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Mission: La Valetta, Malta.

Date: 12th April 1942.

Unit: 4 Staffel/Lehrgeschwader 1

Type: Junkers Ju 88A-4


Code: L1 + GM

Location: Off La Valetta, Malta.

Pilot: Oberfeldwebel. Waldemar Kremin – Missing. Kremin had been awarded the DKiG.

Observer: Unteroffizier. Karl-Heinz Schleiermacher - Killed. Born 27.04.1920 in Bad Wildungen.

Radio/Op: Unteroffizier. Karl Seyffer - Missing.

Gunner: Unteroffizier. Richard Hackethal - Missing.


Extracted from the book: Die Geschichte Des Lehrgeschwaders 1 band 1 by Peter Taghon.

(Translated from the German by Wendi von Well).

Lehrgeschwader I – Missions of the I and II Squadrons against Malta 07.02.1942 – 30.04.1942. By order of the II. Fliegerkorps, the II./LG 1 were to attack the remaining targets 19, 33 and 34 of Malta’s docks at 10h30 and 16h00.

In the morning a few of the Squadron’s crews also bombed the Ta Kali and Luqa airfields. Some Hurricanes and also a few Wellingtons were destroyed. During the attack on La Valetta, the 4. Staffel lost Ofw. Waldemar Kremin’s crew with the Ju 88 A-4, L1 + GM. They were hit by flak and crashed. The crew remains missing. Only the body of the Beobachter, Uffz. Karl-Schleiermacher, was recovered. Uffz. Walter Malzahn remembers :

“We were flying in formation. Oblt. Sy was the leader and Ofw. Kremin the wingman flying just off our right wing. When we approached the harbour of La Valetta we received a most unpleasant welcome. It was no longer just a matter of shooting obstacles or estimating by sight or sound, but rather a case of precision fire. It really was a diabolical surprise. An accurate drop in the face of this level of defensive fire would be almost impossible. The shells exploded in front of our eyes, all around the cockpit. One could hear the loud explosions despite the noise of the engines. It stank of sulphur. I had my hand on the escape hatch and would’ve jumped if I’d heard a clatter. We should at least have been hit by shell splinters, but we weren’t. To this day I don’t know why. Perhaps the shells hadn’t been designed to splinter?

Oblt. Sy carried out the usual defensive manoeuvres so as not to give the flak an easy target. I was shocked and amazed to see that Ofw. Kremin stubbornly held his course. It was only a few seconds before he took a direct hit. His Ju veered sharply to the left and appeared to slice straight towards our tail unit. I shouted to Sy which direction to steer to avoid our tail being hit and Kremin dragging us down with his stricken Ju. The manoeuvre was successful, but it was very, very close.

Kremin’s Ju nearly touched our tail unit as it dived vertically downwards. A thick trail of black smoke followed it like a comet. I was able to follow the trail almost to the point of impact. It was a spine-chilling scenario. It suddenly occurred to me:

“That is how you’re also going to end up.”

Even though one plane had already been shot down, the flak didn’t let up. I yelled: “Flak waltz!” Sy reacted immediately and let his Ju dance, it bordered on aerobatics. Anyhow, the team work with Oblt. Sy saved our lives. Once again we made it home in one piece.” At 17h00 the Squadron started a new attack on Malta. When the formation found itself over the target at 18h00, the Fliegerkorps changed the orders: the remaining targets 19, 28, 29 and 32 were to be bombed. And so it was that the crew of Oblt. Erwin Sy attacked a rations store in La Valetta. The crew of Oblt. Eilert Rogge bombed a gas supply station. The mission ended at around 18h40. The Squadron rested from the night of 12 to13.04.

A Junkers Ju 88 of LG1 (L1 + BM) sister aircraft of L1 + GM

Beo-Geschw-27 CC Beo-Geschw-30
The pilot possibly Waldemar Kremin and Karl-Heinz pictured in his Observers position.

Copy of Beo-Geschw-20
Observer in flying gear, Uffz. Karl-Heinz Schleiermacher.

Copy of Beo-Geschw-73CCBeo-Geschw-23
Karl-Heinz during happier times.

Burial details:

Karl-Heinz Schleiermacher was originally buried in Malta. During 1960 his remains were removed and transferred to the German plot of St. Michele Cemetery, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. Block 1 Grave 61.

Researched by Melvin Brownless with special thanks to Wendi von Well, Matti Salonen, Brian Bines their help in constructing this page (April 2012) – Updated May 2014.