The only known photo of a Laté 298 in German markings ( Old Airfix Magazine Febr. 1967)
The Latecoere was used by the Lufwaffe on two occasions :
- Two examples were captured in June 1940 at the Latecoere plant of Biscarrosse (SW of France). One of them was tested by the E-Stelle of Travemünde in 1940 and 1941.
- About 50 more were captured in November 1942 at the naval air station of Berre (Next to Marseille). In 1944, it was decided to use 30 of those machines to replace the Arado 196 of Seeaufklärungsgruppe 125 in Constanza (Romania)or to be sold to the Romanian Air Force. One machine (c/n 109) was ferried in Travemünde to be fitted with German armament & equipment. 3 more and probably 5 were ferried in Germany in may and june 1944. The plan was cancelled in August 1944, after the French-American landing in SE of France.
|Type||s/n||French registration||German registration||Unit|
|97||D-IHLD ?||Erprobungsstelle Travemünde|
|109||29 + 81||Erprobungsstelle Travemünde|
|FN + GX|
On 17.03.44 three Laté298 were ordered to be transferred from Berre (near Marseille) to Travemünde for operational tests. The idea was to issue these aircraft to Gruppe 196 for escort duties.
On 23.03.44 a total of 49 Laté 298 was reported stored in Berre. They had initially been offered to Rumania. However, this country would only accept the planes if they came with complete air and ground organisation. The deal was then turned down by the RLM.
On 12.05.44 it was reported that due to lack of spares only some 30 Laté 298 could be made operational.
On 26.05.44 Laté 298 W.Nr. 110, 130 and 131 was reported by Front Reparaturbetrieb DLH Merignane to be ready for transfer to Travemünde on 30.05.44. They were to be flown via Lyon, Besancon, Strassburg, Mannheim, Duisburg, Dortmund-Ems-Kanal and Zwischenahn to Travemünde.
In its weekly report for the period 29.07.44 to 04.08.44 the E-Stelle (See) Travemünde reported that firing trials with the MG 81Z in the Laté 298 had commenced. However, the gun mount did not prove satisfactory and had to be dismantled.
Weekly report for the period 05.08.44 to 11.08.44: Laté 298 W.Nr. 109 (2nd. conversion aircraft) had been converted for escort duties. The aircraft was to go through a brief armament rials before ready.
Weekly report from 26.08.44 to 01.09.44: According to decision from Gen.d.Lw.b.Ob.d.M. dated 29.08.44, all work on the Laté 298 was to stop immediately. The reason was that further aircraft could not be delivered due to the war situation. The aircraft then at the E-Stelle (See) Travemünde was reported in excess on 31.08.44.
German use of the Latécočre 298To make a long story short. None of the Latécočre 298 used by the French Navy fell intact into German hands in 1940. But, when German troops arrived in Biscarrosse (SW of Bordeaux) where the Latécočre assembly line was, they found some aircraft in various states of construction. Two of them, Nr. 97 and 98 having been already test flown but could not be evacuated due to the lack of pilot. One of those two planes was later ferried to Travemünde in Germany and tested there until june 1941.
In November 1942, when the Germans invaded the southern part of France, the prey was better. About 50 of those machines were found at the NAS of Berre (Next to Marseille). They sat there for a year until the end of 1943. At this time the Luftwaffe had two squadrons operating Arado 196 in Rumania on the Black Sea and those seaplanes needed to be replaced. One Latécočre 298 was ferried to Travemünde to be adapted to a German use : change of guns, radio equipment, etc… After this succesfull conversion, a plan to modify a further 30 machines was organized. Half a dozen of additionnal Laté were ferried on the Lake Breitling on the Baltic sea. Further examples were to be transported there by rail, but, on August 15th 1944, Allied troops landed in the SE of France and the Germans were obliged to withdraw from Berre, destroying most of the remaining Laté before their departure.
Source: Björn Hafsten, translation from Lucien Morareau:s book
Productionline at Biscarosse
Conversoin of a 298D to E, No 81
Laté 298A no 24
Photos from L`Album du fanatique de L `Aviation July 1973