Sunday, 3 April 2011

Fw 190 Doras of IV./JG 3 and JV 44

Interesting discussion at today on the Doras of IV./JG 3. I reproduced the picture under discussion in a Fw 190 Dora feature that I prepared for Scale Aircraft Modelling in 2003. Author/researcher/archivist Jean-Yves Lorant was kind enough to send me a selection of his photos for my article including a nice copy of 'Blue 2' below. Even at high-res though this is still a pretty poor quality shot.

My caption in the SAM Fw 190 Dora feature

"...'Blue 1' and 'Blue 2' taken on charge by Gruppenkommandeur Oskar Romm for the Stabsschwarm of IV./JG 3 . This view illustrates the 'pieced together' appearance of many D-9 camouflage schemes resulting from dispersed late-war production - pre-painted engine assemblies, wings and tail units were mated to fuselages at a central assembly plant. Note the partially over-sprayed natural metal rear fuselage extension plug fitted on ‘Blue 1’. Both these aircraft have the early 'flat' or ‘Anton’ style canopy..."

Note the parachute placed on the horizontal stabiliser and the unpainted rearmost segment of the wing root on both aircraft. Concerning the fuselage colours Focke-Wulf maintained use of 76 on Doras right to the end. The mystery grey-green shade used extensively on some machines chiefly concerned aircraft constructed by Mimetall Erfurt (MME), in the 50xxxx serial sequences. 'Blue 2' (identified by some as a 600 series machine from Fieseler) has had a fairly liberal overspray of RLM75 around the extension plug (unlike 'Blue 1') and ahead of the Balkenkreuz a chevron and bar over-painted.

I had always thought that 'Blue 2' was for a long time 'Green 2' being an aircraft originally assigned to the Gruppenstab of IV./JG 3 (Prien 'IV./JG 3 - Chronik einer Jagdgruppe' ). I think Squadron with their 'Walkaround' title were the first to suggest it had 'blue' numbers which I found rather surprising at the time, but which seems to have become the accepted wisdom ever since. Note the caption for the same picture in Vol 3 of 'Luftwaffe Camouflage and Markings' by Smith & Gallaspey suggests another option referring to the ..

"....two nearest aircraft, red 1 and red 2 (probably flown by the Staffelkapitän and his wingman) which may have belonged to 15. /JG 3 which was led by Oblt. Oskar Romm between January and February 1945. Traces of a white rear fuselage band on red 1, possibly the defence of the Reich band allocated to JG 3.."

And not forgetting Japo with their psuedo-scientific approach - their ID is a Focke-Wulf Cottbus machine in the 21xxxx serial range, and the fuselage Kennzeichen are black. (Eric Larger RIP)

Note the aircraft in the top left of the picture was apparently first identified as either a D-11/13 circa 1986 by David E.Brown. He had made this determination from a much better copy of the photo than is usually published according to Dave Wadman in the same britmodeller thread. Some maintain that David E. Brown never received due credit for his early Dora research, especially with regard to JV 44 machines. Now I am the first to recognise that David E. Brown is probably the leading Luftwaffe colours researcher, still publishing and writing long after his early 'Experten Decals' project. While pursuing this debate, it would not be out of place to mention that the first published JV 44 photos and commentary appeared in Jean-Yves Lorant's 'Le Focke Wulf 190'. This 400-page book was published in collaboration with J-B Frappé by Docavia in 1981. At the time Lorant was still in his teens! This was some time before the Brown and Wadman Experten Decals project, but since he wrote it all up in French, Jean-Yves has never received due credit. Rather bizarrely perhaps though, at the time the lower surface colours of JV 44 were originally thought to be dark grey with white stripes. It wasn't until a 1989 interview with Crandall that JV 44 pilot Faber confirmed to the English-speaking world that the lower surfaces of his a/c were painted red with white stripes. Some Experten continued to argue that at least one JV 44 machine 'Black 1' (sic) had black lower surfaces, rather than red - as maintained in a 1995 article published in Jet & Prop (95/3) entitled 'Die bunten Langnasen der Papageien Staffel'  - 'The multi-coloured long-noses of the Parrot Staffel' - although it was hardly likely, as one JV 44 veteran allegedly pointed out, that Luftwaffe birds would have been painted with black and white stripes if operating over the Reich.