Luftwaffe Construction Battalions

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Luftwaffe Construction Battalions, Companies and Independent Platoons (Züge)
By: Larry deZeng


Without this important branch of the Luftwaffe, there would have been no serviceable airfields for the flying units, no buildings and shelters on those airfields, no fuel and ammunition dumps, no unit command bunkers, no installations and facilities for the Luftwaffe signals troops (Luftnachrichtentruppen) or a variety of other infrastructure. Hundreds of battalions and companies were set up over the course of the war, and at approximately peak strength on the eve of the attack on Russia the Luftwaffen-Bautruppen numbered 153,000 officers and men or 10.5% of the Luftwaffe's total uniformed strength. There were some 26 different types of Luftwaffe construction units, and these are identified in the KStN series L 6332 through L 6397. The following example illustrates a typical Lw.-Bau-Btl.:


Contents

Lw.-Bau-Btl. 16/XI

Formed c.28 February 1941 in the Luftgau XI area in northern Germany with a Stab, 1. - 3. Kp. and an attached Kolonne (equipment column) designated Lw.-Bau-Geräte-Zug 2 (See). Two more companies were added by 1943 giving it 1. - 5. Kp. These two additional companies comprised PoWs (most likely Russian). The battalion was one of a large number set up in early 1941 to construct airfields and other Luftwaffe installations and facilities in Russia as part of the planned invasion that began on 22 June 1941.


Poland, Romania, Ukraine and Crimea

20 May 1941 - elements moving from Dubowo/north Poland to Romania (Focşani?).

20 Jun 1941 - Stab and at least one company still at Dubowo.

18 Jul 1941 - Btl. now at Bacău/Romania under Luftgaustab z.b.V. 40.

15 Sep 1941 - 9 men from the battalion reported WIA during Russian air attack on Chaplinka airfield/80 km south-east of Kherson in Ukraine.

15 Dec 1941 - all or elements of the battalion at Nikolayev/south Ukraine.

Jan 1942 - Stab and 3. Kp. at Saki/Crimea and still there 3.42.

22 Feb 1942 - Btl. engaged in airfield construction work at Saki and Sarabus airfields in Crimea.

27 Mar 1942 - 1 man WIA at Sarabus airfield.

13 May 1942 - elements still at Sarabus/Crimea.

26 Sep 1942 - 1 man WIA during a Russian air raid at Novo Ukrainka airfield/60 km west-south-west of Kirovograd in central Ukraine.

11 Feb 1943 - 1 man WIA during a Russian air attack on Bagerovo airfield/14 km west-north-west of Kerch in eastern Crimea.

18 Apr 1943 - 5 men KIA and 2 more WIA (including a Hptm. Gottfried Averdunk) during an enemy air raid on Saki airfield.

17 Dec 1943 - except for a small cadre, German personnel largely removed and the battalion filled up with PoWs (probably Russian) and re-designated Lw.-Bau-Btl. 116/XI (K).


FpNs

Stab (L 35437)

1.Kp. (L 35694)

2.Kp. (L 36543)

3.Kp. (L 36990)

Kolonne (L 32551)


Kommandeur

Hptm. Kurt Gille ( ? - ? ) 1/42, 3/42

Hptm. Gottfried Averdunk? ( ? - ? ) 4/43


Sources

BA-MA Freiburg: Signatur RL 2 III Verlustmeldungen; Signatur RL 20/293-94; NARA WashDC: Record Group 242, Microcopy T-77 rolls 937-63 (Lw.-Personalamt Personalveränderungen); T-405 roll 49, frame 140; T-501 roll 57; T-501 roll 58, frame 051; PRO London: AIR 40/1978; [Deutschen Roten Kreuz - Suchdienst München], Vermisstenbildlisten des Deutschen Roten Kreuzes, 173 Bde (München, 1960's)].

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