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Thread: Flak Division Positions

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    Default Flak Division Positions

    Does anyone know if there is a way of establishing where Flak Divisions were positioned on a particular night.

    We know that Lancaster ME334 was hit by flak from 7 Flak-Division over Bonn on 4th February 1945 and we know the route that the aircraft was using (based on Loss Card information).

    What we would like to do is establish the rough co-ordinates of where ME334 was hit by the flak, thereby enabling us to establish the most likely point that it started to deviate from route to reach its crash position.

    Any thoughts or help would be much appreciated

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Hi Pete,

    'outside my area of expertise, but the following has general information on 7. Flak-Division:

    http://www.ww2.dk/ground/flak/7fladiv.htm

    Note the following regiment: "Stab/Flak-Regiment 144 (Flakgruppe Brühl)" - ME334 crashed 2 km south of Bonn-Brühl (Planquatrat OP 1-3) at "2200" according to Luftwaffe signals (the time is suspect since 8 Group finished bombing the target at 2101 hrs, and the British and German time zones were aligned during this period of the war)

    The Bundesarchiv in Germany does hold maps of the locations of Flak positions, but I don't know the date range that is covered by the maps, or reference number in which the collect is held.

    You would have to know extactly which battery claimed the Lancaster as shot down; I'm not sure if any/many 1945 Flak Abschussmeldungen still exist, so I have no idea how you would establish where the Lancaster was first hit. It is important to bear in mind that an estimated 95% of Luftwaffe records were destroyed before the surrender in 1945, so finding detailed information on any one event can be akin to winning Lotto! In any event, even if you know the exact position of the battery that fired the shots, this would only lead to a "kill radius" in which the Lancaster would have to have travelled through in order to be hit (and this could be a few thousand metres in diameter).

    While knowing the planned route for the night is handy, IMHO it is next to useless for trying to pinpoint "the most likely point that it started to deviate from route", as there is no guarrantee that the Lancaster was even on track exactly over the theoretical planned route at any time in its flight. As it is, the Lancaster crashed within around 2.5 to 3 km of the aiming point anyway, so I'm not sure how you'd establish what your after to the nth degree of accuracy.

    'sorry to be a 'damp squid', but in knowing the type and scope of surviving documentary information and seeing that the Lancaster crashed reasonably close to the aiming point (bearing in mind that a lateral distance of 3000 metres isn't that big when looking at a trajectory to the ground from a height of 5000-6000 metres), I'm not sure if the type of info you're after exists.

    Cheers

    Rod
    Last edited by RodM; 8th June 2012 at 23:14.

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    Dear Pete
    I'm afraid that I agree with everything that Rod has said..... however having won the 'flak lottery' myself by sourcing the correct document in the Bundesarchiv at Frieburg, it is possible that a record may exist..... though many were purposefully or accidentally destroyed in the latter stages of the war. A search at Frieburg may be expensive though (I can give you a good contact) and may not necessarily find anything. I was dealing with a small number raid in 1941 which only lost a small handful of aircraft. I can imagine that a 1945 raid would have many more casualties and it may not be possible to identify each one. Having said that there may be a local history group that may research this. They appear all over the occupied countries, and there may be a chance that someone may exist in your area of Germany. Sorry not to be of more help, but I fear that Rod is correct in his assumptions.
    Happy hunting
    James

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    Rod / James

    Thanks for your interest and your detailed responses.

    I had a feeling that it would be difficult to establish this information, but it is one of those loose ends that keeps nagging at me to tidy up!

    I have had great help and support from Uwe Benkel and Christian Koenig (in Bonn) who have provided eye-witness recollections of the events of 4th February 1945 and we have established the probable crash site (and the likely events leading up to the crash) ... so perhaps that is about as far as we will be able to go.

    I think it was you Rod that first supplied me with the intercept of that night ... do you know where in the UK it was recorded?

    Thanks again for your help; much appreciated

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Default Records Retention

    Hello Rod, Pete and James

    Rod is correct that Germans destroyed records too.

    However, I am informed officially that only 5% of the British records created during WW 2 are retained in the PRO TNA, Kew. So don't be put off, regarding the estimated 95% German destruction rate. But I can't read German!!

    Regards Mark

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    Hi Pete,

    The information was contained in ULTRA intercepts, which can be found in the HW 5 series at TNA, Kew. I found two messages relating to crashed Allied aircraft on the night of 4-5 Feb 45 (NOTE - when compiling these transcripts, the British converted the times in the original intercepts to GMT and used the latter in the published decrypts, so technically, with the times shown, you need to add an hour to the published time to get back to German time, which was the same as British time during this period of the war. Sometimes, however, the times appear unconverted due to clerical error, but there's no real way of establishing if this so in any particular case, except when the times are so obviously wrong):

    HW 5/661, message CX/MSS/R.458/C/27 (2)

    "Two communications from GELIP ((Luftgau)) XI Ic, to Enemy Equipment Investigation Centre Haupting VERRES GAF Station WUNSDORF, dated 8/2:- ((2)) Subject: Crash office £Absturzstelle£ on 4/2. 1) 1848 hrs, 1.5 km N.W. of RONNENBERG, 9.3 km S.W. of HANNOVER, GU 73. Mosquito. 100% damage. Markings MM 49. 2 dead, buried in VAHRENWALD."

