An Outstanding Luftwaffe Award Group to Bomber Group 27
An Outstanding Luftwaffe Award Group to Bomber Group 27 - Fine Luftwaffe grouping of Unteroffizier Heinrich Kuhlmann who served as a co-pilot/bombardier with KG 28 and KG 27 “Boelcke”, with several awards, award documents and huge amount of other documents, drawings, maps, letters. Included are: (1) Citation for the Bomber Clasp in Bronze. Dated 9 September 1941. Signed by the squadron commander. (2) Iron Cross – 2nd Class with the citation dated 11 September 1941. Ink signed by Gen. Bruno “Loerzer” (recipient of the Pour le Merite and Knights Cross of the Iron Cross). (3) Wound Badge in Black with citation dated 8 October 1941. Signed by an Oblt….the squadron commander. (4) Iron Cross – 1st Class. High swastika and a plum patina on silver frame. With citation dated 12 October 1941. Ink signed by GFM Albert “Kesserling” (KC w/Brilliants recipient). (5) Citation for the Bomber Clasp in Silver. Dated 25 June 1942. Signed for Major Gunzel. (6) Citation for Bomber Clasp in Gold dated 20 August 1942. Ink signed by Major Gunzel. (7) Luftwaffe Honor Goblet; Engraved to “UNTEROFFIZIER HEINRICK KUHLMANN AM 13.10.42”. “Alpaka” silver – made by the firm of “JOH. WAGNER & SOHN”. 8 1/8” tall with an embossed scene of two eagles in combat and a 1939 Iron Cross. This Honor Goblet exhibits a nice age toned patina, it is in virtually mint condition. With formal award citation with a facsimile Goring and original signature of Gen. Gustav Kastner-Kirdorf. Also with a two-page text notification of Kuhlmann receiving this award. Signed by Maj. Bohme. (8) Citation for the Observer Badge. Dated 9 April 1943. Ink signed by Gen. Obst “Loerzer”. (9) German Cross in Gold. Wide pin marked “1” (for Deschler, München). Nice age toned patina, slightly worn, in extremely fine condition. With large 13 7/8” x 9 7/8” formal award citation dated 28 April 1943. Facsimile Goring and original Gen. Obst “Loerzer” signature. Embossed eagle/swastika/crossed batons. (10) Original “Flugbuch” of Kuhlmann with a total of 205 recorded flights between 15 August 1941 and 22 January 1943. Entries include bombing trains, the main station in Kursk, specific factories, airfields, munitions works, troop and tank columns. Volga and Stalingrad, planes lost, bringing supplies and troops into Stalingrad and flying out the wounded, etc. A wonderful history of the Stalingrad episode. (11) Large file/notebook compiled by Kuhlmann with notes, drawings, maps and observations of his pilot’s/Luftwaffe training. Weight 3 ¾ lbs. (12) Typed official file letter with two handwritten letters from Kuhlmann’s comrades to his family – all dealing with the circumstances of his aircraft being shot down and the death of all the crew members. Large Group to Navigator and Bombardier Heinrich Kuhlmann of Bomber Group 27 “Boelcke” parachuted and captured in the East: German Cross in Gold; Iron Cross 1st Class; Iron Cross 2nd Class; Wound Badge in Black (each award has its corresponding document); Flight Log Book in fine condition logging 205 missions from 1941 to 1943; Letter of Recognition from the Commanding General of the 2nd Flying Corps; LW Honour Goblet with Document; Documents for the Squadron Clasp for Bombers in Bronze, Silver, and Gold; Letter from Commanding Officer to Pilot’s (Kuhlmann’s crew mate) family informing them of their disappearance; large stack of documents, mostly mechanical schematics and text from his training regarding navigation, calculation, tactics, bombing methods and procedure, also some personal letters to comrades and family. The letter of recognition for excellent performance is from October 2nd 1941 and reads: on the 23rd and 26th of September 1941, two crews of Bomber Group 28 showed exceptional dash and decisiveness in excursions deep behind enemy lines after impeccable flight- and attack preparation, they achieved devastating success against the target ALEKSIN. I express my personal recognition for the exceptional performance of the two crews: KUHLMANN, BOMBADIER [underlined] A letter sent to his father Herr Heinrich Kuhlmann in Hemeringen, Hameln, from April 11, 1944 reads: The Herr Reichsmarschall of the Great German Reich has awarded your son Heinrich the Honour Goblet for Exceptional Performance in the Air War in recognition of his excellent bravery and his success as a bomber flight personnel. The squadron expresses their heartfelt congratulations for winning this prestigious award. The Goblet will be sent by post as an insured parcel to your