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Sometimes cited under its original name, Flak.Rgt.32 (word), this unit was set up in April 1944 from Stab./Flak.Rgt.431 (word), and moved from the Somme to Normandy in May 1944 On this date, the regiment was led by Oberst Paul Von KISTOWSKI (DKG on 01/01/1945), who initially established his headquarters on Isigny, then Bayeux. By order of the Armee.Oberkommando.7 /Ia Nr 1134/44 geheim of June 4, 1944, it reports on the movement of the Flak.Rgt.32 (word) with the gem.Flak.Abt (word) 497 ( Hauptmann STEIN) north-east of Isigny, and le.Flak.Abt.90 (Sf) (Hauptmann KROCK) in the Bayeux sector for the next day (June 5) from 6 a.m.
_ gem.Flak.Abt (word) .266 (Hauptmann SCHMUCK- I./Flak.Sturm.Rgt.1, Stab south of Longueville). We find 5 and 6 Bttr on Carpiquet and Cherbourg respectively, the remainder being to the south of the flooded area in the Aure valley.
_ gem.Flak.Abt (word) .497 (II./Flak.Sturm.Rgt.1. Stab North-east of Isigny). Further north, between the RN 13 and the flooded area (on either side of the village of La Cambe, St Clément, Géfosse-Fontenay and Grandcamp-Maisy).
I am therefore trying to find out if the information given is exact or perfectible, to know additional data (location of the batteries, name of executives, equipment, relations with higher or neighboring units 352.Inf.Div,...) on days between end of May and 5 June. When is the participation of these different Abteilungen between June 6 and 15 (Vallée de l'Aure, Isigny, Bayeux, Caen / Colombelles,...).
Regards et merci
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c.26 May 44: ordered to Amboise on the Loire, 22 km E of Tours, to protect a bridge that was under construction by German Army engineers. This order was changed before the Rgt. could get underway and instead it was sent to the Isigny-sur-Mer area along the Vire estuary in Normandy to shoot down suspected RAF aircraft dropping agents and arms at night to the French resistance, arriving on 4 June. The Rgt. HQ was set up in the village of La Cambe/8 km NE of Isigny-sur-Mer.
6 Jun 44: Rgt. claimed 6 aircraft shot down from midnight 5 June to midnight 6 June while in support of 352. Inf.Div. (Stab in Littry/14 km SW of Bayeux).
10 Jun 44: Stab moved from the Bayeux area to several locations in the vicinity of St-Lô.
etc., etc., etc.
Foreign Military Studies Manuscript P-156, Das III. Flakkorps – insbesondere Flaksturmregiment 1 – in der Zeit von Juni – September 1944, by Werner von Kistowski, Oberst a.D. und Wolfgang Pickert, General d.Flakart. a.D.; BNA HW 5/592.
I./Flak-Sturm-Rgt. 1 (mot)
5 Jul 44: still being referred to as 266 in the III. Flakkorps daily reports. (BNA HW 5/522)
8 Jul 44: gem.Flak-Abt. 266 being trf to Rocquancourt-Garcelles (Carcelles?). (CX/MSS/T240/98)
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For information on this unit, see also in this long thread:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 3&t=178451
German documents of June 3, 1944 and June 4, 1944, do not include gem. Flak.Abt. 266 yet, only gem. Flak Abt. 497 (mot.) and le.Flak-Abt. 90 (Sf). They also still refer to Flak-Rgt 32/Flak Rgt. 32 (mot.).
It woud have been the norm for the 8,8 cm Flak batteries of gem. Flak.Abt. 497(mot) to be equipped with a small mobile Würzburg radar (FuSE 62). One of these radars was captured near Cardonville by the US 175th IR on June 8). It may have also been picked up by US warships in line of sight (the D-Day action report of USS Tuscaloosa, positioned in front of Utah Beach area detected a small Würzburg signal thanks to its high Elint mast).
See the relevant discussion here: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 0&t=201673
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Werner Von Kistowski wrote a detailed account of where he was on D-day and his full break down of his units in terms of number of men, types of anti-aircraft weapons and the times and types of aeroplanes shot down.
Half of the Battalion were set up at La Cambe and the rest were sent to Maisy Battery on the 5th June.
He was there on the 5th June and 6th June and his account is reproduced in full showing the original interview documents - in Gary Sterne's book "Cover Up at Pointe du Hoc" (Volume 2).
The original of Kistowski's interviews are held in Ohio State University Archives under the Cornelius Ryan Collection.
Another interesting point about hid unit was that on D-Day they had SS soldiers with them - most probably for "moral support"... a fact documented by the Rangers involved in the Maisy battle and by the local villagers who were threatened by them as they arrived.
I hope that helps your research.
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Oh, and you actually are Gary Sterne, right? If so, please do not talk about yourself in the 3rd person to promote your book. You can just be open about it.
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I put the stuff below on Twelve o'clock High forum a few weeks ago. It was part of a thread relating to what new publications about Luftwaffe operations one might like to see. I reproduce it here because I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a hurry and don't have time to edit it down. Romain- sorry not to be in touch recently. Email me if you want anything from the list below.
WRITING ABOUT FLAK IN NORMANDY
Add to the list below DEFE 3 and HW 5 sources, plus material about flak units that fought as part of Heer, Fallschirmjager and W-SS formations, plus (if they can be found) the first four flak summaries that ought to be in TNA AIR 40/1151 (to 22 June; see section 13.1.2. below), plus data from the various books that cover Allied air losses during summer 1944, plus Larry de Zeng's multiple unit summaries, and a detailed study of German flak in Normandy ought to be possible. In particular, a reasonably detailed study of III Flak Corps might be achievable.
Anyway, here goes (flak stuff extracted from the Luftwaffe chapter in my bibliography, if/when it eventually appears):
13.1. General sources:
There are many secondary sources that shed light on the weapons and equipment used by flak units, their organisation and effectiveness. A few original documents relating to the Germans’ use of flak during the Normandy campaign also exist, along with some Allied intelligence records and reports that discuss the same subject.
13.1.1. Weapons and equipment, organisation, employment and effectiveness:
Bernstein, Jonathan: P-47 Thunderbolt vs German Flak Defenses, Western Europe 1943-45 (Osprey Publishing Ltd., Oxford 2021; 80pp., maps, illustrations). This book focuses on the use of German light AA weapons (2cm to 5cm calibre) against low-flying U.S. aircraft (especially the P-47 fighter-bomber) in north-west Europe. There are several sections that deal with events in Normandy during summer 1944.
Boog, Horst (trans. Cook-Radmore, Derry): “The Strategic Air War in Europe and Air Defence of the Reich. 1943-1944”, in Boog, Horst; Krebs, Gerhard; and Vogel, Detlef: Germany and the Second World War, Volume VII: The Strategic Air War in Europe and the War in the West and East Asia 1943-1944/5 (Clarendon Press, Oxford 2006, pp.7-458). This is the English-language edition of the first part of Volume VII of the German official history of the Second World War. Pages 321-3 describe the condition of German flak units in the West by D-Day.
