Kdo. Junck

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Sonderkommando Junck'

This unit was used to project Luftwaffe and then German force in support of an Iraqi rebellion against the British. The hope was that this would cause the withdrawal of some of the British forces in North Africa.


6 May 1941 - Junck appointed commander of FliegerFuhrer Irak.The Transport chief was Major Pinagel.

Hauptmann Schwanhaeusser lead the He 111s of 4./KG 4,while the Me 110 Staffel was under Oblt. Hobein (Staka 4./ZG 76).

Junk had a meeting at OKW-Abwehr and another at the Foreign Office (Ambassador Ritter). Major v. Blomberg had sent Hptm. Darjes to Baghdad as an advance party. Hptm. Darjes had left for Baghdad on this day accompanied by the envoy Drr. Grobba.[1]

7 May 1941 – Major v. Blomberg was to leave as advance command as Oberst Junk had been ordered back to hand over his current command (Jafü 3), he departed for Deauville that afternoon arriving there in the evening.[2]

ZG 76 assigned instead of ZG26 due to the range of the units aircraft.

Proposal that Major Hentschel is to join the staff as Ia.,Stabsingenieur Hertle as I.T, this is to be confirmed the following day.[3]

8 May 1941 – Oberst Junk handed over Jafü 3 to Oberstleutnant Galland, then departed late morning for Paris for a meeting with Feldmarschall Sperle.

Confirmation given of Major Hentschel and Stabsingenieur Hertle’s assignment to Sonderkommando Junk[4]

Major v. Blomberg, Oblt.Dr.Pawelke and Sonderführer Prof.Dr.Kriickmann (Abwehr I Luft) took off from Staaken airfield. Major von Blomberg (with Oblt. Dr. Pawelke as support officer) had the following assignment from the command staff: to assess the military and political situation in Iraq, report on the effects of the "heroic gesture" of Sonderkommando Junck, assesment of the airfields suitable for the deployment of German units, make preliminary conclusions on further assistance.[5]

Stab Major Hentschel flew to Berlin-Staaken via Münster in a W.34. Stabsing. Hertle was ordered back from an official trip to Berlin. In the evening, Oberst Junck arrived in Berlin after a stopover in Münster.[6]

9 May 1941 - Oberst Junck arranged for orders for his Staff, in addition the assignment of a Transport unit was requested.

At 11.45 hrs Major Hentschel arrived at Staaken.

A briefing on the situation took place, given by Major Friedrich, a discussion also took place with the Genst.2.Abt., Colonel Erdmann and Major Hoffmann.

Dr. Henke and Reg. Insp. Voigt reported for transfer to Sonderkommando Junck. Major v. Blomberg and Oblt. Dr. Pawelke arrived at Athens-Tatoi in the morning. They met with Major i.G. Schemell, the Luftflotte 4’s liaison officer in Athens, who would be in charge of arranging supplies for Sonderkommando Junk.[7]

Arrival of a kette of Me 110s led by Lt. Wörner and a He 111 commanded by Oblt.Knemeyer. The He 111 served as passenger machine, with the Zerstörer as escort. Unfortunately, due to defective auxiliary tanks the Me 110s could not make the whole journey; the He 111 therefore continued alone until Mosul.

A laboratory Ju 52 and another with lead for petrol refinement also arrived in Athens-Tatoi ( Stabsingenieur Giessmann). These two aircraft were instructed to fly to Mosul as quickly as possible.

At this stage there was no news from Köthen regarding the Ju 52 assigned for use by the Nachrichten section.

A meeting took place between Oberst Junck and Major Hentschel - Rapid intervention in Iraq by Luftwaffe was necessary. A draft deployment order was presented. Oberst Junck instructed on deployment, transport and arrival. Clothing was to be the Tropical uniform without insignia until a decision was made by the Führer. Aircraft were required for staff. The intention was for Oberst Junck to leave as soon as possible. Major Hentschel was to implement formation, transport and supply arrangements.[8]

10 May 1941 – Aircraft of Kommando Junck flew to Bagdad via the following route – Athens-Rhodes-Aleppo-Damascus-Mossul-Bagdad.

