1–18 October 1944

At 15.30 hrs. on the 1st, Staffel Kaatsch reported that its strength for the following day would be: 9 (7) pilots and 8 (4) aircraft. Unserviceable were:

W.Nr. 163174

engine damage

W.Nr. 163876

shot up

W.Nr. 441019

change of engine

W.Nr. 412604

landing gear damage

From 09.35–10.45 hrs. on the 2nd, a reconnaissance was flown on the circuit Freiburg – L’ Isle sur le Doubs – Besançon – Voudrey –Baume les Dames – Pont de Roide – Freiburg. The Swiss frontier could not be covered on account of cloud. Another mission was up from Freiburg at 12.05 hrs. Another mission was up from Freiburg at 12.05 hrs. to Roupt – Luxeuil – Lure – Villersexel – Clerval – Pont de Roide, returning to base an hour later.

Leutnant Bell reported that he would have 7 pilots ready for operations next day and 5 Bf 109s serviceable out of 8. Still out of commission were Werk Nummern 163876 (shot up), 412604 (damaged landing gear) and 441019 (engine change). At 18.15 hrs. on the 4th, the same three machines were still unserviceable, plus one other not identified. The Staffel expected to have 4 machines available next day and 8 pilots ready out of 10.

On 5 October, two Bf 109s of 2./NAG 13 took off at 17.22 hrs. to reconnoitre the Vesoul area. This was the first evidence to reach the Allies that this Staffel was finally back on operations, and the disbandment of Aufklärungsstaffel Kaatsch should have followed shortly after. Major Kaatsch himself went on to become Flivo with Armee Oberkommando 1, a report in his name being intercepted by Allied Intelligence on the evening of 17 October.

NOTE: Uffz. Schmidtke of 2./NAG 13 was killed while on an operation on 5 October, his Bf 109 G-8, W.Nr. 201391, crashing at Todtnauer-Hütte, 19 km SE Freiburg-im-Breisgau.

On or about 18 October, Kurt Bell contacted Maj. Walter Nowotny at Achmer to say that the General der Jagdflieger had ordered his transfer to JG 54 and what should he do? Whatever answer Nowotny gave, on the 31st JG 54 reported that Bell had joined its strength from Erg. JGr. Nord. He was injured in a crash landing on 24 December, while serving with IV./JG 54. He was with a detachment of the same unit in Lechfeld on 28 February 1945, eventually getting to fly the Me 262, first with III./EJG 2 and then JV 44.

Eduard Isken joined IV./JG 53 and claimed more victories, recognised by the award of the Ritterkreuz on 14 January 1945. He continued flying until shot down and wounded in April.

Leutnant Weber, Uffz. Kuhlmann and Uffz. Müller were back with 5.(F)/123 in October 1944. Müller had a taxying accident at 15.45 hrs. on 31 December 1944 when ferrying Bf 109 G-14 W.Nr. 780400, "yellow 16" from from 3./NAG 13 in Köln-Wahn to Twenthe; the aircraft suffered 8% damage.

Müller (flying "yellow 12"), Weber ("black 52") and a third 3./NAG 1 pilot were attached to 1./JG 1 to photograph the results of Unternehmen Bodenplatte on 1 January 1944. On 4 January 1945, Kuhlmann was reported to be on detached duty from 3./NAG 1 to 2./NAG 1. Six days later, Müller was one of two pilots ordered to take their aircraft to reinforce 3./NAG 13. On the 20th, Weber (also now with 3./NAG 1) emerged unscathed from a take-off accident at Twente in which Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 201106, “53” was 75% damaged.

Sources

This account is based primarily on decrypted German signals (Main Series of Reports to Allied Commands) in file classes DEFE3, HW5 and HW13 at the The National Archives, Kew London.

Also of help were the translation of Luftflotte 3’s diary for September 1944, two reports from the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre and MAAF Field Intelligence Unit Technical Intelligence Reports (all in the UK National Archives). Other data come from Tony Wood’s internet transcriptions of Luftwaffe victory claims and Frank J. Olynyk's "Victory List No. 6" (self-published, June 1987).

Eduard Isken's service with Kaatsch is metioned in Ernst Obermaier's »Die Ritterkreuzträger der Luftwaffe 1939–45: Band I, Jagdflieger« (Verlag Dieter Hoffmann, Mainz 1966) ISBN 3-87 341-065-6.

Thanks are also due to Russell Guest, Yves Michelet, Jochen Prien, Rémi and "reetje."

If you need more specifics on these sources, please contact me.

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NOTE: After 1 October the Germans changed from Double Summer Time (GMT + 2) to Central European Time ( GMT + 1). All times used here are German ones.


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