F100tag

Conversion training in Burg-bei-Magdeburg

Burg seems to have served as an Ar 234 conversion and training base for reconnaissance units and Walter Carlein was introduced to the type there in the summer of 1944. Ltn. Helmut Reinert (of 1.(F)/22) and Ofw. Karl Nitschke (of 1.(F)/100) made short local flights there on 1 April 1945, in Ar 234 T5+BH, the programme continuing over the next week with a “technical flight” a “wireless flight” and three trial photographic runs over different areas of Germany. The other aircraft they used were Werk Nummern 140594, 140602 and 140609.

The aerodrome was wrecked by heavy bombing on the 10th and American troops reached Rogätz on the west bank of the Elbe late the following afternoon, just 10 km. away. It was clearly time to get out and on the evening of 12 April Nitschke ferried W.Nr. 140609 from Burg to Großenhain, taking off from the Autobahn to the south of the aerodrome and continuing to Lechfeld on the afternoon of the 14th. Reinert meanwhile had begun a ferry flight with 140594 on the morning of the 13th but during his take-off run along the Autobahn the Arado crashed with 90% damage and Reinert was hospitalised. The jet’s starboard tyre had burst, which Reinert thought may have been due to bomb splinters on the road surface. His intended destination is not recorded.

April 1945

A signal of 00.15 hrs. on 1 April announced that 1.(F)/100 was now ready for operations at Unterschlauersbach and that Stab FAG 123 could also be reached there. The Staffel’s orders for the day were:

Road recce in area Alsfeld – Ulrichstein – Fulda – Hersfeld; and

Establishing the whereabouts of tank concentrations, assemblies and troop movements in the area bounded by Aschaffenburg – Mannheim – Hockenheim – Mosbach – Buchen – Miltenberg – Wintersbach – Aschaffenburg.

In the event, the British picked up reports from the Staffel for the Würzburg area (at 09.15) and for Bensheim – Lichtenberg (at 13.30), deducing from these that two Ar 234s had operated.

Many Luftwaffe units were effectively on the run for the rest of the war and part of a message of 2 April was intercepted suggesting that 1.(F)/100 and Stab FAG 123 were moving to Lechfeld (where both were established next day, operationally subordinated to Fl.Div. 16). That afternoon Holert signalled (apparently from Rheine to Air Movement Control at Burg) that Fw. Gildemeister and Ofw. Puls were to ferry aircraft over to Lechfeld.

In spite of the dislocation, a 30-minute visual reconnaissance was flown from 09.00 to 09.30 hrs.:

Roads Aschaffenburg – Dieburg; Autobahn Frankfurt – Bensheim; road Worms – Bensheim; area Mannheim – Ludwigshafen.

The pilot concerned reported two transport aircraft on Darmstadt airfield. According to Bletchley Park’s Operational Watch, the unit put up four more Ar 234 sorties from Unterschlauersbach that day, one of which covered the Kitzingen – Röttingen area at mid-morning. All these aircraft fulfilled their tasks.

An aircraft of 1.(F)/100 photographed Tauberbischofsheim late on the afternoon of 4 April and next day one achieved partial cover of roads in the area Wertheim – Miltenberg – Mannheim – Karlsruhe – Heilbronn – Bad Mergentheim. At 19.00 hrs. it was reported that one element of the Staffel was in München-Riem but a signal the following afternoon still placed the unit in Lechfeld.

On the evening of 5 April, Stab FAG 123 reported completion of its transfer to Lechfeld , where it could be reached by teleprinter, telephone and wireless. The same message gave 1.(F)/100’s new locations and advised that 1.(F)/123 was now in Reinsehlen.

Fliegerdivision 16’s reported reconnaissance effort on the 7th included two Ar 234s from 1.(F)/100. One of these was up from 14.30 hrs. covering the road from Crailsheim to Schwäbisch Hall, seeing that the bridge at Crailsheim had not been destroyed. The Arados and the three Bf 109s also operating had been ordered to establish the whereabouts of the 6. SS Mountain Division, thought to be in the Bad Orb – Birstein area, but could not find it. In fact the surviving remnants of this Division fought the US Army over the Easter weekend, the last action taking place in the Büdinger Wald, south west of Wittgenborn (a few km to the west of the Luftwaffe’s line of search) on the morning of 3 April. The Americans took 2,700 SS prisoners.

Note: As late as the morning of 17 April, TGr. 30 asked Hptm. Friedrich-Franz Christiansen of Lw.Kdo. West’s air transport command, whether it was still to fly a parachute operation in the Bad Orb area for Abwehr Frontaufklärungskommando 120 [the FAKs engaged in clandestine activities behind Allied lines]. This mission was connected to supplying 6. SS Division.

The answer was evidently in the affirmative for at 02.00 hrs. next morning, TGr. 30 reported “task for SS Div. carried out, two agents dropped south east of Birstein at 23.15 hours.” The returning crew reported night flying activity at Gelnhausen, Babenhausen and Zellhausen; fighting on the roads from Hanau to Fulda, and Bad Orb to Lohr and Boxberg (south west of Bad Mergentheim). Searchlights had been encountered at Bad Mergentheim itself.

Allied monitoring of German W/T on the night of 17/18 April heard seven He 111 operating from 20.38–01.37 hrs. One of these landed at at Ludwigslust, at least three were diverted to Neubrandenburg.

Next day an Ar 234 was in the air between 10.00 and 10.50 hrs. covering:

roads Bad Mergentheim – Klopfhof – Crailsheim – Allmerspann – Woltershausen – Mosbach – Miltenberg; and

west of Tauberbischofsheim, Heilbronn, Sontheim, Wimpfen, Miltenberg, Freudenberg, Herbholzheim, Neudenau, Siglingen and Wertheim.

Observed on Wertheim airfield were three Douglas DC-3s and what appeared to be Red Cross tents on the north western perimeter. There were five single-engined aircraft on the landing strip of Impfingen (5 km. north of Tauberbischofsheim).

Note: The above report was is probably in error because Woltershausen is in Niedersachsen, away from 1.(F)/100's usual area of operations. Wolpertshausen, in the Schwäbisch Hall Kreis, may well be the place intended. (Thanks to Stefan Lahres for suggesting this).

Among the pilots operating on the 8th were Ltn. Zeeb (09.45–11.12 hrs.), Hptm. Holert (11.17–12.45 hrs.) and Fw. Lippmann in T5+IH who took off between 15.00 and 16.00 and landed at 17.17 hrs. No targets were revealed for these sorties in the ULTRA decrypts but it is perhaps noteworthy that Zeeb’s take-off and landing times span the mission detailed above. The Allies put together a fuller picture with input from monitoring of German radio traffic, attributing to 1.(F)/100 no fewer than six sorties from Lechfeld:

09.46–11.12

Bad Mergentheim – Crailsheim. (Ltn. Zeeb’s mission)

11.17–12.45

Bad Mergentheim – Crailsheim. (Hptm. Holert)

13.50–15.03

Karlsruhe – Mannheim – Karlsruhe.

14.05–13.10

Main task, to discover whereabouts of 6. SS Mountain Division, not carried out owing to fuel shortage. Visual recce in area Crailsheim – Ilshofen – Schwäbisch Hall.

14.38–15.55

Roads in the area Heidelberg – Speyer – Karlsruhe.

15._8–17.17

River Danube between Ingolstadt and Ulm. (Fw. Lippmann)

continued on next page …

navtag

PART FIVE


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