From 0545/15/8 heavy bombardment of the south coast of France between Cannes and Nice. Landing craft in sight from ashore … Landing must be reckoned within the course of the morning.
Luftflotte 2 report to the Kriegsmarine
The Luftwaffe had broadcast its intention that in the event of a landing all available aircraft were to bomb the invasion fleet at first light and at 03.00 Fl.Div. 2 ordered a maximum effort by KG 26 and III./KG 100 against shipping in the Toulon–Marseille area. Primary targets were be notified once reconnaissance had taken place, routes for both units were given and the attacks would go in from 05.30–06.15. In the event however, the fleet was left completely untroubled by the bombers.
The first aggressive action was launched at 07.10, when JGr. 200 scrambled a formation of perhaps a dozen Bf 109s from its 1. and 2. Staffeln. The former was to provide top-cover while 2./200 attacked the landing fleet with WGr. 21 mortars. Before they could come near, they ran into the Lightnings of 1st FG and the German attacked was dispersed, suffering three lost or damaged.
At 08.30 there was a report of four Fw 190s off Caproux and from 10.36-11.45, 2./NAG 13 had an Fw 190 and a Bf 109 scouting over the Golfe du Lion and West of Cap Creus. Meanwhile that morning, orders had been issued that 2./NAG 13 was now subordinated to Jafü Süd.
A certain amount of help was on its way:
From Luftflotte 2 Ops. Abteilung at 09.00 hrs.
1 Fighter Staffel took off at 08.30. Remaining fighters and 11 transports will take off at 09.30 hours. Flying route: Ghedi – Milan – St. Étienne – Orange.
By 10.00 hours, 28 Bf 109s of II./JG 77 had left Ghedi in Italy, bound for Orange-Caritat with the balance of the Gruppe due to follow next day. The transfer was assisted by nine S.82s of II./TG 1 carrying ground crew, spares and other stores. Among them was Ofw. Köhler's 1Z+GP of the 6. Staffel which had set off at 07.30. The Allies were quick to spot these developments:
... reinforcements were airborne and the call sign MITTEL was established as that of II JG 77, probably based at ORANGE CARITAT.
In the comparative safety of the gathering dusk II./TG 1's transports left Avignon to return to Italy. Luftflotte 3's decided to scrub a planned night operation by the bombers of Fliegerkorps IX on the Mediterranean coast on the night of the 15/16th. In the event, no help ever came from that quarter. During the day Fl.Div. 2 had enquired if stocks at Lézignan were sufficient to support operations by a Staffel of fighters but nothing seems to have come of this either.
The Night Attacks
Signed Kommdore 26, addressed I./KG 26, Orange Plan de Dieu, stamped 16.00 hours:
A/c torpedo operation with all forces on St. Raphael from 19.15–19.35 hours. Decision 17.00 hours.
The II./KG 26 told its illuminator unit that a security patrol was to be flown on the 15/16th as on the previous night even though night reconnaissance aircraft were scarce. The KG 26 illuminators were down to four operational crews while 1.(F)/33 had no planes with "apparatus" (i.e. FuG 200) available, leaving the Staffel operational only for security cover. To make matters worse, the 1./33's base at St Martin was one of a number of airfields bombed and shot up during the late afternoon.
According to a report intercepted during the day, the deployment of bombers was going to be hampered because until there was more moonlight attacks could only be made during morning or evening twilight or when there was enough cloud cover during the day. Deciding what to bomb was another concern since despite repeated requests Nineteenth Army had notified no suitable targets , as of 19.00 hrs. other than landing craft. Preparations for the night's operations by II./KG 26 were disrupted by an air raid warning that lasted for an hour from 16.10 local time. Transport and equipment could not move and only four Ju 88s could be made ready for their assigned mission.
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