Minensuchverbände Unit Histories

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Minensuchverbände (Minesweeping Formations)


General Background

Use of the Ju 52/3m transport aircraft in this role was first proposed around Sep 1940, when the German Navy requested that 100 Ju 52s be made available for this purpose by the Luftwaffe. Generalluftzeugmeister Milch agreed that the Ju 52 was the best choice for this role. Formation of Sonderkommando “Mausi” followed a few days later and began to equip with the first of the modified Ju 52s, now designated Ju 52/3m (MS). These were outfitted with a large duralumin hoop installed under the aircraft that was energized by a generator located in the cabin that produced 300 amps of direct current to detonate magnetic mines. Later, other Ju 52s were equipped with a devise called a Knallkörpergerät or KK-Gerät, that could dispense 30 small explosive charges for detonating acoustic mines. In a typical operation, a "Mausi" Ju 52 would fly over a suspected minefield at an altitude of 18 to 21 meters (60 to 70 feet), with the mine detonating 9 to 12 meters (30 to 40 feet) astern of the aircraft. A variant of the “solo” method was to fly 3 of the hoop-fitted Ju 52s abreast at low altitude over the water followed by 3 of the KK-Gerät-equipped Ju 52s in line abreast 200 meters astern of the others. If the mine was anchored too deep in the water or the aircraft flew at the wrong altitude, the mine would fail to detonate. Minesweeping operations with aircraft entailed endless flights with only occasional success, and when a mine was located and detonated it was often fatal to the aircraft. Many Ju 52 “Mausi” aircraft were lost on these operations.[1]

Tables of Organization

None of the Kriegsstärkenachweisungen (KStNs) tables of organization and equipment are believed to have survived the mass destruction of Luftwaffe records during the last year of the war, but what is known of the numerical designation for the main ones for the Minensuchverbände is listed below:

1499 (L)Ergänzungs- Minensuchstaffel (Reserve Training Minesweeping Staffel).

5175 (L)Stab einer Minensuchstaffel (Staff of a Minesweeping Staffel).

5176 (L)Minensuchstaffel (Minesweeping Staffel).

For non-tactical, general administrative matters concerning doctrine, tactics, staffing, promotion and awards recommendations, inspections, etc., the Minensuchverbände were managed by a branch of the Luftwaffe general staff in Berlin that was reorganized, re-designated and/or changed several times during the war:

Inspekteur des Seeflugwesens (Sep 40 – Apr 42)
(?) Luftminen-Inspizient im RLM (May 42 - c. Aug 44)
(?) General des Seewesens der Luftwaffe (29 Aug 44 – 8 May 45)

Unit Histories

This page provides links to all of the Minensuchverbände Unit Histories held on this wiki. There will be an "Index" page in the left-hand column and links to individual unit histories in the right-hand column.

Exceptions to this are units covered by one individual page - they are listed in the left-hand column.

Index Page Unit/History
Minensuchgruppe 1 Stab./MSGr. 1
1./MSGr. 1
2./MSGr. 1
3./MSGr. 1
4./MSGr. 1
5./MSGr. 1
6./MSGr. 1
Sonderkommando “Mausi”

© H.L. deZeng IV, 2024


  1. H.Boog-Die deutsche Luftwaffenführung 1935-1945: Führungsprobleme, Spitzengliederung, Generalstabsausbildung:34; J.R.Smith/A.L.Kay-German Aircraft of the Second World War:363-64; W.Green-Warplanes of the Third Reich:410; H.J.Nowarra- Minensuchgruppe Mausi: Mit der Tante Ju im Kampfeinsatz; Flugzeug magazine, Heft (issue) 6/1995:52-53; PRO London: DEFE 3 ULTRA signal VM5987; AFHRA Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama: decimal 512, A.I.12 (Post Hostilities section) study Y/29 “G.A.F. Establishment Schedule Numbers”.