Kampfgeschwader 26 'Löwen'

Geschwaderkommodoren:

  • GenMaj Hans Siburg, 1939 - Sep 1939
  • GenMaj Robert Fuchs, 29 Sep 1939 - 15 Oct 1940
  • GenLt Alexander Holle, 15 Oct 1940 - Jun 1941
  • Oberst Martin Harlinghausen, 6 Jan 1942 - Nov 1942
  • Oberst Karl Stockmann, Dec 1942 - Feb 1943
  • Obstlt Werner Klümper, Mar 1943 - Nov 1944
  • Obstlt Wilhelm Stemmler, Nov 1944 - Jan 1945
  • Obstlt Georg Teske, Feb 1945 - May 1945

Stab:

Formed 1 May 1939 in Lüneburg from In Jun 1941 redesignated A Stabs-Staffel existed May 1939 - Jun 1941.

Reformed Nov 1942 in Grosseto, Italy.

Airfields and Air Base Locations
Date Location Gruppe Aircraft Used
1 May 1939 - 24 Aug 1939 Lüneburg   He 111H
24 Aug 1939 - 27 Aug 1939 Werneuchen   He 111H
27 Aug 1939 - 7 Sep 1939 Gabbert/Pommern   He 111H
7 Sep 1939 - 12 Sep 1939 Neudorf/Oppeln   He 111H
12 Sep 1939 - Sep 1939 Lübeck-Blankensee   He 111H
Sep 1939 - 8 Apr 1940 Westerland   He 111H
8 Apr 1940 - 9 Apr 1940 Varel   He 111H
9 Apr 1940 - 17 Apr 1940 Aalborg-West   He 111H
17 Apr 1940 - 29 Apr 1940 Stavanger-Sola   He 111H
29 Apr 1940 - end Jul 1940 Trondheim-Vaernes   He 111H
Jul 1940 - Sep 1940 Stavanger-Sola   He 111H
Sep 1940 - end Feb 1941 Beauvais   He 111H
Feb 1941 - mid Mar 1941 Aalborg-West   He 111H
Mar 1941 - Jun 1941 Stavanger-Sola   He 111H
Nov 1942 - end May 1943 Grosseto   He 111H
May 1943 - Mar 1944 Salon de Province   He 111H
Mar 1944 - Jun 1944 Lübeck-Blankensee   Ju 88A
Jun 1944 - Aug 1944 Montpellier   Ju 88A
Aug 1944 Valence, Lyon   Ju 88A
Aug 1944 - 19 Sep 1944 München-Riem   Ju 88A
19 Sep 1944 - Oct 1944 Lübeck-Blankensee   Ju 88A
Oct 1944 - Nov 1944 Bardufoss   Ju 88A
Nov 1944 - 8 May 1945 Trondheim-Vaernes   Ju 88A

I. Gruppe:

Gruppenkommandeure:

  • Maj Walter Loebel, May 1939 - 12 Sep 1939
  • Obstlt Hans Alefeld, 13 Sep 1939 - 20 Apr 1940
  • Obstlt Hermann Busch, 20 Apr 1940 - Mar 1942
  • Hptm Bert Eicke (acting), Mar 1942 - Jul 1942
  • Maj Werner Klümper, Jul 1942 - Jan 1943
  • Hptm Herbert Vater, Jan 1943 - Jul 1943
  • Hptm Klaus Toball (acting), Jul 1943 - Aug 1943
  • Hptm Helmut von Rabenau, Aug 1943 - 11 Nov 1943
  • Hptm Jochen Muller, 12 Nov 1943 - Jul 1944
  • Maj Willi Sülter, Jul 1944 - Feb 1945

Formed 1 May 1939 at Lübeck-Blankensee from with:

Stab I./KG26 from Stab I./KG257
1./KG26 from 1./KG257
2./KG26 from 2./KG257
3./KG26 from 3./KG257

From Jan 1942 began converting to He 111H torpedo bombers, with one staffel converting at Grosseto at a time, beginning with 3./KG26. Converted to Ju 88A-4 LT torpedo bombers from Apr 1944. The aricraft and crews from was absorbed on 20 Jul 1944:

Stab I./KG26 from Stab I./KG77
1./KG26 from 1./KG77
2./KG26 from 2./KG77
3./KG26 from 3./KG77

