber, mine-laying and target illumination missions in support of the operation. Similar concentrated air support was flown for XXXXIV. Armeekorps from 28 April following another enemy attempt to break through German defensive positions around Krymskaya, which was highlighted by a heavy Soviet night air attack on the town 29/30 April. On those two days alone – 29 and 30 April – Luftwaffe fighters claimed 95 victories over the battlefield area. But the defenders were slowly driven back and Krymskaya was taken by the Russians on 5 May.

L.
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Old 15th April 2013, 17:26
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Re: Question regarding loss of 2 Bomber Gruppenkomandeure on 22 April 1943

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry deZeng View Post
On those two days alone – 29 and 30 April – Luftwaffe fighters claimed 95 victories over the battlefield area. But the defenders were slowly driven back and Krymskaya was taken by the Russians on 5 May.

L.
Dear Larry,

Thank you very much for your input and for writing the Career Summaries! It's a pleasure to be able to seek answers from specialists!

The Summaries list officer losses in the Kuban or Caucasus area all the way from 13 February (Oblt. Gustav Denk) to 19 August (Hptm. Heinz Holzmann). I think that roughly matches the period of large-scale air battles over the area, which ended once the Germans began their retreat from the Ukraine. There are a few incidents in your "Ground-Attack Units" volumes which relate to the later period after 5 May.

Coming back to April 1943, may I ask if you have anything to add regarding Luftwaffe losses on 11 April? Notable aces Ofw. Willi Nemitz and Oblt. Albrecht Walz were both shot down on this date, so again I wonder whether there were large German losses, or if this was just a coincidence.

Regards,

Paul Thompson

Last edited by Paul Thompson; 15th April 2013 at 17:28. Reason: Clarified what dates 'later period' referred to
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Old 15th April 2013, 17:31
Matti Salonen Matti Salonen is offline
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Re: Question regarding loss of 2 Bomber Gruppenkomandeure on 22 April 1943

Loss info on Hptm Jungklaus' crew:
1943-04-22, Stab III/KG 3, Ju 88A-4, 144615, 5K+BD, Poti, Unbekannt um 18.45 Uhr. Bruch 100 %.
Flugzeugführer (Gruppenkommandeur) Hptm Jungklaus, Siegfried, vermißt
Beobachter Olt Röbert, Johannes, vermißt
Bordfunker Uffz Lenz, Alois, vermißt
Bordschütze Fw Oerter, Theodor, vermißt

Matti
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Old 15th April 2013, 18:24
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: Question regarding loss of 2 Bomber Gruppenkomandeure on 22 April 1943

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the kind comments!

There doesn't seem to have been anything of note going on during 11 April. But KTB/OKW does state that the port of Poti was hit the evening of 22 April by a large force of bombers under Luftflotte 4. Several fires in the harbor and numerous hits in the inner basin were observed.

There are several members here who have all Luftwaffe losses in easily accessible data bases in which they could look up 11 April and 22 April for you and list all of the losses in the North Caucasia area. Unfortunately, my data is all on microfilm and it would take more hours than I have to dig it out.

Hopefully, one of these fellows will step forward and answer your questions for 11 and 22 April.

Larry
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Old 15th April 2013, 20:22
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Re: Question regarding loss of 2 Bomber Gruppenkomandeure on 22 April 1943

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

Thanks for the kind comments!

There doesn't seem to have been anything of note going on during 11 April. But KTB/OKW does state that the port of Poti was hit the evening of 22 April by a large force of bombers under Luftflotte 4. Several fires in the harbor and numerous hits in the inner basin were observed.

There are several members here who have all Luftwaffe losses in easily accessible data bases in which they could look up 11 April and 22 April for you and list all of the losses in the North Caucasia area. Unfortunately, my data is all on microfilm and it would take more hours than I have to dig it out.

Hopefully, one of these fellows will step forward and answer your questions for 11 and 22 April.

Larry
Dear Larry,

You're welcome! Thank you for the additional information about Poti, it looks like Jungklaus and Thiel were lost on an important mission, which makes things even more interesting! Having tried to remember other instances when two bomber Kommandeure were lost on the same day, I could only think of Paepcke and Kollewe over Malta on 17 October 1942. Do you know of any other cases? If there were only these two, it would make the Kuban incident all the more remarkable.

I understand the microfilm issue very well, my limited experience of reading them greatly increases my respect for researchers who wade through them!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matti Salonen View Post
Loss info on Hptm Jungklaus' crew:

Matti
Dear Matti,

Thank you for stepping in once again! A comparison of the loss locations indicates that the aircraft were lost a long distance from one another. It’s interesting that the cause of the Jungklaus loss is listed as “unknown”, yet a precise time is given. Is this a common occurrence in the records and if so, could it suggest a non-combat loss?

