1./Kü.Fl.Gr. 406

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1./Kü.Fl.Gr. 406


Formation and Organization. (Mar 37)

Formed 1 April 1937 at Kiel-Holtenau as an (M) Staffel with He 60s, but renamed 1.(M)/Kü.Fl.Gr. 706 on 1 July 1937 (another source gives 1 October 1937) and replaced with the former 1.(M)/Kü.Fl.Gr. l06 at List on the island of Sylt with He 60s. Prior to August 1938, a conversion was made to the He 114, and by 1 September 1939 a further conversion had been made to the He 115, on which date it was at List with 8 on strength.[1]


North Germany and Norway. (Sep 39 - Oct 44)

Sep 39: commenced offensive patrols over the North Sea shortly after Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September.

19 Sep 39: fought an inconclusive action with a RAF Hudson south of Mandal/Norway.

21 Oct 39: in its first major engagement, 4 He 115s were shot down 20 km off Flamborough Head by RAF Hurricanes out of a formation of 9 that attacked a convoy off the Humber Estuary on England’s east coast at a cost of 10 men missing, including 5 officers.

25 Qct 39: the Staffel was renamed 1./Kü.Fl.Gr. 506 and replaced by renaming the Do 18-equipped 2./Kü.Fl.Gr. 506.

29 Nov 39: operating from Hörnum, 2 Do 18s flying mine-laying sorties were shot up and forced down off the southern coast of Norway between Egersund and Mandal, both 100%, 8 reported MIA.

Apr 40: during the Norwegian campaign, the Staffel flew patrols off the coast of Norway, tracking Royal Navy surface units and reporting their location to bomber formations.

17 Apr 40: Do 18G (K6+FH) shot down by Fleet Air Arm Skua fighters off the Orkney Islands while shadowing British naval units that were returning to port after shelling Stavanger/SW Norway.

10 May 40: Do 18 (K6+CH) shot down by RAF Hudsons southwest of Egersund while tracking a British naval force.

10 May 40: in a strength return for this date, 1./Kü.Fl.Gr. 406 at Hörnum reported 10 Do 18s, 3 Do 26s and 2 BV 139Bs on hand. No further losses were reported until July.

21 Jul 40: a Do 18 was shot down by fighters over the North Sea.

27 Jul 40: transferred from Hörnum to Stavanger-Sola with 10 Do 18s and assigned to Stab/Kü.Fl.Gr. 706. Maritime reconnaissance patrols continued during the Battle of Britain.

18 Nov 40: a Do 18 was shot down over the English Channel by RAF Coastal Command Blenheims.

25 Oct 40: all or elements identified at Bodø in northern Norway.

1 Dec 40: all or elements at Trondheim flying cover for the heavy cruiser Hipper which was underway for North Norway.

13 Dec 40: transferred from Trondheim to List.

Jan – Apr 41: at List to re-equip with BV 138Bs, but these plans were changed because of technical problems with the Blohm & Voss twin-engine floatplane and the Staffel converted to the He 115 instead.

17 Apr 41: conversion completed, ordered to France for assignment to Fliegerführer Atlantik; however, either this movement was short-lived or it was cancelled before it could take place. Before the end of April 1./Kü.Fl.Gr. 406 was en-route to Norway where it was divided between Tromsø and Banak (later Søreisa/75 km SW of Tromsø).

Jun 41: at Banak in North Norway with a mixture of He 115s and Do 18s, while additional crews were still at List undergoing conversion to the He 115.

11 Jun 41: He 115 crash landed at List, 100%.

31 Jul 41: He 115C crash landed at List due to pilot error, 100%.

8 Aug 41: part of the Staffel moved to Pillau in East Prussia this date, flew 15 sorties over the Baltic under Fliegerführer Ostsee, and then returned to Tromsø at the end of August for assignment to Fliegerführer Nord. Over the next 8 months it remained divided, with half of the Staffel at Tromsø and the other half at Banak.

