Glider attack on the Corinth Canal bridge

German campaigns and battles 1919-1945.

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Abicht
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Glider attack on the Corinth Canal bridge

Post by Abicht » Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:52 pm

I came acrosse a series of Luftwaffe air photos taken between April 4th and April 26th 1941 showing prep and attack of the road and rail bridge over the Corinth Canal on 25 April 1941. I knew it was an airborne attack but didnt realize it was a glider based one.

The photos (attached is a crop of one from the 26th) show 4 gliders near the bridge, some defensive positions, what appear to be German vehicles, possibly trucks with pontoon equipment, and a burned out tank/AFV.

Does anyone know the specific unit that landed at the bridge, and were there any German based reports on the attack?

Also I read that they took the bridge but that a stray British shell the same day later destoryed the bridge.

-click on the photo for a super size of the crop-

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Doktor Krollspell
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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:03 am

Hello Abicht!

Here's what I found from a quick glance in Erich Busch' "Die Fallschirmjäger-Chronik 1935-1945" (1983)...

It was units from Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 2 under Oberst Sturm that was responsible for taking the bridge. First unit that landed with gliders near the bridge was the Pionier-Zug from 3./Fallschirm-Pionier-Nataillon 7 under the command of Leutnant Häffner. They were reinforced by Jägers from I. and II./FJR 2 together with the Nachrichten- and Sanitäts-Kompanie.


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Re: Glider attack on the Corinth Canal bridge

Post by tigre » Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:23 am

Hello to all :D; just a little contribution.................

Paratroopers in the Balkans.

FJR 2 in action on the Corinth Canal.

In early March 1941, the FJR 2 (Oberst Sturm) was deployed in Plovdiv (Bulgaria). The regiment's task was to seize the island of Lemnos as part of Gruppe Sussmann, but their participation was not necessary given the speed with which developed the campaign in the Balkans in general (the elements of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment, which had been landed on 4 April at Lemnos, had been evacuated on 12 April).

Being that the British troops had started its withdrawal into the Peloponnese, the FJR 2 received a new task to seize the bridge over the Corinth Canal and to prevent the withdrawal of the enemy into the Peloponnese. Oberst Sturm had available for this purpose his I. and II. Battalions, one light howitzer battery, a communications company and a sanitary company.

FJR2

CO: Oberst Alfred Sturm
1st Battalion Major Hans Kroh
2nd Battalion Major Pietzonka
13. Kp
14. Kp
Ln.Na..Kp.7
Pionierzug Leutnant Häffner (Pi-Btl.7)
1./San.Abt.7
le.Gesch.Btr. der Art.Btl. 7

Sources: Deutsche Fallschirmjäger im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Volkmar Kühn. Motorbuch Verlag.
Die Wehrmacht 1941.
Private Sales List-5.FJR 2 - CORINTH, KRETA, RUSSIA, NORWAY. 14 de Enero de 2010, 18:02:01
Die Bildchronik der Fallschirmtruppe 1935-45. Arnold v. Roon.
Greece and Crete 1941. Christopher Buckley

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: Glider attack on the Corinth Canal bridge

Post by tigre » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:38 am

Hello to all :D; a little more.................

Paratroopers in the Balkans.

FJR 2 in action on the Corinth Canal.

The distance from Plovdiv to the target exceeded the autonomy of the Ju-52, therefore it was necessary before, to land at the aerodrome of Larissa, for carrying out the assault the next day. The movement was executed on April 25, 1941.

The plan was as follows: the bulk of the regiment would descend by parachute, I. / FJR 2 north of Canal and II. / FJR 2 to the south of it. An airborne assault element composed of a Platoon engineers (led by Leutnant Haffner of 3./Fsch.Pi.Btl.7) and a Platoon of the 6. / FJR 2 under the command of Leutnant Teussen would fly in gliders DFS-230 in advance and would descend on the objective in order of capture the bridge and prevent its destruction.

Sources: Deutsche Fallschirmjäger im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Volkmar Kühn. Motorbuch Verlag.
Die Wehrmacht 1941.
Private Sales List-5.FJR 2 - CORINTH, KRETA, RUSSIA, NORWAY. 14 de Enero de 2010, 18:02:01
Die Bildchronik der Fallschirmtruppe 1935-45. Arnold v. Roon.
Greece and Crete 1941. Christopher Buckley

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: Glider attack on the Corinth Canal bridge

Post by tigre » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:48 pm

Hello to all :D; a little more.................

