Kdo. Kunkel

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Unit Code 4C

Commanded by Hptm Fritz Kunkel.

Operations

This unit used Ju 88C-6 and R-2 aircraft - equipped with FuG 202 Lichtenstein and FuG 227 Flensberg airborne interception radar against allied aircraft operating over the Bay of Biscay during the night.

It was initially attached to Fliegerführer Atlantik.

The main targets were RAF minelaying aircraft and those Coastal Command aircraft hunting U-Boats in the Bay of Biscay.

Crews for this Sonderkommando were drawn from I and III/ ZG 1. Lt.Arthur Ewert and Ofw Kurt Gäbler were among the personnel seconded to this unit.

12 Nov 1943 - Operations commenced some time before the unit was officially formed. Initially based at Bordeaux. Kunkel flew a number of sorties to the area northwest of Cape Ortegal.

20 Dec 1943 - the unit reported that it had 7 Ju 88s on strength of which 2 were servicable. The only crew available was that commanded by Fritz Kunkel.

2 Jan 1944 - First night mission in support of the U-Boats took place.

15 Jan 1944 - Official formation date.

Crews for this Sonderkommando were drawn from I and III/ ZG 1. Lt.Arthur Ewert and Ofw Kurt Gäbler were among the personnel seconded to this unit.

Feb - Mar 1944 - limited additional sorties over the bay of biscay.

7 Feb 1944 - Unit moved to Nantes.

20 Feb 1944 - under the control of Stab/KG.40.

20 Mar 1944 – Order of Battle – Lufflotte 3 strength of the unit was given as strength 6 servicable 2 – Ju88. (See pg 324 The Blitz Then and Now V3)

20-30 Mar 1944 - Sorties over the Bay of Biscay.

10 Apr 1944 - under the control of Stab X. Fliegerkorps.

2 May 1944 - Lt Ewert recorded the unit's first success when he destroyed a Halifax over Toulouse.

4 May 1944 - Lt Ewert recorded a further success when he shot down a Short Stirling south or Paris. Ewert's two "kills" so far from the Bay of Biscay suggest that this unit was called upon to operate as a standard nightfighter unit on some occassions should the circumstances dictate this.

27 May 1944 - Hptm.Kunkel recorded a successful interception over the Bay of Biscay.

30 May 1944 - the unit was redesignated 9.(Nacht)/ZG 1 and formed the third staffel of III./ ZG 1.

References

Bloody Biscay - Chris Goss - Pub. Crecy 1997

Sea Eagles -Chris Goss - Classic

Luftwaffe im Focus 15 - p22-23

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