From now on KGr. 100 would be subordinated to IV. Fliegerkorps and Luftflotte 3 but this did not stop 9. Fl.Div. asking it to submit for returns of actual strength and establishment of other ranks by 22 August, adding that no extension would be granted.
At 15.00 hours on the 18th, the Gruppe repeated its argument that special operations involving long high-altitude flights merited a second oxygen mask for all flying personnel, 144 in all. Just 75 minutes later, another request was put in for (in the British translation) “17 high-breathing fixtures and 64 portable respirators”, described as indispensable for long-range operations at high altitude. The unit also asked the technical authorities at Mons when Ju 52 W.Nr. 5903, NR+AB would be repaired.
In a file note, apparently of 18 August and headed “Conference Reichsmarschall”, the first point was:
KGr. 100 bombload: make use of carrying capacity; not just 50 kg bombs but also 250 kg and 500 kg.
When Aufklärungsgruppe (H)41 sent out “its usual report” (Bletchley Park’s description) of its daily reconnaissance of the French Atlantic Coast, it noted a crashed He 111 lying 6 km. south east of Les Sables d’Olonne, 200 metres from the beach. Although the bomber was burned out, its markings were reported as 6 + ND, with the “D” painted in yellow. While British Intelligence suggested next day that the real code was probably 6N+ND, this would violate the standard coding scheme and it seems altogether more likely that the Heinkel was 6N+DL. This conjecture is lent weight by the allocation of this code to another aircraft on the 27th (see below). If the Hs 126 crew were reporting exactly what they had seen from the air, the aircraft’s code may have been painted in full on the upper on the upper wing surfaces, in the form 6+N (port wing) D+L (starboard).
On the subject of aircraft markings, V. Fliegerkorps warned its fighter, Zerstörer and Flak commanders on the 19th that He 111s camouflaged for night operations also operated by day. Recognition markings on their fuselage sides and beneath the wings were overpainted in black while those on their upper surfaces remained clearly visible. As a British analyst drily observed, “what use that was to the unidentified Flak Korps [was] left unexplained.”
The Gruppe gave instructions that He 111 H-3, W.Nr. 3327 was to be brought over from Gotha to Lüneburg for “special fittings”; the 3. Staffel was to do the same with an H-2 currently in Celle and it was to be marked 6N+ML. The planned delivery of an H-1 or H-2 to KG 40’s Ausbildungs (training) Staffel was cancelled now that KGr. 100 was no longer subordinated to that Geschwader but 6N+CH was to be transferred to Vannes by the Ergänzungskette.
More prosaically, KGr. 100’s Restkommando was told to get a rubber stamp made reading “Dienststellefeldpostnummer L 38135, Luftgaupostamt, Paris”; on the 22nd KGr. 100 announced that it would deal with its mail though this post office. A signal a week later revealed that KGr. 100 had an officer named Schnürpel. Even such ostensibly minor administrative details helped the British in building up a picture of the German forces facing them.
Perhaps because the Gruppe was now under a new Korps with different reporting channels, there is nothing in the deciphered traffic about the raid on 19/20 August by 15 of its He 111s on factories in Derby, including the Rolls-Royce aero engine plant. For the subsequent missions against Plymouth and Derby (20th/21st) there is no more than an instruction at 17.30 hrs. about radio procedures which was taken to suggest the possibility that KGr. 100 would fly that night. Again there seems to have been no clue to the mission against the Bristol Aeroplane Company at Filton on the 22nd/23rd.
Notice was given by 9. Fl.Div. that a heavy W/T troop consisting of two NCOs and 14 men would be arriving in Vannes that day or the next. The Division’s Signals Officer told Funktrupp Brest to pass on to KGr. 100 and I./KG 40 (in Bordeaux) that Luftflotte 2’s high-powered visual beacons were immediately adjacent to its high power radio beacons. The Gruppe put out a request during the day for information about a missing Ju 52, NQ+AY.
It seems the oxygen mask problem had not been resolved since Obltn. Mansfeld asked the Restkommando to send an old-type one of every size on the next aircraft. For its part, the Kommando reported that He 111 H-3 W.Nr. 3327 was at Lüneburg awaiting special fitting-out and on the 24th the unit asked to be informed as soon as this machine was ready so that it could be assigned markings and arrangements be made for a crew to fetch it. They also asked for various batteries to be sent by the next plane.
The Gruppe on the 24th advised that a replacement He 111, W.Nr. 2641, would arrive in Lüneburg from Romilly, where there was a Feldluftpark (depot), in a few days, asking for a report to be sent on the condition of the bomber’s structure and engines and its number of flying hours, before installing “X and P.” The Gruppe would then decide whether it should be returned to the Reserve Supply Depot or be fitted out with this equipment.
A message had been sent early that day from LN-Funkbaustab 3/II (Air Signals Construction Staff) at Luftgau West France to “the signals unit at Beaumont” (Beaumont-Hague, 16.5 km WNW Cherbourg) ordering the immediate camouflaging of all buildings. Engineer Niesner was to report when the electric current had been switched on, while a surveyor named Klein was to inspect the Knickebein and Wotan apparatus there the following day.
Yet again on the 25th, oxygen masks were urgently sought: Oblt. Mansfeld needed one of the old type for himself, as the new ones did not fit. He went so far as to ask for one of every size to try on. the matter was urgent, since he could not fly until he had a suitable mask.
An intercepted message spoke of an He 111 H-3 in which special equipment had just been installed; it was to be marked 6N+AA, it was needed at once and the depot advised that it would be sent off on the 29th. The circumstantial details appear to match W.Nr. 3327, referred to in two previous signals.
An He 111 from Romilly was stated to be in good condition after 31 hours in action. It had armouring but no bomb sights, though these were being fitted. This was almost certainly the report which the unit had called for in respect of W.Nr. 2641 and next day it was stated that the machine was to become 6N+DL and have (unspecified) equipment fitted.
continued on next page …
PART FOUR OF FIVE