Saturday, 30 March 2013

latest Flugzeug Classic April 2013 issue - Focke Wulf 190 Sturmflieger Gerhard Kott JG 3, JG 4








Markus and his team at Geramond.de continue to produce a high quality magazine featuring plenty of decent content for the Luftwaffe enthusiast ; the April 2013 issue features the usual selection of interesting articles with on-line excerpts available to browse at the flugzeugclassic website.

April's issue features the Bf 109 in Czech service, a look at the radical late-war project that was the Me 329 and a detailed and richly illustrated feature on the 'second Stalingrad' that was the 'End of the Axis powers in North Africa'.  Also included is the first part of an interview by Peter Cronauer with Gerhard Kott (left), former Sturmpilot with JG 3 and JG 4.

Kott joined 10. Staffel of JG 3 at Salzwedel in early 1944 for his first combat posting and flew as Rottenflieger to Walther Hagenah. On 19 May 1944 he brought down a B-17 with a frontal attack over Berlin before being shot down in turn by a P-51. With his doomed fighter in its death dive, the hapless pilot struggled to extricate himself from the cockpit but with his feet caught fast he quickly lost consciousness in the rarefied atmosphere nine kilometers up. He learnt later that he had come free at a height of around 1,000 metres but had no recollection of pulling the rip cord. He rejoined his unit after a three-day stay in hospital at Brandenburg Briest. Kott's unit then converted to the Sturm role flying the heavily armed and armoured Fw 190 Sturmbock bomber killer. IV (Sturm)./JG 3 was briefly deployed to Normandy to combat the Allied landings. On 7 July flying out of Illesheim Kott's Sturmgruppe sortied on the 'infamous' Oschersleben 'Blitzluftschlacht' which saw IV./JG 3 claim at least 30 US 8th AF bombers shot down. Kott's machine had engine problems and he saw no action. Kott's interview with  Cronauer throws new light on his subsequent transfer from JG 3 to JG 4 - an accident while taxiing in after combating 8th US AF bombers over Memmingen, Bavaria on 18 July 1944 resulted in the death of a fellow pilot. And while Kott was exonerated of any blame at the subsequent court martial thanks to the witness statement of his friend Walther Hagenah his relationship with his 10./ JG 3 Staffelkapitaen  Hans Weik never recovered. He transferred into the newly established II. Gruppe of JG 4 under von Kornatzki, signed the Sturm affadavit, pledging to engage in close-quarter combat with the bombers and/or ram them should a 'conventional' attack fail. And while Kott never carried out a ramming attack, " I almost certainly would have done if the occasion had presented itself..." Flying out of Welzow Kott claimed a B-24 on 26 September 1944 over Ludwigsau, a B-17 on the following day and a further B-17 on both 6 and 7 October 1944. Von Kornatzki at this point recognised that Kott was at the end of his tether and took him off operations for two weeks before a brief posting as Jagdlehrer (fighter instructor) in Liegnitz retraining Luftwaffe bomber pilots to master fighters. Kott returned to IV./JG 3 in early 1945 by which time the Sturmgruppen had been re-deployed as ground attack straffers against the on-rushing Red Army in front of Berlin...

Post-war Kott never returned to an aircraft cockpit...