Monday, 30 June 2014

Rare image of Lichtenstein radar Hirschgeweih (antlers) on a Ju 86, Fw 190s of JG 301, JG 1 cross-hatch scheme - daily Luftwaffe Ebay find # 88

Rare image of Lichtenstein radar Hirschgeweih (antlers) on a Ju 86. The partially visible emblem and number on the nose indicates that this Junkers may have been on the strength of Luftnachrichtenschule 6 (LNS 6)..thanks to Tomáš Pruša for the identification

More from Mathias Beth's current Ebay sales;

maandertarnung squiggle camo on Fw 189 and SG Mickey Maus

more Fw 190s currently on;

rare cross-hatch camo scheme on JG  1 Fw 190, Fw Decker in "Gelbe 11", unidentified pilot climbing down from a machine marked with a Kommodore's double chevron, II./JG 301 A-8s in front of hangar at Ludwigslust..note the pale-coloured cowls.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Luftwaffe Seaplanes Vol 3 - Roba, Neulen, Ledet - Seenotstaffeln, Breguet 521 Bizerte, He 115

Volume 3 of the Lela Presse 'Luftwaffe Seaplanes' series has arrived!  410 A-4 glossy pages, around 800 photos and 50 Thierry Dekker artworks! That's well over 1,300 pages for the three volumes! This volume deals chiefly with the Dornier Do 24 (around 200 pages) and Beute types such as the Breguet Bizerte..

French text, but these volumes represent the most in-depth treatment of the subject in any language. And each volume does contain extended photo captions in English and translated text extracts by this blog author. I feel very proud to have been involved with these books, thanks to the team at LeLa Presse and especially to Jean-Louis Roba, who, when I suggested that Hannibal Gude, Staffelkapitän 8. Seenot, could perhaps be profiled in the book, dug out the following rare image for inclusion....

Hptm Hannibal Gude was born in Breslau in 1913 and in 1932 volunteered for the German Navy. When the Nazis came to power he trained as a seaplane pilot. At the start of the war he served in north Germany before taking up a desk position at the German Air Ministry (RLM) for one year. Promoted to the rank of Hptm in June 1942 he was posted to Romania to take up a front command as Kapitän of 8. Seenot operating over the Black Sea;

 “ I was surprised at the lack of personnel in this unit which seemed to function in a very adhoc fashion and only had nine aircraft on strength - we were so lacking in airmen that I often flew most sorties, although only at the controls of the He 59 – having spent a year at the RLM I had received no training on the much more modern Do 24 and thus flew on this type only as observer.

On 01 January 1943 Gude was promoted to Maj. In February 1943 he was appointed Staka 2. Seetransportstaffel Sewastopol (to 03.43).The two Seetransportstaffeln were adhoc transport units set up during February 1943 to fly resupply sorties to the encircled 17. Armee in the Kuban. The aircraft often returned to Sevastopol fully loaded with wounded soldiers. Encounters with Soviet fighters or MBR seaplanes were fortunately rare and no losses in combat were recorded.

Elsewhere, this selection of seaplanes and French types currently on offer on from Manuel Rauh (engelbubu photos) here

Above; good view of the rather ungainly "nose" of a Breguet 521 Bizerte - a feature which proved very useful for observation tasks while the aircraft was in flight. Note the defensive position to the right of the cockpit. The machine is no longer wearing its French livery but has yet to receive Luftwaffe markings. a task that was hurriedly accomplished as the Germans had an urgent requirement for air-sea rescue seaplanes along the French Atlantic and Channel coastlines. Bizerte seaplanes were sold to the Germans by the Vichy government during the summer of 1940.

The first loss of a Bizerte was SG+FM (N° 11), launched on 16 November 1940 to look for the crew of a KG 100 He 111 and intercepted and shot down by a N° 236 (Coastal Command) Squadron Blenheim.
As of April 1944 the Luftwaffe Seenot Staffeln had just five Bizertes on strength, two with 3. Seenot at Berre (N° 20 and ??) and three with 1. Seenotstaffel (N° 3, 4 and 36) at Biscarosse. With the Allied landings in Provence during August 1944, both Staffeln were ordered back to Germany. At least one of these machines (N° 4) remained in France to be incorporated back into the French naval air arm with 30S post-war.

