On 12 August, FAG 123 sent a signal that Ju 188 “C6 DL” [sic], flown by Ofw. Schulte of 6.(F)/123 had probably been shot down during a transfer flight. (Schulte had figured in the Staffel’s strength reports on 26 and 27 June). A report was requested as to the time and place of the incident and the fate of the crew, including statements from Air Movement Control at Volkel. The “special equipment” was to be dismantled at once and removed from the site. On 18 August, the aircraft was listed as unavailable for operations although unfortunately the section of the message giving the reason was not intercepted.
Both Hauck and Schieck were back with their parent unit by the evening of 18 August. A day earlier, the Staffel had transferred to its “new operational location”, moving from Cormeilles to Deelen in the Netherlands, evidently in response to the collapse of the German front in Normandy. We have detailed breakdowns of 6.(F)/123’s strength immediately after its relocation to Deelen:
In the few minutes after 2238 GMT on the 22nd, two aircraft with 6.(F)/123 tactical callsigns were heard by the British Y-Service in contact Zanvoort and Glize-Rijen, Netherlands. By 25 August, just two aircraft were serviceable (Ju 88 W.Nr. 430326 and Ju 188 E-1 W.Nr. 260251) and seven crews were ready (those of Ltn. Wilfert, Fw. Schieck, Fw. Hauck, Fw. Busch, Ofw. Bahr, Uffz. Stanzel and Gefr. Schulte). Wirtz and Pätz were still detached, Schittenheim and Schulte were in hospital and sick respectively.
Schieck and Hauck were still named as on strength on 25 August. On the 27th, Luftflotte 3 suggested to Einsatzstab OKL and the General Nachrichtenführer that 6.(F)/123 should be withdrawn into the Reich in view of the fuel situation. The Staffel was still at Deelen three days later and only on 6 September was it ordered to move to Köthen (about midway between Magdeburg and Leipzig) where it would be subordinate to the Luftnachrichten-Versuchs-Regiment (Signals Experimental Regiment). Despite having absorbed 4./FAGr. 5 at the end of July, 6.(F)/123 was itself disbanded during September, leaving Heinz Hauck available for new employment.
A British Intelligence document on the German order of battle in the West places 6.(F)/123 at Köthen on 6 September. Orders were given that day that an Obltn. Hilmar Grimm of 6.(F)/123 was to attend a Navigation Officers’ course in Strausberg from 9–28 October (by January 1945 this airman was serving in the signals echelon of KG 53). On 4 October a unit thought to be 4.(F)/123 reported the arrival of 17 NCOs and other ranks from 6.(F)/123; these were probably ground crew since pilots are unlikely to have been transferred to a Bf 109 Staffel without first undergoing a conversion course.
PART THREE OF THREE