Sunday, 22 July 2018

more Luftwaffe pets! Dackel Staffel JG 5, Felix Brandis, 'Struppi' 9./JG 54, Bello and Bungi, unit pets - I./JG26 Gottfried Dietze

In a recent post on the past-times enjoyed by members of the Luftwaffe I unfortunately omitted to mention the very close relationships that many airmen and ground crews enjoyed with their animals and pets. Dogs, cats, monkeys, foxes, jackdaws - all these and more feature heavily in the recollections and anecdotes of Luftwaffe personnel. Dogs in particular were given the freedom to roam the Staffel dispersal and as part of the 'community' in the field were always there to meet and greet their masters following sorties. Many aircraft and units also unsurprisingly sported a range of animal emblems especially cats and dogs and photo albums were always likely to feature unit canines and felines.

Bello and Bungi, unit pets - I./JG26 Gottfried Dietze

KG 26 lion cub in Russia . The above on Michael Meyer's current sales here

2./ KG 40 Heinkel He 177 crew of pilot Hptm. Stolle (centre) after their 'successful' combat with a 422 NFS P-61 Black Widow during the night of 14/15 August 1944. The Alsatians 'Max' and 'Moritz' also flew sorties.

This incident was the subject of an article in Jet & Prop magazine (issue 6/97) entitled " Schwarze Witwe contra Greif " (‘Black Widow versus Griffon’) written and compiled by Michael Balss. More on this blog here

Below; another He 177 'pet'

Some seventy five years after the event Karl-Fritz Schlossstein recalled the dachshund emblems sported by the aircraft of 1.(Z)/JG 77, the future Zerstörerstaffel of JG 5;

 ".. the Staffel mascots were three dachshunds , "Bamse", "Herdla" and "Lockheed" brought back from leave by Lt. Dieterichs. "Lockheed" was named after the first victory returned by the Staffel while "Herdla" was named after the airfield. " Bamse " (Norwegian for "bear" ) was named for his thick coat. From that period on, the Staffel was known as the "Dachshund Staffel" - the unit’s Bf 110s sported on the forward fuselage an emblem comprising a dachshund holding a Rata in its mouth... "

 The exceptional longevity of the dachshund emblem (from spring 1941 to spring 1944) and the fact that the unit adopted the  " Dackel Staffel " nickname was proof of the unit’s attachment to its dogs.

 Below; In the summer of 1941, Lt. Felix Brandis was one of the leading pilots of 1. ( Z) / JG 77.  He was unlucky enough to crash two aircraft before being killed on 2 February 1942 while attempting an emergency landing in a snowstorm. His Bordfunker, Fw. H. Baus, survived the crash.

Oblt. Viktor Bauer (9./JG 3) with tame Jackdaw - June 1942.

Kdr. I / JG 26 Hptm. Johannes Seifert with fox

Neat huh? Two can play this game!

Waldemar 'Hein' Wübke of 9./JG 54 in the cockpit of his 'yellow 5' and his G-2 a few years later. Same hound?

From III./JG 3 in Esperstedt during November 1944. Karl-Heinz Langer with puppy

Ofw. Fritz Gromotka 9./JG 27 (left) in Kalamaki, late February 1944.

JG 51 Emil

The first Focke Wulf 190 Doras entered service with III. Gruppe of JG 54 "Grünherz" during October 1944 at Achmer and Hesepe. While the first service machines undoubtedly piqued the interest of their pilots, according to Fw. Fritz Ungar of 9./ JG 54 pictured in the cockpit of "White 2" (above) the sole reason for this picture series -first published in Jean-Yves Lorant's 'Le Focke Wulf  190' (Docavia, 1980) and then later in Axel Urbanke's "Focke Wulf 190 Dora im Einsatz"- was to record the Staffel fox terrier mascot 'Struppi' for posterity. There is unfortunately no complete view of either of the aircraft. 

"Struppi" perched on the forward fuselage between the twin MG 131s - note the highly polished finish for an extra turn of speed - anything up to 20 km/h according to the pilots. The pilot in the picture is Feldwebel Paul Drutschmann who would be shot down and captured unharmed on the Dutch-Belgian border during Bodenplatte on 01/01/1945

Another view of 'Struppi'  -  enjoying the attention of the mechanics of 9./JG 54 perched on the horizontal stabiliser of  "White 3",  the eighth series production machine (Wnr. 210008). 

Major Walter Oesau JG 2 100th Luftsieg 26 October 1941 - Channel Front aces (7)

On 26 October 1941 the Kommodore of JG 2 Major Walter Oesau returned his 100th victory, only the third Luftwaffe ace to achieve this landmark after Oberst Werner Mölders and Günther Lützow. At 28 years old he had already been awarded the 'Swords' for his 80th victory in July 1941. Here he is being feted by ground crews while Lt. Gerhard Lohmann of the Geschwader Stab presents him with a 'commemorative' banner. All three of these aces would be blocked from further combat flying in the immediate aftermath of their 100th...

