Seenotstaffel 20

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Seenotstaffel 20

(Unit Code: J9+)

Formation. (Aug – Oct 44)

Ordered formed 19 August 1944 at Udine in NE Italy as part of the reorganization of the Seenotdienst. Assigned to Seenotgruppe 20, which was ordered formed the same date using Seenotdienst assets already in northern Italy, the Staffel replaced 6. Seenotstaffel which left Italy to be disbanded. Seenotstaffel 20 was organized from its inception as an air-sea rescue search Staffel and was initially equipped with Fw 190s, 4 of these being on hand when it became operational on 20 October. There were no seaplanes of any sort. The Staffel’s mission was to spot downed air crew and naval personnel from ships that had sunk and then direct rescue boats to those to be picked up. The Fw 190s also flew maritime reconnaissance over the Gulf of Venice and the northern Adriatic to be on the lookout for any Allied amphibious forces intending to stage a landing in the area.[1]

Northeast Italy. (Aug 44 - Apr 45)

18 Nov 44: approximately 7 of the Staffel’s Fw 190s damaged during a heavy Allied raid on Udine-Campoformido.[2]

31 Dec 44: Udine-Campoformido with 6(4) Fw 190 A-8s on strength.[3]

1 Feb 45: ordered disbanded by OKL and all Fw 190s turned over to Nahaufklärungsgruppe 11 in Italy, but this was not immediately carried out.[4]

16 Feb 45: Fw 190 A-8 shot down into the Gulf of Trieste 12 kilometers south of Grado by a P-51 Mustang after the Focke-Wulf had attacked and claimed a U.S. 4-engine straggler returning from a 15th AAF mission to South Germany and Austria, 100%, Staffelkapitän Oblt. Heinz Langer MIA.

Apr 45: by April the disbanding of the Staffel had either been completed or it was carried out in April. What aircraft remained were destroyed and all German forces in Italy surrendered to the Allies on 29 April 1945.[5]

FpN:(L 60449)


Oblt. Heinz Langer (c. Aug 44 - 16 Feb 45) MIA

© H.L. deZeng IV, 2024


  1. Dierich-VdL:283-97; AFHRA Maxwell: decimal K113 Karlsruhe Collection, unpublished manuscript “Geschichte d. Seenotdienst 1939-45”; H.Haeger (Maj.,a.D.)-“Der Seenotdienst Italien, November 1943 bis Mai 1945” in K113 Karlsruhe Collection; N.Beale/F.D’Amico/G.Valentin-Air War Italy, 1944-45: The Axis Air Forces from the Liberation of Rome to the Surrender:107-08, 118.
  2. N.Beale et al-op cit:126.
  3. N.Beale et al-op cit:141.
  4. N.Beale et al-op cit:152.
  5. H.Haeger-op cit.

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