New Flight Log added – Helmut Nehls, Long-Range Reconnaissance 2.(F)/123 and 3.(F)/33

Today, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a flight log original which once belonged to Helmut Nehls, Gunner on board of Ju 88 and Ju 188 Long-range Reconnaissance aircrafts, flying with 2.(F)/123 and 3.(F)/33.

Nehls-2This is one of two logs that exist – I will share the whole set of information with you in a few weeks. He started his flying career most likely with FFS A/B 33 in Quackenbrück although the airfield in the logs reads “Einhof”. This – most likely – refers to the airfield of Hopsten (where parts of the FFS A/B 33 were located), and old maps indeed show a larger building at the northern end named “Einhof” – maybe a nickname for the airfield, maybe just the place where he took quarters… who knows?

Helmut Nehls remains in this school until February 26, 1942 – a time frame in which he is logging 69 flights.

In September 1942, he is adding more flying time – this time with Bordschützenschule 1 in Rahmel (today Rumia in Poland, just west of Gdynia – the former town of Gdingen). Here, he is adding another 5 flights between September 10, 1942 and October 13, 1942 before he moves on to Fernaufklärerschule 3 in Perleberg.

Here, he converts to the Junkers Ju 88, flying with the school from January 13, 1943 to Februar 1942, possibly to Februar 8, 1942. At this time, he also joins the crew of a pilot identified as “Freudig”. This is Ofw. Erwin Freudig, lost and missing in action July 21, 1943 over Bengazi/Libya.

Nehls-3From that point on, school is over and the war catches up with Helmut Nehls. As of April 13, 1943, he is attached to the Ergänzungs-Fernaufklärungsgruppe and moved to Saloniki-Sedes in Greece and later – on April 22, 1943 – to the airfield at Athens-Tatoi. As usual, his flights were not yet real combat missions – the Ergänzungs-Units were used to “accommodate” the newly arrived crew and make them ready for the real action.

Nehls-5Starting May 10, 1943, Helmut Nehls arrives at the airfield of Kastelli on the island of Crete. From here, he logs his first combat mission on May 14, 1943 – a flight of almost 4 hours, taking him across the Mediterranean Sea to the port of Alexandria and Kap el Kanaiss (which I have yet to locate). From that point onwards, combat missions (long-range reconnaissance) with 2.(F)/123 continue on a regular basis – he is accumulating 10 missions until May 31, 1943.

The targets of the reconnaissance flights now move west, covering the North African Theater of Operations with targets such as Port Said, Derna, Tobruk, Bengazi and so on. The unit is moving from the airfield of Kastelli back to the airfield near Athens – flights into North Africa continue.

It is on July 16, 1943, that Helmut Nehls is flying a final mission with his long-time pilot, Erwin Freudig. Their aircraft: Ju 88 4U+CK, the flight taking them to Derna and Toburk on which they locate an allied convoy made of of 12 ships and 8 escorts.

Now – for reasons undocumented – his pilot, Erwin Freudig, is flying a mission with a different crew. His aircraft, a Ju 88 D-1 (WNr.: 430792) is on a mission to the Bengazi area from which they are not returning. Crew and aircraft are still missing in action. Helmut Nehls comments in his second (official) log with the words “Last flight with Erwin” on the flight of July 16.

Nehls-Log2-1Helmut Nehls himself is out for another four combat missions before his last one on July 26, 1943.

He return to the 3./Ergänzungs-Fernaufklärergruppe, located in Posen (today Poznań in Poland) before moving on to 3.(F)/33 in Königsberg/Gutenfeld, an airfield east-south-east of today’s Kaliningrad.

Here, conversion training to Ju 188 is performed before the Gruppe transfers to Athens-Kalamaki airfield end of March 1944.

Nehls-7This is where the first flight logs ends – the second one continues through his second set of combat missions, again the Mediterranean Sea but also missions over Bulgaria.

By October 1944, the unit is withdrawing to the west, from the airfields of Skoplie to Wien-Aspern (Vienna), and finally ending up in today’s western Hungary: the airfields of Steinamanger (today Szombathely) ans Sorokujfalu (a forward airfield just north of Sorokpolány/Hungary) This last flight concludes Helmut Nehls’ World-War-II flying career. If he survived the war? I currently assume it – but I have no further information than offered here at the moment… maybe, these words spark some feedback by someone who knows more.

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Flying the Me 262 at Night – 10./NJG 11

To give you an update on my most recent activities, I thought I’d post a short note on what I am currently working on: last year, I got a chance to acquire a significant set of documents from a collection of aerial warfare history, abandoned by a historian who spent decades on collecting and publishing.

