Intelligence

duringthenight

At 2100 hours on 26 September, four II./KG 100 machines took off from Kalamaki to raid forward British positions in Egypt. By 0320, three of them had returned, reporting: “Harassing attacks in El Alamein area on railway, roads, field positions and lorry concentrations without any particular result being observed. Defence: well placed strong AA”. Early next day, Fl. Kps. X asked Fliegerführer Afrika to institute a search for He 111 6N+AJ “apparently ditched (according to ground station D/F) at about 2340/26/9 in [map square] 8351”. The Flifü duly sent a reconnaissance Ju 88 to search for the missing Heinkel but without success. He 111 H-6, W.Nr. 7222 (6N+AJ) was loaded with a single 500 kg and 8 x 50 kg bombs plus 8 x AB 23 canisters, it was also fitted with a reserve fuel tank. A cooling system breakdown in its starboard engine and defective trimming led to a forced landing about 25 km SW of RAF El Amiriya, in the Nile Delta.

thewtoperatorAll four of the Heinkel’s crew were taken prisoner: Fw. Helmut Dümmler (pilot); Uffz, Anton Dostal (observer); Uffz. Heinz Klostermann (wireless operator); and Gefr. Friedrich Pallada (air gunner). The latter two proved of sufficient interest to their interrogators to generate eight reports, for they had knowledge of Sonderkommando Major Koch. That unit shared Kalamaki with II./KG 100, was attached to it for administrative purposes and Dümmler’s crew had flown four sorties on its behalf.

During September a new draft of crews had joined the Sonderkommando but they had no blind-flying experience and so it had been necessary to draw on II./KG 100 to fly the unit’s Heinkels. The prisoners had not themselves operated the special equipment but were able to describe the various systems in use:

 

A British ASV set thought to have been recovered from a crashed Wellington and installed in an He 111

 

German-built shipping search radars, supposedly copied from ASV

 

Protekt jamming systems

Koch’s work was experimental and directed toward countering night fighters and protecting convoys through the detection and disruption of Allied systems.

Personnel

The prisoners identified the following members of the Kommando:

 

Maj. Koch

 

Obltn. Schweickert (pilot, detached from the Rechlin test establishment)

 

Maj. Stabsingenieur Torech

 

Stabsing. ?

 

Ing. Herold (reserve)

 

Obltn. Lawer (pilot)

 

Obltn. Faber (pilot)

 

NOTE: The prisoners’ “Schweickert” was probably Obltn. Josef Schwaighart, killed when Grosseto was bombed on 20 May 1943 (see below).

Aircraft

There were five aircraft on hand: a Do 217 “converted into a long range fighter and fitted with ASV”; an He 111 fitted with ASV and marked GJ+JF; three He 111 detached from KG 100 and fitted with Protekt, two of which were TM+KB and TM+KM. Here again the testimony departs from what can be corroborated elsewhere. I have found no other mention of a Do 217 on the unit’s strength, only the Lichtenstein-equipped machines of the Nachtjagdkommando; conversely, Koch had a Ju 88 D-1 on strength of which these prisoners apparently said nothing. A GJ+JF is not mentioned in my other sources but GJ+JH features repeatedly in reports of sorties flown; TM+KM (W.Nr. 7583) can however be confirmed and TM+KP had been lost on 2 September, so TM+KB may perhaps have been correct.

ASV

One of the prisoners had been away from Kalamaki from 3–28 August, just when Kdo. Koch was arriving, but believed that an ASV set (perhaps the only one) had been delivered to the airfield in his absence. He had been told by Ing. Herold that it was British and very difficult to maintain as the controls were far from easy to get at. The set itself was housed in an oblong grey box, mounted in a surround shaped like an inverted “U” on the rear bulkhead of the beam gunner’s compartment; to open it up for servicing entailed removing 12 screws. The display fitted to the observer’s instrument panel took the form of a 12 (w) x 20 cm (h) ground glass screen with a central vertical scale. When the set was operating, a greenish vertical trace appeared on the screen, diverging at the bottom; brightness was regulated by a control knob at the bottom right. A contact produced a blip on the trace, its offset from the centre indicating bearing while its vertical position gave the range. Maximum range was thought to be 80–90 km and as for the aerials:

Ps/W were not very clear about the array employed and described it as being similar to that for Protekt [see below] with two or three twin dipoles mounted about 60 kms. [sic] above the fuselage along the centre line.

continued on next page …

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