Monday, 25 May 2015

The aircraft of Adolf Galland -Bf 109 E-3 Stab./ JG 27

Apologies for not posting this when it was published at the end of last year. Avions issue 202 (Nov/Dec 2014) featured an exceptional 27-page piece on Adolf Galland's aircraft (from his He 51s to his Fw 190s and Siebels!) with some super photos and artworks courtesy of Thierry Dekker.

Back issue available here

Can't recall having seen his Stab./JG 27 Emil with this variation on the 02/70 finish (?) - filing this one as reference for another great Bf 109 model subject..

Bf 109 E-3 WNr. 936 " mini-chevron and bars"  Stab./JG 27

"..during this period - May-June 1940 - I tried out a new grey-green camouflage finish on my aircraft. Unfortunately my machine was frequently mistaken for one of the rare Hurricanes which showed up now and again..One day I nearly paid the price.."

Stab./ JG 27 start their take off run during May 1940; from left to right, TO Oblt Gustav Rodel's "T and bars", Hptm Galland's WNr 936 (Gruppenstab Ia-Offizier) and the "chevron bars" of Gkr. Obslt. Max Ibel

Much more on Galland's aircraft on this blog

Galland's Friedrich "special"

"Der Reichsmarschall bei Oberst Galland.."

Ebay Emils - a collection of over 50 Bf 109 Emils posted

Galland's Emil and Friedrich

Aces of JG 26

Bf 109 G-6/R2 with ASM-engine, WNr. 162080, 4./(F) 123, Staffelkapitän, Oblt. Werner Kohla

Filing this one for reference for those blog readers/modellers not using FB or TOCH - you know who you are!

Me 109 G-6/U2, R2, with ASM-engine, "blue 9" WNr. 162080, 4./(F) 123, Staffelkapitän Oblt. Werner Kohla, Reims, September 1944

ULTRA CX/MSS/R.276 (C),70 Report signed KOHLA dated 13/8 to TO:- A/c (plural) Me 109 G-6, U2, R2, with ASM-engine, Works Nos. 162080, 163006, 26043, 27172, 20583, 161732, 163491, taken over from Workshop Guyancourt. Equipment for all a/c, methyl-alcohol water injection system, automatic mosaic camera 50/30. 1 engine-mounted MG 151/20, FuGe 16Z, FuGe 25A, installation sets without equipment. NOTE: Source believes this was from 4.(F)/123 and was almost certainly to (F) 123.

via Nick Beale. See discussion at TOCH

Friday, 22 May 2015

KG 6 Junkers Ju 188, Ju 88 - daily Ebay photo find # 117

Currently on offer via seller Manuel Rauh at 'engelbubu fotos', are these nice images from a KG 6 album featuring Ju 188 and Ju 88 Nachtjäger types. Click on the image to view large!

On offer here

along with this nice KG 26 torpedo bomber

Thursday, 21 May 2015

a new book for my library - " Florennes Raum Sieben" by Roland Charlier - I./ NJG 4 war diary - new Luftwaffe books

Written by local Florennes researcher Roland Charlier, "Florennes Raum Sieben 1942-44" (Florennes Sector Seven - a reference to the airfield's Himmelbett zone) is a thick 470 page A-5 French-language softback presenting aspects of the wartime history of Florennes airfield in Belgium. Most important of these were the activities of I./ NJG 4 under Kommandeur and leading Nachtjagd ace Wilhelm Herget. The book is the result of nearly 30 years research and is packed with unpublished pictures, recollections of former airmen (now all deceased) and anecdotes. It focuses on  local wartime life deeply influenced by the Raum 7 network, the establishment of the Fliegerhorst at Florennes but also the bombings, crashes and air warfare in the area. It is effectively a war diary of I./ NJG 4 for the period covered and features lengthy extracts from the daily diary kept by ace Ludwig Meister's Bordfunker Hannes Forke as well as first-person accounts from Meister, letter extracts from Kommandeur Wilhelm Herget and other pilots.

original diary extract from Hannes Forke, BF to NJG 4 ace Ludwig Meister as published in 'Florennes Raum Sieben'

The book also deals with the deployment of I./ JG 26 to Florennes. Roland received support from noted Belgian historians Jean-Louis Roba and Erik Mombeeck, two leading Luftwaffe researchers who need no introduction here - needless to say they carried out many interviews with Luftwaffe veterans during the 1980s.