1 Mar 42: Staffel reported 5 x He 115s on strength.

May 42: moved to Søreisa which, except for occasional operational deployments elsewhere, was to remain its principal station until March 1944.

2 Jul 42: sent 8 He 115 torpedo floatplanes for an attack on Convoy PQ 17 off the northern tip of Norway and was credited with being the first unit to attack in this now-famous operation. One Heinkel was shot up and forced to ditch, but the crew, including Staffelkapitän Hptm. Vater, was rescued.

14 Sep 42: the PQ 17 sequence was repeated when it sent 9 He 115s to attack Convoy PQ 18, losing one near Spitsbergen. The crew from this Heinkel was later rescued by a nearby U-boat.

4 Nov 42: a He 115 was shot down at sea by naval AA fire, probably while on a coastal reconnaissance patrol out of Kirkenes/N Norway or Petsamo in North Finland.

1 Dec 42: Staffel reported 9 x He 115LT on strength.

17-21 Jan 43: several He 115s were destroyed or damaged in a storm at Billefjord where it was temporarily based under Fliegerführer Lofoten.

24 Jan 43: attacked Convoy JW 52 with 5 He 115s, losing two (incl. BC+LT) together with 6 crew members.

18 Feb 43: another Heinkel (K6+LH) was reported missing in the Søreisa area.

10 Apr 43: He 115 ditched off Norway due to an engine fire, 100%, crew safe.

May 43: with the winter now over and maritime operations increasing with the longer days and much improved flying conditions, the Staffel was again split with half remaining at Søreisa and the other half moving to Kirkenes for operations under Fliegerführer Nord (Ost). The Kirkenes detachment did not return to Søreisa until the end of October.

1 Jul 43: Staffel reported 12 x He 115LT on strength.

4 Oct 43: He 115 (K6+MH) shot down by USN F4F Wildcats from the USS Ranger during a carrier strike on Bodø harbor, 100%, Staffelkapitän Hptm. Christian Fischer + 2 MIA.

30 Nov 43: He 115 crash landed NE of Søreisa due to technical problems, 60%, Oblt. Klaus Gramberg + 1 WIA.

1 Jan 44: Staffel reported 11 x He 115LT on strength.

6 Feb 44: He 115 (K6+DH) shot down by a RAF Mosquito near Stavanger while on a ferry flight, 100%, 4 KIA.

18 Feb 44: 1./406 was ordered to convert from a LT (Lufttorpedo) Staffel to a (F)(Fern- or Long-Range Reconnaissance) Staffel. Around l March it transferred to Trondheim-Hommelvik to reinforce the reconnaissance capability over the North Sea, but sent 3 He 115s back to Kirkenes in May.

14 May 44: while in transfer from Trondheim-Hommelvik to Kirkenes, 5 He 115s (K6+GH,HH,JH,MH,OH) were shot down near Rørvik/200 km N of Trondheim by F6F Hellcats from 800 Squadron FAA aboard the escort carrier HMS Emperor.

16 Aug 44: the main component at Hommelvik was ordered to join the detachment at Kirkenes.

24 Aug 44: an He 115 was destroyed by Seafires from 887 Squadron FAA aboard RN carrier Indefatigable during a strike on the Billefjord seaplane base.

Oct 44: following the evacuation of North Finland and the northeastern tip of Norway in October, the Staffel assembled at Søreisa and was ordered disbanded on or about 20 October 1944. However, on 1 November the Staffel still had 8 x He 115LT on strength, but no aircraft were reported for 1 December. The Staffel’s disbandment was therefore gradual and extended over a month or so.


