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3.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 21

Code: (P2 + )

also as: 3.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 21 (Pz) (to April 1942)

Nahaufklärungsstaffel 3./21 (from July 1943)

Formation and Training. (Nov 38 - Aug 39)

Formed 1 November 1938 at Stargard/Pomerania (ex-1.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 21) with Heinkel He 45s and He 46s, which were quickly replaced when the Staffel converted to the Henschel Hs 126 during early 1939.[1]

Polish Campaign. (Sep 1939)

1.9.39: transferred from Stargard to Grossborn/West Prussia with 12(12) Hs 126s for the attack on Poland and assigned to support II. Armeekorps/4th Army. Advanced east-southeast toward Warsaw via Chelmno and Modlin. On conclusion of the campaign at the end of September, 3.(H)/21 is believed to have returned to Stargard to refit before being ordered to western Germany.

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

10.5.40: Eifel area with Hs 126s for the attack in the West that commenced this date - supported XIX. Armeekorps/12th Army through Luxembourg, the Ardennes in South Belgium, the heavy fighting around Sedan and then on to the Dunkirk area in NE France.

14.5.40: Hs 126 shot down by a French fighter over Sedan.

15.5.40: Hs 126 shot down by a Dewoitine D 520 fighter SW of Sedan.

15.5.40: a second Hs 126 shot down by D 520s in the same area.

16.5.40: Hs 126 failed to return (FTR) from a recce mission over the Attigny area to the southwest of Sedan.

19.5.40 – 22.5.40: supported the advance and fighting around Cambrai.

23.5.40 – 31.5.40: engaged along the Scarpe and in the vicinity of Lille.

1.6.40 – 8.6.40: paused along the Somme.

9.6.40 – 12.6.40: supported mopping up operations around Dieppe and St.-Valery.

10.6.40: Hs 126 FTR from a recce over the English Channel.

13.6.40 – 19.6.40: supported the advance between the Seine and the Loire.

7.40: after the armistice was signed on 22 June, the Staffel remained in the West, moved to the Channel coast in France in late June, but its specific location and activities are not known.

30.8.40: Belgium-North France area under Koluft AOK 16 in support of IV. Armeekorps.

8.9.40 – 28.1.41: occupation duties in Belgium and NE France - also served as a Panzerlehrstaffel (demonstration squadron for the support of armored units).

2.10.40: Hs 126B crash landed at Moerbeke/NE of Ghent in Belgium, 70%.

Balkan Campaign. (Feb 41 - May 41)

29.1.41 – 3.41: transferred from the West to Romania in the Balkans.

2.3.41: moved into Bulgaria.

15.3.41: Hs 126 crashed at Fp. Yambol/Bulgaria, 100%, 1 killed and 1 injured.

6.4.41: possibly at Stara Zagora/Central Bulgaria - assigned to support 11. Panzer-Division/12th Army for the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece, and on this date, the opening day of the attack, flew recce sorties in the Niš-Pirot area of eastern Serbia under Koluft AOK 12.

26-27.4.41: transferred from the Balkans to Oels in Silesia on conclusion of the campaign.

South Russia. (Jun 41 - Sep 41)

10.6.41: transferred from Oels to Zamość/SE Poland.

22.6.41: Zamość under Koluft Panzergruppe l/Army Group South for the attack on the Soviet Union this date, and assigned to support the advance of 11. Panzer-Division through western Ukraine toward Kiev via Zhitomir and the Uman area.

24-25.6.41: Staffel received a commendation for distinguishing itself during a Russian breakthrough attempt in the vicinity of Hobkow (Hobkov).

7.41 – 8.41: moved rapidly across Ukraine at the spearhead of the advance with frequent changes in location.

1.7.41: the Staffel reported its personnel strength at 16 officers and 309 men.

7.41: supporting the offensive fighting at Miropol, Berdishev and Uman.

8.41: moved forward to the Boguslav-Cherkassy area.

7.9.41: moved to Zhitomir to support the great encirclement battle around Kiev, which finally fell to the Germans on 19 September after heavy month-long fighting.

20.9.41: transferred to Gomel-North for reassignment to the central sector of the Eastern Front along with 11th Panzer Division.

