Kdo. Kunkel

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Sonderkommando Kunkel

Unit Code 4C

also as: Kommando Kunkel

Kommando Hptm. Kunkel


Commanded by Hptm Fritz Kunkel.

Formation and History. (Nov 43 - Jun 44)

Formed early November 1943 (new) at Bordeaux-Merignac in SW France for operations under Fliegerführer Atlantik with Ju 88s and Ju 188s and possibly one or two Bf 110s. The formal orders issued by Ob.d.L. in Berlin directing its formation followed later on 15 January 1944. Its commander from formation to disbandment was Hptm. Fritz Kunkel.[1]

Western France - Maritime Air Defence. (Nov 43 - Jun 44)

12 Nov 43: its first operational mission was flown this date.

Dec 43: at Bordeaux-Merignac with 3 or 4 Ju 88/188s - the Kommando’s mission was to operate over U-boats entering and leaving the Bay of Biscay while listening in on known British ASV radar frequencies. When a transmission was intercepted, an attempt was made to obtain a directional fix and then intercept and shoot down the enemy aircraft. The Ju 88Cs were outfitted with FuG 202 Lichtenstein and FuG 227 Flensburg airborne interception radar for operations against Allied aircraft operating over the Bay of Biscay at night, particularly minelaying aircraft.

20 Dec 43: at Bordeaux under Fliegerführer Atlantik with 7(2) Ju 88s.

24 Dec 43: flew night cover over the Osorno with a single Ju 88 as the blockade breaker made its way across the Bay of Biscay to Bordeaux. The ship was en-route from the Pacific with a load of desperately needed raw rubber and tungsten.

20 Mar 44: unit reported 6(2) Ju 88/188s on strength under Fliegerführer Atlantik/Luftflotte 3.

4 May 44: Kommando Hptm.Kunkel claimed a victory this date at 0058 hours, evidently over the Bay of Biscay, and is apparently one of the few claimed by the unit. Apparently, the claim was not confirmed.

27 May 44: this is the date of the Sonderkommando’s only known and confirmed victory. Its lack of success was mainly due to insufficient air-intercept radar aboard its Ju 88s.

26 Jun 44: disbanded - a PoW’s Soldbuch (Pay Book) states that he was assigned to Sonderkdo. Kunkel on 15 May 1944 from Geschwaderstab/KG 40 and served with it until 26 June, at which time he was reassigned to 9.(Nacht)/ZG 1 at Nantes.


© by Henry L. deZeng IV (Work in Progress). (1st Draft 2023)

Additional Notes and Losses

Operations

This unit used Ju 88C-6 and R-2 aircraft - equipped with FuG 202 Lichtenstein and FuG 227 Flensberg airborne interception radar against allied aircraft operating over the Bay of Biscay during the night.

The main targets were RAF minelaying aircraft and those Coastal Command aircraft hunting U-Boats in the Bay of Biscay.

Crews for this Sonderkommando were drawn from I and III/ ZG 1. Lt.Arthur Ewert and Ofw Kurt Gäbler were among the personnel seconded to this unit.

12 Nov 1943 - Operations commenced some time before the unit was officially formed. Initially based at Bordeaux. Kunkel flew a number of sorties to the area northwest of Cape Ortegal.

20 Dec 1943 - the unit reported that it had 7 Ju 88s on strength of which 2 were servicable. The only crew available was that commanded by Fritz Kunkel.

2 Jan 1944 - First night mission in support of the U-Boats took place.

Crews for this Sonderkommando were drawn from I and III/ ZG 1. Lt.Arthur Ewert and Ofw Kurt Gäbler were among the personnel seconded to this unit.

Feb - Mar 1944 - limited additional sorties over the Bay of Biscay.

7 Feb 1944 - Unit moved to Nantes.

20 Feb 1944 - under the control of Stab/KG.40.

20 Mar 1944 – Order of Battle – Lufflotte 3 strength of the unit was given as strength 6 servicable 2 – Ju88. (See pg 324 The Blitz Then and Now V3)

20-30 Mar 1944 - Sorties over the Bay of Biscay.

10 Apr 1944 - under the control of Stab X. Fliegerkorps.

2 May 1944 - Lt Ewert recorded the unit's first success when he destroyed a Halifax over Toulouse.

4 May 1944 - Lt Ewert recorded a further success when he shot down a Short Stirling south or Paris. Ewert's two "kills" so far from the Bay of Biscay suggest that this unit was called upon to operate as a standard nightfighter unit on some occassions should the circumstances dictate this.

27 May 1944 - Hptm.Kunkel recorded a successful interception over the Bay of Biscay.

30 May 1944 - the unit was redesignated 9.(Nacht)/ZG 1 and formed the third staffel of III./ ZG 1.

References

Bloody Biscay - Chris Goss - Pub. Crecy 1997

Sea Eagles -Chris Goss - Classic

Luftwaffe im Focus 15 - p22-23

  1. S.Neitzel - Der Einsatz der deutschen Luftwaffe über dem Atlantik und der Nordsee 1939-1945 (Bonn, 1995), pp.178-80 and 217; C.Goss - Bloody Biscay: The History of V Gruppe/Kampfgeschwader 40 (Guildford (Surrey), 1997), p.150; W.G.Ramsey (ed.) - The Blitz, Then And Now, 3 volumes London, 1988-90), vol. 3, p.324; B.Rosch - Luftwaffe Codes, Markings & Units 1939-1945 (Atglen (PA), 1995), pp.72 and 278; AFHRA Maxwell: decimal 512.619 British AirMin P/W interrogations, ADI(K) series, microfilm rolls A5400-05, interrogations ADI(K) 38/44 and ADI(K) 509/44; BA-MA Freiburg: Luftwaffen-Personalamt L.P.(A)5(V) (OKL Chef für Ausz. und Disziplin) – “Claims Logs”.

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