Flak battery which shot down AJ-A on Dams Raid confirmed

Pic: Christian Koenig

EXCLUSIVE to Dambusters Blog

The family of the German naval officer who commanded the anti-aircraft battery which shot down Melvin Young’s AJ-A on the night of the Dams Raid have recently been in touch, and have sent me the ‘Punktliste’ form you can see above. A Punktliste (‘points list’) was kept for each battery crew, and leading to decorations if they achieved a score of eight points.

The battery was a Kriegsmarine (German navy) artillery unit, commanded by a Batteriechef. A number of batteries formed a so called Abteilung. Each Abteilung had range finders and fire direction instruments, and an officer in charge for fire control. During May 1943 this officer was Herbert Alfred Koenig, who had joined the Ersatz Ausbildungs-Kompanie (auxiliary training) in Harlem, Netherlands in November 1941. In January 1942, he was posted to Ugruko Ijmuiden, and served with both Marine Flak Abteilung 808 and Marine Flak Abteilung 816 as both a machine gunner and eventually fire control officer.

The sheet above shows Koenig’s verified ‘kills’ (Abschuss) and ‘damaged’ (Beteiligung) while serving with 3. Batterie of Marine Flak Abteilung 816 in May 1943.

The ‘Abschuss’ on 17 May refers to the shooting down of AJ-A. Koenig was credited with two points, which suggests that his battery was the only one to have fired on it. On the night of 16/17 May 1943 he was the control officer, directing the gunners, in his battery located at Ijmuiden. According to his family, he said afterwards that it was him who instructed the battery to fire when a single, low-flying bomber was spotted over the coastline heading seawards. Having crossed the coast, the aircraft increased its height slightly, and became an easier target to hit. It was in fact the first round of fire which brought it down, and if it had stayed low then it would have been a much more difficult target.

Koenig went on to serve as a naval artillery officer in two different sea-born flotillas, and spent a period after the war as a PoW clearing mines.

The two incidents on 3 May listing attacks on aircraft leading to damage are believed to refer to two Lockheed Venturas from 487 (New Zealand) Squadron. This was the result of firing during the RAF’s Operation Ramrod 16 when ten out of the eleven of the Squadron’s aircraft were shot down, and Sqn Ldr Leonard Trent received the VC.

Herbert Koenig is shown along with his wife and children in the picture below, taken in July 1944.

Pic: Christian Koenig

Thanks to Christian Koenig for the information and permission to use photographs.


6 thoughts on “Flak battery which shot down AJ-A on Dams Raid confirmed

  1. mfazzman June 21, 2019 / 10:34 pm

    Many thanks Charles for your recent fascinating article regarding the flack battery that shot down Melvin Young’s lanc A-Apple. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe your wonderful blog. It’s truly incredible to see just how many new details and stories can come to light after 77 long years! Thank heavens for you starting this up in the first place, and for the people who are still able to recount the facts.
    Here’s to the next 77 years….

  2. Allan Hatch June 25, 2019 / 5:12 pm

    Dear Charles.

    I have just finished reading your book about your uncle David Maltby and found it quite fascinating, I have read many books regarding the Dambusters starting with Paul Brickhill and with the internet it has made things much easier, I travelled to the Mohne Dam when I was stationed in Germany and I intend to go back again to the Eder and Sorpe. I am fortunate in that I now live in Lincolnshire, Bomber County and much to my wife’s irritation I have ten limited edition prints detailing the raid from start to finish with many signatures of the various pilots etc over the house.I have read some of the books you noted in the book, particularly Harry Humphries. I now have to visit a number of the museums you mentioned in your book, but I have the fortune of living near East Kirkby and just Jane plus the bbmf of course is just down the road.


    Allan Hatch

    • charlesfoster July 15, 2019 / 11:43 am

      Thanks for your comments, Alan. Enjoy your trips! Best wishes, Charles

  3. Bobbie Grew September 18, 2020 / 4:12 pm

    I have a logbook from a chap who spent his time with HM Young whilst at 104 sqn in Malta and flew with him on Operations and he has signed his logbook 3 times just before he went off to join 617 squadron, his surname was Woodside and he also flew with the New Zealander Beale DFC and bar recipient and signed his logbook also

  4. Arthur van Beveren November 28, 2020 / 5:29 pm

    Great website Charles! Interested in the Atlantikwall in the Netherlands, could you get me into contact with Christian Koenig? I’d like to write an article about this Herbert Koenig.

  5. Chairwriter January 19, 2021 / 4:48 pm

    Excellent findings and post here, Charles. Coincidentally Abteilung 816 is the unit that shot down a B-17G on 14 February 1945. Four of the crew bailed out over Assendelft, and the navigator was mortally wounded from the ground as he descended in his parachute. It was not only ironic, he was the only fatality out of the entire 351st Bomb Group that day. The other members of his crew were hospitalized/captured.

    Do you have information regarding weapon types and numbers, personnel, etc. for 816, particularly in the late-war period?

    I would dearly like to learn what German outfit was likely responsible for killing LT. Robert Hays in his ‘chute. So far no luck, even from a longtime researcher in Holland who lives near the site.

    Keep up the good work!

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