Saturday, 27 July 2019

More aces and pilots of III./ JG 2


Above; Lt. Benno Eder, Oblt. Ferdinand Müller and Ofw. Fritz Hartmann of 9./JG 2 seen in February 1943 probably at Vannes, north of Nantes in Brittany..Eder would achieve his 5th victory on 30 July 1943 claiming a B-17 from an 8th AF force en route to Kassel. Hartmann was already an ace - his regular aircraft were marked "gelbe 11", one of which was photographed below during 1942. This A-2/3 (probably WNr. 2187) features the stylised eagle wing with an Adlerkopf (eagle's head) marking on the cowling which would be later over-painted and replaced with the cockerel. The rudder featured a row of at least eight Abschussbalken ..










Above; Müller and Hartman (alongside the engine cowl) seen with their comrades in 9./JG 2 are  assembling by their aircraft for a transfer to Calais/Marck on the Channel coast in February 1943 where they were subordinated to the Stab JG 26 following the move of I./JG 26 to the Eastern Front. An Austrian, Müller was appointed Staffelkapitän 1./JG 2 in May 1943. Attacking B-17s raiding Le Bourget just north of Paris on 16 August 1943, he would be shot down and killed by the P-47 escort. Perched on the wheel (leaning against the cowl) is Fw. Willi Kopp who claimed a B-17 shot down south of Jersey on the afternoon of 29 May 1943 for his second victory. His 5th  -also a B-17- was returned on 3 September. He was shot down and killed over northern France on 9 September 1943 in Fw 190 A-6 WNr. 550548 attacking B-17s. Playing with the dog is Rudolf Gehrhardt also seen below on his 'yellow 6'.

Below;  posted on FB by Christophe Blanluet -where I was able to provide the pilot identification. This is Rudolf Gehrhardt of 9./JG 2 on his A-5 (157319) 'yellow 6'. Gehrhardt was seriously injured in a crash landing on 17 May 1943 at Vannes after a sortie against B-17s and probably for this reason alone managed to survive the war, one of the few 9./JG 2 pilots to do so..


I am grateful to Erik Mombeeck for assistance in compiling these captions. The fact that so few of these men survived indicates how difficult it must have been for Erik to research his multi-volume history of this Geschwader. The latest tome in the series covers 1944 and the increasingly ferocious large-scale combats against USAF B-17s over France as the defenders were overwhelmed ahead of the Allied Normandy D-Day landings..

More on this blog here



Also on this blog;

III./JG 2 convert onto the Fw 190 May-June 1942 - 7. Staffel Kapitän Oblt. Egon Mayer. Fw 190 im Westen, Channel Front aces

III./JG 2 in France - 30 December 1942, first frontal attack - Channel Front ace Uffz. Friedrich May

Oblt. 'Sepp' Wurmheller Staffelkapitän 9./ JG 2 Fw 190 A-6 and A-5 ' yellow 2 '

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Horst Prenzel 'white 2' JG 301 Invasionsfront, June 1944




 Bf 109 G-6 "white 2" flown by Lt. Horst Prenzel of 1./ JG 301 seen here in France. The Staffel was based in Holzkirchen during the period 20 May 20 – 12 June 1944. On 14 June they moved via Villacoublay to St. Dizier in France and on 24 June arrived in St. André. During June and July 1944 they flew almost exclusively night interception sorties against overflying RAF bomber formations. The image shows Lt. Horst Prenzel on the wing. Note the spinner spiral and the black port gear cover and cannon gondola suggesting that the entire port wing was painted black.

In the early hours of 21 July Prenzel (Staffelkapitän 1./JG 301) landed his Me 109 G-6 'white 16' (below) apparently in error at RAF Manston on the east Kent coast, southern England, after a 'Wilde Sau' sortie over the invasion area. The RAF evaluated the aircraft at the RAE Farnborough, and then passed it to the Air Fighting Development Unit at RAF Wittering in August 1944. The same night a second JG 301 pilot put down at Manston - Fw Manfred Gromil of 1./JG 301 belly landed his G-6 "Yellow 8" after running out of fuel.



Below;   RAF pilot F/L Len Thorne after ground-looping this machine (now TP 814) on 23 November 1944 after a gear leg collapse.


More on the RAF Manston history site here



'White 16' available as a special 'limited edition' Corgi die-cast in their D-Day 75th anniversary series


Wednesday, 26 June 2019

late war crash-landed Fw 190s -SG 10, JG 51 and JG 300





These interesting Fw 190 shots are reposted from the FB Fw 190 group for Luftwaffe blog readers (..on the basis that many blog readers do not use FB ) - a III./SG 10 Focke Wulf Fw 190 F-8 shot down over Holice, Czechoslovakia, on 6 May 1945. The rudder appears to be un-mottled and is probably yellow. There also appears to be a yellow cowl band..generally speaking any yellow ID marked II. or III. Gruppe ground-attack Fw 190 was an aircraft of SG 10 (Luftflotte 4 ID markings).





The following shots are were captioned as Fw 190 A-8 "Black Chevron 1" WNr. 739 141", Stab I./JG 51, Jarlstengaard near Sandby, 8 May 1945. Note bulged hood and (presumably) white winter camo finish..






