continued …

Both Kommandos operated on the 26th:

08.15–08.23 hrs.

T9+GH on “Task No. 16773” (probably roads between Brussels and Aachen), unsuccessful owing to 9–10/10 cloud covering the entire target area and failure of starboard engine.

09.26–10.15 hrs.

T9+KH attempted the above task and to cover the alternative target as well, but without success. It too suffered engine trouble.

11.14–12.38 hrs.

T9+KH tried again but with no better luck. Instead it undertook P/R of Walcheren, Vlissingen, West Scheldt, Antwerp, north of Breda, and ’s Hertogenbosch.

(At noon there was 2/10 cloud over the Scheldt Estuary and the Arnhem area, increasing towards the south).

08.45–10.30 hrs.

Erich Sommer in T9+IH undertook P/R of Pont-à-Mousson – Metz – Verdun – Étain – Metz – Luxembourg – Arlon – Longwy – Thionville – Busendorf – Falkenberg. Visual observations included a train between Verdun and Montmédy and fires near Busendorf.

During the afternoon Luftwaffenkommando West was assured that the films from this last sortie would be delivered by Fieseler Storch. The Brussels–Aachen task was to be attempted again on the 27th but take-off proved impossible. Nevertheless Sperling’s Fw. Bürger notified an unidentified recipient that “data will arrive by 16.00 hrs. at the latest.” Neither Kommando was able to fly next day.

In the early hours of 29 November, Lw.Kdo West declared that

(a) Previous recce orders are invalid and are to be destroyed.

(b) Instructions on recce tasks which have been issued orally remain essentially in force.

(c) Orders for 29/11. Recce of Maas crossings from Liège to Givet. In case this cannot be carried out at high level because of the weather, recce is to be forced through at lower level. Send films from flights ((GAF Command West)) without delay.

(d) Alternative objectives for Sperling and Hecht: A/f’s in the area of Brussels – Charleroi – Liège – Hasselt, south bank of Waal from Tiel to Estuary – and roads Besançon – Belfort – Mulhouse.

Order indicates priority.

December 1944

With the benefit of hindsight the orders now being issued to the jet reconnaissance units began to offer pointers to the impending German counter-offensive in the Ardennes. As summarised by British Intelligence:

1 December

Detachment Sperling to carry out recce south bank of Waal, Nijmegen to limit of range — in course of this op large scale p/r of tanks and ammunition dumps in 5 km radius Oss – Heesch.

NOTE: this order to be passed on to Detachment Braunegg.

2 December

Alternative task for Sperling: Antwerp and Scheldt Estuary.

GAF [German Air Force] Command West again urged importance of recce of Maas crossings between Liège and Givet as soon as weather permitted.

Alternative task for Hecht: road recce Mulhouse – Belfort – Basle.

3 December

Reconnaissance of Maas (Meuse) crossings between Liège and Givet still of “the greatest urgency.”

On the 3rd, T9+GH was on a sortie from 08.54–10.16 hrs. but because of the weather it had only partial success in covering the Scheldt, Antwerp and Nijmegen. Although the pilots of Kdo. Sperling were generally consistent in flying particular aircraft, on this occasion GH was taken up by Ziese rather than Götz. At 09.06 hrs., T9+KH was up to photograph the Maas crossings, returning at 10.55.

The weather grounded the Kommando on the morning of 4 December but Götz reported (according to BP’s interpretation of a pro forma return) “total stocks” of 13 aircraft and two off strength to other units; he also reported a Fi 156 C-3 on strength. This return clearly cannot have referred to Kdo. Sperling alone but perhaps covered the whole of the Versuchsverband’s 1. Staffel.

continued on next page …


Goetzplate Next Top Back sourcelink appxlink aprlink marlink feblink janlink item4 novlink octlink auglink introlink homelink