Intended FJ role in Sealion

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Richard Anderson
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Jul 2022 16:28

Knouterer wrote:
19 Jul 2022 09:14
On the other hand, I'm beginning to think that there may have been more Ju 52s in the school system than I assumed before. There were at one point fourteen FFS/C schools (for multi-engine flying training), some of which had 25-30 Ju 52s (plus Ju 86, He 111, Do 17).
Fifteen actually. FFC 15. was formed 1.1.40 in Lüben as FFS C Lüben. Yes, they had a mixed bag of aircraft types, with Ju 52 perhaps predominating. We also know how many aircraft they shared, based upon the increase of th Transportgruppen in April 1940. Roughly 360 operational aircraft and crews (implying around 40 aircraft were left at the FFS non-operational). Enough to bring the school-based Gruppen up to operational strength. We also know they shared in the casualties suffered too. We also can assume that the FFC system was shut down for a period from the end of March to the end of June and produced zero replacement crews for the Kampfgruppen, which was flying in the BoB.

Ju 52 [Corrected, that should read "transport" availability, since the Luftwaffe counted all transport types, including Ju 52, Do 24, Do 26, BV 138, and others.] Transport availability as of 5 May was 530, of which 228 were lost by 1 September. A total of 390 were built during the year. Assuming an average of 32.5 per month, then we can guess that the 5 May total includes at least some of the 130 built in the first four months of the year. That leaves 4 months to the end of August to build and issue 130 as replacements for the 228 lost, so 98 short as of the beginning of September. This is congruent also with the report of 500 transports available as of circa 1 April 1940. All in all it seems unlikely that there was more than about 430 transports available circa 1 September.

Of course that leaves the question of the gliders still open, since they were in even shorter supply. Another record indicates that there were 475 transports and 45 gliders as of 10 May 1940 and that most of the gliders were irreparably damaged in the assault in the west. By the next year for Merkur there were only 530 transports and 100 gliders as of 20 May 1941 (Crete). On the other hand it is possible that LLG 1 had as many as 135 tug/glider combinations on hand (see below).

The following are the operational strength of the KG z.b.V. that were operational on 17 August 1940 (referenced from Price's Luftwaffe Data Book and also found in various other references including Williamson Murray, as well as online sites such as Jason Long's Sturmvogel). The actual total operational in operational units (as opposed to training units) was 226. The total number on hand was 340. They were (on hand/operational):

Stab/KG zbV 1 - 3/3
I/KG zbV 1 - 47/42
II/KG zbV 1 - 43/13
III/KG zbV 1 - 53/32
IV/KG zbV 1 - 39/25
KGr zbV 9 - 30/20
KG zbV 106 - 53/29
KG zbV 108 - 27/18
I/KG zbV 172 - 45/34

The others were scattered amongst the numerous Fliegerschule (especially the FFC, Große Kampffliegerschule 1.-5., and Blindflugschule 1.-5., see Michael Holms excellent site ww2.dk), which had already been raided for the Norwegian and French campaigns. A few were also assigned to various Stabsstaffeln of other operational Geschwadern and Gruppen and to liaison-transport duties in Luftwaffe higher headquarters. This would tend to indicate that LLG 1 at this time probably had about 90 Ju 52/DFS-230 and received the lion’s share of the aircraft in September as well. But that doesn’t solve the problem of the low serviceability rates.

To those may be added the small numbers of specialty aircraft that were available such as the JU-90 and Fw 200, which were normally assigned to reconnaissance duties and some of the aircraft assigned to the KM for maritime recon and transport duties. But these are small numbers of very specialized aircraft and most were still tied up in operations in Norway.

