(Unit Code 2Q+)
Formation and Background. (April 1942)
Ordered formed on or about 19 April 1942, probably in Germany (ex-Gruppenf1iegerstab 32). The Stabskompanie and the Ln.-Betriebskompanie were formed at approximately the same time from various assets. According to Luftwaffe aircraft allocation records, Stab/NAGr. 15 had no first-line aircraft issued to it until a single Fw 189 A-2 was received in April 1944. This was turned over to another unit in May leaving the Stab once again with no aircraft of its own. In August and September 1944 it took delivery of a couple of Bf 110Gs but these were handed over to other units before the end of September.
Staffeln (Aufklärungsstaffeln known to have been subordinated to NAGr. 15 with the approximate dates):
1.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 11 (from 3/43, 5/43, 7/43, prob. to 10/43); NASt. 11./11 (11/43 to 7/44); 1.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 12 (6/42, 2/43); NASt. 11./12 (from 3/43 to c.12/44); NASt. 12./12 (from c.1/44 to c.8/44); 2.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 13 (5/42 to 11/42); NASt. 12./13 (11/42 to 9/43, 6/44 to 5/45); 6.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 32 (5/42 to c.1/43); 1./NAGr. 4 (12/43 to 1/44 6/44 to 7/44); 3./NAGr. 4 (10/44 to 12/44); 1./NAGr. 15; 2./NAGr. 15.
[Note: unless otherwise stated, the aircraft losses noted below are those of the independently designated Aufklärungsstaffeln that were subordinated to NAGr. 15 at the time of the loss.]
Central Russia. (May 1942 - June 1943)
May 1942: As noted below, the Stab did not leave (Germany?) for Orel until the first half of June.
13 June 1942: 2 Fw 189s that probably belonged to one of the Staffeln assigned to NAGr. 15 were damaged during a Russian air attack on Orel airfield, 100% and 30%.
14 June 1942: according to documents, the Stab arrived at Orel-West this date and was assigned to support Pz.AOK 2 (2d Panzer Army) with 1.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 12 (to support LIII. Armeekorps), 2.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 13 (to support XXXXVII. Panzerkorps) and 6.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 32 (to support XXXV. Armeekorps).
28 June 1942: while 2d Army and 4th Panzer Army drove forward from the Kursk area toward Voronezh and the Don River on the first day of the German summer 1942 campaign (Operation “Blau”), 2d Panzer Army with NAGr. 15 anchored the left flank at Orel and did not participate in the advance. It covered a front ranging from Kirov/90 km north of Bryansk to a point about 75 km south of Orel and retained its static defensive role until it left Russia for Yugoslavia in September 1943. Its front moved to the east and back during that period by its north-south axis remained more or less the same. NAGr. 15 flew daily tactical recce missions along that from to keep watch for enemy build-ups among other things.
1 August 1942: 2 men from Ln.-Betr.Kp./NAGr. 15 WIA during Russian air raid near Bryansk.
12 September 1942: photographed the Belev – Mtsensk area NE of Orel.
21 December 1942: Stab at Orel according to Pz.AOK 2 documents.
31 December 1942: still in support of 2d Panzer Army with 1.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 12, 6.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 32 and NASt. 12./13.
27 January 1943: Stab still at Orel-West under 1. Fliegerdivision with two assigned Staffeln - flew frequent bombing missions as well as reconnaissance missions, according to the “Luftlage” (air situation) section of the Pz.AOK 2 daily reports.
