Friday, 26 December 2014

Focke Wulf 190 A-3/U3 “Black 3″ of 14 (Jabo)./ JG 5



The Norsk Luftfartsmuseum - Norwegian Aviation museum - in Bodø has recently put on display a newly restored Fw 190 A-3



The museum’s Focke Wulf FW-190 A-3/U3 “Black 3″ was built in 1942 at the AGO factory in Ochersleben, WNr. 0132219. The machine was transferred to Herdla in Norway and in September 1943 went to Petsamo in North Finland with 14.(Jabo)/ JG 5. The aircraft was lost on 5 October 1943 when pilot Hans Gunther Kleemann lost his way in bad weather and ran out of fuel. He baled out with only slight injuries. “Black 3″ was recovered - minus most of the removeable parts - in the early 1980s. Full story on the museum's web site here.




14.(Jabo)/JG 5 was activated in Petsamo in mid February 1943 under the 27-year old Hptm. Friedrich-Wilhelm Strakeljahn, the former Staffelkäpitan of 12./JG 5. This new Jabostaffel extended the Luftwaffe's Eastern Front bomber force beyond the Polar circle to the tip of northern Norway - albeit with an initial strength of just eleven Fw 190 A-3s, modified to carry bombs in a Norwegian repair facility at Kjeller. The second-hand A-3s, formerly belonging to 11./JG 5, were supplemented by a couple of older, overhauled A-2 variants. The basic modifications consisted of adding the ETC 501 bomb rack under the fuselage and removing the outboard wing MG FF cannons. Such machines were unofficially designated Fw 190 A-2/U and A-3/U.



For such a small force the unit's achievements apparently earned a number of notable plaudits;

  " ..the unit owed a lot to the great personality of its commander, “Straks” Strakeljahn. A characteristic figure in a white fur cap, permanent smile and neatly-trimmed beard, he was usually to be found among his pilots. “Hptm. Strakeljahn was like a father to us; the perfect officer” – one of his pilots recalled. Lenient and cheerful on the ground, in the air he was an aggressive and efficient fighter pilot. This would be proven during a three-day run of luck for 14.(Jabo)/JG 5 in early May. On 7 May German recce aircraft discovered a Soviet convoy sailing across the Motovskiy Bay. In late afternoon six FW 190s, escorted by four Bf 109s of 9./JG 5, took to the air. It soon became apparent that the convoy was defended from the air by about 20 Hurricanes and P-39 fighters. As the Messerschmitts engaged the escorts, the Focke Wulfs, each armed with SC 250 bomb, went for the vessels. Fw. Karl-Heinz Froschek sank a “M”-class submarine escorting the convoy, whereas “Straks” sent to the seabed a 2000-ton auxiliary with a direct hit. The following day Uffz. Walther Pohl sank another “M”-class submarine. On 9 May Hptm. Strakeljahn himself sank a 3000-ton freighter. Further attacks were not so successful; on 11 May Lt. Günther Busse, flying “black 7”, fell to anti-aircraft fire from the ships in the Pummanki Bay. Nonetheless, on the same day the commander of Luftflotte 5 Generaloberst Stumpff sent his personal congratulations to 14.(Jabo)/JG 5 - five days later, more compliments came, this time from… AH himself!..."

 ..quoted in Fw 190 Vol III (Kagero)



Wednesday, 24 December 2014

more on the aces of II.(Sturm)/JG 300, Klaus Bretschneider, Konrad Bauer





On 24 December 1944 the acting Kommandeur of II.(Sturm)/JG 300, Klaus Bretschneider was shot down and killed by Mustangs. Call sign Specht Anton - Bretschneider- scrambled at the head of JG 300 against an 8th AF raid - was easy prey for the aces of the 357th FG. His Schwarm had been directed right into the path of the aggressively flown P-51 Mustangs. His Sturmbock Fw 190 A-8 (W.Nr. 682204) was  a specialist bomber destroyer variant fitted with cockpit armour and 30mm cannon and entirely unsuited to dogfighting. The hapless German pilot plummeted to earth near Kassel, almost certainly dead at the controls. His loss was a hard blow for his pilots. Klaus Bretschneider flew Wilde Sau sorties with JG 300 in July 1943 with 6. Staffel then 5. Staffel, claiming 14 victories by night. Before being appointed Kapitän of 5. Staffel and serving as acting Kommandeur, Klaus Bretschneider served also in Stab II./JG 300 and Stab/JG 300 and by the time of his death he had claimed 20 additional victories against US aircraft by day. The 'eternal Leutnant' had been promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant and, by late 1944, was a rare Defence of the Reich fighter leader to wear the Knights Cross.


