German Luftwaffe Engineers

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
Natalia
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German Luftwaffe Engineers

Post by Natalia » 26 Sep 2005 10:32

I'm trying to find out more information about German Luftwaffe engineers. Can anyone help me?

Is there a Veteran's association for the Inginieurkorps? Does anybody know of a British/German specialist who has done research in this area? Specifically, I want to find out more information regarding their involvement in clearing up British planes that crashed in France during the second world war. I want to know which group was responsible for doing this in northern France in 1941 and whether there are any surviving Veterans who I could talk to.

If anybody can help me, I would be extremely grateful.

Larry D.
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Post by Larry D. » 26 Sep 2005 15:14

Natalia -

Here is some information on the organization that handled this:

Recovery/Salvage
Prior to the war there was very little central direction in the Luftwaffe for the recovery and salvaging of captured enemy aviation equipment; during the annexation of Czechoslovakia in Mar 1939 it was carried out by the various field commands more or less as each saw fit. It was not until the attack on Poland that a special field command was created for this purpose, but it was only in the spring of 1940 that the Luftwaffe finally set up a central authority (Luftwaffenbeute - LwB, which was formed on 24 April 1940) under the Generalluftzeugmeister/Air Ministry in Berlin to supervise and control the recovery and exploitation of captured aircraft and equipment. By the end of 1940 the organization had quickly grown from a few officers and clerks to 12 field salvage staffs (Luftzeugstab 1 - 6, and Luftzeugstab z.b.V. 11 - 16) with 7,900 German military personnel (including RAD detachments) and around 700 foreign workers. Nearly 99% of the officers and engineers belonging to the organization were old reserve and other inactive personnel called up for the duration of the war, and the majority of the EM were over 40. From May 1940 to December 1941, covering the campaigns in the West, the Balkans and the first six months in Russia, approximately 10,000 aircraft engines, 6,000 antiaircraft guns, and large quantities of ammunition and fuel were recovered and salvaged.

Please notice the second to last sentence. Anyone connected with this work is probably dead now, hence it is extremely doubtful that any veterans' group for them exists today.

Here is a book that you may be able to find in the on-line used book market that will give you quite a bit more information:

STAPFER, Hans-Heiri. Strangers in a Strange Land (Carrollton (Texas): Squadron/Signal Publications, 1988).

The author is a Swiss citizen and investigated the subject quite thoroughly using surviving records in the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv in Freiburg, plus interviews with a few veterans who were still alive back in the early 'eighties.

HTH,

--Larry

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Xavier
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Post by Xavier » 26 Sep 2005 17:12

it took me about 20 minutes to dig the old post, I hope you find it comprehensive:

These units, known as berge-bataillone (salvage battallions) were under the special control of the luftwaffe. Their mission was to investigate each crash site, evaluate the salvage potential and ship it to the proper destination...

Fate of Crashed Allied Aircraft
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... =strangers

other related posts:
American aircraft used by the Luftwaffe during the war.
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... =strangers

KG 200 B-17 Sorties
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... =strangers

best regards
Xavier
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Larry D.
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Post by Larry D. » 26 Sep 2005 23:40

Xavier said:
These units, known as berge-bataillone (salvage battallions) were under the special control of the luftwaffe. Their mission was to investigate each crash site, evaluate the salvage potential and ship it to the proper destination...
The Berge-Bataillonen were not formed until 1 September 1943 in accordance with order 2.Abt.(Org.Abt.)/Genst.d.Lw. Nr.12781/43 geh. Natalia restricted her request to the 1941 period, two years before the Berge-Btle. were formed. I didn't want to confuse her with all this Berge-Bataillon stuff because in 1941 this work was all done by the Luftzeugstäbe and the Nachschubkompanien d.Lw. that were subordinated to them. The Berge-Bataillonen did not exist then.

--Larry

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Xavier
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Post by Xavier » 27 Sep 2005 15:50

I agree, my mistake, But some of the crews from the 1941 Luftzeugstab 1 - 6, and Luftzeugstab z.b.V. 11 - 16 must have made into the 1943 berge-bataillone.......and , if I understood well, she is looking for veterans.. (slim chance......)

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Larry D.
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Post by Larry D. » 27 Sep 2005 16:07

Xavier wrote:I agree, my mistake, But some of the crews from the 1941 Luftzeugstab 1 - 6, and Luftzeugstab z.b.V. 11 - 16 must have made into the 1943 berge-bataillone.......and , if I understood well, she is looking for veterans.. (slim chance......)

regards

Xavier
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Yes, that's true. The Berge-Btle. were formed by consolidating and reorganizing a large number of different kinds of units that were involved in this work, especially Flugzeugbergetrupps, Laborzüge, elements of Nachschubkompanien, etc.

Veterans, if any survive today, will be hard to find.

Natalia
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Post by Natalia » 29 Sep 2005 11:28

Larry and Xavier - many thanks for your comments.

I ordered up a copy of Strangers in a Strange Land. It's really good for general background, although much of it relates to the later stages in the war.

Does anyone know where the 12 Luftzeugsstaebe were based and if any of them were in Northern France in August 1941? Or do you know where I could find this information? Do any records survive from this time? Also, does anyone know where Bergepark 1 was based. I think it was somewhere in Northern France, but not sure where. It's possible the wreckage was taken there. I have been down to the archives in Freiburg, but couldn't find anything there relating to salvage of planes in France in August 1941. Although that's not to say that the records don't exist.

Again, if anyone can point me in the right direction, it would be much appreciated.