address. Heil Hitler [signed Leutnant] Letter to the family of Kuhlmann’s pilot Rudolf Marggraf from July 25th, 1943 reads: by the order of my Commander Captain Petersen, as well as in my role as leader of the 4th Squadron of Bomber Group 27, I am obliged to inform you that your son, Oberleutnant Rudolf Marggraf is reported missing as of 5:24 am on July 14th, 1943. Oberleutnant Marggraf, my dear Rudi, started out on the 14th of September with me and a unit of 9 aircraft on an attack against enemy Artillery and Tank formations deep behind the front. I led the formation and Rudi was 10 m behind me in the second chain. Right above our target, our squadron was struck with a sudden terrible and concentrated Flak attack while at an altitude of 2700 m. I turned around immediately to head for another landing target. During our turn, Rudi’s aircraft suffered a direct hit to the right gas tank and immediately caught fire. The aircraft was still capable of flying and the crew was apparently unharmed. Rudi flew the burning plane in close proximity beside me, heading towards the German line which lay roughly 3 km in front of us. After about 40 seconds, three members of the crew jumped one after the other, one of their parachutes failed to open. After another 10 seconds the Observer jumped, and about 20 seconds later, as the plane was fully in flames, Rudi was the last man to jump from the plane. Rudi was uninjured, his parachute opened and immediately after his plane plummeted to the ground. Rudi disappeared with his parachute into the clouds. I personally led our unit to our landing. After the attack I let the squadron go home, headed straight for the German line and began searching no man’s land for the crew. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the plane or the crew. Two hours later I continued the search and the only things I found was a parachute on the ground that lay among the most forward Russian positions. My efforts to move to enemy positions to come across that parachute were met with heavy flak and machine gun fire, so I had to turn back. Further details to share: 1. The Army unit posted close to this section of the front reported that at 5:26 they saw 4 parachutists 2.5 km from the German line. The 4 jumpers were met with Russian machine gun fire. 2. An intercepted Russian transmission from the 14th July at 10 am reported two members of a German flight crew were taken prisoner. The position was close to where we were operating. 3. A related Panzer attack had no success in ascertaining facts. To this day I am still full of hope that Rudi will find his way home, as he was the last one who jumped from the plane and so was closest to the German line. Now there’s nothing left for me to do but to pick up the quill, find strength, and write to you the unhappy news. Although I have been ordered not to get your hopes up, I am still convinced that your son has made good on every opportunity to find his way back. It is possible that Rudi ended up in Russian captivity. I believe that I know his character well enough to say that at the moment of being taken prisoner, he wouldn’t regard his own life as hopeless. I remember a conversation we had on that subject when your son made the point, that he would never willingly give himself up, that even in the last moment that fortune could change the situation. I can only imagine, noble family Marggraf, that my correspondence today causes you grief. You can be assured that I am extremely grieved by his absence. Of my last two friends, he was the kind of person that would give up his last piece of bread for his comrades. The relationship we had was like one between brothers. Next time I write you I will provide you with the mailing addresses of his crew mates, so that you can get in contact if you wish. I will have Rudi’s pack sent to your address. I would gladly help with any questions or services you might have. Here I end my mission and send you greetings in deep solidarity. Yours [signed Adolf Fischbach] A handwritten letter from Rudi Marggraf to the Kuhlmann Family from June 1948 reads: Dear family Kuhlmann! It’s been almost 5 years since that fateful 14th of July, when a direct hit from a Russian flak shell forced the crew of a 1G+BM to jump from a burning plane with parachutes to an unknown future. […] As far as I know about the fate of my crew members- how happy I would be if I could say something positive. Unfortunately this is not the case. I can’t be sure what happened to them after we were taken prisoner.