Airfields and Air Base Locations
Date Location Gruppe Aircraft Used
1 May 1939 - 25 Sep 1939 Lübeck-Blankensee   He 111H
25 Sep 1939 - 8 Apr 1940 Schleswig*   He 111H
8 Apr 1940 - 9 Apr 1940 Varel   He 111H
9 Apr 1940 - 16 Apr 1940 Aalborg-West   He 111H
16 Apr 1940 - 29 Apr 1940 Stavanger-Sola   He 111H
29 Apr 1940 - end Jul 1940 Trondheim-Vaernes   He 111H
Jul 1940 - Sep 1940 Stavanger-Sola   He 111H
Sep 1940 - end Feb 1941 Beauvais   He 111H
Feb 1941 - Sep 1941 Aalborg-West**   He 111H
Sep 1941 - Oct 1941 Kemi   He 111H
Oct 1941 - Dec 1941 Petsamo   He 111H
Dec 1941 - Jan 1942 Bardufoss   He 111H
Jan 1942 - Mar 1942 Trondheim-Vaernes   He 111H
Mar 1942 - 8 Nov 1942 Bardufoss   He 111H
8 Nov 1942 - Jan 1943 Grosseto   He 111H
Jan 1943 - end May 1943 Decimomanu (Sardinia)   He 111H
May 1943 - Apr 1944 Salon de Province***   He 111H
Apr 1944 - Jul 1944 Grove (Karup)   He 111H, Ju 88A
Jul 1944 - Aug 1944 Salon de Province   Ju 88A
20 Aug 1944 - Sep 1944 Memmingen, via München-Riem   Ju 88A
Sep 1944 - Jan 1945 Bardufoss   Ju 88A
Jan 1945 - May 1945 Vandel (Vejle)   Ju 88A

* 1./KG26 was detached at Westerland

** 2. and 3./KG26 moved to Stavanger-Sola in Mar 1941. 2./KG26 moved to Banak in Aug 1941, followed by 3./KG26 in Oct 1941. The whole group was united again in Dec 1941 at Bardufoss.

*** Detachment at Piacenza, Jan 1944 - Feb 1944, to combat the allied landings at Anzio.

II. Gruppe:

Gruppenkommandeure:

  • Obstlt von Bushe, 1 May 1939 - Oct 1939
  • Obstlt Hans Hefele, Oct 1939 - 3 Apr 1940
  • Maj Martin Vetter, 6 Apr 1940 - 20 Aug 1940
  • Maj Eckhard Christian, 21 Aug 1940 - 31 Dec 1940
  • Maj Helmut Bertram, 1 Jan 1941 - 17 Jan 1941
  • Hptm Robert Kowalewski, 18 Jan 1941 - 14 May 1941
  • Maj W. Beyling, 15 May 1941 - 11 Feb 1943
  • Maj Georg Teske, 12 Feb 1943 - 10 Aug 1944
  • Maj Otto Werner, 11 Aug 1944 - 2 Dec 1944
  • Maj Rudolf Schmidt, 3 Dec 1944 - 8 May 1945

Formed 1 May 1939 in Lüneburg from with:

Stab II./KG26 from Stab II./KG257
4./KG26 from 4./KG257
5./KG26 from 5./KG257
6./KG26 from 6./KG257

Began the war with He 111H bombers. In Feb 1941 6./KG26 converted to He111H-4/6 (torp.) torpedo bombers. The rest of the Gruppe converted to torpedo bombers from Apr 1942 at Grosseto (one staffel at a time).

In May 1942 4./KG26 was renamed and was reformed 2 months later (Jul 1942) from 7./KG26. The Gruppe began converting to Ju 88A torpedo bombers from Jun 1943.

