Friday, 29 November 2013

Fw 190s of I./JG 51 Heinrich Krafft - Ebay Luftwaffe photo find

Selection of I./JG 51 Fw 190s via Manuel Rauh at engelbubu-fotos . Above, original caption reads "Wartungsdienst" (servicing..) on "Yellow 9 " and "Yellow 10", 3. Staffel Fw 190 A-3s ( note the small round bulge on the MG cowl cover). The images on offer feature Hptm Heinrich Krafft who was awarded the RK on 18 March 1942 for 78 Luftsiege. On 14 December 1942 Gruppenkommandeur Krafft  was brought down in his Fw 190 A-3 (WNr 539) by Russian anti-aircraft fire and killed on the ground by his captors. Below; Krafft (according to the inscription on the reverse of the pic but ??) at the controls of a Emil/Friedrich of the Stab./JG 51 prior to a sortie..

Late in August 1942 Hauptmann Heinrich Krafft’s I./JG 51 became the first fighter  unit to re-equip with the Fw 190 on the eastern front having converted onto the Fw 190 A-3 at Jesau near Königsberg (photo left). The unit’s arrival at Lyuban airdrome, south of Leningrad, caused great concern to the Soviets. Introduced into the theatre when the German armies in the East had been all but checked, the robust new fighter was superior in most respects to the Bf 109 especially with regard to weight of fire, engine reliability in cold weather conditions and its relative invulnerability to combat damage. The wide track undercarriage came into its own on difficult terrain and of course facilitated the carriage of ordnance on the under fuselage ETC 501 carrier pending the widespread introduction of a dedicated fighter-bomber or Schlacht (Battle) variant. The aircraft of  I./JG 51 were finished  with two tone dark green 70/71 upper surfaces sprayed in a ‘splinter’ type scheme over pale blue-grey 76 undersides. The combat environment in Russia would dictate the use the use of shades of green, brown and greyish-green. In addition, as units moved further from Germany, shortages of materials, local needs and individual initiative would come to directly affect combat colours. Incidentally the image of Oskar Romm’s A-3 ‘white 9’ in Meyer and Stipdonk’s JG 51: eine Bilddokumentation indicates that this scheme was applied prior to the move to Russia. The individual Staffeln continued to be identified by coloured numbers, white for the first, black for the second and yellow 27 for the third. The only unit to remain on Fw 190s throughout JG 51’s time in the East was the Stabsstaffel. 

Above; also reproduced on page 104 of Rodeike's "Jagdflugzeug 190" 'chevron bar' of the Stab I./ JG 51 is also finished in dark greens. Note the yellow fuselage band under the Balkenkreuz
Below;  according to the inscription on the reverse of this image this is " Hptm Kraft pictured just prior to his last flight ".....

Below; not in the current auction, but three nice views of a 1.Staffel and Stab I./ JG 51 machine.  Note the Geschwader emblem was carried on the cowling and the Gruppe badge, a stylised Chamois on a rock, under the cockpit, although unit badges were dispensed with relatively quickly in Russia.

More JG 51 Fw 190s on this blog

Below; selection of "Aeroplane" archive images via seller "gerbeltom" here  including Junkers Ju 352, G 38, He 100, Hs 129 etc