FpNs:(L 20107, L 12802, L 31995)


Staffelkapitän:

Hptm. Lienhart Wiesand (1 Apr 39 - Oct 39)

Hptm. Hartwig (Oct 39 - ? ) 12/39

Oblt. Horst? Kayser (1940) 3/40, 5/40, 8/40

Hptm. HerbertVater (1941 – 1942) 7/41, 7/42

Hptm. Christian Fischer (1942 - 4 Oct 43) MIA



© H.L. deZeng IV, 2024

Additional Notes and Losses

2 Oct 42: He 115 (K6+IH) departed at 03.50 hrs Z to provide close escort for a naval formation proceeding from Alten Fjord to Narvik (British intelligence assumed this to be “Hipper” and escort). Unfortunately, the crew were unable to find the ships and returned to base due to bad weather conditions, the task having not been carried out, the aircraft landed at 06.03 hrs Z.[2]

2 He 115s departed at 04.05 from Sørreisa for a roving reconnaissance of the Tromsoe Sea area (this encompassed Pl. Qa. 07 E 4965 – 06 E 1765 – 16 E 7715), there were no sighting of enemy shipping although the reconnaissance was not exhaustive. The aircraft had landed by 11.35 hrs Z.[3]

20 Oct 42: He 115 (K6+AH)departed Sørreisa at 06.44 hrs Z. to provide a close escort to “Globus I”, this aircraft landed by 15.50 hrs Z. Two other He 115s were also up operating an A/S patrol in support of “Globus I”, these had landed by 11.33 hrs Z. K6+IH was up around 10.00 hrs Z, nothing further is known regarding this flight.[4]

21 Oct 42: An He 115 departed Sørreisa at 09.18 hrs Z to provide close escort for a shipping movement, this task was carried out without incident and the aircraft had landed by 13.26 hrs Z.[5]

2 He 115s operated on A/S patrols during the day, take off was 05.18 (K6+?H) and 08.54 hrs Z (K6+LH), they had both landed by 15.55 hrs Z.[6]

22 Oct 42: He 115 left Sørreisa at 05.27 hrs Z on an A/S patrol on behalf of Fl. F. Lofoten. However, this patrol was abandoned owing to the weather conditions and the aircraft had returned to base by 06.55 hrs Z.[7]

23 Oct 42: 3 He 115s operated a reconnaissance sortie in the morning. However, there were no sightings reported and the aircraft had all landed by 12.22 hrs Z.[8]

References

  1. Dierich-VdL; Tessin-Tes; N.Kannapin-FpÜ; K.Ries-Luftwaffen Story 1935-1939; J-P.Défieux-Répertoire des Unités Aériennes de la Luftwaffe 1935-1945: Reconnaissance Aéronavale; M.Holm-website ww2.dk; W.Green-Warplanes:126, 323; J.Foreman- Battle of Britain: The Forgotten Months, November and December 1940:106; F.Kurowski-Seekrieg aus der Luft: Die deutsche Seeluftwaffe im Zweiten Weltkrieg:91; C.Shores-Fledgling Eagles: The Complete Account of Air Operations During the ‘Phony War’ and Norwegian Campaign, 1940:61, 90-92, 122, 272, 316; U.Balke-KG 2/Bd. I:395, 407, 413; 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); BA-MA Freiburg: Signatur RL 40/Kart (“Aufmarsch die fliegende Verbände” order of battle map for 15 Feb 44, 28 Mar 44); NARA WashDC: RG 242/T-971 (several documents); RG 242/T-77 (several documents); RG 242/T-312 roll 1052, frame 577; T-312 roll 1033, frame 206; PRO London: DEFE 3 ULTRA signals (for 23 Feb 44, 16 Aug 44); 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, OIC/SI 222 et seq; PRO London: AIR 40 Air Ministry intelligence documents; K.Maesel correspondence with H.L.deZeng; Luftwaffe Verband Journal No. 16:17.
  2. HW 13/102 via Remi Traconelli.
  3. HW 13/102 via Remi Traconelli.
  4. HW 13/102 via Remi Traconelli.
  5. HW 13/102 via Remi Traconelli.
  6. HW 13/102 via Remi Traconelli.
  7. HW 13/102 via Remi Traconelli.
  8. HW 13/102 via Remi Traconelli.

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