Luftwaffe night fighter control methods.









  Part 2.  
  Artists impression of Bf 110G's at FlH Grove.  This wonderful painting is composed by Lt.Col (rtd.) Erik (LUE) Lund; the original is on display in the Officers Mess at RDAF Station Karup.  Published with permission (c) E. Lund.  

    Despite it's shortcomings, the Luftwaffe was able to inflict substantial losses on Bomber Command, utilizing Himmelbett-Verfahren.  The attack on Hamburg 24 JUL 1943 changed everything.  This was the night when Chaff (Window/Düppel) was employed for the first time.  The effectiveness of the Würzburg-Riese and Lichtenstein was severely degraded.

  The small thing with the colossal effect.  A piece of window found in Denmark during WW II.  
      It was obvious that new defensive measures had to be implemented.  This transpired over the following 3 month.  
      1.  The day- and night control- and reporting system were amalgamated.  Germany and the occupied countries were divided into a large number of track production areas, where a Flugmeldemess Stellung 1'ordnung was responsible for the reception of reports of air tracks from Flugmeldemess Stellungen 2' and 3' Ordnung and from the FLUKOs.  Based on this a filtered Luftlage was passed to the Zentral Gefechtsstand of the JD.    Here  a new filtering process was performed and the result constituted the Hauptlage, which was presented on a vertical 1:50.000 map !  This size of map was uncalled for if the only purpose had been display of the Hauptluftlage, but the display was also used for intercept control.  This was a fairly long and laborious process.  The position of a track could thus be 10 min in error.  This picture was forward told to the Jagdkorps, Lft. Reich, to neighboring JD, and back told to Flugmeldemess Stellungen 1'ordnung and to the Y-Jägerleit Stellungen.  Lft. Reich in turn produced the Reichlage, which was presented on a 3 x 3 m map. I have reasons to believe that this map was in scale 1:1.000.000.  The purpose of this map was to produce a consolidated air situation, in order to establish the route of the Bomber Stream (day or night) and to attempt to establish the extent of allied decoy penetrations, jamming, chaff corridors and the possible target.  Eventually Bomber Command went through every trick in the book in order to confuse this picture as much as possible.  The success of Luftwaffe fighter employment depended totally on the correct assessment of the Reichlage, as described later.  Tabular description of the track production process.  

  The Führungsraum in GYGES.  
  A well known and much published photo originally from SIGNAL, staged for the purpose of the photo.  Note that the JLO Lichtpunktverfer are not active and on the Einsatz Tafel no fighters are airborne.   The format of the Einsatz Tafel shown opposite.  
  A view towards the Auswertung and Lichtpunktverfertribune in SOKRATES.   The front row with the Kontrolkarte führer in SOKRATES.  



Map by author depicting track production areas.


The Reichlage Karte in GYGES, Gedhus, Denmark, 1945.


Tracks were reported using the Jägergradnetz.

      2.  The command system was reorganized.  The NJRF was gradually disbanded and their functions taken over by the Jagddivision (JD)/Jagdabschnitts Führer (Jafü).  The JD/Jafü now performed operational-, tactical- and intercept-control.  These two measures were probably the singular most important in the recovery of the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe air defence system, but frequently seems to be overshadowed by the more spectacular exploits especially of the Wilde Sau.  

  Map depicting JK, JD and Jafü areas of responsibility end 1944 and the location of HQs.  For more details see Facilities.