The Luftwaffe Enters Nord Afrika

After the first successful British campaign in the Western Desert against the Italians, the Deutches Afrika Korps (DAK) entered the theatre. Nierhorster (see reference links) gives orbats for the invasion of CRETE that include 5 Squadra Aerea (air fleet ). The first Luftwaffe order of battle in North Africa, about the time of the attacks on TOBRUK, in March 1941 that I have been able to find from ( looks like this, supplemented by Dr Chris McNabb’s² (2009) Order of Battle: German Luftwaffe in WWII,which itself quotes Sturmvogel, and Nierhorster as references:

The Mediterranean

First to arrive in North Africa in Jan/Feb 1941 was X Fliegerkorps, followed in November 1941 by Luftflotte 2.

Unit Aircraft Total Svcble
X Fliegerkorps
I/JG 27 Bf 109 34 25
III/ZG 26 Bf 110 25 22
Stab/LG 1 Ju 88A 1 1
I/LG 1 35 4
II/LG 1 25 11
III/LG 1 27 11
II/KG 26 He 111H 28 5
III/KG 26 30 12
III/KG 30 Ju 88A 15 6
KüFlGr 506 11 4
I/StG 1 Ju 87 25 21
Stab/StG 3 3 3
Bf 110 4 0
I/StG 3 Ju 87 30 13
Stab/KG zbV 1 Ju 52 2 1
I/KG zbV 1 27 14
II/KG zbV 1 39 19
III/KG zbV 1 41 29
KGr zbV 9 25 9
KGr zbV 172 44 8

McNabb cites 300 (10) Aircraft for X Fliegerkorps rising to 450 (15) aircraft, but on page 80, two tables appear to duplicate aircraft on the same date. I believe at present that a typo has reproduced strengths for Feb-Mar 1941 erroneously as January in the second table. Note that I have converted servicable numbers to 1:30 ratio NQM strength points (SPs) approximating between the two tables below, and this is for the whole Mediterranean theatre. One (SP) is equivalent to a Staffel of 10-12 aircraft.

X Fliegerkorps (Jan-Apr 1941)

GELA (Sicily) – JG 26/27 – 1 Bf 109E (4)

Diecast 1/100 Bf 109 from the Author’s collection

PALERMO (Sicily) – ZG 26 – 1 Bf 110 (2)


CATANIA (Sicily) – LG1 – 1 Ju 88A (2), 1 Ju 88D (2)

JU88Junkers Ju88 (1939) [Medium Bomber] Author’s collection

(North Afrika) – StG2 –  2 Ju 87B (2)

Stg2 Hubert Polz's Ju-87

Stg2 Hubert Polz’s Ju-87

TRAPANI (Sicily) – Stg 1 – 2 Ju 87R (2)

1/144 Ju 87 Stuka from the Author’s collection

COMISO (Sicily) – KG26 – 2 He 111H-3 (2)

HE111Heinkel He111. (1936), [Medium Bomber] Author’s collection.

(Sicily) – KG zbV 1/9 – 1 Ju 52 (3), 1 Ju 52 (2)


Wickepedia ( adds the following, supplemented by McNabb:

Luftflotte 2 (MittelMeer-Afrika)(Nov 1941- Jan 1942)

Arrived in November 1941 and took X Fliegercorps under command but shown below in January 1942 by which time Fliegerführer Afrika and II FliegerKorps were also under command

Fliegerkorps II

(Sicily) – KG zbV 1/400 – 2 Ju 52 (3)

GELA? (Sicily) – JG 53 – 1 Bf 109F-4 (3), 1 Bf 109F-4 (2)

Bf 109 trop JG 53

CATINA (Sicily) – NJG2 – 1 Ju 88C-6 (2)

Ju 88C-6 copyright Simon Schatz at

CATANIA (Sicily) – KG54/77 –1 Ju 88A-4 (3)