Airfields and Air Base Locations
Date Location Gruppe Aircraft Used
1 May 1939 - 24 Aug 1939 Lüneburg   He 111H
24 Aug 1939 - 27 Aug 1939 Werneuchen   He 111H
27 Aug 1939 - 7 Sep 1939 Gabbert/Pommern   He 111H
7 Sep 1939 - 12 Sep 1939 Nieder-Ellgut/Oppeln   He 111H
12 Sep 1939 - 25 Sep 1939 Lüneburg   He 111H
25 Sep 1939 - Oct 1939 Schwerin   He 111H
Oct 1939 - 21 Feb 1940 Westerland   He 111H
21 Feb 1940 - Mar 1940 Neumünster   He 111H
Mar 1940 - 8 Apr 1940 Westerland   He 111H
8 Apr 1940 - 9 Apr 1940 Marx   He 111H
9 Apr 1940 - 16 Apr 1940 Aalborg-West   He 111H
16 Apr 1940 - Apr 1940 Stavanger-Sola   He 111H
Apr 1940 - May 1940 Trondheim-Vaernes   He 111H
May 1940 - end Aug 1940 Aalborg-West   He 111H
Aug 1940 - 6 Jan 1941 Amiens   He 111H
6 Jan 1941 - Jan 1941 Catania   He 111H
Jan 1941 - May 1941 Comiso*   He 111H
May 1941 - Nov 1941 Eleusis**   He 111H
Nov 1941 - Mar 1942 Kalamaki**   He 111H
Mar 1942 - Dec 1942 Saki**   He 111H
Dec 1942 - Jan 1943 Grosseto   He 111H
Jan 1943 - May 1943 Villacidro (Sardinia)   He 111H
May 1943 - Jun 1943 Salon de Provence   He 111H
Jun 1943 - May 1944 Großenbrode***   Ju 88A
May 1944 - Aug 1944 Valence   Ju 88A
Aug 1944 - Sep 1944 Neubiberg, Großenbrode   Ju 88A
Sep 1944 - Nov 1944 Banak   Ju 88A
Nov 1944 - May 1945 Trondheim-Vaernes   Ju 88A

* 4. and 5./KG26 was based at Foggia 6 Apr 1941 - 20 Apr 1941

** 6./KG26 moved to Buzeau (Romania) Sep 1941, and to Saki Dec 1941. In Oct 1942 moved to Catania, and joined the rest of the Gruppe in Grosseto on 9 Nov 1942.

*** 4./KG26 detached at Focsani, Apr 1944 - May 1944 and then returned to Grossenbrode.

III. Gruppe:

Gruppenkommandeure:

  • Maj Viktor von Lossberg, 1 Nov 1939 - 31 May 1940
  • Maj Günther Wolfien, 1 Jun 1940 - Feb 1941
  • Maj Viktor von Lossberg, Feb 1941 - 30 Aug 1941
  • Maj K. Lersche, 1 Sep 1941 - Oct 1941
  • Maj S. Böhme, Oct 1941 - Feb 1942
  • Hptm Ernst Thomsen, Feb 1942 - 21 Jul 1942
  • Hptm Muller, 22 Jul 1942 - Sep 1942
  • Maj G. Hielscher, Sep 1942 - Nov 1942
  • Maj Horst Kayser, Nov 1942 - 19 Dec 1942
  • Hptm Klaus Nocken, 20 Dec 1942 - Feb 1944
  • Maj Ernst Thomsen, Feb 1944 - Oct 1944
  • Maj Wolf Harseim, Oct 1944 - 8 May 1945

Began forming 12 Sep 1939 in Jesau with He 111H bombers with:

Stab III./KG26 new
7./KG26 new (Nov 1939)
8./KG26 new (Jan 1940)
9./KG26 new (Dec 1939)

Formation was completed in Feb 1940, but the gruppe was immediately renamed with :

Stab III./KG26 became Stab/KGr.126
7./KG26 became 1./KGr.126
8./KG26 became 2./KGr.126
9./KG26 became 3./KGr.126

and was reformed from with:

Stab III./KG26 from Stab I./KG28
7./KG26 from 1./KG28
8./KG26 from 2./KG28
9./KG26 from 3./KG28

On 15 Dec 1941 while in Setschinskaja, was renamed with :

Stab III./KG26 became Stab II./KG100
7./KG26 became 4./KG100
8./KG26 became 5./KG100
9./KG26 became 6./KG100

and was reformed from the new with :

Stab III./KG26 from Stab I./KG28
7./KG26 from 1./KG28
8./KG26 from 2./KG28
9./KG26 from 3./KG28

On 8 Jun 1942 again renamed, now becoming with :

