Friday, 12 October 2018
Tuesday, 9 October 2018
Bf 109 Friedrich Heinz Bär RKT I./JG 77, Staffelkapitän 7./JG 2, Oblt Egon Mayer - Ebay photo find # 288
Appointed Kommandeur I./JG 77 on 11 May 1942 Heinz Baer achieved his 100th on 19 May 1942 over the Crimea, downing five Ratas over the Kerch peninsula for his 99- 103 victories. The following day's OKW Bericht reported " Hptm. Baer, Gruppenkommandeur in einem Jagdgeschwader yesterday achieved his victories 99 - 103...Das Jagdgeschwader 77 has now raised its victory total to 2,011..**" - views of his F-4 (W.Nr 13376) shortly after passing this milestone . I./JG 77 was ordered to Sicily in late June 1942 to fly missions against Malta.
** Stab =22, I. =538, II. =711, III. =734, ErgGr. =6 (page 1021 in Prien, Geschichte des Jagdgeschwaders 77, Teil 2)
on offer here
After the Staffelkapitän 7./JG 2, Oblt. Werner Machold, had been shot down over England on 9 June 1941 and taken captive, Oblt. Egon Mayer was appointed his successor the following day, 10 June 1941. He was photographed here in front of his 'white 1' sometime shortly afterwards. He was awarded the Knight's Cross, on 5 September 1940 after 21 victories, a figure that had risen to 32 by the time Machold was lost. Just visible in this shot is the pennant attached to the antenna mast displaying the badge of 7./JG 2. These pennants indicated the machine of the Staffelkapitän. Note the yellow lower engine cowl and the pilot’s footwear.
III./JG 2 convert onto the Fw 190 May-June 1942 - 7. Staffel Kapitän Oblt. Egon Mayer
Sunday, 23 September 2018
Today I bought and purchased the new and forthcoming Stuka Geschwader Immelmann history being published by Lela Presse in their 'Unit history' series at the end of October. Postage is free on all pre-publication orders and 'Avions' subscribers also get a nice discount on the cover price as usual. Volume I is nearly 300 pages, 600 photos and some thirty Dekker artworks and covers the pre-war period up to Kursk in mid-1943. The photos and artwork are very exciting - a PDF extract can be viewed on the publisher's website here and ordering could not be more straight forward.
An 'exclusive' look at one of Thierry Dekker's artworks appearing in the book courtesy of the artist - Ju 87 D-3 of 6./ St.G. 2 seen in April 1942. Click on the low-res image to view large
".. The second Luftwaffe dive bombing Geschwader, St. G. 2, was long known as 'Hans-Ulrich Rudel's unit' even as early as 1945. If this aviator left his mark on the unit, St.G. 2 cannot be reduced to the exploits of a single pilot, even an exceptional one. It was of course one of the few units to fly from the first to the last day of the Second World War, operating until the end on the (in)famous Ju 87 Stuka, through its different variants (from A to G). While H-U Rudel was the most decorated German pilot, St. G. 2 had more than a hundred Knights of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuzträger) in its ranks, many of whom fell in action. Feared by its opponents on the Eastern front, St. G. 2 would specialize in the final months of the war in the destruction of armoured vehicles..."
AXIS FIGHTER AIRCRAFT is the latest book of artwork and text from Claes Sundin ( CENTURA PUBLISHING) and is another superlative visual feast. Not only does Claes work hard to beautifully present his fantastic artworks but he takes the trouble to write extensive and detailed captions that put the machine illustrated in the context both of the war situation in the air and on the ground while detailing the successes as well as the setbacks experienced by each named pilot.
Claes writes ;
"... This is my 14th profile book, and of those, this is my 11th self-produced and published book. With my own publishing company, Centura Publishing, my personal goal is to produce books of unequalled quality, a way to present the most interesting of profile subjects and to produce the kind of books that I, as a WW2 buff, would personally find interesting. As the publisher I will guarantee the highest possible paper and print quality, all to satisfy the many WW II profile enthusiasts out there.
This book is about a lesser-known subject area, both in terms of the history of the Second World War in general and specifically the nationalities and nations that were allied to or collaborated with the Axis powers. I hope that the reader will discover new interesting profile subjects and learn more about the nations involved, the units and their pilots. These are little known areas even to fellow WW II air war enthusiasts but at the same time represent historically a more important area of aviation history than most historians have acknowledged hitherto..."
To order directly from Claes at the Centura Publishing site go here
Wednesday, 19 September 2018
Just received news from John MacIllmurray of some new AIMS releases - 3 new Luftwaffe products and another 6 on the way - here is the breakdown - you can see them in more detail at the AIMS website
1/ 72 Ju 88 P-1 conversion available now
1/32 Ju 88 P-1 conversion available now
1/48 Bf 110 G-2 and G-4 update set for Eduard kits available now
1/72nd Ju 88 P-1 conversion set
1/48 Bf 109 F/G/K hatches and latches coming soon
1/32 Bf 109 F/G/K hatches and latches coming soon
1/32 Bf 109 G-6 and G-10 Revell Oleo leg housing update set - coming soon
1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 decal sheet covering late war Bf 109's
Two subjects from the late-war Bf 109 decal set, visit John's site (link below) to see the other subjects on this attractive looking sheet. Note 'Defence of the Reich bands' not on the 48th or 32nd scale sheets
You can read more about the Luftwaffe modelling accessories and decal sheets created by John at AIMs on this blog here. It goes without saying that John is an enthusiast (and very skilled) modeller himself and provides us lesser mortals with a fantastic product at a reasonable price so please do support him!
