Wettererkundungsstaffel

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Wettererkundungsstaffeln (also known as Wekusta or Westa) were flying units of the Luftwaffe of squadron strength used for weather reconnaissance. Their primary task was to collect weather data in areas that only aircraft could penetrate.

For the planning and conduct of military operations, the ability to produce accurate weather forecasts can be a decisive factor. However, international weather data required for this purpose were not readily available to the German military at the time of the Second World War. The Wehrmacht therefore created a global network of weather stations, weather ships and weather aircraft. The weather aircraft were organised into special squadrons and were usually directly subordinate to the Luftwaffe or Luftwaffenführungskommando. Overall, there were eleven Wekustas, each of which had between three and twelve two-engined aircraft. Many meteorologists were conscripted into the squadrons to collect the weather data and more than 200 of them were killed.[1]

Units[edit]

Squadron name Squadron Identification Code
(Geschwaderkennung format)
Formation Subordinate
Wekusta 1 (also Wekusta/Lfl.1) B7+_A, (T5) July 1939 Luftflotte 1
Wekusta 1/Ob.d.L. T5+_U from July 1942: D7+_H July 1940 from Wekusta/Ob.d.L.
Wekusta 2/Ob.d.L. T5+_V, from July 1942: D7+_K) July 1940 from Wekusta 2
Wekusta Ob.d.L T5+_U June 1939 from Großraum-Wekusta, from July 1940 Wekusta 1/Ob.d.L.
Wekusta 3 4B 1939 planned but not established. January 1944 from Wetterkette Stavanger
Wekusta 5 (also Wekusta/Lfl. 5) 1B+_H, from May 1942: D7+_N May 1940 from Wetterkette Nord Luftflotte 5
Wekusta 6 D7+_P July 1943 from Wekusta Banak
Wekusta 7 K4+_A November 1944
Wekusta 26 5M, from June 1944 C5+_H June 1939, later 6./Aufkl.Gr. 122, June 1944 Neuaufstellung Luftflotte 2
Wekusta 27 Q5 June 1943 from parts of Wekusta 26
Wekusta 51 4T+_H June 1939 Luftflotte 3
Wekusta 76 5Z+_A December 1940 Luftflotte 4

Notes:
The squadron identification code painted on the side of the aircraft was based on the standardized Geschwaderkennung four-place alphanumeric characters used by the Luftwaffe's combat wing and group-sized units, two characters on either side of the Balkenkreuz national insignia. For example, from the table above, B7 + _A = B7 Luftwaffe roundel WW2.png _A where _ is replaced by the identification letter of the individual aircraft
Ob.d.L. = Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe [Commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe]
Lfl.= Luftflotte

Notable personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wolfgang Dierich. Die Verbände der Luftwaffe 1935-1945 / Gliederungen und Kurzchroniken , ein Dokument, 1993, Publisher Heinz Nickel, ISBN 3925480153, pp185-189