The Nahaufklärungsgruppen (NAG or NAGr) flew recce sorties over the battlefield and by mid-1943 these sorties were being flown with unarmed reconnaissance Gustavs. Fitted with Rustsätze comprising the RB 12.5/7 or RB 32/7 camera installations prior to the appearance of the dedicated G-8 recce variant, the Gustavs of I./NAG 12 - based at Herzogenaurach in southern Germany during the spring of 1943 - were deployed to the hot spots of the European theatre. The following images from the collection of Jean-Louis Roba for 'FalkeEins- The Luftwaffe blog' depict various scenes from NAG 12 Tannenberg.
The fifteen aircraft of this unit’s 2. Staffel were deployed to the Balkans in the autumn of 1943 and were initially based on the field of Berat (southwest of Tirana) from where they flew sorties alone or in Rotte strength (two machines). The Staffel operated a mix of Gustav variants, having on strength at various stages the G-4, G-5, G-6, G-8 – a dedicated reconnaissance variant - and G-10 sub-types. The unit later deployed to Sarajevo and flew sorties from this base during early 1944 over US-held airfields and ports in Italy.
Unidentified pilot of 'black 7' on his return from a landmark mission, the celebrations continuing in the hut that served as the airfield 'Bierschwemme'
Above; plaque designed to mark the 3000th sortie flown by 2. Staffel of NAG 12 and, below, pilots of the unit commemorate a fallen comrade..
During late 1944 and early 1945, the sixteen Bf 109s of 2./NAG 12 were deployed to Hungary and flew constant sorties from Tapolca as the Russians completed their encirclement of Budapest, threatening the Reich’s last oil fields in southern Hungary. This huge Kesselschlacht (literally ‘cauldron battle’) lasted some six weeks and the Messerschmitt Bf 109 recce Aufklärer were in almost constant action. By April 1945 the Staffel had flown at least 3,000 sorties.
Above; 'new' image of Oblt. Heimo Emmerstorfer climbing into the cockpit of his ‘White 14’.
Below; celebrating the 2500th combat sortie; these images reproduced here courtesy of Jean-Louis Roba and some expired Ebay auctions.. Bf 109 G-6/R2/Trop W.Nr. unknown, Lt. Troebs, 2./NAGr. 12, Mostar .
'Heimo' Emmerstofer's 'white 14' on this blog