Wettererkundungsstaffel 51

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Wettererkundungsstaffel 51

Unit Code: (4T + )


Formed 1 June 1939 at Neuburg/Donau from instructors and graduates of Blindflugschule 2 Neuburg/Donau specifically for assignment to Luftflotte 3. Initially equipped with Heinkel He 111s. [1].

West - Germany and France

27.8.39: moved to Roth near Nürnberg (Luftflotte 3 HQ also at Roth) with 6 He 111Js and orders to operate under FAGr. 123. [2]

3.10.39: transferred to Langendiebach/21 km ENE of Frankfurt/M., not far from Luftflotte HQ which had moved to Bad Orb/NE of Frankfurt.[3]

10/39: flew several high altitude weather missions over France that had to be aborted due to the poor performance of the He 111 “J” Model led to the subsequent use of the He 111H Model with its more powerful engines and other improvements. [4]

21.1.40: He 111 H-2 (4T+AH) crashed near Nagold/44 km SW of Stuttgart, 100%, Oblt. Wolf von Loeben (pilot) plus 3 all killed. [5]

10.4.40: German invasion of Denmark and Norway - Wekusta 51 continued flying missions over France. [6]

3.5.40: (Lfl.3) - Ju 52 damaged taxying at Fp.Wesendorf/N of Braunschweig, 15%.

7.5.40: (Lfl.3) - Do 17U damaged taxying at Fp.Langendiebach, 15%.

10.5.40: Langendiebach directly under Luftflotte 3 with 4 He 111Hs and 1 Do 17U for the commencement of the attack on France and the Low Countries.[7]

12.6.40: (Lfl.3) - He 111 H-2 failed to return from a weather flight having been shot down over the English Channel, 100%, Oblt. Gerd Nissen + 1 baled out and captured, 2 others KIA. [8]

15.6.40: Do 17 Z-1 (4T+FH) crashed at Michelbach/13 km E of Hanau while on a test flight, 100%, Oblt. Christian Wilkens plus 3 all killed. [9]

22.6.40: transferred via Plivot/S of Reims and Paris-Orly to Paris-Buc (Toussus-le-Buc) just southwest of Paris.[10]

7/40: with the campaign in the West successfully concluded, Westa 51 began flying routine weather recce flights over South England, Wales, the Irish Sea and Ireland, as well as over the Atlantic to the south and west of Ireland. This remained its main operational area until it left France in August 1944. [11]

4.7.40: (Lfl.3) - He 111H crash landed at Fp.Paris-Buc, 40%.

13.8.40: Paris-Buc directly under Luftflotte 3 with 5 He 111Hs and 1 Do 17U.[12]

13.8.40: (Lfl.3) - He 111 H-3 crashed at Paris-Buc (or Guyancourt?), 100%, 1 killed and 2 injured.

15.9.40: He 111 H-3 (4T+DH) shot down by fighters off Salcombe/Devon, 100%, 5 MIA. [13]

10.3.41: He 111 H-3 crash-landed at Paris – Le Bourget after being shot up by fighters south of Selsey Bill, and in doing so collided with a Do 215B that was in the process of taking off, 3 KIA, 1 WIA. [14]

13.4.41: (Lfl.3) - He 111H-3 (4T+FH) shot down by Spitfires off Falmouth following a recce mission to the St.George's Channel, 100%, 1 KIA and 4 MIA.

22-27.5.41: flew special weather recce missions in support of Operation Rheinübung – the protection of battleship Bismarck as it sought refuge and repairs in the French port of Brest. [15]

10.6.41: He 111 H-3 (4T+JH) shot down by RAF Hurricanes into the St. George’s Channel off Churchtown/County Wexford (Ireland), 100%, 5 KIA.

6/41 – 10/41: continued flying missions as previously but without loss. [16]

6.11.41: (Lfl.3) - He 111 H-3 (4T+EH) shot up by RAF Beaufighters off the Scilly Isles and crashed into the sea in area west of Brest, 100%, crew KIA. [17]

15.11.41: Staffel began re-equipping with the Ju 88 D-1. [18]

15.12.41: He 111 H-5 attacked and damaged by 3 RAF Beaufighters 260 km south of Plymouth but made it back to base, 1 WIA. [19]

22.12.41: Ju 88 D-1 collided with an attacking RAF Hurricane 16 km off the east coast of Ireland and crash-landed near Flers on one engine, 1 WIA. [20]

8.2.42; (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 damaged taking off from Fp.Paris-Buc, 45%.

21.4.42: Ju 88 D-5 (4T+MH) shot up by an RAF 4-engine bomber south of the Scilly Isles, Hptm. Kurt Kreowski + 1 WIA. [21]

27.6.42: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-5 (4T+MH) shot down into the sea off County Wexford/Ireland by a RAF Beaufighter, 100%, 4 MIA.

18.9.42: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 (4T+OH) failed to return after being shot down by RAF Beaufighters off Land’s End, 100%, 4 MIA. [22]

29.9.42: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 damaged taking off from Fp.Mondesir on a test flight, 70%.

30.9.42: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 crash landed at Fp.Brest while on a test flight, 35%.

13.10.42: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 shot down in Pl.Qu.88/35/15 West after being attacked by 2 Beaufighters to the west of Brest, 100%, 1 KIA, Oblt. Alfred Schmidt + 2 rescued by the German aircraft tender Immelmann. [23].

12.(18?)11.42: (Lfl.3) - Bf 110 E-3 crashed at Fp.Paris-Buc due to technical problems while on a test flight, 85%.

