3.(F)/121 (2nd)

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3.(F)/Aufkl.Gr. 121 (2d Formation)

(Unit Code 7A+)

Formation. (November 1938)

Formed 1 November 1938 at Prenzlau/Brandenburg (ex-3.(F)/Aufk1.Gr. 22) with Dornier Do 17Fs, these being gradually replaced with Do 17Ps during 1939.[1]

Polish Campaign. (September 1939)

1 September 1939: deployed from Prenzlau to Stargard-Klützow/Pomerania with 12 Do l7Fs and Ps on receipt of mobilization orders at the end of August and, from 1 September, flew reconnaissance over northern Poland directly under Luftflotte 1. Returned to Prenzlau on completion of the campaign at the end of September, and then transferred West several weeks later.

West and Attack on France and the Low Countries. (October 1939 – June 1940)

October – November 1939: converted to the Heinkel He 111H.

22 November 1939: with the Staffel possibly operating from Frankfurt/M. now, He 111 crashed south of Bad Kreuznach after being chased out of French air space by a French fighter, 100%, 2 KIA.

25 January 1940: flew a He 111 reconnaissance sortie over France.

3 March 1940: He 111H shot down south of Forbach near Saarbrücken by two RAF Hurricanes that attacked the reconnaissance bomber in the Metz-Nancy area knocking out both engines, 100%, 2 KIA and 1 WIA. 10 May 1940: at Frankfurt/M. with 8 He 111Hs and 3 Ju 88As under II. Fliegerkorps/Lfl.3 for the campaign in the West beginning this date. During May and June the Staffel converted entirely to the Ju 88.

10 May 1940: He 111H shot down by AA fire over Metz, 100%.

18 May 1940: He 111H failed to return from a recce sortie over N France, 100%.

June 1940: By the end of the campaign in France on 22 June, the Staffel is believed to have moved forward to Châteaudun/45 km North-west of Orléans.

Air Offensive Against England (Battle of Britain). (July 1940 - May 1941)

July 1940: assigned to fly strategic reconnaissance over the British Isles in support of the forthcoming bombing campaign against RAF airfields and against industrial and other targets.

1 July 1940: Ju 88A failed to return from operations - no details, 100%.

7 July 1940: Do 17P shot up by RAF Hurricanes near RAF Station Tangmere and crash landed on return to north-west France, 60%.

26 July 1940: Ju 88A shot up by Spitfires near Folkestone, 10%, 1 KIA.

2 August 1940: Ju;88 A-1 crashed at Dinard airfield on return from a recce sortie, 100%, Oblt. Viefhues + 3 killed.

13 August 1940: based at Dinard in Brittany under IV. Fliegerkorps/Luftflotte 3 for the main phase of the Battle of Britain.

22 August 1940: Ju 88 A-l shot down by Spitfires off the Isle of Wight, 100%, 1 KIA and 3 MIA.

8 October 1940: Ju 88 A-5 (7A+JL) shot down by Hurricanes during an afternoon recce over Merseyside (Liverpool), 100%, 2 KIA and 2 MIA.

20 November 1940: Ju 88 A-5 (7A+FL) shot down into the Irish Sea off the coast of Wales by a Hurricane as it returned from a daytime damage assessment photo recce sortie to Birmingham in the Midlands, 100%, 4 MIA.

16 January 1941: the rear-gunner of one of the Staffel's Ju 88s shot down a Spitfire that attacked the Junkers near Portsmouth.

20 February 1941: Ju 88 A-5 mistakenly shot up near Morlaix in Brittany by a Bf 109 from 7./JG 77, 60%, Oblt. Kurt Stahmer + 1 wounded.

25 February 1941: Ju 88 A-5 force landed near Guerand (Guérande/Brittany?) due to engine trouble, 100%, Oblt. Karl Müller + 1 injured.

27 February 1941: Ju 88 A-5 (7A+AL) hit by AA-fire during a night sortie over South Wales and crashed into the Bristol Channel, 100%, 4 MIA.

