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4.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 31

Code: (5D + )

also as: Nahaufklärungsstaffel 4./31

Formation and Training. (c.Jan 39 - Aug 39)

Formed early 1939, possibly in January, at Brieg/Silesia (new) with Heinkel He 45s and He 46s.[1]

Polish Campaign. (Sep 1939)

1.9.39: deployed from Brieg to Schwieben in Upper Silesia with 12 He 45s and He 46s on receipt of the 26 August order for general mobilization and assigned to support VII. and/or XV. Armeekorps for the attack on Poland this date, advancing across the southern part of the country via Kielce to the Vistula around Sandomierz.

10.39: converted to the Henschel Hs 126 after the conclusion of the campaign, probably at Brieg.

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

10.5.40: Aachen-Monschau area under Koluft AOK 4 for the campaign in the West this date - assigned to support XV Corps along a line of advance Liege - Dunkirk area - Somme River - Loire River.

16.5.40: Hs 126 shot down by a fighter over Beauvais, 100%.

17.5.40: Hs 126 failed to return from a recce mission over NE France, 100%.

22.5.40: Hs 126 failed to return (FTR) from a recce mission over the Allonville area, 100%.

24.5.40: Hs 126 FTR from the Moteaux area, 100%.

6/40: Staffel remained in the West after the armistice was signed on 22 June.

7.7.40: Hs 126B damaged landing at Vitry-en-Artois airfield near Arras.

1.8.40: Hs 126 shot down into the Channel by a Hurricane south of Hastings, 100%, 2 MIA.

13.8.40: Pas de Calais area under Stab/Aufkl.Gr. 30 with 9 x Hs 126s and assigned to laying smoke screens in conjunction with the planned invasion of England.

5.10.40: Hs 126 (5D+FM) shot up by Spitfires over the Channel and crashed near Calais, 70%, 1 WIA and 1 MIA.

19.12.40: Hs 126 crash landed at Woensdrecht airfield in Holland/24 km north of Antwerpen, 20%.

1.41: Staffel began converting to the Focke Wulf Fw 189 in early 1941, but where this was carried out is not known.

North Russia. (Jun 41 - Sep 41)

22.6.41: East Prussia (possibly Tilsit?) under Koluft Panzergruppe 4/Army Group North for the attack on the Soviet Union this date - assigned to support XXXXI. Armeekorps (mot) along a line of advance across Lithuania and eastern Latvia - Ostrov (4 July) - Luga River Line (mid-July) where the offensive was held up for a month - then on to the suburbs of Leningrad (14 September).

1.7.41: Staffel cited in dispatches for carrying out a mission deep into the enemy rear to photograph fortifications along the Russian-Latvian border that proved vital to the highest command levels on the northern sector of the front.

14.7.41: Fw 189 shot down by a fighter in the Narva area near the Estonian-Russian border, 100%, 1 KIA and 2 WIA.

9.9.41: Fw 189 shot up by a fighter at Gatchina near Leningrad, 25%.

19.9.41: at Pskov.

9.41: transferred with XXXXI Motorized Corps toward the end of September from the Leningrad area to the central sector of the front for the attack on Moscow that began on 2 October.

Central Russia. (Oct 41 - Nov 41)

2.10.41: the line of advance for the Corps was from the Belyy area/96 km SW of Rzhev, between Rzhev and Vyazma and then on toward Moscow.

10.10.41: Fw 189 A-1 crash landed at Petrovka airstrip, 60%.

17.10.41: Fi 156 damaged at Fp. Dugino near Vyazma, 40%.

4.11.41: Fw 189 reported engine damage at Baksheyeva airstrip, 20%.

11/41: Staffel withdrawn from operations in November or early December and returned to Germany or the West to rest and refit.

23.1.42: Fw 189 damaged taxiing at Rennes/France, 25%.

1.3.42: Staffel reported 6 x Fw 189 A-1 on strength.

South Russia. (Apr 42 - Nov 42)

24.4.42: 4.(H)/31 transferred to Simferopol/Crimea in a strength of 12 officers and 153 men for assignment to Nahaufklärungsgruppe 8.

10.5.42: Fw 189 (5D+DM) FTR from a recce mission over eastern Crimea, 100%, 3 MIA.

6.42: Crimea under NAGr. 8.

20.6.42: Staffel reported 11(7) Fw 189s on strength.

22.6.42: Fw 189 shot up by a fighter near Anapa/North Caucasia, 2 WIA.

18.8.42: North Caucasia under NAGr. 3.

31.8.42: air crew observer WIA by enemy fire over North Caucasia.

4.11.42: transferred from Maikop/North Caucasia to Dretun/83 km NW of Vitebsk on the central sector of the Russian Front with NAGr. 3.

Central Russia, Poland and East Prussia. (Nov 42 - Jan 45)

8 January 1943: Fw 189 (5D+HM) from 4.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 31 (NAGr. 3) shot down in the Ono-Novosokol’niki area/23 km west of Velikiye Luki, 100%, Oblt. Fritz König + 2 MIA.

8 January 1943: Fw 189 (5D+FM) belonging to the Staffel failed to return from a mission in the Goroshovye-Tulub’yëvo area/24 km north-west of Velikiye Luki, 100%, 3 MIA.

17.1.43: Fw 189 crashed near Fp. Dretun due to engine failure, 100%, Staka Hptm. Köster + 1 injured.

1.43: additional losses for the Staffel from around November 1942 are included under NAGr. 3 and NAGr. 4.