Paratroopers in the Balkans.

FJR 2 in action on the Corinth Canal.

On Saturday April 26, 1941 at 5:00 hours the gliders took off and after them kette after kette (formation in V of three aircraft) of Ju-52. The day had dawned clear and bright especially suitable for an airborne operation. The day began with a high altitude bombing of the Canal Zone in order to eliminate anti-aircraft weapons and then came the dive bombers escorted by heavy fighters Me-110.

After two hours of flight the assault troops began landing on the target. The assigned goal was in sight and the gliders began its descent and landing maneuvers. On landing Leutnant Teussen with his men, two enemy anti-aircraft batteries deployed along the southern end of the bridge opened fire, although the main direction of fire was to the north they got a hit in one of the gliders which fell from about 8 meters high.

Sources: Deutsche Fallschirmjäger im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Volkmar Kühn. Motorbuch Verlag.
Die Wehrmacht 1941.
Private Sales List-5.FJR 2 - CORINTH, KRETA, RUSSIA, NORWAY. 14 de Enero de 2010, 18:02:01
Die Bildchronik der Fallschirmtruppe 1935-45. Arnold v. Roon.
Greece and Crete 1941. Christopher Buckley

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: Glider attack on the Corinth Canal bridge

Post by tigre » Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:41 pm

Hello to all :D; a little more.................

Paratroopers in the Balkans.

FJR 2 in action on the Corinth Canal.

Leutnant Teussen stormed the AA batteries located in the south end of the bridge while on the other side (north end) where they had landed, the engineers reached the bridge and began to remove the explosive charges.

Being in such a maneuver an AA piece of 40 mm Bofors opened fire on the engineers apparently hitting some of the explosive charges which were not disable yet. Teussen saw a great flash on the bridge, an explosion and the bridge collapsed dragging to the death those engineers and paratroopers who were there, and also the war reporter Sonderführer E. v. der Heyden whose camera was recovered afterwards from one of the banks.

According to other version the blasting of the bridge was due to the inexperience of the engineers, particularly its leader, because they piled up the explosive charges on the superstructure of the bridge instead of throwing them, and those charges blew up when it were impacted by a shot of an anti-aircraft piece of 40 mm.

Sources: Deutsche Fallschirmjäger im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Volkmar Kühn. Motorbuch Verlag.
Die Wehrmacht 1941.
Private Sales List-5.FJR 2 - CORINTH, KRETA, RUSSIA, NORWAY. 14 de Enero de 2010, 18:02:01
Die Bildchronik der Fallschirmtruppe 1935-45. Arnold v. Roon.
Greece and Crete 1941. Christopher Buckley

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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Re: Glider attack on the Corinth Canal bridge

Post by tigre » Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:19 pm

Hello to all :D; a little more.................

Paratroopers in the Balkans.

FJR 2 in action on the Corinth Canal.

Meanwhile, the paratroopers had arrived and were deployed due north and south of the bridge, according to the account of a war reporter(PK): ahead and behind us flew other formations, all Ju-52 towards the same goal, soon down there it was the objective, the south’s end of the bridge of Corinth!, and below us stretched the ground located south of the isthmus.

It came the order to jump! Gone are the nerves and the whole body was prepared for the jump and then the landing, still in the air a quick orientation in the few seconds of descent, the ground approaches fastly, machine guns and rifles were firing. The drop zone was located several hundred meters of the bridge in a valley. Free from the parachute, the paratroopers hunters are looking for cover, to meet and ascertain the situation.

Hard and intense close combat, from the road leading to Corinth advanced some English light armored but they were repulsed with antitank guns, suddenly a violent explosion and a black cloud rose into the sky: the bridge was blown up!.

The fight on the bridge had been completed and on the north side of the Isthmus of hunters paratroopers cleared the field of enemies, which were either killed or captured.

Sources: Deutsche Fallschirmjäger im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Volkmar Kühn. Motorbuch Verlag.
Die Wehrmacht 1941.
Private Sales List-5.FJR 2 - CORINTH, KRETA, RUSSIA, NORWAY. 14 de Enero de 2010, 18:02:01
Die Bildchronik der Fallschirmtruppe 1935-45. Arnold v. Roon.
Greece and Crete 1941. Christopher Buckley

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: Glider attack on the Corinth Canal bridge

Post by tigre » Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:54 pm

Hello to all :D; a little more.................

