Saturday, 21 July 2018

Lt. Johann 'Hans' Badum - 6./JG 77

Born in Ruthweiler, a municipality in Rhineland-Pfalz, he joined JG 77 in 1941 aged 20 years old and served on the Eastern Front in 1942 and in North Africa from late 1942 until his death in January 1943. He had claimed 53 victories (most sources state 54), all but the last three on the Eastern Front. By January 1942 Badum was serving with the Ergängzungsstaffel of Jagdgeschwader 77 in the southern sector of the Eastern Front. On 26 February Badum claimed a Pe-2 bomber for his first victory. In April 1942 Badum transferred to 6 Staffel of JG 77, with three victories in 45 missions by this time. He saw combat over Sevastopol during June 1942 - his 9th claim with 6./JG 77 was a Yak-1 on 3 June. He claimed a further 17 victories in July 1942 to raise his victory total to 29 and in August returned another 14 victories.

On 6 August 1942 Badum was airborne from Kastornoye after being scrambled following the appearance of a single Russian reconnaissance aircraft. That same day Johann Badum wrote his parents a letter;

"...This morning I achieved my 30th kill. Always sounds better than 29. We're in a huge lull right now. For me it was the first contact with the enemy in almost fourteen days. And it was just a single bomber, one of the most modern, a Pe-2, which of course was 'had for breakfast'. Nevertheless, I haven't been awarded the 'German Cross', because now 35 victories are required. There was a time when there used to be a Knight's Cross for 20 under normal circumstances. If there was anything more going on here, I would still hope to get it, but with the lean pickings here, I won't be getting a sausage. (hier ist nichts zu erben) Every fortnight there's one downing, I won't get it that way. If the Russians don't have the friendly consideration to launch a counter-offensive, then we'll be left completely high and dry. If we were in the south right now, there'd be something going on. There I'd get it. Well, maybe things will get better here, we're not giving up hope...."

In fact his 'best' day was 13 August - in two sorties he claimed five Russian LaGG-3 fighters shot down to record his 34th through 38th victories. He made three claims on 15 September 1942 (an Il-2 and two LaGG 3s). He was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 15 October 1942 after 51 victories (51st achieved on 16 September). Shortly thereafter he went to North Africa with  II./JG 77 and was appointed Staffelkapitän 6./JG 77. He claimed two P-40s shot down on 21 December 1942 for his 52nd and 53rd victories. According to Shores he claimed P-40s on 1 January 1943 in the Buerat area and 11 January 1943. He was killed in combat with US P-38s ('probably' Cpt. Darrel Welch 27 FS, 1st FG in Shores) over Giordani, 27 miles west of Tripoli, Libya on 12 January 1943 at the controls of Bf 109 G-2 WNr. 10727 "Yellow 7" following a 97th BG B-17 raid on Castel Benito airfield. He had been awarded the Iron Cross First and Second Class, the Luftwaffe Honor Cup and the German Cross in Gold. Badum achieved his victories during the course of some 300 missions and his total included 14 Il-2 Sturmoviks.

Jägerblatt,  February/March 1982
Prien; Einsatz des Jagdgeschwaders 77 von 1939 bis 1945: Ein Kriegstagebuch nach Dokumenten, Berichten und Erinnerungen, Teil 2: Juni 1941 bis November 1942, Selbstverlag, 1993
Shores, Mediterranean Air War, Vols 2 and 3