The Nachrichten.-Ju (Lt.Huber) was lost en route from Belgrade to Saloniki, the last radio message was a "Pan" in the area of Monastir. The Chef N.V.W.issued instructions that a further Nachrichten Ju 52 (Lt. Wochinger) from Köthen was to be made available to Sonderkommando Junck. Major Sittig (Nachrichtenführer) was en route from Athens to Rhodes.[9]

3 Ju 90s with material, equipment and bombs were en route.

A meeting took place with Hptm. Rother, Stabsing. Hertle, Dr. Henke and Reg. Insp. Voigt on the implementation of the deployment, transport, replenishment and supply of resources. A discussion was held with Luftwaffenkommando Mitte and Luftgau Kdo. III on the implementation of the deployment of Stab Junck and the Transport Staffel.[10]

Major Hentschel ordered an additional 10 Ju 52s, as the Ju 90s were considered insufficient to support Sonderkommando Junck. 10 Nuremberg based Ju's were made available. It was realised that even this number would prove to be insufficient.[11]

Major v. Blomberg, Oblt. Pawelke and special instructor Prof. Dr. Krückmann arrived at Rhodes-Gadurra.[12]

Major Hentschel and Amtsrat Richter (L.D.2 ) discussed the provision of funds. 20,000 dollars were made available for immediate transport; 250,000 RM in dollars were promised.[13]

A request was made two days previously for the supply of a 2cm. Flak battery as ground protection during the invasion of Iraq but this was rejected by the Chef.d.Genst.[14]

A Ju.52 aircraft was scheduled to depart at noon on 11 May for Oberst Junck, since the He 111 aircraft for the HQ staff did not yet have a full crew.[15]

11 May 1941 - Oberst Junck was to depart at noon and fly to Rhodes as quickly as possible. Junck was informed that parts of the command had already been sent forward by Maj. Schemell (Luftflotte 4) on orders of Ic Ob.d.L.[16]

First He 111s reach Rhodes. One He-111 was fired on by Arab tribesmen as it approached

Baghdad airport, killing Major Axel von Blomberg, the Luftwaffe liaison officer to Rashid Ali.[17]

12 May 1941 – British reconnaissance aircraft discovered several german aircraft in Iraq.[18]

Ju 90 (GF+GA) with an 800 watt U-Boat radio and generator arrived in Damascus and the equipment was transferred to Bagdad by rail.[19]

13 May 1941 - Palmyra was used as airbase in Syria.

14 May 1941 - Ju 90 (GF+GE) located at Mosul.[20]

Between 14 and 27 May three SM 82 of the Italian 1490 Gruppo flew 18 sorties and flew in 25 men and 18 tons of weapons and ammunition. Due to the fuel situation at Mosul most flights were made to Kirkuk.[21]

15 May 1941 - first Luftwaffe deployment over Iraq, a desert patrol along Syrian-Iraq border. Three He 111s and three Me 110s transferred to Mossul. First recce sorties flown from Mossul on this day. Obst. Junck arrived in Mossul together with Oblt. Pawelko. Pawelko was a reserve officer who had previously been the legation secretary in Bagdad and was at that point the only Iraq expert available to the German military.

16 May 1941 - Three He 111s launch air attack on Habbaniya airfield. Following this six Me 110s conduct a low level attack on the RAF airfield.

Following this another strafing attack was made on a secondary airfield near Falluja. In response the RAF bombed Baghdad Airfield which was under Iraqi control. One of the Me 110s was shot down, while another made a forced landing. Junck moved a number of his aircraft into Mossul and Kirkuk.

Ju 52 (CF+IB) arrived in Mosul, carrying Oblt. Wochinger and radio communications equipment, where it was unloaded by Iraqi troops.[22]

17 May 1941 - Bf 110 of Zerst.st/Sonderkommando Junk was lost following combat the crew (Fw August Offermann and Uffz Hans Fischer) were both killed.[23]

18 May 1941 - Four Me 110s from Mosul launched strafing attacks against Habforce. These were assisted by Italian planes based at Mosul. RAF again bomb Baghdad. Only one Me 110 of the four available is still operational by the end of the day.