".. the machines are straight away prepared for their next sortie..."

Fw. Josef 'Jupp' Bigge recalled;  "...On 26 October 1941, our Kommodore, Major Walter Oesau won his 100th victory. But his satisfaction was marred by an order from the highest echelons - he was banned from flying on the same day. To date, the Kommodore had flown almost all missions with his Stabschwarm, comprising Oblt. Erich Leie (Adjutant), Oblt. Rudi Pflanz (Technical Officer) and Stabsfeldwebel Fritz Stritzel (a comrade from Oesau’s time at Döberitz). To complete the Stabschwarm, the Kommandeur of III. Gruppe also based in St Pol, Hptm. 'Assi' Hahn, had been ordered to surrender the pilot that seemed best suited for this position. It was I who was chosen with the consent of my Kapitän, Oblt. Stolle...We were relatively independent of the rest of our Geschwader and enjoyed great flexibility of action. In addition, we had the best equipment. Sometimes it was Oesau himself who gave the order to take off. Relying on accurate maps and good information, we were usually sent directly to the areas of fighting. Neither myself nor Stritzel had much opportunity to win victories for our job was almost exclusively to protect the backs of our Rottenführer. We were more than satisfied when we managed to follow Leie and Pflanz since in combat they would usually embark on a series of manoeuvres that would be as tight as they were acrobatic - we simply had no time to consider any success other than simply to cover them. Moreover, our bosses were appreciative of our efforts and never failed to thank us. Personal contacts within the Stab were excellent in spite of a strict respect for rank. After the missions, events were analysed with great precision and calm. We rubbed shoulders in the mess or in the barracks in an atmosphere of camaraderie and independence..."

Also on this blog

Walter Oesau and JG 20 in the French campaign

Kommodore Oesau's last sortie May 1944 JG 1 Bf 109 G-6/AS

the aces of JG 2 victory claims and credits during 1941

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Lt. Johann 'Hans' Badum - 6./JG 77

Born in Ruthweiler, a municipality in Rhineland-Pfalz, he joined JG 77 in 1941 aged 20 years old and served on the Eastern Front in 1942 and in North Africa from late 1942 until his death in January 1943. He had claimed 53 victories (most sources state 54), all but the last three on the Eastern Front. By January 1942 Badum was serving with the Ergängzungsstaffel of Jagdgeschwader 77 in the southern sector of the Eastern Front. On 26 February Badum claimed a Pe-2 bomber for his first victory. In April 1942 Badum transferred to 6 Staffel of JG 77, with three victories in 45 missions by this time. He saw combat over Sevastopol during June 1942 - his 9th claim with 6./JG 77 was a Yak-1 on 3 June. He claimed a further 17 victories in July 1942 to raise his victory total to 29 and in August returned another 14 victories. His 'best' day was 13 August - in two sorties he claimed five Russian LaGG-3 fighters shot down to record his 34th through 38th victories. He made three claims on 15 September 1942 (an Il-2 and two LaGG 3s). He was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 15 October 1942 after 51 victories (51st achieved on 16 September). Shortly thereafter he went to North Africa with  II./JG 77 and was appointed Staffelkapitän 6./JG 77. He claimed two P-40s shot down on 21 December 1942 for his 52nd and 53rd victories. According to Shores he claimed P-40s on 1 January 1943 in the Buerat area and 11 January 1943. He was killed in combat with US P-38s ('probably' Cpt. Darrel Welch 27 FS, 1st FG in Shores) over Giordani, 27 miles west of Tripoli, Libya on 12 January 1943 at the controls of Bf 109 G-2 WNr. 10727 "Yellow 7" following a 97th BG B-17 raid on Castel Benito airfield. He had been awarded the Iron Cross First and Second Class, the Luftwaffe Honor Cup and the German Cross in Gold. Badum achieved his victories during the course of some 300 missions and his total included 14 Il-2 Sturmoviks.

sources; Jägerblatt,  February/March 1982
              Shores, Mediterranean Air War, Vols 2 & 3

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Eduard news for September - Limited Edition Reichsverteidigung Dual combo

From the Eduard media/distributors leaflet for September 2018.

Due in September is a 48th scale Limited Edition Reichsverteidigung Dual Combo kit containing the first of the new-tool late-war Fw 190 variants, in this instance the Sturm Fw 190 A-8/R2 with a Bf 109 G-6/G-14 in the markings (13 options) of the units engaged in home defence during 1944. The Fw 190 A-8/R2 is a new tool, the first of the late sub-versions, which were among the best sellers of the 'old' Fw 190 family.  Eduard's media leaflet is available to download here for more on this exciting Dual Combo and the artwork for the 13 decal options!