‘German flak’ (54pp.) This British intelligence report (ADI(K)/321 of 26 May 1945) includes a considerable amount of information about the organisation, equipment and employment of flak artillery. It is based on the interrogation of a senior Luftwaffe flak officer and includes several organisation charts. It can be downloaded from https://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/digi...d/4783/rec/174.
‘German light AA sights.’ This report is based on captured documents. It describes the gunsights used by the 2cm and 3.7cm flak pieces. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.25, issued 30 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/220).
‘German medium AA artillery.’ This is a detailed technical report about the gunsight used by 5cm flak guns of a type operated by one of 30th Flak Regiment’s battalions (see section 13.3. below). The weapon was quite rare and although the Allies were aware of its existence, no examples were captured before D-Day. This is probably why its gunsight was given so much attention. See Part II of First Canadian Army’s Intelligence Summary No.56, issued 24 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 179/2606A).
Gooderson, Ian: Air Power at the Battlefront: Allied Close Air Support in Europe 1943-45 (Frank Cass Publishers, London 1998; 282pp., illustrations). This important study of the evolution and use of the Allied air forces for close support missions draws heavily on case study material from the summer 1944 campaign. It contains many references to the effectiveness of German flak in Normandy, especially against low-flying aircraft. See especially pp.70, 72-4, 201-03, 206, 216-17 and 235-6.
‘Handbook of German Anti Aircraft Artillery (Flak)’ (M.I.15, The War Office, 1946). This massive study of the German flak forces was produced by one of the Military Intelligence sections of the British War Office in 1946. It was based on material gathered throughout the war and is arranged in ten ‘chapters’, although since some of these are over 300 pages long, it might be better to call them ‘volumes.’ In addition to material on the evolution and history of the anti-aircraft forces, there are chapters about administration and supply, unit organisation, weapons and ammunition, instruments and training, and methods of deployment. Perhaps the most useful section for students of the Normandy campaign is Chapter [Volume] 6, ‘Operational and Tactical Employment.’ This covers basic principles of flak defence (early warning systems, chain of command, communications and tactical control, methods of engagement against targets at different altitudes, and cooperation with Luftwaffe flying units) and also includes a section titled ‘flak with the field army’ (pp.222-48). There are dozens of appendices, for example one on ‘Composition and employment of flak battle detachments’ (Chapter 6, Appendix VI D 4b). The entire study is in the UK National Archives, mostly in the series WO 208/3982-3989 (Chapter 6 is in WO 208/3985). Chapter 4 (‘Deployment and Emplacements’), however, was mis-filed and can be found in WO 208/2983.
Hummel, Karl-Heinz: Die deutsche Flakartillerie 1935-1945: Ihre Großverbände und Regimenter (VDM Heinz Nickel, Zweibrücken 2010; 487pp.). This is an organisational study of German anti-aircraft units, covering the entire war period. There are entries for all the major flak units that fought in Normandy, but no description or analysis of their achievements.
Jentz, Thomas and Doyle, Hilary: Panzer Tracts Number 12, Flak Selbstfahrlafetten and Flakpanzer, Sd.Kfz.10/4 to 8.8 cm Flak auf VFW (Panzer Tracts, Darlington 1998; 58pp., illustrations). This book describes various types of self-propelled flak weapons that equipped some of the German ground forces that fought in Normandy. It includes only a few specific references to the 1944 campaign but is a helpful reference source for purely technical information.
Koch, Horst-Adalbert: Flak: Die Geschichte der Deutschen Flakartillerie 1935-1945 (Verlag Hans-Henning Podzun, Bad Nauheim 1954; 244pp., illustrations). This is a German-language history of flak artillery before and during the Second World War. The author clarifies the organisation and equipment of Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Heer and Waffen-SS flak units, and describes their contributions at the battle fronts and in defence of the Reich. There are more than forty appendices, which provide additional details of orders of battle, the names of commanders, and equipment used by anti-aircraft units.
Lepage, Jean-Denis: The Illustrated Handbook of Flak: German Anti-aircraft Defences 1935-1945, Weapons, Emplacements, Equipments (Spellmount/The History Press, Stroud 2012; 287pp., maps, illustrations). Most of this book is about the weapons and equipment (including radar and fire control systems) used by flak units of all types during the Second World War. There are also chapters about gun emplacements and other structures, uniforms and organisation. The book contains nothing specific about the Normandy campaign, nor any real analysis of the flak arm’s successes and failures. But it is a useful guide to the tools utilised by anti-aircraft formations that fought in Normandy and elsewhere.
‘Organisation of German AA Artillery’ (MIRS/Lu/Apprec/70/44; 3pp.). This Allied intelligence document is dated 1 November 1944. It provides information about the organisation, equipment and personnel strengths of various types of flak unit, and is in the UK National Archives, WO 208/3180.
Prellberg, Werner (no translator identified): ‘Employment of Flak in an Army Defence Zone’ (21pp.; FMS D-050). This report in the Foreign Military Studies series was written in 1947 by an officer who commanded a Flak Division on the Eastern Front during 1944-5. The text is informative about matters such as command relationships between Army and Luftwaffe flak staffs, arguments about the appropriate role and dispositions of anti-aircraft units, and employment of flak guns to reinforce heavy artillery. The manuscript contains nothing specific about the Normandy campaign, but some of it covers topics that will be familiar to students of that subject. For this reason, the report is worth mentioning here.
Ruedel, Günther (trans. Rosenwald, A.): ‘German principles covering commitment and control of anti-aircraft (flak) artillery’ (93pp., FMS P-009). This Foreign Military Studies report provides an overview of the characteristics and employment of German anti-aircraft artillery throughout World War II. There were several contributors, including airmen as well as senior flak officers. Much of the content relates to the defence of Reich territory, although there are one or two sections about flak operations in combat zones (pp.25-8 and 50-1). There are also a few interesting comments about why the Heer and Waffen-SS considered it necessary to set up their own anti-aircraft units, rather than rely on Luftwaffe ones (pp.31-2). The final third of the manuscript is mostly about the offensive employment of V-weapons, rather than AA artillery or other defensive tools.
San Souci (no first name or initial given); Thurston, William; and Kennedy, R. F.: Light, Intense and Accurate: U.S. Eighth A.F. Strategic Fighters versus German Flak in the ETO (Headquarters 65th Fighter Wing, 1945; 260pp., maps, illustrations). This detailed analytical study was produced at the end of the war in Europe by U.S. staff officers from U.S. Eighth Air Force’s 65th Fighter Wing. A copy can be downloaded from https://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/digi...id/2806/rec/60. The report sheds considerable light on the effectiveness of German light flak against U.S. fighters and fighter-bombers before and during the Normandy campaign. Chapters 6 and 7 (pp.81-113) describe events during summer 1944, with particular attention to ground-attack missions carried out from 6-11 June and on 18 August. There are many data tables, maps and other illustrations, plus an appendix that provides information about German light flak weapons and associated equipment.
Schmidt, August (trans. Ronsenwald, A.): ‘Employment of Antiaircraft (Flak) Artillery for Ground Combat’ (8pp., FMS C-072). This short and not especially informative report in the Foreign Military Studies series was written in 1949 by a senior Luftwaffe flak officer. It discusses in a rather theoretical way the use of anti-aircraft guns against ground targets, although the text makes it clear that the author considered the correct role of AA guns as shooting at planes, not tanks. There are no historical examples from Normandy or any other World War II campaign.