10NJG11-1Amongst many other interesting finds, the collection contains a significant set of documents on a very special Luftwaffe unit: 10./NJG 11. Formed in late 1944 as an experimental unit and established in January 1945 as 10./NJG 11, this unit has been flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 as night-fighter to counter the British Mosquito Raids on Berlin

The information contained within this collection included a post-war summary written by Oblt. Kurt Welter who was in charge of the unit. This summary covered his own career and sucesses and provided an overview of the results recorded for 10./NJG 11.

Welter’s victory claims have been a matter of discussion for many years – so I knew this would be a difficult terrain to work in.

Also included in the collection were two Flugbücher, the one of Fw. Karl-Heinz Becker (see below)

10NJG11-2and one of Lt. Herbert Altner.

10NJG11-3That and much more information has been compiled into a 100+ page Document (currently in German only) which is now undergoing review by some other people. I will have to wrap up some loose ends but should be able to publish the German version by end of September, then work on the English translation.

If you think, you have additional information, especially copies of original records I do not have yet and/or photos (not the ones widely published on the unit), I would be most happy to hear from you. So for the moment: stay tuned for an update and allow me some more time to work on it 🙂

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Significant Updates to Flight Logs & Flight Log List

“Silence is Golden” they once said – and I have been silent here for quite some time. And there are different reasons for that – one is I caught myself up in an interesting flight log and story that still requires a ton of time to research. The second reason is that my list of flight logs has grown… beyond the point where I can manage my list as a table in a simple document…

As a result, I had to create myself a little database – and that took some experimenting and some try & error to get me to a point I can present the updated results.

Flight Log DatabaseDesigning the database scheme, creating it and filling it with data was quite worth spending the time – I am now able to quickly search, filter and export the data I need.

Updated Flight Log List

With the data now completely transferred, I have been able to update my flight log list – the new version is online and can be downloaded here.

Proof of Existence

I also received quite a lot of data from “down under” – the sender will know and should know that I am extremely gratful for his gracious gift. One of the insights that came from that collection is a set of flight logs that had been on sale (mostly on eBay) but were we only have the photos used for the auction itself.

I initially was tempted to not include those logs in my database as I do not have the logs themselves – but I finally decided that it was worth to record them as “proof of existence” and see if the current owner of the log is interested in exchanging information. The list is also now included in the Flight Log List.

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New Flight Logs Fragements arrived

I was able to claim some flight log fragments from an archive being dissolved. These copies have been made back in the 1970s and – as photo copies were expensive back then – only cover specific pages of the logs. Some of them I mentioned earlier but here is the complete list:

  • Strassner, Johannes: Leistungsbuch, covering his time with 2./NJG 2 starting June 22nd, 1944 and ending August 26th, 1944.
  • Lau, ?: Flight Log Fragment covering flights #286 – #342 (September 11, 1944 – January 14, 1945). Flew for NJG 1.
  • Goldmann, ?: Flight Log Fragment covering flights #457 – #494 and flights #742 – #796. All in all from May 1943 to March 1945. Reported as flying for NJG 7.
  • Brandt, Heinz: a flight log copy, typed up (most likely after the war) and raning from September 1, 1943 – December 27, 1944. Said to have flown for 4./NJG 3
  • Jansen, Heinz: A flight log, covering flights #1 – #141. Flew for IlV./NJG 101
  • Fischer, ?: Flight Log Fragement, covering flights #121 – #487. Flew for NJG 1.
  • Weber, Heinz: Flight log fragment, covering flights #151 – #315. Covers time from March 1943 – September 1944. NJG 1 and NJGr. 10.
  • Pützkuhl, Josef: Flight log Fragement, covering flights #1738 – #1790, flights #1842 – #1861, and #2419 – #2474. Flew for NJG 100.
  • Becker, Karl-Heinz: already discussed in the previous post, 10./NJG 11.
  • Krause, Fritz: flight log fragement, covering flights #2267 – #2302 and flights #2850 – #2861.

From other sources, I have received

  • Buddeke, Rudi: a flight log covering his time in training and then KG 4. Flights #1 – #206, dating November 1941 – May 1945.
  • Staffa, Alfred: a flight log covering the time from December 1940 – April 1945. Flew with NJG 1.

I will have my list updated shortly…

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An update to 8th USAAF Mission #63: Attack on Bremen & Kiel (June 13, 1943)

It has been quite a while since I published the initial version of the documentation on the 8th USAAF Mission #63, the attack on Bremen and Kiel.

