Aufkl. Gr. 123 1940

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2 Jan 1940 - Two Do 17s of 1(F)./123 on airfield recce in the Laon-St Quintin and Lyons area. One was intercepted near Lyon by Ms 406s of GC III/2. Hits were obtained by the Moranes on the Dorniers engines but the aircraft returned to base.[1]

22 Feb 1940 - Three Hurricanes of 1 Sqdn operating from Rouvres intercepted an He 111 of 1(F)./123. The Heinkel escaped into cloud.[2]

Mar 1940 -Stab ./123 to be found at Gelnhausen, remained here until May 1940.[3]

1 Apr 1940 A new Ju 88D, of 1(F)./123, operating near Charleville escaped attack by Hurricanes of 73 Sqdn.[4]

2 Apr 1940 Do 17P of 3(F)./123 attacked by Moranes of GC II/3 over Metz, when returning from a sortie to Reims. The aircraft forced landed at Mannheim with 30 % damage and a wounded radio operator.(Uffz. J-P Trümpener )[5]

7 Apr 1940 - A Do 17 of 1(F)./123 returned to base with 5-10% damage, landing with one engine stopped.This followed a combat with a pair of Moranes from GC III/6 which caught the lone Do 17 flying to the NE of Laon at about 23,000 ft. Three further Moranes joined the chase, these were from GC III/2. The altitude reduced to 13,000 ft but the first pair of French fighters had to break off because of their low fuel and ammunition state. The planes from III/2 reported hits on the Do 17 which vanished in a dive. [6]

8 April 1940 – 3(F)./123 suffered a night crash while 4(F)./123 renewed the groups acquaintance with trees.

Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
08 Apr 1940 3(F)./123 Do 17P-1 4043 Crashed at Hanau-am-Main while night flying. Two of the crew were killed – Oblt. G. Beisiegel and Ogfr. J. Schadt both killed.[7]
08 Apr 1940 4(F)./123 Do 17P 4U+DK Aircraft collided with trees and then crashed near Stommeln during air to ground firing practice. Crew – Fw. A. Huberts, Uffz. A. Früchtl and Uffz. H. Bittkow – all killed.[7]


21 Apr 1940 - A Do 17 of 1(F)./123 was intercepted by two H-75s of GCI/5 near Stenay. The aircraft returned to Ansbach with 10% damage.[8]

7 May 1940 – A Do 17P of 3(F)./123 returned from a sortie with some damage but no members of the crew injured.[9]

8 May 1940 - A Do 17 of 3(F)./123 was intercepted by five Moranes of GC III/7 - it returned to base slightly damaged.[10]

3(F)./123 sent a Do 17P on a reconnaissance sortie to southern England. The aircraft suffered engine problems and returned via Holland and may have been engaged by Dutch Fokker G1s, sustaining some damage although the crew were uninjured.[11]

9 May 1940 - A Ju 88 of 1(F)./123 performed a series of airfield recce overflights of the following airfields: Chartres, Etampes and Tours. It was hit by enemy fire and then forced landed near Azy, NE of Bourges where the crew set the aircraft on fire. Lt Franz Oswald and crew ( Stabsfw. G. Kühhorn, Uffz. E. Stratmann and Uffz. F. Bauer)became prisoners.[12]

10 May 1940 - The Luftwaffe Order of Battle[13] recorded the following:-

1.(F)/123 was at Langendiebach operating the Do 17P and Ju 88A under the control of Luftflotte 3. It had a strength of 8 Do 17Ps of which 6 were serviceable together with 6 Ju 88As with 3 serviceable. Staka at this time was Oblt d. R. Hans Mühlbauer[14]

2.(F)/123 was located at München-Gladbach under Luftflotte 2 with 12 Do 17Ps of which 10 were serviceable and was commanded by Hptm. Hurlin.

