(Unit Code 8I+)?
(Unit Code 5H+)?
Formation and Background. (April 1942)
Ordered formed on or about 19 April 1942, possibly in Germany, or South Russia or more probably in Crimea (ex-Gruppenfliegerstab 11). The Stabskompanie and the Ln.-Betriebskompanie were formed at approximately the same time from various assets. Stab/NAGr. 16 did not have any first-line assigned aircraft of its own, but it undoubtedly had several second-line hacks for liaison purposes.
Staffeln (Aufklärungsstaffeln known to have been subordinated to NAGr. 16 with the approximate dates):
3.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 12 (5/42 to 3/43?); 5.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 12 (5/42, 9/42, 11/42); 3.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 31 (c.8/42 to 2/43).
South Russia. (May 1942 - January 1943)
23 May 1942: Stab/NAGr. 16 at or near Kursk with 3.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 12 and 5.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 12 - assigned to support Pz.AOK 4 (4th Panzer Army) in the opening phase of the German summer offensive toward the Don and then south toward Stalingrad on the Volga.
June 1942: unconfirmed sources state that it moved forward to Shchigry/50 km east-north-east of Kursk by 28 June for the advance toward Voronezh and the Don River by 4th Panzer Army on the first day of the German summer 1942 campaign (Operation “Blau”).
31 July 1942: Pz.AOK 4 ordered to split with the main body deploying just south of Stalingrad along the Aksay River. From there it comprised the southern half of the attack force charged with capturing the city. This was a change of plans which had originally called for 4th Panzer Army to strike south-east toward Astrakhan.
9 August 1942: Stab/NAGr. 16 at Frolov-West near Oblivskaya and about 100 km to the west of Stalingrad.
24 August 1942: man belonging to the Stab KIA by enemy fire at Umancevo/c.125 km
south-south-west of Stalingrad.
27 August 1942: 4 men from Stab/NAGr. 16 KIA in enemy air attack at Aksay/93 km south-south-west of Stalingrad. The Stab had moved to Aksay a week or two earlier to support 4th Panzer Army’s German and Romanian divisions that were trying to penetrate the Soviet defenses along the southern outskirts of the city and defend a sparsely manned front running south-east into the Kalmyk Steppe toward Elista and Astrakhan. The bitter fighting against stubborn resistance at Stalingrad made little headway and was still raging at the end of October.
30 September 1942: Stalingrad front with 3.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 12, 5.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 12 and 3.(H)/Aufkl.Gr. 31 - had 25(14) aircraft.
1-8 November 1942: the Gruppe’s aircraft began detecting and reporting a heavy flow of reinforcements arriving for the four Soviet armies opposite Pz.AOK 4.
17 November 1942: all or part of Stab/NAGr. 16 now at Konotop under VIII. Fliegerkorps. It is believed to have transferred there during the second half of October to rest and reorganize as an organic tactical reconnaissance group with its own two Staffeln (i.e., 1. and 2./NAGr. 16). Konotop was being used for this purpose by Luftflotte 4 at this time. But, as was the case with other units at Konotop, Stab/NAGr. 16 was ordered back to the Stalingrad Front shortly after the Soviets began their powerful winter counteroffensive on 19 November.
19 November 1942: a reconnaissance aircraft from one of the Staffeln subordinated to Pz.AOK 4, while skimming along the Russian side of the front at an altitude of just 100 meters, spotted through a break in low clouds a miles-long column of enemy tanks headed west directly toward the front. The massive and devastating Soviet counterattack at Stalingrad had commenced. Pz.AOK 4 was split in two the first day, the Romanian divisions on its right flank shattered, and the entire army forced back.
19-24 November 1942: few reconnaissance missions flown due to abysmal weather conditions with snow showers, clouds down to 100 meters and visibility of less than a kilometer. All three of the Nahaufklärungsgruppen (7, 12 and 16) operating from the so-called Great Don Bend area were ordered to pull back to airfields farther west.
24 November 1942: Pz.AOK 4 ordered to hold at Kotel’nikovo/156 km south-west of Stalingrad with what forces were still intact.
4 December 1942: Pz.AOK 4 operations order for “Wintergewitter” tasked the Gruppe to fly tactical recce primarily along the left flank of the Army’s attack and in front of XXXXVIII. Pz.Korps between Rychov and the Chir railway station.
12 December 1942: after receiving a few reinforcements, 4th Panzer Army opened a counterattack from Kotel’nikovo toward Stalingrad (Operation “Wintergewitter”) in a failed attempt to break through to the city and open a corridor to surrounded 6th Army. Although not confirmed, it is believed all or elements of NAGr. 16 were still assigned to 4th Panzer Army at this time.
29 December 1942: Kotel’nikovo liberated by the Russians and Pz.AOK 4 began an organized retreat west toward Rostov and the Gulf of Taganrog that by the third week of January placed it some 305 km (190 miles) from Stalingrad at its closest point.
4 February 1943: Stab, Stabskompanie, Sanitätsgruppe and Ln.-Betriebskompanie/NAGr. 16 were all listed in official orders as destroyed in the heavy defensive fighting in and around Stalingrad.
FpNs:Stab/NAGr. 16 (L 17393), Stabskp./NAGr. 16 (L 44841), Ln.-Betr.Kp./NAGr. 16 (L 45790).
Maj. Arndt-Erich Sieckenius (May 1942 - ? )
Hptm. Kurt Schulze-Wiehenbrauck ( ? - March 1943)
© 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-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-312 roll 1660/066), (T-321 roll 115/001ff); AFHRA Maxwell: decimal K113 Karlsruhe Collection (Luftwaffe Gen.Qu. Einsatzbereitschaft tables); PRO (British National Archives) London: AIR 40/1970, 1975; BA-MA Freiburg: RL 2 III Meldungen über Flugzeugunfälle…..(Loss Reports – LRs); Archiv Gruppe 66 magazine, No. 8/vol. 2 (p.15); M.Kehrig - Stalingrad: Analyse und Dokumentation einer Schlacht. Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1974); M.Holm-website ww2.dk.