Thursday, 15 February 2018

Fw 190 II./JG 2 in Tunisia (2) "Black 1 + - " Wolf von Bülow, Staffelkapitän of 5./ JG 2

Previously on the Luftwaffe blog I have posted on II./JG 2's departure to North Africa in November 1942 under their new Kommandeur Adolf Dickfeld

I've been trawling through the footage made available via the Agentur Karl Höffkes film archive AKH and I've come across some colour footage of II./JG 2 in Tunisia filmed during late 1942-early 1943.

I was initially under the impression that some of these stills showed Rudorffer's 'Yellow 1'. Most probably his FW 190 A-4. The ace himself features in the footage. Only you see the problem. I assumed that the type of of film used must have modified the colour of the yellow and even the white of the Balkenkreuz - although the white of the fuselage band and Hakenkreuz outline remained. But as Andrew Arthy pointed out to me, this is almost certainly "Black 1 + - " of Wolf von Bülow, Staffelkapitän of 5./ JG 2 until he was killed in early 1943. These scenes appear to have been shot at Tindja near Cap Blanc on the northern coast of Tunisia. Von Bülow returned no victories while with JG 2 in North Africa and with good reason.

On 23 February 1943 Kairouan was raided by B-17s of the 301st BG. 'Gruppenführer' * II./JG 2 Erich Rudorffer noted in Erik Mombeek's ' Dans le Ciel de France ' (Vol 4) ;

" ..we were scrambled at 08:38 on the approach of a formation of US bombers. It was my task to keep Wolf von Bülow out of the action as much as I could. This was because Wolf was the son of our former Kommodore, who had already lost his other son, a U-boat commander** . So he only flew so many sorties and on this occasion he did not scramble with us. In the end it proved more dangerous on the ground than in the air - a stick of bombs came down on his 'hole' right were he had sought shelter. Oblt. von Bülow's body was riddled with shrapnel. His death was a terrible blow to morale. In any case the atmosphere within the unit was going downhill fast following Dickfeld's departure. There was far too much bad feeling and competitiveness around aerial victories and the 'scramble' for decorations and promotion had become far too important and such a state of affairs could only harm any 'esprit de corps' ..."

 (*Gruppenführer is an SS-rank and a vet I corresponded with was rather put out that such terms were used in the context of the Luftwaffe. ** His son-in-law in fact, Hans-Hartwig Trojer, U-221)

The solid black appearance of the Balkenkreuze fuselage crosses is interesting. It has been suggested that this is the result of the poor quality paint deteriorating rapidly in the sun - surely paint fades in sunlight? Elsewhere on the same airframe the white of the fuselage band and the Hakenkreuz outline is still 'white'. And from one regular blog reader;

"..I am inclined to think there is nothing wrong with the white paint, but they have simply toned down the Balkenkreuz, and nothing more. If you look at it, the entire Balkenkreuz appears to have the same tone, otherwise if it was just the white paint, than the black part of the cross would be different. Other than that, neat images…"

 BTW I contacted Karl Höffkes who gave me the OK to post stills provided the watermark was present and a link was available..