Aufkl. Gr. 122 Nov 1942

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Nov 1942 - By now Ju 88A aircraft were considered to be inadequate for the tasks assigned to the unit, Me 210 and Ju 88Ts began to appear in the Gruppe’s inventory.

4()F)./122 operated under Luftwaffengruppe Kaukasustowards the end of Nov 1942. This ad hoc grouping included the following units[1]:-


Unit Base Commander Aircraft Available Aircraft Serviceable Aircraft Type



Lw. Gruppe Kaukasus Essentuki Gen.d. Flak Dessloch
Stab./JG 52 Soldatskaja Oberstlt Hrabak 6 4 Bf 109
III./JG 52 Soldatskaja Maj. v. Bonin 40 27 Bf 109
13.(slow.)/JG 52 Maikop Maj. Dumballa 8 6 Bf 109
NAGr 1 (1 Pz Armee) Balt. Rapolschij Maj. Pettenpaul(?)
NAGr 9 (17 Pz Armee) Krassnodar Maj. Lube
1(H)./21 Maikop Hptm. Körnig 8 5 Fw 189
7(H)./32 Maikop Hptm. Lueg 7 5 Fw 189
4(F)./122 Maikop Hptm. Müller 9 6 Ju 88

Nov 42 – Jan 43: 5(F)./122 is thought to have returned to the Reich for an extended rest and refit, but confirmation of this is needed. On the other hand, the refit that began in May or June possibly extended to January 1943.

1 Nov 1942 – 4(F) 122, operating on behalf of AOK 17, photographed military positions and a munitions dump (target code SU97 18050 in the vicinity of Dimitrijewka.[2]

Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
4 Nov 1942 3(F)./122 Ju 88D-3 430255 Crash landed at Schipol following combat.

6 Nov 1942 – A 1(F)./122 Ju 88D-l "trop" was despatched on a recce sortie to Oran/Algeria the aircraft subsequently landed at San Xavier, Murcia at 0740 hours 06 Nov 1942..

Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
6 Nov 1942 1(F)./122 Ju 88D-l "trop" F6+MH 430140 Force landed after running out of fuel on a recce sortie to Oran/Algeria, 100%, Hptm. Kurt Junghans + 3 reported MIA , but later either captured or made it back to German lines in Tunisia.

8 Nov 1942 – Operation “Torch” begins with Allied forces landing in Morocco and Algeria.

Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
8 Nov 1942 2(F)./122 Ju 88D-1 F6+LK Failed to return from a sortie over the western Mediterranean, 100%, 1 KIA and 3 MIA
9 Nov 1942 2(F)./122 Ju 88D-5 F6+DK Failed to return from a mission to the NW of Algiers, shot down by aircraft of 87 Sqdn. 100%, Oblt. Heinz Eisenmann (pilot) + 3 MIA.

9 Nov 1942 – Early morning a Ju 88 of FAGr 122 reported the sighting of landing craft off Oran and Algiers.[3]

10 – 24 Nov 1942 – 1(F)./122 despatched a series of reconaissance sorties to the North African coast and suffered some losses as a result.

10 Nov 1942 - American forces capture Oran.

Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
10 Nov 1942 1(F)./122 Ju 88D-1trop F6+NH Failed to return from a recce along the African coast , 100%, Oblt. Fritz Röszner + 3 MIA.

