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Rokko

Historical reference: III./KG 55 over Stalingrad

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Today I stumbled across a transcription of the war diary (KTB) of III. Gruppe, KG 55 covering the time from 23 July 1942 until 28 September 1942, which I thought might be useful for scenario designers.

 

The document(s) can be found at: http://yogysoft.de/pawel/index.html

Unfortunately, it is entirely in German.

 

I did a superficial analysis of the reports for the missions flown and counted some stats, which might help to generalize a few things.

 

In the beginning of the diary, the Gruppe is stationed at an airfield in eastern Ukraine and later redeploys to the airfield Zamorsk (which is on the Kuban map btw) from which it flew missions in the Kuban/Caucasus area. The Gruppe appears to  haven been equipped with He 111 H-6 at the time.

 

On 23 August the Gruppe began redeploying to the airfield Morozovskiy (which is on the Stalingrad map). The diary notes 96 different missions flown from there between August 23 and September 28 (37 days) or 2.6 missions per day on average, although it appears in some cases multiple sorties were aggregated into a single mission (not consequently, though). The missions were numbered 416 to 512 by the way, with the counting appearantly beginning at the start of Operation Barbarossa on June 22 1941.

 

Mission types

 

Raids on Stalingrad

 

Of these 96 missions, I counted 25 missions specifically flown against different parts of Stalingrad. The train station appears to have been a primary target of many of these attacks. In some instances the diary reports shipping across the Volga or ferry sites to have also been targeted/hit. In almost all reports heavy AA fire is mentioned, although in most raids it did not cause any damage or losses to the attacking planes. A small number of these raids were conducted at night where the diary notes heavy searchlight activity and fires raging in and around Stalingrad, presumably assisting the bomber crews in navigation. Most of these raids were flown at very high altitudes of up to 6800m with most being flown at altitudes between 4000m and 6400m, although some were also flown as low as 3000m. The primary effect of the heavy AAA fire appears to have been to force the bombers to higher altitudes.

 

Strikes against frontline positions/enemy troops

 

Another large set of missions (about 41) appear to have been flown against general map grids with no other specifically designated objectives, in which targets of opportunity where attacked. Among those the diary mentions troop concentrations (about 20 missions), villages and other general locations (about 10 missions), field fortifications and artillery (about 7 missions) and troop movements (about 4 missions). Most of these were flown at suprisingly (to me) altitudes between 1000m and 2000m, with some as low as 500m and also a few higher than 2000m. During many of these missions no ground fire was reported at all. If there was ground fire, it was generally light (mostly MGs or quad-MGs and only rarely any light AAA). In some cases the bombers appearently used their own MGs to attack ground targets. In the reports that mention destroyed targets, trucks are mentioned the most. The reports also often mention enemy positions being located in ravines (ancient riverbeds), which are fairly typical for the Stalingrad area, especially around the rivers (on the map these can be recognized by forrests that look like tree branches).

 

Logistical strikes

 

I counted about 10 missions which were flown againts railway lines and/or stations. Those were generally flown at medium altitudes (3000m - 4000m). Reported AAA fire ranges from light to medium, only rarely causing damage and often coming from guns on railcars. Reported successes consist of destroyed trains, railyard buildings, railcars and also bombs dropped on the raillines themselves. To me, it was somewhat suprising that destroyed/damaged raillines where considered as successes, but it also makes sense, given that a cut railline requires repairs before it can be used again to move supplies.

 

Other

 

Airfield attacks were flown exclusively at night and at either very low altitude (down to 50m) or medium altitude. The number of sorties of this type was fairly low and I counted only 6, some of which were flown against airfields which are not on the Stalingrad map (like Elton). These raids remain somewhat obscure, as there are few observations about destroyed targets, probably due restricted visiblity in the dark.

 

Two missions were special supply missions, were bombs or fuel were flown from a different airfield to Morozovskiy and at least one sortie was a night raid on the industry in the city of Saratov (also not on the map).

