Sunday, 28 August 2011

Heinkel He 111s of KG 53



He 111 of 6./KG 53 taxies out for takeoff in Ödheim during the spring of 1940. Lt. Heinz Eicke at the controls, later Kapitän of 9 and 12./KG 53



He 111 belonging to 6./KG 53 airborne from Ödheim in early 1940. Flugzeugführer (pilot) Rascher at the controls




Above; He 111 A1+BP of 6./KG 53 seen here in an elaborate 'Sandsackbox' hide during August 1940 in Vendeville (south of Lille, Nord-Pas-de-Calais) at the height of the Battle of Britain. Below; "A1+BP" again, a photo taken on 30 August 1940 in Vendeville. Beobachter (observer) Lt. Walter Spellig points to a hit in the forward fuselage glazing.


Below; He 111 of 6./KG 53 based in Vendeville seen returning from a sortie on 30 August 1940





Stab./KG 53 Geschwaderkommodore Oberstlt. Fritz Pockrandt 1944/45 in Bad Zwischenahn

More KG 53 He 111s from Michael Meyer's Ebay sales here

Saturday, 27 August 2011

KG 51 Ju 88 photo album on Ebay

According to the seller this album belonged to a member of II./KG 51 and mostly features images taken in Russia.  Click on the image for a larger view.











http://www.ebay.de/itm/TOP-PHOTO-ALBUM-KAMPFGESCHWADER-51-EDELWEIS-JU-88-A-/360387625390?pt=Militaria&hash=item53e8c6c1ae

Friday, 26 August 2011

Aerojournal 22 - Barbarossa, Nachtjagd


A few corrections to the captions in the 'Nachtjagd' article published by CJE (Chris Ehrengardt) in his latest Aérojournal issue 22 (June-July 2011)

Firstly, top page 14, a Focke-Wulf 190 presuming to be the : « Fw 190 A-8 'white 9' flown by Feldwebel Günther Migge of 1.NJGr. 10 …under the boars head is the inscription Kognak Pumpe..».


It's not. CJE has actually published a heavy pixelated image of  Fw 190 A-6 « Ederle » (little boar), an aircraft which also served with NJGr. 10, but which is clearly not the Fw 190 A-8 assigned to Günther Migge. Migge's Neptun radar equipped A-8 'white 9' is reproduced in good quality (although low res) here..click on the image for a fast loading full screen view...

Note the clear view of  "white 14" in the background  - there is a discussion in an oldish thread on-going at scalemodels.ru as to whether this is "white 11" or not !
http://scalemodels.ru/modules/forum/viewtopic_t_17767_start_20.html



Lower picture on page 19 of his article, CJE publishes a poor quality pic of Fw 190 A-6 WNr. 550453 flown by Hauptmann Friedrich-Karl « Nasen » Müller which he captions as being 'probably'  « blue 3», since Müller flew in the Geschwaderstab of JG 300. From the Lorant/Goyat history of JG 300 we know for a certainty - as per Müller's flight log - that the aircraft of the Geschwaderstab of JG 300 had green Kennziffer or numbers in 1943. These aircraft were moreover based at Bonn-Hangelar and not at Rheine as CJE claims in his caption. Müller's 190 is seen here in October 1943 displaying sixteen night victory markings on the rudder. Note that the pilot's head armour has been removed as a weight-saving measure.



The picture of the Fw 190 on page 9 of CJE's article has been published many times previously  - it is not an aircraft belonging to JG 300 or NJGr. 10. It is certainly not a machine belonging to 2./JG 300, which was a Bf 109 G equipped Staffel. Nor was Deelen home to any units of JG 300, even if the occasional Wild boar of JG 300 might have put down here prior to flying back to their home base.

The image on page 10 is the well-known photo of a Bf 109 G of I./JG 302 in front of the terminal at Malmi - once again not a photo of a I./JG 300 Gustav, since this Staffel never operated in Finland. Nor did the 'pathfinders'of Horst Bengsch as mentioned on page 13 provide navigational assistance for JG 300.



Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Casemate Publishing - autumn/Fall catalogue 2011, Mrazek Airborne Combat Stackpole



A reminder that the latest Casemate catalogue can be downloaded as a pdf file from the Casemate web site. Casemate are distributors for a range of publishers producing exciting works that will be of interest to readers of this blog; Heimdal, Kagero, Stackpole, Histoire et Collections, Bernard and Graefe to cite just a few. See Casemate's publisher list here.




