Heinz showing the emblem of his 2nd staffel of the I/St.G 3 wing (picture taken July 2010). The red is the distinctive part that belongs to the 2nd staffel. Propeller spinner tips of aircraft belonging to the 2nd staffel were also painted this colour.
Background and activities of the Luftwaffe groups where Heinz was stationed
(extracted from Dive-Bomber and Ground-Attack Units of the Luftwaffe by H.L. deZeng and D.G. Stankey, thanks Doug for permission)
09.03.40 Heinz was transferred to I./St.G. 76 (to 04.07.40).
19-24 May: shifted support to the 9 German Panzer divisions assembled in the St-Quentin – Péronne – Cambrai area that over the next several days advanced rapidly via Amiens for the Channel coast at Abbeville and then Boulogne.
24.05.1940 Heinz awarded EK2
25 May – 2 June: attacked British and French troops assembled in the Dunkirk bridgehead and evacuation shipping sent across the Channel to take them off the beaches and transport them to England (Operation Dynamo).
15-16 June: Gruppe moved forward again, now from Soissons to Villenauxe/95 km east-south-east of Paris.
05.07.40 Heinz was transferred to I./St.G. 3 (to 08.01.42).
20.08.1940 Heinz awarded EK1
19 October: Ju 87 B-1 slightly damaged in a taxiing accident at Barly airfield.
- 7 November: Gruppe attacked shipping in the Thames Estuary, sinking one and damaging another - 1 Ju 87 was damaged.
- 8 November: flew a second raid on shipping in the same location, damaging several - 2 Ju 87 Bs were shot down.
- 7 December: temporarily assigned to VIII. Fliegerkorps for Operation Felix, the planned attack on Gibraltar through Spain that was aborted a short time later.
- December 1940 – January 1941: not mentioned in the surviving documents, but believed to have returned to Germany (Echterdingen near Stuttgart?) for rest, refit and the granting of home leave.
Balkan Campaign and Operations in the Eastern Mediterranean (February 1941 - November 1941)
· 17 February: Ju 87 crashed on take-off from Balomir airfield in Bulgaria, 2 KIA.
· April – May: supported armored and motorized spearheads advancing into Greece, moving forward via Sirbani (Sirbanovo)/Bulgaria, Larissa (Larisa), Corinth and then to Argos by around 10 May.
· 20-31 May: took part in Operation Merkur (Mercury), the airborne and air landing assault on Crete.
· 22 May: at Argos - 10 of the Gruppe’s ground servicing personnel WIA when a 500 kg bomb exploded during the collision of two Stukas that were attempting to take off.
· 29 May: took part in attacks on Royal Navy forces evacuating personnel from Crete, losing a Ju 87 from 2. Staffel, which may have put a bomb into the forward gun positions of the cruiser Dido before crashing into the sea.
· June: transferred to Maritza on Rhodes during the first half of June to attack Royal Navy surface units in the eastern Mediterranean as opportunities arose.
· 30 July: finding few targets, transferred from Maritza to Máleme on Crete.
· 13 September: 2 Ju 87 R-4 (Trop) from 2. Staffel damaged on the ground at Máleme during a raid on the airfield by RAF bombers.
· November: began transferring from Máleme to Derna in North Africa around mid-November.
North African Campaign – Retreat and Advance (November 1941 - May 1942)
- November 1941 – November 1942: supported Rommel’s Afrikakorps during its advances and retreats across the deserts of Cyrenaica and western Egypt, taking part in the major actions at Bir Hacheim, Tobruk, El Alamein and El Ruweisat, with stations at Agedabia, Maraua and Tmimi.
- 25 November: Ju 87 shot down by AA fire near Tobruk. December: reportedly based at Arco Philanorum (Marble Arch)/195 km south-south-west of Benghazi during December.
- January 1942: moved forward and now at Agedabia/150 km south of Benghazi.
- 24 January: 2 Ju 87s shot down by fighters near Msus to the south-east of Benghazi - 1 KIA and 1 captured. However, the Gruppe reported it lost 3 Ju 87 R-2s in the Agedabia area to enemy fighters and AA fire this date with 4 crew members MIA.
- 28 January: Ju 87 lost to AA fire south of Magrun during operations in the Benghazi area.
09.0.40, Heinz was transferred to Erg.St./St.G. 3 in Piacenza/N Italy as a dive-bomber tactics and gunnery instructor. (to 16.06.42).
09.02.40, Heinz awarded the Ehrenpokal.
- 9-10 February 1942: Erg.St./St.G. 3 transferred from Salonika-Sedes to Piacenza/north Italy with a brief stop over at Foggia in central Italy. Trainees were only with the Staffel for 6 weeks before being sent to one of the operational Gruppen.
17.06.42, Heinz was transferred back to 1./St.G. 3 (to 11.11.42).
· 20 May: I./St.G. 3 based at Tmimi.
North African Campaign final phase
- 4 June 1942: 2 or 3 Ju 87s claimed shot down by fighters over Bir Hacheim during attacks on that fortress; one of the casualties was Gruppenkommandeur Hptm. Heinrich Eppen, who was KIA.
- 20 June: 3 Ju 87 Rs shot down by AA fire during an attack on Tobruk and El Adem, 4 KIA and 2 MIA.
- July – August: advanced toward Egypt with bases at Fuka and Bir el Abd/72 km south-east of Fuka.
- 3 July: 3 Ju 87s shot down by Hurricanes between Fuka and El Alamein along the Egyptian coast.
- 15 July: Ju 87 shot down by AA fire near El Alamein.
- 12 August: temporarily transferred from Libya to Trapani/Sicily to take part in II. Fliegerkorps attacks on the Pedestal relief force and convoy moving across the Mediterranean from Gibraltar toward Malta. Scored hits on the aircraft carrier Indomitable on 12 August with two heavy bombs and three near misses, thereby forcing her out of action. Two Ju 87 Ds were shot down by carrier fighters during the attack.
- Further missions were flown on 13 and 14 August with hits on two more ships, including the cruiser Dorset, and another Ju 87 was shot down.
21.08.42 Heinz awarded DKG
- Returned to North Africa during the second half of August and based at Quasaba/30 km south-east of Mersa Matruh.
- 6 September: Ju 87 D-3 (Trop) shot down by AA fire south of El Alamein, 2 MIA.
- 12 September: moved to Quasaba landing ground/30 km south-east of Mersa Matruh in northwest Egypt on or about this date.
- 31 October: Ju 87 shot down by AA fire over the El Alamein front area.
- 1 November: 2 Ju 87s shot down by P-40 Kittyhawks and U.S. P-40Fs.
- 11 November: Gruppe virtually wiped out this date - 15 Ju 87s were sent out to attack advancing British armor in the Gambut area to the east of Tobruk where they were jumped by SAAF Kittyhawks and later by U.S. P-40Fs. Only one of the 15 is believed escaped. The Gruppenkommandeur Hptm. Martin Mossdorf was captured along with several others.
11 November 1942: Heinz was shot down over Capuzzo near Sollum in Ju 87 D-3trop (S7+KL), WNr. 2674 and captured.