Sturzkampfgeschwader 1

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Sturzkampfgeschwader 1
Sturzkampfgeschwader 1.svg
Active 1939–1943
Country Nazi Germany
Branch Luftwaffe
Type Dive bomber
Role Close air support
Size Air Force Wing
Engagements Battles of Narvik
Battle of Dunkirk
Operation Eagle Attack
Battle honours Norwegian Campaign
Battle of Britain
German invasion of Yugoslavia
Battle of Greece
Battle of Crete
Eastern Front
Insignia
Identification
symbol
Geschwaderkennung of A5, became SG 1 in October 1943.

Sturzkampfgeschwader 1 (StG 1) was a Luftwaffe Dive bomber-wing of World War II. It was formed in November 1939

History[edit]

StG 1 was formed in November 1939 and remained active until October 1943, when all Sturzkampfgeschwader were renamed Schlachtgeschwader 1 (SG 1).

War time service[edit]

Norwegian campaign[edit]

Main article: Norwegian campaign

Fliegerkorps X was the only Luftwaffe fleet to take part in the campaign and I Gruppe StG 1 was the only component of StG 1 to take part.[1] Part of the Corps' order of battle was I. Gruppe StG 1, equipped with longer ranged Junkers Ju 87R as well as the standard Ju 87Bs. The unit was initially based at Kiel-Holtenau.[2] On 9 April I./StG took part in raids against Oscarsborg Fortress after the Norwegian coastal fortress had sunk the heavy cruiser Blücher. Soon afterwards the gruppe was takes with naval interdiction. Its primary target was the Royal Navy's Home Fleet. The same day, the unit hit the 600 ton torpedo boat Æger in the engine room. It was run aground and scuttled.[3] The units first loss occurred in 19 April. While attacking HMS Cairo, Leutnant Karl Pfeil and his gunner Gerhard Winkels were shot down and captured near Namsos. The same day, a British raid by Fleet Air Arm Blackburn Skua and Fairey Swordfish Aircraft destroyed six Ju 87s near Trondhiem/Værnes from carriers HMS Ark Royal and HMS Glorious. Ju 87s did manage to sink anti-submarine trawlers Siretoko, Jardine and Warwickshire. HMS Bittern was badly damaged and sunk by HMS Juno. Later, on 1 May 1940, I. Gruppe failed to hit Ark Royal during an interdiction against British naval forces off the coast.[4] Staffelkapitan of 2 Staffel, Oberleutnant Heinz Böhme claimed to have hit the carrier (he did not) and failed to mention in his report that he lost one of his Ju 87s (Oberfeldwebel Erich Stahl and Unteroffizier Friedrich Gott) to two Sea Gladiators of No. 802 Squadron RAF. This was the only loss on 1 May.

The next few missions on the afternoon of 1 May and 3 May, the Ju 87s had more success. The French large destroyer Bison was sunk along with HMS Afridi by I./Sturzkampfgeschwader 1 on 3 May 1940 during the evacuation from Namsos. Bison's forward magazine had been hit killing 108 of the crew. Afridi, who had attempted to rescue Bison's survivors was sunk with the loss of 63 sailors. On 4 May Ju 87s of I. Gruppe sank Norwegian steamers Blaafjeld, Sekstant, Pan and Aafjorld.[5] On 8 May Gruppenkommandeur Hauptmann Paul-Werner Hozzel, Oblt. Elmar Schaefer and Lt. Martin Möbus and veteran observer Unteroffizier Gerhard Grenzel, became the first Stuka crews to receive the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Grenzel was the first NCO in the Luftwaffe to receive the award.[5]

On 24 May 1940 I. Gruppe sank the Norwegian trawler Ingrid in Bodø harbour. The Gruppe suffered one loss; Feldwebel Kurt Zube, to a No. 263 Squadron RAF Gloster Gladiator flown by Flight Commander Caesar Hull. Zube was rescued by German forces. I. Gruppe also took part in the Battles of Narvik. Heinz Böhme and his gunner was killed on 2 June 1940 over Narvik. He was the victim of Sgt. H H Kitchener and Flt Lt A T Williams of No. 263 Squadron RAF. Two Ju 87s were shot down on the morning of the 2 June 1940. Lt Klaus Kuber and his gunner were killed, the victim of a No. 43 Squadron RAF Hawker Hurricane. Mk. I flown by Sgt B L Taylor whilst Feldwebel Hans Ott and his gunner Sonderfuhrer Brack fell victim to Flg Off. John F Drummond.[6]

Western Europe, 1940[edit]

No units of StG 1 took part in the western campaign in 1940. Stab./StG 1, I./StG 1 and III./StG 1 (which had I.St/TrG 186 specialised anti-shipping unit under its command) were committed to the Unternehmen Adlerangriff (Operation Eagle Attack) offensive under Hugo Sperrle's Luftflotte 3. All units were based at Angers, France, under the operational command of General der Flieger Wolfram von Richthofen. The total strength of the Geschwader was 80 Ju 87s with 55 operational.[7]

On 14 July 1940 StG 1 engaged various convoys heading westward through the English Channel. II./StG 1 and IV.(St). Lehrgeschwader 1 claimed five ships between them, including HMS Boreas and HMS Brilliant. Two II. Gruppe machines were lost. The same day III. Gruppe Ju 87s were forced to abandon a raid on Portland Harbour when engaged by RAF fighters. They suffered one shot down and two damaged.[8]