Latest from Stackpole is James Mrazek's "Airborne combat " (below) a history of fighting gliders in WWII. Mrazek has previously written about the German 'prise de main' of the key Belgian fort at Eben Emael during May 1940 and in this inexpensive 500-page softback, Mrazek presents details of all WWII combat gliders through accounts of all the significant operations of the war including Crete, Sicily, Normandy, Arnhem and 'Varsity',  the crossing of the Rhine. Eben Emael proved that the glider could be used with devasting tactical surprise. Once again though this was a field in which the Germans were some considerable way ahead of the Americans. By 1942 German glider effort had reached a pinnacle of technical achievement that even the US with its huge technical resources could not attain. The US neither produced a glider anywhere as large as the Me 321 Gigant nor attained the excellence in innovation and design reached by the Germans. Mrazek's accounts of elite glider troops in action are nicely illustrated with rare images and first-hand accounts and include chapters on Soviet and Japanese gliders.





Sunday, 21 August 2011

Eastern Front night-fighters - Wittgenstein, Fischer, Bertram (1)



Current reading is Claire Rose Knott's nicely done bio of Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn Wittgenstein ('Princes of Darkness'). At the same time I've come across Gebhard Aders 1977 article for Modell Fan magazine devoted to Wittgenstein, an interesting source that author Knott appears not to have seen. Wittgenstein scored many of his victories in the East and was particularly active during the summer 1943 Kursk offensive. 

The first Luftwaffe night fighters on the Eastern Front were the so-called Nachtjagdschwärme Ost. Their organisation was piece-meal - venerable Heinkel He 111s drawn from the Eastern Front Kampfgeschwader with neither search radar -as was usually the case in the west- nor controlled by any kind of ground control as later existed in the shape of the Nachtjagdzüge - the night fighter trains. There were no fleets of four-engine bombers to contend with in the air either - operations over the front in the early stages of the war in the East consisted of hunting and engaging the small Russian aircraft, mostly U2 and R5 biplanes, that operated by night supplying mines and shells to partisan groups located behind the front lines. The He 111 were of course large and ponderous aircraft which were hardly suited to this form of aerial interdiction but there were no other available aircraft. The He 111 as flown by aces such as Gunther Bertram enjoyed some successes on nights when the moon was full. 

" My first victim had only just got airborne. Closing from astern, I swept alongside and past it, presenting my Bordfunker with the opportunity to unleash a long salvo from his MG. Given that the Russians only managed speeds of between 150-180 kph, while I had to maintain the speed of our cumbersome He 111 at 230 kph at least, achieving a downing was always very much down to good fortune.."

Following re-equipment with the Ju 88 the Nachtjagd Ost was put on a more organised footing. NJG 100 was formed at Brjansk from IV./NJG 5 which had shifted to the Russian Front in early 1943. Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn Wittgenstein was appointed Kommandeur of I./NJG 100 during the summer of 1943. By this stage of the war in the East the Soviets were creating serious difficulties for the Germans in the air. At night the Red Air force specialised in harassment sorties with elderly biplanes - the Polykarpov PO-2, known to the Germans as the 'Nähmaschine' (sewing machine) or 'UvD' (Unteroffizier von Dienst, or Duty NCO), did little damage in night raids, but was an immense nuisance. Its pilots would switch off their engines and glide in from altitude during their bombing run; their small bombs thus often fell without warning. More often than not though their engines were fitted with silencers which made their engine sounds virtually inaudible from the ground at heights above 800 feet.



During the first half of 1943 Wittgenstein flew two Ju 88 C-6s with IV./NJG 5. These aircraft are particularly interesting for the modeller. Ju 88 C-6 C9+AE was equipped with FuG 212 radar, the lower fuselage Bodenwanne gondola and Schräge Muzik mounted in line astern and is generally reckoned to be one of the first Ju 88s so-equipped. C9+DE lacked all these features and was apparently flown on clear bright nights as an Expreßjäger or 'fast-hunter'. Wittgenstein scored the majority of his victories over Kursk in this machine. The image below is taken from Aders article and depicts AE with yellow fuselage Eastern theatre band, black lower surfaces and mottled dark grey finish (probably 74/75)



Simon Schatz's superlative artwork from Claire's book can be seen at Simon's blog
http://luftwaffe-aviation-art.blogspot.com/search/label/Junkers%20Ju%2088


I./ NJG 100 Staffelkapitän and later Kommandeur August Fischer published his memoir - entitled " Bis der Wind umsprang " in 1961 (Engelbert Verlag of Balve). This is not a particularly rare book as Luftwaffe memoirs go - but remains almost entirely unexploited eg Claire Rose Knott in her 'Princes of Darkness'. Fischer flew with Wittgenstein in NJG 100 and mentions him throughout the text. A translated extract appears here..

