December 1944

Early in the month, Hauck and his crew joined Kdo. Olga at Rhein-Main and were billeted in Schwanheim, about 3 km north of the aerodrome. At different times they said that the Kommando consisted of three or four crews and Ju 188s. Whichever number was correct, the total soon fell as Ofw. Lehmann’s crew was posted missing on an operation; on the 9th, Ofw. Blüthgen’s A3+BD was lost, with three missing and one dead.

It was on 12 December that Willem Copier was first told, by Kapitän-Leutnant Schuchmann of Marine-Aufklärungskommando 60, that he was to be parachuted behind enemy lines. A week later they discussed equipment and cover stories for a mission in Holland and Copier began a 10-day course in radio transmission procedures. As of the 21st, he was taught how to recognise allied units and their insignia, so that he would be able to report on military movements in Southern Holland.

Also about this time that British Intelligence began deciphering messages about agent CORNELIUS. Information was exchanged about his weight and that of the items that would be parachuted with him. On 18 December there was talk of his journey to EISVOGEL (kingfisher) which, appears to have been a covername for Rhein-Main. On the 26th Schuchmann signalled:

Kdo. 60 is waiting with CORNELIE’s air operation until order comes from your end. If operation can be carried out, please make reduced-size photocopies of W/T instructions … with frequency of new set which is being delivered from your end.

A “special operation” took place on 23 December which may have involved Kdo. Olga, a Ju 188 taking off at 19.30 GMT, flying over Brest and landing in Guernsey at 22.19 hrs. At 22.06 the next night it landed again in Guernsey without fulfilling its (unspecified) task.

Bombs

An American raid on Christmas Eve wrecked the flying control building and two hangars, as well as destroying several aircraft. Wuttge:

… they came over during the afternoon. The warning went at 2 o’clock, we were just on the airfield. At 3 o’clock the alert was still on when suddenly — I immediately threw myself down behind a tree.

The first wave dropped their bombs somewhat wide of the mark. The second bomb carpet was right over us. Six waves passed over. I looked up and, seeing nothing, thought it was all over … Flak splinters were hissing — sss, sss — and I saw that everything around me was on fire, planes, the lot. That was where our machines had been. I was at the other end of the airfield where no bombs fell.

According to Großmann, of the eight dead four came from Kdo. Olga:

The Stabsfeldwebel and the Oberwerkmeister were in one of those slit trenches. They got buried and suffocated … they were a Beobachter, an Oberfeldwebel and two Unteroffiziere.

The Oberfeldwebel was 29-year old Hans Fecht, Stahl’s Beobachter. He is buried in the woodland cemetery in Oberrad, Frankfurt.

Wuttge:

The beam caved in and the and the dug-out collapsed … We started shovelling [and] we got one of them out fairly quickly, at any rate we got his head free so he could breathe … A woman was still believed to be down there but we never found her. Some hutments containing Panzerfaust and signal ammunition were still burning. One of our four men had broken his right am, his left leg and crushed his ribs. The other three had been killed …

Early the following morning members of the Volkssturm, Russians and all sorts of people came to clear up … Just about 5 o’clock … another alert goes. It kicks off right away — brrrrr — they’re coming over the airfield, eight Mustangs. They strafed the filed and everyone — a couple of thousand people — threw themselves into bomb craters. That was the only correct course. They each dropped a bomb and machine-gunned us.

It took four days to establish an operational strip of 50 x 900 m.

According to their account to 2nd TAF’s Air Prisoner of War Interrogation Unit (APWIU), the first mission for Hauck’s crew was in late December to a wood about 5.5 km west of Gilze in Holland but this had to be abandoned in the face of bad weather. Three weeks later their story had changed:

This crew made their first operational flight with 4./KG 200 — an abortive one — on 29th December when they were to drop an agent over France; this agent was one of two carried on P/W’s last flight [i.e. BECK]. Owing to bad weather and poor visibility the sortie had to be broken off when nearing the objective and the pilot then flew back to Frankfurt Rhein/Main.

They added that had been accompanied on their inaugural clandestine mission by Ofw. Joachim Kupfer, a trained dispatcher. (In 1942, Kupfer had been awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold while serving with 4./KG 53).

On the last day of 1944, there was a fire aboard Ju 188 W.Nr. 180461, A3+OD, during a non-operational flight. Hauck’s crew claimed that the pilot was killed along with his Bordfunker but casualty reports refer only to two wounded. The same day, a message was passed that CORNELIUS had been recalled to EISVOGEL on 2 January and could not take off before then, meanwhile accommodation was to be secured for him there.

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