Thursday, 7 December 2017

Fw 190 JG 1 sharksmouth - ebay photo find #228

FW 190 A flown by the Staffelkapitän of 7./JG 1 Oblt. Harry Koch with 'sharksmouth' (Haifischmaul) in Aalborg-Ost im Mai 1942.


Dornier Do 18 mit Wappen der 2. / Küstenfliegergruppe 106 und Heckwaffenstand


Monday, 4 December 2017

Fw 190 A-6 night fighters of 2./JG 2 -July 1943

" ...The spring of 1943 was extremely difficult for I./JG 2 at its airfield in Triqueville, about twenty km from the Normandy coast. The Gruppe was constantly on high alert and faced powerful daily incursions of allied aircraft. The Gruppe’s losses were so heavy that on 23 April the Stab I., 3 and 11./JG 2 abandoned their all-too exposed airfield at Triqueville, to move to Bernay, near Beaumont-le-Roger, home to the Geschwaderstab...

Remaining alone in Triqueville, 2. Staffel became almost the first line of defence. The Staffel had slightly higher numbers of aircraft compared to other units: fourteen Fw 190s instead of the standard dozen. However, the Staffel’s position in the first line of defence would cost it dearly. Almost as if trying to bolster fighting spirit in the face of dangerous, perhaps even desperate oppponents - the waves of RAF and the USAAF squadrons - 2./JG 2 adopted a new emblem; a fierce eagle’s head. This was not enough to avoid the inevitable: in May and June, the Staffel lost 7 pilots (6 killed and seriously injured) for "only" two victories.

The two leaders and friends (Gebhart and Hannig) were killed in the same battle over Caen on the afternoon of 15 May 1943. They were attacked by a group of forty Spitfires assigned to cover bombers returning from attacking the airfield at Carpiquet. Shortly after calling out a claim for his 98th victory, Staffelführer Hannig's aircraft was hit and the pilot had to bail out. According to the recollection of his friend, Georg-Peter Eder he was machine-gunned while hanging under his parachute. In a kind of tragic synchronicity, the other leader of 2. Staffel, Oblt. Harald Gebhart, was also shot down. He managed to get out of the cockpit, but his chute failed to deploy...

In early July, I./JG 2 again had to withdraw: 11./JG 2 and 3. left Bernay for Conches-en-Ouche where they joined 1. Staffel, who took up residence for several days. 2./JG 2 finally evacuated the untenable airfield at Triqueville and moved to Saint-André-de-l'Eure, not far from Conches and Evreux. The Staffel also received a new Kapitän, the one-legged Oblt. Karl Haberland, returning to the front after a serious injury received with JG 3 on 17 May 1940.

Shortly after their relocation, 2./JG 2 members received an astonishing order; the Staffel was to be re-equipped and trained as a night fighter unit. On July 22, the squadron’s pilots and part of the technical staff were sent to Tours for ‘blind’ flying instruction on the Arado 96, with landings and take-offs going on past midnight. This training ended on August 7 with certification for the Schein III blind flying course.

A member of this training "Kommando", Uffz. Jürgen van Beuningen, wrote to his mother:

"..Dear Mother,

Currently, I am training to fly on instruments without visibility. At first it did not go well because when you are used to flying a fighter, you lose the habit of piloting with your senses. However, with some gray hair inflicted on the instructor and a lot of patience, I finally got there. Flying blind can be compared to an attempt to walk on a narrow plank blindfolded with someone guiding you: "More left, more right, take a step above a hole, go down a bit or over etc." Apart from the fact that, in practice, there is nobody to give such indications. So you have to judge everything based on the indications of your instruments. It is a real achievement when you get there. [...]

In addition, the stress of perhaps having to bail out is ever present - to evacuate the cockpit by day is already scary but it becomes a matter of luck during the night because you cannot know where you will come down [...] "

On 9 August 2./JG 2 took off following an alert at 23:35, probably to intercept a Mosquito of No. 418 Sq. on a mission to Evreux....