11 March 1943: Stab still at Orel.
3 May 1943: Orel.
29 May 1943: Stab now identified at Bryansk under 1. Fliegerdivision.
2 June 1943: flew photo recce in the Orel area.
10 June 1943: Fi 156 assigned to the Stab crash landed at Seredina-Buda/120 km south of Bryansk, 40%, pilot injured.
June 1943: a series of Bf 109G loss report entries during June and July are listed below that are most puzzling since NAGr. 15 had no aircraft of this type assigned to it, at least so far as is known, and they all occurred in the Mediterranean theater far from where NAGr. 15 was operating at the time. A clerical or typographical error in the loss reports? This is doubtful due to the number of entries involved over a two-week period, all made by different people. Furthermore, the entries were never corrected in subsequent loss reports as was the practice. It is believed that these losses belong to 4.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 12, which was based at Decimomannu/Sardinia with Bf 109Gs at the time. Evidently, plans had been formulated to rename all or part of 4.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 12 as 1./NAGr. 15 but then canceled several weeks later before they could be put into effect. In any event, NAGr. 15 was at Orel at this time and not in the Mediterranean theater.
18 June 1943: photo recce of the Belev area.
20-21 June 1943: 4 Bf 109 G-4 crashes at Decimomannu and Monserrato airfields, both located on Sardinia.
25 June 1943: Bf 109 G-4 failed to return from a reconnaissance mission - no details, 100%, pilot MIA.
27 June 1943: Bf 109 G-6 force landed south of Djidjelli/Algeria due to engine trouble, 100%, pilot MIA.
28 June 1943: Bf 109 G-6 destroyed during Allied bombing at Decimomannu, 100%.
2 July 1943: Fw 189A-3 shot up by fighters east of Mtsensk,50%, 3 WIA.
5 July 1943: Bf 109 G-4 FTR from a mission in the Mediterranean area, 100%, pilot MIA.
Central Russia. (July 1943 - June 1944)
5 July 1943: Operation “Zitadelle”, a million-man German offensive against the Kursk salient held by 2.5 million Russian troops, began with Pz.AOK 2 and NAGr. 15 heavily engaged from around Orel. The struggle raged for a month before the Soviets drove the Germans back toward Minsk. Pz.AOK 2 was smashed and its headquarters elements were pulled out in September.
8 July 1943: flew photo recce coverage of the Kirov area.
10 July 1943: NAGr. 15 reported a total of 30(20) Fw 189s on strength.
10 July 1943: Fw 189 A-l force landed at Insterburg/East Prussia, 90%, 1 injured. Aircraft was probably on a ferry flight.
15 July 1943: NAGr. 15 in support of 2d Panzer Army with 1.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 11, NASt. 11./12 and NASt. 12./13.
18 July 1943: Fw 189 shot up west of Bolkhov (53 km north or Orel), 2 WIA.
18 July 1943: Fw 189 A-3 belly landed at Kusnetsy airfield/12 km south-south-west of Orel, 25%.
24 July 1943: Fw 189 A-3 rammed by an enemy aircraft and crashed in Pl.Qu.5348 (30-40 km west of Orel), 100%, Oblt. Georg Behmer (observer) + 2 KIA.
29 July 1943: pilot WIA by ground fire south-west of Kusayevka (not located).
31 July 1943: Fw 189 A-2 (marked “TH”) FTR from a mission south-west of Bolkhov, 100%, Oblt. Rudolf Heinrich + 2 MIA.
31 July 1943: Fw 189 A-2 shot down by a fighter north of Polyana, 100%, Oblt. Otto Henzler + 1 KIA and 1 WIA.
1 August 1943: by this date the Stab had departed Orel but its next base has remained elusive. Orel was taken by the advancing Russians 4-5 August.
1 August 1943: photographed the Zhizdra area/48 km NNE of Bryansk.
20 August 1943: Fw 189 A-1 shot up and belly landed at Titovka airstrip, 15%. This field strip has not been identified but obviously lies along the route of retreat between Orel and Bryansk toward Mogilev and Bobruisk.