KG z.b.V. 1 accounted for
KG z.b.V. 2 existed only as a Stab
KG z.b.V. 3 was formed in 1941
KGr z.b.V. 1 and 2 were used to form KG z.b.V. 1
KGr z.b.V. 4.-6. were all disbanded in 1938 (except 17./KGr z.B.V. 5, which was the specialty air assault unit)
KGr z.b.V. 7. and 8. were formed in 1942
KGr z.b.V. 9 accounted for
KGr z.b.V. 10 was used to form KG z.b.V. 1
KGr z.b.V. 11 was disbanded in June 1940 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 12 was disbanded in June 1940 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 20-22 were formed in 1942
KGr z.b.V. 23-25 were formed in 1943
KGr z.b.V. 40 was formed in 1941
KGr z.b.V. 50 was formed in 1942
KGr z.b.V. 60 was formed in 1941
KGr z.b.V. 101 and 102 were disbanded, except for the Stab, in June 1940 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 103 was disbanded in June 1940 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 104 was disbanded, except for the Stab and Stabsstaffel in June 1940 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 105 was disbanded, except for the Stab, in June 1940 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 106 accounted for (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 107 was disbanded with half it's assets going to 108 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 108 accounted for (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 200 formed in 1943
KGr z.b.V. 211 was never formed
KGr z.b.V. 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, and 999 were formed in 1941

Not included are the Luftlandegeschwadern, which were organized mostly with various aircraft as tugs and DFS-230 gliders. I and II/LLG 1 formed 27 July 1940 and were operational 10 August (17./KGr z.b.V. 5 was disbanded in July and used to form LLG 1), III/LLG 1 formed 22 August 1940 and was operational 1 September. The three Gruppen in theory had 135 Tug/DFS-230 combinations, but as the 7, Flieger Division plan indiactes only three Staffel were actually operational.
Then there were five Blindflugschulen (instrument flying) also with some Ju 52 each.
Indeed, and they too were utilized, shutting down their school function. How useful is it to terminate schooling of pilots and crews in the middle of a war?
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Jul 2022 18:27

Anyway, as of 13 April 1940, the peak of the augmentation of the Transport Gruppen with the Fliegerschule aircraft, nine auxiliary Gruppen were formed, those included in the 7. Flieger Division planning and also 107. and 108., which were used in WESERUBUNG. At the end of that operation, half the remaining aircraft and crews of 107. were transferred to 108. and the rest returned to the schools. As of 13 April, the fully mobilized Transportgruppen totaled 824 aircraft of which 723 were operational. It lost 86 of those (69 Ju 52) in Norway and Denmark and by 4 May had 531 on hand of which 475 were operational. As noted earlier, 228 transports were lost in operations to 1 September, for a total loss since 13 April of 314 aircraft, nearly as many as were produced in 1940. Worse, the loss of Schule pilots affected the Luftwaffe's ability to train new pilots.

So from a maximum effort of 824 aircraft on 13 April, deduct 314 total losses and add, perhaps 165-170 new production...be generous and call it an on hand of 680. On average 332 of 423 transports were operational during 1940, so a 78.5% operational rate equals around 534 transports of all types. I cannot see how the requirements put forth by 7. Flieger Division could be met and it seems very likely that Hermann and ObdL were blowing smoke up Halder's ass.
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Knouterer » 21 Jul 2022 16:13

The dropping zones again, as indicated in the abovementioned documents (and Schenk and Ansel), superimposed by yours truly on a contemporary map. Douglas Farm in the middle, circled in red, had been picked as the provisional divisional HQ - as indicated above, the forward HQ plus a signals platoon would land with the second wave in 13 gliders (presumably some members of the staff were not parachute qualified).

According to the plans, the entire Luftlande-Sturm-Regiment would land with the Kampfgruppen M and S in 130 gliders. Even apart from any anti-invasion obstacles in the fields, the terrain doesn't look very suitable for massed glider landings.
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by dgfred » 21 Jul 2022 16:31

Ahhhhh. Thanks for the map!

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Knouterer » 21 Jul 2022 16:43

The amended order of battle of 2 Oct. gives more details about the OOB of the Luftlande-Sturmregiment (LLSR). The regimental HQ/staff would take up 6 gliders, the 1st Battalion (staff plus companies 1,2,3) would need 48, the 2nd Battalion (staff plus companies 4,5,6) would need 45, and the understrength 3rd Battalion (staff plus companies 7,8,9) only 21. The 13th company (heavy weapons) would take up eight gliders and the 14th (anti-tank) six.