As you can see I have used his decals and some of his resin products on my own models and can happily vouch for their accuracy, ease-of-use and keen pricing -yes, I buy them too!
Friday, 14 September 2018
2./JG 2 Schwarm Focke Wulf Fw 190 victory stick - ebay photo find #265 - EDIT (new 'Dans le ciel de France' Erik Mombeeck)
courtesy Oliver Rogge is this nice JG 2 grouping - these pilots are enjoying the spring sunshine in front of their (presumably) new Fw 190 A fighters while admiring their Abschuß-Stöcke or 'victory sticks'. Note too a (red? or US ?) star is clearly visible at the top of the victory stick in the lower image. One of the pipe-smoking pilots is wearing a French-style beret! This appears to be Fw. Karl Schweikart of 2./JG 2 who can be seen smoking and wearing a beret in a number of pictures in Erik Mombeeck's JG 2 history (1942). During April/May 1942 2./JG 2 was based on the Channel coast at Le Havre (Octeville). All the pilots are wearing life jackets.
below; ".. a little souvenir of my aerial victory, loyally yours, on the Channel front, 21 May 1941,
So 'Günther' in the image below - serving on the Channel front- would appear to be the pilot leaning on the victory stick above and admiring his victories (including the 'star') in the photo at bottom.
I can find no ID for an Unteroffizier pilot fitting the description named Günther; (either Vorname or Nachname) returning a victory in May 1941 with JG 2 . One possible candidate I suppose;
Günther Behrendt, 4./JG 2, Spitfire, 16h35, 1st (but this victory is dated 24 June 1941)
Of course the Fw 190 did not enter service with JG 2 until much later on. The first loss was September 1941 with JG 26. However thanks to suggestions from several correspondents I did find this in Erik Mombeeck's history of JG 2 (Vol 2 - 1941)
A letter from Uffz. Günther Keil addressed to his family in late July 1941;
"..I have some surprising news for you. I am being sent back to the Channel - either to Galland or to the 'Richthofen'. The transfer is going ahead at any time. According to orders from the higher-ups, each Gruppe must designate a pilot with at least three victories and who has previously taken part in engagements over England. Of course, no one was willing to go, but it looks like I am fated to do so. I am obviously very moved at having to leave my comrades with whom I have shared so many joys and sorrows for almost a year during the battles over England and Russia..."
'Günther' is therefore presumably Fw Günther Keil. Keil had claimed a number of victories flying in combat over England and then Russia with 8./JG 3 - hence the 'red star' at the top of his victory stick.. Keil returned his 5th victory on 14 April 1942 with 2./JG 2. 2./JG 2 were in Le Bourget during the last week of May 1942 converting onto their new Fw 190 As before returning to Triqueville. Stk. was Hptm. Siegfried Bethke.
Keil was KIA on 20 June 1942 in heavy fighting with large numbers of Spitfires over the Channel, only a short while therefore after these photos were taken. There are two accounts of the combats that took place that day in Erik Mombeeck's 'Dans le Ciel de France' Vol II (1942). In a letter to the family his Staffel comrade Karl Schweikart wrote;
" Günther must have told you that since he has been with us he has returned four victories and so had seven Abschüsse - but he was not the sort of pilot who was 'Abschußgeil' - desperate to return victories - as we say...on the morning of the 20th he was happy and good-humoured, but he did say to me, 'Karl, if the Tommies come over today then I'm going to get one..' Well they did come...we sighted a large formation of Spitfires over the Channel and set out after them..Günther was leading.."
more pictures of Keil on offer from Oliver here
While on the subject of Erik Mombeeck's history of JG 2 'Dans le ciel de France' it would appear that Volume 5 covering the year 1944 will be available some time towards the end of the year. Cover image below..more info and pre-orders at
Thursday, 13 September 2018
..just posted on my 'Jet and Prop' blog, the story of one of the most infamous crashes of the whole 'Starfighter Affäre' - the day the entire aerobatic Schwarm of Waffenschule 10 was lost at Nörvenich on 19 June 1962 practising for the commissioning ceremony of the new JBG 31 and the introduction into Bundeswehr-Luftwaffe service of the F-104 Gustav.
In " Der Tod war schneller " I have translated for the first time in English an interview with Luftwaffeninspekteur and former KG pilot Werner Panitzski as published in Der Spiegel magazine 5/1966. It is of course a story that involves familiar names such as Krupinski, Rall, Steinhoff, Josten, Hrabak, Kammhuber etc etc..
Der Tod war schneller
Monday, 10 September 2018
..has arrived and is very well done too. A 'Luftwaffe Special' issue of sorts. Contents include;
- Sharks in the Blitzkrieg: ZG 76 in May-June 1940 (full story). By Jean-Louis Roba.
- Hans Philipp, "The Krasnogvardeysk Eagle" (end). By Philippe Saintes, with the participation of Christophe Cony.
- The last fight of Hauptmann Bretnütz (complete story). By Mikhail Timine.
- Manfred von Richthofen, the Ace of the First World War (end) 3rd part: the demise of the Red Baron. By David Méchin and Christophe Cony.
- Fernaufklärer over France during the "Phoney War" (Part 1). By Pierre Brouez.
Excellent value at 12 euros, see a PDF extract and order on the publisher's website here