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3.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 12

(Code: H1 + )

also as: 3.(H)/12 (Pz)

Formation and Training. (Nov 38 - Aug 39)

Formed 1 November 1938 at Münster-Loddenheide (ex-3.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 14) with He 46s, but partially converted to Henschel 126s prior to September 1939.[1]

Polish Campaign. (Sep 39)

25.8.39: at Münster-Loddenheide until receipt of general mobilization orders 25-26 August and then deployed to a field airstrip at Kreutzberg (Kreuzburg?)-South in Silesia with a mixed complement of 12 Hs 126s and He 46s.

9.39: During the campaign, according to one account, supported XI. Armeekorps/10. Armee (Heeresgruppe Süd) through Central Poland along a line of advance to the Bzura River and then to Warsaw. Another account states that it provided support to XIV. Armeekorps/10. Armee along the axis Silesia-Radom-Lublin. Both may be correct since both Corps were under 10th Army.

Phony War. (Oct 39 - May 40)

Returned to Germany after the campaign, presumably to Münster-Loddenheide. The winter was spent refitting and training. By March 1940 the Staffel moved forward to Emmerich on the German-Dutch border just southeast of Arnhem.

West - Attack on France and the Low Countries. (May 40 - Mar 41)

10.5.40: for the attack in the West this date, 3.(H)/12 (Pz) was assigned to support 9. Panzer-Division which, over the next six weeks, followed a line of advance through Holland and North Belgium to Dunkirk (25 May), Clermont/NE France (9 June) and then to the Vichy-Roanne area in east-central France (19 June).

16.5.40: a Hs 126 belonging to the Staffel was shot down by AA-fire over Walcheren/SW Holland.

16.6.40: Hs 126 failed to return from a recce flight over the Joinville area/SW of Nancy.

5.9.40: Hs 126B damaged in landing accident - no location given, 80%.

25.10.40: Hs 126B crash landed at Fp. Denain/NE France, 60%.

Balkan Campaign?

3.41 – 5.41: the Staffel’s participation in the attack on Yugoslavia and Greece that began on 6 April 1941 is questionable and requires confirmation. One account (Shores), evidently based on a surviving document or two, states that 3.(H)/12 (Pz) was assigned to 5. Panzer-Division/2. Armee on 5 April with Hs 126s. Although the 5. Pz.Div. certainly took part in the campaign, there is no evidence yet that the Staffel accompanied it. Another account (Dierich) places the Staffel under 9. Pz.Div./AOK 12 for the attack, but this appears to be incorrect. There are no entries for the Staffel in the Gen.Qu. Loss Reports for this period, so reliable evidence is lacking.

19.5.41: Hs 126B damaged taxiing at Fp. Freiwaldau in Silesia, 80%.

Central and North Russia. (Jun 41 - May 42)

15.6.41: Fi 156C-1 damaged at Stollendorf due to mechanical problems, 50%.

22.6.41: Staffel under Koluft Panzergruppe 3/Heeresgruppe Mitte for the attack on the Soviet Union this date, and assigned to support 12. Panzer-Division along the axis NE Poland - Minsk - Dnieper crossings - Smolensk through August, and then transferred to the northern sector of the front for operations in the Leningrad - Tikhvin area to the end of the year. Unfortunately, once again there are no entries in the Loss Reports or other documents to confirm and detail the Staffel’s activities during 1941.

10.41: briefly at Volokolamsk (along the railway line east of Rzhev) moving forward toward Moscow, according to an unconfirmed source.

12.41 – 5.42: during this period, the Staffel is known to have returned to Germany for conversion to the Fw 189. On 1 March it reported 3 x Fw 189A-1 reconnaissance aircraft on strength as it began to re-equip with this type.

South Russia. (May 42 - Apr 43)

22.5.42: Fw 189A-1 crashed near Tarnopol/115 km ESE of Lvov due to engine failure, 45%, 3 injured. It is believed that this occurred during the Staffel’s transfer from Germany back to the front.

23.5.42: Kursk area under NAGr. 16 and in support of 4. Panzerarmee.

9.6.42: Fw 189A-1 (H1+AL) shot down by AA-fire near Tim/ESE of Kursk, 100%, 3 MIA.

30.6.42: Fw 189 crashed on take-off from Fp. Brusovka/36 km E of Starobelsk, 100%, Oblt. Hans Ehlers + 1 injured, and 1 killed.

14.8.42: Fw 189 (H1+HL) shot down by AA-fire - location not given, 100%,2 KIA and 1 MIA.

9.42 – 1.43: the Staffel’s location and activities are not known during this period. It is said to have remained under NAGr. 16, possibly refitting and training in the Konotop area during the fall, and then ordered to the Stalingrad area during the second half of November in response to the Soviet counteroffensive.

1.10.42: Staffel reported 3 x Fw 189A-1, 3 x Fw 189A-2 and 3 x Fw 189A-2 trop on strength.

1.11.42: reported 3 x Fw 189A-1 and 6 x Fw 189A-2 on strength.

1.12.42: the Staffel had no aircraft left on this date according to its strength report. It apparently was thrown into the chaos along the Don after 19 November and was quickly decimated.

2.43: Staffel listed as partly destroyed in the fighting around Stalingrad.

3.43 - 4.43: Staffel disbanded - aircrew personnel and other key survivors of the Staffel are said to have been retrained on Bf 110s and, together with elements of Aufklärungsstaffel XI. Fliegerkorps used to form 1./NAGr. 16. Further, there is some evidence that remnants of 3.(H)/12 were still in the Donets Basin area of eastern Ukraine in early April 1943.

FpN:3.(H)/12 (L 27033).


Oblt. Peter Raabe (  ? -  ? ) 9/39, 1941

Hptm. Seiler (  ? -  ? ) 5/42, 1/43

Hptm. Hans Anger (  ? -  ? ) 3/43?

© H.L. deZeng IV, 2021


  1. J.-P.Défieux - Répertoire des Unités Aériennes de la Luftwaffe 1935-1945: Reconnaissance Aéronavale (Nanterre, privately published, n.d. (c 1988-90?); K.Ries - Luftwaffen Story 1935-1939; Tessin, Georg, Deutsche Verbände und Truppen 1918-1939: Altes Heer, Freiwilligenverbände, Reichswehr, Heer, Luftwaffe, Landespolizei; G.Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945, 16+ Bde., Teil 14: Die Luftstreitkräfte (Osnabrück, 1980); W.Dierich - Die Verbände der Luftwaffe 1935-1945: Gliederungen und Kurzchroniken – Eine Dokumentation; N.Kannapin - Die deutsche Feldpostübersicht 1939-1945; U.Balke - Der Luftkrieg in Europa: Die Operativen Einsätze des Kampfgeschwader 2 im Zweiten Weltkrieg, Teil I, p.399; C.Shores/B.Cull/N.Malizia - Air War For Yugoslavia, Greece, and Crete 1940-41, p.180; AFHRA Maxwell decimal Karlsruhe Collection KC-Kl13.309-3/ v.1; PRO London: AIR 40 Air Ministry intelligence reports and lists based on ULTRA, “Y” Service intercepts, captured documents and PoW interrogations; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-312 roll 1660/066); (T-321 roll 115/001); 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).

Aufklärungsgruppe 12

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