Sonderstaffel Kaatsch: August￐October 1944

2 April 1945

At 10.00 hours GMT it is announced that 1./NAG 1's transfer to Zerbst will require the airfield to be stocked with 60 rocket assisted take-off sets, 100 cbm of J2 fuel and 5,000 rounds of 3 cm ammunition for the MK 108. Flak protection will be especially necessary and maintenance equipment, billets and rations will also be needed.

3 April 1945

Hauptmann Dünkel, Kapitän of 1./NAG 1, in Lechfeld signals his Gruppenkommandeur Maj. Wilke at Zerbst that the unit will transfer to Jüterbog-Waldlager since Zerbst is unserviceable. However, the “Re-training Company for NA" [Nahaufklärer?] at Lechfeld is told on the same day by Zerbst’s base command that all NAG 1’s serviceable Me 262s are to be ferried there.

4 April 1945

At 13.42 hours on the 4th, a single aircraft of 1./NAG 1 starts on a reconnaissance of Allied spearheads in the area of Herford, Bielefeld and Detmold; it lands 63 minutes later, reporting that the Autobahn bridge over the Weser at Bad Oeynhausen has been destroyed.

5 April 1945

Major Wilke signals that 1./NAG 1 will be ready for operations the following day in Zerbst, with seven reconnaissance Me 262s on strength. He sees the Me 262 as the only aircraft which can bring back information on enemy activity in the Horbach – Giessen – Frankfurt area (entailing a round trip of about 700 km.)

Wilke goes on to request that more Me 262s should be allocated to 1./NAG 1 so that this new capability may be maintained “in the event of several aircraft being lost.” Looking ahead, he notes that the reconnaissance model is unarmed and proposes that each of these machines should operate in a Rotte with a fighter Me 262, “since an attack by a few Me 262s on enemy fighters and reconnaissance aircraft would cause the enemy extreme uneasiness and uncertainty, whereby with luck some respite can be obtained for employing orthodox reconnaissance aircraft.” Accordingly he requests the urgent allocation of three or four jet fighters for 1./NAG 1.

6 April 1945

At 09.00 hours, 1./NAG 1 reports its strength as only 5 (3) aircraft. Also today, II./KG 51 reports that of the aircraft which have left its strength since 28 March no fewer than 12 have been ferried to Zerbst and that five more have gone missing en route. (KG 51 has recently been withdrawn from operations and subordinated to 7. Jagddivision for transfer and further employment).

A message from Lechfeld that states that the General der Aufklärungsflieger’s conversion detachment under Maj. Schole has handed over its seven Me 262 to operational units, leaving two instructors but no aircraft. Two days later Maj. Kröchel reports from Lechfeld to Luftflotte Reich that “Re-equipping Detachment NAU (Conversion Detachment)” is training eight pilots of 1./NAG 1 on an Me 262 borrowed from III./EJG 2.

7 April 1945

The 1./NAG 1 puts up three sorties between 08.00 and 09.00 hrs. GMT, all of which are aborted with technical failures. A fourth aircraft is in the air from 08.05–08.56 hrs. on a photo-reconnaissance in the Mühlhausen – Langensazla – Gotha area.

Returning pilots report that Langensalza airfield is not destroyed and is occupied by 14 Bf 110, 8 Ju 188 and six wrecked aircraft; at Gotha are 7 Bf 110, all intact; while there is a lone four-engined aircraft on a landing strip south east of Mühlhausen. The road and rail bridge in the eastern part of this last town is destroyed but bridges around Langensalza appear undamaged.

8 April 1945

At 01.30 hrs. GMT the Staffel’s strength is reported as 4 (2) aircraft and 6 pilots (4 operational)

The 1./NAG 1 puts up four Me 262 photo-reconnaissance sorties during the day:

06.16–07.14 hrs.

area Korbach – Hallenberg – Bromskirchen

11.50–12.32 hrs.

area Höxter – Wanfried – Mühlhausen

14.04–14.47 hrs.

area south of Eschwege – Gotha – Erfurt

15.55–16.45 hrs.

area Mühlhausen – Gotha – Erfurt

The 15. Fliegerdivision’s daily report confirms that four Me 262 recce sorties have been flown.

From Branch Station Lechfeld, Maj. Kröchel reports to Luftflotte Reich the “Re-equipping Detachment Close Recce” is presently training 8 pilots of 1./NAG 1 on an Me 262 borrowed from III./EJG 2.

NOTE: According to a report from Kröchel two days before, there were seven Me 262 A-4 in Lechfeld belonging to III./EJG 2, plus two more in the General Quartiermeister’s reserve.

It is reported that 1./NAG 1 is to share Altengrabow (about midway between Magdeburg and Potsdam) with the Gruppe’s 3. Staffel. At 19.45 hrs. the 1. Staffel reports its strength as 7 pilots (5 operational) and 6 (4) Me 262 A-4. Two new aircraft have been added to its strength, W.Nr. 111100 [an unusual Werk Nummer if correct] and 500102 while the two unserviceable machines are W.Nr. 500540 and 500017.

Signals sent by the Staffel during the day refer to Hptm. Dünkel and Oblt. Krichrat; another sent three days later names Oblt. Lüchtrath as a pilot with the unit.

QUERY: is “Krichrat” perhaps an error for Lüchtrath? The name does not feature in the current German telephone book whereas there are 24 individuals named Lüchtrath.

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All times are GMT (add 2 hours for German Summer Time)

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