Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Karl Witte JG 11 Berlin raid 8 March 1944 - JG 11 in defence of the Reich

Wreck of  FW 190 A coded  ' <2' flown by 8./JG 11 pilot Fw Karl Witte and crash-landed after combat on 8 March 1944 near Pollhagen (Deutsche Bucht). This was the usual aircraft flown by the Gruppenadjutant. The 8 March raid on Berlin was flown by 623 Viermots of all three Bomb Divisions covered by 891 escort fighters including 174 of the 'new' P-51s and was the second in two days on the Reichshauptstadt. Principal target was the VKF ball-bearing plant at Erkner, a Berlin suburb to the south of the city. The bomber stream crossed the coast of the mainland north of Amsterdam and headed directly for Berlin by the shortest route and thus ran up against no fewer than 20  Tagjagdgruppen and 2 Zerstörergruppen. Various nightfighter and test Gruppen were also committed. According to Prien in his history of JG1 and JG 11 there was no attempt on the German side to build a Gefechtsverband and individual Gruppen were committed piecemeal thus making any attempt to reconstruct the day's action extremely difficult. The German fighters managed to break through to the bombers in earnest at around 13h00 between Dümmer and the Steinhuder Meer (Lake Steinhude is a lake in Lower Saxony, located 30 kilometres northwest of Hanover, one of the largest inland waterways in Germany) although little is known of the actions of the three Gruppen of JG 11 committed from Rotenburg, Wunstorf and Oldenburg respectively. In total JG 11 recorded nine Ab-und Heraußschüße including the 123rd and 124th for Oblt. Zwernemann of 1./JG 11 (1 B-17, 1 P-47). Following combat the survivors broke off to land at airfields in north-west Germany to refuel and replenish munitions for the return of the bombers. At around 15h20 north of Hannover I. and III./JG 11 ran into the returning bomber wings and knocked down seven B-24s and B-17s, four of them being claimed by Hptm. Hermichen of I./JG 11.

A small selection of some of the very interesting images from Michael Meyer's current Ebay sales here

Top image sold for 680 euros, not bad for a photo already published  - see Kagero Fw 190 vol II