23 September 1940

Heinkel He 111 H-2 (WNr. 5551 - code RH+NT)
At sea, 400 km west of Brest

(contributor : Pierre Babin)

He 111 brest 1940
Heinkel He 111H-3, Wekusta 2 - Brest-Lanvéoc, 1940
Photo © collection Pierre Babin via Herbert Koerbert

Crew (Wekusta* 2)
- (Pilot) Feldwebel Horst-Max DÜMCKE.
Dumcke max horst
Horst Max DÜMCKE - Photo Bundesarchiv

- (Met. - Obs.) Reg.Rat. Hans SIGMUND
- (Eng.) Fw. Friedrich Karl DEICKE
- (Radio) Uffz. Hans GIERMAN
- X ?

He 111 brest p babin
Heinkel He 111H-5, Wekusta 2 - Brest-Lanvéoc, 1941. We can see the badge of Wekusta 2.
Photo © collection Pierre Babin via Herbert Koerbert

On September 23, 1940, the Heinkel He 111 H-2 WNr 5551 (code RH + NT), in flight 400 km west of Brest, encountered technical problems forcing it to land on water. Spotting French fishing boats, the pilot landed nearby and the crew was rescued. He was then transferred to a German rescue aircraft.  

Horst-Max DÜMCKE

Horst Max DÜMCKE - Photo © collection Pierre Babin

Born May 17, 1911 in Wittenberge (Land of Brandenburg, Germany), he joined the Luftwaffe in 1937. After having been Gefreiter, Unteroffizier, Feldwebel and Oberfeldwebel, he became Oberleutnant on July 1, 1942. After a stay at the Wekusta 1./Ob.dL (Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe - High Command of the Luftwaffe), he was assigned to Wekusta 2./Ob.d.L. when it was created in July 1940. He was the first pilot of Wekusta 2 to be awarded the Iron Cross 1st class (Eisernes Kreuz I) on September 1, 1940. At the beginning of April 1942, he joined the Aufklärungs-Gruppe 123 (Reconnaissance unit 123), then in July 1942 at the Sonderkommando Dora (geoscientific reconnaissance group) in Libya. Then he was assigned in Italy at 2./Versuchsverband Ob.d.L. (which became 1./KG 200 in February 1944). This secret unit was in charge of testing and convoying captured Allied aircrafts to improve the knowledge of German pilots regarding ennemy aircrafts. On September 19, 1944, during a night training flight aboard the Junkers Ju 188D-2 (WNr. 160062 code A3 + RD), he got lost and collided with a power line near Bergamo (Italy). Dümcke and another crew member, the Uffz Horst Bomke, were killed; Ofw Ewald Gladeck was seriously injured. Oblt Dümcke is buried in the 'German War Cemetery' in Costermano, Italy, Blk 9, Gr 160.

* Wettererkundungsstaffel : weather reconnaissance unit

Thanks to Pierre Babin for his information and photos

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