Claims

Bletchley Park sometimes deciphered reports of victories claimed in aerial combat. Among these during the period in question were:

 

11 July

Uffz. Hübel of III./JG 51 shot down an RAF bomber 3 km SE Mariekerque and three wounded men were captured.

 

16 July

V. Fliegerkorps asked JG 2 for Oberstltn. von Bülow’s personal score and how many aircraft the Geschwader had shot down under his leadership: the answer to the latter point was 203.

 

17 July

I./JG 2 reported that Hptm. Wick had shot down a Spitfire 20 km E of Brighton at 1307 GMT.

 

18 July

II./JG 2 claimed either two or three Blenheims bombing near Le Havre (reports differ). Ltn. Dudek’s aircraft was hit, he bailed out and was rescued by a boat.

A pilot of ZG 2 claimed a barrage balloon over Southampton.

 

11 July

Early in the morning a Rotte from 8./JG 77 shot down a Sunderland off Trondheim and later four men were seen in a dinghy. One of the Bf 109s was itself shot down and force-landed in the sea.

 

13 August

II./JG 53 claimed a Hurricane shot down in flames for the loss of one of their own aircraft.

Oberleutnant Wieberg of ZG 2 force-landed unhurt, 25 km N of Le Havre, claiming two aircraft shot down.

Night Fighters

It is unlikely that the German development of a night fighter arm came as a great surprise to the RAF. Once it began nocturnal attacks on targets in Germany, it was only to be expected, especially in view of the damage that British crews reported causing. Luftwaffe night fighters made their first kill, a Hampden, on the night of 25/26 April 1940, while in ULTRA:

In the late evening of 18/6 there was some rather obscure talk of night fighter crews in connection with future operations of KG 76. This may have reference to attacks on England.

The 28th of June was a busy day. Göring ordered that I./ZG 1 in Düsseldorf was to be used “in all haste” for night fighting with every Zerstörer Gruppe supplying a crew capable of night- and blind-flying. In exchange each would receive a crew lacking these qualifications. Luftflotte 2 spoke that day of two Gruppen “now to be detached for defence of greater Berlin” which rather than going to Werneuchen and Schönwald were instead to be based in Neuruppin, and Brandenburg-Briest. However, I. Fliegerkorps sent a nil return in response to a request for volunteers for night fighting.

A Luftflotte 2 signal of 30 July advised that I. Fl.Kps that the “long-distance night fighter sortie” had been called off and during August messages were read warning that night fighter operations wold take place in named map areas, although initially Bletchley Park had to add that “Source has no information concerning these areas”. On 7 August the presence of Oberst Josef Kammhuber in Brussels was noted, along with a comment that this officer was connected with “a Night Fighter Division” and the Division was among the addressees of a document issued by Luftflotte 2 on the 12th. Orders for the night of the 13/14th included Fernnachtjagd in area C2, apparently north of the Thames. This German term was now translated as a “long-range sweep”, proof that the Luftwaffe did not envisage night fighting as purely reactive and defensive. The 20th brought the news that Ju 88s engaged in night fighting be equipped to carry bombs in future so the Quartermaster General would ensure that new Ju 88 Z (i.e. Zerstörer) were delivered ready-fitted with bomb-dropping gear. Orders for that night gave some hint of defensive procedures: a patrol between 2º and 3º East at altitudes from 500–2500 m. That the Night Fighter Division was now an established part of the Luftwaffe’s organisation was shown by its repeated appearance among the addressees of deciphered signals

continued on next page …

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CONTENTS

Introduction

Armistice and After

Defence

Preparing for the Offensive

Re-equipment, Precautions, Logistics

Claims

Night Fighters

Comforts for the troops

Conferences

Special Reports

Conclusions

Sources

© Nick Beale 2020–2022


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