Ofw. Josef Bigge recalled the sortie;

"..following completion of our training as night fighters, we returned to our airfield at St. André during the afternoon of 7 August. That same evening, we were airborne to fly our first sorties on instruments in the Focke-Wulf 190. In the meantime our control centre and our aircraft were fitted out with the necessary communications equipment for blind flying. In addition, our planes had been painted in a dark finish. This quickly turned out to be a mistake. After several tests, we had opted for a uniform sky blue on the lower surfaces and a light blue/grey finish on the upper surfaces. Our first night sortie quickly followed on 9 August at 23:35. The mission was directed from our operations centre in the presence of the fighter commander for the area (Jagdfliegerführer Jafü). The radio and navigation communication worked perfectly but, although I was airborne for around an hour and 45 minutes, I could not locate the enemy. I landed at 01:20..."

Before the year was out, 2./JG 2 would claim 19 night victories (11 Halifax bombers, 5 Lancasters, 1 Stirling, 1 B-17 and 1 unidentified four-engined aircraft). Seven of these apparently fell to the guns of Lt. Detlef Grossfuss.

Text reproduced from Luftwaffe Gallery 5 by Erik Mombeek - still available at Erik's article on 2./JG 2 features some excellent clear photos of Grossfuss' 'Black 13' and Bigge's 'Black 2' of the Fw 190 nightfighter Staffel 2./JG 2 and OWL have produced some decals for these machines.

My Fw 190 A-6 model below - from the elderly Airfix kit in 72nd scale, reworked with a few spares from the Eduard and Zvezda kits- shows 'black 14' from 2./JG 2. The overall hell-blau-grau 76 finish is roughly oversprayed over the standard grau scheme and even the exhaust staining  - it extends to the spinner and the cooler fan blades which are also in RLM 76. Balkenkreuze are the simple black outline type. Rudder and lower engine cowl in yellow.

More on 2./JG 2 during the spring of 1943 under the one-legged Oblt. Karl Haberland on this blog at the link below

Saturday, 2 December 2017

First look - new JG 54 Luftwaffe Gallery book from Erik Mombeek and new-tool ICM Heinkel He 111 H-3 in 48th scale

Just arrived from Erik Mombeek is the latest book in his pictorial series 'Luftwaffe Gallery' - this edition is an issue devoted to JG 54. A few shots to give you an overview of the contents. Order via

Courtesy of John F, some box shots of the new-tool ICM He 111 H-3 in 48th scale

Note two complete engines and their mounts

Cockpit assembly

Markings options include KG 27, KG 53 and KG 26 machines

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Fw 190 II./JG 2 in Tunisia (1) - Kommandeur Adolf Dickfeld

In November 1942, Oblt. Adolf Dickfeld was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 2.  Seen in these film stills, Dickfeld had been awarded the Eichenlaub on 19 May 1942 for 101 victories and promoted Oberleutnant on 21 May 1942. Following a lengthy leave, Dickfeld returned to the Eastern Front and in August and September added a further 14 victories to his tally. When he left the unit, he had 128 victories to his credit. Departing JG 52 for the Western Front the highly-decorated ace arrived at JG 2 and a meeting with Kommodore Oesau. As Dickfeld himself recalled;

 " Kommodore Oesau welcomed me at Beaumont-le-Roger with  'I've two pieces of news for you . Which do you want first, the good or the bad ?'  I didn't mind. 'Well the good news is, you're only staying three days here. The bad news is, you're going to Africa!' I nearly fell off my chair..."   (page 207, 'Dans le Ciel de France' Volume 3, Mombeeck/Roba)

Replacing the Kommandeur II. Gruppe Hptm. Helmut-Felix Bolz, Dickfeld and his new comrades are seen here in these film excerpts from the AKH archive presumably just prior to the transfer of II. Gruppe to North Africa. As Dickfeld had flown the Bf 109 exclusively for his victory tally he undertook several acclimatisation flights in Fw 190 A-3 WNr. 2287 (seen above), a machine displaying seven victory markings on the rudder. Dickfeld achieved 5 victories over Tunisia including a Blenheim on 30 November 1942, a Spitfire on 1 December and a P-38 on 3 December 1942, before he was badly injured in a take-off accident at Kairouan on 8 January 1943, when his Fw 190 A-4 (W.Nr. 0750) ran into a bomb crater and overturned as he was attempting to get airborne during a raid on the airfield. On 17 April 1943, after recovering from his injuries, Dickfeld was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 11, based in the Bremen–Helgoland area of northern Germany performing Reichsverteidigung duties.