May I ask if you have other Luftwaffe losses listed for the 11 or 22 April in this area? I’ve had a look at Andreas Brekken’s summary loss lists and they state that 5 aircraft were lost by Jagdgeschwader 3 and 52 on 11 April, but there is no information for the 22nd.

Regards,

Paul Thompson
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Old 15th April 2013, 21:06
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: Question regarding loss of 2 Bomber Gruppenkomandeure on 22 April 1943

Paul T. wrote in part:
Quote:
Having tried to remember other instances when two bomber Kommandeure were lost on the same day, I could only think of Paepcke and Kollewe over Malta on 17 October 1942. Do you know of any other cases? If there were only these two, it would make the Kuban incident all the more remarkable.
No, Paul, I sure don't. It's just not something that I would have been on the lookout for as I trawled my way through the Luftwaffe records.

There might be some more information on the 22 April raid in:

Waiss, Walter. Boelcke Archiv, Band V: Chonik Kampfgeschwader Nr. 27 Boelcke, Teil 4: 01.01.1943 – 31.12.1943.

This title would have been published just 3 or 4 years ago and had a very tiny press run, perhaps no more than 600 copies or so. It's therefore quite rare, but perhaps someone here might have it and could look up 22 April 1943 for you. Did you lose a family member in this raid, or is it just curiosity?

L.
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Old 15th April 2013, 23:45
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Re: Question regarding loss of 2 Bomber Gruppenkomandeure on 22 April 1943

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry deZeng View Post
No, Paul, I sure don't. It's just not something that I would have been on the lookout for as I trawled my way through the Luftwaffe records.

There might be some more information on the 22 April raid in:

Waiss, Walter. Boelcke Archiv, Band V: Chonik Kampfgeschwader Nr. 27 Boelcke, Teil 4: 01.01.1943 – 31.12.1943.

This title would have been published just 3 or 4 years ago and had a very tiny press run, perhaps no more than 600 copies or so. It's therefore quite rare, but perhaps someone here might have it and could look up 22 April 1943 for you. Did you lose a family member in this raid, or is it just curiosity?

L.
Larry,

That's fine, the only reason I asked is that your books often mention the losses of formation leaders. I would of course be glad if someone quoted that very rare Weiss volume, but since I don't have a personal connection to or research interest in the matter, I don't think I can lay claim to that much of somebody's time. The reason I became interested in the Kuban bridgehead specifically is because the operational-level air actions in that area are given much attention in Soviet sources, as described in this book:

Hardesty, V., & Grinberg, I. Red Phoenix Rising: The Soviet Air Force in World War II. University Press of Kansas.

In the absence of any campaign history, I am trying to use any proxy sources that I come across to try to gauge whether these battles had a significant influence on the course of the air war or not. Of course, whatever happened on 22 April doesn't answer this question one way or another, but I thought that is worthwhile to try to establish the facts of this particular day, because the prominent casualties make it interesting for its own sake.

Regards,

Paul Thompson
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Old 15th April 2013, 23:55
Andrey Kuznetsov Andrey Kuznetsov is offline
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Re: Question regarding loss of 2 Bomber Gruppenkomandeure on 22 April 1943

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matti Salonen View Post
Loss info on Hptm Jungklaus' crew:
1943-04-22, Stab III/KG 3, Ju 88A-4, 144615, 5K+BD, Poti, Unbekannt um 18.45 Uhr. Bruch 100 %.
Flugzeugführer (Gruppenkommandeur) Hptm Jungklaus, Siegfried, vermißt
Beobachter Olt Röbert, Johannes, vermißt
Bordfunker Uffz Lenz, Alois, vermißt
Bordschütze Fw Oerter, Theodor, vermißt

Matti
Hello Matti,

This Ju88 was claimed by Poti AA Defence.
Oerter became a POW. From his words, Ju88 have ditched in the sea due to technical failure before the bombing of the Poti (it was doubtful for interrogators). Jungklaus drowned [why?] with his Ju88 in the sea, the rest of crew reached the land but Beobachter and Bordschütze have drowned during the river crossing.

Best regards,
Andrey
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Old 16th April 2013, 01:51
Paul Thompson Paul Thompson is offline
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Re: Question regarding loss of 2 Bomber Gruppenkomandeure on 22 April 1943

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrey Kuznetsov View Post
Hello Matti,

This Ju88 was claimed by Poti AA Defence.
Oerter became a POW. From his words, Ju88 have ditched in the sea due to technical failure before the bombing of the Poti (it was doubtful for interrogators). Jungklaus drowned [why?] with his Ju88 in the sea, the rest of crew reached the land but Beobachter and Bordschütze have drowned during the river crossing.

Best regards,
Andrey
Dear Andrey,

Thank you, that's very interesting! Did the Soviet side capture any more prisoners that day? According to the quote in the first post, a source claimed that Thiel also became a POW.

Regards,

Paul Thompson

Last edited by Paul Thompson; 16th April 2013 at 01:52. Reason: Improved clarity
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