Larry D.
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Post by Larry D. » 29 Sep 2005 13:28

Natalia -

In August 1941, the senior command for recovery and salvage in the West was Meldekopf 5 Lw.-Beute GL (Reporting Centre 5/German Air Force – Captured Materiél, Generalluftzeugmeister). It was attached to HQ Luftflotte 3 in Paris and subordinated 1 Nachschub-Kp. d.Lw. and 3 Landesschützenzüge d.Lw. There were no Luftzeugstäbe assigned to it because these were all in the East at that time. From 1940 through summer 1943, the recovery and salvage work in the West was farmed out to the Kdo. Flughafenbereiche in France. Some of their records for 1941 are available at BA-MA in Signatur RL 20. This would be the only source where you might find some information for August 1941. As you stated, there are no surviving Beute records for the first several years of operations. The only unit I have a record of as being in the West in August 1941 is Flugzeugbergungstrupp 10/XII in West France. There were a number of others there of this type, and you can probably find some of them mentioned in the RL 20 documents. None of these little Trupps, Züge, Kompanien have any surviving records at BA-MA. As for the Beuteparks:

Locations in August 1941:
Beutepark d.Lw. 1: location unknown.
Beutepark d.Lw. 2: East.
Beutepark d.Lw. 3: East.
Beutepark d.Lw. 4: East.
Beutepark d.Lw. 5: Paris - see Strangers in a Strange Land.
Beutepark d.Lw. 6: didn’t exist.
Beutepark d.Lw. 7: East.

Unfortunately, that's all I have.

--Larry

Natalia
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Post by Natalia » 29 Sep 2005 14:28

Thanks Larry

I had a look under RL 20, but couldn't find anything for the date I needed under St Omer, which is the area where the plane went down.

Am I right in thinking that any planes that went down in St Omer region would have been salvaged and taken to a workshop at one of the local air strips? Possibly St Omer-Wizernes? If this is the case, would the people responsible for salvaging the planes have just been engineers who were assigned to the relevant Kdo. Flughafenbereich?

Would any of the material have been sent on to the Beutepark 5 in Paris or would it have been forwarded on somewhere else? Or would the local workshop have dealt with it themselves?

Larry D.
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Post by Larry D. » 29 Sep 2005 15:16

Am I right in thinking that any planes that went down in St Omer region would have been salvaged and taken to a workshop at one of the local air strips? Possibly St Omer-Wizernes? If this is the case, would the people responsible for salvaging the planes have just been engineers who were assigned to the relevant Kdo. Flughafenbereich?
Yes to the first part. The recovery and initial dismantling of the crashed aircraft would have been accomplished by Werft personnel belonging to units within that Koflug (Kdo.Flugh.Ber.). The work would have been under the supervision of an engineering officer, but the men would have been aircraft mechanics assigned to the Fliegerhorst Werft-Kp.
Would any of the material have been sent on to the Beutepark 5 in Paris or would it have been forwarded on somewhere else? Or would the local workshop have dealt with it themselves?
After the initial dismantling, the components would have either been transported in whole of in part to Beutepark 5 or to one of its Zweigparks, of which there may have been one right there in St-Omer or nearby (Lille?, Brussels?, etc.). I think these were judgement calls made on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, however, the scrap was eventually transported back to Germany for smelting. Technical components (e.g., navigation and radio equipment) was usually warehoused and not smelted.

That's about the extent of my knowledge, Natalia. May I ask what this is all about? You seem to be really digging at this so it must be something important.

--Larry

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Xavier
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Post by Xavier » 15 Dec 2005 17:37

@ Natalia:
this one may be of interest to you, since the former owner was deployed in france early in the
war:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... RK:MEWA:IT
un saludo afectuoso

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Larry D.
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Post by Larry D. » 15 Dec 2005 19:21

Third photo from the top:

The units FpN is clearly shown on the salvaging truck's fender: L 37125. That's Fliegerhorstkommandantur E 4/XVII, originally from Wien-Schwechat. From summer 1940 to fall 1942 is was in charge of the airfield at Nantes - Chateau Bougon. That means its radius of crash site salvage and recover work would have been within 80 kilometers, give or take.

FWIW,

--Larry

Natalia
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photographs

Post by Natalia » 16 Dec 2005 16:20

Thanks Xavier and Larry,

These photographs are all really interesting. Unfortunately the planes I am interested in all went down near St Omer, which is about 350 miles from Nantes, so I guess it's unlikely that any of them are from this area.

All the best

Natalia

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Xavier
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sources

Post by Xavier » 27 Dec 2005 22:52

@Natalia:
maybe you know this page already, its full of primary LW sources.....:
http://www.airwar39-45.nl/luftwaffe1.htm#Top
I do not know if somethign there could help your research

Feliz año nuevo!
Xavier
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Fredobedo
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Re: German Luftwaffe Engineers

Post by Fredobedo » 11 May 2022 18:41

Hello,
i know that this post is very old, but i found a letter dated from March 3, 1941

On this letter there is a FPN : L 32110

On march 1941, this FPN was not assignated but but according to Axishistory FPN in 1940 he was assignated to Luftzeugstab 12

32110
(Mobilmachung-1.1.1940) Stab Luftwaffen-Bau-Bataillon Heiligenbeil
(2.1.1940-27.4.1940) gestrichen
(28.4.1940-19.9.1940) Luftzeugstab 12
(1.3.1942-7.9.1942) gestrichen
(8.9.1942-11.3.1943) Veterinar-Kompanie 1089

Is it possible that the FPN is still assigned to Luftzeugstab 12 ?

Which would mean that the Luftzeugstab 12 was indeed in the north of France at that time since the letter leaves from Creil.

Regards
Fred

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