 

Losses

 

The losses of the Gruppe were suprisingly low. I counted only one aircraft being shot down by a combination of AAA and enemy fighters, with the crew being MIA and only one member returning to friendly lines on foot. Another two planes crash-landed due to suffering battle damage. Those appear to have crash-landed over friendly lines. I counted about 20 instances where aircraft were hit/damaged by enemy AAA fire of enemy aircraft, though most of the damage appears to have been light.

 

Operational losses (accidents, non-battle-related equipment failures, etc.) made up a significant component of planes crashing or having to abort their mission, much more so than enemy activity, but I didn't count that specifically, although I did count 3 dead during an accident.

 

Personell losses appear to have been also fairly light, with only the 5 already MIA, one KIA and one KIA. Some more KIA/WIA appear to have been suffered during an attack on Morozovskiy (not quite sure about that).

 

VVS opposition

 

Attacks by enemy fighters appear to have been the exception rather than the norm and I only counted 16 instances where VVS fighters attacked, of which only a few resulted in damage or losses with most being reported as unsuccessful. From what I read in other sources, the VVS had been largely put out of action during this stage of the campaign and was mainly restricted to night operations until the start of the Soviet counter offensive. This is in pretty stark contrast for instance to the auto generated missions of the current campaign system, where flights of bombers are basically intercepted by fighters every single time. The average bomber sortie over the Stalingrad area went through unopposed during this period it seems.

 

General observations

 

To finish this up, here are some general observations and conclusions of mine.

 

- The number of aircraft that took part in the sorties varied widely, from small flights of 6 bombers to major operations with 37 aircraft (basically the entire Gruppe minus some non-operational planes). The number I most often saw was flights of 15 bombers. I believe smallest formation of German bombers was a Kette (chain) with 3 aircraft, 4 of which would form a squadron/Staffel, so one would expect multiples of 3 to be most common occurence. There were however all kinds of odd numbers of planes involved as well.

 

- The weather was reported to be mostly cloudless and with good visibility (40-50km), which is unsupprising given it was summer and the missions were probably deliberately not flown in worse conditions if there was no need to.

 

- The reports don't mention friendly fighter cover very often. In another war diary from the same unit for the year 1941, friendly fighter cover is mentioned much more often however. I would say this could mean two things. Either German fighter cover was more or less ubiquitous during this stage of the war, so much that it wasn't worth mentioning anymore or there wasn't really any figher protection because none could be provided or because it wasn't necessary in general.

 

- Bridges were not attacked in general, I counted only one case where a railway bridge was bombed and one where a bridge to the South of Stalingrad was targeted. To me this makes sense, as the attacking side in a campaign would generally try to avoid destroying important infrastructure in an area it attempts to conquer.

 

- Vertical separation between individual planes/flights during the same sortie, reaching up to 1000m, at least that is how I would read the data at hand.

 

- The logistical situation at the airfield Morozovskiy was appearently not all that great as often planes had to fly all the way back to their former base in Eastern Ukraine to load up bombs and fuel

 

- In basically all sorties, bombs were either 50, 70, 250 or 500kg, with SC 250s being the most prevelant type. I did not find a single instance where a heavier bomb was dropped.

 

- This could be a coincidence, but there are more reports about damaged aircraft due to enemy AAA towards the end of September, so maybe the Soviet air defences were improving over time.

 

- I don't know how or why but it seems like there was one night sortie where a He-111 claimed to have shot down a TB-3.

 

I hope this compilation is interesting to read to some and can be of help to scenario or campaign designers who want to try to replicate historical actions more closely.

Edited by Rokko
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Holly crap Rokko I'm glad I stumbled upon this. Thanks so much for this overview. I will definitely check those flight books out! Unlike my Stuka or 110 campaign, I could literally base mission design around these flight logs it looks like.

 

As you might have seen... I have shown interest in KG 55 operating during the BoS. I made one mission and posted it to the community (It sounds like I need to increase altitude and decrease AAA accuracy though). There are some general issues to making Bomber campaigns though... due to the current build of the game and the AI... it somewhat hinders me from taking initiative and creating a full blown KG 55 campaign. I'll keep mulling over the idea though as I read into this more and maybe persuade myself to overlook the issues and make the best of what we have. 