A photo of Lt. Hans Weik's IV./JG 3 'white 1' was first published in the Prien history of IV./JG 3 and Peter Rodeike's Jagdflugzeug 190. This is  probably the only Sturm machine to display rudder victory markings. Peter's original German language caption reads;

 "..  Fw 190 A-8/R2 of Staffelkapitän 10./JG 3 Lt. Hans Weik photographed during July 1944, probably on the airfield at Memmingen. Details of note on this 'white 1' are the overall black finish to the cowl which displays a small Geschwader emblem and the white-outlined 'eagle wing' Alderflügel. The canopy is fitted out with the armoured glass 'blinkers' although the windscreen is lacking the 30mm glass quarter panes. The IV. Gruppe wavy line features on the white RV fuselage band while the rudder sports several rows of white Abschußmarkierungen kill markings - Weik had achieved his 34th on 13 May 1944 claiming a B-17 shot down. (The first eleven victory markings were topped with a Soviet red star ) Note the aperture of a gun camera in the wing leading edge. The upper engine cowl MGs have been removed and the cowl gun troughs have been faired over.."

Plenty of Brassin for the above, detailed in the leaflet. A new Brassin set for Eduard's 72nd scale Fw 190 A-5 is released too.

The U12 Rüstsatz comprised underwing gondolas each containing a pair of MG 151 cannon, one of the few armament Rüstsätze to reach operational status. The decals are for Staffelkapitän 2./JG11 Erich Hondt’s A-5 WNr 410 266 ‘schwarze 13' (see pic below, via J-Y Lorant). The numeral was black with a red outline. Hondt's machine displayed the so-called Schwarmführerstreifen or red diagonal stripes of a Schwarm leader along the fuselage sides appearing as a 'Vee' from above. The aircraft did not have a yellow Rumpfband although this sometimes features on artworks and models of course. In fact Hondt wrote a letter to his parents describing this machine and its colourful finish which was published in Jochen Prien's JG 1 & JG 11 history; painted with the red 'V', the white tail etc - but no mention of a yellow fuselage band at all. He doesn't mention a possible red spinner either. That's not conclusive by any means, far from it. Hondt was shot down and the aircraft lost on 8 October 1943 - this is before fuselage bands were introduced though. See also a small article by Peter Rodeike's in Jet and Prop 3/12 - he is also of the opinion that there was no yellow band at this time. The nice clear print of this machine below tends to show that the 'brighter' and 'clearer' the picture the less obvious is any change of colour towards the rear fuselage..

 My build of the excellent Eduard Fw 190 A-5 'heavy fighter' in 72nd scale is here

crash landed Emils - LG 2, JG 26 & 8./JG 27 - ebay photo find #258

A different view of the scene published in the Prien/Rodeike/Stemmer history of III. and IV. Gruppen of JG 27. Note the virtually undamaged prop blades suggesting that the pilot of this 8. Staffel machine - 'schwarze 13' - has attempted to glide home to the French coast either after running out of fuel or after sustaining damage that has caused the engine to seize. The location is Cap Griz Nez (between Calais and Boulogne), the date, on or around 27 October 1940. Although appearing in the loss lists as an E-4 there appear to be no wing-mounted MG FF. WNr. is 2794.

Below;  III./JG 26 Emil with 'Hellhound' emblem under the cockpit.

 Me 109 E of 5.(S)./LG 2, April 1941 (see JfV Teil 5) - 'Red 0' with narrow yellow Balkans Rumpfband

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Photo album Ofw. Günther Kurth 4./Seeaufklärungsgruppe 126 Crete/Aegean 1943-44 - Arado 196 - ebay photo find #257

nice photo album featuring Arado 196 pilot Ofw. Günther Kurth and his Seeaufklärungsgruppe 126 crew on Crete. Includes his first victory confirmation credit slip - a Beaufighter downed on 01 June 1944 - and a newspaper clipping recalling the action.

 " .. a bold feat of arms by our Arado crews -  an Arado 196 recce Staffel on Crete claim four Beaufighters shot down. Our crews had flown cover tirelessly throughout the day over a German convoy steaming north of Heraklion ...(.....) but during the early evening of Thursday a raid at altitude by a large formation of bombers protected by fighters was followed moments later by an attack from 18 Beaufighters. Within a matter of minutes four Beaufighter torpedo bombers were shot down, three plunging into the sea and the fourth breaking off trailing a banner of smoke and crash-landing on the coast..(..) Several more sustained heavy damage resulting in the enemy attack being broken up...(...) time and again the German machines covering the German ships parried the attacks despite the enemy machines' far superior firepower and speed....."

Another clipping features post-war Flottilenadmiral Paul Kriebel, Kurth's wartime Staffelchef. Kriebel was shot-down twice and achieved the Frontflugspange in Gold for more than 300 combat sorties.  He ended the war with the rank of Hauptmann beim Fliegerführer Ostsee. Post-war he flew Gannets and became Kommodore of Marinefliegergeschwader 'Graf Zeppelin' in Nordholz

on offer here