Foggia - Albania Transport Operations Dec 1940 - Feb 1941
Following the Italian attack on Greece (28 Oct 1940) and after initial success the Italians retreated back to the Albanian Mountains.
As it was believed that there were enemy submarines active in the Adriatic thus precluding the use of shipping to transport reinforcements from Italy to Albania.
Italy requested that germany supply a transport gruppe to assist in these support operations.
8 Dec 1940 - III./KGzbv 1 transfered from Wesendorf to Foggia (Eastern Italy) via Graz (Austria).The maintenance companies had previously departed by train to Foggia to be in place to receive the unit's aircraft.
The landing airfield that was to be utilised was Tirana.
The unit was at full strength, 53 Ju 52s, and it's crews were mainly veterans of operations in Holland and Norway.
III./KGzbv 1 was to transport Italian troops(some equiped for winter warefare in the Albanian mountains), winter clothing, ammunition, weapons and other equipment. On return flights the aircraft of III./KGzbv 1 were to airlift out sick and wounded personnel, and on occassions unserviceable equipment.
The expectation was that the sorties were to be split 60/40 between supplies and replacement personnel.
Foggia was not an ideal take-off base, as at this time of year the airfields at Bari and Brindisi would have been more suitable as Foggia could be subject to adverse weather conditions (fog and low cloud).
All supply missions were flown during daylight hours. The Ju 52s were equipped with life-jackets and inflatable life-rafts - the flight included a 200 mile stretch of open water.
Aircraft and crews flew two sorties per day if possible.
Take-off was in groups of three at 5 minute intervals. On arrival at Tirana the aircraft landed singly.
Following landing there was a 30 minutesperiod in which to unload, load and take-off for the return leg.
During the first half of the operational period there were approximately 100 sorties per day. However, during the last few weeks this reduced to about 60 sorties per day. Over the whole period there were only 10 days where the weather precluded any supply operations.
There was only one british bomber raid on Foggia during the period of the supply operation and this failed to cause any damage.
Communications/ Weather Reporting
In order to fulfil the mission requirements III./KGzbv 1 needed to make use of the Italian air traffic control, weather observation and reporting services. The Airsea rescue, radio and direction finding stations at Foggia and Tirana and the direction finding station ar Bari were also made available.
There was a "crash boat" positioned at the halfway point on the overwater portion of the flight route, and the airsea rescue unit at Bari was also on standby (it's services were never required).
4028 Sorties flown.
1665 transporting troops.
2363 transporting supplies.
30000 troops and 4700 tons of supplies were transported to Albania while 10000 wounded and sick were evacuated.
No aircraft were lost.
Morzik, Fritz - German Air Force Airlift Operations, ARNO Press.
Pegg, Martin - Transporter V1, Classic.