Comforts for the troops

On 11 July, JG 2 was told that stocks of potatoes captured on Jersey were so large that Fliegerkorps V’s allocation of 60 tonnes had been doubled. By contrast, only five days later Luftflotte 3 was citing difficulties in feeding the civil population and forbidding members of the armed forces to buy flour, bread, meat or fats in occupied France, Belgium and Luxembourg. General von Greim announced on the 31st that since Fliegerkorps V’s “special operations” entailed “particularly bad living conditions” and inadequate billets, all his personnel would be paid an extra front allowance. By 2 August Field Marshal Sperrle of Luftflotte 3 had concluded that all troops under his command should be billeted as in peace time, so beds and bedding should be “procured with the assistance of the Field Commands and the local mayors” — in other words, expropriated from French civilians. Arrangements were also to be made to deal with “the plague of flies”. That same day, Luftflotte 3 decreed that, “All units stationed within a radius of 50 miles of Paris [or] the coast may decide for themselves about giving leave for expeditions to visit Paris and/or the sea, [giving] an opportunity for every man in the Air Force in Luftgau West France to visit Paris or the coast”. That they were to travel by rail wherever possible suggests that motor transport could not easily be spared.

Conferences

At the beginning of August, Luftwaffe officers in France were enjoined to call on local Army and Navy commanders to establish good working relationships and there was a flurry of conferences:

 

4 August

0800

Fliegerkorps V HQ, Villacoublay

 

 

 

Signals Officers (and if possible an experienced Staffelkapitän) of KG 51, KG 54, KG 55, 4.(F)/14 and 4.(F)/121. Meeting with the Korps’ Signals Officer to consider proposed changes to Luftwaffe three-letter air-to-ground codes F, G and H.

 

4 August

1200

Dining Room of Officers’ Casino, Villacoublay.

 

 

 

All Kommodores (apparently of fighter and Zerstörer units) meeting with Jafü 3.

 

 

1430

All Kommodores.

 

9 August

1300

Fliegerkorps IV HQ, Dinard

 

 

 

Medical Officers of 4.(H)/22, 2.(H)/31 and 2.(H)/12 (it may have been this conference for which Stabsarzt Fischbach was recalled from leave).

Special Reports

In the interlude between the French armistice and the opening of the full-scale air offensive against Britain, Bletchley Park was able to produce, in addition to its day-to-day intelligence, these papers offering an overview of the Luftwaffe, its organisation and dispositions in the West:

 

20 June

Enemy Flak Organisation and Employment.

 

22 June

Reorganisation of the Fliegerkorps and Fliegerdivisionen under the Luftflotten, (including HQ locations where known)

 

23 June

German Air Force: Ground and Supply (functions of the Luftgau)

 

26 June

German Air Force Target Numbers

This paper carried a note from Bletchley Park’s Cmdr. Malcolm Saunders (Head of Hut 3) to Air Intelligence’s Wing Commander Frederick Winterbotham about “the detailed study of identification which is now being carried out here … It may then be that we shall soon be able to give you warnings of the detailed bombing operations contemplated by the enemy”.

 

26 June

Reorientation of German Airforce (see above).

 

12 July

Enemy Flak Organisation and Employment – II

“It must be emphasised that this document contains hypotheses and deductions and is not to be confused with the routine CX/JQ reports which consist of a series of ascertained facts.”

 

16 July

German Air Force Signals and Communications

“The German system of Air Force Communications … before the outbreak of was was mostly ascertainable both from technical and popular publications.”

 

31 July

Summary of Strength Returns – July 1940

Unsurprisingly, some units’ figures were being read day after day, others intermittently and many not at all. The available sample may however have been large enough to reach estimates of typical serviceability levels, the rate at which depleted formations were being replenished and the availability of combat-ready crews.

 

2 August

Flak Order of Battle

 

4 August

Radio and Visual Beacons

 

6 August

GAF Order of Battle

“… compiled in so far as possible from CX/JQ … It is thought that this may serve a useful purpose to set against information drawn from other sources.”

When compared to modern references, some errors are apparent, mainly over the Korps or Division to which a unit was subordinated. What was missed altogether was the fighter units’ removal from their previous Fliegerkorps to place them directly under the two Jagdfliegerführer.

continued on next page …

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CONTENTS

Introduction

Armistice and After

Defence

Preparing for the Offensive

Re-equipment, Precautions, Logistics

Comforts for the troops

Conferences

Special Reports

Conclusions

Sources

© Nick Beale 2020


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