3.(F)/123 was at Gelnhausen operating the Do 17P and Ju 88A under the control of Luftflotte 3. It had a strength of 9 Do 17Ps of which 7 were serviceable together with 3 Ju 88As with 2 serviceable.At this time it was commanded by Hptm. Liebe-Piderit

A Do 17P of 3(F)./123 (4U+JL) flew a recce sortie covering the area from Saonetal to the Swiss border. The aircraft came under attack by French fighters from GC III/6 and also received some damage from flak. The crew were forced to abandon the aircraft when a fuel tank caught fire following the damage sustained from the anti-aircraft fire. Uffz. L. Schwender baled out but was killed when he became separated from his parachute harness. Lt. R. Fliessner also baled out and was captured badly burned. Fw. L. Aigner baled out and was captured unhurt.[15]

A Do 17P of 2(F)./123 on a reconnaissance sortie was damaged in combat with Belgian fighter over Brustem during the afternoon. The aircraft forced-landed at Mönchengladbach. Although the aircraft was damaged the crew were unhurt.[16]

11 May 1940 – A Do 17P of 2(F)./123 flew a recce sortie between Maastricht and Namur. This aircraft suffered extensive damage following combat with Moranes of GC II/2. Oberlt. D. von Schaezler and Uffz. W. Klaas were both wounded while Ofw. Felgenhauer was unhurt. This aircraft was subsequently written-off.[17]

Another 2(F)./123 aircraft- Do 17P (4U+HK) – is believed to have been in combat with Hurricanes of 85 Sqdn, this aircraft forced landed near Schinnen. Lt. H. Brosch and Fw. H. Layher were both wounded while Fw. Steiner was unhurt.[17]


26 May 1940 - A Do 17F of 1(F)./123 was shot down following combat with two Gladiators. The plane had been flown up to Trondheim because 1(F)./120 had been short of aircraft and personnel. Fw Anton Schairer and crew were all killed when the Do 17F crashed in pieces at Skaanland.[18]

27 May 1940 - Aufkl.Gr.123 sent out sorties covering the area bounded by Reims-Compiegne-La Fere and the area bounded by Amiens-Beauvais-Clermont.[19]

Jul 1940 - Stab./123 now located at Toussus-le-Buc and stayed here until Aug 1944.[20]

13 Jul 1940 - 2(F)./123 sent a sortie to cover the area Plymouth-Lyme Bay-Exeter-Torquay.[21]

16 Jul 1940 - 1(F)./123, a single Ju 88 took-off at 10.00 hrs for a reconnaissance sortie covering the St.George's Channel & airfields in the Bristol, Cardiff & Birmingham areas.[22]

21 Jul 1940 - 3(F)./123, a Ju 88, took off at 07.00 hrs for an airfield reconnaissance flight. At 09.02 - 09.05 hrs it was over Filton & Avonmouth.[23]

23 Jul 1940 - 3(F)./123 despatched a Ju 88 which took off at 10.30 hrs on a mission to airfields and harbours in the Bristol Channel area.[24]

06 Aug 1940 – A single Do 17 of 2(F)./123 departed at 07.00 hrs reporting at 08.00 hrs no shipping activity between the Isle of Wight and Lyme Bay.[25]

07 Aug 1940 – 1(F)./123 sent out a single Ju 88 at 09.54 hrs on a sortie to Liverpool.[26]

2(F)./123 sortie covering Isle of Wight to Dartmouth reported no shipping activity.[27]

2(F)./123 (operating under Fl.K.VIII) sent out a single Ju 88 on a sortie, departing at 16.45 hrs, 3over the Channel covering the area between the Isle of Wight and Lyme Bay.[28]

08 Aug 1940 – 3(F)./123 sent out a single Ju 88 at 12.12 hrs on a sortie to the St Georges Channel sprecifically to report on activity around Liverpool.[29] This sortie was abandoned due to heavy fighter and flak activity over the south coast of England[30]

09 Aug 1940 - 3(F)./123, a single Ju 88, sent out for weather reporting over northern part of the Bristol Channel (05.00 - 07.00 hrs), and then reconnaissance over Filton & Yeovil. Damaged by fighter attack 06.55 hrs.[31]

A Do 17 of 2(F)./123 departed at 06.20 hrs – its sortie was to search the Channel between Weymouth and Start Point, it reported a number of ships SSW of Lyme (Regis?) on a WSW course.[32]

2(F)./123 that set out at 13.32 hrs sortied to the area Isle of Wight – Lyme Bay and spotted a submarine submerging 30 km southeast of Torquay.[26]