4 March 1941: Ju 88 A-5 crash landed at Dinard after being shot up by fighters over the Isle of Wight, 30%.

2 April 1941: Ju 88 A-5 belly landed at Dinard after being shot up by Hurricanes off Linney Head, 65%, 1 WIA.

11 April 1941: Ju 88 A-5 (7A+CL) failed to return from a recce sortie over the Irish Sea, 100%, 4 MIA.

17 May 1941: a Bf 108 belonging to the Staffel damaged taxiing at Dinard, 10%. June 1941: reassigned to Luftflotte 4 at the beginning of June and transferred from France to Romania via Germany.

South Russia. (June 1941 - May 1943)

4 June 1941: Ju 88 A-5 crash landed at Weimar-Nohra airfield while en-route to Romania, 15%.

22 June 1941: at Ramnicul-Sarat airfield in eastern Romania with 10 Ju 88As and 3 Bf 110s under IV. Fliegerkorps/Luftflotte 4 for the attack on the Soviet Union this date. The Staffel’s mission was to provide strategic reconnaissance support for the drive across Bessarabia and Moldavia and into South Ukraine.

24 June 1941: operating from Balti (Beltsy) airfield in Moldavia.

13 July 1941: Ju 88 D-2 shot up by a Russian fighter over Bacau/north-east Romania, 70%, 1 WIA.

10 August 1941: transferred from Balti forward to Balta/165 km north-north-west of Odessa.

14 August 1941: Ju 88 A-5 damaged at Balta due to engine failure, 25%.

26 August 1941: Ju 88 D-2 crash landed at Nikolayev-West airfield, 15%.

September 1941: operating from Nikolayev-East airfield, the Staffel flew a total of 92 Ju 88 recce sorties under IV. Fliegerkorps for the loss of one plane.

9 October 1941: Ju 88 D-2 damaged by bombs during enemy air attack on Nikolayev, 15%.

November 1941: Staffe1 flew a total of 52 Ju 88 recce sorties from Nikolayev under IV. Fliegerkorps without loss during November.

8 January 1942: still at Nikolayev-East.

7 February 1942: Ju 88 D-1 belly landed at Nikolayev due to engine failure, 20%.

February 1942: moved forward to Zaporozhye during the second half of February and remained there through April.

1 March 1942: Staffel reported 3 Ju 88 A-5, 6 Ju 88 D-2 and 2 Ju 88 D-1 on strength.

March 1942: during March, 3.(F)/Aufkl.Gr. 121 flew a total of 87 Ju 88 recce sorties under IV. Fliegerkorps without loss.

April 1942: during April, flew 49 Ju 88 sorties under IV. Fliegerkorps without loss.

May 1942: now based at Kharkov I airfield for the beginning of the German summer offensive toward the Don and Volga.

26 July 1942: transferred to Taganrog-West. August 1942: now at Rostov for the advance into North Caucasia.

24 August 1942: Ju 88D (7A+ML) failed to return from a recce over the Prosldnyy area (not located, but almost certainly in North Caucasia), 100%, 4 KIA.

9 September 1942: Ju 88 D-5 crashed near Mineralnyye Vody due to engine failure, 20%.

25 September 1942: Ju 88 D-1 blew its tires on landing at Krasnodar airfield, 65%.

2 October 1942: Ju 88 D-5 failed to return from the Baku area on the Caspian Sea, 100%, 4 MIA.

23 October 1942: a man belonging to the Staffel was killed during an enemy air raid on Krasnodar airfield.

9 November 1942: based at Krasnodar/North Caucasia.

19 November 1942: Operation “Uranus” – the Soviet Stalingrad counteroffensive – commenced to the north and south of the city under three Fronts (Southwest, Don and Stalingrad) with a total of 11 tank and rifle armies. Still under IV. Fliegerkorps, the Staffel’s missions continued to focus on North Caucasia but now also included the vast area south of the Don and east to the Volga.

1 December 1942: Ju 88 D-1 (7A+LL) failed to return from operations - no details, 100%, 4 MIA.

12 December 1942: Ju 88 D-1 (7A+DL) failed to return from operations - no details, 100%, Oblt. Erwin Pf1anz (observer) + 3 MIA.