‘Use of Russian 8.5 cm AA Gun.’ This intelligence report describes how captured Russian anti-aircraft guns were re-bored to fire 8.8cm ammunition and used by the Germans in Normandy. Technical details of other adaptations made by the Germans are also identified. See Part III of First Canadian Army’s Intelligence Summary No.27, issued 26 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 179/2605).
Westermann, Edward: Flak: German Anti-Aircraft Defenses, 1914-1945 (University Press of Kansas, Lawrence 2001; xiv + 394pp., illustrations). This book describes the evolution of German flak from 1914 onwards, and its use during the Second World War. There are a few pages about its achievements and losses in Normandy (pp.259-61).
Zetterling, Niklas: Normandy 1944: German Military Organization, Combat Power and Organizational Effectiveness (J. J. Fedorowicz Publishing, Inc., Winnipeg 2000; ix + 462pp., illustrations). Pages 439-48 of this book provide order of battle information about Luftwaffe and other flak units that fought in Normandy and other parts of western Europe during summer 1944. The same information appears on pp.393-402 of the revised edition of the same publication (Casemate Publishers, Havertown 2019).
‘3.7 cm Flak 36 on standard lorry and half-tracked chassis.’ This intelligence report is based on inspection of vehicles captured in Normandy. It describes two types of self-propelled flak weapons. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.48, issued 23 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/221).
‘5 cm Flak 41.’ This is a technical description of a 5cm anti-aircraft gun captured by U.S. forces in the Cotentin peninsula. The weapon was used by a unit belonging to 30th Flak Regiment (see section 13.3. below). See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.33, issued 8 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/221).
13.1.2. Flak in Normandy and north-west France – original documents and intelligence records:
According to online finding aids, there are a few Luftflotte 3 records from 1943-4 in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv that may shed light on anti-aircraft defences in Normandy and other parts of north-western France. Without having seen the files myself, I am unable to provide a detailed description of their contents. But the following folders may be useful:
• RL 7-3/533: Luftflotte 3 structure and deployment, July 1944. According to various sources, this folder (previously catalogued as RL 7/58) contains a gliederung for flak artillery in the West dated 15 July 1944. It may also contain additional information relevant to this topic.
• RL 7-3/747: Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD) flak batteries in the area of Luftflotte 3, 1943-4. Several RAD batteries fought in the Cotentin peninsula during June 1944. This folder may contain some information about them and principles for their operation.
• RL 7-3/757: Miscellaneous documents, 1943-4. Among the papers in this folder are some that describe the structure and organisation of 13th Flak Division (see section 13.3. below), elements of which participated in the Normandy campaign.
The Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv also contains a few more documents that provide information about official doctrine regarding the use of Luftwaffe anti-aircraft artillery in 1944. See RL 2-II/4402 and RL 2-II/4403 in particular. RL 12/714 contains instructions on the use of flak guns that were issued by a unit based in Brittany in 1944. Since they shed light on the employment of AA weapons against amphibious and airborne landings, they are probably of some relevance to the Normandy campaign too.
‘Anti-aircraft Artillery.’ This Allied intelligence report notes that in late July and early August 1944, German flak in and around Normandy shifted its emphasis away from road protection and towards the defence of choke points (especially at river bridges). Safe movement along unprotected stretches of road was presumably to be achieved by driving only at night. See First U.S. Army’s G-2 Periodic Report No.60, issued 9 August 1944 (NARA II, RG 407, Box 1392, 101-2.1 FUSA G-2 periodic reports, 20 June – 31 October 1944).
‘Counter-battery neutralisation programme.’ This report describes the effect of British artillery bombardments against flak positions on 24-5 June. The bombardments had the intended effect, preventing German anti-aircraft guns from firing at Allied bombers while the latter were carrying out their attacks. Even those flak batteries that were not targets did not open fire, presumably for fear that doing so would identify their own positions. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.24, issued 29 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/220).
‘Enemy light and medium flak tactics against ground-attack aircraft.’ This is a translation of part of a German document dated 13 July 1944, in which detailed instructions were given about the use of flak artillery for road protection missions. (This is a different document from that described immediately below.) See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.79, issued 23 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/222).
‘Evaluation of experience gained in operations against the landing forces’ (8pp.). This is a translation of a report produced by Luftflotte 3’s senior flak officer on 13 July 1944. It is in the UK National Archives, AIR 40/2418 (ADI(K)/449 of 13 August 1944). The document describes Allied air attacks against German supply lines and troop concentrations, the use of enemy artillery in the counter-flak role, and German counter-measures. Emphasis is placed on explaining the correct use of flak units for road protection missions and ground support tasks.
‘Flak in the West since D-Day’ (2pp.). This British intelligence report appears as part of M.I.15’s ‘Periodical AA Intelligence Summary No.16’ of 1 November 1944. It is in the UK National Archives, AIR 40/1151. The document summarises the Germans’ use of flak artillery during the Normandy campaign and notes the very heavy losses suffered by III Flak Corps and 13th Flak Division.
‘Summaries of Flak operations in the West’ [June – September 1944]. This series of British intelligence reports is in the UK National Archives, AIR 40/1151. The documents are based on deciphered German signals (commonly referred to as ‘Ultra’ intelligence) and vary in length from one to four pages. The first four documents, covering the period up to 22 June, are missing from the file. But summaries 5-21, which deal with developments between 23 June and 10 September, are all present. Taken together, the reports shed considerable light on the organisation and employment of German flak units, especially from III Flak Corps and 13th Flak Division, throughout summer 1944.
13.2. Flak in Normandy – III Flak Corps (III. Flak-Korps):
III Flak Corps, commanded by Luftwaffe General Wolfgang Pickert, was the most powerful anti-aircraft formation to fight in Normandy. Some of the corps’ units were already in the invasion area on D-Day; others arrived later. Most of them suffered heavy losses by the end of the campaign.
13.2a. Primary sources:
It appears that only a small portion of III Flak Corps’ original records from summer 1944 still survive. A considerable number of deciphered signals relating to its activities, however, can be found in the HW 5 and DEFE 3 series in the UK National Archives (see sections 2.1.1. and 2.1.2. above, and Appendix B). In theory, using these and other sources (see below), it ought to be possible to write a reasonably detailed account of the Corps’ activities during summer 1944.
A few interesting folders can be found in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv. They include:
• RL 2-IV/99: According to online finding aids, this file includes (among other things) a copy of the anlagen (appendices) attached to III Flak Corps’ war diary for August and September 1944, as well as a report on the withdrawal of one of the corps’ battalions (I./Flaksturmregiment 20) across the River Seine at the end of the Normandy campaign. For a secondary source that utilises the latter report, see section 13.2e. below, entry under ‘Lodieu, Didier: Le Dernier Combat des Fallschirmjäger: Les Parachutistes Allemands du General Meindl en Normandie, Tome II – du 6 au 31 août 1944.’ See also RL 12/456 below.
