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Ulrich Bigalke


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#1 David J Jones

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 19:34

Inspired by the thread concerning military selrvice I have checked with Leif Snelman's page and found that Ulrich Bigalke is stated as having died on 12/8/40.

Does anyone have a record of which Luftwaffe unit Ulrich served with?

I have done a quick scan of Luftwaffe losses for that day but could not find a corresponding record.

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#2 Doug Nye

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 21:10

I believe that Ulrich Bigalke was a Battle of Britain casualty - Monday, August 12, 1940 - III Kampfgeschwader 51 Junkers Ju88-A1 - missing following attack by RAF fighters during sortie over southern England. Leutnant Seidel, Sonderfhr. Bigalke and one NCO killed. One NCO missing. Aircraft written-off. It appears that the Luftwaffe confirmed losses of 39 aircraft on the Channel front that day. Uli Bigalke was one of the unlucky ones amongst their crewmen...

DCN

#3 David J Jones

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Posted 04 July 2002 - 00:09

Doug

Rather late at night (in the middle to be exact) I went at the subject via my bible on the BoB and found the info quoted.

Came to write this up - and found your reply. Thanks for the detail anyway - the only thing I have to try now is to identify where.

I used 'The Battle of Britain - Then and Now' as my source and will try the same reference book again at a later stage to try to find it from the RAF side.

#4 David J Jones

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Posted 11 July 2002 - 15:09

Checked this through on the BoB website and found that KG51 were in action in the area of the Isle of Wight and the Portsmouth area - at around 12.30 on Monday 12 August 1940.

They were engaged in the area by RAF fighters from Warmwell, Tangmere and Westhampnet and by ground fire.

#5 Leif Snellman

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Posted 11 July 2002 - 19:33

Originally posted by David J Jones
They were engaged in the area by RAF fighters from Warmwell, Tangmere and Westhampnet and by ground fire.

RAF fighter command order of battle August 1940:
Warmwell - 152 Squadron, Spitfire
Tangmere - 43 & 601 Squadrons, Hurricane
Westhampnet - 145 Squadron, Hurricane
(Source: John D.R. Rawlings, Fighter Squadrons of the R.A.F. and their Aircraft)

I wonder if any of you could find out what Jagdgruppe Major Ernst Günther Burggaller was leading when he died on 2 Feb 1940. His death was one of the first mysteries Hans and I tried to solve together as his source said he was shot down over England. I found it remarkable that a German fighter should have reached England in February 1940.

#6 Doug Nye

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Posted 12 July 2002 - 00:12

Leif - this is strange. According to the RAF overview for Friday, February 2, 1940, virtually the entire UK was cloaked in snow that day. Road conditions had improved slightly but movement nationally was difficult. More to the point 'No enemy activity has been reported during this period' - i.e. the 24-hours of February 2, 1940, over the home territory of the United Kingdom.

Burgaller would have been old for a fighter pilot, too... Are you certain he was not on bombers, or something else? I seem to remember once seeing a reference to him having been engaged in some kind of media reportage or perhaps filming role with a kriegsberichter - war photographer????? when he died.... Interesting....

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#7 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 12 July 2002 - 06:46

Alex Büttner wrote in No. 46, pg. 6 of MOTOR und SPORT on November 17, 1940: "The news of a death reaches the German motor sport friends: Ulrich Bigalke, the well-known upcoming racing car driver for Auto Union has sacrificed his young life in a sortie against England for Führer und Vaterland (Hitler and Fatherland) on August 12, 1940. In his flight uniform, which had been his full pride ........, the waves carried him from the hostile coast away homewards ashore on this side of the Channel beach, where comrades of German coast guard laid him in a tenderly prepared grave amongst the sand dunes on September 1."

"Thus, it has now become sad certainty, what comrades and friends had feared already, after Uli Bigalke had not returned to his operational airfield after the great battle at Porthmouth[sic] and finally was announced as missing."

In the Auto Union obituary in No. 46, pg. 27 of MOTOR und SPORT on November 17, 1940, it reads: "After weeks of uncertainty, the news reached us that our colleague of long standing, Ulrich Bigalke, has sacrificed his young life in fight for Führer und Vaterland at a combat mission on August 12 this year ...................."

#8 Leif Snellman

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Posted 12 July 2002 - 13:17

Hans,
Can you give the source that said that Burggaller was the leader of a Jagdgruppe? The German "Gruppe" was something between a Staffel (Squadron) and Geschwader (Wing).

#9 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 12 July 2002 - 17:42

AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern, No. 7, p. 3,(February ?, 1940)
"As Major of the Luftwaffe and Commander of a Jagdstaffel, the former German automobile racing driver Ernst Günther Burggaller has found the Fliegertod................"

MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck, No. 7, p. 4, February 14, 1940
"On February 2, 1940, Ernst Günther Burggaller, Major of the Luftwaffe and and Commander of a Jagdstaffel, suffered the Fliegertod for Führer und Reich. ........... He was put to eternal rest at the Waldfriedhof in Berlin-Dahlem next to his great comrades Bernd Rosemeyer and Ernst von Delius. ............................
"............. and in 1938 returned to the Luftwaffe as lieutenant. In 1939, Burggaller was promoted to Major and Commander of a Jagdgruppe ........."

#10 David J Jones

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Posted 13 July 2002 - 13:17

Leif

Can we assume from Hans post that Ernst Burggaller was killed in Germany and not over England?

Hans

Interesting detail on Ulrich Bigalke (concerning the body being washed ashore on the French Coast) - I had come across a similar record but was certain it was not Bigalke.
I will retrace my steps to see if I can find it again. I had surmised that Bigalke's aircraft was brought down in the harbour area or the sea.

#11 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 21:38

Have there been any developments on this thread??? Was Burgaller lost somewhere other than over the UNited Kingdom???? Any clues, anybody....Leif??? Hans????

DCN

#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 22:05

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Have there been any developments on this thread??? Was Burgaller lost somewhere other than over the UNited Kingdom???? Any clues, anybody....Leif??? Hans????

DCN


Sorry Doug - meant to post this a couple of days ago ....

"Another German driver, according to news from another neutral source, was not so lucky [as Lang, rumoured at the time to have died from his injuries sustained in Belgrade] and met his death whilst leading a German squadron in an attack on the English coast. This was Ernst Burggaller (spelt "Burccaller" in the dailies, but no doubt the same man)."

Light Car, Feb 24th 1940 p370

From that, he sounds like a bomber pilot, but, like you, I have a vague memory of seeing something about him being involved in a propaganda unit.

Might be a clue in that "dailies" reference: perhaps the national press picked it up?

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 22:20

That is the 'dailies' of a 'Neutral source'...

Swiss? At that time what other countries were neutral? Could be quite a search.

Very interesting thread.

#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 22:26

I read it as meaning the English dailies picking up on a foreign agency report - Light Car would be unlikely to have access to foreign daily papers at that time.

Much of Light Car's early wartime info seems to have come from Italy - letters from Johnny Lurani are mentioned several times.

#15 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 00:17

Originally posted by Doug Nye
.....Was Burgaller lost somewhere other than over the UNited Kingdom???? Any clues, anybody....Leif??? Hans????.....

Doug,
I posted all original sources I could find a few posts back. I gave all my findings to Leif. I am not aware of a statement, which confirms that Burggaller died over England. As far as I can interpret the word Fliegertod, it means a death in/with/at an airplane. It does not necessarily mean he was shot down. He could have had an accident or crash landed somewhere. It does not say. :)

#16 David J Jones

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 06:25

The title Jagdstaffael would indicate, I believe, that Burgaller was in a fighter squadron. I am scratching my head now trying to think of which one.

February 1940 is a little early though for fighter activity over England. To my memory there had been bomber activity and also RAF bombers had been active over Germany.

At this stage only Poland and Czechoslovakia had been overrun and what was termed as the 'Phoney War' was in progress.

So where could Burgaller have received the wounds he died from unless he was in a bomber?

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 06:32

In a fighter scrambled to intercept bombers?

It could have even been 'friendly fire'... but if he was a fighter pilot attacking bombers he would have faced defensive fire from those bombers.

#18 Leif Snellman

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Posted 22 July 2002 - 07:46

In February 1940, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg and Netherlands were all still neutral. The only way for a German Fighter to reach England was starting from Germany and either take the way across France or over the North See. There is NO WAY a German fighter could do that as they did not have the range in those days. Remember that the the Messerschmitts had great difficultes with the range even during the Battle of Britain. Also note that Netherlands were scratched from the German invasion plans on 29 Nov 1939 but then put back in the plans after protests from Luftwaffe, who needed the Dutch air fields. (see Len Deighton - Blitzkrieg)

#19 monoposto

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 22:41


A photograph of the grave and burial details can be found here

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#20 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 23:42

A photograph of the grave and burial details can be found here

Thanks for that.

The cemetery where Bigalke rests is in Normandy, at Champigny-la-Futelaye. It contains almost 20000 German war graves.

We did of course sort out the Burggaller question in another thread, but I think I can also clear this up:

Interesting detail on Ulrich Bigalke (concerning the body being washed ashore on the French Coast) - I had come across a similar record but was certain it was not Bigalke.
I will retrace my steps to see if I can find it again.

There's a note in one of the 1940 issues of Motor Sport which claims the body of 'Schorsch' Meier had been washed up on a British beach. Must have been some other Georg Meier, as 'Schorsch' lived to be 88 and died in 1999.