10 Aug 1940 – A Do 17 of 2(F)./123 departed at 15.45 hrs on a sortie to Selsey and Portland.[27]

11 Aug 1940 - 2(F)./123 single Do 17 sortie to the Isle of Wight and Selsey – no shipping sighted.[28]

1(F)./123 Photographed the airfields at Sealand Broughton and Holyhead also reported a number of ships in the docks at Liverpool.[29]

12 Aug 1940 - A Ju 88 of 3(F)./123 took off at 07.10 hrs for a sortie to the English South Coast and also the Bristol Channel, at 12.07 - 12.15 hrs it circled Filton.[33]

At 07.35 hrs 2(F)./123 sent out a sortie to search between Swanage and Lyme Bay without seeing any shipping (07.45 – 08.30 hrs) at 08.10 hrs noted a number of small ships in Portland harbour.[34]

At 09.12 hrs 3(F)./123 sent out a Ju 88 with instructions to perform a recce of St Georges Channel.[35]

At 11.00 hrs a Ju 88 of the same unit was sent to perform see recce in the vicinit of the port of Liverpool.[35]

13 Aug 1940 – Fl.K.VIII sent out two Do 17s of 2(F)./123 at 15.45 hrs and two further Do 17s at 16.22 hrs all aircraft were to operate in the area Isle of Wight-Portland-Dartmouth on sea recce.[36]

1(F)./123 single Ju 88 departed at 09.35 hrs on a sortie encompassing Windsor-Oxford-Portsmouth – Brighton while another that departed slightly later at 09.42 hrs flew the route Portsmouth-Oxford-Bristol-Weymouth.[37]

14 Aug 1940 – 2(F)./123 single Do 17 sent on a weather recce sortie over the Channel and Southwest England.[38]

15 Aug 1940 – aircraft from Aufklgr 123 photographed airfields at Penrhos and Abersoch (Aber-Loch).[39]

Single Do 17 from 2(F)./123 performed a shipping recce sortie over the Channel.[39]

1(F)./123 sent a sortie out at 09.25 hrs and photographed RAF Kidwelly.[40]

16 Aug 1940 – 3(F)./123 sent out two Ju 88s (leaving at 10.03 hrs and 10.40 hrs), their task was to photograph airfields in the English Midlands and perform shipping recce in St Georges Channel.[41] The second sortie was abandoned due to engine damage.[42]

1(F)./123 dispatched a single Ju 88 to photograph west London.[43]

17 Aug 1940 - 1(F)./123 reported 7(3 available) Ju 88As and 5(5 available) Do 17Ps on strength, while 2(F)./123 had 7 (6 available) Do 17Ps and 2 (2 available) Ju 88s.[44]

A Ju 88 of 1(F)./123 was sent out at 09.28 hrs on a mission to airfields between Bristol and London. Unfortunately, there was heavy cloud over all of the objectives.[45]

2(F)./123 single aircraft departed at 09.30 for a sea recce. At 11.05 hrs reported that it had not sighted any shipping in the area between Selsey and Portland.[46]

18 Aug 1940 - 2(F)./123 - a single Do 17 departed at 06.25 hrs reporting on the weather in the area Guernsey – Lyme Bay – Bognor – Deaville area.[47]

3(F)/123: a single Ju 88 was sent off at 08.41 hrs to perform a recce of the Liverpool area and another Ju 88 took off at 08.43 hrs to photograph RAF installations in the Filton, Salisbury & Evesham areas. [47] These flights were abandoned due to low cloud ceiling.[48]

2(F)./123 a single Do 17 left at 10.00 hrs and operated in the Selsey – Plymouth area at 11.00 hrs reporting no shipping activity at that time. Weather at the time was clear with a slight haze, visibility was out to 40 km.[48]

20 Aug 1940 - 3(F)/123,2 Ju 88's, took off at 08.06 hrs and 08.12 hrs. Missions to Bristol, Gloucester, Derby and Liverpool areas. 1 aircraft reported N.of Bristol 12.13 hrs.[49]

1(F)./123 despatched a single Ju 88 to look at the docks and storage facilities at Pembroke, Swansea and Cardiff.[50]

