Monday, 29 July 2013

Oblt. Franz Barten & Uffz. Heinz Girnth of III./ JG 53, July 1944 Lippspringe

Currently on offer via Michael Meyer's Ebay sales is this better quality repro of Uffz. Heinz Girnth's "schwarze 11" of III./ JG 53 (8.Staffel) photographed at Bad Lippspringe during July 1944 where the Gruppe was based on Reich's defence duties and shown on this blog just a few days ago.

Girnth's Bf 109 G-6 "Black 11" is profiled by Thierry Dekker in part IV of Jean-Louis Roba's history of JG 53 (Lela Presse, July 2013). Girnth survived the war and filed some 11 victory claims. Informal snapshot of the same pilot, below..

 Above, a different view of a well-known photo depicting Uffz. Heinz Girnth in front of another Erla-Haube fitted G-6 at Bad Lippspringe, July 1944.

Below; pilots of 9./JG 53 photographed in April 1944 on the airfield at Tuscania. From left, the Staffelhund "Bello",  Staffelkapitän  Oblt Franz Barten, Uffz. Robert Harder, Uffz. Paul Mang and Uffz. Heinz Girnth.

Barten is another of those virtually unknown 50+ Jagdwaffe aces. He flew with 2./JG 77 at the outbreak of WWII and took part in the Westfeldzug and the Battle of Britain and returned three victories before I./JG 77 was redesignated IV./JG 51 in October 1940. By the end of 1941 flying in the East he had achieved some 25 victories. He was wounded in action during November 1942 with his score at 42 and did not return to combat flying until June 1943 when he was posted to 7./JG 53. He became Staffelkapitän of 9./JG 53 in July 1943 with the death of previous incumbent Oblt. Hans Roehrig on 13 July 1943. Having returned some 55 victories (Meyer gives him 52 ) in 895 combat sorties, Franz Barten was shot down and killed by P-47 Thunderbolts on 4 August 1944, apparently 'murdered' while hanging under his parachute, after being strafed by his victors. His chute came down in the vicinity of Reinsehlen. Two of his 55 'kills' were B-24s over Italy during 1943. He was awarded a posthumous RK on 24 October 1944 and promoted to Hptm..