The 7th and 8th were assault engineer companies (Sturmpioniere) and Golla mentions that while there was no shortage of volunteers from the infantry during the expansion phase from June 1940, the airborne forces had trouble getting such engineers (ie men who were already trained in handling explosives, demining, flamethrowers, etc.) because the army was reluctant to part with them. That would explain why these two companies were understrength and needed only twelve gliders in all. The 9th was a machine gun company.

The signals platoon (Nachrichtenzug) in the diagram below (from Schenk) is not listed in the orders but possibly included in the six gliders for the staff.
The DFS 230 glider could transport nine fully equipped soldiers plus the pilot (who was not part of the regiment but belonged to the Luftlande-Geschwader, LLG 1) and up to 270 kg freight, for example a motorcycle or a 105 mm Nebelwerfer mortar with some ammunition. For bulkier loads the four rearmost seats could be removed.
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Richard Anderson » 21 Jul 2022 17:42

Knouterer wrote:
21 Jul 2022 16:43
The amended order of battle of 2 Oct. gives more details about the OOB of the Luftlande-Sturmregiment (LLSR).
Interesting. There was no increase in strength between 26 September and 2 October.

I just also noticed that the plan was to use the Ju 52 for double duty...the aircraft carrying paratroopers were also hauling DFS 230 gliders. I suspect that was only possible given the relatively short flying times, but even then it must have been a strain. I also wonder if they had actually practiced such an assault and how they thought it would work. Or how it would work. The gliders would be cast off two to five miles from the LZ, but then the Ju 52 would fly on to drop its paratrooper load? So the paratroopers secure the LZ for the gliders? Or do they all come in together in a nice happy cloud?

Anyway, around 800 paratroopers and glider infantry each in LZ M and S.

I wonder what 2 London Brigade, 29 Independent Brigade, and 7 New Zealand Brigade would see? Or do?
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Knouterer » 21 Jul 2022 19:59

The towing Ju 52s would indeed carry a full load of paras as well. This doesn't seem to have been a problem, it was done during the attack on Crete next year where the distance to be covered was rather longer. The Ju 52 could even tow three gliders at the same time, but this was more of a circus trick and was never tried on operations AFAIK.
A history of II./KGzbV 1 describes how they practiced glider towing in August-September and were then (mid-Sept.) ordered to move to bases in Northern France, but the order was countermanded before they got there.

The gliders could be cast loose quite some distance from the target, to achieve surprise; for the attack on Eben Emael that was done just before they entered Dutch airspace, about 25 km away from the fortress.

Annex 5a to the orders of 26 Sept. explains the approach march. The first wave would cross the coastline between Cap Gris Nez and Boulogne; searchlights and beacons installed by Luftflotte 2 would point them in the right direction. The gliders would uncouple over the Channel at a height of about 1,500 m, depending on weather conditions. At a rate of descent of 1:8 that would mean they could cover 12 km, less of course if the landing zone was well above sea level, and they would need a margin of safety as well.

After losing the gliders the Jus would descend to dropping height of 150-200 m or so and turn SW and cross the coast between Dymchurch and New Romney before turning right (NO) again towards the dropping zones. I don't quite see why they couldn't follow a straight course to the dropping zones, but the orders state specifically that the area Folkestone-Hythe should be avoided.
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by pugsville » 22 Jul 2022 04:08

Knouterer wrote:
21 Jul 2022 19:59
The towing Ju 52s would indeed carry a full load of paras as well. This doesn't seem to have been a problem, it was done during the attack on Crete next year where the distance to be covered was rather longer. The Ju 52 could even tow three gliders at the same time, but this was more of a circus trick and was never tried on operations AFAIK.
A history of II./KGzbV 1 describes how they practiced glider towing in August-September and were then (mid-Sept.) ordered to move to bases in Northern France, but the order was countermanded before they got there.

The gliders could be cast loose quite some distance from the target, to achieve surprise; for the attack on Eben Emael that was done just before they entered Dutch airspace, about 25 km away from the fortress.

