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Sonderstaffel Kaatsch: August￐October 1944

12–27 July 1944



The lone Bf 109 H disappeared from FAG 123’s inventory during July 1944 and enemy action was not the cause. What happened was revealed to CSDIC’s micrphones by 5.(F)/123’s Leutnant Walter Warthol (shot down near Dreux on 16 August). He was in a position to know:


We had the ‘H.’


The Kommandeur said: “What do you want? The ‘H’ has been up to 14200 m.” The Gruppenführer did that on the firm’s trial with the ‘H’; according to the barogram and according to the altimeter. A special altimeter had been installed, which went up to 15000 m. A special barograph had also been installed, which also registered up to 15000 m.


“What more do you want? With the ‘H’ you can outclimb any enemy. aircraft.” We had to explain to him that we could get away for the moment by climbing, but we couldn’t remain at a height of 14200 m, because we hadn’t got the petrol for it. The ‘H’ has such a heavy consumption of petrol at high altitude that you can’t keep it up. In the end the ‘H’ has to come down again. Then it is capable of 650 k.p.h.

Lt. Alexander Ottnad:

Well, I’ll be damned. All one can say is: ‘H’ — (Heinrich) — you make me shudder!”

NOTE: Ottnad who had flown with 8./JG 27, was shot down and taken prisoner on 18 August.



That’ s what we said too, in spite of that it had to be flown. And then, thank God, it was shot down by our own Flak.


Who flew it then?


Our Commanding Officer. [Kaiser?]


Did he get out?


Yes. He made a belly landing. The whole kite was burnt. We were glad, Those fools, the things they expected of’ the ‘H.’ They demanded a mosaic of the whole coast, from Cherbourg to the mouth of the 0rne. That was supposed to be made on one flight. Special auxiliary tanks were constructed for the ‘H’, of larger dimensions, they didn’t hold 280 litres but 500, and we were supposed to fly with them.


… never took off from the airfield at all.


Oh yes, we could take off all right. You had scarcely put on speed before it cleared the ground. A metre extra wing was added on to the right and left, and then came the ordinary ‘109’ wings. It had 2 m greater span.


For flying that’s very good.


Yes and for landing too, it touched down at about 110 kph. The undercarriage was only … where the actual wings were joined on.


Did the piece go right through?


It was a piece going right through and then came the wings, but the extensions weren’t any good, the take-off and the landing was child’s play, you only had to put on terrific speed. It was always nose-heavy. You had to use both hands to force the tail up and then when you had got the tail up it raised itself. It taxied for perhaps 100 m.


How fast was it?


At low level with the large auxiliary tank it did 360 kph with a 1.0 pressure, Without an auxiliary tank, with methanol, it was supposed to reach between 540 and 550 kph at low level, once you were down you were more or less safe. But you weren’t allowed to dive with it. That is to say, you weren’t even allowed to put it into a glide, A speed of 650 kph — you get that in a twinkling of an eye.


How did it bank?


Damnably! You could only bank at more than 30º. SCHÄFER (?) and I were selected for it, we were to fly on those sorties with the ‘H’. We sat down and had a good binge. For a long time we considered placing it in the middle of the airfield and letting it be smashed up by Mustangs or something. It was fitted for methanol and GM 1. A double purpose. Actually it climbed splendidly! I climbed to 8000 [with] methanol. I switched over to methanol at low level and climbed and in five minutes l was at 8000 m.

Warthol’s story is backed up by the following message (Op. 2, No. 5432) sent by Luftgau Westfrankreich:

[At] 18.18 [hrs. on] 12/7, Me 109 was shot down by III. Zug [platoon] of 2./757 and Züge of 3./757. Aircraft made crash landing, pilot Obltn. Kaiser alive.

As Flak Abt. 757 is being subordinated to III. Flak Korps, request investigation and direct report to Luftflotte 3.

Kaiser himself seems to have survived the light Flak’s attentions relatively unscathed since, allowing for a transcription error, he was among a list of 5.(F)/123’s pilots ready for operations on 16 July 1944:

Signed TILLA [5.(F)/123] stamped 06.30/15/7:-

Crews return of 16/7:


Obltn. Kasper [i.e. Kaiser], Obltn. Spiek [i.e. Spies], Ltn. Wirthol [i.e. Warthol], Ltn. Weber, Ltn. Metzler

Ofw. Jartl, Uffz. (name smudged), Uffz. Geiser, Gefr. Schmidt


Uffz. Kuhlmann, Uffz. Bothe, Uffz. Lueck, Uffz. Müller

Fw. Bolten in hospital [in] Arras since 10/5.

As for the unlucky Bf 109 H, W.Nr. 110073 was surrendered by the Staffel to the Guyancourt Workshop on 27 July 1944 where its presence was reported next day along with two Bf 109 G-4 (W.Nr. 14903 and 14923) was well as a G-5 (W.Nr. 110388). Gerhard Kaiser was promoted to Staffelkapitän with effect from 1 August.


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