On the 18th Oberst Heigl (Kommodore of KG 200) and Maj. Stormer (Kommandeur, II./KG 200) left Paris, to be met by the captured pilot’s unit which had moved by road to Meaux (40 km east of the French capital). They carried on to Reims where Luftflotte 3 had established its new HQ. Luftflotte 3 gave orders to evacuate Reims on 25 August (American troops arrived there on the 30th) and continued to Arlon on the Belgium-Luxembourg border where an HQ was set up by the 27th although some elements did not leave Reims until the next day. This proved to be the briefest of stays because overnight on 31 August/1 September they transferred yet again, to Mayen in Germany. Since Stormer’s diary records the same sequence of towns (and the prisoner recalled Meaux–Reims–Mayen) it seems possible that the II./KG 200 men were providing security for Luftflotte 3’s HQ or covering its successive retreats.
Early in the morning of 29 August elements of 2./LLG 1 left Mars-la-Tour (20 km W Metz) and arrived in Altenstadt, Germany with nine Do 17 and 11 DFS 230 plus three officers and 70 other ranks. This was one more element of the general Luftwaffe withdrawal from France.
Luftflotte 3 issued orders to III. Flakkorps on the 3rd that it was to rest and recuperate in the area between Moorbah and Kastellaun but those elements still capable of fighting were to secure the area around Luxembourg City pending the arrival of 1. Panzer Brigade. Meanwhile, »Kampfgruppe Schäfer« was subordinated to the Korps’ 1. Flak Brigade in all respects “for fulfilment of the foregoing tasks”.
Shortly after reaching Mayen, the prisoner’s group were redeployed to Longwy on the France-Luxembourg border where they undertook anti-partisan patrols. Longwy was liberated on 10 September. That day KG 200 noted that Kampfgruppe Schäfer was now subordinated to the Parachute Army (1. Fallschirmjäger Armee), as per an OKL directive of the 7th but it looks as if in practice this did not happen immediately (see below). On the 12th some KG 200 personnel retreating from Longwy were overtaken by the US Army and taken prisoner.
On the 7th, LLG 2 had left Haguenau with nine He 111 and the same number of Go 242, in a move ordered as long ago as 21 August. Parachute Army’s Adjutant advised his Tactical HQ on 18 September that Field Marshal von Rundstedt (back for a third tour as Ob. West) had ruled that the withdrawal of KGr. Schäfer from 1. Armee was impossible for the present. The transfer would however ensue “as soon as circumstances permit” and all the unit’s serviceable elements in the Mayen area should move right away to “Essingen, West South West of Saarburg”.
Unserviceable elements were to restore serviceability in Kehrig (10 km south of Mayen) under Fw. Kuschl. The message added that Maj. Stormer (Major Dr. Fritz Stormer of Stab KG 200) would return to Berlin-Gatow “after winding up”. It seems that the unit had split up at some stage because the same signal speaks of “Battle Group Schaefer operating near Rohlingen west of Saarburg, within framework of 19. Gren. Div.”
12 October 1944
Fallschirmjäger Abteilung Schäfer was mentioned in a signal as an independent Luftwaffe unit in the First Army’s sphere of command.
24 October 1944
The Ritterkreuz was awarded to “Oberleutnant Friedrich Schäfer in a paratroop regiment” although this was not announced in the Nazi Party newspaper Völkischer Beobachter until 30 November.
RL 2-I/73: Lageorientierungen und Einsatzplanungen. Besprechungs-, Tages-, Vortrags- und Aktennotizen (Fragmente), Band 1 (1943–45)
RL 2-I/80: Lageorientierungen und Einsatzplanungen.- Tagesverlauf, Besprechungsnotizen, Band 2 (June–November 1944)
RL2-III/64: Gliederung des KG 200
RL2- IV/40: Invasions-Kalendar über den Einsatz der fdl. u. eig. Luftwaffe, 21–26 July 1944
RW 35/1353K: Sicherungskräfte, Bandenlage und Bandenbekämpfung im Bereichg. des Mil. Bef. Frankreich, 22. Juli 1944.
The National Archives, Kew, London:
AIR 20/7703: Translations from Captured Enemy Documents: Vol. IV.
AIR 40/2419: ADI(K) Reports
HW 5/448, 449, 460, 467, 472, 476, 541, 581, 583, 584 and 59: Government Code and Cypher School, German Section: Reports of German Army and Air Force High Grade Machine Decrypts (7 March–26 September 1944)
Canadian Department of National Defence, Directorate of History and Heritage:
Dr. Günther W. Gellermann: Moskau Ruft Heeresgruppe Mitte (Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Koblenz, 1988) ISBN 3-7637-5851-8
Thierry Vuaille, Peter Taghon and Lovro Peršen.
PART THREE AND FINAL
© Nick Beale 2022