• RL 2-IV/100: ‘Batterien des Flaksturm-Regiment 4 verhindern feindlichen panzer durchbruch südwestlich Caen.’ The author of this report was Major Trenel, possibly a member of the Luftwaffe’s historical office. Judging by its title, the report describes the role played by elements of III Flak Corps in preventing British success in tank-led attacks near Caen during mid-summer 1944.
• RL 11/114: This folder contains a 22-page report dated 20 September 1944 by the corps’ commander, Generalleutnant Wolfgang Pickert. It describes III Flak Corps’ activities from 8 June to 1 September 1944. After a short section that describes the corps’ organisation and pre-invasion preparations, pp.4-12 cover events in Normandy up to the closing of the ‘Falaise Pocket.’ Pages 13-15 take the story up to the end of August. The final section of the report, which should be compared with the same author’s 1947 Foreign Military Studies manuscript B-597 (see section 13.2c.(i) below), sheds light on supply matters and the corps’ achievements (planes shot down, tanks destroyed) and losses during the campaign. It is worth adding that the document was made accessible to Pickert when he was writing a report for the U.S. Air Force in the late 1950s; see section 13.2e. below for further details.
• RL 12/3: This folder contains a sketch map of the Caen area dated 26 June 1944. It was produced by Flak-Sturm-Regiment 4 (4th Flak Assault Regiment), which was part of III Flak Corps.
• RL 12/456: This folder contains a report on the withdrawal of elements of III Flak Corps across the River Seine from 23-7 August 1944. It probably duplicates material held in RL 2-IV/99 (see above).
• RL 12/535: This file includes a 7-page summary of 98th Light Flak Battalion’s activities from June 1941 onwards, which includes a short section about its role on the invasion front during summer 1944. The battalion belonged to Flak-Sturm-Regiment 4, which was itself part of III Flak Corps. RL 12/237 and RL 12/238 contain additional battalion records, among them some battle reports from June, July and August 1944 and details of claims for enemy aircraft shot down during the Normandy campaign. There are also a few sketch maps and instructional documents in these files.
13.2b. Corps history and order of battle:
See section 13.2b.(iii). below.
13.2b.(ii). Corps history:
No history of III Flak Corps has ever been published.
13.2b.(iii). Other sources:
‘Composition and Employment of Flak Battle Detachments (Flakkampftrupps)’ (4pp.). This British intelligence report appears as an appendix to an M.I.15 ‘Periodical AA Intelligence Summary’ dating from early 1945. It is in the UK National Archives, AIR 40/1151. The document describes the principles underpinning the use of small flak units (each comprising two 8.8cm and three 2cm guns) in the anti-tank role. Although it includes nothing specific about the Germans’ use of such units in Normandy, it sheds considerable light on how III Flak Corps and other formations employed some of their weapons in this role during summer 1944.
‘Flak in the Caen area.’ This British intelligence report is based on a captured map showing flak positions near Caen, probably in mid-June 1944. Several flak units belonging to III Flak Corps appear on the map. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.32, issued 7 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/221).
‘Flak Sturm Regt (Flak Assault Regts).’ This intelligence report – in two sections – provides interesting information about III Flak Corps’ organisation during the Normandy campaign. The first section is in Part II of First Canadian Army’s Intelligence Summary (ISUM) No.42, issued 10 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 179/2606A), and the second is in Part II of the ISUM No. 44, issued two days later (same WO 179 source). The material contained in these two reports was reproduced in British Second Army’s ISUM No.73, issued 17 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/222), with an attached order of battle at Appendix A to the same document.
Lodieu, Didier: “La Flak artillerie en Normandie”, in Batailles, Number 2, pp.48-57. This French-language article is the first in a two-part series that describes the activities of Luftwaffe flak units during the Normandy campaign. This section focuses on units belonging to III Flak Corps. It is heavily illustrated with photographs sourced from the Bundesarchiv.
Verwicht, Alain: “Le Generalkommando III. Flakkorps”, in Panzer Voran! Number 1, 1999, pp.16-27. This is the first in a series of French-language articles about German forces that fought in Normandy, all included in the author’s self-published quarterly journal. The piece describes some of the units that belonged to III Flak Corps during summer 1944. Biographical information about the corps’ commander is provided, along with details of the formation’s equipment and organisation. There are several photos of weapons used by the corps’ units.
Verwicht, Alain: “Le Generalkommando III. Flakkorps (deuxième partie)”, in Panzer Voran! Number 2, 1999, pp.18-21. This is the second in a multi-part French-language article about III Flak Corps. It contains several photographs and a limited amount of information about the corps’ role in opposing Operation ‘Goodwood’ on 18 July 1944.
Verwicht, Alain: “Le Generalkommando III. Flakkorps (troisième partie)”, in Panzer Voran! Number 4, 1999, pp.32-3. This is the third in a multi-part French-language article about III Flak Corps. The piece includes two photographs of anti-aircraft guns and a little information about the corps’ activities in Normandy.
Verwicht, Alain: “Le Generalkommando III. Flakkorps en Normandie (quatrième partie et fin)”, in Panzer Voran! Number 9, 2001, pp.24-5. This short French-language article is the last in a four-part series about III Flak Corps. The author briefly discusses the use of 8.8cm guns that belonged to the corps in Normandy. There are a couple of photos showing a camouflaged weapon of this type deployed in the anti-tank role in the Norman Bocage.
Verwicht, Alain: “Normandie, Juillet 1944: Le Generalkommando III. Flakkorps”, in Panzer Voran! Number 23, 2004, pp.26-9. This French-language article includes six captioned photographs of personnel and equipment belonging to III Flak Corps. The images were recorded in Normandy during summer 1944.
Verwicht, Alain: “Etude des unités de l’Oberbefehlshaber West, Juin-Décembre 1944 (suite): La Flakartillerie, Etat au 15 Juillet 1944 – Le Generalkommando III.Flakkorps (Generalleutnant Wolfgang Pickert)”, in Panzer Voran! Number 25, 2005, pp.2-15. This French-language article describes the organisation of III Flak Corps in Normandy during July 1944. The piece includes a gliederung, a sketch map and photographs of some of the corps’ equipment and personnel.
Zetterling, Niklas: Normandy 1944: German Military Organization, Combat Power and Organizational Effectiveness (J. J. Fedorowicz Publishing, Inc., Winnipeg 2000; ix + 462pp., illustrations). Pages 152-9 and 439-41 of this book provide information about III Flak Corps’ order of battle and some of its activities during summer 1944. A slightly updated version of the same material appears on pp.131-7 and 393-4 of the revised edition of the same book (Casemate Publishers, Havertown 2019).
‘I/141 Flak Regiment.’ This British intelligence report is based on captured documents. It provides information about III Flak Corps’ order of battle on 19 June 1944. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary (ISUM) No.30, issued 5 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/221). Appendix B to the same ISUM includes reproductions of tactical symbols used by III Flak Corps, based on information found in captured documents.
‘497 Mixed AA Bn.’ This intelligence report is based on documents found on a dead German officer. It provides details of the organisation and armament of a flak unit that belonged to III Flak Corps. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.34, issued 9 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/221).
