III/KG.z.b.V 1

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Formation. (Aug 39)

Formed (new) 26 August 1939 at Stendal/Anhalt and then immediately transferred to Silesia to standby for the campaign in Poland.[1]


Campaign in Poland and the Occupation of Denmark and Norway. (Sep 1939 - Apr 1940)

1 Sep 1939: at Aslau/Silesia with 53 Ju 52s on strength.[2]

Sep 1939: transported personnel, equipment, ammunition and fuel for fighter and dive-bomber units as these moved forward to airfields in Poland, and remained on standby for paratroop operations which were found to be unnecessary. Some of the Gruppe's Staffeln may also have operated from Brüsterort (Brüster Ort?)/East Prussia during the campaign in Poland.

18 Sep 1939: 2 Ju 52s shot up and crashed between Rawa Ruska and Kraków in SE Poland, Hptm. Markus Zeidler + 8 all MIA.[3]

Nov 1939: released from front duty and returned to the control of Chef des Ausbildungswesens (in charge of training) at the beginning of November, moving back to Stendal.[4]

Jan 1940: around January 1940 III./KG z.b.V. 1 supposedly switched identities with I./KG z.b.V. 172, according to the entries in the Feldpostübersicht (Field Postal Directory), but this cannot be confirmed from other sources.[5]

16 Feb 1940: Ju 52 damaged landing at Burg bei Magdeburg, 5%.

9 Apr 1940: at Hagenow/Mecklenburg for the occupation of Denmark and Norway. From 10 to 16 April the Gruppe reported 2 Ju 52s destroyed and 5 more damaged in transport flights from Aalborg (Ålborg)/N Denmark into Oslo, Kristiansand and Stavanger.[6]


Attack on France and the Low Countries; Transport Missions in France. (May 1940 - Nov 1940)

10 May 1940: Gütersloh - on the opening date of the campaign, the Gruppe airlifted elements of Inf.Rgt. 16 and Stab/7. Fliegerdivision to Rotterdam-Waalhaven as part of the initial phase of the airborne and air-landing assault on Holland. This one day of intense combat-support operations in the Rotterdam area cost III./KG z.b.V. 1 14 Ju 52s destroyed and 2 others damaged.[7]

16 May 1940: 2 Ju 52s damaged in crash landings at Charleville Mézières while hauling supplies and ammunition to forward troops engaged in the heavy fighting around Sedan, 70% and 60%.

25-26 May 1940: while the majority of the Gruppe continued support missions in Belgium and northeast France, at least one Staffel transferred to Norway and was used to ferry paratroops and mountain troops to Narvik.[8]

26 May 1940: Ju 52 shot down by a French Morane fighter at St-Pol-Brias/NE France, 100%, 4 WIA.

10 Sep 1940: Ju 52 damaged landing at Fp. Guines/8 km S of Calais, 35%.

16 Nov 1940: Ju 52 crashed at Brest in Brittany - cause not reported, 100%, 4 crew and 7 passengers all KIA.


Balkans, Mediterranean, North Africa. (Dec 1940 - Dec 1942)

8-9 Dec 1940: departed Wesendorf/33 km N of Braunschweig for Foggia/Italy with 53 Ju 52s where it established an air-bridge to ferry Italian troops and supplies to Tirana/Albania and return with wounded. In 50 days of operations the Gruppe flew 4,028 sorties delivering 30,000 troops and 4,700 tons of supplies, while returning with 10,000 wounded and sick. During the Gruppe's 50 days at Foggia, it was informally referred to as the Transgerma (or Trasgerma) group by the Italians and then the Germans began using this acronym, too.[9]

Feb 1941: assigned to X. Fliegerkorps and transferred from Foggia to Comiso/SE Sicily during the second half of February to fly troops and supplies to North Africa.[10]

26 Feb 1941: Ju 52 crashed on Monte di Fuori on the border between NE Italy and Austria, 100%, 4 KIA.

7 Mar 1941: Ju 52 force landed on Lampedusa Is./222 km S of Sicily, 65%.

13 Mar 1941: 2 Ju 52s made force landings, one at Augusta/Sicily and the other at Reggio Calabria near Messina, 65% and 25%.

