Note that the information here is circumstantial at best.
Not every item listed below will be directly related to Kdo. Herling but may assist in building the “picture”.
The need is to establish who Major Herling was; where the personnel and aircraft of the composite unit were drawn from and identify any operations from available records.
HERLING, Helmut. (DOB: 31.03.11). 16.01.43 Maj. in Luftwaffenstab Gabes, KIA. Posthumously promo to Obstlt. with effect from 01.01.43. Buried at Bordj-Cedria.
Very likely previously with Luftgaustab z.b.V. Afrika.
From “History of 122 in the Mediterranean “
Ref AIR 20/8534
Under section “Convoy Protection” is found the following paragraph
“Aircraft escorting Benghazi convoys – usually 5 Ju 88s from FAGr 122 – took off from Catania, Heraklion or Benghazi. Crews for these operations came under the orders of Fliegerkorps X in Heraklion, and, in Benghazi, of the Kommando Herling – the latter a specially constituted H.Q. for convoy protection”
Ref CX/MSS/1114/T29 MK7366 (pg 426)
1 Ju88 of anti-submarine gruppe flew anti-submarine hunt off Benghazi on 23/06/42. Today all available forces were to carry out anti-submarine hunt and escort for “both convoys”. Comment – presumably Pilo and Regulus.
From Andrew Arthy
On 29 June 1942 an indent was sent by the Signals Officer of U-Bootgruppe Berca asking for the despatch by air of 10 AU.KA tables for the U-Bootgruppe and 5 AU.KA tables for I./N.J.G. 2 Derna. The tables in question were urgently required for an operation.
Ref CX/MSS/1134/T3 MK 7770 (pg 289)
Anti-submarine staffel was to operate on 29/06/42 on a radius of 50 sea miles from Benghazi in connection with a large convoy due Benghazi 30/06/42. Comment – Convoy in question presumably Monviso, in which case above arrangements were no doubt subsequently altered.
From Andrew Arthy
II. Fliegerkorps operations order for 1 July 1942: “2.) Aufkl.Gr. 122 Verlegung von 8 Ju88 nach Iraklion gemäss Sicherungsbefehl.” [with different typewriter “für den 1.u.2.7.42.”]
The Sicherungsbefehl für 1. und 2.7.42 noted three merchant ships escorted by three destroyers and two torpedo boats, giving expected locations. This was sent to K.G. 54 and A.Gr. 122. Eight Ju 88s were to transfer to Iraklion, where they would be subordinate to Sicherungsführer II. Fliegerkorps. On 2 July 1942 all Sicherungsflugzeuge were to make a landing at Bengasi-Berca, where they were to report to Gruppe Herling, to which they are subordinated until the end of the securing operation.
A.Gr. 122 orders were changed, and they were to send their crews to Bengasi-Berca instead.
The II. Fliegerkorps operations order for 2 July 1942 noted that A.Gr. 122 was to send all serviceable aircraft to Bengasi-Berca, to operate under Gruppe Herling on escort. 1.(F)/122 was still to operate with a Kette to Malta, with Italian fighter escort.
Ia Op Nr 2667/42 II Fl.Korps had the following
02/07/42 Return of all security aircraft in Benghazi-Berca. There they were to report to Gruppe Herling, to whom they would be subordinated until the convoy protection requirement has concluded.
Ref CX/MSS/1146/T12 MK 8024 (pg 27)
Major Herling is Orange Charlie (Officer Commanding) anti-submarine gruppe. Secondly , indication that on 02/07/42 elements of III./ZG 26 formed part of anti-submarine gruppe.
Ref CX/MSS/ZTPI/12066/12067/12068 (1150/2) MK8103 (pg 108)
Ostia (see MK7943) arrived Tripoli by 1140 hrs wednesday 01/07/42 and sailed again by 0820 hrs Friday 03/07/42 escorted by anti-submarine vessel Cotugno. Speed 9 knots, by coastal route to pass Buerat at 0010 hrs Saturday 04/07/42, passing Ras Aali at 1900 hrs same day, at point 5 miles west of Zuetina at 0300 hrs Sunday 05/07/42. Expected arrival Benghazi 1300 hrs same day.