Stab III./KG26 became Stab I./KG1
7./KG26 became 4./KG26
8./KG26 became 1./KG1
9./KG26 became 2./KG1

and was reformed from now with Ju88A-4 bombers:

Stab III./KG26 from Stab/Kü.Fl.Gr. 506
7./KG26 from 1./Kü.Fl.Gr. 506
8./KG26 from 2./Kü.Fl.Gr. 506
9./KG26 from 3./Kü.Fl.Gr. 506

8./KG26 was disbanded Jul 1943, and was reformed 13 Jul 1943 from

In Apr 1944 converted to Ju 88A-17, and in Aug 1944 - Nov 1944 to Ju 188A-3.

Airfields and Air Base Locations
Date Location Gruppe Aircraft Used
12 Sep 1939 - Jan 1940 Jesau   He 111H
Jan 1940 - Feb 1940 Gotha   He 111H
Feb 1940 - 8 Apr 1940 Schwerin   He 111H
8 Apr 1940 - 9 Apr 1940 Westerland   He 111H
9 Apr 1940 - 16 Apr 1940 Aalborg-West   He 111H
16 Apr 1940 - Apr 1940 Stavanger-Sola   He 111H
Apr 1940 - Jul 1940 Trondheim-Vaernes   He 111H
Jul 1940 - Sep 1940 Stavanger-Sola   He 111H
Sep 1940 - 16 Feb 1941 Poix-Nord   He 111H
16 Feb 1941 - 3 Mar 1941 Achiet   He 111H
3 Mar 1941 - 20 Jul 1941 Le Bourget   He 111H
20 Jul 1941 - Sep 1941 Brest-Litovsk   He 111H
Sep 1941 - Oct 1941 Bobruisk   He 111H
Oct 1941 - Feb 1942 Setschinskaja, Baranovicze   He 111H
Feb 1942 - Apr 1942 Grosseto   He 111H
Apr 1942 - Jun 1942 Rennes   He 111H
Jun 1942 - 8 Nov 1942 Banak   Ju 88A
8 Nov 1942 - end May 1943 Grosseto   Ju 88A
May 1943 - 6 Jul 1944 Montpellier*   Ju 88A
6 Jul 1944 - Aug 1944 Garsons**   Ju 88A
Aug 1944 Valence, Lyon**   Ju 88A
Aug 1944 - Oct 1944 Kaufbeären, Leck**   Ju 88A, Ju 188
Oct 1944 - May 1945 Trondheim-Vaernes   Ju 88A, Ju 188

* Detachment at Piacenza, Jan 1944 - Feb 1944, to combat the allied landings at Anzio.

** 7./KG26 at Grossenbrode, Jul 1944 - Sep 1944

IV. Gruppe:

Gruppenkommandeure:

  • Maj Franz Ziemann, 22 Mar 1941 - 6 Oct 1941
  • Maj Fritz Gehring, 7 Oct 1941 - Feb 1944
  • Maj Klaus Nocken, 18 Feb 1944 - 6 Sep 1944

Erg.Staffel/KG26 was formed Aug 1940 in Lübeck-Blankensee, and was increased to Gruppe strength 22 Mar 1941 with:

Stab IV./KG26 new
10./KG26 from Erg.Sta./KG26
11./KG26 new
12./KG26 new

12./KG26 was disbanded May 1942, and was reformed 4 Jun 1942 in Westerland from

On 7 Sep 1944 renamed :

Stab IV./KG26 became Stab/Erg.KGr. LT
10./KG26 was disbanded
11./KG26 became 2./Erg.KGr. LT
12./KG26 became 3./Erg.KGr. LT

Airfields and Air Base Locations
Date Location Gruppe Aircraft Used
Aug 1940 - 6 Sep 1944 Lübeck-Blankensee*   He 111H, Ju 88A

* 12./KG26 at Westerland, 4 Jun 1942 - 16 Jun 1942

  • Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen,
  • Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen,
  • Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen,
  • Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen,
  • Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen,

