KG 66

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Kampfgeschwader 66 (Z6+)

Formation Dates

KG 66 (Z6+) Formed: Chartres at end April 1943.
I Stab. formed from 15./KG6 - Apr. 1943, disbanded - May 1945
1./KG66 formed - Apr.1943 at Chartres from 15./KG6, with Do 217 and Ju 88A bombers, ready in 7.43, disbanded - May 1945
2./KG66 formed - Apr.1943, disbanded - May 1945
3./KG66 formed - Apr.1943, became 6(F)/Aufkl.Gr.123 in May 1944, reformed May 1944, then became 4./KG66 Jun. 1944 and was then reformed again this time from 5./KG66, finally disbanded in May 1945.
4./KG66 Formed from Erpr.Sta. 188 was formed at Vannes in Oct 1943, moved to Straussberg in 2.44 - in Jun.1944 became Erg.Sta./KG66, reformed from 3./KG66 in Jun. 1944 and disbanded in May 1945.
5./KG66 Formed May 1944, became 3./KG66 in Jun. 1944 and was reformed from elements of 4./KG66 in Jun. 1944 and was disbanded in Nov.1944.
III Stab This unit was formed from Stab IV./KG101 in Sept. 1944 it became II/KG200 in Jan.1945.
7./KG66 Formed from 10./KG101 in Sept.1944 and became 5./KG200 in Jan.1945.
8./KG66 Formed from 11./KG101 in Sept.1944 and became 6./KG200 in Jan.1945
9./KG66 Formed from 2./KG101 in Sept.1944 and became 7./KG200 in Jan.1945, reformed from 12./KG101 in Jan.1945 and subsequently became 8./KG200 during that same month.
Erg.Sta Formed from 4./KG66 in Jun. 1944 and disbanded in Nov.1944.
Eins.Sta Formed from Eins.Sta./KG101 in Sept.1944 then became Stab.II/KG200 in Nov.1944



Establishment

Stab, 1, 2, 3 and later 4 & 5 Staffel.

Maintenance Company Ergänzungstaffel./KG66 based at Strasbourg and later Greifswald. In addition to the above there was an Electronics Company.



Operational Duties

Marking targets for other bomber units - "Pfadfinder".

For "Operation Steinbock" Pfadfinder practices developed in 1943 were used by the specially equipped Do 217 and Ju 188 aircraft of I/KG66 and included target sky- or ground-marking.

KG 66 used two bombing/navigation aids these were Y-Verfahren (Kampf) and Egon.

Y-Verfahren was a precision bombing system that used a single VHF beam coupled with distance measuring equipment.

Egon was a ground controled bombing system using a high powered transponder in the aircraft (FuG25a) and Freya ground based radar.

The new procedures required aircraft of this specially trained pfadfindergruppe to remain at a very low height while over their own territory thus avoiding early radar detection, and then climbed rapidly over the sea to cross the English coast at 23,000 feet or higher. From thereon height was to be lost gradually on a high speed approach to the target area where, in either cloudy conditions or poor visibility, the final approach track was to be indicated to the main force by a line of sky-marker flares called "Leuchtpfad". More sky-marker flares were to be used to indicate the actual target area.

If good weather prevailed I/KG66 was to lay a line of incendiary bombs (Ablauflinie) on the approach to the target but at right-angles to the approach track. From the Ablauflinie the main force aircraft were to make a timed run to the bomb release point; in addition the edges of the target area were to be indicated by a further set of parallel lines if incendiaries positioned by other aircraft of I/KG66.

In theory, since the main force arrived anywhere near the target area it should have then had no difficulty in finding the aiming point. To get to the vicinity of the target the route was to be marked by light beacons on the ground in German-occupied territory; by vertical searchlights to indicate turning points on the French coast and by flares on marker buoys dropped in the Channel.

It was concluded by British intelligence that the success of the main force attack was largely dependent on the ability of the target markers of I/KG66 to perform their vital task with precision. If they failed to do so, as was frequently the case, the target finding ability of the main force was very poor.



Operations

Summer 1943 until May 1944 - operations against England as a "Pathfinder" unit.


Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
29-30 May 1943 I/KG 66 Ju 88S-1 NL+EX 550 Shot down by Mosquito of 85 Sqdn. at Isfield near Lewes.Plane left Chartres at 00.49 for raid on London.First S-1 to come down in England.

Aug 18, 1943 - KG66 first takes Ju 188E into combat with a raid on Lincoln. Raid, of three aircraft, led by Lt.Hans Altrogge to attack the Ruston and Hornsby factory in Lincoln.


Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
2 Oct 1943 2./KG 66 Ju 188E-1 Z6+GK 260175 Crashed off Spurn Head, Yorkshire, while taking evasive action during a night operational mission.Ltn G Beubler, Uffz H Urban, Uffz A Fischer and Uffz E Pausch all killed.
4 Oct 1943 2./KG 66 Ju 188E-1     Missing from night mission.


Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
4 Jan 1944 I./KG 66 Ju 88S Believed to have been shot down by an RAF intruder near Abbeville.
4 jan 1944 I./KG 66 Ju 88S-1 Z6+KH 140609 Missing from a night mission, believed shot down by a 96 Sqdn Mosquito off Hastings. Ufz K Windleband, Ogefr H Schwarz and Uffz G Jarozim all missing.

Jan 21, 1944 - KG66 pathfinders preceded He 177s with I/KG 54, II/KG 54 and KG 2 following. The target was London - specifically the area SE of Waterloo Station - this was codenamed "München"


Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
29 Jan 1944 3./KG 66 Ju 88S Missing from a night attack on London.
Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
3 Feb 1944 2./KG 66 Ju 188E-1 Missing from an attack on London.


Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
13 Feb 1944 2./KG 66 Ju 188E-1 Crashed at Lille upon returning from an attackon London.
13 Feb 1944 I./KG 66 Ju 88S-1 Z6+HH 140606 Shot down near Romford, Essex while on raid to London by a Mosquito of 406 Sqdn - also hit by AA fire. Uffz H Ehling and Fw J Weikert killed, Uffz H Neidack baled out POW.
Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
18 Feb 1944 I./KG 66 Ju 88S-1 Crashed near Le Culot during a night attach on London.
18 Feb 1944 I./KG 66 Ju 88S-1 Missing from a night attack on London.
18 Feb 1944 I./KG 66 Ju 188E-1 Missing from a night attack on London.
18 Feb 1944 I./KG 66 Ju 188E-1 Crashed near Montidier on return from an attack on London.

Feb 23-24, 1944 - Operational orders outlined an attack on the Isle of Dogs - the target was codenamed "Hamburg". 2./KG 66 committed two aircraft to provide the target marking for the attack.

Feb 24-25, 1944 - An attack took place on London, 170 sorties, led by the pfadfinders of I/KG66 operating from Montididier. Other units taking part were I/KG 2 from Melun/Villaroche, II/KG 2 from Coulummiers, III/KG 6 of Brussels/Melsbroeck and I/KG 100 from Chateaudon. While the target was London bombs fell in the area bounded by Southampton-Reading-Luton-Ipswich. One aircraft from I/KG 66 was shot down 40 km north of Fecamp.


Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
Feb 24-25, 1944 2./KG 66 Ju 188E-1 Z6+HK 260185 Shot down by a Mosquito of 29 Sqdn.Crashed at Great Streele Farm, Framfield, Sussex at 9.50pm.Uffz. L. Boetch (injured) and Uffz. H Thomale baled out and made POW. Oberfw.A.Schutz, Lt.H.H. Köthe and Uffz.H. Böhm were all killed.The aircraft broke up in the air.

Mar 1-2, 1944 - Seventy aircraft crossed the English coast of which only ten of which reached London. 1./KG 66 committed aircraft to this operation as they lost one of their number shot down 20 km west of St. Omer. Mar 14-15, 1944 - I/KG66 from Motididier provided pathfinders for a raid consisting of aircraft from the following units:- I,II & III/KG 2; II/KG 3; I,II & III KG 6; II & III KG 30; I & II/KG 54 and KG 51. Additionally, diversionary sorties were flown by SKG10. The collecting point was 52 21N / 03 08E, landfall took place at 22.11 between Cromer and Clacton, most aircraft actually crossing the coast between Yarmouth and Southwold at heights of between 14,000 and 24,000 feet before then heading towards London. Mar 19-20, 1944 - A strike force of 50 aircraft was launched to attack Hull but no bombs struck the target area. Aircraft crossed the coast in the Lincolnshire and Norfolk areas. Units taking part were KG 2, KG 30, KG 54, KG 66 and KG 100.


Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
19-20 Mar 1944 2./KG66 Ju 188 Z6+EK Shot down near the Humber Lightship. Had been sent to provide Lux buoys at location 53 32N 02 35E.

