This is a follow-up to a previous Air War Publications blog post regarding 20 May 1944 Luftwaffe operations over the southern sector of the Eastern Front. The German command responsible for that region, Luftflotte 4, was kept very busy in 1944, as the relentless Soviets pushed forward into Romania and the Ukraine, and towards the end of the year into Hungary, Bulgaria, and elsewhere. Luftflotte 4 was generally assigned the ‘cream’ of the Eastern Front air force, including the highest scoring fighter unit of all time, Jagdgeschwader 52, and the most successful ground-attack unit of the war, Schlachtgeschwader 2.
Below are a few Luftflotte 4 ground-attack unit claims and operations on the southern sector of the Eastern Front, 1944. See Jörg’s excellent map of the relevant area. III./SG 2 was equipped with the Ju 87, and I./SG 10 flew the Fw 190, while II./JG 52 was, of course, a Bf 109 unit.
14 May 1944
Ground-attack aircraft and anti-tank units supported the defensive fighting west of Butor and south of Dubossary, destroying seven tanks, 22 vehicles, and several artillery and anti-tank gun positions. Six tanks were damaged. Rumanian fighter-bombers attacked a bridge in Pl.Qu. 6855.
05:35-06:35: III./SG 2 mission from Husi to Grigoriopol
06:20-07:20: I./SG 10 mission from Bacau, landing at Leipzig, bombs on target
07:40-08:40: III./SG 2 mission from Husi, batteries
08:55-09:55: I./SG 10 mission from Leipzig, landing at Bacau
11:10-12:15: I./SG 10 mission from Leipzig, landing at Bacau, escorted Stukas and bombed vehicles
11:05-12:05: III./SG 2 mission from Husi, fighters and flak
13:35-14:35: III./SG 2 mission from Husi, fighters and flak
13:55-15:05: I./SG 10 mission from Bacau, attacked vehicles, bombs on target
16:50-17:50: III./SG 2 mission from Husi, attacked vehicles
Hindered by bad weather, operated with slight forces against enemy movements in Tarnopol area. Anti-tank ground-attack aircraft knocked out one tank and effectively shot up three more in front of XI. Armeekorps.
18 May 1944
14:15-15:10: III./SG 2 mission from Husi, artillery positions south of Dorozkoje
15:45-16:35: III./SG 2 mission from Husi
17:15-18:25: III./SG 2 mission from Husi, infantry positions in Goschnitza area
19 May 1944
Attacked tanks and artillery positions in encirclement area west of Grigoripol. Six tanks and nine guns destroyed, one tank damaged. Another ground-attack operation in area Pl.Qu. 9879.
No operations due to bad weather
20 May 1944
See the previously published blog post.
21 May 1944
22 May 1944
Ground-attack aircraft carried out an attack on a bridge north-west of Parkamy, Pl.Qu. 9724, scoring well-placed hits. Other ground-attack aircraft were to have attacked tanks north of Targul Frumos, but instead attacked vehicle concentrations in that area because no tanks were seen.
Bad weather prevented ground-attack operations.
25 May 1944
07:30-08:20: III./SG 2 mission from Husi, west of Butor, flak and ground fire
10:00-11:00: III./SG 2 mission from Husi, west of Butor, flak and ground fire
15:00-15:50: III./SG 2 mission from Husi, west of Butor, flak and ground fire
27 May 1944
Helmut Lipfert of 6./JG 52 wrote: “The two Staffeln of our Gruppe transferred to Husi on the Prut River on May 27. From there we resumed combat flying. Also based at Husi was Major Rudel and his Stukas. We fighter pilots were given the job of providing escort for the bombers when they flew up to Jassy.”
28 May 1944
12:55-13:55: II./JG 52 mission from Husi, sweep to Jassy, combat with two Jak-7s
16:15-17:20: II./JG 52 mission from Husi, sweep to Jassy, no enemy aircraft, flak
29 May 1944
19:05-20:10: II./JG52 mission from Husi, escorting Ju 87s, no enemy contact
30 May 1944
04:00-04:50: II./SG 2 mission from Bacau
Ju 87 D-5 WNr. 130 832 of 10.(Pz.)/SG 2 made forced landing after being shot down by fighters eight kilometres north of Jassi, crew killed when the aircraft overturned.
NA HW 5
Loss information via Salonen
Hermann Buchner, Stormbird
Werner Girbig & Helmut Lipfert, War Diary