Saturday, 25 June 2016

late-war Bf 109 G-14 and Fw 190 or the dangers of presenting guesswork as fact - daily ebay photo find #184

..sometimes you just wish certain Experte would stop to think a little before posting..late-war Luftwaffe subjects can be difficult enough without the misinformation and increased confusion that results from inaccurate 'guesswork' being presented as fact! From a certain Swiss archaeologist's Flickr pages..

Above;  since appearing in a recent ebay auction this machine has been labelled as a G-14 of the " Stab/JG 4 at Zellhausen.."

Very very doubtful. There is not one single mention of  'Zellhausen' in Erik Mombeek's two volume history of JG 4! In fact the only fighter Gruppe that saw action here was II./JG 11 early in 1945. Located in Hesse, east-south-east of Frankfurt/Main, in 1945 Zellhausen was home to TGr. 30 operating He 111s in the transport role flying resupply missions to the German fortress enclaves in western France as well as to Dunkirk on the Channel coast.

Below, from the same seller, a II./JG 53 G-14 with solid black fuselage band and labelled by the same poster " an unknown location "  (!).  But note how the GI in the cockpit is the same man in both images!

..and below; another image from the same seller depicting the same GI again! This time our expert has labelled this one " Bf 109 G-6 or G-14 W.Nr. unknown, I./JG 101, Bad Wörishofen, late April 1945 " ....

So counting 'an unknown location' as a potential third airfield, we see photos of the same GI on three different airfields posing with aircraft from three different units. How likely is that frankly ? Not at all.....

Abandoned Fw 190s photographed in Mourmelon, France by members of the 406th FG here

May, 1945, burnt-out Heinkel He 219, Handorf

Thursday, 23 June 2016

AZ models Bf 109 Friedrich due soon

AZ's new Bf 109 F was born..... Happy parents - left to right - Pavel Vandelik, mould maker, Petr Muzikant, author of the master model, Jan Pavlik, consultant (and Saxon fan), Jan Polc, camouflage and decals design and Petr Safra, completion and distribution.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Friday, 17 June 2016

JG 51 Friedrich - daily Ebay photo find#181


new Luftwaffe books (1) - Wekusta 2 in combat

New from Perre Babin and published by Heimdal (French language) is this history of weather recce unit Wekusta 2. The unit is notable for having spent its entire war in France- flying daily sorties from French Atlantic coast bases in Bordeaux, Brest, Nantes and Mont de Marsan- and for having deployed the Heinkel He 177 bomber for weather and long-range maritime recce sorties during 1944.

Below; He 111 D7 + LH and a Do 17 Z of Westa 2 Ob.d.L. in front of the hangars and the tower at Brest-Lanvéoc, autumn 1940.

Wettererkungdungstaffel 2 Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (weather reconnaissance squadron) was established during July 1940 in Oldenburg, north-west Germany and located at the German-designated 'Brest Süd' (Lanvéoc) from the summer of 1940. The primary mission of the Staffel was long-range Atlantic weather observation for the preparation of accurate forecasting both for the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine, particularly the U-boot arm. During the course of its activities the Staffel not unnaturally fulfilled the secondary but equally important of role of spotting Allied Atlantic convoys. The Staffel operated under the auspices of, and drew its personnel and equipment from, Aufklärungsgruppe 123, whose Stab was located in Tossus-le-Noble and Buc in the Paris region from July 1940 until mid-1944. 3.(F)/123 was located in Rennes from August 1942. The Staffel was one of the rare Luftwaffe units to fly sorties with 'semi-civilians' on-board - each flight carried a meteorologist who was also trained to fire the on-board armament of the He 111s and Ju 88 Ds with which the unit flew its sorties out over the Atlantic and around the western coasts of Ireland. Note there were several grades/ranks of meteorologists from Regierungsrat and Wetterdienst Assessor. The full story of Wekusta 2 is told by Pierre Babin in this new volume.

More on Wekusta 2 on this blog

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Circuses over France - on the eve of Barbarossa; 21 June 1941 in the West