Paratroopers in the Balkans.

FJR 2 in action on the Corinth Canal.

Due south had jumped Hauptmann Schirmer with his 6. Company, who assumed command of the II. Battalion after the injury suffered by their Commander Major Pietzonka. Oberleutnant Nagele took command of the 6./FJR 2.

Meanwhile Oberst Sturm had arrived and ordered Hauptmann Schirmer was to pursue the enemy and take over Argos and Nauplia. The British troops of the Isthmus Force (4th Hussars with three light tanks, a company of the 19 Bn of New Zealand and the New Zealander cavalry squadron) bore the weight of the assault but could do little and the force disintegrated.

Sources: Deutsche Fallschirmjäger im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Volkmar Kühn. Motorbuch Verlag.
Die Wehrmacht 1941.
Private Sales List-5.FJR 2 - CORINTH, KRETA, RUSSIA, NORWAY. 14 de Enero de 2010, 18:02:01
Die Bildchronik der Fallschirmtruppe 1935-45. Arnold v. Roon.
Greece and Crete 1941. Christopher Buckley

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: Glider attack on the Corinth Canal bridge

Post by tigre » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:37 am

Hello to all :D; a little more.................

Paratroopers in the Balkans.

FJR 2 in action on the Corinth Canal.

Leutnant Teussen’s Platoon went to the town of Corinth motorized in British military vehicles which were taken as booty. Shortly after the paratroopers entered the town and the civil and military authorities went to surrender the locality.

Having taken the town of Corinth, Hauptmann Schirmer ordered Leutnant Teussen to act as advance guard and to press ahead with his Platoon towards Nauplia. Shortly after noon, the aerodrome of Corinth fell into German hands.

Sources: Deutsche Fallschirmjäger im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Volkmar Kühn. Motorbuch Verlag.
Die Wehrmacht 1941.
Private Sales List-5.FJR 2 - CORINTH, KRETA, RUSSIA, NORWAY. 14 de Enero de 2010, 18:02:01
Die Bildchronik der Fallschirmtruppe 1935-45. Arnold v. Roon.
Greece and Crete 1941. Christopher Buckley

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.

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Re: Glider attack on the Corinth Canal bridge

Post by tigre » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:32 pm

Hello to all :D; a little more.................

Paratroopers in the Balkans.

FJR 2 in action on the Corinth Canal.

Then began the hunt and Argonaut’s Platoon of Schirmer captured Argos and Nauplia. In the fighting that followed the Leutnant Teussen was injured but his troops took 1400 British and therefore on June 14, 1941 he received the Knight's Cross.

On April 28, 1941 in the morning approached the vanguard of the German Army and by then the engineers had built a bridge of circumstances on the Corinth’s Canal. The foremost fractions of the 5 Pz linked with the I. / FJR. The Regiment had taken a total of 10 500 prisoners.

Sources: Deutsche Fallschirmjäger im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Volkmar Kühn. Motorbuch Verlag.
Die Wehrmacht 1941.
Private Sales List-5.FJR 2 - CORINTH, KRETA, RUSSIA, NORWAY. 14 de Enero de 2010, 18:02:01
Die Bildchronik der Fallschirmtruppe 1935-45. Arnold v. Roon.
Greece and Crete 1941. Christopher Buckley

Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Re: Glider attack on the Corinth Canal bridge

Post by tigre » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:55 pm

Hello to all :D ; last part.................

Paratroopers in the Balkans.

FJR 2 in action on the Corinth Canal.

The action cost the FJR 2 64 killed and 16 missing in action, including two paratroopers who drowned during the jump, while 158 were injured. In addition 10 were killed when it crashed a Ju-52.

Sources: Deutsche Fallschirmjäger im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Volkmar Kühn. Motorbuch Verlag.
Die Wehrmacht 1941.
Private Sales List-5.FJR 2 - CORINTH, KRETA, RUSSIA, NORWAY. 14 de Enero de 2010, 18:02:01
Die Bildchronik der Fallschirmtruppe 1935-45. Arnold v. Roon.
Greece and Crete 1941. Christopher Buckley

It's all folks. Cheers. Raúl M 8).
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Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.