12/42: Staffel transferred from Paris-Buc to Nantes in either December or early January 1943, although the authors Kington and Selinger state that this transfer took place in September 1942. [24]

20.12.42: Ju 88 D-1 FTR or destroyed on a test flight, no details. [25]

14.2.43: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 ditched in the Channel due to engine trouble, 100%, 1 dead, rest of crew rescued. However, the Kington/Selinger account says this aircraft spotted a large convoy far out in the Atlantic, ran out of fuel and ditched in the Bay of Biscay to the west of Nantes with 2 drowning and 2 rescued by a French fishing boat. [26]

10.3.43: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 (4T+KH) shot down by Beaufighters over the Bay of Biscay, 100%, Oblt. Ernst Stickel + 3 KIA. [27]

14.4.43: Wekusta flew its 1,000th operational mission this date. [28]

15.5.43: (Lf1.3) - Ju 88 D-1 (4T+BH) FTR - no details, 100%, 4 MIA.

20.6.43: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 (4T+KH) FTR – the aircraft went into the Atlantic 220 km west of Brest on returning from a weather recce, probably due to engine or fuel problems, 100%, Staka Hptm. Kreowski (pilot) + 3 MIA. [29]

14.7.43: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 damaged landing at Fp.Nantes, 40%.

8.9.43: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 crashed near Fp.Rennes due to engine failure, 100%, Oblt. Walter Bruder (pilot) + 2 Killed. [30]

9.9.43: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 (4T+BH) FTR from a night mission and believed to have been shot down off the French coast, 100%, 4 MIA. [31]

1(or 4?).10.43: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 (4T+CH) FTR from over the English Channel, possibly due to engine problems or ran out of fuel, 100%, 4 MIA. [32]

1.12.43: (Lfl.3) - Ju 88 D-1 (4T+EH) shot down in air battle with RAF Typhoons over Pointe du Raz/Brittany, 100%, 4 KIA.

12/43 - 5/44: Staffel departed Nantes and began using Rennes, Vannes and Cognac airfields, but when the transfers occurred and which of these was its main station of record is not known with certainty. Limited circumstantial evidence suggests the move may have been made in March 1944 with Rennes as the main station and an Einsatzkdo. at Cognac. The reason behind these frequent movements was the rapid increase in Allied air attacks on Luftwaffe airfields in western France in preparation for the D-Day landings on 6 June. [33]

25.5.44: Ju 88 D-1 (4T+BH) ditched in the Atlantic 189 km off the coast when an engine caught fire, 100%, 3 drowned and 1 rescued. [34]

9.6.44: Ju 88 A-4 (4T+HH) shot down over the Bay of Biscay, 100%, 4 MIA. Later in the day, Wekusta lost Ju 188 F-1 (4T+AH) that was flying search patterns in the vicinity of Pointe du Raz/Brittany looking for survivors from (4T+HH), 100%, Lt. Theobald Fischer + 3 MIA. [35]

13.6.44: transferred from Vannes and Cognac to Tours. [36]

17.6.44: Tours bombed and the Staffel was reduced to one (1) aircraft. [37]

4.7.44: the Staffel’s last aircraft was lost when it belly-landed after being shot up by AA-fire from ships. [38]

7/44 – 8/44: Wekusta 51 attempted to reconstitute itself by converting to Ju 188 F-1s and crews were sent back to Germany for training, but events were moving too fast and the reconstitution was never completed. [39]

8.8.44: transferred from Tours to Nancy.[40]

14.8.44: a final plan to set up a new Wekusta 51 at Rhein-Main airfield equipped with Ju 88 S-3s also failed to get very far.

30.8.44: transferred from Nancy to Jüterbog in Germany as a result of the evacuation of France by all German forces.[41]

24.10.44 or 1.11.44: following two months of inactivity at Jüterbog, Staffel ordered disbanded.[42]

FpN: Wekusta 51 (L 02349)


Oblt. Gerd Nissen (8/39 - 6/40) MIA 12.6.40

Hptm. Kurt Kreowski (7/40 - 6/43) KIA 20.6.43

Oblt. Walter Bruder (7/43 - 9/43) KIA 8.9.43

Hptm. Herbert Seidensticker (10/43 —- 5/44)

Hptm. Otto Link (5/44 - 11/44)

Special Note:

The history of the Luftwaffe Weather Service, this Staffel, all of the other Staffeln, the Wetterflugstellen, the Wetterketten and all other components engaged in meteorological reconnaissance activities are covered in extensive detail in: Kington, John A. & Franz Selinger, WEKUSTA – Luftwaffe Meteorological Reconnaissance Units & Operations 1938-1945, Ottringham/East Yorkshire (U.K.), 2006. Accordingly, rather than repeat what has already been treated in considerable detail, the researcher/reader is encouraged to see this extraordinary study.

© by Henry L. deZeng IV (Work in Progress, 2022).


  1. Ries-Lw.Story:174; Dierich; Kington/Selinger – WEKUSTA, p.140.
  2. Balke-1:392; Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  3. BA-MA; Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  4. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  5. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  6. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  7. Balke-II:403.
  8. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  9. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  10. BA-MA.
  11. F.Selinger letter 13 Feb 1992; BA-MA files; Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  12. Balke- 1:410.
  13. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  14. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  15. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  16. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  17. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  18. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  19. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  20. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  21. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  22. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  23. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  24. PRO OIC/SI reports in ADM 223; LR evidence; Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  25. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  26. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  27. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  28. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  29. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  30. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  31. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  32. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  33. OB list; Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  34. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  35. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  36. ULTRA: NARA T-971:18.
  37. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  38. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  39. Kington/Selinger, op cit.
  40. ULTRA.
  41. ULTRA.
  42. Dierich; Kington/Selinger, op cit.

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