Aufkl. Gr. 122 Apr 1940

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3 Apr 1940 – 1(F)./122 despatched several He 111s to search the area between the Orkneys and the Firth of Forth. At midday one of these aircraft reported a convoy off Peterhead.

Several inconclusive combats took place between the Heinkels and defending Skuas and Gladiators.

II/KG 26 had already despatched 14 He 111s on an armed reconnaissance to the area between Peterhead and Flamborough Head and these attacked the convoy at the earliest opportunity.

Air reconnaissance by the 4(F)./122 over Le Havre and Cherbourg produced valuable information for the OKM; the following were detected in Cherbourg harbor - 4 destroyers of the BOURRASQUE class, 2 large destroyers, 4 submarine-chasers and several submarines, etc. Anti-submarine net barrage in the western entrance of the outer mole, one passage open.[1]

7 Apr 1940 – Do 17 of 1(F)./122 involved in an inconclusive combat with six H-75As of GC I/4.

8 Apr 1940 – Nine He 111s of 1(F)./122 took off from Hamburg/Fuhlsbüttel to check the area east of the Shetlands. One of these aircraft sighted the 2nd Cruiser Sqdn together with 11 destroyers heading north at high speed to intercept the suspected breakout to the Atlantic of the Admiral Hipper and her escorts. Another of the 1(F)./122 Heinkels encountered a Sunderland of 204 Sqdn, a running fight ensued which resulted in the Sunderland crashing into the sea west of Bergen. The Heinkel returned to Hamburg undamaged. Further engagements took place between a number of the Heinkels and Hudsons of 233 Sqdn, these again were inconclusive.18

9 Apr 1940 – 1(F)./122 at Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel under X.Fliegerkorps for the opening of the campaign against Denmark and Norway on this date.[2]

3(F)./122 may have flown a few recce missions in support of the occupation of Denmark and Norway, but this requires confirmation since the Staffel is not listed in documents as having taken part.[3]

10 Apr 1940 – 1(F)./122 began transferring to Stavanger-Sola/SW Norway, subsequently coming under Fliegerführer Stavanger from around 24 April.[4]

11 Apr 1940 – Three Do 17s from 5(F)./122 across the front, one was shot down near Reims while another escaped with slight damage having been caught by defending fighters near St Quentin.


Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
11 Apr 1940 5(F)./122 Do 17P 6M+AM Attacked by aircraft from GC I/5, GC III/6 and GC III/7 over Montmedy. The aircraft crashed at Wez-Thuisy, 15 miles from Reims. Oblt. M. Guse, Uffz. W. Heese and Uffz. P. Althaus killed.


13 Apr 1940 – Four Heinkels of 1(F)./122 on patrol reported two battleships east of Aalesund. These ships were, in fact, the British light cruisers Sheffield and Glasgow.

19 Apr 1940 – A 1(F)./122 Heinkel performed an early overflight of Namsos and found some British cruisers. In addition a 1(F)./122 Heinkel overflew Aandalsnes reporting the sighting of two battleships, three cruisers, five destoyers and several supply ships. This was an error, however, the Royal Navy cruisers Arethuser and Galatae had been in the vicinity but had already sailed for Rosyth.

20 Apr 1940 – 1(F)./122 took part in strikes against Namsos and area around Aandalsnes loosing an He 111 on the return journey from the area.

Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
20 Apr 1940 1(F)./122 He 111 Badly damaged in attacks in the Namsos area. Crash-landed on return to Stormede and was writtten off.
21 Apr 1940 1(F)./122 He 111 F6+HH 2117 Forced landed near Trondheim, 100%.[5]


24 Apr 1940 – FliegerFührer Stavenger formed, the units controlled by this command included 1(F)./122. Other units were 1(F). and 3(F)./ObdL.,1(F)./120, I./ZG 76, Z./KG 30, part of II./JG 77, 2./KG 30 and 1./KüFlGr 106.[6]

25 Apr 1940 – Two Heinkels from 1(F)./122 sent on a reconnaissance mission flying from Stavenger to the Shetlands. En route they discovered HMS Warspite 100 miles NW of Stavenger heading towards the coast. Three Ju 88s of KG 30 were despatched to, unsuccessfully as it turned out, attack the ship. One of the reconnaissance Heinkels failed to return.

Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
25 Apr 1940 1(F)./122 He 111 Possibly shot down by AA Fire from HMS Warspite. Oblt. G. Buer and crew missing.


27 Apr 1940 – 1(F)./ObdL and 1(F)./122 sent reconnaissance sorties to the north of Aandalsnes, sighting Admiral Wells’ force and identifying the carriers Ark Royal and Eagle. Glorious launched a flight of four Sea Gladiators, three from 804 Sqdn and one from 802 Sqdn, who persued the 1(F)./122 machine causing severe damage (Lt Smeaton 804 Sqdn (N2275) led the attack and Sub. Lt. Lamb reported that the Heinkel clipped the wavetops several times while making it’s escape).[7]

Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
27 Apr 1940 1(F)./122 He 111 Crash landed to the NW of Trondheim having sustained 65% damage. The crew claimed to have shot down one of their opponents.
30 Apr 1940 4(F)./122 Ju 88A-1 Landed at Münster-Loddenheide and then caught fire and burnt out. Crew unhurt.[8]


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References

  1. https://ia601602.us.archive.org/0/items/wardiarygermanna81940germ/wardiarygermanna81940germ.pdf
  2. LdZ - Tessin
  3. LdZ - AirMin interrogation summaries.
  4. LdZ-Maesel.
  5. http://ktsorens.tihlde.org/flyvrak/storvatnet.html - Storvatnet, Agdenes Sør-Trøndelag - “Took off from Aalborg West in Denmark. Above Norway they were attacked by Gladiators of 804 Squadron. The Heinkel made an emergency landing on the frozen lake Storvatnet, after attacking a British destroyer. The plane was located in 1968. One of the Jumo 211engines, remains of mount, and the tail fin, were recovered from the lake in August 1974 and brought to the Imperial War Museum. The fin and rudder of this a/c are all that remain of the wreck to day, and are on display at Imperial War Museum Duxford, Hangar 4. The Heinkel's construction number was SR 2117”
  6. Shores et al – Fledgling Eagles p282.
  7. Alex Crawford – additional detail relating to the Gladiator Sqdns and pilots – by e-mail 25 June 2005
  8. Cornwell, Peter - The Battle of France Then and Now. p165
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