War Time Service

Poland

During the Polish Campaign Stab./KG 26 operated from Gabbert under 1. Fliegerdivision (1st. Air Division), Luftflotte 1 (Air Fleet 1). On 7 September the unit was placed under the command of 2. Fliegerdivision, Luftflotte 4. Stab./KG 26 was ordered to Lübeck-Blankensee in North West Germany on 12 September to begin operations in the North Sea. II. Gruppe had 35 Heinkel He 111s with 31 serviceable on 1 September 1939. Based at Gabbert-Pomerania under 1. Fliegerdivision, Luftflotte 1.It attacked targets around Poznan throughout the campaign, attacking railway targets and Polish Army troop concentrations in the path of the German Fourth Army's advance between 2-4 September. Operations shifted to airfields on 4-5 September in the Lódz and Warsaw area. On 7 September the units assaulted rail targets in the Lvov area in support of the German Fourteenth Army. I./KG 26 was withdrawn from operations over Poland on 12 September.

North Sea operations

Stab./KG 26 began operations from the Lübeck base under the command of 10. Fliegerdivision on 12 September. On 28 September 1939 the first Luftwaffe aircraft lost over the United Kingdom during the war. I./KG 26 had played no part in the Polish Campaign. It had been ordered to Lübeck with 36 He 111s, 32 serviceable, under the command of 4. Fliegerdivision Luftflotte 2 for anti-shipping operations. On 1 September the unit conducted a reconnaissance over the Thames Estuary. 1.Staffel attacked the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal on 26 September. 3. Staffel conducted anti-shipping missions against Britain's east coast with some success. 3. Staffel sank five small vessels near the Firth of Forth on 7 December 1939. On 16 March 1940 3.Staffel attacked Scapa Flow and hit HMS Norfolk and one other ship, though the latter was not significantly damaged.

Denmark and Norway

The unit did participate in Operation Weserübung. Stab./KG 26 was placed under X Fliegerkorps. During the rapid 6 hour German invasion of Denmark (1940) the unit moved to Aalborg Airport, Denmark on 12 April 1940. It relocated during the Norwegian Campaign to Stavanger, then Trondheim as the Wehrmacht progressed northward. I./KG 26 was based at Marx, near Wilhelmshaven and made cross-water attacks against Norwegian Navy coastal batteries at Kristiansand and near Oslofjord. On 10 April the unit made an attack on Scapa Flow to disrupt potential British Naval reinforcements to Scandinavia. Afterwards I. Gruppe concentrated on direct ground assault on Allied Armies in Narvik-Harstad. On 17 April, near Stavanger, HMS Suffolk was attacked. On 15 May I./KG 26 sank an unidentified transport vessel in Harstad Harbour. On 7 June 1940 made its last attack on Narvik harbour, which was aborted. II./KG 26 carried out anti-shipping operations between Britain and Norway, January'August 1940. During the campaign in Norway the Gruppe made several attacks on Allied Destroyers, Cruisers and transports without success. On 18 April 1940 HMS Warspite was damaged slightly by II./KG 26. The unit undertook tactical strikes against Norwegian Army positions in the south of the country until 1 May 1940. After a ten day rest, began strikes against British Naval forces. On 9 June it sank two transports and attacked HMS Ark Royal, west of Bodö. The Gruppe lost only four or five aircraft in Norwegian operations. Owing to operations over Norway, the unit did not participate in the early Battle of Britain operations (June'August 1940). III. Gruppe began operations over Norway on 9 April and remained until the end of the campaign. It operated 33 He 111s, 26 serviceable machines in ground and maritime operations. Incomplete loss records show that KG 26 lost at least 40 aircraft (70% or greater damage) from April 09 to June 09, 1940.

Battle of Britain

Stab./KG 26 began operations with six He 111s, all operational. I./KG had 30 and 29. II./KG 26 began operations on 1 September 1940 with 27 He 111s and only seven operational. III./KG 26 had 26 He 111s, all operational early in the Battle. It participated in all operations until the Spring, 1941. It suffered heavy losses on 15 August 1940, when the Gruppe was intercepted out to sea when attempting to raid Dishforth losing seven aircraft. In December 1940 it made use of the SC 2500 bomb on raids against London.

On 28 October 1939, a Heinkel He 111H bomber from KG26, aircraft code 1H JA, officially became the first German aircraft to be shot down on British soil during World War II, Spitfire fighters from RAF 602 Squadron intercepted the Heinkel bomber, it was later nicknamed "the Humbie Heinkel" which crash landed near the small village of Humbie in East Lothian, Scotland.