22 Aug 1940 – 3(F)./123, a single Ju 88 was sent out at 06.40 hrs to photograph the fires at the oil storage depot at Pembroke Docks, numerous fires were reported[51]. These fires had been started on 19 Aug 1940 by a raid by three Ju 88s of K.Gr. 806[52] departing at 08.00 hrs, a single Do 17 from 2(F)./123 sent to check the area Isle of Wight – Portland for shipping. 09.00 hrs none reported.[53]

Aircraft from 3(F)./123 photographed Pembroke Docks and a number of airfields in the west country between 10.30 hrs and 12.00 hrs.[54]

23 Aug 1940 – A Do 17 from 2(F)./123 departed at 08.00 hrs for a recce of the sector Isle of Wight – Portland – Lyme Bay, reporting no shipping sighted.[55]

1(F)./123 sent out a sortie at 09.35 hrs to photograph airfields at St Athan and Cardiff, Newport harbour and a factory complex near Poole.[56]

At 09.40 hrs another Ju 88 of 1(F)./123 was sent out to photograph Liverpool.13This aircraft reported the following warships in Liverpool and Birkenhead docks: Cumberland class cruiser, numerous destroyers and the Prince of Wales.[57]

At 15.26 hrs a Do 17 of 2(F)./123 departed for a shipping recce sortie. At 16.00 hrs it was operating in the area of the Channel between Protland and the isle of Wight and reported no shipping movements.[58]

24 Aug 1940 – 3(F)./123 sent out a single Ju 88 at 06.33 hrs. This aircraft photographed St Athan and a number of other airfields.[59]

A Ju 88 from 1(F)./123 was sent to photograph Liverpool and returned with photographs of the following:

1. Four Cargo ships 60 km west north west of Pembroke sailing in a south south westerly direction.

2. RAF Jurby on the northeast coast of the Isle of Man.

3. Port St Mary, on the Southwest of the Isle of Man.

4. RAF Squire Gate, Blackpool

5. Flying boats on the Mersey at Liverpool.[60]

25 Aug 1940 – 1(F)./123 sent out a Ju 88 at 11.00 hrs to take a look at Portland Harbour, RAF Chickerell and Yeovilton.[61]

1(F)./123 sent out a Ju 88 at 14.35 hrs to photograph Yeovilton.[62]

A single Do 17 of 2(F)./123 sortied at 08.15 hrs, following the route Jersey – Lyme Bay – Portland – Isle of Wight – Cherbourg – Trouville.[63]

26 Aug 1940 – 2(F)./123 sent out a Do 17 at 07.30 hrs to conduct a shipping recce of the area between the Isle of Wight and Plymouth Bay – nothing sighted.[64]

3(F)./123 sent out a Ju 88 at 09.13 hrs to look at RAF Chickerell and Portland.[64]

Another Do 17 from 2(F)./123 departed at 14.30 Hrs it orders took it to the area between the isle of Wight and Dartmouth but it observed no shipping at that time.[65]

27 Aug 1940 – 2(F)./123 at 08.30 Hrs a single Do 17 sent to the area between the Isle of Wight and Lyme Bay.[66]

28 Aug 1940 – A Do 17 of 2(F)./123 took-off at 08.00 hrs on a sortie to cover the area between the Isle of Wight and Torquay but reported that it could not see any shipping.[67]

2(F)./123 sent a single Do 17 out starting at 16.08 hrs it was to check the Channel between the isle of Wight and Dartmouth and reported that it found no shipping.[68]

29 Aug 1940 – 3(F)./123 sent a Ju 88 at 09.10 hrs to photograph Liverpool. Due to adverse cloud conditions (9/10 cloud) the orders were only partially carried out. However, photos were taken of shipping at Fishguard Bay, Pembroke, St Agnes and St Mawes.[69]

30 Aug 1940 – a Ju 88 of 3(F)./123 that departed at 08.56 hrs reported 30-40 barrage balloons over Portsmouth at about 2000m.[70]

1(F)./123 sent out a Ju 88 at 09.40 hrs with orders to photograph targets in Birmingham.[71]

1 Ju 88 from 3(F)./123 departed at 09.48 hrs photographing Birkenhead, Bootle, Southport, Blackburn and Blackpool. Reported three large freighters 100 km to the west of Southport on a course of 290 degrees.[72]

3(F)/123 – a single Ju 88, took off at 10.06 hrs. Observations made over Bath, Portishead & Avonmouth. Over Bristol area 15.01 - 15.16 hrs. Probably took photo G85 Z 14 of Bath.

