Transportverbände Unit Histories
The Luftwaffe’s mobilization plan dated 1 July 1939 called for the following transport formations to be operational by 1 September 1939: 1 Geschwaderstab, 5 Gruppenstäbe and 16 Transportstaffeln. From this humble beginning, the transport arm of the Luftwaffe grew to many units as Hitler’s aggression consumed most of Europe and drove deep into Russia and south into North Africa, thusly placing great strain on the Wehrmacht’s lines of supply. Until 1 May 1943, the principal transport units carried the designation “KG z.b.V.” and “KGr.z.b.V.” (Kampfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung = Bomber Geschwader for special employment, and Kampfgruppe zur besonderen Verwendung = Bomber Group for special employment). At first glance, this peculiar terminology looks like a crude attempt to disguise or camouflage the true nature of the transport formations, but according to one author (Green) these designations were used to lessen the psychological impact on the personnel serving in them who might have otherwise thought they belonged to a unit or branch of secondary importance. While Green’s hypothesis is highly debatable, it may hold some truth.
The transports units themselves took several different forms depending on their purpose. Aside from KG z.b.V. 1 and a few others that were permanent formations that came directly under the Lufttransportführer in Berlin, the great bulk of the units prior to 1 May 1943 were formed on a provisional or temporary basis for a specific operation using aircraft, instructors and other personnel taken from the multi-engine training schools. Most often these were quickly disbanded on conclusion of the operation and their assets returned to the schools. Other units took the form of individual transport Staffeln that were permanently assigned to a higher command such as a Fliegerkorps or special sea transport units used to fly personnel and supplies between harbors.
In late spring 1941, a type of auxiliary transport formation was set up that was called Luftverkehrsgruppe (Air Traffic Gruppe or Air Service Gruppe) or Luftverkehrsstaffel (Air Traffic Staffel or Air Service Staffel). With two or three exceptions, these were deployed on airfields in and around Berlin to help transport senior government and military personnel, fly special air cargo missions, reinforce the airlift capacity at the front during periods of special need, transport wounded to hospitals back in Germany, and help evacuate special category personnel (wounded, German nurses, female personnel, etc.) back to Germany during large-scale retreats, such as the rapid withdrawal from France in August 1944. The Luftverkehrs formations had Luftwaffe officers and air crew, but the aircraft were primarily serviced and maintained by Deutsche Lufthansa A.G. personnel at their repair facilities at Berlin-Staaken, -Tempelhof and -Rangsdorf.
Tables of Organization and Representative Strengths
Typically, and in accordance with the tables of organization, the Gruppenstab of a transport group consisted of a Gruppenkommandeur in the rank of Major or Oberstleutnant, a deputy group commander in the rank of Hauptmann, a technical (or engineering) officer who also served as the operations officer and was usually an Oberleutnant, a transportation officer in the rank of Oberleutnant who was responsible for the allocation and loading of cargoes, a navigation officer and a communications (signals) officer. Until 24 February 1944, the Gruppenstab had a Stabsstaffel or Stabsschwarm with an allowance of 5 aircraft.
|1177 (L)||Transportstaffel eines Fliegerkorps (Mot.) (Air Transport Staffel of a Fliegerkorps (Motorized))|
|1177b (L)||Transportstaffel (Für Sondereinsatz) (Mot.) (Air Transport Staffel (For Special Operations) (Motorized)|
|1178 (L)||Transportstaffel eines Fallschirmkorps (Air Transport Staffel of a Paratroop Corps)|
|1180 (L)||Transportstaffel des Chef des Nachschubwesens (Air Transport Staffel of the Director of Supply)|
|1181 (L)||Stab eines Transportfliegergeschwaders (Mot) (Staff of an Air Transport Geschwader (Motorized))
1945 allowance: 6 officers, 44 NCOs and men, 1 liaison aircraft
|1182 (L)||Stab einer Transportfliegergruppe (Mot) (Staff of an Air Transport Gruppe (Motorized))
1945 allowance: 7 officers, 60 NCOs and men, 1 liaison aircraft (prior to 24 Feb 44 had 5 transport aircraft instead of the liaison aircraft)
|1182a (L)||Stab einer Transportfliegergruppe (Schl) (Staff of an Air Transport Gruppe (Towing))|
|1183 (L)||Transportfliegerstaffel (Mot) (Air Transport Staffel (Motorized)
1945 allowance: 6 officers, 121 NCOs and men, 16 transport aircraft (prior to 24 Feb 44 had 12 transport aircraft)
|1183a (L)||Transportfliegerstaffel (Schl) (Air Transport Staffel (Towing)|
|1202 (L)||Stab einer Transportfliegergruppe (Me 323) (Mot) (Staff of an Air Transport Gruppe (Me 323) (Motorized))|
|1203 (L)||Transportfliegerstaffel (Me 323) (Mot) (Air Transport Staffel (Me 323) (Motorized))
1945 allowance: 3 officers, 218 NCOs and men, 12 Me 323 transports
|1204 (L)||Stabsstaffel einer Transportfliegergruppe (Me 323) (Mot) (Stabsstaffel of an Air Transport Gruppe (Me 323) (Motorized))|
|(KStN unknown)||Transportfliegerstaffel (Ju 352) (Air Transport Staffel (Ju 352)
1945 allowance: 7 officers, 116 NCOs and men, 12 Ju 352 transports
|5112 (L)||Stab einer Luftverkehrsgruppe (Staff of an Air Service Gruppe)|
|5113 (L)||Luftverkehrsstaffel (Air Service Staffel)|
Wartime Organizational Changes
The most significant changes are noted below.
