The unit’s history began in 1934, when the Luftwaffe formed a reconnaissance squadron under Oberst Theodor Rowehl and attached it to the Abwehr, Germany’s military intelligence department. As the Abwehr started to lose the Führer’s goodwill during the war, a new reconnaissance unit, the 2nd Test Formation, was formed in 1942 under the command of Werner Baumbach. This unit was combined with 1st Test Formation in March 1944 to form KG 200 on 20 February 1944.
On 11 November 1944 Baumbach became Geschwaderkommodore, all aerial special-ops missions were carried out by KG 200 under Baumbach’s command.
Before the beginning of the war, aerial reconnaissance was usually carried out by civilian Lufthansa planes equipped with cameras. This practice was continued throughout the war as long as civilian airlines remained operational; later on, recon missions were most often carried out by Junkers Ju 86s flying at very high altitudes or by flying boats. Due to the lack of German aircraft with sufficient range, some recon missions used captured American B-17s or B-24s and Soviet Tu-2s. For the most part, these machines were used for re-supply roles (dropping in supplies to German forces operating behind Soviet lines), or transporting important personnel.