Unfortunately I have no info on the locations in the images below. Bizerte flying boats were based in Hourtin (Atlantic coast, north of Bordeaux) and Brest among others. It was in Hourtin that Leutnante Klingspor and Unterhorst first arrived on 30 July 1940 with two crews to take possession of Bizertes N° 11 and 34 abandoned on 18 June. Both machines were repainted in German colours and flew into Lanvéoc-Poulmic (Brest, southern Brittany) on 7 August 1940

 Below; Potez M. 36 (?) touring plane in Luftwaffe markings...

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

'wilde Sau und Moskito-Jagd' - the Luftwaffe's single-engine night fighters

Part 2 of my 'wilde Sau und Moskito-Jagd' Luftwaffe single-engine night fighters feature appears in the July issue of "Model Aircraft" magazine here in the UK - photographs and pilot interviews by Jean-Yves Lorant, artwork and caption commentary by Anders Hjortsberg. Features the newly translated accounts of Fritz Gniffke and Walter Schermutzki of  JG 302 and I./ NJG 11. You will of course recognise Gabler's III./ JG 300 Bf 109 G-6 'Red 8' from my header photo - here it is reproduced LARGE across two pages!..not to be missed

Available from SAM Publications here

Friday, 20 June 2014

Walter Dahl - his aircraft and his (inflated) claims - Defence of the Reich JG 300

While many writers on the Luftwaffe are perfectly happy to acknowledge that there was 'over-claiming' in air combat on both sides, I find it nonetheless irksome that these same writers continue to state both on the net and elsewhere that Walter Dahl achieved his (almost legendary) tally of 128 victories and that, 'with a total of 36 four-engine bombers to his credit, he was the second-leading Luftwaffe bomber Experte'. The Kracker 'archive' even cites Dahl as the leading Luftwaffe Mustang Experte. As far as I am concerned - and based on a close reading of Jean-Yves Lorant's in-depth history of JG 300 - his record simply doesn't bear any sort of detailed examination.  Time to put an end definitively to this old myth that is simply repeated over and over....

Walther Dahl joined the Luftwaffe in 1937, transferring from the Army. Upon completion of flight training, he became an instructor pilot in 1939 and was not posted to an operational unit until May 1941 when he transferred to the Geschwaderstab of JG 3, in time to participate in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. He transferred to II/JG 3 in July and by October had 17 victories. In December 1941, he was transferred to 4./JG 3 and went with that unit to Sicily, where he flew sorties in the air war over Malta, claiming two victories. In April 1942 he was transferred to the staff of General Adolf Galland, General der Jagdflieger, where he remained until being posted as Geschwader Adjutant with JG 3 on the Eastern Front in August; he shot down four Il-2 Sturmoviks on October 26, 1942, bringing his score to 37.

In July 1943 Dahl became Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 3, now based at Münster for defense against American daylight bombers. Dahl led III./JG 3 against the Schweinfurt/Regensburg raid on August 17, but was intercepted by Spitfires from 222 Squadron; five III./JG 3 Bf-109s were shot down and Dahl himself had to make a belly landing when his Bf 109 G-6 suffered engine failure. He shot down two four-engined bombers on September 6, 1943 and two more four-engine bombers and a P-38 on 23 February 1944.

I illustrated Dahl's Kanonenboot for a magazine article back in 2001. My profile below of this III./JG 3 machine is based on a series of photos presented in Prien and Stemmer's Messerschmitt 109 im Einsatz bei der III./Jagdgeschwader 3  The double chevron or Doppelwinkel is outlined in white although the III Gruppe bar is not. Later pictures in Prien's work show a small black 1 behind the chevrons and the Gruppe bar on a white fuselage band. The aircraft has a Verbandführer or formation leader's white rudder. Note the distinctive fuselage 'striped' mottle. Note the area of black from the exhaust along the wing root. Note also the aerial under the fuselage for the FuG 16Y direction finding equipment fitted to a handful of aircraft in each Gruppe (formation leaders) which allowed ground controllers to track and direct units in the air.