    This was 128 Sqn Mosquito MM199. The time would be 1948 hrs German time.

    HW 5/663, CX/MSS/R.462/C/4

    "Signed POFOP ((IA)) dated 6/2:- Four-engined enemy a/c of unknown type shot down on 2100/4/2, 2 km S. of BONN-BEUEL (1 km E. of BONN), OP 1-3. Shot down by Flak, burst into flames, 99% damage. 7 dead. Preliminary report of an enemy a/c shot down near GEISLAR (3 km N.E. of BONN) about 2100 hrs 4/2. Further report follows."

    The first is ME334 and the time technically should read 2200 German time when converted from GMT, but 2100 is more likely (bombing of Bonn lasted from 2044-2101 hrs, with a single aircraft bombing at 2142 hrs, according to RAF BC docs, or 2046-2055 hrs, according to a Luftwaffe OKL air situation report) . The second is a mystery as no other aircraft were lost on this raid over German territory.

    It may be worthwhile seeing if a raid report survives in the Bonn Stadtarchiv, as these sometime mention crashed enemy aircraft in the city area.

    James is correct that a Flak document may exist, but to the best of my knowledge there is no published index of the Flak Abschussmeldungen at BA/MA in Germany, nor has there been any book listing the Flak claims. As a side note, the OKL Air Situation Report does note "Flakerfolge Lg. VI: 1 s, 1 w." This translates to: Flak successes, Luftgau-kommando VI (which included 7. Flak-Division) - 1 certain claim, and 1 probable claim.

    Lastly, it would also be worthwhile contacting the Air Historical Branch to get information on the crash site of ME334, and to see if the MRES Investigation file contains any original German crash report (the captured Luftwaffe crash reports were placed on these files) and/or witness accounts.

    Cheers

    Rod

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    I'm told by several folks who should know that the BA/MA microfilms which Tony Woods used to compile his list of air-to-air claims also contain flak claims. Have not tested that theory though.

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    Thanks again for all your feedback; much appreciated

    Rod

    The family of the navigator contacted the AHB in 1995 and they have provided me with a copy of the AHB reply; sadly it contains very little information, other than the Loss Card and some information about the original grave site at Bonn-Beuel cemetery (prior to reinterment). Do you think AHB might have additional information now (ie 17 years on)?

    I am pretty sure that Christian Koenig has been diligant with his research so I don't think there are any formal documents held in the Bonn area.

    Do you have copies of the documents which your refer to, ie "according to RAF BC docs, or 2046-2055 hrs, according to a Luftwaffe OKL air situation report" which we could incorporate into our research

    Mhuxt

    Could you provide a bit more detail to your response as I am a novice at this, so I don't know who Tony Woods is or what the BA/MA Microfilms are.... sorry for being ignorant.

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Hi,

    The BA / MA is the Bundesarchiv / Militaerarchiv in Germany, Freiburg I think. Tony Woods is a kind fellow who transcribed from microfilm the air-to-air claims of the Luftwaffe (some units are better represented than others) and put them on his website here:

    http://don-caldwell.we.bs/claims/tonywood.htm

    The into to one of the files of transcribed data reads:

    These Luftwaffe Fighter Claims are extracted from BA-MA 35-mm. micro-films, and are supplemented by Claims from other published List and MSS, to provide what is a daily log of some of the air battles of the Second World War of 1939-45. The List in the Films were, in ninety-nine per cent of cases, hand-written by members of the Personnel Department under the Chief of Training and Discipline within the realms of the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe.

    Some of the Films are of poor quality, being under-exposed and difficult the read. So, with these factors in mind, the Editor craves forbearance, and asks for assistance and support in the building of this task. The "working" List are not definitive, are open to constant debate, amendment and correction, and are the responsibility of the Editor for the edification of students, air-historians and friends. Some notes:

    1. The BA-MA films cover Claims of crews of Day-Fighters, Night-Fighters, miscellaneous units, and Flak Batteries on all Fronts from September 1939 to the end of December 1944. The Films roughly form three parts: 1. Handwritten Daily Logs [severely limited and often duplicated until about the beginning of 1943]. 2. Typed List of the 'Ubersicht über bisher anerkannte Abschuße' or, roughly, 'List of confirmed kills known hitherto'. These omit the important crash-locations, and usually cover claims to about mid-1942 only. And, 3., hand-written Daily Logs of Claims which cover, solely, the unit, the date and time, and the RLM Confirmation Number.

    Gebhard Aders, a German researcher, once told me he reckoned there were about 12,000 flak claims in the lists.

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    Dear Pete
    I'm afraid I am a bit like Mark and cannot read German, however you may be able to recognise enough words of interest on the following link that I was sent by Elfriede Frischmuth at the Bundesarchiv
    http://startext.net-build.de:8080/barch/MidosaSEARCH/RL11-34226/index.htm
    If you click on the three icons on the left hand side and then on subsequent ones you will find that there is a huge amount there. I suppose one you have identified the correct one it would then be time to pay for a researcher to dig up the file for you.
    Hope this helps
    James

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