19 February 1944

The 1./SAG 128 was deleted from a Fliegerführer Atlantik signals list and 10./ZG 1 was added. The British Government Code and Cypher School deduced from this that 10./ZG 1 was the “fighter detachment” renamed. This view was reinforced by the knowledge that the “new” unit was based at the same airfield, Brest-South.

25 February 1944

A patrol by four Fw 190s from 07.03 hrs. was thought by the British to be covering the return to St. Nazaire of U-714 (Oblt. Hans-Joachim Schwebcke). This boat was carrying the survivors of U-545 (Kptlt. Gert Mannesmann) which been attacked on 10 February by two Wellingtons (from Nos. 407 (RCAF) and 612 Sqns.). Despite shooting the Canadian machine down, U-545 had been crippled and was scutttled after the other boat arrived to rescue her men.

2 March 1944

On 2 March, Fliegerführer Atlantik announced that four Fw 190s were going to cross the coast at 07.03 hours and only 100 m. altitude. They were due back between 90 minutes and two hours later at the same height and place. That operation was then cancelled but rescheduled for 13.03, all other details remaining the same. The profile of this mission suggests that it too was to provide screening for naval units. The Air Operational Watch report for the day, which drew on Y-Service information as well as ULTRA, gave the following sorties:

09.00: 4 Fw 190

11.00: 2 Fw 190

13.00: 4 Fw 190

Each patrol lasted about two hours, so cover was essentially continuous.

NOTE: A different version was given to Naval Intelligence, adding 4 sorties at 05.00 (apparently GMT+1) and the comment that this was an emergency measure, either to escort something close inshore or sweeps to protect something approaching Brittany.


6 March 1944

On the 6th, four Fw 190 were due to cross the coast at 08.03, returning between 09.30 and 10.00 hrs. This was the unit’s last operation over the Bay of Biscay detected by British Intelligence.

14 March 1944

The 10./ZG 1 (now subordinated to X. Fliegerkorps) reported to a Senior Signals Officer that six of its aircraft were equipped with FuG 25A IFF sets.

30 March 1944

A report which rather perplexed British Intelligence revealed that five Fw 190s, two officer and four NCO pilots of 10./ZG 1 had left Lyon-Bron along with six non-commissioned and enlisted technical personnel. The analysts had seen no evidence of any prior transfer away from Brest-South where 10./ZG 1 had last been located.

11 April 1944

On 11 April, Fw. Rudolf Schoenbach was recommended for the Iron Cross First Class, having completed 118 Fw 190 sorties: 105 over the Atlantic and 13 against French Resistance forces on the Savoie Plateau. That operation appears to have been the Staffel’s swansong, British Intelligence detecting no further Biscay patrols by its Fw 190s during April. The unit did lose an Fw 44 (W.Nr. 1564) in a crash landing on the 11th, however.

NOTE: In Bloody Biscay (Crècy, 1997) Chris Goss identifies this a 9. Staffel aircraft, stating that Ltn. Klaus Uhsemann (pilot) and Ogefr. Heinrich Barnasch (ground crew) were killed in the crash. Both men are buried at Berneuil, although according to War Graves data Barnasch died on the 11th at Saujon (10 km NE Royan) whereas Uhsemann died on 12 April at Saintes, suggesting that he was taken to hospital there and died the day after the crash.


19 April 1944

On 19 April, Hptm. Georg Borchert (Kapitän of 10./ZG 1) handed over his Staffel’s personnel and equipment “in good order” to III./ZG 1 for the building up of its 9. Staffel. A detailed strength return from ZG 1 on the 11th had mentioned neither the 9. nor the 10. Staffeln. Borchert himself went on to serve with 4./JG 2. Strangely, it was not until 23 May that Luftflotte 3 was directed to establish a new 9.(Nacht)/ZG 1 within the Geschwader’s III. Gruppe, “with recourse to the personnel and materiel of Jagdkommando 1./123 [sic] of the former Fliegerführer Atlantik and Nachtjagdkommando Kunkel [LINK], both of which are organisationally disbanded herewith”.


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