I am really enjoying this book. The detail is fascinating - how the pilots lived and how the airfield was organised with lots of local colour, as well as pilot accounts and rare pictures. If you can cope with the French text then I recommend it highly. The A-5 format unfortunately means that some of the very nice photos are not given the prominence they deserve, but as the author himself explained to me, the format has certain advantages for ease of transport and stock when self-publishing.

Below;  Lt. Norbert Pietrek at the controls of his 2./ NJG 4 Bf 110 coded '3C+HK' at Florennes. Pietrek shot down a Halifax and a Lancaster on the night of 9-10 August 1943 before flying a daylight sortie against the US 8th AF on 17 August; the famous Schweinfurt-Regensburg raid. The aircraft wears a light 76/77 (?) squiggle finish over the (presumably) grey uppersurfaces (courtesy Roland Charlier, click to view large)

On 17 August 1943 the US 8th Air Force attacked the ball bearing factories at Schweinfurt and the Messerschmitt plants in Regensburg. The Luftwaffe threw just about everything they had into battle that day, including the Messerschmitt Bf 110 Nachtjäger. A dangerous move, because the twin-engine Messerschmitt Bf 110 was no match for the more manoeuverable escorts. 2./NJG 4 pilot Norbert Pietrek recalled;

 "..That day 17 August 1943, we were ordered up to counter an American raid in daylight hours. An assignment that we, night fighters, considered suicide as the Bf 110 could not hope to match the American and British escort fighters. I took off from Florennes together with six comrades, among them Staffelkapitän Altendorf and my Katschmarek Gralmann, heading north. I'm sure Kowalzik and Schulenburg were also with us. But we were intercepted by enemy fighters and we immediately formed a defensive circle. However Kowalzik stupidly left the formation to dive on a lone Spitfire (sic) and that let the enemy fighters in. Both of Gralmann's engines were on fire, but he still managed to pull up his nose to get off a salvo that brought down one of the US fighters before baling out and  jumping clear...."

 In his account Pietrek assumes that the Staffel ran into Spitfires but their adversaries that day were probably Thunderbolts of the 63 Fighter Squadron/56th FG. 1st Lieutenant Edgard D. Whitley claimed a Bf 110, 1st Lieutenant Glen D. Schiltz Jr. and 2nd Lieutenant John H. Truluck each reported having "damaged a Me 210 " The dogfight was, according to US reports, situated between Ans and Sint-Niklaas about 16.25-16.40 British time. Two of the damaged Messerschmitts managed to escape by putting down at Sint-Denijs-Westrem airfield. Staffelkapitän Altendorf and his Bordfunker, Feldwebel Wilfried Arndt, were less fortunate. Their Bf 110 (Werknummer 6160 coded 3C+DK) became uncontrollable, and Aussteigen (bale out) was the only option. According to German records, this event occurred near Assenede. The Staffelkapitän landed safely, his BF Arndt was slightly injured.

Pietrek continued;

"...I managed to find shelter in the clouds and when I emerged glimpsed the coast of England. I could see the condensation trails of B-17s returning from the raid. I closed on a B-17 and brought it down, watched it go down into the sea, but in the absence of a witness, this was a victory that would never be credited ...our Staffel lost three aircraft that day..."

(blog author note; compare Pietrek's account here with his lengthy piece in T. Boiten's 'Nachtjagd' (Crowood 1997) described as having taken place on 25 August against 9th AF Marauder's attacking Rouen!)

