continued …

15 May

The reconnaissance effort was backed up by I./JG 26, two of whose Fw 190s took off at 0324 GMT for the seas between Eastbourne and Dover but saw no shipping. Another mission to the same area (by an unidentified unit) reported 20 westbound ships at 0710, 11 km SE Eastbourne; this was evaluated as a regular westbound convoy. The Y-Service overheard one aircraft report releasing its drop tank (at 0441) and a German machine troubled by friendly Flak, apparently near Évreux.

NAG 13’s effort in the western part of the Channel consisted of two groups of four aircraft from Dinard: the first was plotted south of Start Point at 1216, the second south of Portland at 1428 GMT. From 4.(F)/123 a lone Bf 109 operated between Beachy Head and the Isle of Wight while a pair covered St. Albans Head to Brighton but neither mission sighted any ships.

The build-up of 3./NAG 13 continued with the receipt of Bf 109 G-8, W.Nr. 710023 and 710067. The Gruppe’s 1. Staffel took over “again” Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 162064, white 5 (RW+DM) from Guyancourt after the building-in of a new camera.

NOTE: Stab NAG 13 had first received the latter Bf 109 on 6 April; at that point it had 1 x MG 151/20 and 2 x MG 131 but lacked its FuG 17 radio and camera.

16 May

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From 3.(F)/122, Ju 188 F6+EL crossed the Dutch coast at Ameland at 0010 on a sortie that lasted just over three hours. Again there was little daylight activity. Two aircraft were due to leave Morlaix for oversea reconnaissance at 1800 but did not appear on radar and no radio traffic was heard.

NAG 13 was told that it had been allocated 15 clear-vision cockpit canopies which it could collect from the Erla works in Antwerp.

17–18 May

Although two evening operations (involving four aircraft) were intended by NAG 13 from Morlaix, the British had no evidence whether or not they took place. At 1512, taking off from Laval on a practice flight, the landing gear of Bf 109 G-6, W.Nr. 15648, white 12, was smashed and the aircraft left 75% damaged but Ofw. Hader emerged unhurt.

NOTE: This particular Messerschmitt had only been on strength since 29 April.

Two of 4.(F)/123’s planes were up from 1838–1919, sighting nothing more than motor minesweepers off Selsey Bill.

On the 18th, 4.(F)/123 took over Bf 109 G-5/AS, W.Nr. 110520 (this aircraft passed to the 5. Staffel in September) but asked to give up its Fw 58 C-2 communications hack, W.Nr. 347. They wanted a Bf 108, since the air situation had rendered continued use of the Fw 58 untenable. Returning to the 4. Staffel from Conches was Bf 109 G-5/AS/U2, W.Nr. 110086, which had been undergoing repairs to crash damage. For its part, 5.(F)/123 gave up Bf 109 G-6 19952 and 2035_. In 1./NAG 13, Bf 109 G-6, W.Nr. 161117 came back on strength as white 7 after repairs (see 9 May, above).

An overnight reconnaissance on the 18/19th saw a destroyer and three other ships off Lands End.

19 May

The Staffelkapitäne of FAG 123 were due at Buc during the morning for a conference.

An aircraft of 4.(F)/123 was heard for a few minutes from 0449 GMT, possibly landing at Bernay; the next one detected radioed in at 0951 to give an estimated time of arrival; a third landed at 1925. Again, NAG 13 operated during the evening: two sorties from Dinard and two from Morlaix.

20-21 May

Two aircraft from Morlaix reported three patrol vessels at sea off Falmouth at 1605 GMT and 40 minutes later a Rotte from Dinard was tracked flying below 300 m off Swanage. There were indications from wireless traffic of two morning and one evening operations in the Central and Eastern Channel.

During a training flight from Dinard airfield at 0612 GMT, 1./NAG 13’s Bf 109 G-6, W.Nr. 162064, white 5 was 45% damaged, with a buckled fuselage and broken undercarriage, airscrew and port wing. The pilot, Uffz. Heinz Ries, Heinz was unhurt however. Activity on the 21st was again limited, with no apparent attempt to approach the British mainland.

22 May

Owing in particular to the lack of continuous and comprehensive aerial reconnaissance, it is not clearly discernible whether the principal build up of transport capacity is taking place in one sector of the Channel or another.

Seekriegsleitung, 22 May 1944

Major i.G. Wilhelm Knapp was appointed as acting Kommandeur of FAG 123 while, across the Channel, Hut 3 at Bletchley Park initiated a new sequence of reports to the Operational Watch, the COBRA series. These sometimes brief signals concerned themselves with German aircraft crossing out to sea and potentially heading for Britain. Four aircraft were due up from Dinard at 0445 GMT for the sea area north of Brittany and west of the Channel Islands and there were further flights late in the afternoon, none of which made any sightings. Two aircraft plotted 50 km off Start Point at 1923 turned tail and vanished within three minutes. Luftflotte 3 lifted its two day-old ban on the use of MW 50, at least as far as reconnaissance aircraft were concerned, the reason for this emerging on the 31st when 5.(F)/123 was told that it was necessary continually to check the methanol jets for corrosion.

23 May

NAG 13 sent out four sorties from Dinard early in the morning of the 23rd and deployed five aircraft to Jersey but no sighting reports ensued. That evening there were indications of activity by 4.(F)/123 in the central part of the Channel. Also on the 23rd, 1.(F)/121 handed over Me 410 A-3, W.Nr. 170037 to Guyancourt for the repair of crash damage but received W.Nr. 170132; three days previously, the Staffel had had no fewer than nine of its aircraft under repair at Guyancourt. Bombs falling on Orly caused 60% damage to 3.(F)/122’s Ju 188 F-1, W.Nr. 280067.

continued on next page …

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