 On the eve of Barbarossa, 21 June 1941 -  and indicating perhaps that the British, via Ultra, were aware of the imminent German invasion of the Soviet Union - the RAF mounted two successive Circuses over northern France for the first time. Circuses were essentially large-scale fighter sweeps, taking the war to the Luftwaffe. The RAF's tactic was to lure the German fighters - principally of JG 2 and JG 26 - into the air to write them down using a handful of bombers as 'bait' escorted by sometimes as many as nine squadrons of fighters. This is what Jean-Louis Roba in his new publication for Lela Presse, 'Non-Stop Offensive' (cover image left, go here to purchase), refers to as " the Battle of Britain in reverse" - and which in many instances imposed similar constraints on the RAF fighter squadrons as the Jagdwaffe had endured during the previous summer. Circus N° 16 targeted the airfield at Longuenesse (St-Omer) during the early afternoon – six Blenheims of 21 Sqd and an ‘escort’ of no fewer than fifteen squadrons of fighters. JG 26 alone intercepted, the German pilots claiming four victories. After scrambling from Audembert with his wingman Ofw. Bruno Hegenauer in tow, Kommodore Galland was soon up-sun and at altitude, launching a diving attack that pierced the RAF fighter screen to set one of the Blenheims alight. He claimed a second Blenheim shot down although this ‘victory’ was not confirmed and his 'victim' returned home. Galland’s machine, an early series Bf 109 F-2, WNr. 5776, was hit by future ace Boleslaw ‘Ghandi’ Drobinski of 303 Sqn - damage later assessed at 40% - but the Kommodore JG 26 was able to carry out a belly landing close to the airfield at Calais-Marck before being picked up by a Bf 108 and ferried back to Audembert. Fw. Bruno Hagenauer bailed out near St. Omer while Gefr. Christian Knees of 9./ JG 26 was shot down on his first sortie. II./JG 26 who chased after the RAF raiders also lost several machines to the Biggin Hill fighters, two pilots being shot down over the UK resulting in a largely positive outcome for the RAF from Circus N° 16 – at least five JG 26 Bf 109s for one Blenheim and three fighters damaged.

Circus N° 17, mounted later that afternoon against the aerodrome at Desvres, resulted in II. Gruppe of the Richthofen being scrambled in support of the Schlageter over the coastal sector between Boulogne and Le Touquet to counter no fewer than seventeen fighter squadrons escorting six 110 Sqd Blenheims. For the second time that day the fighting was largely favourable to the raiding RAF force. Kommodore Galland was airborne again, this time in his replacement Friedrich, minus a wingman. This was Bf 109 F-2 WNr. 6713 (DG+MU) displaying a chevron and two bars. (Isby in his excellent account in 'The Decisive Duel' states that Galland's second machine of the day was an Emil).

Once again the aggressively flown Spitfires brought him down, although not before he claimed his 70th (probably the Spitfire of P/O Edward of 616 Sqd which came down near Boulogne). The moments after being shot up Galland described as the most terrifying seconds of his life. Wounded in the head and the right arm, it was only with great difficulty that he managed to extricate himself from his doomed machine. WNr. 6713 crashed at Bellebrune, 12 km east of Boulogne-sur-Mer. On landing Galland was taken to a farm by some "unpleasant looking Frenchmen" before being taken back to Audembert and on to the Kriegsmarine Lazarett at Hardinghem. Theo Osterkamp later drove over to inform Galland that his tally of victories ( revised down to 69 as subsequently seen on the rudder scoreboard of his F-2 WNr. 6750) had now earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern). In addition to the Kommodore, JG 26 suffered three more losses.

Während des Geburtstagsempfangs im April 1941 bei Generalleutnant Theodor Osterkamp (r.) schildert der Jagdflieger der deutschen Luftwaffe, Oberstleutnant Adolf Galland (2.v.l.) einen Luftkampf; 2.v.r. Oberstleutnant Werner Mölders. (Dreesen) 10443-41 - Galland at Osterkamp's 49th birthday describing a combat, April 1941 (Bundesarchiv photo via wiki commmons)

II./JG 2 claimed no less than eleven victories ( ten Spitfires and a single Hurricane), with the notable aces adding to their scores; Ofw. Kurt Bühligen (4./JG 2, three Spitfires), Lt. Siegfried Schnell (4./JG 2, two Spitfires west of Le Touquet), Oblt. Hans-Jürgen Hepe (4./JG 2, two Spitfires) and the Kommandeur Greisert (a single Spitfire). These Spitfire claims were in addition to eight Spitfires claimed by JG 26. In total the RAF lost no more than four Spitfires for nineteen German claims !

The extent of the over-claiming on the German side may be a reflection of the RAF’s numerical superiority or it may possibly reflect the intensity of the fighting - the British had lost in fact (inclusive of the losses sustained during the early afternoon )… just three Hurricanes and probably a similar number of Spitfires. The RAF though had claimed some thirty victories- including a number of the new Friedrichs. While just as optimistic, the British claims were at least partially founded since JG 26 had lost around ten aircraft plus a further four aircraft seriously damaged. Of the JG 2 pilots, Uffz. Lorenz Dessoy of 5. Staffel had to bale out following combat with a Spitfire off Tréport. He was rescued by the Seenot and was able to rejoin his unit. Dessoy would eventually perish in 1945 shortly before the end of the war. It was notable too that no British bomber was lost during the course of the fighting, no doubt as a result of the excellent protection afforded by the imposing fighter escort. While generally described as Galland's worst day of the war - shot down twice - the Schlageter and the Richthofener were about to enjoy their most successful period of the conflict! Although Galland himself would be shot down again in another Friedrich on his next sortie on 2 July - the leading fighter ace of the Luftwaffe downed three times in three consecutive sorties!

Also on this blog;

Kanalgeschwader JG 2- Bf 109 Friedrich into service

Bf 109s Jabos of JG 2 in 1941

Operation Sunrise, 24 July 1941 - I./JG 2 versus RAF bombers over France

Der Reichsmarschall bei Oberst Galland JG 26 - Der Adler 01/42