The following account of the day via Uffz. Ernst Schröder (5./JG 300):

" ..That day our Gruppe was at its usual strength, about thirty combat ready aircraft. Oberleutnant Bretschneider was flying at the head of the formation with his number two, Unteroffizier “Pimpf” Erhardt. We climbed away in a wide sweep to the west. Listening to the exchanges between Bretschneider (“Specht Anton”) and Jagddivision control at Döberitz, I realized that the bomber formations incoming from the west were heading directly towards us. But as we reached an altitude of 6,500 meters we encountered the American fighter cover, several flights of Mustangs, which fell on us with a clear height advantage! At that instant we ought to have employed a tactic that we had rehearsed for just such an eventuality, which involved coming out of our parade-like Sturmgruppe formation and splitting off in separate Schwärme to attack the Americans who at this stage were still outnumbered. But Bretschneider ordered us into a defensive circle, a manoeuvre no doubt dictated by prudence but hardly appropriate in the circumstances! But what else could my comrades do? They were mostly former blind flying instructors or ex-bomber pilots used to flying the Junkers 88 and were barely capable of performing the most basic fighter pilots' moves. They were there to bring down enemy bombers — American escort fighters permitting! There followed an intense and confused mêlée, during the course of which I was more fearful of a collision than enemy aircraft. Indeed there were more Focke-Wulfs than Mustangs around me. I recall catching sight of “Pimpf” Erhardt’s “Red 8” with a P-51 hard on his heels below my plane. I yoked brutally around to port and let myself “fall” in behind the American. My bursts struck home and hit by several shells, the Mustang disappeared from Erhardt’s tail and dropped out of my field of vision. Matthäus Erhardt had not been hit. Unfortunately his period of grace lasted only until the following 14 January, the day his knee took the full force of an explosive round fired by a B-17 gunner. As usual in a scrap involving large numbers of fighters, aircraft wheeled down from 6,000 meters towards the ground maneuvering in all directions. Pilots often found themselves isolated, occasionally in a sector of the sky where no other aircraft — either friend or foe — was to be seen. I saw numerous columns of smoke spiraling up from the ground, marking the crash sites of a similar number of aircraft. The clash had lasted barely ten minutes. Shaken by what I’d just experienced, I set course eastwards, left the combat zone and almost wrenched my neck keeping a watch on my tail. I landed at Löbnitz at 15:40 and was, if I recall correctly, the only 5. Staffel pilot, along with Leutnant Graziadei, to return to our airfield that afternoon. Most of our comrades that had survived had been forced to put down elsewhere and only got back to Löbnitz during the morning of Christmas Day, as at 15:45 on this 24 December day it had already started to get dark. There were many that never came back.."

More on Bretschneider's Sturm aircraft on this blog here
His Neptun 217 equipped nightfighter is covered in detail with another rare image of great quality from Jean-Yves Lorant here

As usual with JG 300 subjects all text and images via Jean-Yves Lorant (personal account translated by this blog author). You can be sure that anyone writing on JG 300 in print or on the net - especially FB - has borrowed extensively from Jean-Yves...



Above, a nice clear view of Fw 190 A-8 'Red 3' Werk Nr. 171641, the usual aircraft of 5. Staffel JG 300 ace Konrad Bauer seen here (right of picture) at Erfurt- Bindersleben during September 1944. The machine is undergoing weapons harmonisation - note the wide open field, cleared of agricultural workers before any firing testing could begin..Note that during September 1944, II./ JG 300 was not yet at Löbnitz. The port side of this machine bore the inscription 'Kornjark'  a 'jokey' reference to the pilot's favourite cognac.

Standing on the wing and operating the firing button is Bauer's erster Wart, Ogfr.Josef Plum. On the far left is Unteroffizier Wilhelm Ladner, a 5 Staffel mechanic. Click on the image to view large..

Friday, 19 December 2014

more III./ JG 2 Fw 190s and Bf 109s




 Fw 190 A-2/3 "gelbe 7" (probably WNr. 5257) of 9./ JG 2 features the stylised eagle wing design associated with III./ JG 2 with an Adlerkopf (eagle's head) on the cowling. Directly below this, "Yellow 8" is another 9. Staffel machine




currently on offer from Manuel Rauh here



from Oliver Rogge's current Ebay sales, a selection of 7./ JG 2 Emils  somewhere in France featuring the Staffel Zylinderhut emblem on the nose (a thumb pressing down on the British top hat) rather than the III. Gruppe emblem. The pilot in front of the rudder with the victory markings appears to be Kommandeur Mix. Note the sponge mottle appears to have been applied over the top of the III. Gruppe wavy bar.