20 January 1943: transferred from Krasnodar to Sverevo airfield/north of Rostov.

21 January 1943: Ju 88D shot down by AA fire in P1.Qu.0887 (c.60 km east of Rostov), 100%, crew safe.

22 January 1943: Ju 88 A-4 (7A+SL) failed to return from operations - no details, 100%, 4 MIA.

7 February 1943: transferred from Sverevo to Stalino in the Donets Basin - still under IV. Fliegerkorps.

24 February 1943: Ju 88 (7A+ZL) failed to return from operations - no details, 100%, 4 MIA.

25 February 1943: a man belonging to the Staffel's ground staff WIA by enemy fire at Zaporozhye airfield, probably during an enemy air attack.

1 March 1943: had 6 Ju 88 D-1, 1 Ju 88 D-5 and 1 Ju 88 A-4 on hand this date.

17 March 1943: 2 Ju 88 D-1s (100% and 35%), 1 Ju 88 A-4 (35%) and 1 Ju 88 D-5 (95%) destroyed or damaged by bombs during Soviet air attack on Zaporozhye-East.

April 1943: with the front now relatively stable along the Mius River north to the Donets, transferred back to Stalino after resting and refitting at Zaporozhye.

23 April 1943: Ju 88 D-1 destroyed by bombs during air raid on Stalino airfield, 100%.

25 April 1943: Staffel ground staff member WIA at Stalino during bombing.

13 May 1943: Ju 88 D-l (7A+FL) failed to return from operations - no details, 100%, Oblt. Franz Philipp (observer) + 3 MIA.

Germany and Return to South Russia. (June 1943 - May 1944)

June 1943: withdrew from operations during the second half of May or early June and returned to the Reich for a long overdue rest and refit. In July, aircrew personnel were sent to Gutenfeld/East Prussia for conversion training on the new Ju 188.

16 July 1943: Ju 88 D-1 damaged in accident at Gutenfeld, 60%, 1 killed.

July – August 1943: 3.(F)/Aufkl.Gr. 121 began receiving some of the first production Ju 188 F-1s at Gutenfeld.

25 September 1943: once again operational, the Staffel was in transfer to Nikolayev.

21 October 1943: flew a reconnaissance over Rostov. 18 November 1943: Ju 88 D-1 crashed at Odessa, 100%, 4 killed.

10 January 1944: based at Odessa III.

1 March 1944: Staffel reported 11 Ju 188 F-1 on strength.

7 March 1944: at Odessa-Dalnik with a detached Kette operating from Sarabus/Crimea.

April – May 1944: possibly resting and refitting (again) at Gutenfeld/East Prussia, but this has not been confirmed. Other (unconfirmed) sources state that it transferred to Focşani in eastern Romania on 21 March and then to Zilistea airfield in central Romania on 12 April. It could be that part of the Staffel was at Gutenfeld and the other part in Romania.

Romania, Hungary and Austria. (June 1944 - May 1945)

26 June 1944: at Zilistea airfield with 8 Ju 188s on strength.

2 July 1944: Zilestea with 6(4) Ju 188s on strength.

6 August 1944: flew a high altitude mission over Simferopol/Crimea.

August 1944: moved to Debrecen/Hungary in the last week of August after Romania changed sides and the Soviets quickly advanced into the country with powerful forces and then drove north-west into Hungary.

3 October 1944: at Sarospatak airstrip/north-east Hungary with 6(5) Ju 188s under I. Fliegerkorps.

10 October 1944: believed to have briefly pulled back to Borgond airfield/55 km south-west of Budapest.

19 October 1944: ordered to transfer to Lesvar (Csapod) airfield/31 km south-east of Sopron in north-west Hungary by Luftflotte 4.

6 November 1944: at Lesvar flying photo reconnaissance over German and Russian positions around Budapest.

29 November 1944: Lesvar with 4 Ju 188 D-2 and 5 Ju 188 F-1 under FAGr. 4; only 4 of the 9 aircraft were serviceable.

December 1944: now at Szombathely/west Hungary under FAGr. 4.

