Saturday, 22 November 2014

Bf 109 F-4 8./JG 27 Rhodes, pilot Liebhold - Ebay photo find

nice JG 27 Bf 109 F photo selection from Michael Beuckmann's current Ebay sales. According to the inscription on the rear of the photo the first images here depict machines (F-4 Trop 'Red 3' and 'Red 5') of  8./ JG 27 at readiness on Maritsa airfield, Rhodes - note the striped wings! My max bid of 50 Euros quickly out-bid - final selling price was well over 300 euros!..Click on the images to view large. At bottom, Hptm. Werner Schroer

Staffelhund 'Wussl' with Bf 109 F-4 'Red 5' 8./ JG 27 in the background...and again with pilot Liebhold

Saturday, 15 November 2014

P-51 Mustang 'T9 +HK' Wanderzirkus Rosarius, JG 1 Husum 1944

" ..The day was rounded off with a demonstration of captured American aircraft, in particular a P-51 Mustang. It was stressed that our Bf 109s and Fw 190s were generally superior to this type. We soon realised on our first combat sortie that this statement was not entirely accurate....”  Uffz. Kurt Scherer II./JG 4

In 1943, Hauptmann 'Ted' Rosarius was tasked with forming a Versuchsstaffel of captured enemy aircraft that would serve to familiarise pilots of the Reichsverteidigung (Defence of the Reich) with the strengths and weaknesses of Allied fighter aircraft. This unit, 2.Staffel of the Versuchsverband Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (Trials and Research Unit of the Luftwaffe High command) received all captured aircraft. Once flown and tested, they toured frontline fighter units. This unusual formation became known as the Wanderzirkus Rosarius (Rosarius' travelling circus). Thanks to the 'Rosarius Circus', German pilots had the opportunity to take a closer look at their principal opponents and hopefully gain better knowledge of the equipment pitted against them.

The increasingly difficult tactical situation the Luftwaffe was experiencing during 1944 meant that demonstrating and carrying out what would be known today as 'dissimilar combat training' had become a necessity.  Fighter pilots tend to fly mock aerial combats against their own - men trained in the same fashion and flying the same aircraft. Such training, while useful, cannot replace actual combat experience. In his memoir, Walther Dahl wrote of the ever decreasing number of experienced pilots in the Luftwaffe ;

 "...despite the successes we had enjoyed over the course of our recent sorties, a number of gaps had started to appear in our ranks. Seasoned Staffelkapitäne, experienced Schwarmführer, Leutnante, Feldwebeln and Unteroffiziere - pilots who were the backbone of our unit - had all been posted missing in action . Men such as Oblt. Hirschfeld of 6./JG 300 who was lost in combat on 28 July 1944 and posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross. There were plenty of new young replacements, all volunteering to fly with the Sturmgruppe but virtually none with any front-line experience. Despite the constraints on time, fuel and aircraft availability, it was down to us to complete the training of these youngsters, to " fly them in " under operational conditions as it were..."

 (translation by this blog author)

 The lack of experience of the younger pilots could be partly compensated for by the demonstrations of the Rosarius Circus - the unit toured the airfields defending the Reiche demonstrating how enemy aircraft performed and how they could be beaten or countered.

The fact that Rosarius' Circus was composed of not only different models, but foreign models - with no spare parts supply to speak of - meant that maintaining the aircraft in 'service' must have been a mechanical and logistical nightmare. However, the unit seemed to maintain a decent readiness record, good enough to allow it to fulfill its mission. While Dahl and JG 300 were based at Wörishofen airfield, they were visited by the 'Circus';

 " morning enemy fighters such as P-51s, P-47s, Lightnings along with the heavy bomber types, could be seen peacefully arrayed alongside our own machines, when their appearance over the field would normally have provoked anything but a friendly reaction.. formation leaders (Verbandsführer) were given the possibility of flying these machines in mock combat and thus becoming more closely acquainted with their characteristics, a factor that was not to be under-estimated in air combat with our opponents. Following this session, flight leaders would hold a series of training lectures with their men and were able to pass on recommendations from their own observations and experience at the controls of these aircraft..".

 A B-17 was also used on such tours to show the Luftwaffe's pilots what the aircraft's strength were, and, more to the point, what its weaknesses were. By studying what the defensive guns' firing arcs were, where the armour and fuel tanks were located, German pilots gained invaluable knowledge.

