Rest and Refitting


June 1944

No R/T has been intercepted from fighter-bombers … although photo reconnaissance showed large numbers of FW 190's at AIRASCA, where they went after 5 June.

MAAF Signals Intelligence Service
R/T Notes based on Traffic for June 1944

Operational experience in Italy has shown that even the Fw 190 can only be deployed as a ground attack aircraft with the greatest difficulty.

Luftwaffe General Staff, 2 June 1944

On 1 June, Airfield Regional Command 18/XI’s War Diary records a conference with II./SG 4’s Kommandeur about “the newly-arrived Gruppe.” On the evening of the 2nd, SG 4's Restkommando in Piacenza notified Airasca of a phone call from the General der Schlachtflieger, Oberst Hitschhold. The latter would be be arriving in Piacenza at 14.00 hrs. next day to confer with Maj. Dörnbrack. On the 3rd, Allied Signals Intelligence picked up evidence of Fw 190s on transfer or training flights, well behind the battle lines

Even on 5 June, the withdrawal from the forward landing grounds was not quite complete. At 06.30 hours, Fw 190s “green 1”, “black 2”, “black 9” and “white 2” arrived in Piacenza from Viterbo.

At 07.45 hours, Fw 190s DV+WO, GS+GZ, SL+IP, DX+RL were down in Osoppo from Airasca (or at least that is how it was understood by allied code breakers. It seems more likely that factory-coded aircraft would have been travelling from Osoppo to Airasca, rather than vice versa).

NOTE: in the aircraft codes that follow, a letter or a blank space with an underscore is one where Allied code breakers were uncertain whether their interpretation was correct.

Fw 190s DX+DP, DX+DZ, DX+KQ, DX+PR, DS+GR, DS+GS, DS+DQ, DS+DP, RP+GQ, PX+DS, GZ+DJ, SL+VR left Osoppo at16.00 hours for Levaldigi.

By 19.30 hours, some 11 Fw 190s were reported to have been delivered from Osoppo to II./SG 4 in Levaldigi. These included: GS+DV, DX+KQ, RP+GQ, SL+YR, FS+DY, DX+DP, DX+DZ and Z_+DJ.

On the 6th, Fw 190s DA+DK [possibly DX+DK, see below], VR+UH, VR+WK, VR+XK landed in Piacenza from Osoppo at 15.00 hours. Another deciphered signal reported however that Fw 190s DX+DK, VR+UH, WP+XK were down Piacenza at 14.55 from Osoppo and had carried on to Airasca, landing at 16.38 hours. Fw 190 RT+ID landed at Airasca at 16.38 from Piacenza and five more (DX+KP, BV+LT, DM+PW, DO+JE, DM+PR) left Vicenza at 15.50, landing at Airasca at 16.56 hours.

In Grosseto province, closer to the front line, two Fw 190s belly landed at 19.30 hrs. near the Strada Provinciale Salaioli (county road), roughly midway between the villages of Pereta and Promonte. The aerodrome command at Siena passed this news on to SG 4 in Piacenza and requested immediate salvage of the two aircraft which lay in partisan territory. The pilots, Obergefreite Wiesuva and Mench, were safe with the local Commandant in Orbetello. The strength of II./SG 4 late on the 6th was reported as 29 (23) aircraft and 28 (19) crews. By the morning of the 7th, Siena was able to advise that the recovery of the Focke-Wulfs had been arranged.

Note: These two Fw 190s were clearly not part of the traffic between Piacenza, Osoppo, Airasca and Levaldigi. They may instead have been heading back from one of SG 4's recent operational bases to Piacenza. The two messages about them do not say why they came down, which Gruppe they belonged to or what their markings were; "Wiesuwa" is perhaps a misspelling of "Wissuwa" while "Mench" may be correct, although "Mensch" is a more common surname.

Evidently in response to the Normandy landings, a message from OKL to Luftflotten 2 and 3 on 6 June ordered that Stab, I. and II./SG4 should be readied immediately for transfer to France. Exact destinations were to be agreed between the two Luftflotten and Lfl. 2 was to furnish the necessary air transport capacity. The actual move was only take place following a specific order from OKL but this never came; III./SG 4 fared badly over the invasion area and the whole Geschwader was dispatched to the East in early July.

At 18.30 hours on 12 June, Fw 190s “black 4” and “D” landed at Airasca from “an airfield in the Ancona-Piacenza area” (almost certainly Piacenza). Three days later, nine Fw 190s with factory markings had arrived in Airasca from Bergamo by early evening.

On the morning of the 24th, Fw 190, GM+DS landed at Bergamo-South. In the afternoon, “white A” and “yellow 6” transferred from Piacenza to Levaldigi about 15.30 hours.

Stab/SG 4 began June with two Fw 190 A-6, transferred them to other units and received two more in return.

The I./SG 4 started with 14 Fw 190 A, F and G models and received 39 more; lost five in accidents and passed on six to overhaul or other units. On 30 June, the Gruppe had tripled its strength to 42 aircraft.

The II./SG 4 had 27 Fw 190 A and F-3 at the outset, transferred nine to other units and received 26, leaving it with 44 at the month’s end.

After a month rebuilding their strength, Stab, I. and II./SG 4 were withdrawn from Italy.

continued on next page …


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