http://falkeeins.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/eastern-front-ju-88-night-fighters-of.html

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Heinkel He 111 walkaround - bomb bay, cockpit, undercarriage views


Having looked at the new Revell He 111 P 1:32 kit here these internal views might come in handy. As usual click on the image to see a larger view








Thursday, 11 August 2011

Fw 190 & Bf 109 Emil - Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection Luftwaffe Day August 2011






http://www.flickr.com/photos/spookythecat/6022687921/in/photostream/





"...Saturday, August 6, 2011 was a historic day in aviation history as the worlds only flying original Focke-Wulf 190 flew in formation with one of only two airworthy Messerschmitt Bf-109 E-3s. The Focke-Wulf 190A-5 features its original BMW motor and was restored to the exact condition it was in during its service in World War Two. This was the first time these two aircraft were in the sky together since WWII. Both of these aircraft belong to Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection in Everett, Washington, home of the flying warbirds.." 

A single click to view these great videos here

The full story of Fw 190 A-5 WNr. 1227 'white A' is here

http://falkeeins.blogspot.com/2011/02/flying-heritage-collection-fw-190-a5.html














Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Fw 190 profile artwork Paint Simmers Workshop

A sample of some of the excellent work produced by  'Jesters Ink' from the Paint Simmers Workshop





Note the colour photo of the Fw 190 horizontal stabiliser retrieved from a JG 1 wreck in France reproduced at the link above is taken from this blog..more here




Fw 190 A-4 'brown 8' of 3./JG 54 on the Russian Front in the field applied two-tone green upper surface 'splinter' scheme favoured by this unit during the spring/summer 1943. From Fw 190 Aircraft in Detail SAM 24/09 Nov 2002 article by Neil Page

Walter Loos successful Ta 152 pilot JG 301 and Sturmjäger JG 300 - the case of the 'smoking' log book. Fw 190 Defence of the Reich



It is very difficult to do an accurate write up on Walter Loos' war time career- the basic stuff you can get off Wikipedia, although even that short entry contains a certain amount of dubious information. After flying training he was sent to III./Jagdgeschwader 3 in January 1944. He achieved his first victory in the huge aerial battle over Berlin on 6 March 1944, when he claimed a USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress shot down. Later he was transferred to IV. (Sturm)/JG 3 and was apparently posted to Jagdgeschwader 300 in June 1944 and flew as Walther Dahl's wingman in the Geschwaderstab from July 1944 to early December 1944. On 29 September was awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold, an award that was usually the precursor to the RK. In early December 1944 Loos was posted to undertake instructing duties with Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe Ost. Loos then returned to combat duty in early 1945 with JG 301.With this unit he flew the FW Ta 152 for the first time at Soltau-Hannover. And according to photocopies of his Flugbuch in circulation, Loos  claimed four victories over Russian Yaks around Berlin in the last days of the war flying the Ta 152. On 20 April 1945 Walter Loos was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 36 victories. Walter Loos flew 66 combat missions and is credited with 38 confirmed victories and 8 unconfirmed. 30 aircraft were claimed on the Western Front, including 22 four-engined bombers. He himself was shot down nine times.
One of the leading authorities on Loos' units, JG 300 and JG 301, is French historian J-Y Lorant who interviewed many former pilots and personnel of both Geschwader during the 70's and 80's. Re-examining the documentary sources that he has collected over the decades for JG 301 a few years ago he concluded that there was some discrepancies concerning 'claims' and 'victories' obtained at the controls of the revolutionary late war Ta 152. This is perhaps not at all surprising given the chaos and confusion at war's end. For the record Reschke in his 'history' of JG 301 states that on 24 April 1945 engagements with Yak 9's during the final throes of the Battle of Berlin resulted in four Yak 9's being shot down. In poor visibility, two were claimed by himself and two by Obfw. Walter Loos (in "Green 4"). The Stabsschwarm lost Hptm. Hermann Stahl and his Ta152 that day. However the point of this is that when interviewed in the late 1970's Walter Loos stated that he had no victories - not a single enemy fighter claim - while flying the Ta 152. In the context of the combats that supposedly took place on 24 April 1945 this is a startling piece of info - at least for readers of Reschke's account. However Loo's claim is apparently supported by reference to the personal diary of Fhr. Ludwig Bracht written during March-April 1945 and the letters of Uffz. Rudi Driebe. Incidentally other thus-far-unpublished JG 301 documentary sources indicate that Stahl was shot down and killed on 11 April 1945. Ofw. Josef Keil was flying as his wingman that day. And despite Jeff Ethell's account in his Monogram Close Up - Archie Hagedorn never flew the Ta 152 in combat. The 'problem' with Loos may lie with versions of his Flugbuch that are in circulation - a version of the final page of his logbook that has circulated only shows flights 860 to 880 and also shows amendments in the form of sections pasted over each other. However there does apparently exist an 'untainted' copy although I have not personally seen it. As to his Ta 152 claims, they can only be described as 'unsubstantiated'.