The last major convoy action took place on 8 August 1940 against Convoy CW 9 (Peewit), comprising 20 merchant ships and nine naval vessels. Two Stuka attacks were organised. The first involved StG 1 who lost two Ju 87s and two damaged. A second attack from 60 Ju 87s of I. StG 1, III./StG 2 and III./StG 3 resulted in the destruction of four merchant ships and damaged seven. In exchange three I./StG 3 Ju 87s were lost and another four damaged.[9] A third attack sank Empire Crusader.[10]

In mid-August StG 1 was ordered to cease missions owing to the Ju 87s unacceptable losses. It continued operating over the channel until February 1941.[11]

The Balkans[edit]

I Grupp./StG 1 took part in the Balkans Campaign. Supported by 1,200 aircraft, 27 German divisions (including seven Panzer) of the Army made short work of the Yugoslav Army, and then the Greek Army and the small British Army contingent sent to assist. I./StG operated from bases in eastern Romania.[12] The Gruppe also participated in attacks on Malta's convoys.[13]

North Africa[edit]

I Gruppe was rushed to North Africa in February 1941 to support the Afrika Korps (Deutsches Afrikakorps).[14]

Eastern Front[edit]

StG 1 participated in most of the battles in the Soviet Union. At the end of Barbarossa, StG 1 had lost 60 Stukas in aerial combat and one on the ground.[15]

Commanding officers[edit]

Kommodore[edit]

Gruppenkommandeure[edit]

I. Gruppe StG 1[edit]

  • Major Werner Rentsch, 1 May 1939 – 18 October 1939
  • Major Paul-Werner Hozzel, 18 October 1939 – December 1941
  • Hauptmann Bruno Dilley (acting), December 1941 – December 1941
  • Hauptmann Helmut Sorge (acting), December 1941 – 13 January 1942
  • Hauptmann Helmut Krebs, 17 June 1943 – 15 July 1943
  • Major Horst Kaubisch, 15 July 1943 – 18 October 1943

II. Gruppe StG 1[edit]

III. Gruppe StG 1[edit]

  • Hauptmann Helmut Mahlke, 9 July 1940 – 19 September 1941
  • Major Peter Graßmann, 19 September 1941 – 1 April 1943
  • Major Friedrich Lang, 1 April 1943 – 18 October 1943

See also[edit]

Organization of the Luftwaffe during World War II

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Weal 1997, p. 88.
  2. ^ Hooton 2007 Vol 2, p. 32.
  3. ^ Weal 1997, pp. 34-35
  4. ^ Weal 1997, p. 35.
  5. ^ a b Weal 1997, p. 37.
  6. ^ Weal 1997, p. 38.
  7. ^ Weal 1997, pp. 88-89.
  8. ^ Weal 1997, pp. 71-72.
  9. ^ <Weal 1997, p. 74.
  10. ^ "Isle of Wight Shipwrecks: The Second World War". BBC. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  11. ^ Ward 2004, p. 109.
  12. ^ Ward 2004, pp. 119-120.
  13. ^ Ward 2004, p. 125.
  14. ^ Ward 2004, p. 117.
  15. ^ Bergström 2007 (Barbarossa title), p. 119

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bergström, Christer. Barbarossa - The Air Battle: July–December 1941. London: Chervron/Ian Allan, 2007. ISBN 978-1-85780-270-2.
  • Bergström, Christer. Stalingrad - The Air Battle: November 1942 - February 1943. London: Chervron/Ian Allan 2007. ISBN 978-1-85780-276-4.
  • Bergström, Christer. Kursk - The Air Battle: July 1943. London: Chervron/Ian Allan, 2007. ISBN 978-1-903223-88-8.
  • Bergström, Christer. Bagration to Berlin - The Final Air Battles in the East: 1944 - 1945. London: Ian Allan, 2008. ISBN 978-1-903223-91-8.
  • Griehl, Manfred. Junker Ju 87 Stuka. London/Stuttgart: Airlife Publishing/Motorbuch, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-198-6.
  • Hayward, Joel S. Stopped at Stalingrad: The Luftwaffe and Hitler's Defeat in the East 1942-1943. University Press of Kansas, 2001. ISBN 0-7006-1146-0
  • Hooton, E.R. Luftwaffe at War; Blitzkrieg in the West: Vol. 2. London: Chervron/Ian Allan, 2007. ISBN 978-1-85780-272-6.
  • Hooton, E.R (2007). Luftwaffe at War; Gathering Storm 1933-39: Volume 1. London: Chervron/Ian Allan. ISBN 978-1-903223-71-0.
  • Ward, John. Hitler's Stuka Squadrons: The Ju 87 at war, 1936 - 1945. London: Eagles of War, 2004. ISBN 1-86227-246-8.
  • Weal, John. Junkers Ju 87 Stukageschwader 1937-41. Oxford: Osprey, 1997. ISBN 1-85532-636-1.
  • Weal, John. Junkers Ju 87 Stukageschwader of North Africa and the Mediterranean. Oxford: Osprey, 1998. ISBN 1-85532-722-8.
  • Weal, John. Junkers Ju 87 Stukageschwader of the Russian Front. Oxford: Osprey, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84603-308-7.

External links[edit]