Angers/Soucelles: 24 June 1944

Angers suffered severely in an RAF attack on the night of 28/29 May with over 500 dead and injured and major destruction of property. Late on 8 June the city’s Ordnungspolizei commander reported to his superiors in Paris that there had been a raid lasting from 08.00–09.15 (local time). Five fighters and a Ju 52 had been destroyed by strafing on the aerodrome but the landing field itself was undamaged; there was severe damage in the town however, to the goods station and an army rations depot. On the evening of the 17th, 36 B-24s bombed the aerodrome, heavily damaging the landing field and burning out a hangar without destroying any aircraft this time.

It was common during the Normandy campaign for a Geschwaderstab to control a mixture of its own and other Gruppen. In late June 1944, Stab JG 27 had subordinated to it I., III. and IV./JG 27 plus II./JG 53. Signals sent on 21 June indicated that these formations were establishing themselves on satellite bases around Angers including “Cornes” (presumably Corné), Saint Clément des Levées and a third field later pinpointed as Coucelles. Oberleutnant Stahl signalled JG 27’s Kommodore that although all the ground echelons had arrived, his presence was urgently required to resolve questions about the occupation of the airfield.

The II./JG 53 had been at Angers since 19 June at least, signalling on the 21st that the area’s landing grounds urgently needed fighter protection. Also on the 21st, II./JG 53 left Jafü Brittany’s signals net and joined 5. Jagddivision. Hptm. Julius Meimberg, the Gruppenkommandeur, advised 5. Jagddiv. that it was intended to station two Gruppen at “Cornes” (airfield 70 D) and one at St. Clément but that the Division must arrange this with X. Fliegerkorps.

NOTE: Pierre Babin’s researches have established that the Germans had used French labour to establish landing grounds on fields at Tiercé, Briollay and Soucelles. The Staffeln of II./JG 53 had been divided between these three strips since 15 June. On 20 June the Bf 109s of Fw. Heinz Lutz and Uffz. Hermann-Georg Rumpf collided on take-off, destroying a farm building (happily without civilian casualties). Although the Allies thought that the “Saint Clément” in German messages was Saint Clément de la Place, Pierre has found no evidence that there was ever an airfield there.

The Schwerpunkt of operations on the 22nd was described by II. Jagdkorps as patrols to counter Allied fighter-bombers in the area Périers – La Haye-du-Puits. Jafü Bretagne detailed his units’ activities as follows:


12 Bf 109


22 Bf 109


17 Bf 109


23 Bf 109


6 Bf 109

NOTE: References to Angers probably include its satellite airfields.


According to JG 27 it had contributed 54 of these sorties:




I. Gruppe



III. Gruppe



IV. Gruppe



In addition, 16 aircraft had been ferried over (to Angers?) of which one was missing. From the context, it appears that this was from I./JG 27 and indeed Uffz. Englebert Czerny died on a flight from Vertus to Angers (Bf 109 G-6, W.Nr. 440200, white 2). He came down at Beaugency, south west of Orléans and is buried in the German War Cemetery of Fort de la Malmaison).

Missing in action were two pilots of IV./JG 27 (named as (Ltn. Hientsch, Uffz. Schribler). According to the Jafü, Fw. Kurz of II./JG 53 was also missing from operations.

NOTE: Jean-Bernard Frappé lists two of these pilots as: Ltn. Manfred Hientzsch of 10./JG 27 (Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 161020, white 9) killed; and Fw. Eugen Kurz of 6./JG 53 (Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 165149, yellow 21) wounded. “Schriebler” may be either Uffz. Hans Schreiner (10./JG 27, wounded) or Uffz. Franz Schrubba (Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 412575, yellow 8, 12./JG 27, killed).

A return early on the morning of the 23rd gave these notably low figures for serviceable Bf 109s:



I./JG 27


III./JG 27


IV./JG 27


II./JG 53


In the course of the 23rd, Ltn. Fadschild crashed while landing Bf 109 G-6 (W.Nr. 163148, red 10). The Messeschmitt, with 25% damage, was handed over for factory repair. Another pilot, Uffz. SiXL of the I. Gruppe was reported missing (Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 412509, yellow 2). That evening JG 27 reported on the results of a reconnaissance carried out at 17.00 GMT and taking in a number of Allied landing grounds on the Cotentin Peninsula: two were occupied by gliders; another, 5 km south of Valognes, had fighters and multi-engined aircraft and at a fourth were 10 four-engined machines.

The 24th did not begin well for the Jagdgruppen based around Angers. Maj. Julius Meimberg, Kommandeur of II./JG 53 was answering a rebuke for his “inexcusable” failure to carry out a reconnaissance mission the previous evening. His aircraft had landed from a “combined operation” at 18.00 GMT (20.00 hrs. local time), the order for the reconnaissance arriving 20 minutes later but “considering all the difficulties” (which he left unspecified) there had been no possibility of getting a Schwarm airborne until 19.00 hrs.

Meanwhile the new day’s operations were underway (all times GMT):


A Schwarm of Bf 109s took off from Angers.


Eight Bf 109s took off from Angers.


Six II./JG 53 Bf 109s were up in support of the Army south east of Bayeux (along with 14 machines of JG 26), landing at 06.03 hrs.


Eight of III./JG 27’s Bf 109s landed from operations.


Four of II./JG 53’s aircraft landed from operations.

continued on next page …



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