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  #1  
Old 24th January 2015, 06:33
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Death of Helmut Grollmuss

According to Tony Woods list Lt. Helmut Grollmuss 4./JG 54 shot down his last victory # 75 an Il-2 at 17:42 91381. He was killed sometime after that in an air battle on Fw 190 A-6 # 470075 south of Vipuri (Vyborg). Does anyone know if this battle was with an Airacobra?
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Old 24th January 2015, 21:48
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Re: Death of Helmut Grollmuss

Seems that I left out the date on his death, its the 19 Jun 1944 while helping protect Finland. Also TW's list for this time is out of order as my answer is listed with his claim of an Airacobra at 20:25 PlQu. 81833. Maybe someone from Finland has read something that gives an idea who killed him.
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Old 25th January 2015, 23:02
Kari Lumppio Kari Lumppio is offline
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Re: Death of Helmut Grollmuss

Hello!

Somewhat loose translation of a war diary entry of I/15. Kevyt ilmatorjuntapatteri (I Section of 15th Light Antiaircraft Battery) for June 19th, 1944:

21.00 We get to our transport a German pilot who parachuted but was shot by some stupid infantry man, left him at Karisalmi station.

Original: "21.00 Saimme kyytiimme laskuvarjolla pelastautuneen, mutta jonkun tyhmän jv.miehen ampuman saksalaisen lentäjän, jonka jätimme Karisalmen asemalle" Source: http://digi.narc.fi/digi/view.ka?kuid=2826875

EDIT I first read the handwritten word as ryhmä (=group), but it was tyhmä (=stupid)!

Another entry from the II Section of the same AA battery:

21.30 1/FW fell down to direction 15-00 on own side, shot down by enemy fighter

"1/FW putosi suuntaan 15-00 omalle puolelle vih. hävittäjän alasampumana"
Source: http://digi.narc.fi/digi/view.ka?kuid=2826932

I think these are both the same - Grollmuss - case despite the time differences. I am astonished that I haven't noticed this before even if I have read 15 Kev.It.Ptri diaries dozens of times. Not been that interested in German losses. Was just watching an TV series episody when noticed the question and decided to give it a quick look on the online archive sources.
I think the mystery is somewhat solved now with this post?

Cheers,
Kari

Last edited by Kari Lumppio; 26th January 2015 at 23:28. Reason: Corrected "infantry man" to singular as in original Finnish text
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Old 26th January 2015, 00:32
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Re: Death of Helmut Grollmuss

Kari,
Thanks for the response. "21.30 1/FW fell down to direction 15-00 on own side, shot down by enemy fighter". Is 15-00 referring to the time or the Finnish AA battery? Is this place near Syaynie station (Cherkasovo)? If it's 21:30 he came down it would be about 5 minutes after Grollmuss's last recorded victory would it not?
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Old 26th January 2015, 03:20
Leo Etgen Leo Etgen is offline
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Death of Helmut Grollmuss

Hi guys

I was reading the account in Lento-Osasto Kuhlmey by Valtonen of the circumstances of his death and if I am understanding correctly at 20:05 he began a fighter sweep in the Vyborg area where he engaged in aerial combat with six Airacobra fighters and four Pe-2 twin-engined bombers. At around 20:35 he radioed that he was baling out due to engine trouble. He was observed doing so 20 kilometers northeast of Vyborg but was not seen again until his body was recovered on 19 July 1944. Later there is some speculation that he may have been killed by partisans. I should point out that this book is in Finnish and I am relying on an online translator so perhaps the above is somewhat garbled and inaccurate. Most sources that I have seen state that he was shot down in aerial combat with fighters, baled out and was killed by ground fire. Hopefully further investigation can determine if the account in the book, assuming of course that I am understanding correctly what is written, is accurate or not.

Horrido!

Leo
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Old 26th January 2015, 03:38
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Re: Death of Helmut Grollmuss

Thank you Leo. Maybe Kari has the same book and can give us the account. Tony Woods has listed south of Vyborg but I have a Soviet claim for a Fw 190 at Syaynie station which is south of Vyborg. There is no time on the claim and I don't have any other claims that might be made for a Fw 190. The person that made the claim was also shot down and wounded but made it back to Soviet lines.
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Old 26th January 2015, 20:42
Kari Lumppio Kari Lumppio is offline
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Re: Death of Helmut Grollmuss

Hello!

Some answers and notes
15-00 is direction expressed in Finnish artillery unit piiru (Angular mil (Eng)/Strich (Deutsch)) which is 1/6000th of full circle (Not 1/6400 like usually). To direction 15-00 is to East.

At times JG 54 seems to have used German time and other times the Finnish time (+1 hour) during the Commando Kuhlmey period.

I/Kev.It.Ptri 15 was at Säiniö 19th June and left from there in the evening at time 18.20 (Finnish time). So it was transferring towards Karisalmi when the Grollmuss body was given to them. The unit arrived at Karisalmi 23.30 o'clock.

II/Kev.It.Ptri 15 was at Suur-Pero (about 5 km NE Säiniö) when it observed the 1/FW falling down.

Grollmuss was the only Focke-Wulf loss during the evening of 19th June so we can be quite sure 15 Kev.It.Ptri observations are of him.