Anti-shipping operations

KG 26 participated in the Battle of the Mediterranean, Battle of the Atlantic and operations on the Eastern Front, against the Arctic Convoys and the Soviet Navy over the Black Sea. I./KG 26 operated off the United Kingdom's east coast from bases near Aalborg in Denmark. On 27 April it sank the catapult ship Patia off the River Tyne mouth. By 15 June 1941 the Gruppe claimed one Cruiser, one Destroyer, 21 smaller ships and 436,186 BRT of merchant shipping. After Operation Barbarossa the unit was engaged in operations over ground along the Murmansk railway, the port of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, and Barents Sea. 3. Staffel and 2. Staffel withdrew to Italy to train in torpedo attack methods in February 1942. In March-July 1942 the units intercepted Convoy PQ 11, PQ 15, PQ 16, PQ 17 and PQ 18. Against PQ 11 and 15 two ships were claimed sunk and one damaged. Against PQ 16 it claimed one sunk and two damaged. Intercepting PQ 17 two ships were claimed sunk and one damaged. Attacking PQ 18, the group carried out a massed torpedo attack known as the Golden Comb, developed as an anti-convoy measure. Several ships were claimed sunk, but for the loss of 12 He 111s and seven crews.[11] The unit had to be rebuilt owing to losses and was placed under the command of Luftflotte 5 on 20 September 1942.

II./KG 26 relocated to Sicily in January 1941 as part of Fliegerkorps X. After arriving, it lost six He 111s to an enemy air raid on 8 January 1941. On the night of 17/18 January 1941 12 He 111s were sent to bomb the Suez Canal. The range proved too great and I. Gruppe lost seven machines to fuel starvation. In the following weeks unsuccessful attacks were made on British warships in the Mediterranean. On 24 January it sank the freighter Sollum and minesweeper Huntley. The unit also took part in missions over Malta, losing its first aircraft on 8 February 1941. During the Balkans Campaign the unit moved to Foggia in northern Italy and conducted raids against Yugoslavia as part of VIII. Fliegerkorps.[12] 6. Staffel, I.Gruppe, KG 26 (6.III./KG 26) was rebased at Saki, in the Crimea and began operations over the Black Sea against the Soviet Navy. The unit claimed 20,000 BRT sunk in October-December 1941.

III./KG 26 suffered a number of redesignations and was reformed four times. The first formation was ended on 20 February 1940, after being formed for the first time on 1 November 1939. I./KG 26 was renamed K.Gr. 26 on 20 February 1940. I./KG 26 was reformed on 20 February was a fresh formation for the second time. On 15 December 1941, the unit was renamed II./KG 100. That same day the third formation of III./KG 26 was made, with fresh personnel. In June 1942 the units was once again renamed, and its fourth formation was to continue until the disbanding of Kampfgeschwader 26 at the end of the war. III./KG 26 largely undertook Army support missions units 1942 when it operated various staffel as anti-shipping units in France and Norway.

I./KG 26 left German occupied Norway in November 1942. The Gruppe was ordered to Grosseto to counter Operation Torch, the American landings in Morocco and Algeria on 8 November 1942. I./KG 26 attacked Allied shipping and lost 11 He 111s in November. On 22 December 1942, Ju-88s from III Gruppe', KG 26 torpedoed and damaged the British troopship Cameronia. Strikes were made all alnong the African coast. Allied air attacks cost the unit four aircraft on 8 February 1943 when the units base at Cagliari-Elmas, Sardinia was bo mbed. In July 1943 the unit also contested Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily. On 12 August the unit struck at Allied shipping in the western Mediterranean losing 10 machines for little result. On 8 September I./KG 26 attacked the Allied beaches at Salerno without success. In late August early September the unit moved to southern France at Salon-en-Provence. On 26 November 1943 the unit flew its last mission off North Africa. Until July 1944 I./KG 26 continued to fly anit-shipping missions off Anzio and western Italy. In July it relocated to Denmark to rearm with Junkers Ju 88A-4 aircraft. It formed a Einsatzstaffel which was ordered to pick up torpedoes from Flensburg for operations in the Crimea. However while en route, the unit ran into United States Army Air Force P-51 Mustangs and lost nine aircraft. I./KG 26 did convert onto the Ju 88, but owing to fuel shortages the unit was merged into I. and III./Kampfgeschwader 77 in early June.

