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Photo of Obergefreiter Heinz Becher
6 November 1920 in Chemnitz
07.09.40-23.05.41 Segelfliegerschule der Luftwaffe im Neuhausen, Schüler Kompanie
01.06.42-03.07.42 2./Luftlandesgeschwader 2
04.07.42-28.08.42 6./Luftlandesgeschwader 2
16.11.43-22.01.44 4./Schleppgruppe 2
23.01.44-08.11.44 3./Schleppgruppe 2
15.02.45-31.03.45 Flugzeugführerschule A116 Göppingen
01.04.45-30.04.45 Fallschirm.-Offizier Schule I, Berlin Schöwalde
22.04.45-23.04.45 11. Fallschirm Division
23.04.45-01.05.45 Fallschirmjäger Rgt. "Fuchs"
02.05.45-07.05.45 Sicherungs Battalion Haas
15.05.41 Segelflugzeugführerabzeichen (Glider Pilot's Badge)
06.03.43 Eiserne Kreuz 2. Klasse (Iron Cross 2nd Class)
19.11.43 Frontflug-Spange für Luftlandeflieger in Bronze (Operational flying clasp in Bronze for transport)
Becher was most likely already a quite experienced glider pilot ( with the flieger Hitler Youth ) and he had already earned the A, B and C certificatse to begin with even prior to the start of the war. As with so many other German youngsters he was drafted into the Luftwaffe and was placed in a LW training unit .
7 September 40
Gefreiter Becher is transferred to the " Segelfliegerschule der Luftwaffe " in Neuhausen ( formerly the State of East Prussia ) , this Glider school was formed in January 1940 under the command of Hauptmann Willerding at Braunschweig-Waggum. In the late summer of 1940 there was a relocation of this school to Neuhausen, and with the change of location the famous Oberst Ludwig Reeps took over command. In addition the unit was redesignated Fliegerschule der Luftwaffe ( S ) 1.
15 May 41
Becher becomes a fully trained Glider pilot allowing him to wear the Luftwaffe Glider pilots badge he is at completion of his training the 93 trained glider pilot to graduate from Segelfliegerschule der Luftwaffe im Neuhausen. At this point forward Gefreiter Becher was allowed to wear the famous Luftwaffe Glider pilots badge and was issued a award certificate for this award.
Obergefreiter Becher ca. 1941
(courtesy of Stijn David)
24 May 41
Becher is posted to his first operational unit 1./ Luftlandegeschwader 1, likely Becher underwent further training in addition to learning to fly the newly developed Go 242.
September - October 41
In September of 1941 elements of Luftlandesgeschwader 1 where send to the Mediteranian to the following stations ; Vienna, Belgrado, Saloniki, Athen ( Eluesis ).
From the end of September/ beginning of October 1941 the flights started to supply german troops on African soil . This unit was designated " Schleppschwarm Afrika ". Based on Becher's Wehrpas entries (10.09.1941 bis 11.01.1942 ; Transportfluge im Mittelmeerraum) during this time frame he made a total on nine (9) front flights.
The "Schleppschwarm Afrika" was disbanded at the beginning of 1942 as the English advanced deeper into African soil near Bengasi, there where a few other minor units also active at that point in the Mediteranean but these are not important in this particular case.
14 May 42
Becher is transferred to 5./ Luftlandegeschwader 1, he would stay with the LLG 1 but did not see actual front service again until 15 September 42.
14 May 42
Becher is transferred to the newly formed unit : the Lw Kdo Don (Luftwaffe Kommando Don) .Towards the end of 1942 the unit consisted of the following main units :
* 1 ( DFS ) / Lw.Kdo.Don ( Oberleutnant Sannek )
* 1 ( Go ) / Lw.Kdo.Don ( Oberleutnant Kortum )
As it is noted in Becher's Wehrpass he belonged at that time to the 1 ( Go ) Staffel / Lw.Kdo.Don. This unit (1 ( Go ) Staffel / Lw.Kdo.Don. )and was formed during April 1942 at Hildesheim out of the 10 DFS 230 staffel . The main purpose of this unit was to help and resupply the 2nd German and 2nd Hungarian Army during the last months of 1942 ( sector South of the eastern front ) but their main problem was that alhtough they where fully equipped and operational they had no actual Towing planes for there use, as strange as this may sound.
