5(F)./122 2000th Sortie
Contemporary Magazine article relating to the 2000th war flight flown by 5(F)./122 on 6 Sep 1942.
Below is Tim Oliver's translation of that article.
‘Early morning on an airfield in the northern sector of the Eastern Front. After the storm of last night the sky is hazy. The September sun blinks through blue-grey cloud streaks.
The hustle and bustle at the airfield shows the familiar image of the everyday airman. But there, in front of the hangar at the edge of the runway, the squadron leader is gathered with the officers of the reconnaissance Staffel and the waiting ground staff. They wait for the 'Paula-North Pole' and its crew. The 2,000th mission of the Staffel commenced at dawn and in a few minutes the flight must return.
There is the machine! Flying low, they roar over our heads. Another circuit, then it prepares for landing, rolls out and is waved to its parking spot. The crew gets out. The waiting crowd greet them holding big white plywood digits displaying the proud figures ‘2-0-0-0’.
The 2,000th mission of a long-range reconnaissance Staffel - the number is not the full story and behind it are other numbers that better reveal the contribution of the Staffel. Two million kilometres, forty times around the equator, is the distance thus far flown by machines of the Staffel. 5,000 flying hours completed in the line of duty. That's 201 days of continuous flight. 45,000 metres of film containing compelling images, brought home by the Reconnaissance crews from their missions. Images corresponding to the surface area of Germany, France, Belgium and Holland captured in enemy air space.
The selfless service of the Reconnaissance unit can hardly be explained in simple words and figures. And yet, when one looks at these figures one realizes how great is the service of the Long-range Reconnaissance Staffel. Within the 2,000 are dangerous, lonely flights as the crews pushed their machines far into the rear of the enemy. The footage obtained provided target information for the bomber units, and thus contributed to the success of the Luftwaffe in this sector of the front.
2,000th Sortie - that must be celebrated by the whole team. According to ancient custom the assembled aircrew now pop the corks of the champagne bottles. The crew that have proven themselves in many flights are greeted with a few words from the squadron leader, handing them the glasses of good wine. Laughter resounds. Funny words fly back and forth. Joy is on everyone's faces. The men toast the success of the next thousand flights.
Then it is back to work and the duties of each individual. Because today is the 2,000th mission and will be followed by the first flight of the third millennium.
War Correspondent Schulz’
The crew of the reconnaissance Staffel anniversary is celebrated. The plywood digits frame the pilot Lieutenant Breese, observer Lieutenant Misselwitz, radio operator Sergeant Koch and flight engineer Sergeant Fink.