Leaflets in the name of the Wehrmacht Commandant for Greater Paris were dropped, supposedly during the early evening although it seems unilkely that a German aircraft would have been risked in daylight and the sun did not set until about 20.45 local time. Overtaken by events, the text claimed that Paris was still in the hands of the Germans and that “It is possible the city will not be evacuated!”. What was more, “four years of relative peace” under German “protection” were at risk from the present disorder:
It is … to the humanity of the German troops that you should now turn, but you should not push them beyond their patience … We warn the criminal elements for the last time … We demand the immediate cessation of all acts of hostility toward us … That and that alone can guarantee the life of the city, its provisioning and its preservation.
Some 111 bombers took part, reporting heavy concentrations of AA in the target area plus explosions, slow-spreading fires and secondary explosions of fuel or ammunition dumps; three machines broke off and two were lost. Luftflotte 3’s situation report omits the bombs which fell in several central districts of the newly liberated French capital. The Flugbuch of Hans Altrogge, a pathfinder with I./KG 66, offers one possible cause for this discrepancy:
Strong ground marking (Mark 1000) for attack on Montrouge (south of Paris). (KG 6 subordinated). 20-minute delay in taking off. Owing to compass failure, Initial Point not made out, markers not dropped. Moderate heavy Flak over target. Route: Melsbroek – Creil – target – Chièvres.
LG 1 dispatched its I. and II. Gruppen, the former taking off just after 1000 local time, loaded with AB 100 canisters. Leutnant Otto Leupert of I./LG 1, a holder of the Ritterkreuz, was killed on the approach to Brussels-Melsbroek along with the rest of his crew when their Ju 88 S-3 (W.Nr. 330709, L1+BK) collided with a Ju 188 of KG 6. Leupert’s death is dated as 26 August, bombs began falling on Paris from toward 2300 local time. The city lies 275 km from Melsbroek, about 45 minutes at the Ju 88 A-4’s cruising speed, so he may well have been among the first to attack and returned promptly.
The I./KG 2 dispatched 20 Do 217, all but one from Gilze-Rijn. Crews reported seeing incendiaries burning on the centre of the target and claimed to have dropped their bombs where the marker flares were concentrated. A major explosion, thought to be from petrol, was seen in the target area. One Do 217 lost an engine on take off at Chièvres, killing one man and injuring another from Ofw. Fröhlich’s crew.
KG 54 was supposed to attack vehicle columns at Montgeron (10 km SSE of Montrouge, on Route Nationale 5, in the US 4th Infantry Division’s sector) with SC 1000 high explosive, AB 1000 canisters and SC 500 delayed action bombs. On the homeward flight a Ju 88 of the 8. Staffel (W.Nr. 301531, B3+BS, flown by Ogefr. Kraftczyk) crashed at Bilthoven in the Netherlands, within a kilometre of its base at Soesterberg. It was thought to have fallen to a night fighter but the only RAF claim that night seems to have been near Bremen.
KG 6 was intended to follow up with a harassing attack on Montrouge at 0400 local time and witnesses recall a second alert and the noise of engines but no corresponding aircraft wireless or radio traffic was picked up by the Y-Service. Also unclear is that part, if any, played by the Schnellkampf (fast bomber) force of 4./KG 51 (Me 410) and III./KG 51 (Fw 190).
continued on next page …
PART TWO OF FIVE