5./Bordfl.Gr. 196

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5./Bordfl.Gr. 196

Formation. (Jul 37)

Formed 1 July 1937 at Kiel-Holtenau from elements of 1.(M)/Kü.Fl.Gr. 406 and equipped with He 60 floatplanes. Like its sister 1. Staffel, it was a catapult-launched shipboard scouting and reconnaissance unit that also maintained small detachments at the principal harbours and naval bases used by the Kriegsmarine. From 1940 on, the Staffel also dispatched Ketten (3 aircraft) and Schwärme (4 aircraft) to various far-flung places to meet urgent tactical needs.[1]

North Germany, Denmark and Norway. (Jul 37 - Sep 40)

1 Sep 39: home station Kiel-Holtenau with its 10 He 60s and a number of Ar 196s embarked aboard the cruisers Nürnberg, Leipzig, Königsberg and Admiral Hipper.

9 Apr 40: Kiel-Holtenau - the occupation of Denmark and Norway (Operation “Weserübung”) commenced this date.

11 Apr 40: transferred from Kiel to Aalborg (Ålborg) in northern Denmark now that the country was in German hands.

5 May 40: while on a routine reconnaissance patrol over the Kattegat, 2 Ar 196s from 5./Bordfl.Gr. 196 encountered the damaged British submarine Seal, brought it to a halt with several 50 kg bombs, and forced the crew to surrender. The submarine was then towed to Frederikshavn at the northern tip of Denmark by a German anti-submarine patrol vessel.

10 May 40: Aalborg-See under Führer der Luft Ost with 13 Ar 196As, 2 He 114Bs and 1 He 60.

23 Jun 40: transferred to Trondheim-Hommelvik in central Norway and reassigned to Führer der Luft West.

30 Jul 40: Ar 196 crashed into Trondheim Fjord due to engine failure, 100%, 1 KIA and 1 MIA.

19 Aug 40: 2 Ar 196s lost in various mishaps in Norway, both 100%, 4 KIA.

20 Aug 40: 2 Ar 196s destroyed/damaged by a storm at Narvik/N Norway, (6W+IN) 100% and (6W+QN) 20%.

Western France. (Sep 40 - Jun 43)

3 Sep 40: ordered to return to Kiel-Holtenau for a brief rest, refit and training, and then in mid-September the Staffel began moving to Amsterdam-Schellingwoude. Toward the end of the month it was directed to proceed to Cherbourg in Normandy to fly anti-submarine patrols along the coast, arriving there by 1 October. It remained along the coast of western France until June 1943.

11 Sep 40: Ar 196 (6W+KN) caught fire during gunnery practice at Kiel-Holtenau, 75%.

1 Oct 40: 4 Ar 196s destroyed at their moorings in Cherbourg harbor by a storm, all 100%.

12 Oct 40: Ar 196 (6W+FN) shot down by RAF Hurricanes – location not reported, 100%, Staffelkapitän Hptm. Thewaldt KIA and 1 MIA.

31 Dec 40: Ar 196 force landed off Alderney Is. (NW of Cherbourg) due to bad weather, 100%.

17 Jan 41: Staffel divided between Cherbourg and Hourtin/55 km NW of Bordeaux on the Bay of Biscay under the tactical command of Stab/Kü.Fl.Gr. 406.

8 Feb 41: Ar 196 (6W+ON) shot down into the sea off Cornwall by a RAF Whirlwind fighter, 100%, Staffelkapitän Oblt. Berger KIA.

