(Unit Code SB+)
also as: Sonderstaffel Buschmann (from February to June 1942)
Formation and Organization. (February 1942)
Formed 12 February 1942 at Tallinn-Ulemiste/Estonia (new) as Sonderstaffel Buschmann from Estonian volunteers, most of who were experienced veterans of the former Estonian Air Force. Initially equipped with 4 Estonian PTO-4 two-seater monoplanes (coded: SB+AA, +AB, +AC and +AD), a D.H.89A Dragon Rapide (SB+AH), a Miles Magister (SB+AF), a RWD-8 (SB+AJ) and a Stampe SV-5 (SB+AK), but the Staffel did not become fully operational until the beginning of July 1942 when it began receiving 20 to 25 Heinkel He 60 floatplanes ferried in from Pillau/East Prussia and was redesignated 15./Aufkl.Gr.127.
North Russia and Gulf of Finland. (March 1942 - April 1943)
March 1942: Staffel flew its first operational sorties at the beginning of March. These missions and those that followed were mainly unarmed coastal reconnaissance flights around the islands in the Gulf of Finland off the Estonian coast, reporting on ice conditions in the Gulf, patrolling of anti-submarine nets laid between Finland and Estonia, tracking Russian submarines and flying supplies to isolated islands garrisons in the Gulf, all of these under the tactical control of the German Navy. The Staffel’s seaplanes were occasionally attacked by Soviet fighters during these missions, but none are known to have been shot down. It has been said that the Staffel on occasion flew sabotage parties and spies behind Russian lines for the Abwehr (German military intelligence) and the SS, but veterans of 15./Aufkl.Gr. 127 vigorously deny that missions of this sort ever took place.
18 September 1942: Stampe SV-5 crashed near Tallinn due to technical problems, 100%, 2 killed.
11 October 1942: He 60E force landed near Suursaari Is. in the Gulf of Finland, 100%, pilot killed.
November 1942: Staffel reported 18 Heinkel He 60 floatplanes on strength along with other miscellaneous types.
January 1943: Staffel temporarily renamed 6./Fliegergeschwader z.b.V. 7, which came under the tactical control of the SS, but returned to Luftwaffe control after heated discussions between the Luftwaffe and SS.
1 April 1943: renamed 1./Aufkl.Gr. 127 at Tallinn-Ulemiste as the Luftwaffe tightened its control over the Estonian unit to prevent further attempts by the SS to seize it.
FpN:15./Aufkl.Gr. 127 (L 53141).
Hptm. Gerhard Buschmann (12 February 1942 - 1 April 1943)
© by Henry L. deZeng IV (Work in Progress). (1st Draft 2022)
- W.Dierich - Die Verbände der Luftwaffe 1935-1945: Gliederungen und Kurzchroniken – Eine Dokumentation; G.Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945, Teil 14: Die Luftstreitkräfte (Osnabrück, 1980); N.Kannapin - Die deutsche Feldpostübersicht 1939-1945. 3 Bde (I – III) (Osnabrück, 1980-82); NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-311 AOK 18 Ia/Ic records); BA-MA Freiburg: RL 2 III Meldungen über Flugzeugunfälle…..(Loss Reports – LRs); F.Gerdessen – “Estonian Air Power”, in: Air Enthusiast No.18, pp.74-76; R.Milk – “Estonian Flyers” (unpublished manuscript), 7 pages; D.Littlejohn – Foreign Legions of the Third Reich, vol.4, pp.150-52; K.Köhler et al – “Der Einsatz der Luftwaffe im Bereich der Heeresgruppe Nord von Ende Juni bis Mitte Oktober 1944”, in Meier-Welcker, Hans (ed.), Abwehrkämpfe am Nordflügel der Ostfront 1944-1945 (Stuttgart, 1963); Hans Werner Neulen – In the Skies of Europe: Air forces Allied to the Luftwaffe 1939-1945 (Ramsbury/Wilts, The Crowood Press, 2000), pp.286-300.