13 Nov 1942 - Ju 88 ‘5M + F’ of 2.(F)/122 was shot down near Bougie at 08:15. The crew was briefed to take off at 03:00 to make a photographic reconnaissance of Bougie harbour [initial report says main objective was to photograph shipping at Djidjelli harbour], to ascertain how many ships had been sunk, how many were afloat, and what transport and troop movements were taking place in that area.. Because of minor engine trouble the aircraft did not take off from Trapani until 05:00, carrying one 500 kg bomb in case a submarine or other suitable target was seen. [initial report says one 500 kg bomb, one 250 kg bomb and an external fuel tank] The Ju 88 flew at 13-20,000 feet on a direct course to the Bay of Bougie, and it arrived over the harbour at 20,000 feet. Visibility was moderately good, with 1/10th cloud. Photographs were taken at Bougie, and from observation the crew estimated that fourteen vessels had been sunk in the harbour. With the mission done, the pilot, who was said to be “a keen type”, decided against the wishes of his crew to continue to Algiers to see what movements were taking place there. Photographic reconnaissance was carried out at Algiers at 21,000 feet, and during this the crew estimated that there were eight sunken ships. It was then decided to drop the 500 kg bomb on Maison Blanche. Fighters were seen taking off, so the pilot decided against it and set course for base. However, he decided to return to Bougie to bomb an aircraft carrier that the crew had seen there on their first visit. They arrived over Bougie in partial cloud cover, and saw a transport, estimated at 20,000 tons. They dived and released the bomb from 7,000 feet. Results could not initially be seen due to haze, but when flying around at 7,000 feet they saw a large column of smoke, so assumed that they had done some damage to the ship. They then climbed, aiming to photograph their success. The aircraft got to 13,000 feet when fighters were seen to have taken off. By the time the aircraft reached 18,000 feet the fighters were only 6-7,000 feet below. The pilot went into a very steep dive, but was followed by four fighters, and two hits were scored in the cooling system of the starboard engine. They flew on the port engine at zero feet along a valley, but made a “very shaky” belly-landing. The crew were eventually taken prisoner.

[initial report says:] Landfall was made at Bougie, and then the aircraft turned west to bomb aircraft on the ground at an airfield near Algiers. The pilot climbed into cloud, turned east, and emerged from cloud over Bougie, were cameras were started.

The Ju 88 was attacked by three Spitfires near Djidjelli. The starboard engine was hit, and two crewmen were wounded. To avoid the Spitfires the pilot flew up a narrow valley south of Djidjelli, and made a belly-landing there. The crew decided to try to reach Tunis overland, and received help from two Arabs, who gave them mules for their wounded. They were escorted to an Arab village, and were well received there. On the next day they were trying to hire a cart when they were seen by Frenchmen, and were subsequently arrested by native troops. After being taken to Djidjelli they were handed over to a British artillery unit, and were taken to Bougie, and then by destroyer to Algiers.

The pilot, Oblt. Heinrich Weber, was unwounded. He had undertaken 307 operation flights, although some longer missions had counted for two or even three flights. He had previously been a transport pilot in Russia, and had a short period in a bomber unit, before applying for a posting to a reconnaissance unit. He joined Westa 26 around April or May 1942. The crew felt he had taken the risks he did because of his keenness to win the Ritterkreuz. The observer Uffz. Hans Reissig was wounded. He had been with 1.(F)/122, but was transferred to Westa 26 in the summer of 1942. 22 year old radio operator Uffz. Kurt Schneider was unhurt. He was part of a crew posted to Westa 26 from 2.(F)/122 on around 31 October 1942. The gunner Uffz. Hans Viebranz was wounded. He had spent two years on the training staff of a Jagdfliegerschule, where he flew as gunner on a He 111 used for mock combats with fighters. He applied for operational work, and was posted to Westa 26 with a new crew in August 1942. Since then he had flown 64 operational flights, but these counted as 160 for the purposes of the War Flights Badge. Uffz. Schneider had the EK I. The entire crew was sent to Britain for interrogation. All of the crew had the Gold (110) War Flights Badge[4] [the two interrogation reports differ in details about the mission]

The signal to Britain from Algiers gave the unit as Westa 26, but the prisoners stated that some time ago, on the order of GFM Kesselring himself, Westa 26 was placed under the control of Gruppe 122, and that it had since been merged with Gruppe 122 as a Staffel, retaining the title and lettering as a concession to tradition. Westa 26 aircraft were retained with original lettering of ‘5M +’, and were used for weather and photographic reconnaissance. They were fitted with meteorological equipment, cameras, bomb-racks and defensive armament. On this date the Staffelkapitän of 2.(F)/122 was Hptm. Gleue. Two members of the crew were sent to Britain for interrogation.[5]

Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
14 Nov 1942 1(F)./122 Ju 88D-1trop F6+SH Failed to return from Bizerta/Tunisia and believed shot down by a Beaufighter of 227 Sqdn, 100%, Oblt. Heinrich Langer (observer) + 3 MIA.
15 Nov 1942 2(F)./122 Ju 88D-1 F6+CK Failed to return from a sortie over the western Mediterranean, 100%, Oblt. Hugo Mack (pilot) + 3 MIA.
15 Nov 1942 2(F)./122 Ju 88D-5 F6+IK Failed to return from sortie, last reported between Trapani and Tunis, 100%, Oblt. Heinrich Broksch (observer) + 3 MIA.

16 Nov 1942 - At 10:50 Ju 88 ‘4U + FK’ of 2.(F)/122 was shot down at Ouleg Bougtone, west of Setif in Algeria. It had taken off from Trapani. An eyewitness reported that it was hit by light anti-aircraft fire while attacking a railway station. It flew on for a while with one engine, but eventually crashed into a mountainside. One crewman was killed, and three others were wounded and taken to hospital by the French. The aircraft code was from 2.(F)/123, but prisoners had stated that six aircraft from that Staffel had been attached to 2.(F)/122 in early November. One of the crewmen had a teleprint distributed only to 2.(F)/122 and Westa 26. Oblt. Karl Mattis had been with 2.(F)/122 for the previous nine months. He was killed. The radio operator was Obgefr. Rudolf Mollenkopf, who was wounded. Also wounded were Fw. Fritz Greiner and Uffz. Alois Härle.[6]

Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
16 Nov 1942 2(F)./122 Ju 88D-5trop Crash landed at Fp.Kastelli on Crete, 50%.
16 Nov 1942 2(F)./122 Ju 88D-1trop 4U+FK Failed to return from recce off the Algerian coast, 100%, 1 KIA, 1 WIA and 2 MIA. This aircraft originally belonged to 2.(F)/123.

17 Nov 1942 - Seven aircraft of 2.(F)/122 flew reconnaissance along the Algerian coast, and the Allies heard mention of shipping seen in the Gulf of Bougie.[7]

Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
17 Nov 1942 3(F)./122 FW 190A-3 Crash landed at Fp. St-Pol, 40%. No further details.
17 Nov 1942 3(F)./122 FW 190A-3 2159[8]:- Damaged on landing at Fp.Villacoublay-Nord outside Paris, 25%.
19 Nov 1942 2(F)./122 Ju 88D-1 Damaged taking off from Trapani, 60%.

21 Nov 1942 - At 16:30 a Ju 88 of (F)/122 was shot down near Taala in Tunisia. It had taken off from a Sicilian base on a reconnaissance flight at 13:00, carrying no bombs. There may have been an intermediate landing at El Aouina for refuelling. It was seen by Lightnings at 9,000 feet when flying over Sosuse on an easterly course. It was attacked by four Lightnings and one single-engine fighter, and was forced to crash-land. 23-year old gunner Uffz. Hans Roehrig was captured by the French on 22 November. However, on 10 December he and another German prisoner escaped from a troop train in the area of Mascara, near Oran, on their way to a French prison camp further to the west. They were then recaptured by American troops. The location of the other three crew members was not known. The pilot was Lt. Herbert Scheschonka, the observer was Oblt. Joseph Wiesberger, and the radio operator was Uffz. Karl Lerche.[9]

Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
22 Nov 1942 1(F)./122 Ju 88D-1trop F6+BH 430425 Failed to return from a recce west of Tunis, 100%, Oblt. Josef Wiesberger B), Lt Herbert Scheschenka (F), Uffz Karl Lersha (Bf) and Uffz Hans Reherig (Bs) all MIA.[10]
24 Nov 1942 1(F)./122 Ju 88D-1trop F6+IH 430355 Failed to return from the Tunis-Algiers area, 100%, Oblt. Paul Kragen (B), Ogfr. Heinrich Kilian (F), Uffz. Alfons Gossner (Bf) and Uffz. Karl Fuchs (Bm) all listed as MIA.[11]