Annex 5a to the orders of 26 Sept. explains the approach march. The first wave would cross the coastline between Cap Gris Nez and Boulogne; searchlights and beacons installed by Luftflotte 2 would point them in the right direction. The gliders would uncouple over the Channel at a height of about 1,500 m, depending on weather conditions. At a rate of descent of 1:8 that would mean they could cover 12 km, less of course if the landing zone was well above sea level, and they would need a margin of safety as well.

After losing the gliders the Jus would descend to dropping height of 150-200 m or so and turn SW and cross the coast between Dymchurch and New Romney before turning right (NO) again towards the dropping zones. I don't quite see why they couldn't follow a straight course to the dropping zones, but the orders state specifically that the area Folkestone-Hythe should be avoided.
How much space did the Gliders need to land?
How good was the German intelligence about British attempts to stop this?
How effective were the British countermeasures?

"Open areas were considered vulnerable to invasion from the air: a landing by paratroops, glider-borne troops or powered aircraft which could land and take off again. Open areas with a straight length of 500 yards (460 m) or more within five miles (8 km) of the coast or an airfield were considered vulnerable. These were blocked by trenches or, more usually, by wooden or concrete obstacles, as well as old cars."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_a ... open_areas

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Peter89 » 22 Jul 2022 07:36

Richard Anderson wrote:
19 Jul 2022 16:28
Knouterer wrote:
19 Jul 2022 09:14
On the other hand, I'm beginning to think that there may have been more Ju 52s in the school system than I assumed before. There were at one point fourteen FFS/C schools (for multi-engine flying training), some of which had 25-30 Ju 52s (plus Ju 86, He 111, Do 17).
Fifteen actually. FFC 15. was formed 1.1.40 in Lüben as FFS C Lüben. Yes, they had a mixed bag of aircraft types, with Ju 52 perhaps predominating. We also know how many aircraft they shared, based upon the increase of th Transportgruppen in April 1940. Roughly 360 operational aircraft and crews (implying around 40 aircraft were left at the FFS non-operational). Enough to bring the school-based Gruppen up to operational strength. We also know they shared in the casualties suffered too. We also can assume that the FFC system was shut down for a period from the end of March to the end of June and produced zero replacement crews for the Kampfgruppen, which was flying in the BoB.

Ju 52 [Corrected, that should read "transport" availability, since the Luftwaffe counted all transport types, including Ju 52, Do 24, Do 26, BV 138, and others.] Transport availability as of 5 May was 530, of which 228 were lost by 1 September. A total of 390 were built during the year. Assuming an average of 32.5 per month, then we can guess that the 5 May total includes at least some of the 130 built in the first four months of the year. That leaves 4 months to the end of August to build and issue 130 as replacements for the 228 lost, so 98 short as of the beginning of September. This is congruent also with the report of 500 transports available as of circa 1 April 1940. All in all it seems unlikely that there was more than about 430 transports available circa 1 September.

Of course that leaves the question of the gliders still open, since they were in even shorter supply. Another record indicates that there were 475 transports and 45 gliders as of 10 May 1940 and that most of the gliders were irreparably damaged in the assault in the west. By the next year for Merkur there were only 530 transports and 100 gliders as of 20 May 1941 (Crete). On the other hand it is possible that LLG 1 had as many as 135 tug/glider combinations on hand (see below).

The following are the operational strength of the KG z.b.V. that were operational on 17 August 1940 (referenced from Price's Luftwaffe Data Book and also found in various other references including Williamson Murray, as well as online sites such as Jason Long's Sturmvogel). The actual total operational in operational units (as opposed to training units) was 226. The total number on hand was 340. They were (on hand/operational):

Stab/KG zbV 1 - 3/3
I/KG zbV 1 - 47/42
II/KG zbV 1 - 43/13
III/KG zbV 1 - 53/32
IV/KG zbV 1 - 39/25
KGr zbV 9 - 30/20
KG zbV 106 - 53/29
KG zbV 108 - 27/18
I/KG zbV 172 - 45/34

The others were scattered amongst the numerous Fliegerschule (especially the FFC, Große Kampffliegerschule 1.-5., and Blindflugschule 1.-5., see Michael Holms excellent site ww2.dk), which had already been raided for the Norwegian and French campaigns. A few were also assigned to various Stabsstaffeln of other operational Geschwadern and Gruppen and to liaison-transport duties in Luftwaffe higher headquarters. This would tend to indicate that LLG 1 at this time probably had about 90 Ju 52/DFS-230 and received the lion’s share of the aircraft in September as well. But that doesn’t solve the problem of the low serviceability rates.