7 Apr 1941: 2 Ju 52s shot up and damaged by fighters at Fp. Mechili (Mechli, Zawiyat al Mukhayla)/75 km SSW of Derna in Cyrenaica, 2 WIA.

9 Apr 1941: Ju 52 shot down near Derna, 100%, 2 KIA and 2 WIA.

17 Apr 1941: 3 Ju 52s bombed on the ground during enemy air attack on Fp. Bardia/Cyrenaica, all 100%, 6 WIA.

10 May 41: Ju 52 strafed on the ground at Fp. Catania/E Sicily, 25%.

21 May 1941: 10. Staffel at Benghazi.[11]

25 May 1941: 12. Staffel operating from Derna.[12]

2 Jun 1941: Ju 52 damaged taxiing at Fp. Catania, 40%.

7 Jun 1941: in far-flung operations on this date the Gruppe lost a Ju 52 each at Fp. Benina near Benghazi, Siracusa/E Sicily and the island of Rhodes in the eastern Aegean, which demonstrates the large area in covered.

21 Jun 1941: Gruppenstab, 9.St. and 11.St. at Catania operating under X. Fliegerkorps, 10.St. in North Africa operating directly under Fliegerführer Afrika. No mention of 12. Staffel.[13]

8 Aug 1941: 2 Ju 52s bombed on the ground at Athens-Tatoi, both 100%.

15 Sep 1941: Gruppenstab, 9.St., 10.St. and 12.St. at Catania, 11.St. at Athens-Tatoi.[14]

19 Oct 1941: Ju 52 crashed at Tripoli/Libya after being shot up by a fighter, 100%, crew safe. The Junkers had been ferrying troops from Italy to North Africa when it was attacked 70 km SW of Malta by RAF Marylands. A similar attack took place the next day off Sicily and the Ju 52 had to crash land.

4 Nov 1941: Ju 52 crashed at Sortino/39 km S of Catania while ferrying troops to North Africa, 100%, crew of 4 + 17 soldiers all KIA.

10 Nov 1941: 11. Staffel still at Athens-Tatoi.[15]

18 Nov 1941: 2 Ju 52s shot down near Derna/Cyrenaica, 3 KIA and 3 WIA.

10-12 Dec 1941: 11. Staffel lost 3 Ju 52s - one each day - between Crete and Derna, all 100%, 8 KIA.

17-25 Dec 1941: 5 Ju 52s destroyed at Benina and Derna, most of them bombed on the ground during enemy air attacks, all 100%, no casualties.

26 Dec 1941: Ju 52 (1Z+IT) crashed into the sea near Tympakion (Tymbakion, Timbakion)/Crete, 100%, 2 KIA, 1 MIA, 1 WIA.

7-12 Jan 1942: 2 Ju 52s lost near Sollum (Salūm)/NW Egypt, including one brought down by a fighter.

16 Jan 1942: 9.St. Ju 52 (1Z+LT) crashed into the sea off Sollum, 100%, 2 KIA and 1 MIA.

18 Mar 1942: Gruppenstab transferred from Catania to Brindisi on the heel of Italy.[16]

4 Apr 1942: Gruppe operating into North Africa from Brindisi and Trapani/W Sicily.[17]

1 May 1942: Gruppe reported 33 x Ju 52 on strength.[18]

May 1942: III./KG z.b.V. 1 transferred the majority of its transport operations to Máleme/Crete in early May.[19]

12 May 1942: a formation of 14 Ju 52s from the Gruppe escorted by 2 Bf 110s departed Máleme/Crete for Derna/Cyrenaica, each loaded with some 20 soldiers, probably infantry replacements. The Pulk (formation) was intercepted 80 km off the North African coast by 14 RAF Beaufighters and Kittyhawks, and in the running battle 9 of the Junkers were shot down and another 2 had to make force landings on the shore. According to reliable ULTRA intercepts, all 9 were from 11. Staffel. Strangely, the German loss reports only seem to account for 3 of the Ju 52s being lost.[20]