 

Here is some nice footage of a He 111 gunner strafing supply lines at low altitude, pretty crazy! (time stamped to the part for convenience)

 

https://youtu.be/et2pYsIYkWk?t=15m30s

Edited by NETSCAPE

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I am glad you found it useful. Primary source like these ones are a rare find on the internet unfortunately, since you can usually only find them on microfilms in archives around the world. Having someone transcribe handwritten diaries from archived microfilms and upload them on his ancient IL-2 FB site is a true gem I'd say.

I don't have the time and determination to get intimate with the mission editor myself unfortunately, but if I can contribute to helping other people get inspiration to create historically accurate missions I am glad too.

BTW on the same site there is also the KTB for StG2 during the most of the Battle of Kuban as well: http://yogysoft.de/pawel/stuka2_01.html.

 

Thank you for the video link, very interesting to see how these actions looked in real life. I had some disbelief at first when reading reports of sorties being flown as low as 50m. Flak must have been fairly rare is the only conclusion I can gather from these facts. Most heavy AAA was probably concentrated around Stalingrad and anything else must have been far and far between. I was also somewhat suprised how many sorties must have been "business as usual", with a bunch of bombers taking off, dropping some bombs and then landing again with no further incidents.

 

BTW, if you need help with some translations feel free to ask.

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- I don't know how or why but it seems like there was one night sortie where a He-111 claimed to have shot down a TB-3.

KG 55 also flew night fighter missions over Stalingrad. This wasn't uncommon for eastern front bomber units in 1941 and 1942, because no dedicated night fighters were available during this time in the east. The units most successful pilot was Arnold Döring from 8./KG 55, who claimed three TB-3s over Stalingrad.

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That's an interesting bit as well, what's the source for that? Sounds like something from Black Cross, Red Star, though I don't have vol. 3 unfortunately.

 

It appears one of those 3 claimed TB-3s comes from the incident I mentioned, here's a translation of the log (emphasis by me):

 

Date: 23-09-1942 till 24-09-1942

Airfield: Morozovskiy

Mission #: 504

Task:

Nuissance attacks on airfields to the north and east of Stalingrad as well as the raillines Ilowlinskaja - Kamyshin and Baskuntschak to the north and south.

Flight: 9 x He-111 H-6

Takeoff time: 1800 - 0045

Landing time: 2050 - 0420

Attack time: 1852 - 0255

Altitude: 20m - 3000m

Success:

Airfields near Nowo Nikolskoje, Elton, Kolobowka and near Nikolajewsky (grid 51872/45 East) were attacked with bombs and guns. At the airfield Nowo Nikolskoje a dark red fire was noticed after dropping the bombs which ceased after 15 minutes. At airfield Elton a tall white smoke column was spotted after dropping the bombs. After drop by another plane a large explosion with black dust was spotted. After disengaging a red fire was observed. At airfield Kolobowka 6-8 enemy planes were engaged with guns. Damage to several planes can be assumed.

At 2340 to the southwest of Werch. Pogronoje a TB-3 was shot down.

Good hits on 5 adjecent trains near Kolobowka (grid 59362/44 East), 8-10 traincars damaged by fragments.

Direct hits on 2 trains heading southwest. Near Olchowka 5 train cars destroyed and 2 trains north of there attacked with guns at low altitude. One explosion observed, appearantly munitions transport. Immidiately to the south of Elton a train heading south was destroyed. Several fires and one explosion was observed. Locomotive destroyed by cannon fire.

Weather: Cloudless, good visibility

Ordonance: 1 x SC500, 24 x SC250, 80 x SBE50, total: 10,500kg

Defenses: light AAA near Elton, Baskuntschak and Olchowka. Medium AAA near Nikolajewsky. Accuracy ranging from moderate to good.

Reconaissance: Heavy night-flying activity above Stalingrad observed. Near Kolobowka 5 trains with steam heading west observed. South of Olchowka 3 trains observed. 15km to the northeast 2 trains with steam.

Notes: The crew of Fw. Döhring shot down a TB-3 above Stalingrad while hunting at night.

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That's an interesting bit as well, what's the source for that? Sounds like something from Black Cross, Red Star, though I don't have vol. 3 unfortunately.