Interesting information about III Flak Corps’ composition can be found in a series of contributions to an internet discussion forum, under the heading ‘The actual organisation of III. Flak-Korps Normandy’. See the Axis History website, at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...?f=83&t=178451.
See also http://www.ww2.dk/ground/hq/iiiflak.htm (and links therein) for more information about III Flak Corps and its component units.
13.2c. Foreign Military Studies (FMS) manuscripts and interrogation reports:
13.2c.(i). FMS manuscripts:
Kistowski, Werner von: ‘Das III. Flakkorps – insbesondere Flaksturmregiment 1 – in der zeit von Juni – September 1944’ (32pp., map; FMS P-156). This German-language report was written by the officer who commanded 1st Flak Assault Regiment in Normandy. It is based partly on his personal diary and partly on other documents available to the author. The report describes the regiment’s organisation (pp.1-2, including a gliederung) and its activities during the first fortnight of the 1944 campaign (pp.2-14). There is also a list of regimental command posts throughout summer 1944 (p.15) and a map showing the regiment’s deployment on D-Day (p.16). There are several appendices, which provide additional information about the activities of one of the regiment’s units, Leichte Flaksturmabteilung 90. The final few pages of the document include comments by Wolfgang Pickert, who commanded III Flak Corps throughout the Normandy campaign. See also section 13.2d.(ii). below.
Pickert, Wolfgang (trans. Beck, Anthony): ‘III. AA Corps in the Normandy battles’ (42pp., map; FMS B-597). This document was written from memory in 1947 by the officer who commanded III Flak Corps in Normandy. The report describes the missions of units belonging to the corps before D-Day (pp.6-7), the formation’s transfer to Normandy after the invasion began (pp.8-13), and its role in air defence and ground fighting until its withdrawal across the River Seine in late August (pp.14-30). The final section (pp.31-6) provides a critical evaluation of the corps’ performance and achievement. It is followed by two pages of comments by Genlt Max Pemsel, Seventh Army’s Chief of Staff during most of the Normandy campaign, and details of the corps’ order of battle. Parts of the document are reproduced on pp.164-6 and 250 of David Isby’s The German Army at Normandy: Fighting the Invasion (Greenhill Books, London 2000). Additional extracts are included in Isby’s Fighting in Normandy: The German Army from D-Day to Villers-Bocage (Greenhill Books, London 2001; pp.49-50, 116-17, 190-5 and 226-7).
13.2c.(ii). Interrogation reports:
‘Flak Aslt Units.’ This report is based on information provided by prisoners. It sheds light on the organisation and role of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Flak Assault Regiments, and especially on the activities of the ‘flak kampftruppen’ that they included. See Appendix B to 2nd Canadian Corps’ Intelligence Summary No.32, issued 12 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 179/2694).
‘Hy Flak.’ This report is based on the interrogation of captured personnel from I./Flak-Regiment-53 (part of III Flak Corps). It describes tactics for the use of flak against air and ground targets. The information is in Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.64, issued 8 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/222). An entry earlier in the same intelligence digest provides details of the organisation and equipment of the unit from which the prisoners came.
‘Movements of III Flak Corps.’ This intelligence report is based on information provided by an officer deserter in late August 1944. It describes III Flak Corps’ movements and intentions during the final stages of the Normandy campaign. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.86, issued 30 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/222).
‘Org of Flak Regt 20.’ This interrogation report provides information about the organisation and activities of a troop belonging to 20th Flak Regiment during the first half of the Normandy campaign. It describes how in mid-July, the unit’s role was changed from anti-aircraft defence to the engagement of ground targets. See Part II of British Guards Armoured Division Intelligence Summary No.14, issued 23 July 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/376).
‘Special Interrogation Report: Lieutenant-General Wolfgang Pickert, Commander 3 Flak Korps’ (Canadian Military Headquarters Historical Section, 17 September 1946; 3pp.). This Canadian interrogation report describes the career of the officer who served as III Flak Corps’ commander before and during the Normandy campaign. A copy can be found in NARA II, RG 407, Box 1516, folder 101-2.13. After a short pen-picture of its subject, the rest of the report deals with Pickert’s service on the Eastern Front and then in France during 1944.
‘1 Flak Sturm Regt.’ This report is based on the interrogation of prisoners from this unit in mid-August 1944. It provides details of recent re-organisation in the regiment. See Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.76, issued 20 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/222).
‘32nd Antiaircraft Regiment (Flak).’ This brief U.S. intelligence report includes order of battle information for 90th and 497th Flak battalions, and provides the names of two of their officers. See Annex 1 to First U.S. Army’s G-2 Periodic Report No.3, issued 13 June 1944 (NARA II, RG 407, Box 1392, 101-2.1 FUSA G-2 periodic reports, 11 June – 1 August 1944).
‘11700 Flak Gruppe.’ This short intelligence report is based on interrogations of thirty members of this unit who were captured south of Caen on 9 August 1944. The organisation of their unit (which belonged to III Flak Corps) is briefly described. See Appendix B to Part II of 2nd Canadian Corps’ Intelligence Summary No.30, issued 10 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 179/2694).
‘13300 Hy Flak Ersatz Bn.’ This interrogation report provides information about flak units employed in the anti-tank role south of Caen in early August. The units belonged to III Flak Corps. See Part II of 2nd Canadian Corps’ Intelligence Summary No.28, issued 8 August 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 179/2694).
There are about twenty interrogation reports of members of III Flak Corps in the UK National Archives. Some are of multiple individuals. Taken together, the reports provide interesting if incomplete information about unit organisation and equipment, and the names of some of the corps’ officers. See WO 208/3590 (SIR 329), WO 208/3592 (SIR 451 and 492), WO 208/3594 (SIR 638 and 643), WO 208/3621 (PWIS(H)/54), WO 208/3622 (PWIS(H)/145 and 178), WO 208/3623 (KP/3), WO 208/3625 (KP/254, 263, 282 and 286), WO 208/3635 (LF/554, 561 and 562), WO 208/3636 (LF/608, 631 and 632), and WO 208/3647 (LDC/296).
13.2d. Unit histories, biographies, memoirs:
13.2d.(i). Unit histories:
There do not appear to be any published histories of any of III Flak Corps’ four flak assault regiments, nor of other units that were brought under the Corps’ command.
13.2d.(ii). Biographical information, personal accounts:
Deprun, Frédéric and Gremel, Josef: “Flakkolonne: Souvenirs d’un Kradmelder Calais, Evrecy, Cagny Avril – Juillet 1944”, in Normandie 1944 Magazine, Number 17, 2016, pp.28-53. This French-language article describes the experiences of a member of III Flak Corps who fought in Normandy. It focuses on a controversial episode during Operation ‘Goodwood’ (18 July 1944), namely the role of German anti-aircraft guns in defending the village of Cagny.
