LATVIAN AVIATION CHRONOLOGY 1941 Onwards



1941
June 22 - Germany attacks the Soviet Union.
June 23 - German troops reach Liepaja and, on June 29th, take the city. German troops take Grobini.
June 25 - Germans take Ilukste.
June 27 - Germans take Tukkums. Elsewhere, A group of nearly 40 Latvian officers, NCOs and enlisted men, serving in the Soviet 24th Territorial Corps Aviation Unit based at Gulbene, slip away into the Lubana forest to await the arrival of the German forces.
June 28 - The Latvian Squadron of the 24th Territorial Corps receives its orders to withdraw into the Soviet Union.
June 29 - Soviets send waves of bombers against the bridges at Daugavpils in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy them and slow down the german advance. The Germans capture Daugavpils airfield, complete with about 30 abandoned aircraft. On this day, the Germans take Liepaja, Jelgava, Saldus and Livani. German troops arrive on the outskirst of Riga.
June 30 - 8.(H)/32 (Aufklärungsgruppe 32) bases at Daugavpils, soon to be joined by 2.(H)/13 (Aufklärungsgruppe 13).
July 1 - Germans take Riga. I./JG 54 rebases to Jelgava and Birzi, near Jekabpils.
July 2 - The Latvian Squadron of the 24th Territorial Corps, ordered to withdraw into the Soviet Union, arrives at Rzhev on the Upper Volga.

1942
- Imants Sleiters dies while serving in the Latvian Legion.

1943
April - the Soviets establish a new squadron of Latvian aviators, flying old PO-2 biplanes.
June 6 - A group of aviators, formerly from the Aviation Regiment, gather at the "Maza Vermane" garden restaurant to mark the anniversary of the Regiment. At this meeting, J.Rucels for the first time tells the fliers that a Latvian aviation squadron, flying for the Luftwaffe, was being formed.
September - preparations begin for the creation of a Latvian Aviation unit in the Luftwaffe.
September - The flight school at Tallinn relocates to Liepaja-Grobina and is named "Flugzeugfuehrerschule A/B Libau/Grobin"
October 4 - the first officer flight refresher course begins at Liepaja-Grobina.
October 6 - the first flight instructor refresher course begins at Liepaja-Grobina.

1944
January 1 The Liepaja-Grobina flight school is renamed "Ergaenzungs Nachtschlachtgruppe Ostland"(ENO)

February The first 25 aviators graduate from the Liepaja-Grobina flying training school. 15 go on immediately to establish 1./NSGr.12(lett), 10 remain behind as instructors.
February 27 Ltn.Stukans suffers a fatal crash during training at Liepaja-Grobina.
February 29 - March 2 General Bangerskis stays at Liepaja-Grobina airfield to inspect activities there and attend the 1./NSGr.12(lett) founding ceremony.

March 1 1./NSGr.12(lett) is established.
March 22 1./NSGr.12(lett) departs for the front, their first base being at Vecumi.
March 23 1./NSGr.12(lett) stays overnight at Gulbene en route to their base at Vecumi.
March 26 1./NSGr.12(lett)'s first combat missions, in the region of Pleskava, Ostrova and Opocka.
March 29 The last belongings, spare parts, etc of 1./NSGr.12(lett) arrive at Vecumi by train.

May 26 1./NSGr.12(lett) moves to Salas aerodrome, about 50 km south of Vecumi.

June 22 The second Latvian Luftwaffe squadron ( 2./NSGr.12(lett) ) is formed at Liepaja-Grobina.
June 26 2./NSGr.12(lett) rebases to the Salas airfield to join up with the first.

July 21 Both NSGr12 units move to Gulbene.
July 23 The NSGr.12 has an unusually bad night when, in poor weather, only nine of a total of 16 aircraft return to base. A number of the pilots force landed and survived, but the squadron was badly depleted.
July 25 1./NSGr.12(lett) completes its 1,000th combat sortie.
July 29 - Both NSGr12 units re-base to Riga-Kalnciems (which the Germans refer to as Riga-Skulte).
- 10 Arado 66 aircraft transfer from Liepaja-Grobina to Riga-Kalnciems and are divided between the two squadrons.
July The attempt to form a third squadron for NSGr 12 fails due to a lack of aircraft.