II./KG 26 operated in the Crimea and Mediterranean over the same period. In April - September 1942 it undertook missions over the Kerch area. Among the ships attacked and sunk, the most notable success was a Soviet Submarine chaser, sunk on 6 July. An number of attacks were reported against Soviet Destroyers and Cruisers in August. The unit at this time was fragmented. 6 staffel (or 6.II./KG 26) operated under II. Fliegerkorps, Luftflotte 2 in the Crimea, while 5 staffel (5.II./KG 26) fought under Luftflotte 5. In August 1942 6.III./KG 26 moved to Grosseto, Sicily. On 10 August 1942 it sank two freighters from the convoy Pedestal. 6 staffel continued operations off North Africa until May 1944. Other units, such as 4 staffel remained based in the Crimea and attacked Soviet shipping during the German evacuation of the Crimea. Both 4 and 6 staffel relocated to Germany to retrain on the FuG 200 anti-shipping radar in April 1944. In June 1944 4, 5 and 6.III./KG 26 were located to France. These units were constanlty moved, participating in attacks against the Allied landings in Southern France under Operation Anvil. III./KG 26 also attacked Allied Shipping in the English Channel and off the Isle of Wight at night after the Allied Normandy Landings. In August 1944 III./KG 26 retreated into Bavaria, Germany after the defeat in France.

III./KG 26 operated in the Mediterranean, France and Norway during July 1942 - August 1944. Its most notable action was attacking Convoy PQ 18 in September 1942, whilst operating from Banak, Norway. III. Gruppe lost 8 He 111s on that mission. Missions continued against the Torch, Anzio and Normandy landings. By June 1944 III./KG 26 had suffered 50% losses and reduced missions to 3 or 4 per week of a few aircraft. In August 1944 it was withdrawn to Germany to rearm with the Ju 88A-3 in September - October 1944. In December the unit was relocated to Gardermoen, Norway.

I./KG 26 was sent to Norway again after refitting in Denmark. It attacked several Allied convoys without result. On 10 January 1945 it was ordered to disband. Some pilots were sent to fighter units to retrain for Defense of the Reich duties. Other personnel were molded into Field Divisions in Denmark in February - March 1945. II./KG 26 relocated to Banak, Norway on 25 October 1944. It undertook anti-shipping missions against convoy JW/RA 64 south of Bear Island on 7-10 February 1945. It claimed 8 hits. The next day it claimed hits on 11 freighters, two Cruisers and two destroyers. The British however stated that no hits were made. On 20 February 1945 it flew its last combat mission. In May 1945 it began to rescue encircled German soldiers from the Courland pocket as the Red Army closed in. The Gruppe's last operation, on 9 May 1945, was approved by the Western Allies.

III./KG 26 also assisted in these operations. The two Gruppen surrender to Allied forces at Gardermoen and Trondhiem, Norway on 9 May 1945.

Bibliography

  • Steenbeck, Alexander (2012): Die Spur des Löwen. Der Weg des Löwengeschwaders durch Europa. Lübeck ISBN 978-3-00-038734-0.
  • Bergstrom, Christer (2007). Barbarossa - The Air Battle: July - December 1941. London: Chervron/Ian Allan. ISBN 978-1-85780-270-2.
  • Bergström, Christer, (2007), Stalingrad - The Air Battle: 1942 through January 1943, Chevron Publishing Limited ISBN 978-1-85780-276-4
  • Bergström, Christer (2007). Kursk - The Air Battle: July 1943. Chervron/Ian Allan. ISBN 978-1-903223-88-8.
  • Bergstrom, Christer. (2008). Bagration to Berlin - The Final Air Battles in the East: 1944 - 1945, Ian Allan. ISBN 978-1-903223-91-8
  • de Zeng, H.L; Stanket, D.G; Creek, E.J. Bomber Units of the Luftwaffe 1933-1945; A Reference Source, Volume 1. Ian Allan Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978-1-85780-279-5
  • Larson, Knut Nordic Aviation during WW2, Part 7, Bombers KG26.

 

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