1./Bordfl.Gr. 196

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1./Bordfl.Gr. 196

Formation. (Apr 36)

Formed 1 April 1936 at Wilhelmshaven (or Norderney?) with He 60 floatplanes as a catapult-launched shipboard scouting and reconnaissance unit that also maintained small detachments at the principal harbours and naval bases used by the Kriegsmarine. From 1940 on, the Staffel also dispatched Ketten (3 aircraft) and Schwärme (4 aircraft) to various far-flung places to meet urgent tactical needs.[1]

North Germany, Denmark, Norway, France, Holland, Mediterranean. (Apr 36 - May 45)

1938: Wilhelmshaven with He 60s and Ar 196s. A few He 114s were delivered to the Staffel in 1938, but these do not appear to have been retained for more than a year or so.

Jun 39: began re-equipping with Ar 196s, which were to replace the older He 60s.

1 Sep 39: at Wilhelmshaven on the first day of World War II, but its aircraft and crews were embarked aboard battleships Deutschland and Admiral Graf Spee; the Staffel’s total strength this date was given as 12 He 60, but this conflicts with other sources which give 12 Ar 196s.

Dec 39: majority of Staffel embarked aboard Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, with the balance at Wilhelmshaven.

9 Apr 40: at Wilhelmshaven for Operation “Weserübung”, the occupation of Denmark and Norway. The Staffel was assigned to Führer der Luft West.

10 May 40: at Wilhelmshaven and Aalborg (Ålborg) with 16 Ar 196As under Stab./Kü.Fl.Gr. 806.

Jul 40: during the opening phase of the air offensive against England (Battle of Britain) 1./196 flew coastal reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrols, operating mainly from Stavanger-Sola See in southwest Norway.

1 Aug 40: Ar 196 damaged in landing accident at Amsterdam-Schellingwoude, 70%.

5 Aug 40: Ar 196 lost when it landed in heavy seas near the cruiser Hipper off the coast of Greenland, 100%.

6 Aug 40: Ar 196 crashed at Schellingwoude, 100%, 1 KIA and 1 WIA.

13 Aug 40: Staffel still listed at Wilhelmshaven with 21 Ar 196As.

15 Aug 40: Ar 196 reportedly shot down while on an air-sea rescue sortie, 100%, Hptm. Gerrit Wiegmink MIA and the other crew member KIA.

16 Aug 40: main body transferred to Boulogne/NE France and assigned to air-sea rescue duties.

17 Aug 40: Ar 196 shot down by a Royal Navy vessel off Boulogne, 100%.

24 Aug 40: 2 Ar 196s bombed at their moorings in Boulogne harbor during an RAF cross-Channel raid, 25% and 20%.

Sep 40: transferred from Boulogne to Schellingwoude in Holland, and then in mid-September the Staffel returned to Stavanger.

7 Oct 40: Ar 196 (T3+BK) crashed at Schellingwoude, 100%, 2 KIA.

29 Oct 40: Ar 196 failed to return from operations, 100%, 2 MIA.

Dec 40: main body transferred back to Wilhelmshaven.

22 Dec 40: lost an Ar 196B while flying a reconnaissance patrol in the Bay of Biscay for the heavy cruiser Hipper.

26 Apr 41: at Wilhelmshaven and Schellingwoude operating under Stab/Kü.Fl.Gr. 506.

27 May 41: 4 of the Staffel’s Ar 196s and 8 air crew were aboard the Bismarck when it was sunk by British sea and air forces this date.

14 Aug 41: Ar 196 (T3+BK) failed to return from operations over the Gulf of Riga, 100%, 2 MIA.

20 Aug 41: half of 1./196 transferred from Schellingwoude to Stavanger-Sola See and the other half from Pillau to Riga/Latvia for assignment to Fliegerführer Ostsee. After 10 days of operations in the Baltic, the Riga contingent rejoined the rest of the Staffel at Stavanger.

8 Oct 41: Staffel divided between Wilhelmshaven, Stavanger-Sola, and Hammerfest/N Norway under the administrative control of Führer der Luft.

Nov 41: elements operating from Hammerfest in northern Norway under the tactical control of Gen.d.Lw. Nordnorwegen..

10 Jan 42: home station still Wilhelmshaven, but operating detachments at Brest and Hourtin on the Atlantic coast of France. Elements transferred this date from Wilhelmshaven to Brest-Poulmic in Brittany for anti-submarine patrol duty.

Feb – Apr 42: 9 Ar 196s based at Stavanger-Sola and Trondheim.

1 Mar 42: Staffel reported 28 x Ar 196 A-3 and 1 x Ar 196 A-4 on strength.

31 May 42: a detachment was operating from Tallinn/Estonia and another detachment was at Amsterdam-Schellingwoude.

19 Jun 42: 2 Ar 196s (T3+KG, BK) operating from Tallinn-Ülemiste FTR from operations over the Gulf of Finland, 4 MIA.

18 Aug 42: 5 Ar 196s based at Trondheim and 4 more at Stavanger-Sola.

1 Sep 42: Ar 196 ditched in the Arctic off the coast of northern Norway, 100%, crew rescued.

7 Oct 42: elements transferred to Stavanger-Sola See for anti-submarine patrols under Fliegerführer Nord (West)/Luftflotte 5.

1 Dec 42: following the Allied “Torch” landings in Morocco and Algeria on 8 November, half of 1./196 transferred to Trapani/Sicily for convoy escort duty between western Sicily and Tunisia as the Wehrmacht began moving large quantities of troops, equipment and supplies needed to counter the Allied invasion.

1 Jan 43: Staffel reported 28 x Ar 196A-3 on strength.

Jan 43: elements operating from Palermo/Sicily.

