Near Roigheim (about 50 km east of Heidelberg) on 1 February the 1. Staffel lost Bf 110 G-4 W.Nr. 730324 to hostile fire but its crew came through unscathed.
From Herzogenaurach on the 5th, NAG 6 communicated with FAG 123, querying the whereabouts of Obltn. Gerhard Bahr who had been transferred “to the Staffel” failed to arrive. This 31 year-old officer had had several reconnaissance postings, most recently as Flivo (Fliegerverbindungsoffizier = Air Liaison Officer) with FAG 123 and before that a similar role with 1./NAG 6.
On 8 February the Kommandeur of I./AG 103 was ordered to spend six days with FAG 123 and 2./NAG 6 to familiarise himself with tactical and strategic reconnaissance in the West. Also Gen.d.A. noted that NAG 6 was to move to Münster-Handorf and Essen-Mühlheim for operations on that front. Two Messerschmitts sent to the Strasbourg – Sélestat – Colmar area could not complete their coverage in the face of bad weather. The 10th saw two Me 262s reconnoitring roads between Saverne and Strasbourg but the weather again supervened.
On the 14th an advance party from 1./NAG 6 arrived in Mühlheim. Fliegerdivision 16’s evening report that day noted under “reconnaissance” that two Me 262 had undertaken a road patrol of Drusenheim, Saargemünd and Saarburg while two more had flown photographic coverage of roads in the area Hagenau – Strasbourg – Schlettstadt and of the west bank of Rhein near Plobsheim.
Over the next three days, missions were flown as follows:
OKL issued a warning on 18 February about fuel shortages, duly relayed by Lw.Kdo. West:
The orders previously issued concerning economy in the use of a/c fuel and control of flying operations of flying units apply equally to fuel J2 and to a/c 8-162, Me 262 and Ar 234. The monthly production, compared with possibilities of consumption is very small. As the TL jet engines have a relatively high consumption it is absolutely forbidden for these particular a/c to taxi under their own power prior to take-off and after landing and also to and from their own parking places. Exceptions are only permitted in special cases, when the situation compels. The consumption of J2 in M/T is forbidden.
… Please issue further instructions and arrange for the strictest supervision of flying.
Next day, Luftwaffenkommando West noted that the transfer away of 2./NAG 6 made prompt communication of 1.(F)/100’s reconnaissance results “of special urgency” and that it must therefore phone them through to Army Group G. On the 20th there was radio traffic at 08.12 hrs. which was thought possibly to have emanated from 2./NAG 6.
The 21st brought the first known loss of an Me 262 from a reconnaissance unit when Ltn. Wilhelm Knoll was killed in a crash south west of Landsberg am Lech during a non-operational flight. The General Quartiermeister recorded the aircraft as Me 262 A-1 W.Nr. 110565 and the unit as Stab NAG 6. On the other hand, the War Diary of the General der Aufklärungsflieger (who surely ought to have known) noted that Knoll was the Staffelkapitän of 1./NAG 1. One possible explanation is that Knoll was with NAG 1 but flying an Me 262 belonging to Stab NAG 6 which, as we have seen, possessed at least one such aircraft.
Two sorties were flown on the 23rd:
Armed reconnaissance in the Drusenheim – Hagenau – Ingweiler – Brumath area.
Photographic reconnaissance of the Rhein from Basel to Gambsheim.
A trial by NAG 6 on 24 February secured good results with photographs taken from an Me 262 flying at 300–400 m. Two days later the OKL Führungsstab stated that NAG 1 was transferring to Hennef-bei-Bonn, NAG 6 to Münster-Handorf and 1./NAG 6 to Mühlheim.
At Lechfeld on 25 February, W.Nr. 111570 of Stab/NAG 6 was 60% damaged in an emergency landing. An OKL inspector established the cause: the rudder push rod had been scraping against the pilot’s seat and and so grease had ben applied to the affected area to reduce the friction. In view of the crash, it seems that this had not exactly cured the problem.
On the last day of the month, the Flak authorities were warned that an Me 262 of 2./NAG 6 would be up from Schwäbisch Hall after 14.00 for the Strasbourg and another after 15.00 hrs. for Hagenau. That evening, it was reported that an Me 262 of NAG 6 had flown P/R of roads from Bischweiler – Ingweiler – Saverne – Strasbourg but results were not yet to hand.
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Fuel shortages, accidents and trials