Mar 21-22, 1944 - A force of approximately 95 aircraft crossed the English coast this night bound for London. Stab. I/ KG 66 had a Ju 88S crash near Soesterberg. Mar 24-25, 1944 - A major effort was made with 143 aircraft taking part in a raid on London. Units taking part were KG 2, KG 6 KG 30, KG 54 and inevitably the pfadfinders of KG 66. A Ju 88S of 1./KG66 was last heard from 25 Miles south of Brighton.


Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
24-25 Mar 1944 Erg. St./KG66 Ju 88S-1 Z6+IN 301228 This aircraft had its fuel tanks punctured over London by AA fire, it ran out of fuel on the return flight.Crashed into the sea 4 miles off Brighton, Sussex at 1.00 am. Bodies of Uffz. E. Meindl and Lt.W. Ohse found and subsequently buried at sea. Gefr.A. Rohrhirsch baled out and captured after spending four hours in a one man dinghy.Aircraft sank in sea.

27-28 Mar 1944 - Strike on Bristol - Luftwaffe claimed to have attacked this city with 139 aircraft although no bombs struck the place. Aircraft were plotted over the whole of southern England. Units involved were KG 2, KG 6, KG 30, KG 54 and KG66. A Ju 88S of 1./G66 failed to return from this sortie.


Date Unit Aircraft Type Code Wkr.No. Notes
18 Apr 1944 2./KG66 Ju 188E-1 Z6+EK 260523 Aircraft lost while changing base with ground crew on board. Shot down by Typhoons of 266Sqdn. combined with AA fire.Crashed at Exbury Hse, near Beaulieu, Hants. at 7.30 am.All the crew were killed and the aircraft destroyed.The following Luftwaffe personnel died in this crash:-Uffz.H.Czipin, Uffz.J.Krause, Uffz.R.Schultes, Obergefr.H. Ehrhardt, Uffz.E. Wysotzki, Gefr. E.Vester and Obergefr.L.Schwingenstein.

Apr. 20-21, 1944 - The Luftwaffe mounted an attack on Hull by 130 aircraft including some commitment by 1./KG66 plus aircraft from KG 2, KG 30, KG 54 and KG 100.. However, UK air defences recorded a plot of some 60 aircraft over the East Coast. It should be noted that the target, Hull, was untouched. The Luftwaffe lost eight aircraft including one Ju 88S of 1./KG66.

Apr. 25-26, 1944 - This night was the first of a series of four raids mounted against Portsmouth. Once again bombing was scattered so the target was not immediately apparent. Units committed included KG 2, KG 66 and KG 100, with reconnaissance provided by 1(F)/122. Once again 1./KG66 lost a Ju 188.

June- August 1944 - similar operations against the Allied landings in northern France.

1/2 Sept. 1944 - Two "Mistelen" of III/KG66 crashed in the UK, it is assumed that they had been launched against shipping targets. One crashed at Warsop, Nottinghamshire and the other at Hothfield, near Ashford Kent.

In December 1944 and January 1945 provided target marking during the Ardennes offensive and also performed some mining operations in the Scheldt estuary.

17th Dec.1944 - Nine Ju 88S. of I/KG 66 took part in attacks on Allied troop concentrations in the Ardennes SW of Aachen. They took off singly, from ?????, at ten minute intervals starting at 03.00 on Monday. Their orders were to disrupt American troop movements in the Aachen area thus slowing Allied traffic trying to reinforce the Ardennes attack zone - they were not very successful.

24th Dec.1944 - Ju 88 bombers of I/KG 66 attacked Bastogne along with aircraft from LG 1. As a prelude to the attack the town centre was marked with magnesium flares and once the attack was over some strafing took place.

29th Dec.1944 - Ju 88s and Ju 188s. from KG 66 formed the majority off the 52 aircraft, sent in two waves to attack Bastogne after dark and before dawn on the 30th. The attack was severe, being the largest single ground attack operation of the Ardennes offensive, sending the local civilian population into headlong flight.

During the period March - April 1945 provided help in transporting troops and operated as pathfinder target markers for Mistel elements of KG 30 during operations against the Oder bridges.



Unit Commanders

I/KG 66 September 1942 Dietrich Peltz

I/KG 66 5.43 - 5.45 Maj. Hermann Schmidt.



Sources

The Blitz - Then and Now - Ramsey - After the Battle Publications


To Win the Winter Sky - Danny S Parker - Greenhill

The Luftwaffe 1939-45 - Michael Holm -web site


Pfadfinder - Ken Wakefield - Tempus


Eagle in Flames - E.R.Hooton - Brockhampton Press


Luftwaffe Codes, Markings and Units 1939-1945 - Barry C Rosch - Schiffer

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