15–19 July 1944

Two sections (five sorties in all) were scrambled on the 15th but did not intercept the Allied reconnaissance aircraft they were seeking. During the day however, 5. Jagddivision asked where Maj. Kroeck was to be sent, as he had been posted to Jagdgruppe 200 (Kroeck was in fact the Gruppenkommandeur).

The 16th brought another four uneventful scrambles (16 sorties). Reported strength was 22 (17) Bf 109s and one was off strength as a result of enemy action on the 12th. There were 31 (18) pilots but during the day, Jafü Südfrankreich told II. Jagdkorps that he agreed to the despatch of eight fighter instructors from 2./JGr. 200, “a few at a time after arrival of young pilots.” This suggests that the Gruppe’s more experienced airmen were badly needed elsewhere but Jafü Süd had his own problems to address, advising II. Jagdkorps of the following personnel requirements:

For 1./JGr. 200: flying personnel; one officer and three Oberfeldwebel; technical personnel, four Unteroffizier aircraft mechanics; and engine fitters, of whom one should be an Unteroffizier. The 2. Staffel needed: flying personnel, one Leutnant and three Oberfeldwebel; and technical personnel including “one suitable Erk” (RAF slang for Aircraftman) as a mechanic.

Late in the afternoon, Uffz. Ohmert made a brief test flight in a Bf 108, VF+EM.

The 17th again saw JGr. 200 in action against American heavy bombers headed for the marshalling yards and rail bridges of Avignon. MASAF’s daily summary says the German fighters “appeared inexperienced, unaggressive” and that they employed “no unusual tactics”. Although the Americans reported seeing as many as 20 opposing fighters, JGr. 200’s effort for the day was five scrambles totalling 18 sorties and only 10 of those sighted and engaged the enemy. Claims were made for three Fortresses damaged and one Liberator shot out of formation but no B-17 Groups were involved. Luftflotte 3's diary says that only one enemy aircraft was shot down in this action

The Americans lost a B-24 from the 455th BG; one missing from the 456th; and one lost from the 459th. In every case Flak was held to be the cause. The only part of the escort to engage was the 332nd FG whose 302nd FS took on five Bf 109s and claimed three of them (one each for 1/Lt. Luther H. Smith Jr., 2/Lt. Robert H. Smith and 1/Lt. Laurence D. Wilkins). In fact the Gruppe lost only one aircraft, Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 163904 of the 2. Staffel’s Obltn. Heinz Krößmann who was killed south west of Cheval-Blanc (Vaucluse). This officer was 30 years old at the time of his death.

20–23 July 1944

Jafü Süd reported that eight Bf 109s had scrambled in the course of the 20th, in a single operation, but had not sighted the enemy. The Allies overheard these aircraft landing between 13.23 and 13.30 hours. On the 21st, there was no Allied air activity but seven pairs of Bf 109s had operated without loss against the French Resistance east of Valence ((probably over the Vercors Plateau) alongside Geschwader Bongart. These sorties were in support of airborne troops landing in 22 gliders that morning near Vassieux-en-Vercors.

Next day, there was one scramble in Rotte strength (probably against a reconnaissance aircraft) but without any sighting. In addition there were seven “special operations” (17 sorties in total) supporting the 157. Reserve Division against guerrillas and it may be that this referred to the use of WGr. 21 mortars. All the aircraft returned safely. Geschwader Bongart committed 68 aircraft to the same action. Unteroffizier Ohmert logged two separate scrambles on the 22nd. During the morning, carrying a droptank, he reported seeing Liberators but did not engage; in the afternoon he looked for a reconnaissance aircraft but did not find it. Shortly before this second take-off, he took his white 1 on a brief test flight.

On the 23rd, Jafü Süd sent four or six aircraft (sources differ) to supplement 63 of Geschwader Bongart operating once more in support of 157. Reserve Division. The day's situation report spoke of combatting partisans by »BAW u. BWA« (bombing and strafing) of individual targets but without observed effects; the Jafü on the other hand reported reconnaissance of partisan territory by two Rotten. Strength that day was: 21 (14) aircraft and 26 pilots (possibly 21 operational).

Meanwhile on the 23rd, the II. Jagdkorps was still busy formalising JGr. 200’s position. It issued a document advising that OKL had given approval, valid for four months, for the Gruppe to embody the operational parts of Erg. JGr. Süd and JG 101 (plus the remaining personnel and transport of the former), feature on the Luftgau VII order of battle and be subordinated to Jafü Süd. As British analysts pointed out, this was not new but rather regularised what had happened when the unit was first activated.

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