1.9 Blockade - July 1941 to April 1942

By mid-June 1941, however, the 'Air Battle for England' as German historians refer to the period since the fall of France, had finally drawn to a close. The whole of Luftflotte 2, with the exception of IX Fliegerkorps, together with the majority of the bomber units of Luftflotte 3, had now completed their move East in readiness for the attack on Russia, which opened shortly before dawn on June 22nd.

With the majority of German bombers now operating on the Eastern Front, by August 1941 only about 120 bomber and minelaying aircraft remained to continue to enforce the blockade of Britain. Nevertheless, the hope remained that Russia would be crushed before the end of the year, thereby releasing the Kampfgruppen for another winter campaign against Britain.

1.9.1 Mining the Severn Estuary: Late 1941

With so few aircraft available for operations over Britain very little activity was experienced over the Bristol area in the latter part of 1941, although minelaying around the coasts of Southern England re-started during September, with the transfer of the Ju 88's of III/KG 30 from the Balkans to Melun in France. The unit extended its operations to the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary area in early October, before removing to Northern Norway in December 1941. Locally, as a result of these activities six ships were sunk, and a further one damaged, while one man died at Oldbury Naite on the night of November 25th, a victim of a stray mine which fell on land.

1.9.2 Formation of KG 100: December 1941

During late November 1941 the pathfinder units KGr 100 and III/KG 26 had been declared non-operational and temporarily returned from the Eastern Front. Shortly after, on December 15th 1941 at Märkisch-Friedland, an experimental test range in Germany, KGr 100 and III/KG 26 combined to form KG 100 and the following month 2/KG 100 was detached an experimental and training flight under the title Erprobungs und Lehr Kommando X-Y. Although this unit was to undertake development work on both types of bombing aid it was particularly involved with bringing into operational service a new variant of X-Verfahren known as Taub which left the old modulation frequency on the transmissions so that the British would continue to jam it, whilst superimposing a supersonic frequency above the limit of human hearing. Ergr.u.Lehr Kdo X-Y, commanded by Hauptmann Siegfried Langer, took up residence at Amiens, in France, in mid-February 1942 and began experimental operations against Britain with an attempt against Hull by ten aircraft on the night of March 8th.

1.9.3 'Pirate' Attacks: Early April 1942

This was followed, when cloud cover of a suitable character allowed, by experimental daylight precision attacks using X-Verfahren, these being carried out during the first ten days of the April, and included missions to the Bristol Aeroplane Company at Filton, on the evening of April 3rd and Gloster Aircraft at Brockworth, near Gloucester, on the afternoons of April 4th and April 9th, by which time the unit had been re-titled Eprobungs und Lehr Kommando 100 and was operating from Chartres.

 

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