Following the initial publication, a significant amount of feedback was received and worked into the document – and I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who provided input. As a result, the document has gone through several updates and newer versions so the one originally published is not “wrong” but different from the current version.

PDFIf you have not downloaded the document yet, please feel free to do so here. If you have downloaded an earlier copy, please consider updating. Take a look at the document revision history towards the end to see where changes have been applied.

Enjoy reading and – as always – if there is any feedback on the topic you would like to share with me, please feel free to contact me.

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New Flight Logs and Updates to the Flight Log List

My last post already mentioned the arrival of some new flight logs. But even more have come in:

  • Walter Loos: log only covers his training time so far. Later in the war, the joined JG 300 and JG 301, finally flying Tank Ta 152 H. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross April 20, 1945. I am trying to receive a copy of the second log (which is available) to complete his history.
  • Hans Berger: probalby his second log, covering roughly 200 flights for JG 1 including some Heinkel He 162 flights towards the end of the war.
  • Lothar Sachs: flew for I./JG 300 night fighter combat missions on Bf 109 G.

Also arrived have some night fighters:

  • Heinz Hommel: got a copy of the Leistungsbuch. Flew 92 Combat missions.
  • Heinz Brandt: flew with NJG 2 and NJG 3. Post-war transscript, typewriter. Two pages missing.
  • Heinz Weber: flew with 3./NJG 1 on Heinkel He 219 “Uhu” and Ju 88.
  • Karl-Heinz Becker: flew with 10./NJG 11 night-fighter combat missions on single-seated Me 262 A-1a, hunting Mosquitos.

There are some more that I have not explicitly mentioned. Please refer to the updated list available here.

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Some new Flight Logs & a surprise

I have recently gotten my hands on some new Luftwaffe Flight Logs – time to update my list and see who is interested in any type of exchange.

  • Armin Mehling: log covers his time in flight training (or better: the first flights seem to be training flights) and then his time with 7./JG 51 on the Eastern Front until April 1944.
  • Arnold Bringmann: a very interesting set of four logs, covering his time from his first training flight in 1939 to war’s end. Mostly served with JG 3.
  • Helmut Lennartz: another fine example of a log, covering time from early 1941 to April 1945. He flew with JG 11 and finally with Erprobungskommando 262. On August 15, 1944, he was part of a flight of Me 262 Jets scrambling from Stuttgart Echterdingen. On that flight, he downed a Boeing B-17, possibly the first recorded victory of a jet over a bomber and the third overall aerial victory in a jet fighter.
  • Werner Schroer: Flew with JG 27 in North Africa and then with JG 54 and JG 3. Scored 114 aerial victories and was awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oakleaves and Swords.
  • Helmut Beckmann: Joined JG 27 after his flight training and flew in North Africa.
  • Hansgeorg Bätcher: flew with KG 100, later with KG 4. Eventually transferred to KG 76, flying Arado Ar 234 jet bombers.
  • Anton Korol: flew with SG 2 on the Eastern Front.
  • Hendrik Stahl:  another Schlachtflieger. Flew with StG 2, StG 151, SG2. Over 1200 Feindflüge, awarded with the Knight’s Cross with Oakleaves.

As a surprise, I also got my hands on a copy of the Startkladde 7./Jagdgeschwader 51 – the Staffel’s central register of flights. It is covering a time span from September 13, 1943 to July 31st, 1944. The Staffel was mostly put to action on the Eastern Front.

Extract of the 7th Staffel Startkladde - Jagdgeschwader 51

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Aircraft Color Profiles

Focke Wulf 190 A-5

Working on the flight logs of Walter Stolz and others, as well as for my previous work on the USAAF Mission #63 to Bremen and Kiel, I have found a definite need for aircraft color profiles.

While there are several out in books and on the internet, they neither show the “exact” aircrafts I would need nor would it be fair to the artists to simply copy and re-use their hard work.

I have therefore decided to create my own aircraft color profiles (the process is described here) and so far, two have been finished to a point where they are publishable: the Focke-Wulf 190 A-5 of Lt. Erich Auth and the Messerschmitt Me 210 Ca-1 of Walter Stolz. I am currently working on the Messerschmitt Bf 110 E-3/trop., also associated with the flight log of Walter Stolz.

The growing list can also be accessed via the web site’s menu under Luftwaffe Aircraft.