Central Russia. (Sep 41 - Oct 42)

28.9.41: transferred from Gomel-North to the Roslavl area for Operation “Taifun” (Typhoon), the all-out attack on Moscow that opened on 2 October, with 11th Panzer Division/4th Panzer Group, driving from the Roslavl area toward Vyazma and Gzhatsk.

2.10.41: one air crew member WIA near Konyukhovka.

15.10.41: transferred from the Roslavl area to Gzhatsk near Vyazma.

29.10.41: flying recce in the Volokolamsk area/SE of Rzhev.

17.11.41 – 4.12.41: supported the increasingly difficult advance around Istra/52 km WNW of Moscow city center and Solnechnogorsk/31 km N of Istra.

21.12.41: Staffel reported its personnel strength as 16 officers and 236 men.

3.1.42: transferred from Gzhatsk back to Vyazma/North following the powerful Soviet counteroffensive west of Moscow. From there, operated in the Ruza-Volokolamsk area during the bitter fighting W of Moscow in extremely harsh winter weather.

13.1.42: Hs 126 B-1 crash landed at Fp. Vyazma in bad weather, 40%.

24.1.42: Staffel reassigned to Stab/Aufklärungsgruppe (H) Nord effective this date.

2.2.42: Fi 156 crash landed at Fp. Vyazma, 50%.

6.3.42: a Hs 126 and a Fi 156 destroyed or damaged on the ground by bombs during Russian air attack on Fp. Vyazma.

15.3.42: part of the flying component transferred from Vyazma to Vitebsk.

18.3.42: many of the ground personnel had been used earlier for a Luftwaffen-Gefechtsverband that was sent to defend the airfield at Anissowo-Gorodischtsche along with ground personnel of 5.(H)/11 and 5.(H)/32, all of which came under Gruppenfliegerstab 32. While manning defensive positions in the nearby village of Troitzkyj (Troitskiy – not located), 17 men from 3.(H)/21 were KIA.

28.3.42: transferred from Vyazma-North to Rzhev.

19.4.42: reassigned to Nahaufklärungsgruppe 2 on or about this date (Stab NAGr. 2 at Vyazma-Gradina).

20.6.42: Luftwaffen-Kdo. Ost area - Staffel reported 8(7) Hs 126s on strength.

23.6.42: Staffel temporarily released from NAGr. 2 control and ordered to Smolensk-North for Operation “Seydlitz” - the planned destruction of the Soviet 39th Army and XI Cavalry Corps in the German 9th Army sector - for the direct support of Gruppe Esebeck/9th Army.

3.7.42: flew reconnaissance with 2 Hs 126s in front of Gruppe Esebeck as a component of the overall air support being provided by 2. Fliegerdivision.

3.7.42: Fi 156 struck an obstacle and damaged at Petrovski, 40%.

8.8.42: transferred from Vyazma (V-Gradina?) to Barkovo and reassigned to Lw.-Kdo. Don.

10.42: Staffel’s whereabouts unknown, but still assigned to Lw.-Kdo. Don.

Central and South Russia. (Oct 42 - Aug 44)

24.10.42: Hs 126 damaged landing at Fp. Nikolayevka/91 km W of Voronezh, 10%.

25.12.42: Hs 126 force landed near Nikolayevka and then destroyed to prevent it being captured by the enemy, 100%, Oblt. Günter Marticke (observer) + 1 other injured.

31.12.42: based at Nikolayevka under NAGr. 10.

25.1.43: Hs 126 destroyed in bomb explosion at Fp. Stary Oskol, 100%, 5 men killed and 3 injured.

6.2.43: Hs 126 destroyed to prevent it from falling into enemy hands at Fp. Kursk, 100%, 1 injured.

12.2.43: now based at Konotop under NAGr. 10.

1.3.43: Staffel reported 13 x Hs 126 B-1 on strength.

22.3.43: Hs 126 damaged landing at Fp. Konotop, 60%.

3.4.43: still at Konotop under NAGr. 10.

4.43 - 1944: 3. (H)/21 remained on the central sector of the front under NAGr. 10 to around June or July 1944, with most of its activities and losses reported collectively under the NAGr.

