Monday, 2 May 2022

Junkers Ju 88 and 188 of Aufklärungsgruppe 33


Some rare Aufklärungsgruppe images from a friend of the blog with a new negative scanner! First time these images have been seen by the negative strip owner...

Junkers Ju 88 D "8H+KL" features regularly in the 'history' of recce Staffel 3.(F)/33 as compiled by LdZ/AM on the LuftwaffeData website. 

Two images of "8H+KL"possibly during June-July 1943 at Ottana in Sardinia from where the Staffel flew two or three recce sorties a day watching Allied convoys and warships in the western Mediterranean and in Algerian harbours.

On July 11, 1943  Ju 88 '8H+KL' failed to return - no details, 100%, 4 MIA.  

Below; a general view of the grass strip(s) at Ottana, Sardinia, summer 1943. More at the LdZ  Luftwaffe airfields pdf

The Aufklärungs Staffel 3.(F)/33 began conversion training on the Junkers Ju 188 during late 1943 and were still in Gutenfeld/12 km south-east of Königsberg during January 1944.

On March 1, 1944 the Staffel reported 12 x Ju 188 F-1 on strength and on March 16 began transferring from Königsberg to Athens-Kalamaki in Greece where the Staffel relieved 1.(F)/122. Here they were assigned to Fernaufklärungsgruppe 4. According to AM's Luftwaffe Data Wiki (compiled by LdZ)   they were tasked with flying routine day and night photo reconnaissance over the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus, Egyptian and Libyan ports and also covering southern Italy and Sicily. The rare image below from a Staffel member's album shows a crew in front of their Ju 188 feting a landmark sortie - the 100th, either their own or the aircraft type or flown from Kalamaki (.....possibly) 

 Over the following months  " a bitter rivalry developed between the Staffel and 2.(F)/123, which was considered the better of the two "  According to a PoW, 3.(F)/33 only had 4 operational losses from April to September 1944. Here are two rare photographic records detailing two of them...the crew of '8H+KL' (Ju 188, pilot Lt. Beyer) being killed in a crash on April 12, 1944 and the crew of '8H+AL' (pilot Lt. Haspel) failing to return from an operational sortie on May 15, 1944.

 On September 15 the Staffel transferred from Athens-Kalamaki to Salonika-Sedes.On October 10, 1944 the Staffel transferred from Salonika-Sedes to Skopje/Macedonia on or about this date; still under FAGr. 4, the Staffel had 9(5) Ju 88s and Ju l88s, the former being the high-altitude T-l and T-3 variants.

On October 22, 1944 Ju l88 D-2 (8H+AL) crashed in Greece due to engine failure, or possibly shot down by a RAF Beaufighter, while on a long-range day reconnaissance flight to check shipping between Greece and Crete and then along the approaches to the Dardanelles on the return leg, 100%, 3 KIA and 2 captured.

 (info via Andy Mitchell's LuftwaffeData website)