Above and below - from the chevron Winkel and Abschussbalken on the rudder the Bf 109 G-5/6  above also appears to be connected to Dahl  - this is Bf-109 G-5, W.Nr.27 112 of the Stab III./JG 3 apparently photographed during December 1943, probably at Bad Wörishofen. Note the very light finish, much lighter than the drop tank. The spinner is white with a black spiral. Note the 'double' bars of the last four victories - these are meant to represent B-17s, each surmounted with a US star, not quite visible in this image.

After being awarded the Ritterkreuz on March 11 for 67 victories, Dahl had been named Kommodore of JG z.b.V at the end of May 1944. This special purpose Geschwaderzur besonderen Verwendung  was effectively a Reichsverteidigung Operational Training Unit comprising simply of a Geschwaderstab tasked with bringing fighter Gruppen in the 7th Jagd division area of southern Germany up to speed with air defence tactics. ( eg conversion of I./JG 5 to the Höhengruppe high altitude cover role on the Bf 109 G-6/AS ). Then in June and following the initial successes achieved by the Sturmstaffel and its subsequent integration into IV./JG 3, Major Walther Dahl was appointed Kommodore of JG 300. His Stab or Staff Flight was based at Ansbach, along with IV./JG 3 from where the Sturm element of the Oscherleben battle took off on 7 July.

"... none of us who took part in the victory at Oschersleben will ever forget that day . With just ninety fighter aircraft we had taken on a bomber force of over 600. Wahnsinn....crazy ! The order to scramble had come through at 08.20 and taking off from Illesheim the formation had assembled over Ansbach ( Nuremburg ) before setting course to Leipzig ( south-west of Berlin ). Flying with me in the Geschwaderstab or Staff Flight were the 'alte Hasen', Fw Loos, Obw Löfgen and Fw Bohnenkamp. We were still climbing to our operational ceiling when we encountered heavy flak over Leipzig, four of the formation were hit. Erkennungssignal schiessen ! Firing off green flares I led the formation onto heading 270 before spotting the huge, steel snake approaching from the west ..Negus 1 an Koralle, habe Feindsichtung . I report in to Division. An incredible sight, 12 bomber Pulks. In my mind I am rehearsing our attack plan practised in the weeks following the Allied invasion of Normandy..... I wait for the signal from Division that must come through prior to launching an attack . Angriff frei ! .....Hptm Moritz's Sturmgruppe is off to my left and Gruppenkommandeur Hptm Peters and his II./JG 300, former nightfighters and flying instructors, old experienced pilots, are behind me. The Bf 109 escorts of Hptm Stamp's first Gruppe JG 300 are top cover , 'Holz-auge'... " Negus 1 an alle kleinen Brüder , wir greifen an ! dicht aufschliessen zum Sturmangriff . wir machen Pauke-Pauke ! The first flashes of fire appear from the bombers gun turrets. Only seconds now before all hell breaks loose. With hands clasped around the control column and throttle I concentrate on the approaching bomber in my gun sight .With engines screaming we pile into the formation......Twice we were able to form up for a Sturm attack as Stamp's escorts contine to hold off the enemy fighters.... flying back to Illesheim I know we have achieved a great success and we fly back over the field waggling our wings ! We have prevented huge loss of life among the civil population if not at some cost to ourselves. Both Gruppenkommandeure Peters and Stamp have been shot down and lightly wounded , baling out successfully .."

After the success of the Sturm tactic over Oschersleben, Dahl was tasked with converting this unit's II Gruppe to the Sturm mission as he relates in his memoir. He was to lead the premier Reich's defence Geschwader through some of the hardest battles of the air war over Germany during the summer and autumn of 1944.  He portrays himself in his biography  - an exaggerated post-war account entitled 'Rammjäger', - as an advocate of ramming. He reports that while training  he collided with a He 177 and brought it down, and thus acquired the nickname 'Ramm Dahl'. However Dahl - even by his own account - claimed just a single victory by 'ramming' as indicated in his book. Needless to say there is no actual 'evidence' for this 'downing'. II.(Sturm)/ JG 300 pilot Hubert Engst reports in an unpublished letter in my possession that he never saw any pilot carrying out a ramming attack. Although pilots volunteering to join a Sturmgruppe may have signed the Sturmgruppe affidavit, indicating an absolute moral commitment to bring down enemy bombers, by ramming if necessary, over the initial four months or so of the Sturmstaffel's and then IV./JG 3's existence there had been few rammings. There were hardly likely to have been any in JG 300 - least of all by Dahl. Hptm Wilhelm Moritz of IV.(Sturm)/ JG 3 considered the pilots signed declarations or Verpflichtungserklärungen " senseless and superfluous" and would quietly drop the practice soon after Sturmstaffel 1 had been integrated into IV./JG 3 in May 1944.