Sunday, 30 November 2014

Bf 109 Jabos of JG 2 1941 - Oblt. Frank Liesendahl, Kapitän of 6./JG 2 - Ebay photo find #104



JG 2 assigned 2., 6. and 7. Staffeln during the autumn of 1940 to the specialist anti-shipping Jabo role. According to Erik Mombeek in his history of JG 2 "Dans le Ciel de France" (Vol II) JG 2 had approached this new commitment only half-heartedly and during the spring of 1941 was still training with 50 kg cement bombs in the Seine estuary. The Staffeln of neighbouring units (such as JG 26 for example) had made considerably more progress.

Fritz Schröter recalled the training sorties flown by 6. Staffel - the so-called Jagdbomber Staffel;

  " ..Some distance to the north of Beaumont-le-Roger- in the Seine estuary to be exact- lay a ship wreck which made an ideal target for our training exercises. We approached it at wave-top height or from the direction of the shore at low altitude. At a precise distance from the target we would pull up three hundred metres before diving back down towards the wreck, throwing the throttle wide open in order to make ourselves as difficult a target as possible for potential anti-aircraft gunners. The bomb would be jettisoned just before the target disappeared beneath the nose of the aircraft, followed by a sharp pull-up which took us virtually through the masts and superstructure of the vessel. If we had judged the distance and speed correctly, the bomb struck the ship at the waterline. A 250 kg bomb could tear a breech large enough to sink a ship. Otherwise a near miss would detonate with the force of a sea mine. However during training we only employed 50 kg bombs -which had far less explosive force- in order not to totally destroy our practice target..."





Above; in the spring of 1941, 6./JG 2, the Jabostaffel of II. Gruppe, took on strength several of the new Friedrichs - note the Staffel emblem painted on the bright yellow cowling.

Pilot accounts from the Jabostaffel of I./ JG 2 focus on the relatively inauspicious results achieved by the Jabos - on the morning of 17 May 2./JG 2 flew a sortie that saw the unit dropping its twentieth 'live' bomb. According to Oblt. Dietrich Wickop's account (quoted in 'Dans le Ciel de France' );

"..Mund and Niesmann flew a Jabo mission against a convoy south of Swanage. The secondary target was the port of Swanage but no shipping was sighted in either location. Mund then headed west towards Portland before coming across a well defended convoy. He attacked but on his first pass his bomb failed to release. On the second pass the bomb hit the water some two hundred metres from the ships. No-one saw where Niesmann's bomb fell. A pity that things again turned out as they did.. I have promised myself that next time I will get one directly on target. To ensure that it doesn't bounce like it did last time I've had a large metal ring attached to the casing of the next bomb I haul. Let's hope that this provides the solution !..."

During the evening of 17 May 1941, Oblt. Frank Liesendahl’s Jabostaffel 6./JG 2 (whose emblem in close-up above clearly hints at its specialist mission) claimed considerable damage inflicted on a cargo ship of some 2,500 GRT. However Uffz. Helmut Ries failed to return from this sortie.


Oblt. Frank Liesendahl’s rudder does not display any victory bars but is seen here in 1942 (see 'blue 1' below) decorated with the silhouettes of the ships sunk or damaged as a result of his attacks, including an armed merchantman of some 10,000 tonnes GRT (third silhouette from the top) which was claimed on 23 June 1941 during what was almost certainly the last Jabo sortie flown by  Liesendahl's 'first' Jabostaffel  6./JG 2. On 10 July 1941 Liesendahl, Kapitän of 6./JG 2, was wounded in combat with a British fighter.. he nevertheless managed to land his aircraft in Abbeville but for the second time in just over a year he started a two-month stay in hospital. After the first three sihouettes, Jabo successes resumed in 1942 following Liesendahl's return to JG 2. By that time command of 6./ JG 2 had reverted to Lt. Erich Rudorffer and new Jabostaffeln had been established...


Below; close-up of the ship-munching fox emblem of 10.(Jabo) / JG 2 also affords a good view of the belly  ETC 250 rack enabling a  250 kg bomb to be hauled. Probably Liesendahl's F-4/B "blue 1"



All images above are currently offered on ebay.de here

Saturday, 29 November 2014

JG 27 Bf 109s, Beute Blenheim IV, Bf 110 ZG 52 - ebay photo find # 104




More 8./JG 27 Bf 109s from the 'Liebhold' album.


