October 1942


For the Kommando, October began with two jamming sorties, from 1555 to midnight and 1925–0505. Also in the air was Do 217 night fighter, R4+DR of 7./NJG 2, which took off at 1950 on a convoy protection sortie of six hours’ duration. It saw seven flares dropped and sighted two hostile aircraft which it did not engage. Only one jammer operated on 3 October, landing at Kalamaki, (two others had been scheduled to protect a convoy which in the event did not sail). The next night Fliegerkorps X undertook jamming west of the Gulf of Patras but the sole Do 217 on patrol (R4+CR) was forced to break off in the face of bad weather although two He 111 provided jamming cover for a convoy.

On the 5th, the Horchdienst was ordered to cooperate with WIM to determine the procedure used by American bomber units in attacking Axis convoys. The Luftwaffe suspected that these formations were accompanied by A.S.V. aircraft, following up on positions transmitted by daylight reconnaissance aircraft and that direction finders were picking up VHF radio telephony from Italian destroyers.

The Sestriere had left Brindisi for Benghazi on 4 October, accruing a six-strong escort en route. On the 6th there were no Do 217 serviceable to protect this convoy but two jammers were assigned: the first He 111 left Kalamaki at 1530, landing at 2300 in Tympaki, Crete without detecting any hostile aircraft; the second crashed on take-off from Tympaki and was completely destroyed.

NOTE: the crashed aircraft was He 111 H-6 W.Nr. 7192 and it burned out. Of the crew, pilot Ofw. Heinz Gleisberg and observer Uffz. Heinz Carow died, gunner Ofw. Walter Staab was injured along with wireless operator Uffz. Hermann Bez. The Heinkel’s unit was reported as II./KG 100, reflecting “pay and rations” arrangements (II./KG 100’s operations were reported by Fliegerkorps X separately from those of the Kommando, however).

Carow is buried at Maleme, Crete. Jean-Louis Roba spells the pilot’s name Gleissberg, but a single “s” is used in the denkmalprojekt.org listing and that spelling outnumbers the “double-s” variant 40:1 among German telephone subscribers.

Despite this setback a reported four He 111 RCM sorties were put up on the 7th, one of which supported the Tobruk-bound freighter Dandolo (jamming five A.S.V. sets) and two the transport Amsterdam. The following afternoon at 1600, an He 111 left Kalamaki to support the tanker Proserpina, a second Heinkel joining from Heraklion just over four hours later. Transmissions from no fewer than 14 enemy aircraft were picked up, five of them in contact with Proserpina.

Meanwhile in Africa, a Signals Officer had been told on 7 October to contact Fl.Kps. X regarding the search for somewhere south of El Daba to site WIM 10. The necessary generator was being delivered and radio gear would follow. Three days later, Ju 52 NR+AE was once again in evidence, transporting a 70-watt transmitter from Grottaglie to Qotafiyah.

An He 111 left Heraklion at 2000 on the 9th for a jamming mission, again in support of Proserpina. In an attempt to ensure the safe passage of the tanker Petrarca during the night of 11/12 October, the Germans planned to dispatch all available Wildschweine and night fighters to it as soon as a sighting report from a British aircraft was intercepted with the object of shooting the shadower down. Meanwhile, British A.S.V. frequencies were to be jammed continuously by ground-based transmitters. In the event, two Do 217 were dispatched on convoy defence (reporting two flares shot down and an A.S.V. aircraft chased) while an He 111 was up at 2100 hours to give jamming cover to another ship, the Amsterdam, on its way from Patras, Greece to Tripoli but the vessel was damaged by a torpedo off Misrata, Libya and taken in tow by an escort. The following night, the convoy was to be supported by one RCM aircraft after midnight.

The transport Ruhr had already escaped a torpedo from a British submarine; on the 14th it was to receive RCM support courtesy of two He 111s which left Heraklion at 1600 and 1945 hours respectively, both having landed by 0545. The following night, the Amsterdam was again the focus of attention; a detachment of IV./KG 54 at Castel Benito was to maintain one Ju 88 over the convoy at all times, charged with shooting down any flares that the RAF might drop over the ship.

Late on 16 October Benghazi was given orders to ready the tug Ciclone to assist in salvaging Amsterdam and an He 111 A.S.V. jammer was transferred to Tripoli to screen these operations. By next morning the Italian authorities had requested fighter cover by day and night. The ship itself had been run aground a kilometre outside the harbour at Homs (Al Khums, Libya) and there were hopes of retrieving a substantial part of her cargo in the course of the 18th. That night two Wildschwein Heinkels and a Do 217 night fighter had been deployed to Catania and these machines were due at Castel Benito to carry out convoy protection on the night of the 19/20th, after which they were to return to Kalamaki.

NOTE: Among the cargo later recovered from Amsterdam were 70 motor vehicles.

continued on next page …





23 October

Eighth Army launches Second Battle of El Alamein.

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