Despite his 'successes' during the summer of 1944 in the defence of the Reich, Dahl even by his own admission would become increasingly disillusioned in the face of overwhelming Allied aerial superiority;

..On the next morning, 15 September 1944, I flew to Rastenburg in East Prussia where I was met by an SS-Obersturmfuehrer of the Fuehrerbegleitschutz Kommando, Hitler's personal bodyguard. It took us some twenty minutes to pass the outer and then the inner checkpoints of the Wolfsschanze before I was shown into an ante-room. In the falling twilight I found myself staring out of the open window at the surrounding woods and the camouflaged barrack buildings. Suddenly I saw a dark form, bent over as if carrying a heavy weight, shuffling towards the bunker. It was Hitler ! He entered the room. His Adjutant, Oberst v. Below, made the introductions and invited me to make my report. The previous evening in the Stabsquartier Goering had instructed me to give a full and accurate report of the activities of my Geschwader. I was to hold nothing back. When I had finished Hitler took my hand and said ; 
".. I'm glad you're here in person. I've heard a lot about you and the battles fought by the brave pilots of your Geschwader - your Sturmgruppen have achieved decisive results and I am proud to have such pilots in the Luftwaffe.."
He gestured for me to take a seat and sat directly opposite me. He then came straight to the point - our last three missions of 11, 12 and 13 September, the real reason why I was here ..He asked me to describe each of them in detail, with particular emphasis on our 'black day' - 13 September..Here was a chance to broach a subject that was our greatest concern - the fact that the Me 262 was to be deployed as a bomber .."..the greatest danger for us in the air are the enemy fighters. Only the deployment of a very very fast fighter will give us the possibility to evade the enemy escort fighters and hit the bombers before they reach their targets".
I paused and waited for Hitler's reaction.
" you mean the Me 262. Tell me more..."
Three hours later our discussion came to an end. I was surprised by Hitler's grasp of technical details. And I had the distinct impression that my plea would not go unheeded.." 

 But unheeded it did go - barely one month later Dahl was dismissed from his command after a falling out with Herman Goering and threatened with an imminent courts martial - in 'Rammjäger' he described his refusal to order the inexperienced pilots of III./JG 300 to counter an American bombing raid in poor weather conditions. The events took place during an official visit by Goering to Jueterbog. Dahl was effectively grounded until the 'charges' were quietly dropped a few weeks later..

(below;  Dahl as Kommodore of JG 300 admiring the celebratory wreath applied to the spinner of his Fw 190A-8 "Blue 13" at Finsterwalde in late September 1944 following his 75th victory - a B-17 Flying Fortress shot down over Halle-Leipzig on the morning of 11 September 1944 )

Dahl was nonetheless appointed Inspector of Day Fighters in January 1945 and apparently continued to fly combat missions, although it is not clear with what unit. He was awarded the Eichenlaub in February 1945. This was for 92 victories. Apparently, and by his own account, he scored his 100th victory on 1 March 1945, barely two months before the end of the war. In March 1945 - again according to his own account - he transitioned to the Me-262 and flew under the command of Heinz Bär in III./ EJG 2. On March 27 - his birthday - he shot down two P-47s and on 26 April 1945 downed what in his words was his 128th and last victory, an anonymous and uncorroborated P-51!

