Aufkl. Gr. 122 Apr 1940

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1 Apr 1940 – Results of 4(F)./122 sorties over northern France included:

Le Havre: 400 m east of the port, a light flak position for 3 guns.

Cherbourg: Seaplane base - Busy with 5 planes, type not known.

Airfield Cherbourg - Querqueville: Occupied, air traffic and air defence unknown. 3 hangers, a total of 7200 sqm.

Airfield Cherbourg -Chantereyne: unable to establish occupancy due to clouds.

At the west side of Cherbourg harbour there appeared to be a light flak position.[1]

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.[2]

4 Apr 1940 – A combat sortie operated by 4(F)./122 over the sea and against England yielded no results due to adverse weather conditions.[3]

6 Apr 1940 - In the course of the day an aircraft from each of 1(F)./123; 5(F)./122 and 3(F). /123 for operated aerial reconnaissance over the area: Valenciennes - Amiens - Greil - Reims – Montmedy and over: Etampes - Chartres and Orleans. Two aircraft had to return due to cloud cover over the target and the third due to an attack by four enemy fighters (probably Curtiss).[4]

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

Sorties were made by aircraft of 5(F)./122 to the airfields at Neufchateau, Tranville and Toul.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7]

10 Apr 1940 – 1(F)./122 began transferring to Stavanger-Sola/SW Norway, subsequently coming under Fliegerführer Stavanger from around 24 April.[8]

1(F)./122 sent out 2 aircraft to perform a reconnaissance of the Drontheim-Bergen area. These reported sighting at 09.15 hrs west of Bergen: 1 Cruiser, 1 Destroyer, 2 other escorts, 80 merchant ships and 12 aircraft. At 10.15 hrs they reported sightings of 15 merchant ships including 3 German transports west of Egersund.[9]

At 12.50 hrs six aircraft from 1(F)./122 embarked on a reconnaissance sortie over the northern North Sea. To the east of the Orkneys they reported sighting a battlecruiser (Hood?) together with 4 cruisers and several destroyers travelling at high speed on a north westerly course. These ships appear to be those previously reported by K.Gr.100 on an earlier sortie.[10]

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.

4(F)./122 operated reconnaissance sorties to northern France, the results are listed below:-

Boulogne - On the north shore of the harbour entrance there was 1 observation balloon. In the town area there were 7 barrage balloons near the ground. Above the southern tunnel entrance, a flak battery. On Fort de la Creche (2500 m. north of the town), a heavy flak position. 400 m north of Fort de la Creche Flak position with 4 heavy guns and 4 Flak-MG, this was occupied. At coast to the northwest of the town there appeared to be a medium flak position.

Flugplatz Boulogne-Alprech - Busy, 1 aircraft type not recognisable. On the northwest edge of the airfield there was a Flak position with 4 heavy guns. Nearby another flak position was under construction.

Flugplatz Berck sur Mer - Occupied with 30 single-engined aircraft (including 22 Spitfire, 1 Hurricane, 7 Morane) plus 4 twin-engined aircraft (of which one was possible a Heyford).

Flugplatz St Inglevert - Busy with 5 single engined aircraft and 2 other planes (possibly Heyfords). At the edge of the airfield there were 4 Flak positions together with a single searchlight position.

Dunkirk – On the fort to the south west of the town there was a single flak position – unable to establish if this was occupied.

Calais – Airfield measures approx. 850m x 900m with 5 single engined aircraft (type unknown) and 4 multi-engined aircraft.[11]

12 Apr 1940 – At 10.45 hrs 2 aircraft of 1(F)./122 departed for a reconnaissance sortie to the area Osl - Hönefoss - Kongsberg. On the road at Hönefoss they sighted 10 trucks with 100 civilians seeking cover. In Hönofoss even larger crowds. However, there was no enemy contact and no defence.[12]

In addition 1(F)./122 carried out coastal surveillance during the day – operating to the north of Stavanger.[13]

One aircraft of 1(F)./122 together with 4 He 111 of 7./LG 1 departed in the afternoon: -

Their orders were to determine enemy naval forces on the northwest coast or Norway and troop landing at Namsos. In addition they were to perform an armed reconnaissance against Orkney and the Shetland Islands until 0°. In both cases, nothing was sighted.[14]

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.

17 Apr 1940 – At 10.20 hrs an aircraft of 4(F)./122 took off for a reconnaissance sortie covering the Channel Coast and Northern France. The results were as follows:-

1.) Airfield Dunkirk - Mardyck;1 multi-engined aircraft ,22 single engined aircraft, recognised as Curtis. Around the airfield there were 5 Flak positions.