Kistowski interview (6pp.). This transcribed summary of an interview between Cornelius Ryan, author of The Longest Day, and Werner von Kistowski, CO of 1st Flak Assault Regiment, is in the Cornelius Ryan Collection of World War II Papers at Ohio University. At the time this bibliography was produced (2022), neither the original interview nor Ryan’s dictated description of its contents had been digitised (unlike many other records from the Ryan collection). But a copy can be found in the archive of the D-Day Museum, Southsea (Box 159, ref. 4-20, 1995/100/80, Portsmouth History Centre and Records Office, Portsmouth Central Library). The contents of the interview describe Kistowski’s experiences from 3-6 June 1944. The transcribed material is much more detailed than the brief summary contained in Ryan’s book or the slightly lengthier version reproduced on pp.233-4 of Russell Miller’s Nothing Less than Victory: The Oral History of D-Day (Pimlico edition, London 2000).
13.2e. Battle accounts and other sources:
‘Flak in anti-tank role’ (2pp.) This Allied intelligence report discusses the use of some of III Flak Corps’ anti-aircraft units in combat against British tanks near Caen during July. It identifies the forces involved and describes their use in battle. See SHAEF Intelligence Notes Number 24 (24 August 1944), UK National Archives, WO 219/5235.
Lodieu, Didier: La retraite de l’armée allemande vers la Seine du 23 au 25 août 1944 (Editions Lodieu, Caudebec-les-Elbeuf 2015; 136pp., maps, illustrations). This French-language book focuses on defensive actions carried out by German forces south of the River Seine from 23-5 August 1944. It contains interesting information (pp.25-30) about the role played by III Flak Corps and other anti-aircraft units in protecting crossing points over the Seine at the end of the Normandy campaign.
Lodieu, Didier: Le Dernier Combat des Fallschirmjäger: Les Parachutistes Allemands du General Meindl en Normandie, Tome II – du 6 au 31 août 1944 (Editions de la Poche de Falaise, Caudebec-les-Elbeuf 2019; 225pp., maps, illustrations). This French-language book about II Parachute Corps’ activities during the closing stages of the Normandy campaign includes an appendix (pp.234-45) which describes the experiences of I./Flak-Regiment 20 from 23-7 August. This unit, which belonged to III Flak Corps’ 2nd Flak Assault Regiment, was involved in securing crossing sites during the German retreat across the River Seine at the end of the Normandy campaign. The appendix provides information about its activities during this period.
Pickert, Wolfgang: “The Impact of Allied Air Attacks on German Divisions and Other Army Forces in Zones of Combat” (USAF Historical Study Number 185, 1958; 131pp.). This official study was written for the U.S. Air Force in the late 1950s. It is available at https://www.afhra.af.mil/Portals/16/...090521-063.pdf. Pickert’s report describes the effects of Allied air operations in the Mediterranean and north-west European theatres during World War II. He deals with the Normandy campaign on pp.52-89. Most of his comments are about the use of Allied aircraft in the close air support role. But he makes occasional remarks about III Flak Corps’ role and experiences during summer 1944, notably on pp.63-4.
Pickert, Wolfgang: “Einige Lehren aus der Normandieschlacht”, in Wehrkunde, Vol.3, No.3, 1954, pp.70-8. Unfortunately, I was unable to see a copy of this German-language article before completing this bibliography. Its title suggests that it identifies ‘lessons’ for anti-aircraft defence from the Normandy campaign, presumably based on Pickert’s own experiences.
Pickert, Wolfgang: “Deutsche Flakartillerie in der Normandieschlacht”, in Luftwaffenring, No.7, July 1955, pp.8-10 and No.8, August 1955, pp.8-10. Unfortunately, I was unable to see these short German-language articles before completing this bibliography. Judging by their brevity and date of publication, it seems unlikely they contain information that is not included in longer pieces by the same author that are described above.
Transcribed extracts from three secretly monitored conversations involving captured officers from III Flak Corps are in the UK National Archives in WO 208/4138 (SRM 578, 604 and 679). The officers were recorded by the British while in captivity in the U.K. in June and July 1944. Their remarks shed some light on the situation during the first few days of the invasion and the role of flak units in opposing the British ‘Goodwood’ offensive on 18 July.
13.3. Flak in Normandy – 13th Flak Division (13. Flak-Division) and its units:
Various elements of 13th Flak Division were involved in the Normandy campaign. One of the most important was 30th Flak Regiment (Flakregiment 30), which played a significant role in the defence of the Cotentin peninsula, and which was largely destroyed there. Other elements of the division provided protection for lines of communication in western Normandy, or were drawn directly into ground fighting later in the campaign. One interesting feature of 30th Flak Regiment was that many of its personnel were very young men belonging to the Reichsarbeitsdienst (German State Labour Service).
13.3a. Primary sources:
It appears that very few of 13th Flak Division’s original records from summer 1944 still survive. The following files in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv are likely to be of interest:
• RL 12/18 and RL 12/19: These are two files of papers collected by a member of 30th Flak Regiment, Hauptmann Willi Pfeiffer, during the war. The first file contains a brief hand-written summary of the regiment’s history, plus some press clippings about its role in the defence of Cherbourg during June 1944. The second folder contains a handful of routine orders from the end of May and first two days of June 1944. None of this material is particularly informative.
• RL 12/279: This file contains documents produced by 298th Searchlight Battalion (part of 30th Flak Regiment) from October 1943 to May 1944.
• RL 12/389: This file contains a battle report written by Leutnant Harrassowski, an officer in leichte Flak-Abteilung 752 (752nd Light Flak Battalion), which was part of 13th Flak Division. The report describes the activities of the battalion’s 1st battery during the Normandy campaign from 13 June to 2 August 1944. See also section 13.3d.(i). below, entry under ‘Lodieu, Didier and Néga, Guy.’
• RL 12/425 and RL 12/426: These files contain reports about Flak-Abteilung 11400’s involvement in the Normandy campaign. See also section 13.3d.(i). below, entry under ‘Lodieu, Didier and Néga, Guy.’
• RL 12/427: This folder contains fragmentary information about operations by Flak-Abteilung 13200 (leichte) during June and July 1944. The battalion belonged to Flak-Regiment 89 (89th Flak Regiment), which was part of 13th Flak Division. None of the contents are particularly relevant to the Normandy campaign.
There is some interesting material in the HW 5 and DEFE 3 records in the UK National Archives (see sections 2.1.1. and 2.1.2. above, and Appendix B) – notably about the use of 30th Flak Regiment’s weapons in the ground combat role – which ought to help researchers who are interested in this subject.
13.3b. Divisional history and order of battle:
No gliederung for 13th Flak Division has yet been discovered, although internet sources and prisoner interrogations (see sections 13.3b.(iii). and 13.3c.(ii). below) allow its order of battle in June 1944 to be established with some certainty.
13.3b.(ii). Divisional history:
No history of 13th Flak Division has been published.
13.3b.(iii). Other sources:
Avoie, Fabrice: Sarthe, août 1944: Histoire d’une libération (self-published, Le Mans 2009; viii + 440pp., maps, illustrations). Page 70 of this French language book provides some interesting details about units from 13th Flak Division that fought U.S. and Free French formations near Le Mans between 7 and 11 August 1944.
Chazette, Alain; Destouches, Alain; Tomine, Jacques; Paich, Bernard; Taghon, Peter; and Désit, Fréderic: Les défenses du port de Cherbourg (Editions Histoire et Fortifications, Vertou 2016; 170pp., maps, illustrations). This is a meticulous French-language study of the coastal and landward defences constructed (or improved) by the Germans after their occupation of Cherbourg in 1940. The book identifies and locates various 30th Flak Regiment elements (from 158th Mixed Battalion, 931st Light Battalion and 298th Searchlight Battalion) that helped defend the city.