Now by my reckoning that's some 25 unexplained victories in less than a month to his total! His book 'Rammjager' doesn't mention service with EJG 2 at all, except to say that on 27 Mar 45, he and Oberst Gollob were flying in an Si 204 D to visit Heinz Bar's EJG2 in Lechfeld, when they were spotted by a pair of P-51s. Thanks to Gollob's inspired flying they managed to elude them. In the afternoon as he test flew a Me 262 some P-47s began strafing the airfield and he shot down two of them for his 102nd and 103rd victories. He then states that he had achieved his 110th victory by 4 April, but there is no further mention of EJG 2. A careful reading of the JG 300 history indicates no evidence for the majority of his claims over the 100 figure and here at least the authors are careful not to cite the 128-victory total. This '128 victories' - always quoted for Dahl - simply appears out of no-where in his self-serving biography and yet, astonishingly, many continue to state both on the net and elsewhere that, 'with a total of 36 four-engine bombers to his credit, Walther Dahl was the second-leading Luftwaffe bomber Experte'.

Post-war, Dahl became involved with Hans Ulrich Rudel in neo-Nazi political activities and was one of the founders of the NDP in the 1960s. Faced with government opposition, he retired in the 1970s and died in 1985 aged 67. His biography as noted was a rather lurid account of his wartime experiences, possibly even compiled from notes by his wife according to the historian of JG 300. It has never been translated for a good reason - the figures quoted for bomber losses and German victories that appear throughout the book are easily discredited. The figure of 128 victories achieved by Dahl has stuck, as indicated, simply through endless repetition- a new and as yet unpublished manuscript dealing with 'bomber killers' for which I've read the synopsis and which includes a rare interview with Dahl, even repeats it. Likewise there is still no evidence of a JG 300 war diary sometime rumoured to be in Dahl's possesion...

Again the illustration above was published in a magazine in 2001. The profile depicts Dahls's 'standard' Fw 190 A-8 with no Sturmbock enhancements. That was a unique machine, described by Ernst Schroeder as an unwieldy 'dungheap', heavily armed both with two MG 151 20mm cannon, two 30 mm cannon and the upper cowl machine guns, where his 'standard' Fw 190 mounted four 20 mm MG 151s. Note the B-17 in cross-hairs insignia apparently only carried by Stabs machines of JG 300.

Fw 190s surrendered at Flensburg - Ebay Luftwaffe find #87

..two pilots of 7./JG 26 seen during October 1944 in Coesfeld on the wing of an FW 190 A. On the left Fw Erich Ahrens, shot down on the Bodenplatte operation on 1.1.1945 and taken captive (shipped to Canada) and Uffz.Heinz "Muli" Meihs, who made two claims before being KIA on 13.3.1945.

More from Michael Meyer's current Ebay sales here

captioned by the seller as 'Flugplatz Westerland' -located on the Sylt peninsula- these are likely to be Fw 190s from II./ JG 4, this Geschwader being one of a handful of JGs to surrender in northern Germany in the area of Flensburg.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

captured Fw 190 and 37mm cannon-equipped Ju 87 G photographed at Flensburg during May 1945, Luftwaffe trainers Bücker Bü 181, 131 - daily Luftwaffe Ebay find #86

currently on offer via airpics Ebay sales - another view of  a well-known captured Fw 190 previously identified elsewhere as FW 190 A-8 '1 + -', possibly of II./J.G. 1, Skrydstrup, Denmark, and 37mm cannon-equipped Ju 87 G photographed at Flensburg during May 1945, a rare FAGr. 5 Ju 290  A-7 and another Eastern Front Arado 232

Flugzeug Bü 181 mit Wappen der FFDS A 9 Grottkau im Frühjahr 1944 on Michael Meyer's current sales

Above, instructor and student in the cockpit of a Bü 181 of the FFDS A 9 Grottkau in early 1944. In the cockpit, Fluglehrer Uffz. Meyer and on the right Flugschüler Friedhelm Krägeloh.

Bü 181 WNr.126 mit Wappen der LKS 7 in Tulln 1943

 Bü 131 "PU+AC" mit Wappen der LKS 7 in Tulln 1943.

Bü 131 D-2 "BX+AL" WNR.4202 of the Flugzeugführerdoppelschule A 9 FFDS A 9 Grottkau, early 1944.

Fw 189 on Patrick Ott's Ebay sales