Another 'problem' with Loos's Flugbuch is that Loos does not appear to have flown with JG 300 after 4 December 1944. This is problematic because Loos figures prominently as a witness in many of Kommodore Dahl's claims from late 1944 to early 45, when Dahl was supposedly still flying with Stab/JG 300. Evidence perhaps that many of Dahl's claims during this period were bogus, or he flew alone and had no witnesses! Considering the questionable nature of some of Dahl's "victories", such as on 5 December 1944, it would seem that the former was more likely. On 5 December for example, Dahl listed Loos as a witness, but Loos' last flight with JG 300 was the day prior, 4 December, before he was posted out as a flight instructor. His logbook shows no flights on 5 December 1944 and indeed, none between 4 December and 16 December 1944.

Of course most Flugbücher contain errors and omissions. It is not my intention to 'slander' Loos. Not only was he there, he has earned his place in aviation history as a rare front-line pilot to fly combat sorties at the controls of the Ta 152. As a small tribute - despite the factual errors therein - I offer a previously untranslated wartime newspaper report which was reproduced in a 1988 issue of Jägerblatt;

" War reporter Walter Henkels spent 11 April 1944 with the Sturmgruppe Udet  - the date of Walter Loos 21st birthday and recorded his impressions under the title 'Pauke-Pauke '.......... 

"..Feldwebel Walter loos is 21 years old today. Reason enough to open up a bottle of Oppenheimer Goldberg. Because in Oppenheim am Rhein, his home town, they know about fine vintages and you are only 21 once! But he won't be telling his comrades about this important day - because the Staffelkapitän has ordered that no one flies on their birthday and the weather forecast already seems to suggest that there will be a sortie today. The sky is the only invitation on offer today ...barely an hour has past before news of an incoming raid is announced. The Gruppen get airborne, form up and then climb to meet the enemy as ordered. Below them through the morning haze lies their land, where their parents, wives and children live ..in among the bombed out towns and cities. Have Feldwebel Loos parents not been bombed-out in Oppenheim? A voice through the headset,  " Four-engine bomber formation to our left.." Feldwebel Loos has seen them too, glinting in the sunlight, bomber Pulks drawn up in tight formation. Nobody will mention that their hearts are now beating a little faster or talk of that feeling in the pit of their stomachs or that their knees have started to tremble. But Feldwebel Loos can not forget that today is his birthday - today will be his lucky day. Suddenly, but as expected, the Kommodore's voice comes over the radio " Pauke, Pauke " The order for the Sturm attack .. the combat lasts just seconds, fractions of a second and just one word "him or me". The Fortress IIs loom up in the windshield like giants. It may be  - since he no longer recalls exactly - that he shouted the hunter's cry 'Horrido' into the throat mike. Nor does he know how he managed to fight off the "Mustang" with which he was caught up in a wild dogfight at 8,000 metres altitude. Soaked in sweat, limbs still trembling, he climbs down from his trusty Fw 190. " My birthday was a day of good fortune" he smiled inwardly as he was congratulated by his comrades and his Staffelkapitän. And the bottle of Oppenheimer that he had brought back from home for this very purpose - well, that was opened after all..." 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Luftwaffe modelling - 1/48th DML Ju88 G-1 nightfighter

First posted on britmodeller.com and completed just in time for the US IPMS Nationals in Nebraska is Jim Root's superb 1/48th DML Ju 88 G-1 nightfighter finished in the markings of the 7./NJG 2 Ju 88 G-1 that landed at Woodbridge, Suffolk, England on 13 July 1944. More on this at the following link

http://falkeeins.blogspot.com/2011/02/karcher-de-icing-equipment-fitted-in.html


Jim's model was built with the addition of Eduard seat belts, Master Model Radar Antenna, Royale Resin Wheels and Master Model Machine Gun Barrels.  My thanks to Jim for kindly allowing me to post his pictures here.
 
Elsewhere a recently restored Junkers Ju 88 G-1 night fighter fuselage WNr 714628 has been put on display in Berlin’s Deutsches Technik  museum.
 
http://falkeeins.blogspot.com/2011/02/junkers-ju-88-g-1-nachtjager-on-display.html