Luftwaffe and Aerial Reconnaissance of Baku in 1942

Operation "Edelweiss", approved by Adolf Hitler on 23rd of July 1942, concentrated on occupation of Caucasus and seize of three huge oil fields which would be a heavy strike on Soviet Army. These three targets were the cities of Maikop (capital of Adygea), Grozny (capital of Chechnya) and Baku. Azerbaijani oilmen produced at least 80% of fuel for the whole country at that time. More than 23 million tones of oil were produced in Baku and sent to other destinations during the first year Soviet Union had to enter WWII. No doubt that capturing oil fields of Baku was a significant mission for Wehrmacht to overcome. 

While German infantry and mountain troops approached Caucasus, squadrons of twin-engine Ju88D and He111 machines of Luftwaffe's long-range reconnaissance units, implemented aerial reconnaissance as far as more than 100 km away from the front lines on heights of 6-8 km and usually without a cover of fighter jets. 

During this period, German spy plains managed to sneak in a few times and save photo shoots of strategic targets as industrial plants and factories, naval bases and various communication lines. These planes were not bombers or fighter jets but rather spies which had strict missions of observation and documentation of any significant movements and changes in Baku

More than 70 years after, it still gives different feelings if you read about how some of the pilots couldn't make their way back home because Baku as a strategic city, located several anti-aircraft guns in various points and more than 260 Soviet fighter jets in its military airbase. Nevertheless, the accuracy and precision of these spy photo reports deserves a big admiration with the once enemy Luftwaffe:

special thanks to John C.C for his endless efforts, contribution and hard work on the outstanding World War II Photos & Maps project. For more photos of Baku by Luftwaffe please see his website: link