Oberfeldwebel Kurt Keilig scrambled from Gardermoen on 4 January in Ju 88 G-1, B4+DA, landing just under two hours later. On 14 January 1945, the Staffel seems to have sent up at least seven sorties, although we have details of only two of them: He 219 B4+AA landed in Lista at 00.54 on the 15th, Bf 110 B4+MA following at 01.08 hours. Keilig’s next scramble, again in B4+DA, was not until the 28th of the month.
Leutnant Günther Vollrath (pilot), Ogefr. Hans Baumgardt (radio operator) and Fw. August Farrenkothen (gunner) were lost on an operational sortie south west of Lista on 12 February (Bf 110 G-4, W.Nr. 740049, B4+VA). Ofw. Keilig’s next recorded flight, in Ju 88 G-6, B4+GA was on the 22nd, without success, but on the 23rd he took off at 20.10 hours and landed 67 minutes later having claimed a Short Stirling (Rod McKenzie notes that a No. 97 Sqn. Lancaster, PB588, was shot down by a Ju 88 during that night's raid on Horten, Norway). Keilig also scrambled in B4+GA on the 24, 25 and 27 February.
On the 25th, Uffz. Heinrich Semmelrogge (pilot), Uffz. Werner Dörries (radio operator), Uffz. Rudolf Lang (Bordwart) died in a crash attributed to pilot error (Ju 88 G-6, W.Nr. 621284, B4+NA). Petrick places this crash 20 km south west of Gardermoen aerodrome. Another G-6 was 30% damaged in a crash the following day but this time none of the crew was injured.
The month’s first known operation came on the night of the 11/12th, an unrewarding sortie over Stavanger and Arendal by a lone Bf 110. On the following night a Bf 110 was again sent up, this time against aircraft returning through the Skaggerak, only to be posted missing. The effort for the 15/16th was two Ju 88 and a Bf 110 from 19.19–21.27 against aircraft mining Oslofjord but they saw nothing. It was a week before the Staffel mounted another operation: five Ju 88 and two Bf 110 night fighting in the Oslo area on the 25/26th. This time they were able to bring down a Stirling Mk. V: LK566/G5•G of No. 190 Squadron which crashed near Langang. It had taken off from Great Dunmow on an SOE supply mission to the Norwegian resistance.
There was no sighting the following night on the part of the three Ju 88 and a Bf 110 operating over Southern Norway. On the night of 28 February there was rain and 10/10 cloud at 300 m. over Stavanger, while Oslo was misty, 9/10 at 500–1000 m. The Staffel sent up a Ju 88 against “couriers aircraft” (presumably flights between Britain and Sweden) over southern Norway. Although visibility was 3 km. or better, there were no sightings and the fighter landed safely.
On 2/3 March a Ju 88 and a Bf 110 sortied without success against aircraft supplying Resistance fighters in Southern Norway. Between 19.11 and 22.28 hrs. the next night about 25 Allied aircraft were laying mines in Oslofjord, so five Ju 88s (among them Kurt Keilig’s G-6, B4+EA from Kjevik; the aircraft he would fly for the rest of the war) and a Bf 110 were sent against them but did not make contact. No defence was mounted against the night’s communications flights, a suspected anti-shipping sweep or Resistance supply drops. The next time Nachtjagdstaffel Norwegen operated, it was with 5 Junkers and 3 Messerschmitts against a 20-strong Allied penetration of the Kristiansand – Oslofjord – Skagerrak area on 6/7 March. Oslo’s weather was clear, with 6/10 cloud at 2500 m. but again there was no contact. For the following night it was reported that a single Ju 88 had taken off against “courier traffic”.
The night of the 8/9th saw 10 Allied aircraft seeking shipping in the central eastern Skagerrak from 20.39–01.25 hours but the two Ju 88s sent up (again including Keilig, but he was recalled to Kjevik immediately after taking off) to intercept them did not find anything. Three nights later, seven night fighters took off against against a supply drop in the Notodden area but two of the German machines aborted and the others had no success. Meanwhile, no sorties were sent against the 20 machines mine-laying in Oslofjord from 20.20–23.20 hours. On the 12/13th, a single fighter sortied against raiders thought to be looking for shipping off Arendal and in the eastern Skagerrak.
The Staffel was redesignated as 4./NJG 3 on the 17th but its B4+_A unit markings remained unchanged. The Nachtjagdstaffel did not operate again until the night of the 20/21st, when a Ju 88 attempted without success to counter another supply drop near Notodden. There was a further supply mission two nights later and a Si 204 flew a reconnaissance of the drop zones but again the two Ju 88s scrambled achieved nothing. The following night (24/25 March) between 35 and 40 Allied aircraft were reported over Southern Norway and a few bombs fell on the airfield at Lista but did little damage. Three Ju 88s active over Sognefjord failed to make contact with the raiders. Ofw. Keilig’s crew were up once more, this time landing in Stavanger-Sola. On the 26/27th, a Bf 110 tried without success to intercept an armed reconnaissance over the Skagerrak and the night after that a Ju 88 had a fruitless sortie against raiders over the Skagerrak.
After a month of frustration, the events of 30/31 March must have been all the more welcome to the German crews. Between 21.53 and 03.21 hrs. four aircraft were dropping supplies to the Resistance Movement in Trondheim and 15 near Notodden. Three Ju 88s and two Bf 110s were scrambled against this latter operation while a Ju 52 and a Fw 58 reconnoitred the dropping points. In stark contrast to the rest of March, the night fighters claimed three Halifaxes and three Stirlings shot down for no loss. The Luftwaffe in Norway site identifies the three Stirlings (all of whose crews perished) as follows:
Stirling MK IV, LK 119 of No. 161 Sqn. (shot down near Tvedestrand)
Stirling MK IV, LJ 888 of No. 196 Sqn. (shot down at Arendal)
Stirling MK IV, LK 332 of No. 299 Sqn. (shot down at Risör)
continued on next page …
PART THREE OF FOUR
Nachtjagdstaffel Norwegen in 1945