21 January 1945: Ju 188 D-2 crashed at Zagreb/Croatia due to engine failure, 55%.

February 1945: at Vienna-Seyring following the loss of Budapest to the Russians.

20 February 1945: Ju 188 D-2 failed to return from operations - no details, 100%, 4 MIA.

March 1945: flew recce during the failed German offensive to retake Budapest, the Soviet advance through western Hungary and across the border into Austria and toward Vienna.

3 May 1945: at Hörsching/12 km south-west of Linz in Austria, and ended the war there on 8 May.

FpN:3.(F)/121 (L 13739).


Obstlt. Franz Rudolf (1 November 1938 - 16 January 1940)

Maj. Hans Kellner (  ? - June 1940)

Hptm. Wilhelm Knapp (27 March 1940 (or 1941?) - 9 October 1941)

Oblt. Horst Müller (acting?) (  ? -  ? ) 21.06.41

Oblt.d.R. Friedrich-Ludwig Herbert Alpers (provisional) (26 June 1941 - c. 21 November 1941)

Hptm. Erich Putzka (November 1941 - May 1943)

Hptm.d.R. Hans Pentzien (May 1943 - October 1943)

Hptm. Curt Stahmer (October 1943 - November 1944)

Hptm. Heinzel (acting?) (  ? -  ? ) 4/44

Oblt.(Kr.O.) Hans-Georg Rührschneck (November 1944? - 8 May 1945)

Also see:

ABERNETTY, Wolfgang, Oblt.

ALLETTER, Alarich, Oblt.

BAASNER, Hans, Hptm.

BANITZ, Günther, Oblt.

BAUDLER, Rudolf, Oblt.

BAUMANN, Gerhard, Oblt.d.R.


CALMUND, Kurt, Lt.

DRESCHER, Heinz, Oblt.

EHLERS, Erich, Oblt.(Kr.O.)

EVERS, Franz, Lt.

FRANZ, Joachim, Lt.

GERHARDS, Rudolf, Oblt.

HAFERMANN, Ludwig, Oblt.

HANSEN, Hermann, Hptm.


HERBOLD, Horst (?), Lt.

HESS,  ? , Oblt.

HIRSCH, Gerhard, Oblt.

HOFMANN, Franz, Lt.

HORN, Erich, Oblt.

HORSTMANN, Henning, Lt.

HORSTMANN, Hermann, Lt.

IPFLING, Wolfgang, Lt.

JÄGER, (Hansjörg?), Lt./Oblt.

KRÜCKEN, Heinz, Oblt.




MÜLLER, Karl-Heinrich, Hptm.

NITSCHE, O., Oblt.

PFLANZ, Erwin, Oblt.d.R.

PFUNDTNER, Reinhard, Lt.

PHILIPP, Franz Xaver, Oblt.

PRINZ, G., Oblt.

ROSENKRANZ, Helmut, Oblt.

SCHEDEMUND, Wilhelm, Lt.

SCHEURICH, Kaspar, Oblt.

SCHMIDT, Helmut, Lt.

SCHMITZ, Ludwig, Lt.




SPECHT, Gerhard, Lt.?

SPRING, Walter, Oblt.

STECH, Horst, Lt.

STRASSER, Georg, Lt.

TAUBERT, Franz, Lt.

TESCHKE, Ehrenfried, Lt.

VIEFHUES, Werner, Oblt.