As generally known the Russian launched a large scale attack against the German 6th Armee and 2nd Rumanian Army at Stalingrad during these months and after the near destruction of the encircled troops in Stalingrad the Russians launched yet another attack on 25 January 1943 this time attacking the 2nd Hungarian Army ( who rapidly crumbled due to lack of material, man, etc.). This disastrous collapse of this Armee caused the collapse and ultimate destruction of the 2nd German army who was now forced to retreat from its positions at the River Don towards the West .
13 January 43
The Luftwaffen Kommando Don became active (receiving some towing planes He 111 and Ju 52 ) with the first supply mission to Tscherkowo, most of these missions where actual supply missions for so called walking encirclements and once these Glider crews landed they destroyed there aircraft and they became part of the encircled troops and had too fight there way out again, these missions ended medio March / April 1943. It is also interesting too see that Becher received the Iron Cross 2nd class on 6 March 43 and it is a very safe too asume that he received this bravery award for such a succesfull supply mission.
6 March 43
Becher is awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class.
Early May 43
At the beginning of May 1943 the 1 ( Go ) Staffel / Lw.Kdo Don became part of the " Verbindungskommando ( Segelflug ) 4 " or " VK (S) 4 " under the lead of Hauptmann Erich Bromund ( who's signature can be found on page 33 of Becher's Wehrpass).
5 May 43
Becher is transferred to 3 ( Go ) / VK (S) 4, this units main task was once again to resupply Units from the Heeresgruppe South .
During October 1943 ( 3 ( Go ) / VK (S) 4 ) was renamed once again this time becoming 4.(Go)/Schleppgruppe 2 ( commander : Hauptmann Bromund ).
His Wehrpass gives the date of 11.1943 and refers towards the unit as 3./L.S.G.2 wich is in full : 3. e Staffel / Schleppgruppe 2, very interesting here is that the above given shorter name ( 3./L.S.G.2 ) is not completely correct but noted however as such !!!!!
On 16.11.1943 he switched from Staffel and here the unit is noted correctly as 4./Schleppgruppe 2
The main operational area of these units was too help and evacuate the Crimea, etc .... ( I will not go into detail about these as it is sometimes very hard to follow the smaller units etc ... and there whereabouts in Russia !! )
the battle entry's for this period can be read as following :
* Osteinsatz im Bereich Lfl Kdo 4 : Transportflug ( davon 11 Frontfluge )
=> Abwehrschlacht im Raum Cherson ( 09.02 - 04.03.1943 )
=> Angriffschlacht im Raum Cherson ( 05.03 - 31.03.1943 )
It is furtehrmore interesting too note that he received his Operational clasp not earlyer then 19.11.1943, altough he already earned enough points for it on 02.1943 !!!!!!! ( this is a delay of about 9 months between the qualification and the award !!! ) and as Ian already previos mentioned this is a ratehr rare award towards Glider pilots
and then once again at the beginning of 1944 we can see the never ending story of the switching in Units => this time towards the : 3./ Schleppgruppe 2 ( from 23.01.1944 untill 08.11.1944 ) .
This unit ( 3./ Schleppgruppe 2 ) was active once again in the same operational area as before ( Crimea => 17 the Armee ) and did help too supply the follow battle ( just to name one !! ) :
* March/April 1944 : 1 e Pz. Armee ( Kamenz Podolsk )
We can track the unit down towards the end of 1944 and at this time it was stationed in Hungary where they witnessed the complete collaps off the Hungarian Army etc .... , with the final disbanding of the Schleppgruppe 2 during Oktober / November 1944 .
Here we can go deeper into history and our friend became part of the Flugzeugfuhrerschule Görlitz, => I have a picture of your man ( Heinz Becher ) in my archives during his Görlitz time and I will post once I have obtained a new scanner
March/ April 44
During this time period is when the the 1st Panzer Armee was encircled in the north Ukraine. Major General Hube kept a moving pocket going, and Manstein demanded from Hitler additional troops to counter-attack and free the 1 Panzer Armee. After much arguing back and forth, the II SS Panzer Korps (9th & 10th SS PD) were used to attack and force open a corridor with which the 1 Panzer Armee was able to escape into the Carpathian mountain area. The Luftwaffe was very successful at flying gasoline and other supplies to keep the 1 PA moving, even though a lot of motorized transport had to be left behind. Nevertheless, much of the heavy equipment and tanks were able to escape the cauldron.
(courtesy of Stijn David)
2 July 98
Heinz Becher dies in Solingen (Germany).
Leutnant Heinz Becher document/awards group
Becher's medals and documents.
Flying clasp in Bronze for Transport and glider personel.