Questions on German balloons

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daveh
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Questions on German balloons

Post by daveh » 02 Aug 2003 12:09

Does any one have information about the organisation and use of balloons by the Germans in WW2.

1) as barrage balloons. Presumably part of the Luftwaffe.
2) as observation posts. Presumably part of the artillery.
3) another further use of "Zeppelins" as in the pre war eelectronic surveys by the Graf Zeppelin
4) any other uses eg the equivalent of the Allied anti submarine airships.

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Erik E
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Post by Erik E » 02 Aug 2003 13:41

barrage balloons were often used on ships when they were in the harbour....I guess these ballons belonged to the boat, and then they would be operated by Kriegsmarine personell...

Erik

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 02 Aug 2003 13:57

Two photos from my site that might be of interest:

Image

Image

/Marcus

CHRISCHA
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Post by CHRISCHA » 04 Aug 2003 16:00

(Observatin) balloons, manufactured by Riedinger of Ausburg, used a design that resembled the British barrage balloons. The balloons, known as Fesselballoon were 34m long, 9.87m in diameter, and were filled with 1,400cu m of hydrogen (Wasserstoffgas).
Suspended below this gas filled bag was a small two man basket into which three observers (Balloonbeobachter) could be accomodated at a squeeze. The normal operating height was 3-500m, with a maximum operational altitude of around 2,000m. Observers either made visual observation or used plate cameras to produce photographic panoramas for artillery planners.
The balloons were operated by ballonbatterie each with two balloons, attached to artillery observation battalions (Beobachtungsabteilung). Some of the batteries were motorised and could manage a road speed of up to 45km/h. They could have a complement of up to six trucks each carrying 28 hydrogen cylinders and others carrying 11 tonne winches and 7mm cable to control the balloons in flight. The observers were easy targets for aircraft and ground fire and required special ground support as well as that of the Luftwaffe. Protection for the vunerable balloons was provided by four 20mm flak cannon attached to each battery. During the early war years when the Luftwaffe had air superiorority, especially in the East, this technique of spotting proved to be very effective but no less dangerous.
At least two independent balloon batteries, 101 and 102 existed.Balloon batteries were used near Sedan in 1940 and thereafter werein action on the Eastern front. One such example was on the Narva front where war correspondent Reinsberg of the 23rd Waffen SS Division 'Nederlands' photographed the observer with his captive balloon in action. The OKH had realized the hazardous nature of their deployment and by the end of 1944 they had been withdrawn from use.

Taken from 'A Collectors guide to Worls War 2 German Medals' by Christopher Ailsby.

I can give you info' on the award introduced on 8/7/44 from the same book if you wish.

(I've got back ache from typing that now! :) ).

daveh
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Post by daveh » 04 Aug 2003 18:38

Many thanks CHRISCHA this is exactly the sort of information I wanted :D. Interesting source too.

More please :)

CHRISCHA
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Post by CHRISCHA » 04 Aug 2003 21:49

It is an unusual source, but I suppose this is more credit to the author.
Anyway, here is the remainder of the section re. air balloons, and in this case more specificly around the Army Observers Badge.
I hope you find it as intresting.
The badge was introduced on 8/7/44 by the OKH to recognise the bravery and proficiency of the balloon observers . The badge was produced by a firm in Dresden and consisted of a wreath of oak leaves with two acorns at its base, surmounted by a closed winged army eagle. This eagle looked to the viewer's right and the beak is joined to the wing, giving a bearded effect to the eagle ...
...The centre is a balloon which as previously described, looks like a barrage balloon, on which is a Balkan cross.
... The quality of the badge cannot be justifiably recognised by photographs in reference books.
The award of the badge was based on the recommendation of any one of the following officers, the officer in command of the troop, commander of the artillery unit or commander of a balloon observer unit.
The criteria of the award was on a points basis:
. Bronze Class 20 points
. Silver Class 45 points
. Gold Class 75 points

The actual accumulation of points is a little obscure.. However points were awarded for the degree of difficulty. Having to parachute from the balloon during the course of the mission earned the observer 10 points. The award of the bronze and silver badge is confirmed but the gold award seems not to have been given. The recipient of a gold award must have been either slightly insane or have had a death wish! This is one of the most difficult badges to obtain.
Again taken from 'A collectors Guide To: World War 2 German Medals and Political Awards' by Christopher Ailsby.

CHRISCHA
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Post by CHRISCHA » 06 Aug 2003 22:39

For those intrested, there is a fantastic essay on Marcus's Third reich Factbook by william C Stump (member WCStump) regarding this badge.

dimples82
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Re: Questions on German balloons

Post by dimples82 » 20 Nov 2021 15:44

I am currently trying to find out about Luftwaffe Barrage Balloons, I know they were in use at St. Nazaire, La Pallice and Hamburg operationally, However I can find few details regarding, Luftwaffe command structure, units & deployments can anyone please point me in the right direction so I can find out detailed information about this WW2 Luftwaffe branch.
Best Regards,

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