Gomes, Romain: 716.Infanterie.Division 5 juin 1944: A la veille de l’orage (self-published, no place of publication, 2021; 650pp., maps, illustrations). This is the first in a two-part French-language history of 716th Infantry Division’s preparations to resist the Normandy invasion. It contains extensive details of Luftwaffe flak units that belonged to 13th Flak Division, and which were deployed near Caen on D-Day (pp.266-96).
Lodieu, Didier: “La Flak en Normandie”, in Batailles, Number 3, pp.24-9. The second in this short series of French-language articles about Luftwaffe flak in Normandy deals with units belonging to 13th Flak Division.
Nafziger, George: The German Order of Battle: Panzers and Artillery in World War II (Greenhill Books, London 1999; 463pp.). Page 438 of this book lists the order of battle for 13th Flak Division in March 1944.
‘Trace showing enemy flak positions.’ This is a reproduction of a captured (but undated) map showing the layout of flak units between Pont l’Eveque (on the River Seine) and Dozule. Their primary mission appeared to be protecting the main road leading to Caen. Apart from two batteries of gemischte Flak-Abteilung 266 (v), the units are unidentified. Almost certainly, however, they belonged to 13th Flak Division. See Appendix A to Part II of British Second Army’s Intelligence Summary No.16, issued 21 June 1944 (UK National Archives, WO 171/220).
’30 Flak Regiment in the early stages of the invasion.’ This report provides information about the organisation, equipment and activities of 30th Flak Regiment, which played an important role in fighting in the Cotentin peninsula during June 1944. A map showing the deployment of the regiment’s battalions and batteries is attached to the report. See SHAEF Intelligence Notes Number 18 (13 July 1944), UK National Archives, WO 219/5229.
For a colour map showing the location of 30th Flak Regiment units at Cherbourg, see viewto...?f=70&t=212800.
See also https://www.ww2.dk/ground/flak/13fladiv.htm for further information about 13th Flak Division and https://www.ww2.dk/ground/flak/flargt30.html for details of 30th Flak Regiment’s order of battle.
13.3c. Foreign Military Studies (FMS) manuscripts and interrogation reports:
13.3c.(i). FMS manuscripts:
There are no FMS manuscripts for 13th Flak Division or any of its major components. However, there is one document that is perhaps worth mentioning under this sub-heading:
Weissmann, Eugene (no translator identified): ‘Flak in Coastal and Air Defense – The Atlantic Wall’ (FMS D-179; 28pp.). This report about the deployment and use of German anti-aircraft artillery (flak) in coastal defences includes very little about events in Normandy. However, it helps explain how the Germans thought some of the assets available to them during the 1944 campaign (especially 30th Flak Regiment in the northern Cotentin) should be used.
13.3c.(ii). Interrogation reports:
‘Order of Battle Notes.’ This short intelligence report provides information about 653rd Flak Battalion, one of 30th Flak Regiment’s main units. See Annex 1 to First U.S. Army’s G-2 Periodic Report No.13, issued 23 June 1944 (NARA II, RG 407, Box 1392, 101-2.1 FUSA G-2 periodic reports, 11 June – 1 August 1944).
‘Order of Battle Notes.’ This report includes information about 30th Flak Regiment’s organisation, armament and casualties, based on numerous prisoner interrogations. It also points out that members of some flak battalions belonged to the Reichsarbeitsdienst (State Labour Service). See Annex 1 to First U.S. Army’s G-2 Periodic Report No.17, issued 27 June 1944 (NARA II, RG 407, Box 1392, 101-2.1 FUSA G-2 periodic reports, 11 June – 1 August 1944).
‘Order of Battle Notes.’ This interrogation report provides information about the organisation and armament of gemischte Flak-Abteilung 196, which belonged to 13th Flak Division. See Annex 2 to First U.S. Army’s G-2 Periodic Report No.65, issued 14 August 1944 (NARA II, RG 407, Box 1392, 101-2.1 FUSA G-2 periodic reports, 20 June – 31 October 1944).
There are over thirty interrogation reports of members of 30th Flak Regiment (or attached units) in the UK National Archives. Some are of multiple individuals. Almost all of them were captured in the Cotentin peninsula during June 1944. Taken together, the reports provide a considerable amount of information about unit organisation and equipment, and names of some of the regiment’s officers. See WO 208/3591 (SIR 370, 402 and 421), WO 208/3592 (SIR 471, 474, 504 and 510), WO 208/3593 (SIR 533 and 546), WO 208/3622 (PWIS(H)/134), WO 208/3625 (KP/245), WO 208/3630 (LF/147), WO 208/3631 (LF/205, 213, 214, 215, 232, 234, 239, 243, 245 and 256), WO 208/3632 (LF/294), WO 208/3645 (LDC/34, 43, 46, 49 and 50), and WO 208/3646 (LDC/56, 87, 114 and 122).
There are a handful of interrogation reports of members of 89th Flak Regiment, Flak Regiment Oberstleutnant Höhne and other flak units that belonged to 13th Flak Division in the UK National Archives. These helped to protect roads and other important sites behind German lines in Normandy. The reports provide fragmentary information about unit organisation and the names of some officers. See WO 208/3598 (SIR 838 and 874), WO 208/3625 (KP/215 and 296), WO 208/3636 (LF/571 and 615), and WO 208/3647 (LDC/215 and 292).
13.3d. Unit histories, biographies, memoirs:
13.3d.(i). Unit histories:
Lodieu, Didier and Néga, Guy: Flak à l’ouest (Lodieu Editions, Caudebec-les-Elbeuf 2016; 126pp., maps, illustrations). This French-language book describes the activities of two Luftwaffe anti-aircraft artillery units during the Normandy campaign. The first half of the text (pp.5-59) deals with Flakabteilung z.b.V. 11400, which participated in fighting in the ‘Falaise Pocket’ during August 1944. The second half (pp.60-126) covers Flakabteilung 752, which protected Seventh Army’s road traffic in the Coutances area against Allied air attacks from mid-June to late July. For the source of the original documents on which this book is based, see section 13.3a. above, folders RL 12/389, RL 12/425 and RL 12/426.
13.3d.(ii). Biographical information, personal accounts:
Carlson, Lewis: We Were Each Other’s Prisoners: An Oral History of World War II, American and German Prisoners of War (Basic Books, no place of publication, 1997; xxv + 258pp., maps, illustrations). This book contains a short personal account by a sixteen-year-old anti-aircraft gunner who was captured at Cherbourg on 23 June (pp.34-6).
Transcribed extracts from three secretly monitored conversations involving Oberst Hermann, 30th Flak Regiment’s commanding officer, are in the UK National Archives in WO 208/4138 (SRM 608, 611 and 612). Hermann was recorded by the British while in captivity in the U.K. at the end of June 1944. His remarks shed light on the organisation and equipment of his units, their use in battle and their achievements. A portion of another transcribed conversation, involving an officer from one of the regiment’s flak battalions, can be found in the UK National Archives in AIR 40/3097 (SRA 5457).
