Before he joined NSG 9, Heinz Buß had been Kapitän of Störkampfstaffel Kroatien, flying the He 46 with this unit over Yugoslavia at least as early as 21 June 1943, through its redesignation as 1./NSG 7 in November 1943 and up until 27 May 1944 (165 flights in all).
On 27 November 1943 he had made an emergency landing behind enemy lines in an He 46 coded 1K+FH. On 11 March 1944, his Einsatzkommando Buß reported on its operations for the day:
One Hs 126 from 08.50–11.15 hours (Central European Time) covering the area on either side of the River Vrbas, reporting several small enemy groups to the north and preparations in Srbac, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
From 10.30–11.30 an Hs 126 and three He 46 attacked Srbac, claiming hits and destruction;
On a mission from 12.10–13.35 hours, an Hs 126 and an He 46 destroyed a “staff building” near point 272, 13 km. SSW of Bos Novi.
One Hs 126 from 12.35–13.35 reconnoitred the area as far as 20 km. south of Banja Luka, sighting small isolated enemy groups.
Summing up the day it was noted that 26 fragmentation bombs had been dropped and 3,000 rounds of ammunition expended, the observation of heavy foot tracks confirmed agents’ reports passed on by the 373. Inf. Div.
On 26 May, his He 46 (4X+EH) was attacked by Spitfires of No. 249 Squadron near Banja Luka and his observer bailed out with severe injuries. Buß was in the air again next day, ferrying He 46 4X+MH from Banja Luka to Zagreb but this was his last flight with NSG 7.
From 10 June to 15 September (flights 166-222) Buß was retraining on the Ju 87 and making instrument flights with NSG 111 at Stubendorf, Silesia. The period 6–17 October (flights 223–241) was devoted to formation and practice bombing flights on the Ju 87 in Lüben with 15./SG 151.
This suggests that 3./NSG 9 was without a Staffelkapitän for a short period between Eduard Reither’s transfer on 28 September and Buß’s arrival. It seems likely that Buß would — in common several other NSG 9 aircrew — have been granted a short period of home leave before taking up his new posting. He recorded five flights with NSG 9: a solo workshop test flight in E8+JH on 22 November and an operation in the same aircraft on 26 December with Uffz. Thesies; two operations in E8+EH on 21 January with Uffz. Rafael Szyglowski as his Bordfunker; and an 11-minute solo training flight on 11 February 1945.
In a deciphered German signal of 23 November 1944, dealing with crew changes in NSG 2, "Major (Command Reserve) (a/c pilot) Robert Rohn" is mentioned as being with the 1. Staffel.
Eduard Reither's post-NSG 9 service with the General der Schlachtflieger is reflected in a deciphered message of 18 April 1945 bearing his name. It is addressed to Maj. Wenner of SG 151 at Schleswig-See (on 17 April Wenner had been placed in charge of all Nachtschlacht units in Northern Germany) and reports the deaths of a Maj. Kraus and an Obltn. Klingler in a crash near Prague. It also asks about the locations of Nachtschlachtkommandos (Bü 181) 1, 2, 4, 9 and 10.
Willy Ferling recalled that Wilzopolski prior to his appointment to command 1./NSG 9 had been a long-range reconnaissance pilot and had been awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold. The Hauptmann’s mission on 3 March 1945 was his first and last with NSG 9 and no successor was appointed. Ferling recalls that he and Lt. Fritz Resch ran the Staffel temporarily and that “Major Frost was often there.”
Wilzopolski’s DKG was awarded on either 18 March or 19 April 1943 (sources differ) while he was serving with 1.(F)/Nachtaufklärungsstaffel.
Information now available from deciphered German signals tells us how he was set on the path to the command of 1./NSG 9. On 1 February 1945, I Jagdkorps reported that:
With immediate effect, Hptm. (War Officer) (pilot) Willi Wilzopolski, IV./NJG 1, at present detached to Formation Leaders' School of the General der Jagdflieger [is transferred] to 14./SG 151. Employment: training as Nachtschlacht pilot (Fw 190).
British Intelligence noted that the last known location of 14./SG 151 had been Schroda in Silesia (now Sroda near Poznan, Poland) on 6 January but we now know that that around 20 January the airfield been evacuated in haste as the advancing Red Army threatened it. The Staffel was probably in Berlin-Staaken when Wilzopolski joined it.
As for his former career as a night fighter pilot, a Hptm. Willi Wilzopolski of 1./NJG 2 is listed as injured at Châteaudun, aerodrome France on 10 July 1944. He was taken to hospital in Chartres after a motor vehicle accident.
Christian Möller has established that Oberstleutnant Karl Vehmeyer was the officer deputising for Major Frost in January 1945 while the latter was on a tour of inspection in Western Germany, with Gefechtsverband Hallensleben. Vehmeyer ended the war as the commander of Oranienburg aerodrome and was then interned in a camp at Großenbrode (Source: National Archives AIR40/1890).