COMISO (Sicily) – KG26 – 1 He 111H-3 (1) (Transferred from X Fliegerkorps)

  • JagdKommando Kreta


A Model of a rather large and posh Cretan Hotel ought to suffice for this HQ. It should sit unmolested on your dining room sideboard, throughout the game, looking grand! (Photo of Ritz Hotel copyright The Author)

Fliegerführer Afrika(Ägyptenfeldzug)

(Libya) – ZG 26 “Horst Wessel” –  1 Bf 110C-4 (1)

ZG 26 "Horst Wessel" Bf 110

(Libya/Egypt) – JG27 –  1 Bf 109F-4 (3)

JG27 Bf 109F-4

(Libya/Egypt) – SG3 –  1 Ju 87D-1 (3), 1 Ju 87D-1 (2)

Luftwaffe Kommando Sudost

(copyright Steve Bathy, used without permission)

Henshel Hs 126B-1, 5F+CK, of 2.(H)/14, North Africa, 1942

II Seenot Dienstfuhrer (Emergency Sea Rescue Service HQ)

1 Do 24 (s3) – In TRIPOLI initially, then later could be split into 3 strength points; one at each of the bases below¹:


  • 15 Seenotkommando (BENGASI)¹
  • 16 Seenotkommando (DERNA)¹
  • Seenotkommando (TRIPOLI)

II Sanitats-Flugbereitschaft Bengasi (Casualty Evacuation)

BENGASI – 1 Fieseler Storch (3)

Fieseler Storch Fi 156. (1937), [STOL Army Cooperation]. All Fronts. (Tankzone model from the Author’s collection)

Fliegerführer Afrika(Libyen-Tunesien)

  • Verbindungsstaffel und Flugbereitschaft der Fliegerkorps Tunis (Liaison and Army Air Cooperation Staff HQ?)

General der Deutschen Luftwaffe beim Oberkommand der Kgl.Ital Luftwaffe (ITALUFT)

XIX.Deutsch-Italienische Panzerarmee/Armata Corazzata Italo-Tedesca (Flak Div.) Kommando (Flak Div 19)

Flak Regiment 102

1 88L56 FlaK 18 (s2) and Sdkfz7 Limber (s2), 1 x 20L113 FlaK 38 (s2) and Sdkfz10 Limber (s2)

Flak Regiment 135: as above

  1. See Andreas’ correction in the comments below (not in DERNA or BENGAZI until after Jan 1942, until the Axis forces captured them!)

2. I have not been able to independently verify this author’s academic title. This surprised me. Most of his books are on survival. It seems probable that the author is Steven Billy Mitchell, better known by his other pseudonym of Andy McNabb. I am happy to be corrected on this belief.


Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Air Forces, German Airforce, Western Desert, WWII

3 responses to “The Luftwaffe Enters Nord Afrika

  1. Nice work, but some errors, as is to be expected given the complexity.

    The Sturmvogel Orbat you quote is of 24 June 41, so just after BATTLEAXE rather than Tobruk battles.

    For the GAF, none of the paratrooper units you have in your list were present in January 1942. They had Gruppe Burckhardt, which was about a small regiment in size, and that was all.

    Jagdkommando Kreta did not exist in January 42 (for all the difference that makes)

    Fliegerfuehrer Afrika did not have a Tunisian section at the time.

    No Seenotkommandos in Derna and Benghazi in January 42, since both of these were occupied by the Commonwealth.

    450 aircraft for X Fliegerkorps including Fliegerfuehrer Afrika (!) does sound okay. About 50% serviceability.

    The best Orbats for the Luftwaffe in books are in ‘Die Luftwaffe im Mittelmeer’. If you offer your firstborn AND sell your soul, you might be able to find a copy somewhere. There is very good info in ULTRA messages, and a few of those are quoted in the new book by Shores et al. ‘Air War in the Mediterranean’ (highly recommended).

    Keep up the good work!

    All the best


    Liked by 1 person

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