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More Historic Maps

Recently, I have posted an article about historic maps – I have acquired a new set of maps in the past days and thought, I’d share them with you as well.

Schlag nach über den Südosten - 2500K - Cover The first one is called Schlag nach über den Südosten – translates into “Check out the South-East”.

The map has been issued by the Wehrmacht and dates back to 1941. It is part of a series called Tornisterschrift des Oberkommandos der Wehmacht.

The idea was to provide the regular soldier with information about the countries, the religions, the local customs, etc. in a format small enough to carry around in their backpack which is what “Tornister” in old German means.

This first one cover the south-eastern part of Europe which – in 1941 and until 1943 – was one of the major theaters of war.

Schlag nach über den Südosten - 2500K - 2000x3000The map covers southern Europe from Prague in the North to Tripolis in the South and from Sicily to Istanbul.

As such, it covers most of Italy, all of the Balkans, the coastal areas of Libya and Egypt and the Aegean Sea.

Scale is 1:2.500.000 and the publisher is Bibliographisches Institut AG., Leipzig. A map, handy for someone trying to grasp the locations of the Mediterranean Theater of War and the War in the Balkan.

Download size is roughly 8MB at 2000 x 3000 Pixel. Stitching and re-coloring worked pretty well as the map is in rather good shape for its age.

Karte von Westeuropa - 3500K - CoverNext up is the Karte von Westeuropa – the Map of Western Europe. It dates back to 1944 and also belongs to the series Tornisterschrift des Oberkommandos der Wehmacht.

The map scale is 1:3.500.000 and the map covers Europe from 12° West to 14°E and from 36° North to 62°North.

That includes the coast of North Africa with Algeria and Tunisia, Spain and Portugal, France, the British Isles and Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland as well as Denmark. Partially covered are Italy, the Deutsche Reich, Norway and Sweden.

Karte von Westeuropa - 3500K - 2000x3000The map is particularly interesting as it is providing a single-sheet view on the Western European Theater of Operations and is the perfect addition to the previously mentioned map of South-Eastern Europe.

Again, the map is available for download, the size is roughly 8MB, the dimensions are 2000 x 3000 pixel.

Stitching was a bit difficult this time as you can see by the map’s caption. But in general, the quality of the scanned image is above average, also recoloring has worked out nicely.

There is one final map to cover now – I have missed the Gea Übersichtskarte Skandinavien on eBay a little while ago – and it does not come up very often.

Schlag nach über Skandinavien - 3200K - CoverIn return, I have gotten yet another one of the Tornisterschriften, this time from 1939/40.

This one is labeled Schlag nach über Skandinavien, literally “Check out Scandinavia” although the map itself is titled Nordseeländer – North Sea Countries.

It covers the northern European area from 10°West to 20°East and from 48°North to 72°North.

The area covered includes parts of Iceland, the British Isles, Ireland, the northern parts of France, almost all of the Deutsche Reich except for some parts of East Prussia, Denmark, the low countries, Norway, Sweden and the western parts of Finland.

Schlag nach über Skandinavien - 3200K - 2000x3000The map closes the gap my collection has on Northern Europe, especially since the coverage goes up to the area around Banak and Kirkenes, from where the Luftwaffe was flying their attacks against Murmansk.

This map comes in handy for all operations over the North Sea and the British Isles as well as for the Norwegian Theater of Operations.

Download size is roughly 8MB, resolution is 2000 x 3000 pixel. Stitching and color correction worked extremely well although the original is in a pretty poor shape.

As always, I am not providing the full-scale maps but down-sized versions – the originals are 12000 x 8000 pixel and way beyond reasonable download sizes. Still, I hope these maps help those that need access to material of the time, original – although digitalized – from the period.

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The Flight Log of Walter Stolz

Quite some time ago, I have started to collect flight logs of former Luftwaffe Pilots. A flight log is small book, usually showing one line entries per flight:

Sample PageWhat they don’t do is tell the stories behind the flights – the page above is a sample from Walter Stolz’s log. Luckily, he had a rather clear handwriting and although the letters are written in “Sütterlin“, the German words are easily readable (with a bit of practice and if you speak German).

PDFSo let me introduce a Flight Log Guide to you – I have taken the flight log of Walter Stolz and tried to put it into perspective: by providing you with copies of the original pages on the one side but also with the events surrounding them and some additional explanation. If new information becomes available, I will update over time.

This may not be entirely correct and if you find information that is wrong or could be extended, please let me know – I am happy to receive feedback and develop the result further – with the Internet, publishing is not the end, it is the beginning!

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