13.3e. Battle accounts and other sources:
Accounts of the Cotentin peninsular campaign make quite frequent references to the lethal effects of flak both in its anti-aircraft and ground support roles. See Chapter 2, section 0.0.0. for details of these sources. Otherwise, apart from in Allied air force records that acknowledge the dangers involved in attacking ground targets, almost no detailed references to the activities of forces belonging to 13th Flak Division can be found. There are, however, some statements about the contribution made by flak troops to the defence of Argentan and other places in the official U.S. Army history of the Normandy campaign. See Chapter 2, section 0.0.0. for further information.
13.4. Flak in Normandy – other Luftwaffe flak units:
13.4.1. Intelligence records:
‘12400th Flak Battalion.’ This report describes the organisation and armament of 12400th Flak Battalion, which fought in the Mortain – Mayenne area in August 1944. See OB Report No.32, issued 4 August 1944 (NARA II, RG 407, Box 3499, 208-7.2 VIII Corps Chief of Staff Journal and File, 3-7 August 1944).
13.4.2. Secondary sources:
Avoie, Fabrice: Sarthe, août 1944: Histoire d’une libération (self-published, Le Mans 2009; viii + 440pp., maps, illustrations). Pages 70-1 of this French language book provide some interesting details about units from 1st, 12th and 18th Flak brigades that fought U.S. and Free French formations near Le Mans between 7 and 11 August 1944.
Renoult, Bruno and Hailwood, Paul: 1944 Guerre en Ile de France, Vol. I – Les préparatifs (self-published, Bonchamp-lès-Laval 2006; 222pp., maps, illustrations). This is the first in a five-volume French-language series that describes events in and around Paris from 1 May to 31 August 1944. It contains quite a lot of information – including gliederungen and maps – about flak units that were deployed in the Paris region during May and the first half of June 1944. Other volumes in the same series (see sections 5.3.2., 5.4.2. and 5.5. above) also include fairly detailed descriptions of the role played by anti-aircraft elements in the air and ground defence of the French capital during June, July and August.
13.5. Flak in Normandy – Luftwaffe railway flak:
As well as static and motorized anti-aircraft formations, the Luftwaffe controlled flak units that operated on the French railway system.
‘Miscellaneous.’ This report contains information provided by prisoners from 955th Railway Flak Battalion who were captured in Normandy. It describes features of their unit’s organisation and armament. See U.S. 4th Infantry Division’s G-2 Periodic Report No.24, issued 11 July 1944 (NARA II, RG 407, Box 3283, 207-2.1 U.S. 4th Infantry Division G-2 Periodic Reports, July 1944).
‘Railway Flak’ (3pp.). This British intelligence report appears as part of an M.I.15 ‘Periodical AA Intelligence Summary’ dating from early 1945. It is in the UK National Archives, AIR 40/1151. The document summarises the contents of German official manuals relating to the use of railway flak units. The report describes the organisation and equipment of these units, as well as their tactical employment.
Verwicht, Alain: “Eisenbahn-Flak-Artillerie; Flak-Brigade 1 (France, Juillet 1944)”, in Panzer Voran! Number 32, 2006, pp.8-19. This French-language article describes the organisation of 1st Flak Brigade, which was headquartered in Paris, on 15 July 1944. The piece includes a gliederung, several photographs and useful information about the brigade’s armament.
13.6. Army flak units, general works:
Most of the Army (Heer) anti-aircraft weapons that fought in Normandy belonged to units that were either part of or attached to German infantry and panzer divisions. Some information about their organisation and activities can be found in relevant formation entries in Chapters 4 and 5 (cross-references below). There is one general text, which is described here.
Freter, Hermann: Fla Nach Vorn! Die Fliegerabwehr-Waffe des Heeres und ihre Doppelrolle im 2. Weltkrieg (Fla-Kameradschaft, 1971 and 1973; 480pp. + 526pp.). This is a two-volume study of German Army light flak (2cm and 3.7cm) units during the Second World War, with subject matter arranged chronologically. As its sub-title suggests, the books cover not only their role in defending ground forces against air attack, but also their use as light artillery. Volume Two contains some relevant information about operations by these units in Normandy (pp.704, 715 and 839-58).
For information about sources that describe the activities of Army flak units in Normandy, see Chapter 4, especially sections 2.2a.(i). (RH 41/339 and RH 41/655); 2.2c.(ii).; 2.9c.(ii).; 2.10d.(ii).; 2.11b.(iii); and Chapter 5, especially sections 126.96.36.199a.(iv). and 2.11c.(ii). See also relevant sections of divisional histories identified in Chapters 4 and 5 (in each chapter, see section 2).
13.7. Waffen-SS flak units, general works:
All six of the SS divisions that fought in Normandy had an integral flak battalion, and there are unit histories for several of them (see Chapter 4, cross-references below). One general work exists, which is described here.
Stöber, Hans: Die Flugabwehrverbände der Waffen-SS: Aufstellung, Gliederung, Luftverteidigung und Einsätze an den Fronten (Verlag K. K. Schütz KG, Prueßisch Oldendorf 1984; 608pp., maps, illustrations). This German-language book describes the organisation, armament and activities of Waffen-SS flak units throughout the Second World War. Units that fought in Normandy each have an entry, although the level of detail differs from case to case. As well as panzer division and corps units, there is a short section about light anti-aircraft companies found within some of the SS divisions’ panzergrenadier regiments. The book contains detailed orders of battle and technical information about the weapons used. There are many maps and other illustrations.
For information about sources that describe the activities of Waffen-SS flak units in Normandy, see Chapter 4, especially sections 1.3.6.; 2.1a.(i). (RS 23/9); 2.1d.(i).; 2.3a.(i). (RS 21/6); 2.3d.(i).; 2.5d.(i).; 2.7c.(ii).; 2.7d.(i).; and 2.8a.(i). (RS 23/29). See also relevant sections of divisional histories identified in Chapter 4, section 2.
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FWIW, I intend to cover Flak-Rgt.30 in one of my volumes about German troops on the Cotentin. It's likely that will include those elements of it that were in the Calvados as well. Same volume might also to cover the Fallschirmjäger units on the peninsula as well, so not the 3.Fj.D. nor the II.Fs.K.Larry D. wrote: ↑21 Jun 2022 14:37Hugely impressive, Simon! Immensely comprehensive. The history of the deutschen Flakwaffe in WWII has yet to be written and your annotated bibliography would be the very best guide in existence for such a project. I wish I could tackle it, but I'm way too far over the hill. Dr. Jochen Prien has written how many volumes on the Jagdwaffe? 40 plus or minus? And the Jagdwaffe comprised just 2.5% of the Luftwaffe's personnel strength, while the Flakwaffe at peak nearly 50%? It would be a huge effort, probably too much for one person.
Still, it is also possible that I'll split the Fj and Flak over two volumes ('infantry' first, 'artillery' second kind of approach').
Not sure yet as I'm currently trying to determine what to put in Volume II and thus where to focus my attention.
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- Joined: 04 Mar 2006 21:43
- Location: The Netherlands