1.43: 4.(H)/31 may have been withdrawn from operations in mid-January for rest and refit, and then returned to the front in April 1943.

1.3.43: Staffel reported 1 x Fw 189 A-1 and 7 x Fw 189 A-3 on strength.

5.5.43: Fi 156 shot up and force landed near Velizh/NE of Vitebsk, 100%.

6.6.43: Fw 189 shot up by a fighter at Velizh, 60%. Oblt. Kurt Eichwald (observer) WIA.

10.6.43: Staffel, still under NAGr. 3, flew its 4.000th operational sortie since the beginning of the war this date.

13.6.43: Fw 189 (5D+EM) shot down by a fighter in the Velizh area, 100%, 3 KIA.

22 June 1943: Fw 189 (5D+RM) shot down by a fighter over Bobrovo/51 km north-north-east of Vitebsk, 100%, 3 KIA.

7.43: from this date on, most Staffel losses were reported under the NAGr. to which it was assigned.

9.43: based at Minsk.

25 October 1943: under NAGr. 3, Fw 189 A-2 (5D+DM) failed to return (FTR) from a mission over Gorodok/south-east of Smolensk, 100%, 3 KIA.

12.43: Orsha-Vitebsk area under NAGr. 3.

1.44: re-designated Nahaufklärungsstaffel 4./31.

1.44 – 6.44: Staffel location and activity unknown, but unconfirmed sources place it at Polotsk (late February to May 1944).

7.2.44: 4.(H)/31 (NAGr. 3), Fw 189 A-3, 100%, southeast of Vitebsk.

1.3.44: Staffel reported 7 x Fw 189 A-2 on strength.

5.44: transferred from Polotsk to Ulla/59 km west of Vitebsk?

13.6.44: photographed the Vitebsk area.

25.6.44: at Lepel-West under NAGr. 4.

28.6.44: at Budslav/100 km N of Minsk under NAGr. 4 with Fw 189s.

12.7.44: at Kowno (Kaunas)/Lithuania.

7.44 – 1.45: Staffel remained in the Luftflotte 6 area, but location and activity unknown. Unconfirmed sources state that it gradually pulled back through Lithuania and northeast Poland to Jürgenfelde in East Prussia, arriving there on 24 July.

11.9.44: transferred from Jürgenfelde to Polangen (Palanga) in western Lithuania in support of the German effort to hold open a corridor between East Prussia and western Latvia.

10.44: transferred from Polangen to Eichwalde/East Prussia.

1.12.44: Staffel reported 3 x Fw 189 A-2 and 5 x Fw 189 A-3 on strength.

12.44: said to have been ordered from Eichwalde to Kolberg on the Baltic coast in Pomerania (unconfirmed).

Germany. (Jan 45 - May 45)

28.1.45: Hptm. Fritz Strunz of 4.(H)/31 killed in the crash of a He 111 H-6 belonging to Stab./NAGr. 3.

27.2.45: Fw 189 A-3 force landed SE of Neubrandenburg, 15%.

1.3.45: at Neubrandenburg under NAGr. 3 with Fw 189s.

29.3.45: Neubrandenburg under NAGr. 3.

28.4.45: in transfer to Schleswig-Holstein under NAGr. 3 with Fw 189s.

FpN:4.(H)/31 (L 06023).


Hptm. Kurt-Gustav Nagel (  ? -  ? ) 9/39, 5/40

Maj. Helmut (Helmut-Günther?) Sorge (9 Jun 40 - 22 Oct 40) 8/40

Hptm. Uwe Köster (Dec 42 - Jan 43)

Hptm. Joachim Sommer (Jan 43 -  ? ) 1943-44

Hptm. Bruno(?) Hiller (  ? - 8 May 45)

Also see:

ADOLPH, Herbert, Lt./Oblt.

AFFELDT, Werner, Oblt.

BAUCH, Günther, Oblt,

BUTTKE, Albert, Oblt.

CREMER, Bruno, Lt.

ECKEBRECHT, Fritz, Lt./Oblt.

EICHWALD, Kurt, Oblt.

EULING, Gerhard, Lt.

HAGENA, Gottfried, Lt.

HAHN, Günter, Lt.

HASELOFF, Hans-Joachim, Lt.

HERICH, Hans, Lt.

HILGENDORFF, Günter, Oblt.

KÖNIG, Fritz Wilhelm, Oblt.

KRANZ,  ? , Lt.

MAUBEUGE, Wolfgang von, Lt.

MEYER, Artur, Oblt.

PLESS, Helmut, Lt.

PRÖSSL, Erwin, Lt.

ROGG, Andreas, Lt.

SCHULZE, Wolfgang, Dr., Lt.

SCHWARZ, Heinz, Oblt.

SEIFERT, Herbert, Lt.

STRUNZ, Fritz, Hptm

WEICHENHAIN, Friedrich, Lt.


© 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, 409; AFHRA Maxwell: Karlsruhe Collection KC - Kl13.309-3/v.1; AFHRA Maxwell OKL document Ia Nr.280/45 and OKL document in decimal 512.625S (British Air Ministry); NARA WashDC: RG 242 (T-77 roll 922/1085); (T-311 roll 228/491); (T-312 roll 203/585); (T-321 roll 50/876); (T-501 roll 244); NARA WashDC aerial photo data via M.Abicht; PRO London: AIR 40/1968, 1976, 1982; PRO London: HW 5/31.

Aufklärungsgruppe 31

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