Bulletin 022 Aktiviteiten van KG 2

Er is de laatste tijd veel vraag naar gegevens inzake de aktiviteiten van de Duitse KG’s. Ab Jansen speelde ons een stuk documentatie toe uit Air Ministry Weekly van 12-06-1943. De originele Engelse tekst drukken wij hier af. Het in de tekst onderstreepte is van onze redactie.

On 17th May, crews of I/KG 2 were briefed at Eindhoven at short notice fora n attack on Cardiff, which was to take place the same night. The information contained in this report has been obtained from the observer of a Do 217E-4 which crashed in the Bristol Channel before reaching its target..

Rennes was used as a forward base for the operation, and the Gruppe took off from Eindhoven at 14.00 hours, arriving at Rennes at 16.00.

(Statements in this article are based on information obtained from prisoners of war and on deductions from captured documents. Their accuracy should not be regarded as established).

Aircraft of II/KG 2 and II/KG 40 also assembled at Rennes. The aircraft normally flown by the crew dealt with in this report, the U5+AL, had been damaged by A.A. fire from a coastal patrol vessel whilst returning from the raid on Chelmsford on the night of May 13th/14th, and for the Cardiff raid, therefore, they flew the U5+FK, which was borrowed from the 2nd Staffel.

The 3rd Staffel contributed six aircraft in all, but that of the Staffelkapitän, which was carrying two members of the ground staff in addition to its crew, made a forced landing en route to Rennes, in the course of which five of the occupants were injured. The remaining five crews of 3./KG 2 were again briefed at Rennes, and were told that 60/70 aircraft would take part in the attack on Cardiff, half being supplied by I and II/KG 2 and II/KG 40, and half by KG 6. Two aircraft were to be sent ahead to release flares from a height of about 6.000 foot.

A document carried by the observer gave the time of attack as follows:
0156 hours White flares
0158 hours A.B.B. (incendiaries)
0210-0220 hours Time of attack

The aircraft of I/KG 2, at least, were to land again at Rennes, and to return to their base at Eindhoven on the following day.

The five aircraft of 3./KG 2 carried various loads, including A.B.B. 500’s and mines. The U5+FK, carrying four A.B.B.500s , took off at about 01.00 hours and flew on a direct course to the centre of Lyme Bay. The pilot kept at 2,400 feet until about 30 miles from the English coast, and then reduced height to about 150 feet. After crossing the coast, he headed for the North coast of Somerset near Weston-super-Mare, keeping low and following the valleys in the moonlight.

On arriving over the Bristol Channel, he reduced height to about 60 feet, and was just turning to approach the objective when a noise was heard and the aircraft crashed into the sea. The observer succeeded in freeing himself and was picked up some hours later. The body of the pilot has been recovered and the W/T operator and B/M are assumed to have drowned. The survivor could give no explanation of the cause of the crash, but thought it improbable that the aircraft had fouled the water since it was equipped with FuG 101 electric altimeter. It is understood that examination of such wreckage as has been recovered throws no light on the matter.

Order of Battle..
About the middle of March, 1943, I./KG 2 moved from Gilze-Rijen to Eindhoven, and at the time of the last flight the four Gruppen of KG 2 were based as follows:
Gruppe I Eindhoven
Gruppe II Soesterberg or Deelen
Gruppe III Coulommiers
Gruppe IV Melun/Villaroche

II./KG 40, which was under the direct control of KG 2, was based on Gilze-Rijen. After the loss of the U5+FK, 3./KG 2 was reduced to four crews, and according to the P/W the strength of the other two Staffeln of the Gruppe was roughly the same. Between January, 1943 and 18th May, the 3rd Staffel is stated to have lost no less than sixteen crews out of a total (including replacements) of twenty. In January, at which time the Staffel was down to one crew, twelve new crews, including that of the U5+FK, were received from IV./KG 2 at Melun/Villaroche.

Losses were heavy during the ensuing weeks; by about the end of March eleven of the twelve new crews had been lost, and the crew of Staffelkapitän Hauptmann Reihs, was grounded, leaving the present crew as the sole survivors. Four new crews were received ath the beginning of April and a further three towards the end of April, but two of these were soon lost – in each case on their first war-flight. As reported above, one crew crashed at Rennes (on the way from Eindhoven) on 17th May, and with the loss of the U5+FK on the same night, the Staffel was once more recued to four crews.

British intruders had an excellent night on 4th/5th May, when they scored two Do 217’s destroyed out of a force of KG 2 attacking Norwich from Holland. The first of these, which belonged to Gruppe I, was shot down about 20 miles from Eindhoven shortly after having taken off. It crashed and the crew were all killed. The pilot was an Unterofficzier, the observer was a Leutnant Hegler and the Gruppe Signals Officer, Leutland Schlander, was flying as W/T operator.