8 Feb 43: elements of 1./196 at Skaramanga/Greece operating under X. Fl.Korps on convoy escort and anti-submarine patrol assignments over the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean.

6 Mar 43: Palermo detachment transferred from the Mediterranean to Aalborg/Denmark.

23 Mar 43: elements still at Skaramanga as above.

10 May 43: Ar 196 struck an obstacle (rock?) while landing near Hammerfest, 100%, Oblt. Werner Krause WIA and the other crew member KIA.

Jun 43: operating between Denmark and Norway under Luftflotte 5 with 27 Ar 196s under the tactical control of Fliegerführer Nord (West).

8 Jun 43: total strength of 1./196 was given as 27 Ar 196s.

30 Sep 43: at Stavanger-Sola See with 15 Ar 196s.

6 Oct 43: now at Aalborg with 12 Ar 196s and still there in November.

9 Oct 43: Ar 196 crashed at Limfjord, 90%, 1 KIA and 1 WIA.

12 Oct 43: Ar 196 severely damaged while taking off from Aalborg-See, 65%.

Nov 43: several Ar 196 crashes and accidents recorded at the Frederikshavn auxiliary seaplane station at the northern tip of Denmark.

1 Jan 44: Staffel reported 21 x Ar 196 A-3 and 7 x Ar 196 A-5 on strength.

21 Jan 44: Ar 196 from the complement on board the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen crashed at Gotenhafen in West Prussia, 100%, Oblt. Helmut Kreisig + 1 KIA.

31 Jan 44: at Aalborg with 25 Ar 196s, and 4 more detached at Stavanger-Sola See.

Feb 44: Ar 196 A-3 (T3 + BH) of 1./196 flying coastal patrols from the Lofoten Islands in N Norway.

29 Feb 44: Aalborg and Frederikshavn with 24 Ar 196s.

20 Mar 44: Aalborg and Frederikshavn with 25 Ar 196s.

3 Apr 44: 4 Ar 196s assigned to the battleship Tirpitz destroyed when a powerful Royal Navy carrier force consisting of HMS Victorious, Furious plus 4 escort carriers attacked the Tirpitz in Altafjord on 3 April (Operation “Tungsten”); on the same date, another Ar 196 belonging to the Staffel crashed near Bodø/N Norway, 100%, Oblt. Ekkehard Doerstling + 1 KIA.

4 Apr 44: transferred to Stavanger-Sola See.

2 May 44: ordered reorganized this date and to henceforth be responsible for training crews for duty aboard ships in the Baltic and for anti-submarine operations in the Baltic.

10 May 44: Aalborg with 20(17) Ar 196s.

27 May 44: ordered to remain at Stavanger until relieved by 1./Seeaufklärungsgruppe 131 en-route from the Crimea.

1 Jun 44: all or elements transferred to Pillau/East Prussia.

20 Jun 44: Aalborg with 17 Ar 196s - Staffel also operated small sections and flights at Stavanger-Sola, Aalesund (Ålesund), and Kjevik during June, which probably flew patrols along the Danish and Norwegian coasts.

Jul 44: at Pillau, but ordered to transfer (possibly to Nest on the Baltic coast of Pomerania) because this was then unoccupied and close to Gotenhafen and Swinemünde where naval training activities were centered. On 3 July 4 to 6 Ar 196s were transferred to Nest while the detachment at Stavanger remained there attached to 2.(F)/131.

30 Aug 44: transferred to Aalborg.

1 Nov 44: Staffel reported 12 x Ar 196A on strength.

29 Mar 45: at Bug auf Rügen in the Baltic under Stab/196.

28 Apr 45: Staffel still at Bug auf Rügen under Fliegerführer 6 with Ar 196s.

FpNs:(L 03968, L 37762)


Maj. Hermann Lessing (1938 - Oct 39)

Hptm. Gerrit Wiegmink (Dec 39 - 1940/41)

Hptm. Schmidt (1941-42)

Hptm. Gottschalk (Jul 43 - Sep 43)

Hptm. Wolf Breiding ( ? - 8 May 45)

© H.L. deZeng IV, 2024

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  1. Dierich-VdL; Tessin-Tes; N.Kannapin-FpÜ; J-P.Défieux-Répertoire des Unités Aériennes de la Luftwaffe 1935-1945: Reconnaissance Aéronavale; M.Holm-website ww2.dk; F.Kurowski-Seekrieg aus der Luft: Die deutsche Seeluftwaffe im Zweiten Weltkrieg:60, 95, 249, 256, 257, 258, 259, 292, 295, 296, 297, 298; K.Ries-Luftwaffen-Story 1935-1939:157-58; U.Balke-KG 2/Bd. I:395, 407, 413; J.Foreman-The Forgotten Months:202; BA-MA Freiburg: RL 2 III Meldungen über Flugzeugunfälle…..(Loss Reports – LRs); BA-MA Freiburg: Flugzeug-Bereitstellungen (Aircraft Availability Status Reports – FzB) in: M.Holm-website (ww2.dk); NARA WashDC: RG 242/T-312 roll 1033, frame 206, and roll 1052, frame 577; T-321 roll 50, frame 876; AFHRA Maxwell: decimal 512.625S (British Air Ministry) OKL document; PRO London: DEFE 3 ULTRA signals: VM4490, VM5386, VM7337; PRO London: ADM 223/OIC-SI (Operational Intelligence Centre - Special Intelligence), a daily intelligence report based on ULTRA and other signals intelligence that began about January 1942, and AIR/40 AirMin intelligence documents; K.Maesel correspondence with H.L.deZeng.