In his history of the US 11th Armored Division, “Thunderbolt”, Hal D. Steward writes of the capture of Cham on 23 April:

Division Artillery, sighting infantry in position to the South of Cham, smothered the area with air-burst fire. At 2.55 p.m. [11.55 GMT] a large enemy airport fell to the command two and one half kilometres Southwest of Cham. Here 50 enemy aircraft, many of them operational, were seized and destroyed. Just before dark three enemy aircraft landed at the airport not knowing the installation had been captured and the pilots were taken prisoners.

PFC Robert S. Zimmer (1st Platoon, Company A, 22nd Tank Battalion) recalled how:

… we overran a German airfield and there were a lot of Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulfs there. They weren't flyable anymore, they were out of gas and so on. We shot them up pretty well. It was a large German airfield. That's about the most significant thing about Cham …

The 11th Armored Legacy Group has this to add:

While en route to Cham, [41st Tank Battalion] D Company's tanks branched off to capture a German airfield that had its planes on it and also a lot of AA guns all ready to fire.

… Around 20.30 hours [18.30 GMT], it was reported that three German planes were trying to land on the airstrip. Our dash was so swift that they were unaware of the fact that the town had been taken. A platoon from Company D raced to the airfield and they captured one of the planes with a surprised pilot and his girlfriend in it.

Seen from the German side:

Even after [the airfield] had been captured, two German Messerschmitt 109s still landed there, either because the pilots wanted to surrender, they couldn’t find another airfield or because they didn’t know where the enemy was …

On 23 April a Fieseler Storch was shot down over Cham by Staff Sergeant Frank Stout with a machine gun. A second plane of this type was fired on a day later, likewise at Cham, and crashed. The pilot survived but didn’t want to surrender and was shot by the Americans.

NOTE: Steve Coates adds that S/Sgt. Stout's Fieseler was almost certainly that piloted by Heinz Lex of Transportstaffel 40. Steve dealt with this unit in his book Helicopters of TheThird Reich (Classic Publications, 2002) ISBN 9781903223246.

At 1915 hours on 24 April, 3./NAG 13 reported — from an unstated location — that it had 15 (12) crews, Ofhr. Seubert, Fhr. Fischer and Ofw. Rosenberg having come on strength from KG(J) 6; conversely it had no fuel and its aircraft had been blown up on Cham airfield, as follows:


Werk Nummer


Bf 109 G-8



Bf 109 G-8



Bf 109 G-10


yellow 1

Bf 109 G-10



Bf 109 G-10



Bf 109 G-10


yellow 5

NOTE: Either 770190 or 770893 was yellow 6; yellow 2, 4 and 8 were carried by the G-8s and one of the G-10s.

The destruction had impressed itself on local civilians:

On 23 April the Americans had already taken [Cham]. According to contemporary witnesses, that morning powerful explosions could be heard coming from the nearby Michelsdorf airfield. Ammunition bunkers and other military installations were being destroyed …

By the 26th the Gruppenstab was at Schleißheim and on the evening of the 28th the Gruppe was ordered, somewhat optimistically, by 7. Jagddivision (then in Zell am See) to carry out a “reconnaissance in force” to establish whether the enemy was advancing north and south of Ammersee (SW of München) toward the east. The reply came within the hour that this was impossible because there was no longer any fuel.


UK National Archives, Kew, London

ULTRA decrypts (HW5 file series)

Air Operations Watch reports (HW13 file series)

11th US Armored Division Legacy Group (retrieved 26–28 April 2015)

Mittelbayerische Zeitung (retrieved 26–28 April 2015)

Chaos im Himmel über Cham

Note: the above-cited article is based on Harald G. Dill with Karlheinz Hetz: Luftkrieg – von Aschaffenburg bis Zwiesel. Ein militärisch-technisches Feature zur Heimatgeschichte Nordbayerns (Verlag Heinz Späthling, Weißenstadt, 2014) ISBN 978-3-942668-11-8




3 April

US Army enters Würzburg

11 April

Schweinfurt taken.

14 April

Bamberg taken.

16–24 April

Battle for Nürnberg.

26 April

Ingolstadt taken.

27 April

Regensburg taken.

28 April

Augsburg taken.

30 April

München taken.

3 May

US Army reaches Passau.

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