Sonderstaffel Kaatsch: August￐October 1944

Careless Talk

Oberfähnrich Meyer had been a Bordfunker with 1.(F)/122 until his Me 410 came down off the British coast and he was taken prisoner on 26 April 1944. In captivity, he told a pilot from 5./KG 2 about things he had seen in France. He also told it to microphones concealed by the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC) on 6 May:

A ‘109’. was being modified on an airfield near ours, It was just about ready. It was being specially modified for high altitudes; it was supposed to reach a height, of 13500 m., so the wings were fitted with mid-sections … quite considerably longer wings …

In his formal interrogation, Meyer is reported as saying that:

… a high altitude Me 109 with a wider wing than is normal was about to be put into operation [which] would attain a height of 13,500 metres.

On 10 May, the Technical Officer of FAG 123 signalled Oblt. Kaiser of the 5. Staffel to collect a Bf 109 G-5 “with H installation” («H-Einbau») from the workshops at Guyancourt, south west of Paris. By the 16th, the 5.(F)/123 was able to report the taking over a Bf 109 H “converted from G-5.” The reaction of Air Ministry Intelligence to this was “no definite information about Me 109 H but probably for high altitude PR.”


The new aircraft was Werk Nummer 110073 and was fitted with a pressure cabin, a “DB 605-GS engine”, MW 50 and GM 1. Its camera was an Rb 50/30 and it carried a FuG 16Z radio with “homing attachment FA16E and FA16S." Armament was confined to a single MG 151/20 cannon. The equipment fit of the “H” was almost exactly the same as that of a Bf 109 G-5/U2/AS taken over from the same source the day before, although it was mentioned that this aircraft also had the fittings for FuG 25A. This suggests that Guyancourt was adapting Bf 109s to FAG 123’s own specifications after receiving them from the factory.

NOTE: While Thomas H. Hitchcock has suggested the "GS" is an error for "BS", discussion on the 12 o'clock high forum has also contended that GS was used to describe an AS motor with MW 50 before the ASM designation was adopted in June 1944. George G. Hopp is clear that GS was the correct designaton in this case.

The Chief Quartermaster was duly advised that W.Nr. 110073 had been “taken over in accordance with Collecting Order 1438 by its new owner 5.(F)/123 from Guyancourt workshops after conversion from G-5 to H." Further evidence that 110073 was a special conversion came in a message of the 17th from which it was learned that a near-neighbour on the production line, Bf 109 G-5 W.Nr. 110077, had been allocated to 2./NAG 13: there was no suggestion that this was anything other than a normal G-5. On 18 May, the workshop at Conches transferred WNr. 110086 to 4.(F)/123 after repairing damage suffered in a crash. This particular aircraft was mentioned as a G-5/U2 with AS motor in a signal intercepted (albeit only in part) next day. It was already known to British Intelligence as on 28 April it had been reported as having been fitted with new radiator cut-out valves by ERLA-Antwerp. The British surmised that the German word for these devices «Abschaltventille» might explain the AS designation.


Not content with new aircraft, FAG 123 on 17 May put in a request for 20 wrist chronographs for the pilots of its 4. and 5. Staffeln. These were needed because of the difficulty they had in getting a clear view of the clock installed in the Bf 109, a stopwatch being necessary for blind-flying on operational flights and making run-ups to their objectives. On 11 May, 5.(F)/123 had been told that 15 all-round vision canopies were ready for collection from the ERLA works airfield at Antwerp-Deurne: the Staffel was to keep three, the rest were for Guyancourt.

At the same time, 5.(F)/123 was relinquishing older Messerschmitts, handing over Bf 109 G-6 Werk Nummern 19952 and 2035_ (final digit/s missing) to the “re-equipping detachment” at Herzogenaurach


On 24 May, 5.(F)/123 reported on changes to its pilots’ operational status:


Oblt. Kaiser



Oblt. Spiess



Oblt. Kopf



Oblt. Jedamzik

conditionally ready


Oblt. Stemke



Ltn. Weber



[name missing]



Ofw. Bartel



Fw. Bolten



Uffz. Mittermayer



Uffz. Geisser

conditionally ready


Gefr. Schmidt

conditionally ready

continued on next page...



An account based on deciphered German signals traffic and the transcripts of conversations between German prisoners of war covertly recorded by the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC).

I was prompted to publish this by a thread on the 12 O'Clock High forum. Looking at more decrypted material, I found more information about 5.(F)/123's use of this aircraft.

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Article © Nick Beale 2008–2022

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