9./KTR 1 or Kenttätykistörykmentti 1 (9. Battery / Field Artillery Regiment 1) war diary makes interesting note for the 19th June:

The marchroute is now Huumola-Säiniö-Pero-Naulatehdas. During the march enemy aerial activity was very high up to Säiniö, when own planes appeared for cover.

"Marssitie on nyt Huumola-Säiniö-Pero-Naulatehdas. Marssin aikana vihollisen ilmatoiminta on hyvin vilkasta Säiniölle asti, jolloin ilmaantui omia koneita suojaksi."

Source: http://digi.narc.fi/digi/view.ka?kuid=2768220


JR 25 or Jalkaväkirykmentti 25 (Infantry Regiment 25) retreated through the same route under chaotic conditions, especially the II Batallion. It is likely that Grollmus was killed by their fire taken erroneusly to be a Soviet Shturmovik pilot.

I could not find any mention of the incident in the infantry unit war diaries. I checked the Company, Batallion and Regiment level diaries. Same thing for the Erillinen pataljoona 14 (Detached Batallion 14) which also was retreating via the same route. JR 5 would be another, yet not very probable possibility. Their march route was different.

Mihail Bykov's Sovjetskije Asy (2008 book) gives four claims over Säiniö:
1 "Fokker" by Gretshka 159 IAP
1 FW-190 by Karpov 27 GIAP Southeast Säiniö railway station
1 Me-109 and 1 FW-190 by Tsirkov 196 IAP over Säiniö railway station

Alltogether there are at least 14 Soviet claims (2 "Fokker", 4 FW-190 and 8 Me-109) for the 19th June. Couple of more of the locations are not too far from Säiniö. Problem is that no times are given for the claims.

Real losses for the day for FinnAF was one Bf 109 shot down by AAA. This was Luukkanen/MT-417 when shooting down a observation balloon in the morning, pilot survived the crash on own side.

JG 54 lost two Focke Wulfs: Obfhr von Obernitz was shot down by a Il-2 gunner at mid day. He parachuted and was taken PoW. Released 1949. And then Grollmuss, shot down by Soviet fighter, parachuted and then unfortunately killed in error by some Finnish infantry man (men?). Like the I/Kev.It.Ptri 15 war diary says his body was in Finnish custody at Karisalmi in the night 19-20th June. No room for speculation of partisans etc.


Cheers,
Kari

Last edited by Kari Lumppio; 26th January 2015 at 23:31. Reason: Typo errors
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Old 26th January 2015, 22:04
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Re: Death of Helmut Grollmuss

Thank you Kari for your answer. So the real cause for Grollmuss's death is a "friendly fire" incident. The Soviet pilot that shot him down seems to fall to possibly three and or maybe more depending on their mission times. Andrey Vasil'evich Chirkov who claimed a Bf 109 and Fw 190 but was also shot down himself and WIA. Depending on which story you believe he captured two "German" signal men and brought them back with him to Soviet lines. Aleksandr Terent'evich Karpov who claimed a Fw 190 in the same area. Finally Vasiliy Silovich Grechka who claimed a "Fokker" in that area. It could also be a shared kill even though each received a personal victory credit. Then again it could be pilot who never made ace status depending on the reports. I'll have to try and find out more. It took me a while to determine who killed Beisswenger (heavy over claiming) and also von Bonin (shared by 7 pilots).
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Old 26th January 2015, 22:41
Nikita Egorov Nikita Egorov is offline
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Re: Death of Helmut Grollmuss

Michael,

Chirkov's combat is 13.45-14.00 (M.T.), so he and one of his subordinates were shot down by Assmann and Grollmuss earlier that day.

20.51-21.51 (M.T.) 196 IAP lost two Aircobras of escadrilya commander Kapitan Vasiliy Arkhipov and Mladshiy Leytenant Shorin failed to return from Vyborg area (combat with 8 Fw-190).

20.50-21.50 Aircobra of Mladshiy Leytenant Soots failed to return from combat with 10 Bf-109s in the same area.

Relevent claim by Kapitan Bulkin 29 GIAP (Yak-9) 20.44-22.03 (M.T.) in Syanie area Fw-190. Some more including 3 Fw-190 by 14 GIAP are uncertain as have no time given.
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Old 27th January 2015, 00:10
Raimo Malkamäki Raimo Malkamäki is offline
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Re: Death of Helmut Grollmuss

Hi all,

and gongratulations to Kari; great findings in those war diaries.
It really seems that the mystery has been solved.
However, it is an interesting fact that Grollmus has been buried to the Hietaniemi cemetery in Helsinki. The date of his death on the grave monument is 19 July, 1944. July, not June. Have seen that with my own eyes several times.

Like Leo wrote, according to Valtonen´s book, his body washed ashore on 19 July near Helsinki (or near Loviisa, according to some other information).

Also according to Valtonen, Uffz. Leo Hengesbach, former Waffenwart in 4./JG 54 has said that other JG 54 pilots saw Grollmuss´ parachute on the ground and visited the spot later, although the place actually was already in no mans land. There was no sign of Grollmuss. The partisan story seems to be just speculation by Valtonen.

I wonder if the difference in the dates 19. June / 19. July is just a mistake, and I also wonder what is the origin for the story that Grollmuss washed up on a shore?

Best regards
Raimo
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