From Andrew Arthy
On 4 July 1942 A.Gr. 122 was to transfer all serviceable aircraft to Bengasi-Berca for convoy escort. 1.(F)/122 was to send four aircraft there, and also to carry out early and late reconnaissance to Malta.
Ref CX/MSS/ZTPI/11221(1151/4) MK8145 (pg 156)
Owing to damage repairable by 05/07/42 Cotugno did not leave Tripoli with Ostia (see MK8103). Ostia proceeded independently.
Ref CX/MSS/1160/T21 MK8352 (pg 387)
On 05/07/42 40 tons B4 were to be unloaded from Ostia in Benghazi, see MK8145, to ensure fuelling of convoy escort.
Ref CX/MSS/1162/T7 MK8428 (pg 475)
Now known that 6 aircraft available at Berca (see MK8377) probably belonged to III./ZG 26 and not repeat not NJG 2. Night fighters mentioned in second sentence are wanted probably by officer commanding anti-submarine composite unit (compare MK7366 and MK7770) after “strained fuel situation” please delete remainder and substitute following “at Berca where only 5 tons available on morning 06/07/42 but see MK8352”.
Ref CX/MSS/1157/Para 4 MK8429 (pg 476)
8 Ju 88 were expected to arrive at Berca from Tripani by 04/07/42. 5 were for 2(F)./122 and 3 for Westa 26.
Ref CX/MSS/1168/T38 MK8532 (pg 36)
For protections of convoy (comment: probably Siena compare MK8501) 5 night fighters at Derna on 08/07/42, are to be used. (Compare MK8317 and MK8377)
Secondly, 6 JU 88 of (F)./122 will be sent to Africa at dawn on 09/07/42 (Comment: probably, almost certainly, also in connection with Siena convoy.)
From Andrew Arthy
In July 1942 the Allied Y-Service frequently heard aircraft of 1.(F)/122 and 2.(F)/122 on convoy escort operations, at Benghasi, Tatoi, Derna, Maleme, Eleusis and Tympakion. These movements greatly reduced the intensity of the unit’s reconnaissance cover.
On 19 July 1942, Major Herling, Benghazi, was instructed to report (a) How much fuel, bombs and ammunition for aircraft armament was required for one operation. (b) How many operations had been carried out since 1 July. This message was probably from Luftgaustab Ia.
26 Sep 1942 – Maj. Herling to Fighter Staffel Boeringer, Tobruk at 12.00 hrs Z 26 Sep 1942 -
Convoy has been discovered by British. Protect it with all forces until its arrival. Thereafter be at an emergency state of readiness to protect the harbour. Order the dusk rotte to take off.
Note – MSS/1442/T11,14 report operational orders for Fighter Staffel Boeringer on harbour protection duties at Tobruk.
26 Sep 1942 – Report from Maj. Herling to Antonius4 (AOC in C Süd) :-
Escort of Menes, Qualdi, Proserpina by 14 Bf 109, 2 of which were from Benghazi, and by 8 Bf 110 from 04.00 – 12.35 hrs Z. Convoy entered port without incident, 1 Bf 110 (of first wave) missing.
Fighter Schwarm Tobruk from 12.30 hrs Z (was at) immediate readiness for harbour protection.
1 Bf 109 twilight patrol over Benghazi.
2 Bf 110 from 11.30 hrs Z, search for missing Bf 110 in area of convoy without success.
2 Bf 110 at 15.15 hrs Z transfer to Sheresat for early morning escort of 7 A-lighters on 27 Sep 1942.
2 (?) Bf 110 at 15.30 hrs Z transfer to Tobruk-West for night fighting.
