Formed about January 1939 at Berlin-Tempelhof from the commander and staff officers of the former Fliegerstaffel z.b.V., a high-altitude photo reconnaissance unit established in 1935 for clandestine flights over neighboring countries. Operating directly under the Commander-in-Chief and Headquarters of the Luftwaffe, the Stab was responsible for carrying out high-altitude photo reconnaissance for the production of target maps used by the Luftwaffe to plan and conduct war. The missions were disguised as commercial or research flights and executed in great secrecy prior to the war, and likewise after the war began in the case of neutral or allied countries. The Stab also directed the testing of new aerial photography equipment and the operational evaluation of specially modified high-altitude aircraft. After the war began on 1 September 1939, the Gruppe’s main effort was over the West and Great Britain to autumn 1940, and then over the Soviet Union. The Stab moved from Berlin-Tempelhof to Werder/Havel southwest of Berlin by 1 September 1939, to Fritzlar/Hesse in December 1939 and then briefly to Stavanger-Sola/Norway during the second half of April 1940. Following the occupation of France, the Stab transferred to Paris-Orly for a few months before returning to Berlin in October or November 1940. The Stab gradually lost its operational significance after the individual Staffeln were assigned to the various Luftflotten in June 1941, and on 27 January 1943 it was renamed Stab/Versuchsverband Ob.d.L.
Oberst Theodor Rowehl (Jan 39 - Jan 43)
SCHNEIDER, Ernst-Karl, Lt./Oblt.
© H.L. deZeng IV, 2022
- T.Rowehl-“Chronik der Aufklaerungsgruppe des Ob.d.L.”, unpublished and undated manuscript, 28p., Karlsruhe Collection/MGFA Freiburg, Lw 108/16; G.Thomas and B.Ketley – KG 200: The Luftwaffe’s Most Secret Unit (Hikoki Pub. Ltd, 2003); Lächler, Hans, “Da staunten die ‘Spitfire’-Piloten” (Ju 86R with Aufkl.Gr. Ob.d.L., 14./KG 6 and 2.(F)/123), Flugzeug, 4/1989: 14-18.