April 2, 1945

On April 2nd, 1945, the weather further deteriorated: for north-western Germany, the Morning Report of the Luftwaffenführungsstab Ic records the following:

“Weather: NW- Germany 10/10 with clouds at 150 – 300 m, later 500 m. Cloud tops at 1.500 m, above high clouds. Light rain, 5-10 km visibility”[1]Luftwaffenführungsstab Ic, Morning Report 01019/45 (BArch. RL 2-II/389)

Still, Herbert Altner and Hans Fryba are finding some time to take “Rote 8” to the skies – despite the weather condition, they are taking turns around Burg.

Altner-4Once more, the inaccuracy of Altner’s log shows: he is recording a check ride between Berlin-Staaken and Burg (Flight #1841) but the aircraft had not been flown to Berlin – she was in Burg the evening before.

In the night of April 2nd, 1945, to April 3rd, 54 Mosquitos are sent to Berlin, 50 are going to Magdeburg. 1 Mosquito from the Berlin raid is lost[2]Middlebrook, Martin et al.; The Bomber Command War Diaries; Page 690.

The Morning Report of the Luftwaffeführungsstab Ic details the attack and the own engagement: between 23:30 hrs. and 01:55 hrs, about 60 Mosquitos are approaching Berlin on a route via the Zuider Zee – Meppen – Osnabrück – Hildesheim – Magdeburg[3]Luftwaffenführungsstab Ic, Evening Report 01031/45 (BArch. RL 2-II/389) .

Einflug 1945-04-02

The following is recorded on the Luftwaffe’s own engagement:

“Against Mosquitos to Berlin: 1. J. Div.: 5 Me 262 (Kdo. Welter) Mosquito hunting. 1 for sure. Losses: p: 0-1-0,  m:0-1-0”[4]Luftwaffenführungsstab Ic, Evening Report 01031/45 (BArch. RL 2-II/389)

In other words: one of the pilots and his aircraft are missing when the report is written. The Royal Air Force records the following loss:

1945-04-02 - KB185Mosquito KB185 of No. 139 Sqn. fails to return, both of her crew are still missing in action and are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 265.

As for 10./NJG 11, the loss cannot be pinpointed that easily – but there is circumstantial evidence, that the lost jet was a Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a, flown by Ofw. Heinrich von Stade.

1945-04-02 - von StadeSo late in the war, there are no written account left, e.g. an entry in the official GQM Loss List, but here are some indirect hints:

  • the Volksbund Deutscher Kriegsgräberfürsorge lists the date of death for Heinrich v. Stade as April 2nd, 1945.
  • reportedly, the unit did lose one of her jets by involuntarily ramming a Mosquito on an nocturnal mission.
  • reportedly, Welter did say in a post-war statement, that Heinrich von Stade was the unit’s only pilot killed on a mission.

On April 7th, 1945, the British Radio Intelligence units picked up a German transmission, a report of Fliegerkorps IX[5]The National Archives, DEFE-3/564 – BT9790, 7. April 1945:

BT9790This intercepted message supports the operations of the night fighters and the loss of one of their own.

References   [ + ]

1. Luftwaffenführungsstab Ic, Morning Report 01019/45 (BArch. RL 2-II/389)
2. Middlebrook, Martin et al.; The Bomber Command War Diaries; Page 690
3, 4. Luftwaffenführungsstab Ic, Evening Report 01031/45 (BArch. RL 2-II/389)
5. The National Archives, DEFE-3/564 – BT9790, 7. April 1945
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