29 August 1944

At 15.11 hrs. a pair of Kaatsch’s Bf 109s took off for a reconnaissance of the area Grenoble – Voiron – Voreppe – Rives – Lyon. One of these aircraft was shot down by two P-47s, 15 km. north of Lyon at 16.03 hrs. but its companion landed just over half an hour later. The results from this operation were:

Lorries and passenger vehicles parked to the left and right of the Voiron – Grenoble road along with light AA guns, some of them dug-in.

North west of Voreppe a steam goods train of 10–12 wagons was heading towards Grenoble.

No traffic on the La Frette – Bourgon – Lyon road.

The lost aircraft was Bf 109 G-6, W.Nr. 441794, yellow 5 and its pilot Ofw. Weller was killed. This loss corresponds with the claim of a Bf 109 by Lt. Littlewood of the US 324th Fighter Group (316th FS, “Hell’s Belles”) at 16.10 hrs. at a map reference about 43 km. NNE of Lyon.

Another machine (attributed by British Intelligence to Jafü Süd) was up from 15.36–17.17 hrs. to cover Moirans, Romans-sur-Isère and Beaurepaire but had been attacked by Allied fighters at 16.45 hrs. and forced to turn back early but ven so, from the German point of view this flight was not altogether fruitless:

Around 16.00 hrs. at the exit from Moirans, American truck columns heading for Romans.

Round Saint-Lattier American infantry in company strength resting.

The Bf 109 which turned back was possibly W.Nr. 160755 which was described as shot up in a report at 18.45 hrs. According to that same report, strength for the following morning was expected to be 13 (5) aircraft and 9 (9) pilots.

Meanwhile, 4.(F)/123 reported the arrival of the whole Staffel and all its aircraft at the satellite airfield of Douzy, south east of Sedan. This new base was not stocked up and the unit had only 3000 litres of C3 remaining. By evening, three Bf 109s of the 5. Staffel had reached Douzy and the ground echelon was expected shortly. Another Bf 109 had been blown up after making a belly-landing at Charleville. Late that evening, FAG 123’s Kommandeur ordered both Staffeln to remain in Douzy and to restore serviceability with all speed.

30 August 1944

At 06.50 hrs., Ltn. Moschke took off in “1” for a two-hour “front flight”. At 07.07 Kaatsch dispatched another Bf 109, to St. Etienne, Valence, Crest, Chabeuil and Vienne in a sortie lasting 100 minutes. A few days later, FAG 123 was advised that a Bf 109 G-6 (W.Nr. 175433) had crashed 18 km. west of Dijon on 30 August and was a total loss but there had been no personnel casualties.

NOTE: There is reason to think that the correct W.Nr. for this aircraft was 165433.

A report signed “Aufklärungsgruppe Kaatsch” and apparently addressed to Luftflotte 3 repeated an “urgent request” for the results of reconnaissance in the Auxerre – Troyes – St. Dizier area, presumably in case Allied ground forces were turning south from the Paris area to threaten Dijon. The latter aerodrome saw the evacuation of 34 women and 342 wounded by 21 Ju 52 of Transport Fliefü 1.

Reported strength at 18.00 hours was 10 (9) pilots and 6 serviceable aircraft. Also that day, 5.(F)/123 was ordered to leave France for Trier-Euren, Germany.

31 August 1944

From 10.46–12.29 hrs. aircraft of Staffel Kaatsch covered the area from Dijon to Chambéry, Grenoble and Voiron. Grenoble was “heavily occupied” by the Americans and Resistance vehicles were seen on the roads. A further machine was up from Dijon from 17.23–18.56 hrs. on the route Dole, Pontarlier and Bellegarde-sur-Valserine: no military traffic was seen, only road blocks between Saint-Amour and Lons-le-Saunier. For his part, Ltn. Moschke logged two operations that afternoon, the first of just 35 minutes, the times of his second closely approximating the flight just described.

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29 August

Free French units take Montélimar.

31 August

American troops cross the River Meuse.

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