KG 4 - 10 May 1940

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Zuylen
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KG 4 - 10 May 1940

Post by Zuylen » 27 Nov 2012 12:17

On 10 May 1940 a large scale ground support mission was executed by the Luftflotte 2 in support of XXVI. AK that was stuck at the Dutch village Mill (east of Den Bosch), a key-point in the Dutch Peel defences.

This mission was executed by a number of squadrons and lasted (with intervals) over 30 minutes. It was flown in the evening just before sun down, around 2000-2100 hrs German time.

Dutch sources speak of dive bombers and translate this to Ju 87. I don't believe that. As far as I know were no Ju 87 available for such missions. IV./LG 1 was partially available but in support of the airlanding operation in the west of Holland, not the southeast. All other dive-bomber Gruppen were under Von Richthofen assigned to the Belgian front. Ju-88 it could have been, of KG.30 (although strategically employed most of the time) and III./KG 4.

Does anyone have information on the missions of KG 4 (III./KG 4 particularly) in the afternoon and evening of May 10, 1940? Or, for that matter, another piece of evidence on the mission that I described hereabove?
Last edited by Dieter Zinke on 27 Nov 2012 14:21, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: I have corrected the right spelling with space and without hyphen or point

Larry D.
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Re: KG 4 - 10 May 1940

Post by Larry D. » 27 Nov 2012 14:13

III./KG 4
10.5.40: Delmenhorst with 23(12) He 111Ps and 37(21) Ju 88As, the former still on the Gruppe's books but in the process of being turned in. On the opening day of the campaign, flew Ju 88 attacks on Amsterdam-Schiphol and Bergen op Zoom airfields in Holland, followed by ground support missions throughout Holland from 11 to 16 May, striking vehicle columns, railway targets, antiaircraft positions and harbors.

That's all I have. I don't think the KG 4 unit history goes into any more detail than that. Just three KTBs for KG 4 survived the war:

Stabsstaffel/KG 4 (for just the war in Poland, Sep 39)
I./KG 4 (1.9.39 to 15.7.44)
III./KG 4 (1.1.41 to 31.10.43).

L.

Zuylen
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Re: KG 4 - 10 May 1940

Post by Zuylen » 28 Nov 2012 12:35

Hi Larry,

Read your info on this forum with much pleasure.

I guess we all know the "Geschichte der I./KG General Weber 4". I know that there is nothing more in the German archives. We have browsed Freiburg (and NARA) for LW KTB's but 95% or so seems to have been destroyed. I have always asked myself "why do armies destroy all their reports?" What is there to cover (up)? But often it is done from the basic idea that destroying one's records prevents the opponent of benefitting from it. How few benefits there are for opposing parties, is often forgotten. I know that the Dutch CIC instructed the army and airforce to destroy their reports after the five days' struggle in May 1940, shortly after realizing how little was gained from that and instructing the officer corps to reproduce the battle reports from memory! How silly.

Anywayzzz, I was hoping that there might be some source that could tell me (us) what wing attacked the Peel defences in the evening of the 10th. Do you have any clue on where II./ and III./KG.4 were active after the morning raids on the 10th?

Larry D.
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Re: KG 4 - 10 May 1940

Post by Larry D. » 28 Nov 2012 14:24

While I certainly agree with your first paragraph, there was another reason, too, and it could be the primary reason. That's the "scorched earth" nihlistic mentality of the Nazi leadership in the last 4 months of the war. As for the Luftwaffe, Göring intended to leave absolutely nothing to the hated victors - blow it up, burn it, smash it, destroy it. But, on the other hand, if they had left every scrap of paper for the Allies to capture, there would not be much of a challenge for us researchers!

Here is all I have on II./KG 4:

10.5.40: commenced operations from Fassberg with 35(18) He 111Ps and 1(0) He 111D on strength, bombing Rotterdam-Waalhaven airfield in Holland.

The only remaining sources I can think of that might answer your question would be:

1) examining a large selection of KG 4 Flugbücher;
2) try and find the historian belonging to the postwar KG 4 veteran's Kameradschaft;
3) research intercepted ULTRA and "Y" Service reports held at the British National Archives in London.

Hope you find what you are looking for!

Zuylen
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Re: KG 4 - 10 May 1940

Post by Zuylen » 28 Nov 2012 15:04

Are you an early riser or are you stationed in Europe, Larry? I'd expected you to reply later today ;)

That is the intel I have too. And since their first run was bloody costly - the first Staffel virtually entirely brought down or shot up - there must have been some recovery afterwards. Nevertheless KG.4 was the only assault/bomber unit that remained focussed on the Netherlands during the 10-15 May 1940 episode (with a few side steps to the NW of Belgium). It was the most principle assault formation working under Gn-Maj Putzier's staff. That is also why they came to mind as the assault force that pounded the Peel defences in the evening of the 10th. On the 11th they paved the way further to the southwest of Holland (and also the northwest of Belgium).

