Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Luftwaffe fighter aces of JG 26 - Schöpfel, Mietusch, Priller, Dortenmann

10-victory ace Lt. Josef Bürschgens 7./JG 26. Note the 7 Staffel 'red heart' emblem. Some Czech authors apparently believe this to be black....Bürschgens was shot down and taken into captivity after crash-landing near Folkestone on 1 September 1940. Below his 'White 7' after a crash-landing at Caffiers, northern France after returning from a sortie over England.

Oblt. Gerhard Schöpfel seen strapping into the cockpit of his Emil for another sortie over England, August 1940. He was appointed Kommandeur III./JG 26 on 21 August 1940 when Galland became Kommdore. Note the Stab four-leaf clover emblem on the cowl. Click on the image for a larger view. Note that more of Lorant's BoB photo collection (along with some nice Mombeeck images) were published in a three part Battle of Britain special in the 'Batailles Aériennes' series published by Lela Presse.
A poor quality repro of this image was previously published in the Jet & Prop Foto Archiv No.11 - the Stab emblem cropped out ! And talking of poor quality Jet & Prop Foto Archiv images, here's a much better view (below) of Galland's Emil seen prior to the Kommandeur's award of the RK during August 1940, 22 victory Balken on the rudder.

Staffelkapitän 14./JG 26 Oblt Hans Dortenmann seen here in the cockpit of ‘Black 1’, Wnr 210003 a very early production Dora-9. He flew this aircraft –despite it being plagued with engine problems- through to 5 May 1945. Although the Staffel number was ‘1’, it’s colour changed through red, black and yellow as III./JG 54 converted to IV./JG 26. Dortenmann -as Staffelkapitän 3./JG 26- finally blew his aircraft up to prevent it falling into British hands. He had achieved some eighteen victories on the type and was one of the leading aces on the D-9. Note the fuselage strengthening strips visible in this shot and the primer fuel fill aperture (3 litres) under the cockpit sill.

No caption necessary ! Lovely clear shot of Priller at the controls of 'Black 13'. Thanks to Jean-Yves Lorant for the beautiful photo print!

Above; a very nice shot of Klaus Mietusch, Gruppenkommandeur III./JG 26 - click on the image to view at full size. His victory over a USAAF B-17 four-engine heavy bomber on 25 July 1943 was the first of 16 four-engine bombers that he was to claim. His 50th victory was a B-17 shot down over Cambrai on 20 October 1943. During the course of the 8 March 1944 raid on Berlin Mietusch claimed a B-17 Herausschuss for his 60th victory. Mietusch was KIA on 17 September 1944 over Arnhem (72 victories)