23 July 1943: Hs 126 (P2+AL) from 3.(H)/21 (NAGr. 10) shot down west of Papustichi in the Kursk area, 100%, 2 MIA.

3.9.43: Hs 126 hit by bombs during air raid on Fp. Konotop, 80%.

9.10.43: photographed the Chernigov area/130 km NNE of Kiev.

12.43: at Beresino (Berezino)/54 km SSE of Borisov and remained there to 6 March.

1.3.44: Staffel reported 9 x Hs 126 B-1 on strength.

2.3.44: based at Berezino/54 km SSE of Borisov and at Pinsk under NAGr. 10.

6.3.44: transferred to Łuniniec in eastern Poland.

5.44: at Łuniniec - believed withdrawn from NAGr. 10 around 5 May and sent to Herzogenaurach in Germany for conversion to the Bf 109G.

7.44: Nahaufkl.St. 3./21 ordered disbanded and those pilots having completed the conversion course incorporated into 1./NAGr. 13 in France.

31.8.44: elements or rear echelon still reported to be at Herzogenaurach and now attached to NAGr. 6.

FpN:3. (H)/21 (L 16548).


Maj. i.G. Fritz Reichardt (  ? -  ? ) 9/39

Maj. Anton Vinek (  ? - Sep 41)

Oblt. August-Wilhelm Boenke (Oct 41 - Sep 42)

Hptm. Wilhelm Leupold (Oct 42 -  ? ) 12/42

Also see: BACH, Johannes, Hptm./Maj.

BOHNEN, Johann, Lt.

DAUB, Dieter, Hptm.

DOBNER, Bruno, Oblt.

EBELING, Kuno (Bruno?), Hptm.

FRODIEN, Friedrich-Wilhelm, Hptm.d.R./Maj.d.R.

GUNDEL, Friedrich, Lt.

GÜNTHER, Heinz, Oblt.

HUTTER, Siegfried, Oblt.

JASPERS, Paul, Lt.

KIETZMANN, Hans-Ulrich, Lt.

KLEE, Hermann, Oblt.

KÖNIG Reinhold, Lt.d.R.

LEUPOLD, Friedrich Wilhelm Robert, Hptm.

LOOSE, Heinz, Lt. (Kr.O.)

MANSKE (MANZKE?), Siegfried, Oblt.

MARTICKE, Günther, Siegfried, Oblt.

MONSCHEUER, Paul Josef, Oblt.


MÜLLENSIEFEN, Peter-Eberhard, Lt./Oblt.

NECK, Erich, Oblt.

ROEDEL, Dr. (jur.) Fritz, Oblt.

SCHMITT, Albert, Oblt.

SCHULTE, Helmuth, Lt.

WARNECKE, Bernhard, Oblt.

WEIDKE (WEIDTKE?), Kurt, Hptm.

WITTICH, Ludwig von, Hptm.

© by Henry L. deZeng IV (Work in Progress). (1st Draft 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.398; C.Shores et al - Air War For Yugoslavia, Greece, and Crete 1940-41, p.180; Kriegstagebuch 3.(H)/Aufkl.St. 21 for Jun 41 to Apr 42 in NARA WashDC RG 242 Microcopy T-321 roll 20; AFHRA Maxwell decimal Karlsruhe Collection KC-Kl13.309-3/ v.1; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-79 roll 14); (T-312 roll 296/603, 814; roll 1156/1020; roll 1242/451); NARA WashDC aerial photo data via M.Abicht; PRO London: AIR 40/1975 and 1981; BA-MA Freiburg: Signatur RL 20/274-77 and Signatur RL 40/Kart; BA-MA Freiburg: RL 2 III Meldungen über Flugzeugunfälle…..(Loss Reports – LRs); BA-MA Freiburg: Gefechtskalender; BA-MA Freiburg: Flugzeug-Bereitstellungen (Aircraft Availability Status Reports – FzB) in: M.Holm-website (ww2.dk); Lw.-Kdo. Ost doc in the TSAMO/Podolsk collection.

Aufklärungsgruppe 21

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