Comment – Menes and Qualdi due Tobruk 26th (see CX/MSS/ZTPI/17799/ (1436/6))
Prosperpina on passage to Tobruk 26th (see CX/MSS/ZTPGM/1074/ (1477/8))
A-Lighter convoy may be that composed of 5 German and 2 Italian expected to leave Tobruk for Matruh 26Sep. (see CX/MSS/ZTPGM/(1447/5) and CX/MSS/1448/T10)
07 Oct 1942 – according to arrangements made 15.30 hrs Z 07/10/1942, by GAF, Dandolo’s position 04.00 hrs Z 83237, 2355, passing through 3212, 2345 to Tobruk. Speed 8.5 knots. Convoy to have 2 bombers of Fliegerkorps X on anti-submarine patrol, and 4 Me 110 or 109 or GAF convoy force Afrika and Italian aircraft on escort. Alfredo to be escorted continuously by 3 aircraft. At 04.00 hrs Z 08/10/1942 she will be in Corinth Canal, arriving Piraeus 10.00 hrs Z 08/10/1942. Amsterdam convoy, escorted by two destroyers is to be at 04.00 hrs Z 08/10/1942 at 3842, 1905, passing through 3842, 1945 at 07.00 hrs Z. Air escort 8 JU 88 of Fliegerkorps II and 2 Me 110 of Fliegerkorps X. The first Me 110 rotte is to be sent direct from Fliegerkorps X area. The second rotte is to land Araxos first and relieve the first from there. Now known that 2 jamming aircraft of Fligerkorps X are to operate for Amsterdam convoy night 07-08/10/1942. Amsterdam left Naples on 05/10/1942.
07/10/1942 – Convoy escort by X Fliegerkorps on 07/10/1942 see QT3027 included: Dandolo, 6 of II./KG 100, 6 of II./KG 77, 8 of LG 1, 14 of III./ZG 26. At 14.00 hrs Z 8 four engined aircraft flew over convoy at 2000m and turned north. 8/10 cloud at this height.
Sestriere, 1 of II./KG 77, unknown number of I./KG 54, which landed at Catania. Pola 2 of II./KG 100.
Arsia, 4 Ar 196 of 2./125.
Citta di Savona, Volta, 2 Ar 196 of 2./125.
From 04.50 – 10.35 hrs Z 07/10/1942 air protection from Patras area was afforded convoy including Unione. Secondly Dora C sailed 1.5 hrs before schedule. Compare to QT3043.
08/10/1942 – Ju 88s of Fliegerkorps X escorting Dandolo on 08/10/1942 as in QT3006 are to land at Tobruk in order to escort Prosperpina, see QT 3021, during afternoon. To be oprated by Convoy Escort Force Afrika and to return to Crete in the evening.
Air anti-submarine escort to be provided all day 08/10/1942 from Brindisi for tanker Dora C (Number 647) and fighter protection from 4th Aerosquadra. From 09.00 hrs Z same day escort of 5 Ju 88 from Luftwaffenkommando Süd. Comment – Dora C is tanker 647 and is ship referred to in QT2750 and QT 2043.
Luftwaffe expect Proserpina to leave Tobruk at 11.00 hrs Z 08/10/1942, see QT3031. Escort by at least 2 Ju 88 until nightfall same day.
According to Luftwaffe late on 08/10/1942 Prosperina (See QT3080) sailed 2 hrs late. To be in approximate position 3408, 2315 E at 04.00 hrs Z 09/10/1942. Route in QT3047 otherwise unchanged. All-night escort with three bombers and two Me 110.
20 Oct1942 Kdo Herling mentioned in T1022 R2496 KTB Seetransportstellen N. Afrika. Message from Chef der Seetransportstellen Nord Afrika referencing local fleet day order Nr 6272 of 17.10.1942 and requesting Kommando Herling’s opinion and response.
24 Oct 1942 – Maj. Herling asks regarding order Nr. 2243/11 from 21.10.1942 since orders from Oberbefehlshaber Süd often make timely insertion impossible due to long running times.
25 Oct 1942 – Order Nr 6575/42 from Chef der Seetransportstellen Nord Afrika to Maj. Herling “For 26.10.1942 increased fighter protection for tanker "Proserpina" extremely important.
Per e-mail from Larry deZeng 11/01/2020
CX/MXX/1449/T9 QT2284, 2287 HW5/137 25-28 Sep 1942
T1022 R2496 frame 0031
T1022 R2496 frame 0037
T 1022 R2496 frame 0041