One of our planned new item releases for February, 2021
includes an option for the Dornier Do17Z-5 coded “7T+HH”
from Küstenfliegergruppe 606. The Z-5 version was equipped
for operations over water and was mainly used by this unit.
The crew of “7T+HH” experienced some extremely dramatic
moments during an attack on Liverpool that proved fateful for
most of them. In the article, I will also touch on the citizens
of Great Britain and Malta. There were those that succumbed
to the effects of war, while others, as we shall see, were born
Navy Personnel in the Luftwaffe
Küstenfliegergruppe 606 was a unit within the German coastal
air service. From the end of 1939, it specialized in patrol duties
and attacks on surface vessels. The unit was equipped with the
Do 17 and was based at Kiel-Holten. After being engaged against
Denmark, Kï.Fl.Gr.606 was moved to the area of Brest in July,
1940, and from September was made subordinate from Navy to
Luftflotte 3. The Gruppe was commanded by a former Navy officer,
Major Joachim Hahn, who became a naval cadet already in 1923.
The unit had put into practice having the crew command functions, and also those of the observer, performed by Naval Officers.
In terms of navigation over water, combat tactics and target identification, this was deemed optimal. Over the course of the Battle
of Britain, however, the main task of the unit became raids on British cities, attacks against harbors, bombings of military targets
from heights of only a few tens of meters, and also target marking
for other bombers. Combat missions usually took the crews to
western areas of Great Britain. Kü.Fl.Gr.606 was in these tasks
very successful and Hahn was awarded the Ritterkreuz in October,
1940 as a result. In 1942, he became Kommodore Kampfgeschwader 6, and he met his fate on June 3rd during an inspection tour,
along with two other airmen, in a Messerschmitt Bf 108. Near Le
Trepot, they were shot down by Spitfires from No. 401 Squadron
RAF, flown by F/Sgt S.C. Cosburn and F/Lt E.L. Neal.
During the Second World War, the second most hit target in
Great Britain was Liverpool. The primary target was the city harbor, which was among the biggest on the western shores of Great
Britain. Liverpool and the surrounding area lost some 4,000 of
its inhabitants between the summer
of 1940 and the beginning of 1942.
From one of the destroyed homes
of Liverpool, paradoxically, came
Hitler’s nephew, William Patrick
Hitler, who served in the United States Navy during the Second
From the beginning of October, 1940, one of the units defending Liverpool was No. 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron, based at
Speke, which currently is Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport. The
first kill achieved by the squadron is probably also the quickest
in the history of the RAF. F./Lt D.E. Gillam and his wingmen Alois
Vašátko and Josef Stehlík were experienced pilots, and they shot
down a Junkers Ju 88 A-1, coded “M7+DK” of Küstenfliegergruppe 806 shortly after takeoff. The task of the Ju 88 was to bomb
the Rootes aircraft factory at Speke. All three Hurricanes were
actually hit by defensive fire coming from the German bomber.
The bomber came down in the docks south of Liverpool. The crew
commander, Lt. z. S. Herbert was killed by fire from the Hurricanes, and another three crewmen, Oblt. Helmuth Brückmann,
Uffz. Helmuth Weth and Obfhr. Horst Lehmann, were taken prisoner. The combat over the city grabbed a lot of attention, and
the gates to the air base had to be shut, because massive crowds
showed up, wanting to show their appreciation to the Czechoslovak unit. Eighteen crews from Kü.Fl.Gr.606 attacked British targets on the night of October 10th, thirteen of which were tasked
with hitting the factory at Speke and the production facility of
Rolls-Royce at Crewe. All of the bombers returned to their bases.
However, the next event would play itself out differently.
During the evening hours of October 11th, 1940, six Do 17s from
Hahn’s unit approached the area around Liverpool. One was headed for Birkenhead, and the other five were tasked with again hitting Speke and Crewe. Three of the aircraft were from 1. Staffel
and three from 2. Staffel Kü.Fl.Gr.606.
Title photo: Do 17 Z-5 (W. Nr. 2787) „7T + HH“ from the
1st Staffel of Küstenfliegergruppe 606 at Lanvéoc-Poulmic
base before the raid on October 11, 1940. White part of
the fuselage cross is already painted in black, but you can
still see the swastika, the unit emblem and white tip of the
propeller cone. During the raid on October 11, all of that was
already painted black to reduce visibility. The emblem of the
unit was an eagle tearing Great Britain. Photo: Chris Goss
Portrait photo: Karl-Franz Heine. Credit: uboat.net