Years ago I did some research on eastern front night fighting myself for a campaign project in Il-2 1946, that's why I have this information. I think it's also mentioned in some books on German night fighters, but I can't find the exact sources at the moment.

 

When you take a closer look at the combat reports for KG55 you will find reference to "Nachtjagd" missions, for example on 22-23 September1942.

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There's a book in German dealing with the KG 55:

 

Dierich, Wolfgang (1994 2nd ed)

Kampfgeschwader 55 "Greif"

Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart

 

The book is, hm, a bit limited as a source, a kind of chronicle by personal reports and oral history mostly. Anyhow, pp 257 - 296 are telling about the Stalingrad sorties. During a quick scan I found no hints on any night-fighter activities.

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I had time to take a look at my books. Dörings Tb-3 claims are mentioned in "Geschichte der deutschen Nachtjagd, 1917-1945" by Gebhard Aders and in "Luftwaffe Tactical Operations at Stalingrad" by Roy. W. Lower.

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I've read over and typed out a simplified list of the sorties described from Kriegstagebuch Nr. 7 III./Kampfgeschwader 55 - specifically from Morosowskaja. The purpose of was to view the mission types in order - and in theory to select the best looking group of 15 missions. Unfortunately some of the most interesting missions are too far spread out. On top of that, they repeat the same type of missions over and over in a row often. 

 

From a gameplay perspective I think the best thing to do would be to create missions that are in based on the KG 55 sorties over-all, with an emphasis on splitting up the mission types to keep the campaign progression feeling fresh, while avoiding the gameplay feeling too repetitive. Taking into account Rokko's overview and the fact that 15 missions seems to be the "gold standard" for campaign length - I came up with these ball park figures as a rough guide to outline missions:

 

25% against Stalingrad = 6 missions (include 1 night sortie)
20% troop concentrations = 3 mission (locations can vary greatly, villages, forest, ravines ect)
10% railway lines and stations = 1.5 missions (I'd round this up to 2 or even 3 missions due to fun factor)
10% villages and general locations = 1.5 missions (basically the same as troop concentrations, possible grid based missions)
7% artillery and fortifications = 1.05 missions
6% airfield attacks (night) = 0.9 missions
4% troop movements = 0.6 missions (I'd disregard this, too similar to other mission types above)
 
I'd still adopt the real life data such as exact number of bombers, target locations, weather, altitude, flak ect - they just won't reflect the real life mission order or dates. 
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Can anyone point me to a decent resolution Luftwaffe grid map? It would be nice to pin-point what specific locations the flight log is referencing.

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When you encounter locations in a format like this "Pl.Qu. 19662 links oben 44 Ost" you can type that into the tool at this website

http://airfields-wwii.com/tools/gradnetz.html

 

For this example you would select "44 O" in the upper choice box and type 19662 into the lower field. I am not sure what "links oben" (upper left) is supposed to mean. Probably it just refers to the upper left of the specified grid.

 

I've tried some other examples and not all of them made sense, though. Not sure why that is. Often the first information is missing but for the Stalingrad region only 44 O and 45 O make sense. I've also found a different way of describing grid references like "Bez. P. E410-411" and I don't know how to translate those.

Also, since theses logs were transcribed from hand-written documents, I would not rule out the possibility of errors.

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Very cool thanks. I am used to Kriegsmarine grid for uboat patrol's in Silent Hunter :biggrin:

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I have some fond memories of that one as well. AM and BE were good hunting grounds ;)

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Good news, change log of new game build includes a fix to a game breaking He 111 AI bug. Tested and working. :)

 

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I have developed a custom formation logic while working on a new and improved Stuka campaign. With extensive testing and fine tuning it should work with any aircraft type. What this means is the planes can take off in groups of 3 and the individual ketten will form up to create a more dense overall formation. Nothing that I know of in single player replicates these historically accurate formations. It really boosts the immersion when I've tested it with 12 x Stuka's. No more loose staffels and no more air-start-work-arounds!

 

My 110 campaign is still baking in the oven...waiting. And I am working a lot on the new Sirens of Death recently. But do not lose hope KG 55 boys! One day...

