Wekusta 3

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(D7+) (Staffel letters VH to ZH)

Aircraft types operated: Ju 88D-1 and Ju 188F-1.

Operational over the North Sea and North Atlantic for Weather Reconnaissance.

Jan 1944 - formed at Stavanger-Sola from Wetterkette Südnorwegen (Stavanger). Initially only had a complement of about five aircraft.

Operated under the command of Luftflotte 5 and still operated under the control of Wekusta 1 OKL. StaffelKäpitan – Lt Horst Dittmar (he had previously been the commanding officer of Wetterkette Südnorwegen. Met Observer leader – Reg Rat Dr Liedtke.

23 Feb 1944 – Lt Horst Dittmar, Wd ObInsp Otto Jürgens, Ofw. Bornemann and Ofw. gerhand Fahrendholz were all killed when Ju 88D-1 (D7+FH) was attacked by an RAF Mosquito south of Stavanger.

28 Feb 1944 – Oblt. Hans-Joachim Dubrow appointed StaffelKäpitan. Dubrow previously had flown with Wekusta 6. Reg Rat Gerhard Perlewitz was also transferred from Wekusta 6 and flew a number of sorties with Dubrow in the next month.

23 Apr 1944 – Ju 88D-1 (D7+YH) was damaged by allied fighters over a convoy west of the Faroes. This aircraft ditched 80 km from the coast of Norway. Two crew were killed in the ditching – Ogefr Karl-Heinz Scholz (Bf) and Fw August Schaal (Bm), one drowned – Wd Ref Albert Kuhn and one survived – Fw Willy Döhle. The survivor spent approx 4 hours clinging to the capsized dinghy and was eventually rescued by a Do 24 from 10./Seenotgruppe operating from Stavanger.

31 May 1944 – Wekusta 3 took over the flight schedule previously operated by Wekusta 1 OKL.

June 1944 - Oblt Hans Huck became StaffelKäpitan, Dubrow returned to Wekusta 6.

11 Jun 1944 – Ju 88D-1 shot down by a U-Boat while on the outward leg of a sortie from Stavanger. The crew included Wd Ass Günter Rudolf, but the flight engineer was the sole survivor.

Sep 1944 – Aircraft transferred in from Wekusta 5 in Trondheim. In addition, crews for these planes were provided from the now defunct Wekusta 2 OKL.

Oct 1944 – Issued with the new code “4B” (no staffel letter assigned).

9 Oct 1944 – Ju 88D-1 (D7+WH) was shot down 130 Km East Northeast of herma Ness in the Shetland Islands. Although the aircraft managed a successful ditching and the crew were seen to exit the aircraft and board the life rafts, all were lost – Stfw Willi Meier, Wd Ass Martin Hanetzki, Uffz Willi Uderstedt, Helmut Helms and an unidentified additional air gunner.

2 Nov 1944 – relocated to Øysand. This airfield suffered from a short runway so aircraft could not take-off with a full fuel load and had to land at Ørlandet to take on a full fuel load before setting out on their sorties.

8 May 1945 – Last sorties flown – volunteer crews flew to Kurland to evacuate wounded soldiers landing back in Germany to surrender. Unit surrendered to British forces, disbanded.

Wekusta 3 provided three or four Ju 188s and a Ju 88D that flew from Øysand to Libau while one crew flew from Trondhein-Vaernes to Libau. The camera equipment was femoved before the flight and only the radio operator flew as crew with the pilot. One crew had to turn back with engine trouble and another was rescued when their aircraft was destroyed by the Russians. One returning aircraft landed at Eschwege, Hesse, another at keil-Holtenau and a third at Hamburg-Fuhlshüttel. Each aircraft was able to repastriate approx 14 soldiers.

Bases - 1.44 - 11.44 Stavanger-Sola

11.44 - 5.45 Øysand


References

Holm, Michael – The Luftwaffe 1939-45 (web site)

Rosch, Barry – Luftwaffe Codes, Markings and Units 1939-45 (Schiffer)

Rosch, Barry - Luftwaffe Support Units

Kington & Selinger - Wekusta

Luftwaffe im Focus SpezialNo 2

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