FW 190 "weiße 1" flown by Flugzeugführer Fw. Karl-Heinz Cordes (above middle) of 1./JG 54 in Rijelbitzi during May 1943. Note the figure '1' on the wing leading edges
Above; aces of 1./JG 54, from the left, Fw Anton Döbele, RK on 26 March 26.3.1944, final score 94 victories, KIA on 11 November 1943 after colliding with an Il-2 and crashing at the controls of his FW 190 'white 11'. His RK was awarded posthumously with a promotion to Leutnant. Middle, Uffz. Karl "Quax" Schnörrer, long-time wingman of Nowotny, RK on 22 March 1945 for 46 victories including 11 flying the Me 262, Lt. and Staffelkapitän of 9./JG 7. After downing two B-17s on 30 March 1945 was shot down by US fighters and colliding with the tail fin on baling out and sustained severe injuries. Right, Rudolf Rademacher, RK on 30 September 1944, achieved 97 victories. Flew the Me 262 with 11./JG 7 from January 1945 and achieved a total of 16 victories on Turbos.
Above left, 1./JG 54 pilot Fw Karl-Heinz "Heino" Cordes survived the war and flew his last sorties in Courland where he was awarded the Ehrenpokal for outstanding performance in combat. According to info posted in a TOCH thread Cordes had 62 victories which must make him one of the highest scoring pilots never to have received the RK. He was awarded the DKiG, the precursor to the RK. Uffz. Karl "Quax" Schnörrer again on his left. Below, K-H Cordes, Orscha 1943.
Me 110 C of I./ZG 76 photographed in Kielce, Poland in September 1939 being refueled -Wart Hans Grohmann on the wing.
Me 110 D fitted with "Dackelbauch" (Dachshund belly) of II./NJG 1 undergoing an engine change , photographed in Arnhem/Deelen most probably during autumn 1940. Capacity of the tank was 1050 litres. It is possible that this machine was previously on the strength of ZG 76 - 2./ZG 76 was re-designated 5./NJG 1 during September 1940 - and may even have flown combat sorties across the North Sea from Norway during the Battle of Britain with that unit.
Cover illustration - Fw. Martin Reichherzer of 7./JG 2 seated on a JG 2 Bf 109 “Friedrich”
While it may have taken more than 60 years for the first installment of a detailed history of the second fighter wing of the Luftwaffe to appear with the publication of volume I of 'Dans le ciel de France' ('In the skies of France') back in 2009, Erik Mombeeck is already preparing to launch volume 3 of his French-language chronicle of Jagdgeschwader 2 due this summer. Conducting operations principally over France and the Channel, JG 2 was destined to become one of the most celebrated of German fighter units, accorded extensive coverage by the propaganda services of the Reich. Awarded the honour title "Richthofen" as early as 1935, JG 2 spearheaded the campaign in the West and the assault against England in the Battle of Britain. The unit remained in France when the majority of German fighter units were dispatched eastwards for the invasion of Russia during the spring of 1941. Tasked with defending the airspace of Brittany, Normandy and much of Picardy along the French Channel coastline, JG 2 constituted a bulwark against the incursions of the RAF and the USAF through to the summer of 1944.
This new volume covers the year 1942 with JG 2 continuing to counter RAF raids over the continent, while for the first time the pilots of the leading Kanal Geschwader would come up against the first examples of what would ultimately become the nemesis of the Jagdwaffe - the long-range P-51 Mustang escort fighter and the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. This new volume also covers in depth JG 2's conversion on to the first variants of the famed Focke Wulf 190 fighter, the break-out of the German battleships (Donnerkeil) and the huge air battle over Dieppe on 19 August 1942 which saw the Geschwader claiming almost 60 Allied aircraft shot down in one day of bitter fighting. And later in the year elements of the Geschwader - including Jules Meimberg's special high altitude Bf 109 Gustav Staffel 11./ JG 2 - would be dispatched to Tunisia following the Anglo-American landings in north-west Africa. An exclusive text extract follows..
" A murderous summer"
Having completed their conversion training, 2./ JG 2 flew out of Le Bourget on 1 June with ten Fw 190s and headed back to Triqueville. However on their return to Normandy an unpleasant surprise awaited them - their quarters had been taken over by their 6. Staffel comrades under Oblt. Erich Rudorffer. In the event the cohabitation of the two Staffeln on the airfield would be short-lived. Elsewhere Bruno Stolle's 8.Staffel, who had also spent the last two weeks of May at Le Bourget alongside 2. Staffel, now departed St. Brieuc for Morlaix and the coasts of Brittany. The intensity of the fighting along the Channel and the transfer of a number of JG 2 veterans to Geschwader engaged in fighting on the Eastern Front saw the Richthofen receive a number of reinforcements during the month of June. One of the most notable departures to the East was Fw. Otto Pohl, the 5./JG 2 pilot who had registered the Geschwader's 1,000th combat success on 17 April 1942 (his victim on that day an early production RAF Lancaster sent out as part of the low-level raiding force on the MAN diesel engine works at Augsburg, deep in Bavaria). Another transfer was Wolfgang Wehrhagen of 4./JG 2. Both pilots went to JG 77 while a third, Kurt Rose, was posted to JG 51 - of these three pilots only Otto Pohl survived the war. Several JG 77 pilots were posted back to the Kanal Front with JG 2 - among them Lt. Bruno Siekmann who had achieved ten victories in a year of fighting in the East with II./ JG 77 and Lt. Hermann Staege, an aerobatics champion of the pre-war Kunstflugstaffel, incorporated into I./LG 2 during 1939-40, a Gruppe that had been re-designated I./ JG 77. He had been credited with sixteen victories at the time of his transfer to the West. As most of these Eastern Front veterans were Bf 109 pilots they too underwent the Fw 190 conversion course before joining JG 2.
