Art by Geoffgeoffp
Kampfgeschwader 200 was a secret fighting force of World War 2, so secret that individual units within it were unknown to each other; so mysterious that even today, most diaries and documents dealing with it are, according to both Allied and German authorities, either “missing” or “destroyed”. Yet it presented the Allies with one of the most dangerous threats of the entire war, and the unravelling of its intricate web of operations became top priority.
Despite the disappearance of official KG200 records, some documents, orders, records of prisoner-of-war interrogations, and intelligence reports confirming the existence and operations of the unit were found. Former members of KG200 were traced, though the pictures each could, or would reveal was always limited, for personnel were deliberately kept in the dark as to the activities of their comrades. And most, even after all these years were still unwilling to talk… an attitude less surprising when one takes into account the fact that their former commanding officer, Oberstleutnant Werner Baumbach (the Luftwaffe’s greatest and most decorated bomber pilot), failed to mention a single word about KG200 in the autobiography he published after the war!
KG200 (Battle Wing 200) was officially formed by order of the Luftwaffe high command (OKL) on 20 February 1944. The first components of the new unit came from the amalgamation of the 1st and 2nd Test Formations (both composed of many squadrons) of the Abwehr 5th Branch (air intelligence) which already had many captured Allied aircraft. By early July 44, the unit already had over 100 trained crews and was operating 32 different German and Allied aircraft types.
This large fleet of aircraft included Ar-232s, B-17s, B-24s, Bv-138s, Bv-222s, Ju-52s, Ju-88s, Ju-188s, Ju-352s, Ju-290s, Ju390s, He-111s, He-177s, Pe-2s (Soviet), and Sb-2s (Soviet) to name a few… These aircraft used operationally on all fronts carrying out a great variety of missions ranging from reconnaissance, to cargo transport, to the covert ferrying of agents in and out of enemy territory, to bombing and missile attacks! Many a German agent was dropped in Allied territory by this unit, what better disguise than a B-17? These aircraft were also used to shadow 8th Air Force bomber formations sending out a constant stream of radio updates of the air battle with up to the minute altitude and heading of the big bomber boxes; and this, without fear of attack from Allied fighters. Some of these aircraft were redesignated so as to not attract attention, for example, the B-17s in Luftwaffe service were referred to as the Dornier 200.
KG200 was a huge organisation operating over the entire European Theater of Operations. With bases from the shores of the Baltic to the Algerian desert to the coast of France and back to deep inside the Soviet Union, KG200 was like a gigantic octopus veiled in a shroud of secrecy we will probably never totally uncover.
Oberstleutnant Werner Baumbach (wearing his Knights Cross with oak -leaf clusters) served with KG 30 and became one of the prime exponents of the Junkers 88 in the dive-bombing role. He fought with distinction during the Battle of France, the Battle of Britain, on the Eastern Front and in the hard-fought actions carrying supplies to the USSR round the north of Norway. He was Geschwader Kommodore (commander) of the elite Kampfgeschwader 200 from October 44 to March 45 being promoted to Oberst and becoming “General of the Bombers” – the highest post in German bomber Command. After the war he resumed his flying career in Argentina where he died on 20th October 1953, aged 36, while test flying of all things, an Avro Lancaster recently delivered to the Argentine Air Force.
1942 Med Junkers Ju 88 Werner Baumbach – Andrey Zhirnov
KG200 General Information
Unit formed 20 February 1944 and disbanded 25 April 1945
KG200 GESCHWADER KOMMODORES
Feb 44 to Oct 44 —> Oberst Heinz Heigl
Oct 44 to Mar 45 —> Oberstleutnant Werner Baumbach
Mar 45 to Apr 45 —> Major Adolf Von Hernier
Note about Luftwaffe Formations
Staffel = Squadron * Gruppe = Wing * Geschwader = Group
So when you see the II/KG200, it stands for the second gruppe (wing) of geschwader (group) 200. And 5/KG200 stands for the 5th staffel (squadron) of geschwader (group) 200. In our case, the 5th staffel was part of II/KG200. Roman numerals denote the wing number and Arabic numerals the squadron but all are part of KG200.
KG200 was divided as follows:
STAB/KG200 (staff flight)
Base: HQ at Berlin-Gatow
Aircraft types: Fw-200 and Ju-188
I/KG200 (1st Gruppe)
Composed of 4 staffeln (squadrons)
I/KG200 handled agent work and then also included bombing operations:
Base: HQ at Finow
1/KG200 (1st squadron)
This staffel handled the long-distance operations.
Aircraft types: Fw-200, Ju-290, Ju-390, Ju-52, Ju-252, Ju-352, Ar-232, He-177, B-17, B-24
2/KG200 (2nd squadron)
Handled short and medium range operations.
HQ at Finow but was divided into four “outstations”: “CARMEN” in Northern Italy covered the western and southern Mediterranean, North and West Africa. “KLARA” and “TOSKA” handled the Eastern Front and “OLGA” (Frankfurt) handled Western Europe, England, Ireland and Iceland.
Aircraft types: Ju-52, Ju-88, Ju-188, Do-217, He-177, B-17, B-24
3/KG200 (3rd squadron)
Handled transport with flying boats and some training duties.
Base: Baltic island of Ruegen (later at Flensburg)
Aircraft types: Ar-196, BV-138, BV-222, Do-18, Do-24, He-115
4/KG200 (4th squadron)
Handled training and technical matters.
Aircraft types: Ar-96, Bf-108, Bü-181 and a few other training types
III/KG200 (2nd Gruppe)
Composed of 3 staffeln (squadrons)
II/KG200 Provided pathfinders, radar-jamming aircraft, bombers, Mistels and Mistel training
Base: HQ at Burg
5/KG200 (5th squadron)
Was a pathfinder, bomber and radar-jamming unit
Aircraft types: Ju-88S, Ju-188A & E
6/KG200 (6th squadron)
Was the operational Mistel unit.
Aircraft types: Mistels 1(Bf-109F & Ju-88A), 2(Fw-190A-6 & Ju-88G-1) and 3(Fw-190A-8 & Ju-88G-10 or H-4)
7/KG200 (7th squadron)
Was the Mistel training unit.
Aircraft types: Mistels S1(Bf-109F & Ju-88A4), S2(Fw-190A-8 & Ju-88G-1) and S3A(Fw-190A-6 & Ju-88A-6)
III/KG200 (3rd Gruppe)
Composed of 1 staffel (squadron)
An experimental unit responsible for fitting the Fw-190 fighters with torpedoes.
Aircraft type: Fw-190F-8
IV/KG200 (4th Gruppe)
Handled the Fi-103(manned V-1 flying bomb).
Aircraft types: Fi-103R1, R2, R3 and R4, He-111, He111Z (Zwilling), Go-242 and DFS-230(glider)
Geoffrey J Thomas, Barry Ketley: KG 200: The Luftwaffe’s Most Secret Unit, Hikoki Publications, 2003, ISBN 1-902109-33-3.
Shrouded in secrecy during World War II and obscured by myth ever since, Kampfgeschwader 200 (200th Bomb Wing) remains one of the Luftwaffe’s most fascinating formations. Considered a special-operations unit, KG 200 delivered spies while flying captured Allied aircraft, conducted clandestine reconnaissance missions, and tested Germany’s newest weapons–such as a piloted version of the V-1 rocket (essentially a German kamikaze).
Covers some of the KG 200’s more sinister operations, including suicide missions and the unit’s role in defeating a French Resistance insurrection in June-July 1944
Includes information on aircraft used and known personnel losses
Features rare photos and color illustrations of KG 200 aircraft