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I was just about to do some preliminary testing of AI speed/climb rates but I can't find any information on one issue...

 

Can someone enlighten me on He 111 fuel management? Would they always top off the fuel tanks for a sortie or would it be calculated for the sortie? If so, how? (I'd assume you'd want more than required so you can make it home if you get a fuel leak)

 

It seems planes like the Hs 129 and Ju 87 always topped off their fuel tanks for every sortie, (except under less than ideal situations where fuel was precious). But the He 111 is mean't to fly much greater distances of course so I am unsure of this. Gaining a proper bombing altitude shouldn't be an issue taking into account we have such a long distance to fly from the historical airfields to say Stalingrad. The historical payloads should only be 800-1000kg of bombs also, which will assist in a "better" climb-rate. 

 

Let me know your thoughts on the fuel. 

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And you have the H6 being the longrange version of the He111, with an additional fueltank in the bombbay. I was flying a few missions as squadron leader in the new career mode and calculated both versions with 2000l for the missions, but half of it would have been enough.

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Personally, I would prefer the historical refueling and loading. Even if it complicates piloting.
Although in the career mode, I refuel only with a small margin. But there, to successfully complete the mission, you can land on any friendly airfield or even on a voluntary landing on my territory.
:)

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12 hours ago, Yogiflight said:

And you have the H6 being the longrange version of the He111, with an additional fueltank in the bombbay. I was flying a few missions as squadron leader in the new career mode and calculated both versions with 2000l for the missions, but half of it would have been enough.

 

Yeah 2000L would actually be overkill from what I just figured out. 1000L would be double what you need for these sorties from Morozovskiy to Stalingrad, 500km roughly speaking.

 

9 hours ago, FoxbatRU said:

Personally, I would prefer the historical refueling and loading. Even if it complicates piloting.
Although in the career mode, I refuel only with a small margin. But there, to successfully complete the mission, you can land on any friendly airfield or even on a voluntary landing on my territory.

 

It's far worse than you can even imagine my friend... https://forum.il2sturmovik.com/topic/37193-he-111s-cant-climb-together ...... I will run some more tests with less than 2000L fuel and see if this helps to alleviate the problem, it should. I can't work on Stuka stuff because the Stuka AI is broke post-kuban. Now my dreams of KG 55 campaign are getting smashed... on to the ugly duckling perhaps... we will see. 

 

EDIT: ok promising results with 1000L. It may be the only option here based on how the AI acts. Sorry. 

Edited by NETSCAPE
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1 час назад, NETSCAPE сказал:

I can't work on Stuka stuff because the Stuka AI

Although globally this is bad, locally it's good.:blush:This is good for those who already had the fortune to live your first campaign about Sirens. Still, the campaign for linear bombers is a completely new step.:rolleyes:

 

1 час назад, NETSCAPE сказал:

EDIT: ok promising results with 1000L. It may be the only option here based on how the AI acts. Sorry.  

In any case, I'm glad that you're approaching success. Historical refueling is much less important than a working mission.
Unfortunately, I do not yet know how to manage Heinkel to help you. Yes, and I am in the Soviet phase.:russian_ru: But when I return to the Germans, I really hope for your successful development.:cool:

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On 3/16/2018 at 5:26 AM, Rokko said:

When you encounter locations in a format like this "Pl.Qu. 19662 links oben 44 Ost" you can type that into the tool at this website

http://airfields-wwii.com/tools/gradnetz.html

 

For this example you would select "44 O" in the upper choice box and type 19662 into the lower field. I am not sure what "links oben" (upper left) is supposed to mean. Probably it just refers to the upper left of the specified grid.

 

I've tried some other examples and not all of them made sense, though. Not sure why that is. Often the first information is missing but for the Stalingrad region only 44 O and 45 O make sense. I've also found a different way of describing grid references like "Bez. P. E410-411" and I don't know how to translate those.

Also, since theses logs were transcribed from hand-written documents, I would not rule out the possibility of errors.

 

That link is dead. Any ideas anyone? 

 

I need a LW grid map of Stalingrad/Don area.

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