 Pietrek's 2. Staffel was led by Oberleutnant Rudolf Altendorf, " a man of great distinction within his unit, thanks to his outstanding record of service". Rudi Altendorf  had already had a successful career as a Zerstörer, returning four victories by day before his transfer to the Nachtjagd. After a short stay in Nachtjagdgeschwader 3, he was transferred in the summer of 1942 as Oberleutnant in I./ NJG 4 based in Laon-Athies, France. I./ NJG 4 moved in March/April 1943 to their newly constructed Fliegerhorst (airbase) Florennes. Altendorf was appointed Staffelkapitän 2./NJG 4. After the summer of 1943 Altendorf and his Staffel were transferred to Germany, where the 2./NJG 4 became 12./NJG 5. On 1 January 1944 Altendorf was promoted to Hauptmann and appointed Kommandeur of IV./ NJG 5 stationed at Brandis. Altendorf survived the war with a total score of 25 victories, for which he was awarded with the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold. 

Below right;  Oblt. Rudolf Altendorf

Henschel Hs 123 in the East, captioned Wjasma Rollbahn

another super clear pic of a Henschel Hs 123 in the East,again captioned Wjasma Rollbahn. Difficult to say if its the same Hs 123 B-1 of Erg.St(Sch)/LG 2 as posted a few days ago or a similarly marked machine from the same unit. Note how the even the prop has received an application of white-wash

currently on offer here

More Hs 123 reference pics on this blog

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Me 109 Emils, Friedrich JG 51 early 1941- Werner "Vati" Mölders on the Channel coast (St. Omer) - daily Ebay photo find #116

Me 109 F, die Maschine des Geschwaderkommodore Oberstleutnant Werner M,  seen here in early 1941 visiting I./JG 27 on the Channel coast.Click on these images to view them large!

below; Me 109 F "SG+GW" Werknummer 5628 Stab JG 51 die Maschine des Geschwaderkommodore Oberstleutnant Werner "Vati" Mölders seen in the autumn of 1940 on the Channel coast..

Me 109 Emils of 7./JG 51 running up their engines in their camouflaged dispersal boxes in St. Omer, northern France, 1940

Me 109 Friedrich 7./JG 51, early 1941

Me 109 F-2 "schwarze 1" assigned to the Staffelkapitän of 2./JG 51 (and later Gruppenkommandeur ) Hptm. Wilhelm "Willi" Hachfeld

below; Me 109 Emil presumably of 1./JG 3 - note Tatzelwurmwappen on the cowl- in St. Omer-Nord.

michael Meyer's current Ebay sales are here 

Hptm. Wilhelm Balthasar's 1./ JG 1 Bf 109 Emil (Staffelkapitän 7./JG 27) during the campaign in the West (Westfeldzug)

Bf 109 E-4 WNr. 1559 of Wilhelm Balthasar, 1./ JG 1 (photo in Jean-Louis Roba's archive and published in Batailles Aériennes no. 72 'The RAF in France')

Balthasar was one of the top scorers in the Westfeldzug - he claimed a Blenheim on 13 June over Sezanne for his 30th ...with 1./ JG 1.

Below; his 'white 1' has here received a light mottle application along the fuselage, making it difficult to determine if this machine is 1./ JG 1 or 7./ JG 27, 1./ JG 1 being renamed in July 1940.  Click to view large

Currently on offer here

His 13.06.40 Blenheim appears to have been his last victory with 1./ JG 1. Note the 36 victory marks over the rudder/fin include at least 11 ground 'victories'! He was awarded the RK on 14 June 1940 and the garland over the cowl may well be the celebration of this award (see Prien JFV Teil 3 page 84). In July 1./ JG 1 was re-named 7./ JG 27 probably during the first week of July. Balthasar was briefly Staffelkapitän of 7./JG 27 (ex 1./JG1) although you will be hard-pressed to find this in any bios on the net. Barely a month or so after this re-naming, Balthasar departed for JFS Werneuchen- via Brussels-Evere (below; note SABENA building on the right of picture) - a new assignment to which he took his same WNr 1559. This same machine then went with him in September 1940 to the Stab III./ JG 3.

Note light mottle on rear fuselage and rudder

prior to mottle

Thierry Dekker artwork Batailles Aériennes 72

More rare pics of Balthasar's III./ JG 3 Emils on this blog

Follow this discussion on Franck Benoiton's FB page Bf109 From Anton to Toni