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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Yet again – More Flight Logs have arrived…

While I am continue to grow my collection, a couple of new flight logs have arrived over the past few months. The complete list – as always – can be found here. And here are some of the new ones:

  • Hauptmann Franz Kieslich, Commanding Officer of the III./SG 77. Kieslich was decoraded with the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and the Oakleaves.
  • Leutnant Herbert Kuntz, KG 26 and KG 100. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross in March 1943.
  • Feldwebel Arnold Bringman, with 315 combat missions, mostly under the umbrella of JG 3.
  • Feldwebel Hans Haberkern of NJG 100, flying night-fighter combat missions on Ju 88.

Like always, all flight logs are available in PDF and I am happy to trade – please contact me at webmaster@chronicles-of-the-luftwaffe.de if interested.

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New Luftwaffe Flight Logs

Over the past weeks, I have managed to put my hands on a significant number of Luftwaffe Flight Logs, coming from various sources. I am not nearly done with reviewing the contents of the logs but have amended the Flight Log List with the information currently available.

As always, I am happy to trade even if not all logs might be available immediately. I usually trade electronically – all logs are available as scanned PDF Files – and I am happy to take electronic copies in return.

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Historic Maps

When dealing with events between 1939 and 1945 – especially if the they are related to any kind of military operations – it quite quickly becomes necessary to have access to historical maps in order to locate, put into perspective or document these events.

In a future post, I will spend more time on elaborating on potential sources but for now, I just want to make available two maps that I have acquired on eBay lately – because I have been searching for them in vain and I see no reason why people should not benefit from me finding my sources.

Both maps have been printed in Germany in 1943 – as such, they are bearing German names and reflect the official opinion of the state in which they were produced in – and certainly and by no means reflect my own geopolitical assessment. They are provided solely as historical material.

Gea Übersichtskarte Mitteleuropa 1.5M - ReducedThe Gea Übersichtskarte Mitteleuropa 1:1.500.000 (Gea Overview Map Central Europe) covers Europe from 2°E to 26°E and from 44°N to 57° – that is from Paris to Bucharest and from Bologna to Gothenburg.

In respect to my web site, it covers all of the then Deutsche Reich, Denmark, large parts of France and the Balkans – good enough to document most of the flying missions of the 8th USAAF over Germany. File Size is approx. 4.5MB, the map dimensions are roughly 4000 x 3200 pixel.

Gea Übersichtskarte Europäisches Rußland 3M - ReducedThe second map is the Gea Übersichtskarte Europäisches Rußland 1:3.300.000 (Gea Overview Map European Russia). It covers an area of 20°E to 60°E and 40°N to 70°N – that is from Warsaw to Sverdlovsk and from the Black Sea to the North Cape.

This map comes in handy to understand and document German operations in the Unternehmen Barbarossa  – the attack on the Soviet Union. File size of this map is approx. 4MB, the dimensions are roughly 3300 x 4200 pixel.

I surely hope both maps come in handy at times and make access to the historical events easier – especially with the names now given as they are used in other historical sources of the time. Please understand that I cannot (and will not) provide the full-resolution maps as their sizes are well above 150MB each.

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Next Topics up

After the research on USAAF Mission #63 is winding down a bit, I hope to get a chance to work on a couple of other topics and finish at least one of these until the end of the year (yes, research takes time…)

In no particular order, this is what I got lined up (unless some surprise shows up):

  • Got the flight log of Fw. Karl Hirschberger – 2.(H)/14 –  starting August 1939  and ending with his last flight on in April 1942, when he died in North Africa while flying reconnaissance missions out of Martuba airfield.
  • Got a flight log of Uffz. Helmut Vycital – KG 100 & KG 4 – starting in 1943 and ending in January 1945, serving the Eastern Front.
  • …and maybe longer term trying to get started on another USAAF Mission – possibly #91 to Stuttgart (Sept 6, 1943) or #108 to Frankfurt & Wiesbaden (October 4, 1943)

Don’t expect anything too soon – especially on the USAAF Missons: the last one – #63, Bremen & Kiel – took roughly three month…

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