The second aircraft was that of the Geschwader Kommodore, Major Walter Bradel, which was attacked over Holland whilst returning from Norwhich. A crash-landing was made, and Major Bradel was found to be dead. His pilot, Leutnant Andreas, reputedly the best pilot in the Geschwader, was seriously injured. An announcement of Major Bradel’s death appeared in the Völkischer Beobachter on 9th May.

The obituary notice stated that he transferred to the G.A.F. from a Cavalry regiment, and had served in the Kondor Legion in the Spanish Civil War as Staffelkapitän, Gruppen Kommandeur and finally Geschwader Kommodore, gaining the Spanish War Medal and Gold Cross with Swords. He then took part in the occupation of Norway, in operations against England, and the campaigns against Serbia, Greece and Crete. He sank a British destroyer in Cretan waters, and distinguished himself on the Russian Front, in which 500 Russian tanks were involved. He was awarded the Ritterkreuz in September, 1941.

Bulletin 025 uit juli 1977 door P. Monasso uit Winterswijk:

Ik wil graag nog even inhaken op het artikel dat handelt over KG 2 (Bulletin 022). Op blz. 13 staat, dat Major Walter Bradel van dit Geschwader bij een crash-landing om het leven kwam, toen hij eerst werd aangevallen alvorens deze noodlanding of iets dergelijks in te zetten. Inderdaad klopt het dat hij in Nederland met zijn Do 217 verongelukte. Dit was bij Het Schouw, ten noorden van Amsterdam bij Landsmeer. Weet iemand uit deze regio misschien nog wat meer over deze crash te berichten?

Bulletin 032 uit april 1978 door de heer van den Hout uit Chaam:

Wie weet meer bijzonderheden over of kan verwijzen naar documentatie betreffende KG 2. Vliegtuigen van dit KG 2 waren vanaf het voorjaar van 1942 tot 4 september 1944 gestationeerd op het vliegveld Gilze-Rijen. Het waren Do 217 bommenwerpers in verschillende modificaties, die tot september 1944 talloze nachtelijke aanvalsvluchten uitvoerden o.a. het leggen van magnetische mijnen.

Bulletin 036 uit september 1978 door de heer Lambrecht:

KG 2 Holzhammergeschwader – (U5+)
Deze eenheid werd opgericht op 1 november 1938, uit KG 253, KG 153 en KG 252.

1 november 1938: uitgerust met Junkers Ju 86
Stab te Cottbus
Stabstaffel te Cottbus
I. Gruppe te Cottbus
II. Gruppe te Liegnitz.

1 november 1939: uitgerust met Dornier Do 17Z
Polenveldtocht.
Stab te Jesau
Stabstaffel te Jessau
I. Gruppe Gerdauen
II. Gruppe Schippenbeil

1 maart 1940
de III. Gruppe wordt te Hillesheim opgericht

Mei 1940
aanvallen in België, Duinkerken en later in de omgeving van Parijs.

Augustus 1940
Stab te Arras
Stabschwarm te Arras
I. Gruppe te Epinoy
II. Gruppe te Arras
III. Gruppe te Cambrai

Oberst Fink, Kommodore en KANAKAFU. Slag om Engeland, later nachtvluchten met de Do 17Z.

Maart 1941
De Stab, I. Gruppe en II. Gruppe vertrekken naar de Balkon en later door naar Rusland.
De II. Gruppe blijft voor bombardementen op Engeland en het leggen van mijnen.

Mei 1942
De II. Gruppe ruilt de Do 17 in voor de Do 217; I. Gruppe en II. Gruppe terug in het westen verder bestemd voor het bombarderen van doelen in Engeland, mijnen leggen. Ondersteuning Kanaaldoorbraak van de Scharnhorst en Gneisenau. Afweer landing Dieppe. Ondersteunende activiteiten bezetting Zuid-Frankrijk. Aanval op Franse vloot te Toulon.

1943
Er komt een V. Gruppe uitgerust met de Me 410 voor verre nachtjacht. Opstelling zoals op 27 november 1943 (of 27 februari 1943/redactie?)

Stab te Soesterberg
I. Gruppe te Eindhoven
II. Gruppe te ?
III. Gruppe te Gilze-Rijen
IV. Gruppe (zonder 13. Staffel) te Villaroche
V. Gruppe (Stab + 16. Staffel) te Epinoy
14. Staffel te Schiphol
15. Staffel te Vitry en Artois

1944
Volledige Kampfgeschwader, zonder IV. Gruppe (Roemenië), ingezet tegen Engeland, gedeeltelijk met Ju 188 uitgerust. In september ontbonden, behalve III/KG 2 dit zou V/NJG 2 worden uitgerust met Do 335 maar is nooit gerealiseerd.

Voor verdere inlichtingen kunt u het best contact opnemen met: Kameraden Kreis Ehemaliger KG 2.

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