30 May 1942: Ju 52 damaged when its undercarriage collapsed while landing at Fp. Castel Benito/26 km SW of Tripoli, 65%.

Jul 1942: most of III. Gruppe now based at Tobruk under the operational control of Lufttransportführer Mittelmeer and operating between there and Máleme/Crete.[21]

27 Jul 1942: Ju 52 crashed taking off from Athens-Tatoi, 100%, 1 WIA.

12 Aug 1942: III./KG z.b.V. 1 flew its 15,000th sortie this date.[22]

14 Aug 1942: 2 Ju 52s shot down into the sea by fighters over the Gulf of Sollum/NW Egypt, 6 KIA and 2 WIA.

15 Aug 1942: still based at Tobruk under Lufttransportführer Mittelmeer.[23]

3 Oct 1942: Ju 52 crash landed at Máleme/Crete, 60%.

24 Oct 1942: 2 Ju 52 crashes at Tobruk, 60% and 40%.

1 Nov 1942: Gruppe reported 27 x Ju 52 on strength.

Nov 1942: following the British 8th Army counterattack at El Alamein on 24 October, the Gruppe departed Tobruk and moved back to Máleme/Crete.[24]

7 Nov 1942: 2 Ju 52s from 10. and 12. Staffel shot down by RAF Kittyhawks between Sollum and Sidi Barrani, both 100%, 1 KIA and 2 WIA. In a separate (and questionable) incident, a He 111H-6 supposedly belonging to the Gruppe ditched in Suda Bay/Crete and another He 111H-6 was severely damaged in a crash landing at Fp. Tobruk. The Gruppe is not shown in official documents has having any Heinkels, so these were either “borrowed” from another unit or this report is incorrect.

11 Nov 1942: 12.St. Ju 52 shot down by a fighter west of Gambut, 100%, 3 WIA.

24 Nov 1942: Ju 52 shot down into the Mediterranean by a fighter, 100%, crew rescued.

8 Dec 1942: Ju 52 crash landed at Fp. Trapani in western Sicily, this airfield being used as a staging and refueling center for flights to Tunisia.

13 Dec 1942: ordered this date to transfer to Brindisi, hand over all remaining aircraft to IV./KG z.b.V. 1, and then proceed to Germany to rest, refit and re-equip.[25]

14 Dec 1942: Ju 52 rammed by a SM 82 at Fp. Castel Benito near Tripoli, 100%.


Rest and Refit in Germany, Return to the Mediterranean. (Jan 1943 - Apr 1943)

Jan - Mar 1943: inventory returns for the Gruppe show no aircraft on hand for 1 January and 1 February. New Ju 52s began arriving in March.

1 Apr 1943: Gruppe reported 52 x Ju 52 on strength.

Apr 1943: rehabilitated and back to full strength, III./KG z.b.V. returned to the Mediterranean 5-8 April and based at Naples-Capodichino.[26]

6 Apr 1943: Ju 52 damaged landing at Fp. Munich-Riem, 15%.

11 Apr 1943: 5 Ju 52s (incl. 1Z+JT, MU, MT and 1C+FW) shot down by fighters while on a return flight from Tunis to Trapani, all 100%, 7 KIA, 8 MIA and 1 WIA.

18 Apr 1943: Gruppe lost 7 Ju 52s shot down and 4 more shot up and severely damaged (30% - 50%) during the so-called “Palm Sunday Massacre” over the Gulf of Tunis when the large Pulk (formation) of 65 Ju 52s in which they were flying was intercepted at dusk by nearly 60 USAAF and RAF fighters. The Allies were later to claim a total of 61 Ju 52s and 15 Bf 109 escort fighters downed. German accounts admit to the loss of 59 Ju 52s, a true slaughter of relatively defenseless aircraft by any measure. Gruppe casualties were given as 6 KIA, 4 MIA and 11 WIA.[27]