On 21 July 1942 Hptm. Helmut-Felix Bolz, Kommandeur of II./JG 2 shot down an unknown aircraft type that he initially identified as a 'Tomahawk'. A short while later he visited the crash site at Caudebec-en-Caux between Rouen and Le Havre and was able to inspect at first hand what he later learnt was a 'Mustang' (more usually 'P-51' in American parlance). The Mustang's pilot F/Lt Veal Rowland of No. 239 Squadron had been taken captive.
Vol III of 'Dans le Ciel de France - 1942' (French-language text only) will be available later this summer. This title, along with Luftwaffe Gallery 3, can be pre-ordered at Erik Mombeeck's site http://www.luftwaffe.be
Gosh its hot here - as hot as the Mediterranean, 30 C and counting! The only 'consolation' is you know that it won't last ! Here's some of my current beach reading..
Half price deals still available at amazon.co.uk on this new edition of an old classic - advertised as second-hand, but this is a brand-new copy, although has some slight creasing of the jacket. A bargain, even if the photo content is looking rather 'old hat' in places and the authors can't quite decide how they want to write Luftwaffe designations. Lots of personal accounts, but these are mostly drawn from published memoirs. 560 pages, it would be churlish to pass it over. From the publishers blurb;
"It is now more than 40 years since "Fighters over the Desert" was published, and nearly as long since this was followed by "Fighters over Tunisia". Both volumes have long been out of print and collectors' items, but, despite much prompting, Christopher Shores has resolutely refused to permit their reprinting until he amassed so much more information. He has also long nursed a desire to expand the coverage to encompass the operations of the other types of aircraft involved in this interesting and important theatre of war - the bombers, reconnaissance aircraft and maritime units. Further, it is his intention to extend the period covered to include the later operations over Sicily, Italy, the Aegean area, the Balkans and Southern Europe. This then represents the first volume of a seminal series dealing with all these aspects and areas, which will also tie in with the earlier 'Grub Street' volumes which he and his collaborators have produced. Thus a full coverage of all aspects of aerial operations throughout the whole of the Mediterranean area will be the ultimate result..."
Part three of Jean-Louis Roba's history of JG 53 covering the Mediterranean during the period 1941-42 - Sicily, Malta, Tunisia, Gruppe by Gruppe. Recommended at 12 euros for 96 A-4 softback pages and 180 + photos and Thierry Dekker's superb profile artwork. Don't let the French text put you off. Very colourful, beautifully laid out, maps, log-book extracts, rare photos. It seems amazing that just across the Channel you can pick up something up as good as this on a news stand. For the rest of us there's Sylvie's excellent mail order service at http://www.avions-bateaux.com/ give it a try.
" Meimberg returned his 31st victory somewhat fortuitously as he himself recounted;
" ..it was the last day of January 1943 and I was up over Tunis on my own on a flight test. Our Leitoffizier radioed that a high flying recce machine was reported heading over the city. I soon caught sight of him - a small glinting point in the sky that I was able to close on undetected. It was a Lightning. This was my first encounter with this twin-engine twin boom fighter. Seeger had already warned me that they were not to be underestimated. And so it was ; when I opened up on him at an altitude of 7,500 metres the American caught me by surprise, hauling into such a tight turn to come around and face me that I could barely believe it. He had thrown down the gauntlet and I was amazed at his roll rate and maneuverability. But I managed to unleash the decisive blows, timed at 13:00 and, although wounded, my opponent baled out and was taken captive.." However the next day, 01 February 1943, luck abandoned 'Jule' Meimberg - scrambled with 11./JG 2 (subordinated to the Stab II./JG 53) at around midday, Meimberg's high altitude interceptors were directed onto a formation of a dozen unescorted B-17s approaching Tunis. This was another opportunity for Meimberg to trial his Frontalangriff head-on attack tactic. The B-17 gunners' concentrated defensive fire quickly turned the cockpit of his Bf 109 into a Flammenmeer - a sea of flames - and by the time he had managed to extricate himself from his stricken machine he had been seriously roasted. A downed B-17 was credited to Meimberg although no four-engine bomber was lost over Tunis that day. Just days later Meimberg was repatriated to Germany to convalesce - when he returned to 6./ JG 53 in August 1943, 11./JG 2 was no more and the Germans had been expelled from North Africa...."
Currently on offer at Heiko Fuchs ebay sales. Click on these images to see a larger view. And don't forget to click on the link and put on a bid, still nine days left. I post these pictures, not only to grab them 'for posterity' (to coin a phrase) but as a thank you to the vendors kind enough to let me post them here in the first place. I have no problem with helping them to achieve a decent price..
According to the caption these are Ju 88s of KG 77 (3Z) at Charkow, Osnowa during June 1942 along with a selection of ordnance. A member of the ground crew adds a no doubt pithy comment to the tail fin of a 1000 kg bomb. Note the seahorse emblem on the rudder in the third photo, although 9K (KG 51) is obviously not a KG 77 machine...
Below, a nice atmospheric selection of airfield scenes taken at Tazinskaja in the run-up to the encirclement of VI. Armee in Stalingrad, winter 1942. Again according to the caption these are Ju 88s from KG 77. The last two images to conclude this post are very nice clear photos of a Heinkel He 111 Z seen at Bagerowo, Kertsch