A-8 WNr 681844 'Red 7' shot down on 17 December 1944. Pilot Uffz. Karl Reif was seriously injured


Tuesday, 18 June 2019

NEW! Eduard ProfiPACK 48th scale Bf 109 G-6/AS





two of the five marking options in this new release

- G-6/AS of Hptm. Horst Carganico, Kommandeur of I./JG 5, Herzogenaurach, May 1944




G-6/AS 'Moskito hunter' of 1./NJGr 10 flown by Friedrich-Karl Müller during July-August 1944 "Red 2" (WNr. unknown).


Eduard August distributors leaflet is available to download here

Markings research for 'Red 2' by 'FalkeEins -the Luftwaffe blog' - see my articles in Model Aircraft Monthly June-July 2014

Also on this blog;

Hellblau-über-alles - overall RLM 76 Bf 109 G-6/AS Höhenjäger fighters of I./JG 3  here

Sunday, 16 June 2019

James V. Crow RIP




posted by Steve Sheflin on TOCH

"..I am saddened to report that my friend James V. Crow passed away on Friday 03 March 2019 at his home. Jim was 79 years young, and a gentleman in the broadest sense of the word. The Luftwaffe research community, as well the rest of the world, has lost a star and a friend. Jim is finally with his lovely wife Erika again. Respectfully, Steve Sheflin..."

and from David E. Brown

"..This is a huge loss for many of us who have had the benefit of working with Jim and the honour of having him as a friend. Jim was unselfish in his sharing of Luftwaffe and related photos from his collection that be began building in the 1960s.."

Pick up any Luftwaffe book at random and chances are you will come across a credit for 'James V. Crow'. A veteran US serviceman who lived and worked in Germany for a number of years, Jim devoted much of his spare time to acquiring photos of WWII German aircraft and amassed an enormous collection of rare images. I was always thrilled that Jim would want to share his photo collection with a minor-league translator and blogger such as myself.  He was always ready to send out 'new' photo material for whatever project or article that I happened to be working on. I introduced him to Kagero and many of his photos appeared in their 'Monograph' series - until the day that they failed to return some of his late-war Ju 88 images. Originals - since Jim didn't scan or 'photoshop'. Occasionally he went to the print shop and had copies prepared. Maybe the images sent to Kagero went 'missing' in the post back to him after being used in the monograph (Vol III Junkers Ju 88 is full of his rare images..) We never did get to the bottom of that business. Hopefully I always did the 'right' thing by Jim in sending him a copy of whatever book/monograph or article that his photos had appeared in as a result of my involvement and I of course always sent him small sums of money in exchange for images which he appreciated. And Jim must have written to me many times for help in identifying and captioning where possible his latest images. Jim's notes always appeared on the back of photocopies of the photos in question—I don't think Jim bothered with typing and as far as I am aware never used a computer and everything that went with it. He would always write in long-hand - unfortunately I always had trouble deciphering his hand-writing. He was a fund of stories as well - dining out on his relationship with Hans Ulrich Rudel and his glamorous wife in Chicago during the 70s. ( The Rudels were invited by the US government to participate in the development of the A-10 Warthog, conceived for close air support - 'Stuka Pilot' was required reading for the design team).

The two gentlemen quoted above have put it far better than I could - even if you didn't know him James V. Crow will be sadly missed by all in the Luftwaffe enthusiast community...







Starboard view of 'Red 1' of the Platzschutzstaffel (airfield protection squadron) of JV 44 in front of the control tower at München Riem airfield after the capitulation. Operating from the opposite end of the field to the Me 262 Turbos of JV 44, the Platzschutzstaffel followed specific orders; take off ahead of the Me 262s in Rotte formation, maintain a 1500m altitude umbrella and under no circumstances break off to chase enemy fighters. This view reveals that the cockpit has been ravaged by fire, possibly following orders to destroy the aircraft as the end neared. Built in December 1944 by Fieseler at their Kassel factory, this Dora is finished in the 82/83/76 scheme. Factory stencilling is intact. Undersurfaces are red with thin white stripes as a recognition marking for the airfield flak gunners. Behind the Siebel to the left of the picture is Fw 190 D-11 'Red 4'.  Via Crow. Click to view full screen.



Thursday, 13 June 2019

An Eagle's Odyssey - Johannes Kaufmann (trans. John Weal), Messerschmittt Bf 109 Air War Archive - new Luftwaffe books