At 11.05 hrs a Ju 88 from 3(F)./123 took-off on a recce mission that was scheduled to take in the following – Liverpool Docks, Bootle, Birkenhead and airfields at Chester, Kidwelly (Pembrey) and Padstow. This sortie also reported shipping west of St Davids Head and in Pembroke Docks and in the Bristol Channel.[73]

Between 13.30 and 14.30 hrs 1(F)./123 photographed a number of airfields in the Birmingham, Swindon and Oxford areas.32 31 Aug 1940 – Aircraft from (F)./123 were tasked with photographing a number of airfields including: - St Eval, Kidwelly, Broughton, Pembroke, Blackpool - Squires Gate and Gatwick.[74]

Departing at 08.53 hrs a Ju 88 from 1(F)./123 sighted a convoy off the south west corner of the Isle of Man on a south westerly heading. This same aircraft photographed airfields at Sealand, St Merryn and St Eval.[75]

A Ju88 from 3(F)./123, departed at 09.07 hrs and sighted a convoy 20 km west of Birkenhead heading in a north-easterly direction. It also reported shipping in Liverpool roads and damage to Birkenhead docks.[76]

01 Sep 1940 – A Ju 88 of 1(F)./123 set out at 12.55 hrs under orders to take effective target photos of Liverpool but due to the cloud cover the mission did not have a successful conclusion.[77]

A single Do 17 set off at 14.45 hrs for a recce of the English southcoast between the Isle of Wight and Lyme Bay. It sighted various shipping including a submarine and torpedo boats.

02 Sep 1940 - 2(F)/123, 1 Do 17? & Bf 110? made observations over Bristol also Whitchurch, Filton & Weston super Mare airfields. Weston & Whitchurch photographed. Both a/c made very wide circles of Filton 14.25 hrs. Probably took photos of Kingswood, Northern Bath and Charmy Down airfield (812b/40 & 085).

A Do 17 of 2(F)./123 departed at 14.30 hrs to perform a visual recce of Portland and Portsmouth.[78]

1(F)/123 a single Ju 88 took off at 15.00 hrs to look at the damage to Bristol city and also photograph airfields at Filton, Whitchurch, Yeovil & Weston super Mare. Passed to N. of Bristol 16.56 hrs.[79]

03 Sep 1940 - from 3(F)/123 a single Ju 88 took off at 07.08 hrs. Over Bristol area 10.57 - 11.02 hrs. Observations made at Filton, Bristol and Avonmouth. Also photographed airfields and industry in the Birmingham and Coventry areas.[80]

?(F)/123, 1 Ju 88, t/o 08.07 hrs took photos over Filton.

A single Ju 88 from 1(F)./123 departed at 15.33 hrs to photograph the airfields at St Athan and Colerne.[81]

04 Sep 1940 - 3(F)/123, 1 Ju 88, t/o 08.45 hrs to obtain post raid photos of Bristol, Avonmouth, Hucclecote, Cardiff and Swansea. Aborted because of repeated fighter attacks.

04 Sep 1940 - 3(F)/123, 1 Ju 88 t/o 11.43 hrs on post raid photography mission to Bristol, Avonmouth and Cardiff. Over Bristol 16.12 hrs observations over Avonmouth and Bristol, also Filton, Whitchurch and Weston super Mare airfields. Filton, Whitchurch and Weston photographed.

05 Sep 1940 - 2(F)/123, 1 Ju 88, t/o 08.45 hrs on a mission to Bristol, Barry, Cardiff & Liverpool areas. Observations made at Portishead, Avonmouth, Whitchurch airfield & Bristol which was partly covered by clouds.

06 Sep 1940 - 2(F)/123, 1 Ju 88, t/o 10.25 hrs. Made two passes over Bristol 12.18 hrs. Observations made over Bristol, Avonmouth, Almondsbury, and at Whitchurch airfield. Landed 14.50 hrs.