20 May 1941 - Habbaniya was again attacked by He 111s. The RAF encountered four Me 110s in an air battle over Falluja. The Germans claimed that they shot down a Blenheim and a Gladiator. The RAF bombed Iraqi Airforce HQ at Hinaidi. An Me 110 that made a forced landing there is destroyed on the ground.

Ju 90 (GF+GA) flew into Mosul carrying 72 SC 50 bombs.[24]

22 May 1941 – The Germans launched air attacks on the British Army columns advancing from Habbaniya. Two Me 110s and one He 111 were then lost on these operations that were attempting to halt the British advance.

He 111 of Kampstaffel/Sonderkommando Junk destroyed at Mosul during a British air raid.[25]

23 May 1941 - Falluja air battle. Two Gladiators shot down. However, RAF Hurricanes defended Habbaniya from attacks by three He 111s and subsequently two of these aircraft were lost. In addition, effectively 4./ZG 76 at Kirkuk had no more operational aircraft, there were only two under repair.

25 May 1941 - A Bf 110E (W.Nr. 4035) of Zerst.st/Sonderkommando Junk crashlanded.[26]

26 May 1941 - RAF bomb Baghdad. One He 111 attacked Habbaniya again. Wellington bombers took part in strikes at Mosul and knocked out the last remaining He 111 there.

12 Fiat Cr 42 fighters of 1550 Squadriglia, commanded by Capitano Francesco Sforza, arrived in Mosul.[27]

27 May 1941 - Junck counselled German officials flown in (Major Hansen OKH,Major Arnold Abwehr) about the situation. A decision was then made to withdraw from Iraq.

28 May 1941 - German Counsel in Baghdad tells Iraqis they will pull out the next day.

11 remaining CR 42s of 1550 Squadriglia moved to Kirkuk.[28]

29 May 1941 - remaining force of 5 Me 110s, 2 He 111s and 6 Ju 52s flew out via Syria towards their final destination of Rhodes. Up to this time the Luftwaffe units had flown six bombing operations to Habbaniya as well as seven recce sorties to the same target.

First of the two combat sorties attempted by 1550 Squadriglia, made by three CR 42s.[29]

30 May 1941 - last German elements leave Baghdad and the Italians pull out of Mosul the following day.

Final sortie made by 1550 Squadriglia, six machines attacked British troops near Bagdad.[30]

31 May 1941 - Ju 52 (4V+IN W. Nr. 6760), operated by Transportstaffel Rother, was lost on a flight between Aleppo and Rhodes. Uffz. Fritz Zarse and his crew (Fw Wilhelm Kleinekathöfer (BM), Uffz Arthur Skrandies (BF) and Gefr Max Strus (BS)[31]), together with three men from Kdo. Junk's Ln. Funktrupp were reported missing.[32]

The remaining Italian airplanes (7 CR.42, 1 S.79 and 1 S.81) returned to Aleppo. There a S.79 was destroyed by a British bombing before its return to Italy; no Italian airplanes were left in Syria.[33]

10 Jun 1941 – The last personnel from Kdo.Junck evacuated overland to Syria.[34]

16 Jun 1941 -“ The last operational German plane in the Levante was a Ju 52/3m operated by Transportstaffel Rother (1Z+FN, tail code “6”) on this day the aircraft returned to its homebase of Braunschweig-Waggum.[35]

21 Jun 1941 - 1Z+FN returned to Athens-Tatoi.[36]

29 Jun 1941 -“ 1Z+FN flew to Aleppo.[37]

30 Jun 1941 -“ 1Z+FN returned from Aleppo to Athens-Tatoi with a number of wounded Arab soldiers. This plane remained at Tatoi until 11 July 1941.[38]

Fliegerführer Irak consisted of:

