Kdo. Bienenstock

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AKA Sonderkommando Totenkopf.


14 Apr 1945 - Luftwaffenkommando West ordered 7 JagdDiv to establish Sonderkommando Totenkopf/Bienenstock under command of a former commander of (F)./123. Personnel (volunteers) drawn from Heere and Luftwaffe to operate as pilots, panzerfaust operators and demolition men, Fi 156 aircraft to be used for this. Operations would be carried out to the rear of the Allied front lines and consist of attacks against: installations, bridges, troop / supply columns, tanks, locomotives etc.[1]

18 Apr 1945 - 15 personnel to standby for deployment.[2]

25 Apr 1945 - Orders issued - Ten Fi 156 aircraft to hamper enemy supplies, attack tanks and blow up bridges with two men from each aircraft. Additional task for two Fi 156 aircraft to block road and rail links between Rottwiel and Tuttlingen. men to return in two days.[3]

Of five aircraft which eventually took off for the above operation, four returned (two slightly damaged) and one was recorded as missing.[4]

26 Apr 1945 - 9 Fi 156 aircraft took off between 0145 and 0230 hours, each carrying a demolition party of two men. They were to land in the vicinity of Dillingen, to the east and west of the road Neresheim-Dillengen-Geislingen to the east and west of Biberach. Four aircraft returned, landing between 0415 and 0435 hours. Recce sorties confirmed that bridges near Guensburg had been blown up. 5 aircraft failed to return.[5]

28 Apr 1945 - Intended operations for 29 Apr, hampering enemy supplies in S.E. Germany using 5 Fi 156 aircraft.One each in the following areas: Stuttgart; Aalen; Donaueschingen; Tuttlingen and Nördlingen. After this fuel stocks exhausted and resupply impossible.Detatchment to be disbanded.[6]Remaining pilots and demolition personnel (21 men) and remaining ammunition to be placed at the disposal of the 13th Army for use as an anti-tank persuit detachment. The remaining general duty and technical personnel without arms were to be disbanded.

Three Fi 156 aircraft took off from 0130 to 0230 hours each with a demolition detachment of two men. Their task was to set down in the area southwest of Freudenstadt-Neuburg-Ingolstadt-Donauwörth-Nördlingen, no results were obtained as no aircraft returned.[7]

They eventually had 20 aircraft and these included Si 204s and Bü 181s as well as the Störche.[8]


Maj. Otto Köhnke (c.16 Apr 45 - 8 May 45)[9]

Biography of Maj. Otto Köhnke

Köhnke, Otto. (DOB: 18.02.12 in Bremen). (R, DKG).

01 Jul 1939 - Oblt., transfered from I. of K/88 Legion Condor to KG 3.

1940 - Staka 2./KG 3.

15 Sep 1941 - Oblt., awarded the Ehrenpokal.

23 Feb 1942 - Oblt., awarded DKG, Staka 2./KG 3.

01 Mar 1942 - Hptm., appt Kdr. II./KG 54 (to 27.09.42 WIA – lost a leg).

01 Aug 1942 - Hptm., awarded Ritterkreuz, Kdr.II./KG 54.

01 Oct 1942 - promoted to Maj. 01.04.43 in RLM (L.In.2).

18 Apr 1943 - ordered to Luftattaché Budapest for temporary duty.

28 Jun 1943 - ordered to Fluglehrerschule d.Lw. for temporary duty (to 04.07.43).

20 Jul 1943 - Major, appointed Kdr. of FFS A/B 14 (to 01.12.44).

15 Feb 1945 - As Major, appointed Chef Inspizient 1/1. Fliegerschuldivision.

08 Mar 1945 - Again as Major, appointed Kdr. of Sonderkommando/Rammkommando Elbe, the special kamikaze-like air-to-air ramming unit (to c.10.04.45).

16 Apr 1945 - Major, assigned as Kdr. Sonderkommando Bienenstock - the Fi 156/Bü 181 special sabotage unit (to 08.05.45).

13 Sep 1998 - Died in Nürnberg.[10]

Additional Notes

Mention of Elbe took me to Adrian Weir's book "The Last Flight of the Luftwaffe". here there are some comments on pages 175 and 177 about the origins and intentions of Bienenstock.

Apparently to carry out operations against US airfields in Italy from where raids against the airfields used by the Luftwaffe's jet aircraft were being conducted. These attacks were originally intended to complement the Rammkommando operations and be one spectacular assault on the airfields rather than what appears to have been piecemeal operations frittering away scant resources.

Weir also indicates that Hermann was also instructed to use the Bienenstock forces to operate against Soviet supply lines in an attempt to slow their advance - presumably against Berlin.

Weir notes flights from Pocking on 25 and 28 Apr 1945 and operations against the Donau crossings.

  1. Ultra T523/110
  2. Ultra T524/23
  3. Ultra T530/14
  4. Ultra T530/17
  5. Ultra T532/45 summary does not contain direct reference to Totenkopf, however activities similar to this credited to Totenkopf.
  6. Ultra T537/21
  7. Utlra T537/11
  8. Larry deZeng Post to TOCH 13 Nov 2009
  9. Larry deZeng Post to TOCH 13 Nov 2009
  10. Larry deZeng Post to TOCH 14 Nov 2009