To those may be added the small numbers of specialty aircraft that were available such as the JU-90 and Fw 200, which were normally assigned to reconnaissance duties and some of the aircraft assigned to the KM for maritime recon and transport duties. But these are small numbers of very specialized aircraft and most were still tied up in operations in Norway.

KG z.b.V. 1 accounted for
KG z.b.V. 2 existed only as a Stab
KG z.b.V. 3 was formed in 1941
KGr z.b.V. 1 and 2 were used to form KG z.b.V. 1
KGr z.b.V. 4.-6. were all disbanded in 1938 (except 17./KGr z.B.V. 5, which was the specialty air assault unit)
KGr z.b.V. 7. and 8. were formed in 1942
KGr z.b.V. 9 accounted for
KGr z.b.V. 10 was used to form KG z.b.V. 1
KGr z.b.V. 11 was disbanded in June 1940 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 12 was disbanded in June 1940 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 20-22 were formed in 1942
KGr z.b.V. 23-25 were formed in 1943
KGr z.b.V. 40 was formed in 1941
KGr z.b.V. 50 was formed in 1942
KGr z.b.V. 60 was formed in 1941
KGr z.b.V. 101 and 102 were disbanded, except for the Stab, in June 1940 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 103 was disbanded in June 1940 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 104 was disbanded, except for the Stab and Stabsstaffel in June 1940 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 105 was disbanded, except for the Stab, in June 1940 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 106 accounted for (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 107 was disbanded with half it's assets going to 108 (formed from school commands)
KGr z.b.V. 108 accounted for (formed from school commands)

KGr z.b.V. 200 formed in 1943
KGr z.b.V. 211 was never formed
KGr z.b.V. 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, and 999 were formed in 1941

Not included are the Luftlandegeschwadern, which were organized mostly with various aircraft as tugs and DFS-230 gliders. I and II/LLG 1 formed 27 July 1940 and were operational 10 August (17./KGr z.b.V. 5 was disbanded in July and used to form LLG 1), III/LLG 1 formed 22 August 1940 and was operational 1 September. The three Gruppen in theory had 135 Tug/DFS-230 combinations, but as the 7, Flieger Division plan indiactes only three Staffel were actually operational.
Then there were five Blindflugschulen (instrument flying) also with some Ju 52 each.
Indeed, and they too were utilized, shutting down their school function. How useful is it to terminate schooling of pilots and crews in the middle of a war?
Where German early war four enginers are mentioned, I feel myself summoned :)

KGr.z.b.V. 101, 102, 105, 107 and the 1/KG.z. b.V. 1 had 159 operational Ju 52/3m at hand on 9 April 1940 (for the attack on Oslo Fornebu, IR 324, FJs, ground echelon). The KGr.z.b.V 104 had 51 and KGr.z.b.V. 106 had 53 aircraft attacking Stavanger-Sola with 1./ und IL./IR 193.

Then (on 8 May 1940) the KGr. z.b.V. 101, 104, 105 and 106 were sent to conduct the Westfeldzug, the 102 and 103 disbanded. The two groups operating in Norway were the 107 and the 108. At this point the 4./KGr. z.b.V. 107 had the 4 engine aircrafts and it was formed from Lufthansa personnel with practically no military training. The 108 had the sea-transport planes (Blohm & Voß Ha 139, BV 138 and Do26), also not formed from school commands.

You also left out the KGr. z.b.V. 172, which was formed from Lufthansa and Flugkommandos Berlin, originally the main parent unit of the 4 engine aircrafts.

