The RAF's Signal Intelligence Service report for the 30th again recorded a lone aircraft of Ob.d.L. on an undisclosed operation. It was in contact with Stavanger, Stavanger-Sola and Hantsholm from 09.21–09.36 BST.
Luftgau XI told Aerodrome Regional Command 22/XI (at Dangast, near Wilhelmshaven) on 2 April that as Stab FAG 1 and 3.(F)/122 were transferring to Wittmundhafen right away, quarters should be found for them. An aircraft plotted off Rattray Head for 40 minutes that afternoon was thought by the British to have been an Ar 234 of 1.(F)/1. In response to a message of 8 March, 1.(F)/33 was told that equipment and accessories would be forwarded as soon as a railway wagon had been provided.
On 4 April, BH took off from Wittmundhafen at 05.38 to cover Hull and the Humber Estuary. The pilot sighted shipping off the Lincolnshire-Yorkshire coast and photographed the airfields at Heston, Brough, Bellasize, and North Coates. Commanding General Denmark notified the Admiral for the Heligoland Bight of the outcome of a sortie flown that day from 06.00–07.47 hrs. Arado 234 “AH” had taken off from Wittmundhafen, climbed to 9000 metres and headed for Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft but little coverage was achieved as the camera shutter control broke.
Then it was the turn of “DH” which tried to cover Ipswich and Harwich from 14.58–15.54 hrs. but was ordered to turn back after the pilot tried to switch between fuel tanks only to find the transfer pump had failed. A third (unidentified) Ar 234 had taken to the air at 15.04 hrs. but encountered thick cloud at 4,000 metres and was unable to carry out its mission; nor did it sight any shipping en route. Also from Wittmundhafen, a Ju 188 (F6+GL of 3.(F)/122) flew an evening security recce lasting just short of an hour and at heights from 50–600 metres but it too saw nothing.
Two days later Stab FAG 1 and 1.(F)/33 were told by Aerodrome Regional Command Delmenhorst of plans to transfer them to Grove and Kaltenkirchen respectively while skeleton ground crew for servicing Ar 234s were to be left in Wittmundhafen. Stab FAG 1 duly set off to Grove by road on the 7th but 1.(F)/33 was reported as transferring to Schleswig that day.
The Luftwaffe General in Denmark reported two attempted evening missions by Ar 234s on the 6th. The first, to Ipswich and Harwich, was broken off with technical trouble; the second, bound for Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft was thwarted in its task by solid cloud cover.
There was an air raid on Kaltenkirchen on the morning of 9 April; no one was hurt but a Ju 88 and two Ar 234s were slightly damaged. An Arado flew a lengthy reconnaissance from Schleswig that afternoon, from 15.17–17.57 hrs., obtaining photographs of the Great Yarmouth and Harwich areas. This report was again addressed by Luftwaffe General Denmark to the Kriegsmarine: Chief Naval Command North, Admiral Heligoland Bight and Admiral Skaggerak. Next day, warning was given to friendly units that an Ar 234 of 1.(F)/1 was due to take off from Stavanger at around 14.00 hrs. and an aircraft was duly plotted off Rattray Head from 15.18–15.43 hrs.
On the 13th, 1.(F)/33 was in contact with an Uffz. Heusler at Bayreuth-Bindlach, telling him that if he could not get some vehicle away by road or rail, he should hand it over to the base command there and get himself back to Schleswig-Land. The same day, the Luftwaffe General in Denmark told Luftflotte Reich that the Staffel had ceased North Sea reconnaissance owing to the fuel situation. Next day, a Mosquito of No. 140 Squadron at 16.45 hrs achieved full coverage of Schleswig-Land, its photographs revealing 42 aircraft there. Among these was “1 Ar.234 on W. end of ENE/WSW runway”, the first time that a jet had been spotted on this aerodrome.
On 19 April an Ar 234 of 1.(F)/1 (according to British analysts) was due up from Stavanger at 12.30 hrs., possibly for a photo-reconnaissance of the Scottish east coast. Ops Watch later suggested that this mission was a precursor to KG 26’s sortie of 21 April which fell foul of RAF Mosquitoes. It was thought that the Germans had been looking for shipping off Scotland which they believed to be an invasion force headed for Scandinavia.
The General der Aufklärungsflieger announced on 21 April that 1.(F)/5 was being disbanded and that 1.(F)/33 was taking over the “entire task” of reconnaissance for U-boat operations. As a result, Einsatzkommando 1.(F)/5 would be renamed Einsatzkommando 1.(F)/33 and subsumed into 1.(F)/33. Arrangements had been made for operational control and W/T communications between Stavanger and “the mainland”; and Luftwaffe General Norway was to be included in reports of reconnaissance findings.
A PR Spitfire flew over Leck early on the morning 3 May, its photos revealing one Ar 234 in the northern dispersal, two in the “north remote dispersal” and three more dispersed at the SW corner of the airfield. The same sortie found “1 probable Ar.234” at Schleswig.
On 5 May, the day after the ceasefire in the West, Hellmut Hetz was allowed to fly for the first time since his crash — in 9V+BH. On the 6th, according a list drawn up for the Allies by Luftflotte Reich, the jet units under Luftwaffe General Denmark were:
All of the above were said to be at Grove while another German list, dated 18 May, placed Einsatzkommando FAG 1 at Stavanger. The RAF’s No. 83 Group found four Arados in Schleswig-Holstein and six in Denmark (all apparently in Grove): of these, four were allocated to the UK and two to allies while one was scrapped. However, British Air Forces of Occupation (BAFO, the postwar successor to 2 TAF) reported a total of eight Ar 234s in Schleswig and Grove, five of them airworthy. BAFO’s final report on the dissolution of the Luftwaffe speaks of ten Ar 234 in Germany (i.e. the part occupied by British troops), six in Denmark and seven in Norway.
According to the RAF’s Disarmament, Servicing and Recovery Units, on 27 December 1945 two Ar 234 were transported to Leck and in March 1946 two (the same ones?) were dispatched by rail (to France?)
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Article © Nick Beale 2012