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December 1943: Exercise ğArabellaĞ


I./ZG 1 reports: the enemy is landing between the [the rivers] Vilaine and Loire. Enemy landing troops NE and SW of Redon [c. 40 km north of Saint Nazaire], strength not known.


I./ZG 1 reports: 08.55 hrs, 8 Ju 88 took off with AB 23 [canisters of 2kg anti-personnel bombs] to reconnoitre and engage the air-landing troops at Redon. Will land at Tours, advanced landing ground Saint Jean d’Angely [53 km NE Royan].


I./ZG 1 reports: the transfer ordered of 14 Ju 88 to Tours not possible at present, as the taxying area has been destroyed by bombing.


FAGr. 5 reports Luftwaffe Station Mont de Marsan bombed. A/c unserviceable, runway useable. 2 a/c probably ready to take off by 1400 hrs. Gruppe has degree of readiness 2.


I./ZG 1 reports: at 1025: 15 a/c have taken off for the transfer. New battle HQ of the Gruppe: Tours.


Success report of I./ZG 1 … (some words missing) … air-landing troops attacked with SD 2 [anti-personnel bombs] and aircraft armament with good effect. Well-aimed light A/A: 3 Ju 88 shot down, 2 missing, 2 damaged.


I./ZG 1 reports: 15 Ju 88 being re-equipped with M2. Ready at Tours by 1600 hrs.


I./ZG 1 reports: ground personnel will remain at Lorient and [two or three words illegible] until the situation is cleared up.


FAGr. 5 reports: 2 Ju 290 with key technical personnel are transferring at 1630 to (rest not seen).


FAGr. 5 reports an attack by a terror group (Terrorgruppe) on the airfield. After … (word illegible) … it came to nothing. A counterattack by the Gruppe is still in progress.


FAGr. 5 reports: terror group annihilated. Parachute troops in strength of one battalion.


I./ZG 1 started December 1943 with 42 Ju 88 C-6 and 9 Ju 88 R-2.

Conversion to M2 entailed fitting out the rear fuselage bay to carry 50 kg bombs.


Thanks to: EdNorth, Matti Salonen and Denniss of the 12 o’clock high forum for their input about the M2 conversion for the Ju 88.

Source: National Archives HW 5/403 (ULTRA decrypt CX/MSS/T23/20)

These bulletins were all dated 4 December 1943 and probably arose from a tabletop exercise since neither ULTRA nor Y-Service intercepts revealed any flying by ZG 1 that day.

Reports from other invasion exercises were deciphered in 1943, including Rübezahl (a character from folklore) and Kakadu (cockatoo). The scenarios seem designed more to give practice to German staffs rather than to anticipate the Allies' intentions.