Liebhold with Italian comrades, "Red 7" in the background - note "striped" upper surface camouflage




Below; "writing a few words of greeting to my beloved Marianne following my award of the EK II. 24 January 1943 "   - Liebhold with Schroer in deckchair and sunglasses and Schroer's "Red 1" in the background. 8./ JG 27 on detachment to Maritsa, Rhodes



http://www.ebay.de/itm/Foto-Me-109-Pilot-Liebhold-und-Werner-Schroer-JG-27-Einsatzbesprechung-G-/381063734093?pt=Militaria&hash=item58b92b234d


Michael Beuckmann's ebay sales are here and include this I./ JG 54 F/G



Manuel Rauh's ebay sales - see below for link. Nice view of the Kommandeur machine II./ JG 27 at Trapani, Sicily and an Emil of  I./ JG 27 "white 12" downed in the West




Beute Blenheim IV "YH-F"








Images from the album of a veteran of III./ KG z.b.v. 1. Ju 88 and Ju 87 B in North Africa. Note the Balkenkreuz positioned on the white theatre band


Arado Ar 66


Manuel Rauh's current ebay sales are here 

 Bf 110 C/Ds displaying the Drachenwappen (dragon emblem ) of ZG 52 on the nose on offer here







JP Militaria Ebay sales here

Thursday, 27 November 2014

an ace of I./ JG 26 Lt Karl Willius, Do 17 of KG 76, Ju 52 in the Demyansk pocket ebay photo find # 103



current sales from ebay.de seller iq152 here

Below; an ace of I./ JG 26, Karl 'Charly' Willius. His aircraft - probably FW 190 A-3 'Yellow 5' (WNr. 5227 - ?) is displaying under the cockpit the flags of the nations against which he has flown ; the Netherlands, Belgium, France, probably followed by the 'Union Jack' of the UK and the hammer and sickle of the Soviet Union (?) In late January 1943, I./JG 26 was moved to the northern Front in the East in an exchange with III./JG 54. The 'Schlageter' appear to have welcomed this shift with a certain relief - they no doubt imagined that pickings might be easier on the Eastern Front and their chances of suvival, when faced with a perceived weaker enemy, commensurably improved.. In addition they were to convert on to the latest FW 190 A-4 and FW 190 A-5 sub-types. These aircraft were marked up with a wide yellow theatre band around the rear fuselage. Willius flying with 3./JG 26 retained his preferred number 'Yellow 5' in the East. He already had a certain amount experience flying in Russia, having flown extensively in combat with JG 51 before moving back to the Western Front during August 1941.

Hospitalised in Louvain, Belgium with a short illness during November 1943, Willius married his nurse and his wife later gave birth to a baby girl. As Staffelführer with the rank of Leutnant in 2./JG 26, Willius was shot down by P-47s on 8 April 1944 while combatting a USAAF raid over Holland and listed as missing. He would be awarded a posthumous Ritterkreuz for his 50 victories including 11 four-engine bombers (his last a B-24 on the 8 April raid). His body, still at the controls of his Fw 190 A-8 'Black 5' (WNr. 170 009), was discovered in the Zuider Zee on 23 October 1967!




Above, Do 17 crash-landed during the campaign in the West - emblem of KG 76 on the nose. Below; Stuka of III./ StG 1



 Above; JG 5 Emil and Beute Fokker T-8


Ju 52 in Greece - inscription on reverse reads "..before take off for Crete..". Picture dated 1942


Unidentified machine with Kommandeur chevrons


More from Michael Meyer;




above; Ju 52/3m "GA+WW" of 4./KGrzbV 900 in Roslawl during February 1942 prior to flying into the Demyansk Kessel (pocket). The crew of pilot Jürgen Pfau is seen shovelling snow away from the machine. Below; another Ju 52/3m of 4./KGrzbV 900 "GA+WW" assigned to Fw. Kramer also in Roslawl in February before flying into the pocket.



Pilot Fw. Becker hugging the ground (im Tiefflug) en route into the Demyansk pocket at the controls of Ju 52/3m "CH+HY" of 4./KGrzbV 900 during March 1942.



Michael Meyer's current Ebay sales are here

.. an interesting Gustav apparently on the strength of IV./ JG 51 but featuring the JG 2 Adlerflügel or 'exhaust eagle' from the previous post - evidently a machine previously assigned to JG 2 (posted by 'Laco Pilot' on the Bf 109 FB page)




and finally today a few from Marko Auer's current sales, link below;

emergency landing at sea off the coast of Norway




and below, three views of a Klemm KL 35 trainer from the Flugzeugführerschule  FFS A/B 9 in Grottkau..





 Marko Auer's Ebay sales are here