TIN FISH specialists

Chris Goss examines the challenges, struggles and demise of the German air-launched torpedo force

WORLD WAR TWO LUFTWAFFE

Throughout World War Two the Luftwaffe boasted a formidable array of aircraft and weaponry with which to wage war for the Third Reich.

There were exceptions, though: one of the most notable was the role of anti-shipping torpedo strikes, which never reached its potential. Allied forces gave this capability a high priority, yet it was relegated to a back seat by the Luftwaffe high command.

But restrictions did not prevent the German flyers assigned to the role showing incredible skill and valour, although unit strength remained minimal and aircraft types were largely hand-me- downs. This was certainly the case until 1942, as highlighted by Convoy Raiders in February 2018’s FlyPast.

Lt Ulrich Laubis of 3./KG 77 in a Ju 88A-17, La Jasse, spring 1944.
Note how this Ju 88’s camouflage wraps around the upper and lower surfaces.
Note how this Ju 88’s camouflage wraps around the upper and lower surfaces.
Ju 88A-17s of 9./KG 26 sweep low over the Mediterranean in early 1944.
A Ju 88A-17 of Stab./KG 77 at La Jasse, southern France, spring/summer 1944. Note the FuG 200 Hohentwiel aerials and Wellenmuster (wave pattern) camouflage

In January 1943, I Gruppe./ Kampfgeschwader 26 (I./KG 26), commanded by Maj Werner Klümper, moved from Grosseto in Italy to Decimomannu in Sardinia. It had previously been based at Bardufoss, Norway.

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