Johannes Kaufmann enjoyed a long and diverse flying career in the Luftwaffe. He spent the first two years of the war as an instructor before flying his first combat sorties in July 1941, having retrained as a Bf 110 Zerstörer pilot with SKG 210 and ZG 1. He participated in the invasion of the Soviet Union (Barbarossa) and as a ground-attack pilot flew low-level strafing and bombing sorties against Russian tank and troop concentrations. His war ended at the controls of a Bf 109 escorting JG 4 Selbstopfer ('self sacrifice' or suicide) pilots flying against the Oder bridges. He also managed to return twelve victories including a Thunderbolt over the Ardennes and a Shturmovik in the final days of the war over the ruins of a shattered Berlin. That he survived is testament to his flying skills. His memoir 'Meine Flugberichte' ('My flight log') first appeared in German in 1989 - the cover photo depicted him being presented with a wreath to mark his 100th combat sortie in Russia. Brief extracts from his book are featured in the Classic Pubs Zerstörer volumes - and elsewhere on this blog. His career thus spans most of Hitler's war and highlights the ever-changing demands made on the Luftwaffe's pilots. In his role as a ground attack pilot in Russia he had no experience, little training and developed his 'tactical awareness' in the unforgiving apprenticeship of combat. From low-level bombing and strafing sorties, he flew at Stalingrad and subsequently went on to maritime operations over the Atlantic with KG 40, before 're-training' as a Bf 109 fighter pilot thrown into the desperate efforts to stem the Allied bomber offensive. Unfortunately while Kaufmann's account is fascinating, the original text was a 'difficult' if not to say somewhat dull read, with timings for takeoffs and landings repeated throughout, written almost exclusively from the point of view of Kaufmann's logbook. Hence the title no doubt. However translator John Weal is well aware of this and this new English edition -  revised and enlarged from the original - attempts to rectify that situation by cutting out some of the detail and incorporating more context and background information on campaigns, locations and units. So whereas, for example, Kaufmann did not fly his first sorties with JG 4 until late summer 1944 - having seen his Ju 88 ZG 1 Gruppe disbanded and reconstituted as III./ JG 4 - the translator provides an account of this JG's establishment and early history. While Kaufmann had done little combat flying with KG 40 and ZG 1 (chapters are devoted to both units) he saw rather more action flying Reich's defence sorties against the massed formations of US bombers, clashing with Mustangs on the 27 September and 02 November missions which saw heavy losses inflicted on JG 4. 

Below; cover of Johannes Kaufmann's " Meine Flugberichte " (lit. 'My flight reports..' ). 




And while Kaufmann  did not fly on the 1.1 45 Bodenplatte operation, Weal includes an account of JG 4's participation on the New Years Day attack on the Allied air forces and the subsequent changes in command at the head of III./JG 4 resulting from the charges of 'cowardice' filed against Kommandeur Eberle.

Notwithstanding the fact that the translator's 'voice' comes to the fore throughout, the result provides a good insight into the life and times of an 'ordinary' Luftwaffe pilot. While there is a good deal of 'background' on what life with a front-line combat unit was actually like, 'political' comment is notable by its almost total absence and the 'neutral' tone adopted throughout is a little disconcerting- there is no commentary whatsoever on the evolving war situation, nor is there any sense of impending defeat and chaos. Kaufmann does at one point attend one of Hitler's rallies and listens to the three-hour speech with 'rapt attention' while during a fighter leaders training course during March 1945 Kaufmann makes the point that lectures covering the German war economy and 'post-war' diplomacy are still being delivered.. Weal's writing is always a pleasure to read and if you have any of his previous translated personal accounts such as Hanning's 'Luftwaffe Fighter Ace' then this is worthy and interesting book. Rather unfortunately perhaps there are no photographs in this new edition. If you are going to add good chunks of text a photo page insert would have rounded the book out considerably.





The latest Chris Goss-compiled Luftwaffe photo book in the Frontline 'Air War Archive' series has arrived. ' Messerschmitt Bf 109 - the latter years ' covers the period 1941-1945, with a chapter devoted to each year at the front of the book and several chapters thereafter organised according to the theatre of operations, Africa, Eastern Front etc, with a brief look at Jabo operations, foreign operators and 'Captured' machines bringing up the rear.  With a page count of 178 the book represents good value with some decent images reproduced large with comprehensive captions. The main body of the work is preceded by a 19-page look at the capture by the British of Pingel's Friedrich by way of introduction. Units covered primarily include JG 1, JG 2 and JG 26, with coverage chiefly given over to JG 27, JG 53 and JG 52 for the 'theatre' chapters.  I noted just a single photo from JG 300 in the book but highlight for me is a series of very nice images of III./JG 2 Friedrichs and a number of photos of interesting JG 77 machines that were new to me.

Captured G-6s in unusual camo finish, WNr. 20790 visible on the tail fin. See pages 84-85 of 'Bf 109 - the latter years'..seen at Fassberg according to the book caption, although A.I.2(g)/131 via Michael Balss states Wunstorf.



Bf 109 F-4/B WNr 7629 10.(Jabo)/JG 2, Oblt. Frank Liesendahl admiring his rudder scoreboard May-June 1942. Liesendahl was shot down and killed on 17 July 1942 and was awarded a posthumous RK. Compare with the image reproduced on page 98 of  'Messerschmitt Bf 109 - the latter years'..



Thanks to Pen and Sword for the review copy.



Monday, 13 May 2019

Priller Galland Emil JG 26 - ebay photo find #319





Heuschrecke der 1./JG 26 - grasshopper emblem of 1./JG 26 was replaced by the eagle during 1940

".....Chefsmachine (Priller) ..."