23 August 1943: Fw 189 damaged undercarriage at Titovka airstrip, 20%.
2 September 1943: Fw 189 A-2 damaged taking off from Titovka, 15%.
3 September 1943: Fw 189 crashed at Kirovograd in Ukraine due to engine failure, 35%.
13 September 1943: flew photo recce over the Bryansk area.
14 September 1943: Fw 189 A-2 shot down by AA-fire over Bytosh’/67 km north of Bryansk, 100%, 1 KIA and 1 WIA.
15 September 1943: Stab moved to Mogilev during the second half of September, but the exact date is not known. The front stabilized and held just east of Mogilev and ran from Vitebsk south to Zhlobin. Static defensive warfare prevailed until June 1944.
16 September 1943: Fw 189 A-2 (2Q+WB) force landed and initially declared missing, 100%, but crew later returned on foot.
22 September 1943: Fw 189 A-2 shot down by a fighter near Anecha (not located), 100%, 2 KIA.
26 September 1943: Fw 189 A-2 shot down by a fighter in Pl.Qu.1588 (north-east of Mogilev), 100%, 1 KIA and 2 WIA.
29 September 1943: NAGr 15 now in support of 9th Army following the transfer of 2d Panzer Army to Yugoslavia.
1 October 1943: 3 Fw 189As damaged in enemy raid on Mogilev airfield (65%, 60% and 30%) and 1 Fi 156 (65%).
25.10.43: Fw 189 A-2 crash landed at Kozinki/128 km south of Bobruisk near Mozyr due to engine failure, 60%.
16 November 1943: 2 crew members WIA by ground fire at Neu-Amur (not located).
18 November 1943: observer (navigator) WIA by infantry fire in Pl.Qu.1338 (a few kilometers east of Gomel).
21 November 1943: Oblt. Fritz Oldenburg + 1 WIA by infantry fire south of Zhlobin (61 km south-east of Bobruisk).
4 December 1943: crew member WIA by ground fire near Star.Bykhov/42 km south of Mogilev.
14 December 1943: crew member WIA by infantry fire south of Parichi/ 39 km south of Bobruisk.
December 1943: Stab/NAGr. 15 at Mogilev and subordinated 1./NAGr. 4, NASt. 11./11 and NASt. 11./12.
8 January 1944: flew photo recce over the Gomel area.
9 February 1944: photographed the Mozyr area/120 km WSW of Gomel.
2 March 1944: Stab still at Mogilev.
March – June 1944: Stab now at Bobruisk, having moved from Mogilev during March.
11 May 1944: photographed the Mozyr area.
10 June 1944: flew photo coverage of the Rogachev area/54 km E of Bobruisk.
Poland and Germany. (June 1944 - May 1945)
28 June 1944: Stab at Baranowicze/eastern Poland and had probably just arrived after evacuating Bobruisk as Soviet forces pushed forward in that direction as part of the massive summer offensive in Belorussia that began on 22 June (Operation “Bagration”). The Gruppe was in support of 2d and 9th Armies and subordinated to 1. Fliegerdivision with 1./NAGr. 4, NASt. 11./11, NASt. 11./12, NASt. 12./12 and NASt. 12./13. The Stab was to move to Brest-Litovsk/North, but it is not known whether this occurred, although at least one source states that the move was made on 1 July and it remained at Brest-Litovsk/North until 8 July when it transferred to Zamość-Dub (to 22 July).
c.25 July 1944: Stab/NAGr. 15 now at Radom-Piastow/south of Warsaw.
August 1944: more uncertainty as to location - some sources have the Stab going directly to Nagłowice/70 km north of Kraków in August, while others place it at Rakowice near Giezno/45 km east-north-east of Posen (Poznań) in north Poland in support of 4th Panzer Army at various times from October 1944 to January 1945. Perhaps it used both locations. In any event, the Soviet summer offensive had run its course and the front in Poland stabilized along the Vistula and held until 12 January 1945.