- In November 1942 (approximately), the airfield servicing company (Flughafenbetriebskompanie) that was a component of each transport Gruppe was removed and made independent as 1. – 27. Flughafenbetriebskompanie z.b.V. This measure reduced the personnel strength of each Gruppe from c. 600 to c. 450 while increasing the flexibility and efficiency of transport aircraft maintenance and servicing. The total number of aircraft allotted remained at 53 (5 + 4 x 12).
- On 21 April 1943, the Air Transport Commander (Lufttransportführer) in Berlin issued a wide-sweeping order doing away with the old “KG z.b.V.” designations and renaming and renumbering nearly all of the transport units. The order established 1 May 1943 as the effective date of the change, but units were allowed 15 days following that date to implement the change. Hence, many units were still using their old designations up to 15 May, but not after that date. There were a few exceptions to this rule (see TGr. 10), but only a few. Effective 15 May, all of the renamed and renumbered transport units came under XIV. Fliegerkorps, which was established the same date. The total number of aircraft allotted remained at 53 (5 + 4 x 12).
- On 24 February 1944, orders were issued to reduce the number of transport Staffeln in each Gruppe from 4 to 3 by disbanding 4., 8., 12. and 16.Staffel in TG 1, 2, 3 and 4 and to eliminate the 5 transport aircraft authorized for the Gruppenstäbe. The 12 surplus aircraft and crews from each of the disbanded Staffeln were then distributed to the remaining three Staffeln in each Gruppe raising their total from 12 to 16. The 5 surplus aircraft from the Gruppenstäbe were presumably turned in. The total number of aircraft allotted thus changed to 48 (3 x 16).
The more worthwhile resources (in approximate order of "substance"):
- "German Air Force Airlift Operations" by Generalmajor Fritz Morzik
- “Transporter-wer kennt sie schon !” by Karl Kössler
- “Geschichte eine transportflieger gruppe im II weltkrieg” by Kameradschaft ehemaliger transportflieger
- "Junkers Ju 52: A History 1930-1945" by Robert Forsyth
- "Le Junkers Ju 52: de la Lufthansa a la Luftwaffe" by Gregory Almeras
- "The Junkers Ju 52 Story" by Jan Forsgren
- "Luftwaffe at War #20: The Junkers Ju 52 – The Luftwaffe's Workhorse" by Morten Jessen
- "Junkers Ju 52 in de Blitzkrieg" by J.H. Schuurman & W. Kaak
- “Transporter - Luftwaffe transport units 1943-1945” by author Martin Pegg
- "Junkers Ju 52" by Waldemar Trojca
- "Aircraft & Legend: Junkers Ju 52" by Heinz Nowarra
- "Die Ju 52 im Zweiten Weltkrieg" by Janusz Piekalkiewicz
- "Meine Erlebnisse als Ju 52 Transportflieger 1940-1944" by Horst Dinter
- "Meine Liebe zur Ju 52: Erlebnisse mit der Legendaren Ju 52 1939-45" by Joachim Eisermann
And many magazine-format references:
- "AirDOC WWII Photo Archive #1: Ju 52/3M" by AirDOC
- "Model Fan Encyclopedia #4: Junkers Ju 52" by AJaKS Miltary Books
- "Warpaint Series #81: Junkers Ju 52" by Hall Park Books
- "Luftwaffe Profile Series #14: Junkers Ju 52" by Schiffer Pubs
- "Waffen-Arsenal S-65: Ju 52 an alle Fronten im Einsatz" by Podzun-Pallas-Verlag
- "Flugzeug Profile #24: Ju 52" by Flugzeug Publikations
- "Junkers Ju 52 in Action" by Squadron-Signal
© by Henry L. deZeng IV (Work in Progress, 2022).
(1st Draft 2022)
Below are to be found links to all of the Transportverbände Unit Histories held on this wiki. In some instances 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.
- AFHRA Maxwell: decimal 512.619 British AirMin CSDIC P/W Interrogation Reports in microfilm rolls A5415-18, interrogation CSDIC ME A.38/1944 dated 21.6.44; AFHRA Maxwell: decimal 512.619 British AirMin P/W interrogations, ADI(K) series, microfilm rolls A5400-05, interrogation ADI(K) 332/1945 “German Air Transport”, 22 June 1945; K.Kössler-Transporter – wer kennt sie schon!: Die Kennzeichen der Transportfliegerverbände der Luftwaffe von 1937-1945; [Kameradschaft Ehemaliger Transportflieger], Geschichte einer Transportflieger-Gruppe im II.Weltkrieg:180 and 222; H.Boog- Die deutsche Luftwaffenführung 1935-1945: Führungsprobleme, Spitzengliederung, Generalstabsausbildung:25; W.Green-Warplanes of the Third Reich:408; NARA WashDC: RG 242/T-321 roll 104, frames 530-38.
- AFHRA Maxwell: decimal 512.619 British AirMin CSDIC P/W Interrogation Reports in microfilm rolls A5415-18, interrogation CSDIC A.516 dated 23 Dec 44.
- AFHRA Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama: decimal 512, A.I.12 (Post Hostilities section) study Y/29 “G.A.F. Establishment Schedule Numbers”; NARA WashDC: RG 165/document M.I.R.S.4/WE/RO/14/43 “Establishments and Equipment of Various Units of the German Air Force”.
- order Lufttransportführer b. Gen.Qu. (Gen.Kdo. XIV. Fliegerkorps) Abt. 1a Br.B.Nr. 281/43 g.Kdos., Betr: “Neuorganisation der Transportfliegerverbände”, dated 21.4.43, in: [Kameradschaft Ehemaliger Transportflieger], Geschichte einer Transportflieger-Gruppe im II.Weltkrieg (Ronnenberg, 1989), p.180.