In detail:

A) In the middle of the northern runway border,

B) in the NE corner of the runway and

C) in the SW corner, in total, 3 positions for several more guns.

2.) Airfield St.Omer: 8 multi-engined aircraft, apparently Potez 63.

11 single engined aircraft possibly Breguet 27.

2 aircraft of unknown type. There were 3 flak positions on the west side of the runway, also in the NO corner.

3.) Airfield Lille Ronchin:7 single-engined aircraft, on the eastern edge of the runway there was 1 flak position.

4.) Airfield Maroquen Baroeuil: No occupants

5.) Airfield Roübaix-Flers: No occupants

6.) In area Bailleul, 34 km east. St.Omer: Numerous bunkers, small-scale systems, rifle trenches and wire obstacles.

7.) St. Omer; On the northern edge of the city, 1100 m west of the railway, heavy occupied flak position. At the west and southeast edge 2 more, apparently, light flak positions.

8.) South of Bavinchove track under construction.[15]

Further details from another reconnaissance flight by 4(F)./122 were as follows:-

Evaluation of the reconnaissance results from the area bounded by St.Amand - Lille and Bailleul - Hazebrouk - Cassel - St.Omer revealed the following changes:

1.) The fortifications northwest of St, Arnand between Bruille and Lecelles being reinforced.

2.) From Lecelles in northwestern. Marcq-en-Baroeuil (north of Lille) reinforcement of the position and partly a second line under construction.

3.) 3 - 5 km east of Cassel in southern direction to the northern edge of Hazebrouk, a double position under construction.

4.) From 3 km north of Cassel in a southwesterly direction up to the northern edge of the St.Omer forest at Bas Schoubrook – a further position under construction.[16]

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.

The full report was as follows:-

The aircraft from 1(F)./122 covered the coastal area between Stavanger and the Vega Islands with emphasis in the areas around Mosjoen and Stavanger.

The following naval forces and trade ships were observed:

West of Bergen a submarine was sighted, in the port of Aalesund 2 destroyers at anchor, in Isfjord 1 merchant ship (about 5000 t) with a course for Andalsnes, in front of Andalsnes 1 merchant ship (about 3,000 t), west of Kristiansund 2 hostile destroyer with course 230 °, southwest of the Viga Archipelago 2 battleships, 1 cruiser, 1 destroyer and 7 transport ships with course 40 °, at Namsos 1 cruiser and 1 merchant ship at the pier, at the Moldefjord 2 light cruisers. Troop landing or raids were not observed. Anti-aircraft fire was encountered when flying over the merchant and naval ships in Isfjord.[17]

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.

A Do 17 of 5(F)./122 performed a night reconnaissance sortie to the area bounded by Metz – Hirson – Charleville.[18]

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%.[19]


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.[20]

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 111H Possibly shot down by AA Fire from HMS Warspite. Oblt. Gerhard Buer (F) missing, Ofw Eitelfried Jentsch (B), Uffz Rudolf Schwandt (Bf) and Uffz Gustav Tmmermann (Bw) all killed.[21]


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).[22]

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.[23]


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References

  1. 500-12452-000089 Lagebericht 212 pg 3 and 4
  2. https://ia601602.us.archive.org/0/items/wardiarygermanna81940germ/wardiarygermanna81940germ.pdf
  3. 500-12452-000089 Lagebericht 212 pg 2
  4. 500-12452-000089 Lagebericht 214 pg 2
  5. 500-12452-000089 Lagebericht 215 pg 2
  6. LdZ - Tessin
  7. LdZ - AirMin interrogation summaries.
  8. LdZ-Maesel.
  9. Lagebericht No 218 from TSamo 12452-089
  10. Lagebericht No 218 from TSamo 12452-089
  11. Lagebericht No 220 from TSamo 12452-089 p 6-7
  12. Lagebericht No 220 from TSamo 12452-089
  13. Lagebericht No 220 from TSamo 12452-089
  14. 500-12452-000089 Lagebericht 222 pg 3
  15. 500-12452-000089 Lagebericht 225 pg 6-7
  16. 500-12452-000089 Lagebericht 226 pg 7
  17. 500-12452-000089 Lagebericht No 227 pg 2
  18. Lagebericht 228 pg 8
  19. 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”
  20. Shores et al – Fledgling Eagles p282.
  21. names via Matti Salonen 122 personnel extract from database 03/01/18
  22. Alex Crawford – additional detail relating to the Gladiator Sqdns and pilots – by e-mail 25 June 2005
  23. Cornwell, Peter - The Battle of France Then and Now. p165
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