To the best of my knowledge, Ju 90 and Ju G 38 never participated in maritime recon. The FW 200 assigned to the Weserübung were of the civilian configuration, and they had little role in the maritime recon at that time point; especially not in the armed recon missions that made the Condors famous. Their extra fuel tanks were installed in January 1941 and they've got integrated into the KG 40 in June 1941.

Kurmark - crashed on 12/04/1940
Westfalen - originally rebuilt as foto-recon machine, operated by Gruppe Oberst Rowehl (Chef der 5. Abt. Fernaufklärung/Aufklärungsgruppe des Oberbefehlshabers der Luftwaffe) and given to the KG 40 in November 1940 shot down on 25/05/1940
Saarland - assigned to maritime recon in June 1941
Friesland - assigned to maritime recon in June 1941
Nordmark - assigned to maritime recon in June 1941

Also one more note, because I can't miss it.

The German problems did not end how many planes did they have; they also had serious problems with operational readiness and specialized training. In order to deploy FJs effectively, the crew had to be trained in close formation flight, low level flight and blind flight. At most 200-250 pilots could do that in March 1940, and many of them gone perished or wounded by September 1940. On top of this, the heavy operational strain took its toll on the machines, many of them were lacking overhauls. The best example is Crete, before which the Germans had to spend a month in order to provide the necessary leeway of overhaul log. The Battle of Britain overshadowed this problem with high attrition rates, ie the German aircrafts were shot down before they were forced to the ground by the lack of MRO.

Another example, the III/KG z.b.V. 1 flew practically peacetime flights for a few months and that actually crippled the whole Gruppe for the time being. Attacking an island with the size of Britain it was extremely hard to provide MRO services for hundreds if not thousands of planes on (partially) improvised airfields, 500-1000 km from Germany. Thus: even if the Germans could deploy 200 Ju 52s, they could not keep them in the air indefinately, even if the RAF is completely defeated. Just think about it: the test and ferry flight between Dessau and Athens necessitated a series of checks that might prompt the need for spare parts; after 25 engine hours another whole range of stuff was needed (arriving with no regards of the actual operational needs), after 50 hours, a partial overhaul was necessary.

Long story short, even if the Luftwaffe could scrape together more transport planes*, the rest would only be able to follow the trail, so to speak. And even that under ideal circumstances, in more loose formation, etc. This would add a huge amount of operational chaos to the deployment of the already dwindling number of FJs, thus at a distance of the La Manche, the sound operational decision is to use the properly trained crews in 2 drops instead of using more planes which would collide while taxiing on the airport, drop the FJs pell-mell, break / loose formation or forcing the operation to start after dawn; all of which would go against the FJ doctrine.

*Now I spent a few weeks in the archives and I found direct evidence that a lot of the Ju 52s could never be stripped from liasion duties. It was forbidden to carry government or party officials above a certain rank in 1 and 2 engine aircrafts. Even though aircraft travel was not necessary for everyone in everyday operations, they had to stand by by the dozens, scattered around the Reich.
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Knouterer » 22 Jul 2022 09:34

pugsville wrote:
22 Jul 2022 04:08

How much space did the Gliders need to land?
How good was the German intelligence about British attempts to stop this?
How effective were the British countermeasures?

"Open areas were considered vulnerable to invasion from the air: a landing by paratroops, glider-borne troops or powered aircraft which could land and take off again. Open areas with a straight length of 500 yards (460 m) or more within five miles (8 km) of the coast or an airfield were considered vulnerable. These were blocked by trenches or, more usually, by wooden or concrete obstacles, as well as old cars."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_a ... open_areas
Well, as I wrote yesterday, "Even apart from any anti-invasion obstacles in the fields, the terrain doesn't look very suitable for massed glider landings." Looking at the map, Kampfgruppe S would land just to the west of RAF Hawkinge (the empty space with the word "Gibraltar" in it - features of military significance, including old forts, were largely deleted from this wartime map) and Kampfgruppe M just to the east of RAF Lympne, so both zones were well within the five mile radius around airfields near the coast which had priority for obstructions of all kinds. There certainly would have been a lot of breakage.
That said, skilled glider pilots were able to put the DFS 230 down accurately in (very) small spaces, as they demonstrated, for example, by landing on top of the fortress of Eben Emael in 1940 and on the mountainside of the Gran Sasso in 1943 (liberation of Mussolini).
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Knouterer » 22 Jul 2022 16:26

