continued …

29 June 1944

Formed out of a target-towing unit, Geschwader Bongart operated a miscellany of aircraft against the Maquisards of Central France. During the day, its Kommodore, Oberst Freiherr Hermann-Josef von dem Bongart, urgently requested that if it was planned to deploy III./SG 4 elsewhere, he be allowed to retain one of its Staffeln with 12 aircraft.

30 June 1944

At 11.35 hours, 16 Fw 190s took off on SG 4's last mission in the French interior, one aircraft losing its SC 500 bomb in the process. Thirty-five minutes later they dive-bombed two small villages east and south east of Valence: Léoncel and Saou. The 15 bombs dropped were reported to be well on target, with the former village damaged and the latter destroyed. They saw no traffic on the roads during their mission and all returned safely to Clermont at 13.00 hours. Since Avord is not mentioned in the reports and because the 9. Staffel had no operational pilots a day earlier, it seems probable that this mission was flown only by 7. and 8./SG 4.

In Saou the destruction included the vaulted nave of the 12th century parish church of Saint Mary.

At 16.00 hrs. Geschwader Bongart gave orders to prepare for III./SG 4's transfer to the Eastern Front. For its part, III./SG 4, asked Luftgau Westfrankreich, to forward all mail for FPN L 40934 to the Luftgau Post Office in Koenigsberg, East Prussia. At 22.30 hrs., Ltn. Klepke at Avord reported to III./SG 4 that the airfield was serviceable. The same officer also filed a strength return for the 9. Staffel of 11 (7) aircraft and 11 pilots (none of them operational).

1 July 1944

During the day, 21 Fw 190s of III./SG 4 took off from Avord and Clermont-Ferrand for Toul. Ten Ju 52s were laid on for the transfer of key personnel. The War Diary notes that the unit flew to Lüneburg-West two days later.

4 July 1944

The Technical Directorate at Clermont-Ferrand reported on the status of a number of Fw 190s taken over from III./SG 4. Only parts of the signal were intercepted but the following machines:

Fw 190 F-8 W.Nr. 930870 unserviceable, change of armament fuse and connector box

Fw 190 F-8 W.Nr. 581425 mixture regulator changed

Fw 190 F-8 W.Nr. [section of message missing]

Fw 190 A-6 W.Nr. 470773 ready for ferrying over

Fw 190 A-6 W.Nr. 470646 ready for ferrying over

6–9 July 1944

From Dvinsk (now Daugavpils, Latvia) SG 4 sent instructions on the 6th for the mail of its Geschwaderstab and three Gruppen to be forwarded via Königsberg. Three days later a fragmentary message ordered that "remaining elements of III./SG 4" were to transfer to Dvinsk by rail immediately.

Sources

National Archives, Kew, London:

AIR 40/1887: 2nd TAF AP/WIU Reports Nos. 1–37 (complete)

AIR 51/281: MAAF Field Intelligence Unit, Technical Report No. 1

Files HW 5/495–/524: German section: reports of German army and air force high grade machine decrypts (9 June–9 July 1944)

HW 13/39: GNA Vo. XIII, 1130–1250 (1 April–31 July 1944)

WO 171/425: 6th Airborne Division War Diary

US Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Al.

US Strategic Air Forces in Europe, Technical Intelligence Report No. A-1 (20 June 1944)

Online:

The Kriegstagebuch of III./SG 4 for the Normandy campaign survives and a microfilm copy is held in the Imperial War Museum's Documents Collection. Parts of the that material can be found at http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_t2414/1?r=0&s=1. Extracts from it also feature in Andrew Arthy's account of Geschwader Bongart on his website.

NOTE: The KTB’s »Erfolgsberichte« (results reports) are not always clear, putting under the same heading events that took place at widely-separated locations, so where necessary I have made what I hope are logical interpretations.

I checked some loss and casualty details in the Base de Données A.B.S.A. 39–45: http://baseportal.de/cgi-bin/baseportal.pl?htx=/ABSA/06_Juni&localparams=1&cmd=do_search

T. Benbow: The Contribution of Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers and the Fleet Air Arm to Operation ‘Overlord’, 1944. War in History, 1-22 (2017): https://doi.org/10.1177/0968344517702417

Books

The fullest account of III./SG 4 in Normandy I know is that given by Jean-Bernard Frappé in his La Luftwaffe face au débarquement allié (Éditions Heimdal, Bayeux 2018) ISBN 2 84048 126 X. A revised and greatly expanded edition of this book appeared in late 2018 but I haven't tried to incorporate M. Frappé's material, beyond cross-checking a couple of points.

For II./JG 26’s period in Cazaux, I consulted Donald Caldwell: The JG 26 War Diary: Vol. 2, 1943-1945 (Grub Street, 1998) ISBN 978-1898697862

Tthe KG 54 supply missions are covered in Siegfried Radtke: Kampfgeschwader 54: von der Ju 52 zur Me 262 — Eine Chronik nach Kriegstagebüchern, Dokumenten und Berichten 1935–1945 (Schild Verlag, 1990) ISBN 3-88014-098-7

Thanks to

Steve Coates and Chris Goss.

© Nick Beale 2008–21


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PART EIGHT AND FINAL


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