4./ZG 76 with 12 Bf110Cs led by Oberlt. Hobein

1 kette from ZG 26 with 2 Bf110s led by Lt. Wörner

4./KG 4 with 7 He 111H-6s led by Hptm. Schwanhäuser

1./K.G. z.b.v. 106 with 20 Ju 52s led by Major Pinagel

1 kette of 3 Junkers Ju 90B (Lufthansa) - - W.Nr. 0003 (GF+GA "Baden" - Hptm Hans von Goessel)[39], 0005 (GF+GE "Preussen" - Hptm. Albert Gerstenkorn)[40] and 0009 (BJ+OV "Thüringen" - Hptm Albrecht Klitzsch)[41].

1 Flak Battery 20mm guns

Known Personnel[42]

Oberst der Lw. Werner Junck

Ia - Major Hentschel

Ic - Hptm. Roser

Hptm Hans von Goessel[43]

Hptm. Albert Gerstenkorn[44]

Hptm Albrecht Klitzsch[45]

Oblt. Pawelko

Maj Pinagel

Maj. Sittig (Transport officer)[46]

Hptm Schwanhäuser

Lt. Wörner

Oblt. Pawelke (F)

Oblt. Knemeyer (F)

Oblt. Hobein, (F)

Oblt. Holbeinstand (F)

Oblt. Reinhard Graubner (F)

Oblt. Wochinger[47]

Fw. Prinz

Uffz. Guretzki

Ofw. Thomas (F)

Oblt. Daller (F)

Ltn. Wolf (F) (remained in Athens),

Ltn. Weisse (F) (remained in Palmyra)

Ofw. Willi Leonhardt (F)

Fw. Hans Borcher (F) +17.05.41,

Fw. Oskar Steinbrück (F)

Fw. Regelien (Bf) - GF+GE[48]

Fw. Schade (Bm) - GF+GE[49]

Uffz. Hans Maier (F)

Uffz. Lothar Seiler (F)

Uffz. Heina (Bm) - GF+GE[50]


  1. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  2. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  3. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  4. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  5. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  6. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  7. BA/MA RL 30/9
  8. BA/MA RL 30/9
  9. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  10. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  11. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  12. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  13. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  14. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  15. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  16. BA/MA RL 30/9.
  17. http://uncleted.jinak.cz/pdf/AeroNotes5.pdf
  18. http://uncleted.jinak.cz/pdf/AeroNotes5.pdf
  19. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 25
  20. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 26
  21. Jet and Prop 1991-4 page 42
  22. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 34
  23. TOCH posting by Eduardo 2 Aug 2006
  24. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 25
  25. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 42
  26. TOCH posting by Eduardo 2 Aug 2006
  27. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 42
  28. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 42
  29. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 42
  30. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 42
  31. TOCH posting by Eduardo 2 Aug 2006
  32. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 26
  33. Axis History Forum posting by DrG 20 Apr 2004
  34. http://uncleted.jinak.cz/pdf/AeroNotes5.pdf
  35. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 42
  36. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 42
  37. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 42
  38. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 42
  39. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 25 and Die Großen Dessauer p 230
  40. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 25 and Die Großen Dessauer p 230
  41. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 25 and Die Großen Dessauer p 230
  42. Posting by Byron to http://www.afrika-korps.co.uk/forum/index.php 26/4/2007
  43. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 25
  44. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 25
  45. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 25
  46. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 25
  47. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 34
  48. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 26
  49. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 26
  50. Jet and Prop 1991-3 page 26

Axis History Forum posting by Peter H on 01 Dec 2007 16:08 (According to Kurowski)

Axis History Forum posting by Peter H on 02 Dec 2007 04:00 (Further post)

Morzik, Fritz – German AirForce Airlift Operations.

Kossler, Karl and Ott, Gunther – Die grossen Dessauer.

Felmy, Helmuth General d. Flieger (Rtd) – The German Airforce in the Mediterranean Theatre of War.

Jet and Prop 1991 - 03 - article by Günter Ott.


The Iraq Coup of 1941, The Mufti and the Farhud