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17 Dec 44: operating from Paderborn and Lippspringe, the Gruppe dropped a reinforced paratroop battalion under Oberst von der Heydte at night between Eupen and Malmedy at the beginning of the Ardennes Offensive (Battle of the Bulge). This was the last German paratroop drop of the war.
Jan 45: now at Fürstenwalde/50 km ESE of Berlin under Luftflotte 10.
8 Dec 44: at Paderborn with 47(43) Ju 52s.
17 Dec 44: 20 Ju 52s from the Gruppe, each carrying 11 paratroops, took off from Paderborn at 0115 hrs for the Ardennes area. Ju 52 (G6+DU) from 10. Staffel was shot down by AA fire east of Aachen.
25 Dec 44: now at Örlinghausen/20 km W of Detmold preparing for a large-scale paratroop operation.
16 Jan 45: Ju 52 shot up by fighters SE of Székesfehérvár/Hungary, 60%, Staffelkapitän Hptm. Ernst Büsselmann WIA and 1 KIA.
The 25 Dec 44 entry above comes from ULTRA signal BT996. So, quite clearly there was a drop planned for Christmas Day, but I have never found any documented confirmation that it was actually carried out. The current expert on Luftwaffe air transport units and operations has written numerous articles on the subject in Jet & Prop, Luftwaffen-Revue and other German language periodicals over the years and has been a constant correspondent of mine for nearly 15 years. Several of his articles concern the 17 December drop but he has never made mention of another drop on 25 December. My best guess is that it was PLANNED but never actually carried out. The diary reference from the 736th Field Artillery Bn trooper may have been mistaken and the "fifty paratroops" were actually 50 supply canisters. But there is enough of a question mark still hanging in the air on this to merit further research.
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