I appreciate your advise. Chances are/were that somebody out here knew a thing or two on this very event. A needle in a haystack, I know, but still. Thnx sofar!

Zuylen
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Re: KG 4 - 10 May 1940

Post by Zuylen » 29 Nov 2012 13:39

Larry, good news. I have found the answer in a KTB Tagesmeldung 10.V.1940 of XXVI.AK, under "254.Inf.Div."

"Angriff auf Peelstellung 20.45 Uhr befohlen. Hierzu Bombenabwurf durch 1 Gruppe KG.4 vond 20.00 - 20.45 Uhr auf Peel-Stellung."

Which of the three Gruppen is not mentioned, but I assume III./KG.4. I./KG.4 was assigned to General zbV Putzier and II./KG.4 was battered. Besides the contignent of Ju-88 in III./KG.4 was best suited for the task.

Larry D.
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Re: KG 4 - 10 May 1940

Post by Larry D. » 29 Nov 2012 13:55

Amazing and extraordinary news! The proverbial needle in a haystack. Why do I say that? Because after reading countless divisional and corps KTBs and their Anlagen, albeit mainly for the Eastern Front and the wartime Balkans, the identity of the Luftwaffe unit making the attack is rarely, rarely given. They almost always just say that Luftwaffe (or "eigene") Kampfflieger or Stukaflugzeuge made the attack or provided the support. The only time I ever saw the identity of the Luftwaffe units given was in the daily reports of the Ia/Lw. Stabsoffizier attached to the Stab of an AOK. Your a lucky guy! I am very glad you found it!

L.

Zuylen
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Re: KG 4 - 10 May 1940

Post by Zuylen » 29 Nov 2012 15:07

I agree!

The reason for this quite specific addition in the KTB is probably the fact that KG.4 was exclusively attached to the LF2 sector Holland, specifically for the tactical ground support of the operation of XXVI.AK c/w the airlanding operation "Süd", the Market-Garden like joint airlanding-land operation. Most other bomber and ground support formation were fluid and swopped around all the time, something that Von Richthofen's VIII.FK staff complaint about all the time.

As such KG.4 was quite easily referred to as being the executing outfit. Moreover, the distance between the HQ's of XXVI.AK (in Germany) and LF2/Putzier staff was very short. Presumably in that stage it was quite explicitly noted what unit was attached for support. Like on 13 May in preparation of the Rotterdam raid, when a liaison officer of the KG.54 staff came down in a Bf-108 to Waalhaven (!) to get himself the latest intel on Dutch and German positions along the Meuse river in Rotterdam. The KTB's are quite specific on KG.54 supporting.

But I totally agree that normally KTB's don't disclose this kind of intel. One can find it (ocassionally) in the Anlagen, where the external documents and notes are attached.

Zuylen
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Re: KG 4 - 10 May 1940

Post by Zuylen » 30 Nov 2012 01:27

Btw, Larry. Some more on KG.4. Perhaps interesting for you to know.

On 10 May the following events:

- I./KG.4: 1./KG.4 assisted near Eben-Emael (B.) and attacked AFB Gilze (Tilburg).
- I./KG.4: rest of I./KG.4 attacked the AFB's Ypenburg (Hague) and Welschap (Eindhoven).
- I./KG.4: supply flights for airlanded formations in the Hague and Rotterdam sector.

- II./KG.4 (plus KG stab): AFB Rotterdam-Waalhaven (Stabsschwarm and 5.Staffel spear heading).
- II./KG.4: repeated ground attacks around Rotterdam.

- III./KG.4: AFB Schiphol, partly repeated a second time on the same day.
- III./KG.4: one Staffel AFB Bergen (Bergen - NH).(edit)
- III./KG.4: (probably) attack on the Peel-line (Mill-Bruggen) in the evening.
Last edited by Zuylen on 30 Nov 2012 12:10, edited 1 time in total.

Larry D.
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Re: KG 4 - 10 May 1940

Post by Larry D. » 30 Nov 2012 01:34

Thanks! I will add those to my notes. Much appreciated.

L

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Jaap Woortman
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Re: KG 4 - 10 May 1940

Post by Jaap Woortman » 30 Nov 2012 11:53

Gentlemen,

Woensdrecht, close to Bergen op Zoom, was not attacked at May 10th, 1940. This is a misunderstanding.
This must be Bergen airfield, close to Alkmaar.
This misunderstanding is caused by Karl Gundelach in "Kampfgeschwader General Wever 4" at page 71 and Dr. Heinrich Weiss in his study:" Luftkrieg über Holland 10 - 15 Mai 1940".
Research by drs. Erwin van Loo, NIMH, shows that Woensdrecht airfield was not attacked at May 10th, 1940.
See also "Vliegvelden in oorlogstijd" at page 318.

Jaap

Zuylen
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Re: KG 4 - 10 May 1940

Post by Zuylen » 30 Nov 2012 12:02

Jaap, you are absolutely right. It was pretty daft from me to copy it like I did, because I know that all that the small coy of defenders on Woensdrecht saw was some French motor infantry.

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