© by Henry L. deZeng IV (Work in Progress). (1st Draft 2022)

Additional Notes & Losses

2.7.40 – 3.(F)121 returned the following reconnaissance results - observation time 18.00 - 19.00: In the area Cherbourg - Poole - St.Just – Brest, a heavy cruiser, location Plan-Quadrat 31613, course west. In addition a freighter about 2 000 t and a freighter about 500 t, also heading west. No other traffic. Weather: Cloudless.[2]

5.7.40 – A Ju 88 of this unit departed at 09.08 hrs on a sea reconnaissance and reported the following:- 10.35 hrs - A steamer (approx 4,000 t) 25 km south of Lorient on a northerly course. 10.40 hrs – Another steamer idle 50 km south west of St. Nazaire.[3]

7.7.40 – Ju 88 of this unit took off from Chateaudun at 08.55 hrs for a weather reconnaissance sortie along the French Atlantic coast to the Spanish-French border. Result: 10/10 occultation, cloud base 300 - 1000 m, no shipping movements detected.[4]

Another Ju 88 left Chateaudun at 14.45 hrs for a sea and weather reconnaissance of the French Atlantic coast.[5]

Only fishing boats were sighted along the coast between Brieue and Bordeaux.[6]

7.8.40 – 1 Ju 88 took off at 06.10 hrs for a reconnaissance of the English South Coast and Bristol Channel with orders to concentrate on the area bounded by Falmouth – Milford Haven and Swansea.[7]

8.8.40 – 1 Ju 88 left at 06.46 hrs for a reconnaissance of the South Coast of England and the Bristol Channel.[8]

6.9.41 – Performed recce for shipping in Feodosija and other Black Sea harbours. “In area” between 05.20 and 06.47 hrs Z.[9]


  1. G.Tessin - Verbände und Truppen der deutschen Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Zweiten Weltkrieg 1939-1945, 16+ Bde., Teil 14: Die Luftstreitkräfte (Osnabrück, 1980); W.Dierich - Die Verbände der Luftwaffe 1935-1945: Gliederungen und Kurzchroniken – Eine Dokumentation; N.Kannapin - Die deutsche Feldpostübersicht 1939-1945; J.-P.Défieux - Répertoire des Unités Aériennes de la Luftwaffe 1935-1945: Reconnaissance Aéronavale (Nanterre, privately published, n.d. (c 1988-90?); K.Ries - Luftwaffen Story 1935-1939 (Mainz, 1974), pp.80-89; BA-MA Freiburg: RL 2 III Meldungen über Flugzeugunfälle…..(Loss Reports – LRs); BA-MA Freiburg: RL 40/Kart; PRO London: DEFE 3 ULTRA signals HP4060, HP5708 and HP5932; PRO London: AIR 40/1966, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983; PRO London: AIR 40 Air Ministry intelligence reports and lists based on ULTRA, “Y” Service intercepts, captured documents and PoW interrogations; NARA WashDC: RG 242 (Microcopy T-312 roll 388/866, roll 394/883, roll 410/445, roll 411/768); U.Balke - Der Luftkrieg in Europa: Die Operativen Einsätze des Kampfgeschwader 2 im Zweiten Weltkrieg, 2 Bde (Koblenz, 1989-90), pp.393, 404, 418; C.Shores - Fledgling Eagles: The Complete Account of Air Operations During the ‘Phony War’ and Norwegian Campaign, 1940 (London, 1991); J.Foreman - 1941 - The Turning Point, Parts 1and 2 – The Battle of Britain to the Blitz (Walton on Thames (Surrey), p.66; J.R.Smith/A.L.Kay - German Aircraft Of The Second World War (London, 1972), p.426; M.Rauchensteiner - Der Krieg in Österreich, 1945. (Wien, 1984); M.Abicht – captions from captured Luftwaffe reconnaissance photos held by the U.S. National Archives; M.Holm – web site ww2.dk.
  2. Luftflotte 3 Einzelmeldung Nr 4 2.7.40
  3. Luftflotte 3 Einzelmeldung Nr 7 5.7.40
  4. Luftflotte 3 Einzelmeldung Nr 5 7.7.40
  5. Luftflotte 3 Einzelmeldung Nr 5 7.7.40
  6. Luftflotte 3 Einzelmeldung Nr 7 7.7.40
  7. Luftflotte 3 Einzelmeldung Nr 3 7.8.40
  8. Luftflotte 3 Einzelmeldung Nr 5 8.8.40
  9. HW13/96 SALU 213 via Remi Traconelli.

Aufklärungsgruppe 121

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