 The 'new' image show-cased here depicts P-51 B Mustang 'T9+ HK' parked on Husum airfield during late 1944. Pilots and personnel of JG 1 crowd around the machine. The image is currently offered on Ebay here 

Ideally, pilots would have been able to test all of the aircraft flown in by the Circus. However, submitting fragile and rare aircraft to inexperienced pilots was not always a practical option; equally, unseasoned pilots would not have been able to judge the aircraft as quickly and efficiently as the more experienced fliers.

  The 'Zirkus' may have partially compensated for the Luftwaffe's increasing technical, tactical and "human" inferiority. However, the tide of the air war had already turned.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

III./ ZG 1 "Wespengeschwader" Bf-109 E-7 Jabo

Photos of the "Wespengeschwader" Bf-109 Emil sub-types used in 1942 on the Eastern front are pretty hard to come by. Not only that, but there is a lot of misinformation out there about the variants and unit designations involved. Looks like some 'enthusiast' sites out there could do with some help !

 On 4th January 1942 SKG 210 was redesignated ZG 1. The Geschwaderstab/SKG 210 was re-designated Geschwaderstab/ZG 1; I./SKG 210 became I./ZG 1 and II./SKG 210 became II./ZG 1. A III. Gruppe was formed with pilots from training school and an SAGr unit. This new III. Gruppe was equipped with Bf 109 E-7s. All Bf 109 E Wespen were assigned to III./ZG 1 and not SKG 210. Certainly not Erprobungsgruppe 210 ! The machines seen above are almost certainly E-7 variants, identifiable by the pointed spinner. The first Emil Jabos had their electrical and mechanical plumbing modified to carry bombs and were E-4/B sub-types. The E-7 came from the factory with the plumbing, and electrical terminals already in place either for ordnance to be loaded on a bomb rack or for a belly tank on a drop-tank rack. Hence their designation as E-7s with either load. (thanks to John Vasco for clarifying the above..)

More Wespen Emils on this blog

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

1./ JG 300 wilde Sau Bf 109s at Bonn Hangelar, late 1943 or early 1944 - Ebay win!

Rare images of 1./ JG 300 wilde Sau Bf 109s at Bonn Hangelar, late 1943 or early 1944.

Winning bid for the image below at 780 Euros. Winning the others took the total investment to over 1,000 Euros; winning bids by an author contributor to this blog! These images continue to excite the very small world of the Luftwaffe enthusiast. Below; "White 4" and "White 1", are G-5s, of 1. Staffel in light-blue-grey finish, probably deployed at some stage on high-altitude Moskito chasing sorties. Although that was not their primary mission. Needless to say this particular photo is an important image in the history of JG 300. Some never-before illustrated aspects of this machine for JG 300 have been identified by the new owner - mission role, equipment etc. The pilot in the picture - probably posing for the camera alongside his victory markings on the rudder - is known too. The actual images will hopefully show these along with the Werknummmer. The new owner would prefer that I say no more at this stage...of course if you know your history of JG 300 then all the clues are there. And to the modellers and profile artists who might attempt a rendition of this one, I'd have to respectfully advise against it ..not only are the WNr. and victory markings not visible but you'll miss one, if not two crucial details!

This close-up of the main image depicts  another "White 1", the aircraft assigned to the Staffelkapitan of 1./JG 300 Olt Gerhard Pilz. Note what appears to be the wilde Sau boar's head emblem on the nose of this machine. A photo of the other side of this line-up has been previously published in the Lorant/Goyat history of JG 300 and originates from former JG 300 fitter Erwin Dill's album. However this veteran stated that these pictures were taken at Herzogenaurach near Nürnberg. This new view clearly shows the Saint-Augustin convent in the background, which situates the image firmly at Bonn-Hangelar during the spring of 1944.

This brings me to a point raised by Don Caldwell in the Foreword to his "Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich" ;

  ".. photos and document, once freely shared in the 1980s and 1990s now appear on ebay to be sold to wealthy collectors, frequently never to be seen again by the general public. The small band of serious air war historians and enthusiasts has fought this pernicious trend by freely sharing this material..."

Only in this instance it is one of those 'serious air war historians' that has managed to secure these images at great personal expense. He elected to acquire them, precisely because he was able to identify exactly how 'key' these images are in the history of JG 300 - the 'enthusiasts' however continue to post them in 'their' on-line 'collections', tamper with what are pretty poor quality scans under the pretext of 'cleaning them up' and present them to the world while unable to provide any context or story. To have them loosely and inaccurately labelled as most on-line image collections do, serves in my view to depreciate their value somewhat and leads to misinformation and myth. And before anyone bothers to say, yes, I'm aware that I am no better, but in this instance, a vague caption will have to suffice, at the request of the images' new owner. After all what will make the REAL difference is the details that their new owner will be able to develop around these images, setting their context, sense and perspective. Because these images will re-appear in a revised edition of their unit's history. They are first grade testimonies, the full impact of which will only become apparent over time, when their secrets are revealed....