While I'm in mapmaking mode: if I understand the plans correctly, the attack of the first wave would look roughly like this. After releasing the gliders, which would continue straight on to the two landing zones, the 130 Ju 52s with the paras would curve around Hythe. The idea seems to have been that the gliders (which could attain a maximum speed of 290 km/h, faster than the Ju 52) would be on the ground before the para drops started, to avoid any risks of collisions in the air or on the ground.
The second wave, much bigger with nearly five hundred aircraft, would also come in over Romney Marsh about an hour later. A few dozen 40 mm Bofors guns positioned there would have caused an absolute massacre, but as far as I know there weren't any, just two or maybe four at RAF Lympne.

At such low altitudes the Jus would have been vulnerable to machine gun fire too, even if many were fitted with some armour protection for the fuel tanks in the wings, IIRC:
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Richard Anderson
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Richard Anderson » 23 Jul 2022 01:51

Peter89 wrote:
22 Jul 2022 07:36
Where German early war four enginers are mentioned, I feel myself summoned :)
:D
KGr.z.b.V. 101, 102, 105, 107 and the 1/KG.z. b.V. 1 had 159 operational Ju 52/3m at hand on 9 April 1940 (for the attack on Oslo Fornebu, IR 324, FJs, ground echelon). The KGr.z.b.V 104 had 51 and KGr.z.b.V. 106 had 53 aircraft attacking Stavanger-Sola with 1./ und IL./IR 193.

Then (on 8 May 1940) the KGr. z.b.V. 101, 104, 105 and 106 were sent to conduct the Westfeldzug, the 102 and 103 disbanded. The two groups operating in Norway were the 107 and the 108. At this point the 4./KGr. z.b.V. 107 had the 4 engine aircrafts and it was formed from Lufthansa personnel with practically no military training. The 108 had the sea-transport planes (Blohm & Voß Ha 139, BV 138 and Do26), also not formed from school commands.
Yep.
You also left out the KGr. z.b.V. 172, which was formed from Lufthansa and Flugkommandos Berlin, originally the main parent unit of the 4 engine aircrafts.
I didn't leave it out, I forgot about it. :lol: But I think you mean I./KG z.b.V. 172? It wasn't until June 1941 that it was redesignated as KGr. z.b.V. 172?
To the best of my knowledge, Ju 90 and Ju G 38 never participated in maritime recon.
I don't think I said they did?
The FW 200 assigned to the Weserübung were of the civilian configuration, and they had little role in the maritime recon at that time point; especially not in the armed recon missions that made the Condors famous. Their extra fuel tanks were installed in January 1941 and they've got integrated into the KG 40 in June 1941.
Yep.
Kurmark - crashed on 12/04/1940
Westfalen - originally rebuilt as foto-recon machine, operated by Gruppe Oberst Rowehl (Chef der 5. Abt. Fernaufklärung/Aufklärungsgruppe des Oberbefehlshabers der Luftwaffe) and given to the KG 40 in November 1940 shot down on 25/05/1940
Saarland - assigned to maritime recon in June 1941
Friesland - assigned to maritime recon in June 1941
Nordmark - assigned to maritime recon in June 1941
Excellent.
Also one more note, because I can't miss it.
Absolutely. The implication that it was a simple matter to tow gliders while carrying a full load of paratroopers and flying in close formation over a complex route is about on a level with the notion that simply strapping a parachute on a soldier created a paratrooper.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Peter89 » 23 Jul 2022 08:06

Richard Anderson wrote:
23 Jul 2022 01:51
You also left out the KGr. z.b.V. 172, which was formed from Lufthansa and Flugkommandos Berlin, originally the main parent unit of the 4 engine aircrafts.
I didn't leave it out, I forgot about it. :lol: But I think you mean I./KG z.b.V. 172? It wasn't until June 1941 that it was redesignated as KGr. z.b.V. 172?