26 Apr 1943: Ju 52 (1Z+CD) reported missing on a flight from Trapani to Tunis, 100%, 4 MIA.

27 Apr 1943: Ju 52 struck the ground and crashed at Cape Porto Garina, 100%, 3 KIA and 1 WIA.

28 Apr 1943: Ju 52 struck the ground and crashed near Mt. Vesuvius in the Naples area, 100%, 3 KIA and 2 WIA.

30 Apr 1943: Ju 52 shot down into the sea by a fighter, 100%, 1 WIA.

30 Apr 1943: 2 Ju 52s shot down into the sea between Tunis and Villacidro/Sardina, both 100%, both crews rescued.

1 May 1943: renamed III./TG 1 effective this date.[28]


FpNs:Gruppenstab (L 08093, L 30507)

9. Staffel (same as the Gruppenstab)

10. Staffel (same as the Gruppenstab)

11. Staffel (same as the Gruppenstab)

12. Staffel (same as the Gruppenstab)


Kommandeur:[29]

Hptm. Arthur von Casimir (8 Nov 39 - 28 Feb 40)

Hptm. Markus Ziedler (1 Mar 40 - 1 Sep 40)

Maj. Rudolf Starke (2 Sep 40 - May 41?)

Hptm. Rudolf(?) Schröder (Jun 41? - 14 Oct 42)

Hptm. Siegfried Hagena (15 Oct 42 - May 43)


© H.L. deZeng IV, 2003

Links

Stab/KG.z.b.V 1

I/KG.z.b.V 1

II/KG.z.b.V 1

IV/KG.z.b.V 1


References

  1. K.Ries-Luftwaffen Story 1935-1939; G.Tessin-Tes; N.Kannapin-Feldpostübersicht.
  2. U.Balke-KG 2/Teil 1:390.
  3. BA-MA Freiburg: RL 2 III Meldungen über Flugzeugunfälle¦..(Loss Reports - LRs).
  4. G.Tessin-op cit; [Kameradschaft Ehemaliger Transportflieger]-Geschichte einer Transportflieger-Gruppe im II.Weltkrieg: Die II. Kampfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung 1 1938 - 1943 umbenannt in II. Transportgeschwader 1 (Ronnenberg/Hannover, 1989).
  5. N.Kannapin-op cit.
  6. G.Tessin-op cit.
  7. J-P.Pallud-Blitzkrieg in the West Then and Now:119.
  8. C.Shores-Fledgling Eagles:329-31.
  9. F.Morzik-German Air Force Airlift Operations:111-12; Italian web site http://xoomer.virgilio.it/pablotm/ricerca%20_storica.htm#La seconda guerra Mondiale .
  10. F.Morzik-op cit:122.
  11. ULTRA signal HW 5/16 - CX/JQ987 p.7.
  12. PRO London: AIR 40/1996.
  13. K.Gundelach-Med:268; AIR 40/1996.
  14. AIR 40/1996.
  15. PRO London: DEFE 3 ULTRA signal (number not recorded).
  16. AIR 40/1996.
  17. ULTRA signal (number not recorded).
  18. BA-MA Freiburg: Flugzeug-Bereitstellungen (Aircraft Availability Status Reports - FzB) in: M.Holm-website (ww2.dk).
  19. ULTRA (number not recorded).
  20. C.Shores-Fighters Over the Desert:109; ULTRA signal (number not recorded).
  21. F.Morzik-op cit:128; ULTRA signal MKA661.
  22. NARA WashDC: RG 242/T-84 roll 182, frame 1532.
  23. K.Gundelach-op cit:411.
  24. ULTRA signal (number not recorded).
  25. ULTRA QT8599.
  26. PRO London: AIR 40 Air Ministry intelligence study based on ULTRA and “Y” Service intercepts.
  27. LRs; J.Prien-JG 77/Teil 3:1522.
  28. Document Lufttransportführer beim Gen.Qu. Abt. Ia Nr. 281/43 g.Kdos., dated 21.4.43, reproduced in: [Kameradschaft Ehemaliger Transportflieger], Geschichte einer Transportflieger-Gruppe im II.Weltkrieg:180; H.Boog-Die deutsche Luftwaffenführung 1935-1945: Führungsprobleme, Spitzengliederung, Generalstabsausbildung:25.
  29. C.Zweng-Die Dienststellen, Kommandobehörden und Truppenteile der Luftwaffe 1935-1945/Bd. 1:42.