28 Nov 1942 – 4.(F)/122 sent out two aircraft on a reconnaissance of the steppes to the west of the Volga.[12]

29 Nov 1942 – A member of 1(F)./122s ground staff was killed during an Allied bombing attack on Fp.Comiso/Sicily.

Luftwaffengruppe Kaukasus assigned 4.(F)/122 the following role: reconnaissance in the entire Kausasus area including the Black Sea and Caspian Sea coastal area. The northern limit: Volga Estuary south of Astakhan - Tikhoretsk – also observation of Russian behaviour in front of the 1.Pz.Armee was also considered to be important.[13]

4.(F)/122 had 2 aircraft perform reconnaissance sorties to the Ordzhonikidze and Makhach Kala areas.[14]

Luftwaffengruppe Kaukasus orders for 30 Nov 1942, issued on 29 Nov 1942 at 21.30 hrs, were:

Road and railway reconnaissance in front of the 1st Pz. Army and north of it, especially activity on the Kislyar - Astrakhan railway together with loading and unloading at Abramoff and Chorny Rynok stations.[15]

30 Nov 1942 – 4.(F)/122 carried out a reconnaissance of the lower Volga.[16]

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References

  1. Ulf Balke – Luftversorgung im Kaukasus – Jet & Prop v2004-1.
  2. http://www.wwii-photos-maps.com/targetrussia/citynamesbeginningd/citynames-dabr-dzis/slides/Dimitrijewka%20%20108.htm
  3. AIR 20/8534 page 3.
  4. NA AIR 40/2411, A.I.(K) Report No. 370/1942, pp.1-2; NA AIR 40/2411, A.I.(K) Report No. 397/1942, pp.1-4 source and entry from Andrew Arthy
  5. NA AIR 40/2411, A.I.(K) Report No. 370/1942, p.1; NA AIR 40/2411, A.I.(K) Report No. 397/1942, pp.1-4 source and entry from Andrew Arthy
  6. NA AIR 40/2411, A.I.(K) Report No. 389/1942, pp.1-2 via Andrew Arthy
  7. NA AIR 22/496, ‘Air Activity Summary No. 1170 for 24 Hours ending 0600 hrs. B.S.T. 17/11/42, p.1 via Andrew Arthy
  8. Luftwaffe Quartermaster Loss Returns 27 Nov 1942
  9. NA AIR 40/2411, A.I.(K) Report No. 398A/1942; NA AIR 40/2412, Addendum to A.I.(K) Report No. 398A/1943 [sic] via Andrew Arthy
  10. Shores – Fighters over Tunisia – Ju 88 of 1/122 overflew Maison Blanche (Algiers) at 9000ft intercepted by two P-38s of 14 FG/ 48 Sqdn and shot down at 10.45.– plus Luftwaffe Quartermaster Loss Returns 28 Nov 1942
  11. Luftwaffe Quartermaster Loss Returns 28 Nov 1942
  12. Bestand 500 Findbuch 12476 Akte 31 – 0000617-8, 842349-50. Tagesabschussmeldung der Luftwaffengruppe Kaukasus den 28.11.42
  13. Bestand 500 Findbuch 12476 Akte 31 – 0000586, 842318.
  14. Bestand 500 Findbuch 12476 Akte 31 – 0000588, 842320. Tagesabschussmeldung der Luftwaffengruppe Kaukasus den 29.11.42
  15. Bestand 500 Findbuch 12476 Akte 31 – 0000553, 842285.
  16. Bestand 500 Findbuch 12476 Akte 31 – 0000551, 842283. Tagesabschussmeldung der Luftwaffengruppe Kaukasus den 30.11.42