continued …

Air HQ Egypt was also reviewing developments:

6 August: It is probable that the recent jamming of RDF and VHF in Egypt by equipment carried in enemy bombers was experimental and that [he] is using every possible means of checking the effect on us.

24 August: It is most important to scotch the enemy’s use of jammers before he has time to develop it … The codeword “LARK” will be used in referring to jammer carrying aircraft …

Deciphered messages in late July and again on 10 August told the British that transmissions from their own aircraft operating over the sea were being monitored from Kounavi in Crete,16 km south of Heraklion. The German listeners not only knew that the RAF was (say) using ASV in a given area but sometimes heard the sighting reports that were called in. A communication next day, from a Ltn. Ulrici in Köthen, asked Maj. Koch’s permission for a Fw 200 to be ferried from Cottbus to Bordeaux, where it would remain for a week. Ulrici’s message gave Koch’s address as “Athens-Kalamaki, 10. Fliegerkompanie”, the British remarking that this unit was part of Luftnachrichtenregiment 40. Meanwhile in Britain, the RAF had flown its first jamming operation on 6 August.

Wellingtons, Swordfish and Albacores operating from Malta experienced ASV jamming on the night of 10/11 August and on three of the ensuing five nights. On the first occasion, “the intensity of the interference was severe, making detection of surface vessels impossible except at short ranges”. On the 17/18th however, “there was no interference and the target was homed onto from 85 miles” [136 km].

At 2217 hrs. on 15 August another Wildschwein, a Ju 52 marked NR+AE (W.Nr. 5913), left Heraklion in Crete. After refuelling at Berca (Al Birka, Benghazi, Libya) it was to take off again at around 0100 and orbit over the sea roughly midway between Crete and the African mainland for as long as its fuel held out. Controlled by a ground station on Crete, it was to jam British ASV aircraft operating SW of the island. The mission was deemed successful and NR+AE set down at Berca before returning to Heraklion on the morning of the 16th and information from the Y-Service indicated that this aircraft also flew from Heraklion to Catania that day. On the 17th there was a report of the arrival (presumably in Africa) of some electronic gear along with a Störtrupp (jamming squad) aboard the SS Ravello which had reached Benghazi the previous morning. From nightfall a Lichtenstein-equipped aircraft of Kdo. Koch was to fly an anti-submarine patrol off the Greek west coast, to the limit of its endurance. This may have been an He 111, since Ju 52 NR+AE was due to refuel at Castel Benito (now Tripoli International) in Libya the same night:

Aircraft is on an important task. Quickest possible dispatch is to be ensured under entire responsibility of supply forwarding station. Aerodrome command is instructed to follow the orders of [that station] with regard to the preparation of Castel Benito for night landing from 2030 hours onwards [and] arrangements for servicing the aircraft itself.

Despite these demands, it was still in Catania, Sicily at 1520 hrs., leaving some doubt over whether the operation took place as planned. The night of 19/20 August saw another Wildschwein flight, this time to protect a U-boat which was damaged and unable to dive, and NR+AE left Athens-Kalamaki for Heraklion, as did He 111 GJ+JH. Arrangements were also set in train on the 20th for a Lichtenstein patrol ahead of the tanker Alberto Fassio, a radar-carrying He 111 of II./KG 100 duly taking off at 2100 to operate between the western tip of Crete, Tobruk and Derna, Libya. That afternoon Ju 52 NR+AE and He 111 GJ+JH left Kalamaki for Heraklion.

NOTE: He 111 H-6, W.Nr. 7424, GJ+JH would be 15% damaged in a crash landing at Stolp-Reitz on 10 May 1944. At that time it was serving with the Beauftragter für Hochfrequenzforschung (Commissioner for High Frequency Research), Travemünde. (Information courtesy of Norbert Schuchbauer).

The following evening (21st/22nd) brought another moonlight anti-submarine patrol, to protect a convoy. In addition there was jamming support against British reconnaissance aircraft by a Ju 52 and an He 111 of the Kommando. The Heinkel took off at 1745 and landed at Kalamaki at 2330 after operating south of Crete. This may have been GJ+JH which flew from the latter airfield to Heraklion during the following day. A Ju 52 and an He 111 were again assigned to provide “indirect” radio counter measures (RCM) protection for the Fassio convoy on the night of 22/23 August but it was an escorting Ju 88 which drove off a British shadower in a sea-level engagement. The Kdo. Koch machines were due to give cover between 1800 and 0200 while the times of the jamming operation (presumably when the sets were actually transmitting) were later given as: He 111 from 1800–2125 and 2145–2210 hours; Ju 52 from 2355–0010 and 0025–0130. For its part, Ju 52 NR+AE landed in Derna, Libya from Heraklion at 0210 and continued to Tobruk at 1000. The night also saw the Germans waging active electronic warfare from the ground under the code name Nachtfalter (moth): El Daba (El Dabaa, Egypt) was to direct jamming against the Nile Delta from 1800–2000, to interfere with night fighter control radars and some other system (only part of the message was intercepted).


Nachtfalter was said by electronics researcher Fritz Trenkle to have been the cover name of the original German jamming installation at Mont de Couple (3 km inland from Wissant in the Pas de Calais) which had commenced operations in September 1940. The name was still in use when the site was heavily bombed on the night of 31 May/1 June 1944.

Fliegerkorps X’s signals officer told Fliegerführer Afrika that this action was to take place, suggesting that WIM stations in Africa were directed operationally by the former, despite being outside his territory. This was perhaps because the WIM-Zentrale was in Kounavi, and the network needed to operate in concert to be effective. Aside from its co-ordinating role, Kounavi monitored signals from RAF aircraft, picking up a “very urgent” message from a Malta-based reconnaissance plane late on 10 August, for example.

The next evening’s mission involved two He 111 shielding the Kreta and a damaged Axis submarine. These aircraft landed at 2307 and 0345 hours respectively, having reportedly jammed one British interloper from 1900–1912, from 1922–1927 and again intermittently on 175 kHz from 2032 hours. The second Heinkel had to break off at 0130 with equipment failure then an engine cut out on the flight home but the crew managed a smooth landing at Kalamaki. Even so, when Fl.Kps. X summed up the day, it said that ten “searching aircraft” had been jammed.

NOTE: Kreta, carrying petrol for the Luftwaffe, had been due to join the Fassio convoy from Athens but could only make 6 knots so was left to proceed independently with a torpedo boat as escort. She reached Tobruk on the evening of 25 August but Admiral Luigi Sansonetti, Regia Marina Deputy Chief of Staff, concluded that she was too slow to be suitable for a return trip.

On 22 August S/L Rowland Scott Farnie of A.I.4 (RAF Signals Intelligence) in Egypt contacted his superiors in London:

With reference to special aircraft mentioned [in ULTRA] is it your opinion that this is an ASV aircraft or an aircraft for jamming our ASV when on convoy search. So far no repeat no reports of interference with special equipment in our aircraft. Query: would not an ASV jamming aircraft make first class beacon to home [on]? … We are keeping close watch for signs activity their aircraft from W/T angle so far N.B.G. [No Bloody Good].

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