These stills were captured from footage made available via the Agentur Karl Höffkes film archive AKH and are reproduced here with the kind permission of Karl Höffkes.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

ZG 26 Haifisch Bf 110 and Fw 190 A-7 Sturmstaffel 1 - ebay photo find #227

Pilots of the Sturmstaffel assemble for a photo 'shoot' in front of one of the unit's FW 190 A-7 in Salzwedel prior to the 'deactivation' of the unit in late April 1944. Uffz. Maximowitz far left and Major von Kornatzki back to camera in greatcoat in the view above and seen striding out in the view below. A rarely seen view of the pilot complement prior to and after the more formal and oft-published view of the unit. Offered for sale by Michael Meyer here

Other pilots in the photo shoot are Oblt. Zehart, Lt. Elser, Lt. Müller, Lt. Metz, Lt. Gerth, Fw. Röhrich, Lt. Franz, unbekannt, Ofw. Marburg, Ofw. Peinemann, Fw. Groten, Uffz. Keune und Uffz. Boesch who is recognisable in the image below, far right

Five of these experienced Sturmstaffel 1 pilots would provide the core of Major von Kornatzki’s next command: II. (Sturm)/ JG 4 - Leutnant Ulrich Blaese, Feldwebel Gerhard Marburg, Leutnant Rudolf Metz, Leutnant Werner Peinemann and Oberleutnant Othmar Zehart. The remaining Sturmstaffel pilots integrated a newly formed 11 Staffel of IV./JG 3 under new Gruppenkommandeur Hptm Willi Moritz.

Much more on the Sturmstaffel on this blog

Below; Haifsich Geschwader Bf 110 on a field strip being refuelled somewhere in France  (possibly).

On offer here

Crashed Emil of JG 77 via Andreas Drechsler here

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1 WNr. 111711 at Frankfurt/Rhein-Main Airfield and Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, 1945

Click on the images to view large

Left side front view of WNr. 111711 Me 262 A-1a (USAF designation FE-107) on the ground at Wright Field being fueled by a crewman sitting on the fuselage. Engine panels have been removed. Photo is dated 26 July 1945. Original caption: "German Messerschmitt ME 262, FE 107, details, at Vandalia 7-26-1945.

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1 WNr. 111711 at Frankfurt/Rhein-Main Airfield, 1945

31 March 1945: Messerschmitt AG test pilot and technical inspector Hans Fay (1888–1959) defected to the Allies at Frankfurt/Rhein-Main Airfield at the controls of a brand new Me 262 A-1 twin-engine jet fighter.

Fay had been waiting for an opportunity to bring an Me 262 to the Americans, but feared reprisals against his parents. When he learned that the U.S. Army controlled their town, he felt that it was safe to go ahead with his plan.

Fay had been ordered to fly one of twenty-two new fighters from the Me 262 assembly factory at Schwäbisch-Hall to a safer location at Neuburg an der Donau, as they were in danger of being captured by advancing Allied forces. His aircraft was unpainted other than low visibility Balkenkreuz markings on the wings and fuselage, and standard Luftwaffe markings on the vertical fin. Fay was the fourth to take off, but instead of heading east-southeast toward Neuburg, he flew north-northwest to Frankfurt, arriving there at 1:45 p.m.

WNr. 111711 was transported to the United States and was tested at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio.

711 was lost during a test flight, 20 August 1946, when one of its engines caught fire. The test pilot, Lieutenant Walter J. “Mac” McAuley, Jr., U.S. Army Air Corps, safely bailed out. The Me 262 crashed 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) east of Lumberton, Ohio, and was completely destroyed.

(text by Bryan Swopes at

Note the presumably hand-scrawled 'notes' written on the port side of the lower rudder - also evident on the kodachrome image above..(thanks for the spot Stephen!)

More like this including some fine detail shots - if you can find them - at the preposterously named Central Respository for Aircraft Photos on flickr here