by Gareth Collins

Formed in October 1938 from the 1. & 3. Zerstörer-Divisionen. Dissolved in April 1940 with its subordinate Zerstörer moving to the control of 5. Zerstörerflottille.

On 19 February 1940 the destroyers Z-1 Leberecht Maass, Z-3 Max Schultz, Z-4 Richard Beitzen, Z-6 Theodor Riedel, Z-13 Erich Koellner and Z-16 Friedrich Eckoldt from the 1. Zerstörerflottille sortied into the North Sea in response to suspicious activities from British vessels at the Dogger Bank (Operation Wikinger) without the requested fighter cover.
A Heinkel He 111 from X Fliegerkorps on an anti-shipping operation passed the ships without giving any recognition signals so it was assumed to be a British aircraft and the ships opened fire, in return the aircraft assumed that the ships were British and attacked, sinking the Z-1 Leberecht Maass. The other destroyers attempted to rescue the crew and the Z-3 Max Schultz soon exploded and sank, probably after hitting a mine. A total of 578 German sailors was killed in this "friendly fire" incident due to lack of communication between the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe.

Chef

Kapitän zur See Wilhelm Meisel (26 Oct 1938-27 Oct 1939)
Fregattenkapitän Fritz Berger (28 Oct 1939-00 Apr 1940)

Flottillen-Ingenieur
Korvettenkapitän (Ing.) Eugen Kannegiesser (00 Feb 1939-00 Apr 1940)

Holders of high awards

Holders of the Knight's Cross (1)
- Berger, Fritz 04.08.1940 Fregattenkapitän Chef 1. Z-Flottille


Schiffe

Z-2 'Georg Thiele'
Z-3 'Max Schultz'
Z-4 'Richard Beitzen'
Z-14 'Friedrich Ihn'
Z-15 'Erich Steinbrinck'
Z-16 'Friedrich Eckholdt'

Sources used

Research by Gareth Collins
Cajus Bekker - Hitler's Naval War
Erich Gröner - Die Schiffe der deutschen Kriegsmarine und ihr Verbleib 1939-1945, J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, München (1976)
Hans H. Hildebrand - Die organisatorische Entwicklung der Marine nebst Stellenbesetzung 1848 bis 1945, Biblio-Verlag, Osnabrück(2000)
Hans H. Hildebrand & Ernest Henriot – Deutschlands Admirale 1849-1945, Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück (1989)
Hans H. Hildebrand, Albert Röhr & Hans-Otto Steinmetz – Die Deutschen Kriegsschiffe, Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Hamburg (1980)
Walter Lohmann & Hans H. Hildebrand – Die Deutsche Kriegsmarine, Verlag Hans-Henning Podzun, Bad Nauheim (1956)

Reference material on this unit

- None known at this time -

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