August 1 NSGr.12(lett) utilizes 35 aircraft to fly 300 sorties, dropping 50 tonnes of bombs on the enemy near Jelgava.
August 11- The Latvian flying units are combined into the "Luftwaffe Legion Lettland" under the command of Janis Rucels. The flight training centre at Liepaja-Grobini is renamed as Erg.Flg.Gr.Lettland (Latvian Replacement Training Group).
- Even though the Liepaja-Grobina training unit is renamed "Ergaenzungs Fligergruppe Lettland" (EFL) it continues, until being disbanded, to be generally known under its earlier name "Ergaenzungs Nachtschlachtgruppe Ostland" (ENG).
August 12 NSGr.12(lett) loses two aircraft in a storm south of Lake Peipus. J.Karklins aircraft is found, days later, crashed in the forest near Smiltene.
August 17 The occupying Germans organize the Luftwaffe Legion Lettland under the command of Lt.Col.Janis Rucels. It was disbanded in Mid-October, 1944.
August Students Degemuss and Martini perish in a mid-air collision while training at Liepaja-Grobina.
August Janis Daiga, on a mission flown from Aluksne, comes down behind the lines and is murdered by pro-soviet partizans.

September 15 Obstl. Nikolajs Bulmanis replaces the german officer commanding NSGr 12(lett).
September 21 The last remaining aircraft at Liepaja-Grobina transfer to Alt-Damm.
September 23 The Latvian aviation HQ staff transfers to Palang.
September 26 The Liepaja-Grobina ground personnel depart for Alt-Damm by train.
September 29 The Salaspils aerodrome is shelled by Soviet artillery from the far shore of the Daugava River. The squadron rebases to a new aerodrome east of Tukums.
September The last of the five classes graduates from the Liepaja-Grobina flying training school.

October 6 - The first squadron makes its final flights, in the vicinity of Dobele.
- The Latvian flying units of the Luftwaffe are dissolved.
October 7 - The second squadron makes its last combat sorties, near Jelgava-Dobele.
- The personnel of the aviation units are ordered to Okti. Much of the 1st squadron began the move already that same afternoon.
October 8 - Zanis Tamsons and his mechanic escape to Sweden in Hs 126 (6A+NL). - three conflicting orders are received, telling the unit to move either to Tukums, Okti or Liepaja-Grobina. After some clarification, the remaining personnel transfer to Liepaja-Grobina.
- the Latvian aviation HQ staff, at Palang, are transferred to Bruesterort in the NW corner of East Prussia.
October 9 - NSGr 12 aircraft are ordered to fly to Liepaja-Z.
- The NSGr 12 units at Liepaja-Z are immediately ordered to continue on to the aerodrome at Bromberg, Germany. The flight is accomplished in two legs, spending the night at Koenigsberg-Seerappen.
October 10 - Julijs Stars is killed in a training accident on his second solo flight in an FW-190.
- The remains of NSGr 12 hand over their aircraft at Serocki airfield and they are then moved to Hehzalcs airfield, where they remain without assigned tasks for two weeks.
October 11 The 1st squadron's ground transport is dispatched from Liepaja-Grobina to Germany. En route, near Klaipeda, they are almost encircled and captured.
October 13 The Soviets take Riga.
October 17 NSG 12 is disbanded.
October 20 The ground transport reaches Hochensalz and is reunited with its flying personnel.

November 1 The 2nd squadron's ground transport travels by sea and arrives at Stettin, where they settle at the Alt-Damm aerodrome.

December 5 Lt.Janis Lecis, flying a FW-190A-8 of 3./JG 1, is shot down over Neuruppin. He manages to bale out.
December 27 Oblt.Eduards Millers, flying a FW-190A-8 of 1./JG 1, is shot down over the Eifel mountains. He bales out, but is injured when he strikes the tail of his aircraft.

1945
January 1 Harijs Klints of 2./JG 1 is shot down over St.Denis-Westrem. It is unclear if he died in the crash or at the hands of local citizens.
April 16 Valdemars Livmanis is sent to Dresden to pick up a new FW-190. With Soviet troops closing in on the area he disappears and his fate remains unknown.
May 1 Latvian pilots Dumpis, Lazdins and Millers are ordered to report to Erlangen for conversion training on the Me-262. This order came too late in the war, and the transfer never took place.
autumn Margeris Kenins dies in Riga.

1946
June The Latvian squadron in the Soviet military is disbanded.

1947
- Pauls Reinhards, designer of the AVDI, emigrates to England.

1965
Herberts Cukurs dies in Montevideo, Uruguay.

1979
March 23 Died: Nikolajs Pulins, in Geteborg, Sweden.

1983
June 20 Died: Oskars Dzervitis, engineer.

1984
- Rudolfs Celms dies.

1985
June 13 Died: Georgs Novickis, in Santa Rosa, California, USA

1997
October 23 Died: Karlis Irbitis, in Ville St.Laurent, Quebec, Canada




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