After Provence

For at least some of JGr. 200's pilots, their next assignment would be to a temporary reconnaissance Staffel operating over central and eastern France.

On 4 August, the Gruppe had been assigned four Bf 109s from Hptm. Öls’s rear detachment of JG 27 at Champfleury but had to collect them itself. Ten days later, as we have seen, JG 27 signalled that four pilots had arrived from JGr. 200 to fetch aircraft made available by II. Jagdkorps on the 6th had these already been handed over to JG 3. On the 15th, II. Jagdkorps told JG 27 that the four JGr. 200 men should instead report to II./JG 2 at "Airfield 409." This was thought by the Allies to be a satellite of Creil and indeed II./JG 2 was based at Baron, 18 km. south east of there.

In the unravelling German situation their journey (130 km. by road) may not have been easy and British Intelligence heard no more of them until the 22nd when, at 16.00 hours, Dijon Air Movement Control was notified that the Bf 109 being flown in from Creil by Lt. Bell had been re-routed to Strasbourg. At 1130 hrs. the same morning, Jafü Süd asked asked after the locations of various "march groups", among them a "Kroeck Group" bound for Dijon. In Dijon, a new unit was forming and some JGr. 200 pilots would serve with it. Probably en route for Dijon, motor mechanic Stabsgefr. Günther Eicke (1./JGr. 200) died of wounds at Tournus.

The disbandment of Jagdflierführer Südfrankreich was announced on 31 August, with all the released personnel and materiel being placed at the disposal of Luftflotte 3. On the afternoon of 16 September, a ground crewman of 3./JGr. 200, Gefr. Helmut Stache was killed by an accidental explosion of incendiary bombs at Wiesbaden-Erbenheim aerodrome. The disbandment of Jagdgruppe 200 was ordered on 9 September for completion by the 30th, its personnel and materiel lace at the disposal of the Gen. der Jagdglieger. On the latter date it still figured on a list of units awaiting disbandment; it was at Böblingen, south west of Stuttgart. As late as 17 October the Quedlinburg Aircrew Depot was advised that Hptm. Seckel, Staffelkapitän of 1./JGr. 200, was in hospital at Kiel-Holtenau receiving treatment for wounds and would be there for about four weeks. It is not clear whether these were the same injuries he had suffered in the action of 7 August. In February 1945 he assumed command of III./EJG 2.

Responding to an OKL communication of 9 January 1945, the Gen. der Jagdflieger requested on the 20th that “Roman One/200” be established at Parchim as a Gruppe of three Staffeln, each of 12 aircraft. Its proposed tasks were: “Expansion of the testing now beginning of the He 126 [sic] on an operational basis in Gruppe strength”. For operations it would be subordinated to Luftflotte Reich and for training matters to Gen. der Jagdflieger. Groundcrew and pilots were to come from IV./JG 54, not all of whose personnel would be needed when it became II./JG 7. There was also to be a Stabsstaffel JG 200 with 12 aircraft established at Rechlin-Lärz. Its job was to be technical and operational testing of the He 162.

We know that nothing came of this but not how the proposal arose nor why it was abandoned. A proposal had been made on 31 December 1944 to form Erpobungskommando 162 and the necessary orders followed on 9 January: it was to have three Staffeln of 12 He 162 with a further four machines in a Gruppenstab. Its role was to be the technical and operational testing of the type in Gruppe strength. By 25 January the Quartermaster General’s Organisation Section was ordering the establishment of I./JG 80 as an He 162 Gruppe instead of forming E-Kdo. 162 but there was no mention of I./JG 200. An objection came next next day from the Equipment Section: the loss of territory in Eastern Germany meant lost production and a reduction on the strength of fighter units so the He 162 should equip an existing Gruppe rather than a new. one. By the 31st it had been decided that JG 1 should become the first He 162 unit instead.

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