On this date, No. 225 Squadron was the first RAF unit to move from Corsica to the mainland, an airstrip at Ramatuelle. Meanwhile "there was a feeble effort" on the part of the Luftwaffe.
During the afternoon, a message was passed that all hangars and buildings at Marignane had been destroyed prior to abandoning the airfield. A signal went to KG 26 (or an element of it) that if no other orders were given by noon, it was was to transfer to Memmingen with all its serviceable aircraft. Those that could not make the flight were to be handed over to the Platzkommando which was to continue repair work as long as possible. Meanwhile in Italy, work was underway at Cameri in expectation of II./KG 26's arrival. Fifty B-25s bombed Valence-La Trésorerie in four waves and although the landing area was unscathed, two Ju 88s were slightly damaged. Fw. Ludwig Johann of the Geschwaderstab was posted missing and from the I. Gruppe there was an NCO dead, one missing and two wounded. This NCO was probably Uffz. Kurt Köthers, a 3./KG 26 wireless operator who died in an accident 15 km east of Freiburg during a transfer flight from Lyon to Memmingen.
Lt. Arndt-Richard Hupfeld (Staffelführer of 3./JGr. 200) and Hptm. Georg Seckel (Kapitän of 1./200) discharged themselves from hospital and flew in a Bf 108 from Orange to Belfort. Orange-Caritat was strafed but II./JG 77 was already leaving and destroying whatever equipment it could not take with it.
The 2./SAGr. 128 wired the Luftwaffe liaison staff at Naval HQ to report its arrival in Friedrichshafen with eight Ar 196, their crews and seven technicians. One aircraft had suffered engine trouble en route and made an emergency landing on the River Saône, about 10 km north of Chalons, “in the terrorist area”, and was reported blown up by its crew. An unserviceable Arado had been destroyed in Perpignan while the same was done to a serviceable one in Berre because its crew had not returned from leave in Annecy. The bases at Berre and Biscarrosse had been destroyed and personnel from there and from Perpignan had set off overland. A week later it was decided that 2./128 should disband with crews and aircraft going to Flieger-Ergänzungsgruppe (See) Kamp in Travemünde once the necessary fuel was arranged. Meanwhile the crew who landed on the Saône had reached Friedrichshafen as had the “Lautenschläger crew” (the men on leave in Annecy?) but there was no word from the ground echelon although it was understood that they had reached friendly lines in lorries.The Ar 196 which landed on the Saône was still there when Chalons-sur-Saône was liberated on 5 September and was captured on film, but not before it had been looted.
At 07.30, three French Thunderbolts on armed reconnaissance between Nice and Torino, Italy strafed an airfield at reported map reference N-9985 (which is near Savigliano) and destroyed a Ju 88 on the ground. Then they encountered three Bf 109s, 90 km. north east of Nice, claiming one destroyed for one P-47 missing. Another consequence of this action was that two 5./JG 77 pilots (Fw. Karl Tanck in Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 163226, "yellow 12" and Flg. Karl-Friedrich Nehrenheim in W.Nr. 163956, "yellow 3") lost their bearings and ended up landing at Bern-Beundenfeld, Switzerland where they were interned until 14 November.
Dated 20/8, signed Luftflotte 3 (IC) No. 5651:
According to Swiss Air Force at 0556/20/8 2 Me. 109 G. made emergency landing at BERNE-BUNDENFELD. Crew unhurt, a/c slightly damaged.
Markings: 1) Yellow 3 + 87; 2) Yellow 12 + 1287.
Crews: 1) Feldw. KARL TANCK, born 16/7/19; 2) Pilot (?) KARL-FRIEDRICH MAHRENHEIM, born 8/1/23.
Report of place of take-off or home A/F not available as crews refuse to make any statement. Reason for emergency landing: mistake in navigation; a/c and crews interned in SWITZERLAND.
Immediate report of further details, particularly whether or not secret apparatus and secret documents on board, and further whether there is suspicion of desertion. (Luftflotte REICH has the report.)
The II./JG 77 had not had a good day and recorded one aircraft lost (cause not clear), another lost to ground fire, two lost in combat and four damaged in accidents. Nevertheless, between midday and early evening around 25 Bf 109s got back to Ghedi I airfield by way of Airasca. Allied radio monitoring seems to have misread the movements as being in the opposite direction and while 15 aircraft were overheard, only two (black 3 and white 9) were identified.
At 16.30, Luftflotte 2 ordered the bomber units to continue attacking the landing fleet and beach heads that night. Reconnaissance tasks were unchanged but a search was to be made of the Golfe du Lion to establish whether the Allies might also land west of the Rhône Estuary. About all that seems to have come of this was that, at 20.50, HMS Delhi engaged a Ju 88 with 31 rounds from her 5-inch guns. USS Catoctin reported that at 2105 (local time) “all ships and shore batteries opened fire on enemy plane. 21.10 enemy plane reported destroyed.”
An order was issued early in the day to KG 26 (or some part of it):
If no other order is issued by 1000 hours, you will transfer early this afternoon with serviceable aircraft to Memmingen. Aircraft in repair are to be handed over to the [Airfield Command]; repair work is to be continued as long as possible. Transfer the personnel remaining behind with the [Airfield Command] when the evacuation order is received: destination Memmingen.
At least one of 4./KG 26’s Ju 88s, 1H+MM, left Valence for München-Riem that afternoon, continuing to München-Riem during the evening.
Communication No. 1937 of 19/8 from army Group G, IA, to OKW/Armed Forces Ops Staff:
Enemy pressure against 19th Army very strong. As scarcely any other means of combatting tanks available, it is requested that recoilless A/TK grenade dischargers £Panzerfaueste£ and A/TK rocket launchers £Panzerschreck£ be flown up.
On the evening of the 20th, the Germans announced that anti-tank weapons would be flown to Caritat during the night of the 20th/21st. It is unclear whether this had anything to do with two Ju 52s of II./TG 1 (W.Nr. 7213, GA+VA and W.Nr. 103723, 8T+BV) crashing and burning at Courmayeur, Mont Blanc (15 km west of Aosta), en route from Gallarate to Orange. All eight crewmen were killed and while the Germans ascribed these losses to enemy action enemy action, an accident seems more likely since there seems to be no corresponding Allied claim.
At 17.30, Army Group G radioed Ob. West: “since 19 August, 19th Army without any fighter cover, without reconnaissance and without ground attack units.”
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