07 Sep 1940 - 3(F)/123, 1 Ju 88, Armed Reconn. Bristol Area t/o 06.27 hrs. Over area 10.10 hrs, again at 10.30 hrs when it circled. 5 H.E.'s (including 1 UXB) dropped on Bristol City Centre. Observations over Bristol and Filton. Photo during attack 745 Z 45.

23 Sep 1940 - 2(F)/123, 1 Ju 88, 17.15 hrs over Bristol. Observations made over Filton and Whitchurch airfields. Filton photographed - 1075 S.

27 Sep 1940 - 3(F)/123, 1 Ju 88. Over Bristol area 09.30 hrs. Observations made over Filton, Weston super Mare and Avonmouth. Landed Chartres c.14.55 hrs. Photos Avonmouth and Filton 908b 011 & 016.

26 Oct 1940 - 2(F)./123 sortie to the Isles of Scilly.[82]

2 Nov 1940 – Hptm. Wilhelm Knapp Staka 3(F)./123 awarded the Ritterkreuz.[14]

5 Nov 1940 - a Bu131 belonging to 1(F)./123 crashed on the island of Jersey, cause unknown. The pilot, Oblt.Werner Franken, attempted to bail out but his chute failed to open and he fell to his death. The incident happened on the NW corner of the island at a place called Rozel. Local witnesses stated at the time that the pilot appeared to leave the aircraft for no apparent reason![83]

8 Nov 1940 - 2(F)./123 had a Ju 88A-1 (W.Nr. 350) force-landed at Belle Isle, 40 miles west of St Nazaire, due to damage received from enemy fire. The aircraft sustained 60% damage from the combat and the crash landing.[84]

14 Nov 1940 - 3(F)./123 lost a Ju 88A-5 (W.Nr. 454) which crashed at Parkstone, Dorset. Ofw Karl Hopf and crew killed. The aircraft (4U+FL) was destroyed.[85]

24 Nov 1940 - 3(F)./123 sent a Ju 88A-5 (W.Nr. 451) on a sortie to Coventry. The aircraft (4U+HL) crashed, and was destroyed, at Coates, Gloucerstershire. Fw Helmut Schwingshaki and the rest of the crew were killed.[86]

4 Dec 1940 – 3(F)./123 sent two Ju 88s and a Bf 110 on a post raid mission to identify the results of the attack on 2/3 Dec 1940 on Bristol and Avonmouth docks. The mission was aborted due to the amount of cloud encountered.[87]

5 Dec 1940 – 2(F)./123 sent a single Ju 88 on a sortie to Bristol. No photographs taken due to issues with icing.[87]

8 Dec 1940 – A Bf 110 of 2(F)./123 sent to look at Bristol.[87]

11 Dec 1940 – 2(F)./123 sent a single Ju 88 to photograph Bristol City centre at approx 13.30 hrs.[87]




Links

Aufklärungsgruppe 123

Aufkl. Gr. 123 1939

Aufkl. Gr. 123 1941

Aufkl. Gr. 123 1942

Aufkl. Gr. 123 1943

Aufkl. Gr. 123 1944

Aufkl. Gr. 123 1945

Michael Holm's Luftwaffe 1939-45

References

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  13. Der LuftKrieg in Europa 1939-41 Ulf Balke.
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Cornwell, Peter - The Battle of France Then and Now

Dierich, Wolfgang - Die Verband der Luftwaffe, 1939 - 45

Foreman, John - The Battle of Britain, the Forgotten Months

Goss, Chris - Do 17 in Focus

Green, William - Warplanes of the Third Reich

Griehl, Manfred - Strahlflugzeug Arado Ar 234 Blitz

Mason, Francis - Battle over Britain

Price, Alfred - The Luftwaffe Data Book

Ramsey, Winston et al - The Battle of Britain, Then and Now

Ramsey, Winston et al - The Blitz, Then and Now

Rosch, Barry - Luftwaffe Codes, Markings and Units 1939-45

Shores, et al - Fledgeling Eagles

Shores, et al - Air War for Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete 1940-41

Shores, et al - Malta – The Hurricane Years 1940-41

Shores, et al - Malta – The Spitfire Year – 1942

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