And a comment on our forum spat regarding the posting of these images. As far as I am concerned I think its reasonable enough to re-post pictures of this quality during an Ebay auction (most sellers who I have contacted are happy to let me do this..), but I would expect to take them down at the end of the auction when/if the new owner requests this. After all, most enthusiasts - and certainly not David Weiss - wouldn't dream of spending 1,000 euros on a set of images, would they? In my view the new owner is perfectly entitled to 'protect' his investment. I, for one, am happy these images have been bought by a 'serious enthusiast/historian'.. .

 Franck Benoiton said ; " use your position to help an old friend of mine get paid for the publication of his work ..." . That's another story of course, but for what its worth, the new owner of these images and the author he is referring to are one and the same person...

Below; a new image of "White 7" 1./ JG 300. Note the wavy camouflage finish taken over the spinner on the lower images and the absence of red fuselage band.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Bf 109 G-4 "Red 7" first flight / Hispano Aviacion H. A. 1112 M-1-L, W.Nr. 139 (EADS) - latest Bf 109 images found on the net

The Bf 109 G-4 / Hispano Aviacion H. A. 1112 M-1-L, W.Nr. 139 (EADS) is once again airworthy and its first flight post-restoration was flown by Klaus Plasa. Unfortunately, due to minor technical problems after the first flight, the machine's participation in Switzerland on 6 September at the Air14 PAYERNE did not take place as advertised. Safety first!

Fly in Bf 109 G-4 "Red 7" restored after its Roskilde airshow crash, a must see!.. a single click to view here..


"new" Bf 109 images found on the net -

6 -107 of 2. Staffel Jagdgruppe 88 of the Legion Condor

III./ JG 54 Emil

"white 14" , a 1./ JG 2 Emil down somewhere in the West, note the cowl 'Bonzo' dog emblem..

JG 5 Friedrich

possibly a G-14, here with Erla Haube and FuG 16 Morane mast

unknown Emil

- " ..probably 1940, likely with these markings. Only JG 3 and JG 53 used the vertical bar to denote a III. Gruppe aircraft. Of the two, JG 3 would be more likely to be missing any unit emblems but I’d say JG 53 is still a contender too.."

markings commentary via Anders H

provisionally identified as "Gelbe 3" of 11./ JG 54, photographed in Dorpat during the spring thaw 1944. Note the partial yellow Rumpfband

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Ofw. Ernst Richter II./ JG 11

courtesy Michael Meyer's ebay sales here

 Ofw. Ernst Richter photographed in April 1944 serving with 4./ JG 11 in Husted prior to being posted as as an instructor to 4./JGr West during the summer of 1944 based in Märkisch-Friedland.

   (below)  Pilots of 16./EJG 1 in front of their Fw 190s at Mühldorf during February 1945. The Staffel shifted on 26 January 1945 from Märkisch-Friedland to Pretzsch and from moved on to Mühldorf on 12 February 1945. Left in the photo below (and fourth left in the bottom image) is Fluglehrer (instructor) Ofw. Ernst Richter. Richter survived the war with some twenty victories claimed, flew some 60 sorties as Nowotny's wingman and signed some 130 of Nowotny's Abschußmeldungen! (no mention of him at all in the Kracker archive...)

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

new Claes Sundin Luftwaffe fighter profiles book soon!

exciting news from Claes Sundin

" ...I just wish to let you know that my new profile book will be published later this month, on the 24th of October.

As an old customer of mine you have the possibility to pre-order the book now, to ensure you will be one of the first to receive it...

- This book follows the same layout of my previous profile books 
- I have increased the number of additional artwork to around 100
- I have written som short text to all the 124 profiles included
- Included in the book you will also find a chapter about Luftwaffe day fighter markings
- Non of the profiles included have been published before in my previous two self published Luftwaffe Fighter books.

This is my best work to date.

If you are interested in pre-ordering my new book No 3,
-  Just drop me a line (with your shipping address) and I will file you as a customer for this book and also send you all the information you will need for the payment.

Please spread the word, a new Luftwaffe Profile book is out...."

PS. Read more about the book:

This will undoubtedly be another work of the highest class - artwork is often a matter of personal preference but Claes has to be the best in his field. I'm just sorry I missed his "RLM 04" limited edition book.