The whole story of this unit is a mess, because the Lufthansa and the Luftwaffe fought a cat-mouse war for the aircrafts and crews.

Kampfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung 172 was formed on 26/08/1939 in Berlin-Tempelhof with 3 Gruppen each containing 4 Staffeln following a consecutive numbering (I./1, II./5, III./9). The Flugkommandos Berlin gave the III./11. Staffel, the III./10. contained the four engine aircrafts, and the rest was mostly made up of 59 Ju 52 and 1 He 111 requisitioned from Lufthansa. (Thus most of the units were woefully understrength.)

After the campaign in Poland (on 10/11/1939) they disbanded the Geschwader level (Kampfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung 172) and the three groups were supposed to operate independently. As a result of lacking aircrafts, the former II./Kampfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung 172 was disbanded. Then in March 1940 the former I./Kampfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung 172 became the III./Kampfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung 1, and the former III./Kampfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung 172 became the new I. Gruppe.

Then in February 1941 the II. Gruppe was reformed, effectively reactivating the Geschwader level (I./Kampfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung 172 and II./Kampfgeschwader zur besonderen Verwendung 172). In June 1941 (after the Battle of Crete) the II. Gruppe was disbanded again, this time for good. And the I. Gruppe was renamed Kampfgruppe zur besonderen Verwendung 172, conforming its actual strength and status.
Richard Anderson wrote:
23 Jul 2022 01:51
Also one more note, because I can't miss it.
Absolutely. The implication that it was a simple matter to tow gliders while carrying a full load of paratroopers and flying in close formation over a complex route is about on a level with the notion that simply strapping a parachute on a soldier created a paratrooper.
Yes.

But it's even worse than that. The FJ doctrine called for an approach during the last hour of darkness, the drop taking place at daybreak after a stunning dive bomber attack. Thus it is not simple the Ju 52 crews that had to be proficient in the aforementioned skills, but also the Stuka and possibly their escorts had to be there in numbers, conducting a blind flight, otherwise the whole air assault doesn't take place.

In all the accounts I've ever read, the Corinthian Istmus assault was the pinnacle, the masterpiece of the FJ doctrine in action. It is far better to study than Crete in relation to the Sealion, because in Crete, the relief forces were planned to arrive via air landing, thus the objective was to capture and hold airfields. Where the relief forces could arrive via ground, it is a different matter.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Richard Anderson » 23 Jul 2022 17:33

Knouterer wrote:
21 Jul 2022 19:59
The towing Ju 52s would indeed carry a full load of paras as well. This doesn't seem to have been a problem, it was done during the attack on Crete next year where the distance to be covered was rather longer. The Ju 52 could even tow three gliders at the same time, but this was more of a circus trick and was never tried on operations AFAIK.
I've read through D.W. Pissin's, The Battle of Crete and can find no evidence of this? There were only 53 troop and 10 cargo operational DFS 230 employed at Crete out of 72 available and they were towed by I./LLG 1. No mention of them carrying paratroops as well, which would be very unusual given the fuel load required, 2,000 liters - 1,473 kilograms - which in the paratroop lift allowed for just 12 fully-equipped men. Adding the weight of a DFS 230 and 10 more men and equipment would be an extraordinary load - I cannot imagine how they would manage the 600+ kilometer round trip with such a load? What made it possible in SEELÖWE was the short distances involved - around one-quarter of that for MERKUR.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Knouterer » 24 Jul 2022 11:41

Peter89 wrote:
22 Jul 2022 07:36
*Now I spent a few weeks in the archives and I found direct evidence that a lot of the Ju 52s could never be stripped from liasion duties. It was forbidden to carry government or party officials above a certain rank in 1 and 2 engine aircrafts. Even though aircraft travel was not necessary for everyone in everyday operations, they had to stand by by the dozens, scattered around the Reich.
Really? Field Marshal Kesselring flew around a whole lot in his Siebel Fh 104 I believe. Why would the life of government or party officials be more precious than his?
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