22 Apr 41: Ar 196 crashed at Hourtin, 100%, 2 KIA.

26 Apr 41: now entirely at Hourtin.

19 May 41: Ar 196 shot down into the sea off Land’s End by a Hurricane, 100%.

25 Jun 41: Ar 196 A-3 crashed into the sea at Hourtin when the engine quit, 80%, Staffelkapitän Oblt. Lindemann KIA.

8 Oct 41: Hourtin and still assigned to Stab/Kü.Fl.Gr. 406.

10 Jan 42: divided between Brest-South and Hourtin under Stab/Kü.Fl.Gr. 406.

1 Mar 42: Staffel reported 13 x Ar 196 A-3 and 2 x Ar 196 A-4 on strength.

23 May 42: Staffel half at Brest-South (Brest-Poulmic) and half at Cherbourg.

25 Jun 42: Ar 196 crashed at Brest-South, 100%, crew of 2 both KIA.

5 Aug 42: Ar 196 A-3 shot down off Land’s End (Cornwall) by a Beaufighter, 100%, 2 MIA.

17 Aug 42: Ar 196 crashed on landing at Brest-South, 100%, 2 KIA.

18 Aug 42: entire Staffel now at Brest-South.

31 Aug 42: Ar 196 shot down into the sea off Land’s End by a Beaufighter, 100%.

6 Sep 42: 5./Bordfl.Gr. 196 filed claims for a total of 8 enemy aircraft shot down by its Ar 196s between 1 June and 6 September 1942 (Neitzel). According to another account (Goss), in the 5-month period from May to September 1942 the Staffel claimed 12 RAF anti-submarine aircraft, mostly Sunderlands, Wellingtons and Whitleys. The RAF planes from Coastal Command attacked U-boats along the coast of Brittany that were departing on Atlantic patrols or returning from patrols.

13 Oct 42: Ar 196 A-3 crashed while taking off from Brest-South, 80%, 2 KIA.

26 Nov 42: Ar 196 A-3 (6W+LH) failed to return from a patrol over the Atlantic, 100%, 2 MIA.

1 Jan 43: Staffel reported 18 x Ar 196 A-3 and 1 x Ar 196 A-4 on strength.

15 Jan 43: operating from Brest-South, Hourtin and Cherbourg with a total of 20(19) Ar 196s, flew anti-submarine patrols and coastal reconnaissance along the western coast of France under the overall control of Fliegerführer Atlantik.

1 Apr 43: Staffel reported 17 x Ar 196 A-3 and 1 x Ar 196 A-5 on strength.

13 Apr 43: Ar 196 crashed near Hourtin due to engine failure, 100%, 1 KIA and 1 WIA.

May 43: by the end of April/beginning of May, 6 Fw 190 A-2/3/4/5s under Oblt. Heinz Wurm, a former Arado pilot, were attached to 5./Bordfl.Gr. 196. The first two of these may have arrived at the Staffel in March and used for familiarization and tactical evaluation. The fighters were each equipped with two 300-liter drop tanks so they could be used to cover an area 350 km out into the northern approaches to the Bay of Biscay to engage RAF Coastal Command anti-submarine aircraft and their Beaufighter and Mosquito escorts that were inbound or outbound from the Bay area. In the first month or so of intercept operations, the Focke Wulfs claimed several victories. The Fw 190 detachment was frequently referred to as Jagdkommando Brest.

31 May 43: Staffel ordered disbanded and the main body used to form 1./Seeaufklärungsgruppe 128. The actual disbanded process took place over the next several weeks.

6 Jun 43: Fw 190 A-5 belonging to 5./Bordfl.Gr. 196 struck an obstacle while landing at Brest-North, 70%.

FpNs:(L 09414, L 38157)


Hptm. Fritz Grohé (1937-38)

Hptm. Vollrath Wibel (15 Nov 38 - 31 Oct 39)

Hptm. Fritz Grohé (1 Nov 39 - c. Jul 40)

Hptm. Karl Thewald (c. Jul 40 - 12 Oct 40) KIA

Oblt. zur See Hellwig (Nov 40 - Dec 40)

Oblt. zur See Adolf Berger (Dec 40 - 8 Feb 41) KIA

Oblt. Hans Lindemann (9 Feb 41 - 25 Jun 41) KIA

Hptm. Werner Techam (Jul 41 - 1943?)

© H.L. deZeng IV, 2024

Return to Bordfliegerverbände


  1. Dierich-VdL; Tessin-Tes; N.Kannapin-FpÜ; J-P.Défieux-Répertoire des Unités Aériennes de la Luftwaffe 1935-1945: Reconnaissance Aéronavale; M.Holm-website ww2.dk; F.Kurowski-Seekrieg aus der Luft: Die deutsche Seeluftwaffe im Zweiten Weltkrieg:60, 201, 295, 296, 297, C.Shores-Fledgling Eagles: The Complete Account of Air Operations During the ‘Phony War’ and Norwegian Campaign, 1940:309; K.Ries-Luftwaffen-Story 1935-1939:157-58; W.G.Ramsey-The Blitz, Then And Now/v.2:426 and v.3 et seq; W.Green-Warplanes:41, 218; U.Balke-KG 2/Bd. I:407, 413; J.Foreman-The Forgotten Months:219; S.Neitzel-Der Einsatz der deutschen Luftwaffe über dem Atlantik und der Nordsee 1939-1940:146, 194; C.Goss-Bloody Biscay: The History of V Gruppe/Kampfgeschwader 40:60; 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); 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, and AIR/40 AirMin intelligence documents;