29 November 1944: NAGr. 15 at Naglowice under VIII. Fliegerkorps with 23(14) Bf 109Gs and Fw 189s on strength.
10 January 1945: NAGr. 15 reported a total of 20(13) Bf 109Gs and Fw 189s on strength.
12-13 January 1945: the Russians commenced their winter offensive and within two weeks drove the German forces in Poland back to the Oder and into Silesia. The Gruppe was mainly in support of 17th Army (Gen. Schulz) and later 1st Panzer Army (Gen. Heinrici and then Gen. Nehring) to the end of the war.
4 February 1945: Stab now at Schweidnitz (Swidnica)/53 km south-west of Breslau with 1. and 2./NAGr. 15 and NASt. 12./13.
10 February 1945: transferred to Bautzen-Litten? There by 8 March.
26 March 1945: Stab at Bautzen-Litten under VIII. Fliegerkorps. A few days later, before the month ended, Stab/NAGr. 15 transferred to Reichenau (today Bogatynia/17 km north-north-west of Liberec/Czechoslovakia).
9 April 1945: NAGr. 15 reported a total of 31(26) Bf 109Gs on strength.
16 April 1945: the Stab itself had 1 Bf 109 G-4 and 1 Bf 109 G-10 at Bautzen-Litten.
18 April 1945: transferred to Reichenberg (Liberec)/90 km north-north-east of Prague; under VIII. Fl.Korps.
3 May 1945: at Reichenberg (Liberec) under Gefechtsverband Rudel/3. Fliegerdivision. When the war ended 5 days later, the Gruppe was too far east to have any chance of surrendering to the Americans, although some of the pilots may have been able to escape Russian captivity by flying their Messerschmitts to the West.
FpNs:Stab/NAGr. 15 (L 22656), Stabskp./NAGr. 15 (L 44717), Ln.-Betr.Kp./NAGr. 15 (L 45687).
Oberst Gerhard von Frantzius (May 1942 - October 1942?)
Maj. Hubert-Horst Correns (c.December 1942 - July 1943)
Hptm. Ludwig Holler (July 1943 - February 1944)
Maj. Kurt Randel-Semper (acting?) (February 1944 - June 1944)
Maj. Karl-Theodor Perignon (acting?) (June 1944 - June 1944)
Maj. Rudolf Jungfer (June 1944 - May 1945)
© by Henry L. deZeng IV (Work in Progress).
(1st Draft 2022)
- W.Dierich - Die Verbände der Luftwaffe 1935-1945: Gliederungen und Kurzchroniken – Eine Dokumentation; G.Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945, Teil 14: Die Luftstreitkräfte (Osnabrück, 1980); N.Kannapin - Die deutsche Feldpostübersicht 1939-1945, 3 Bde (I – III) (Osnabrück, 1980-82); NARA WashDC: RG 242 (Microcopy T-311 roll 228/491), (Microcopy T-312 roll 328/634, roll 568/314-19 document Genst.d.Heeres/Org.Abt.(II) Nr.1483/42g.Kdos., 19 Apr 1942 detailing the creation of the Nahaufklärungsgruppen), (T-313 roll 109/897, roll 111/201, roll 128/618, roll 157/044, roll 187), (T-321 roll 50/876); NARA WashDC aerial photo data via M.Abicht; AFHRA Maxwell: decimal K113 Karlsruhe Collection (Luftwaffe Gen.Qu. Einsatzbereitschaft tables); PRO (British National Archives) London: AIR 40 Air Ministry intelligence reports and lists based on ULTRA, “Y” Service intercepts, captured documents and PoW interrogations; BA-MA Freiburg: RL 2 III Meldungen über Flugzeugunfälle…..(Loss Reports – LRs); BA-MA Freiburg: Signatur RL 40/Kart; Archiv Gruppe 66 magazine, No. 6/vol. 2 (p.25) and 7/vol. 2 (p.23); M.Rauchensteiner - Der Krieg in Österreich, 1945. (Wien, 1984), pp.360; J.Rajlich et al - Luftwaffe Over Czech Territory 1945 (Hradec Králové: JaPo, 2001); M.Holm-website ww2.dk.