In a recent post on the past-times enjoyed by members of the Luftwaffe I unfortunately omitted to mention the very close relationships that many airmen and ground crews enjoyed with their animals, mascots and pets. Dogs, cats, monkeys, foxes, jackdaws - all these and more feature heavily in the recollections and anecdotes of Luftwaffe personnel. Dogs in particular were given the freedom to roam the Staffel dispersal and as part of the 'community' in the field were always there to meet and greet their masters following sorties. Many aircraft and units also unsurprisingly sported a range of animal emblems - foxes, wolves, lions as well as cats and dogs. Indeed photo albums were always likely to feature unit canines and felines..
Bello and Bungi, unit pets - I./JG26 Gottfried Dietze
KG 26 lion cub in Russia . The above on Michael Meyer's current sales here
2./ KG 40 Heinkel He 177 crew of pilot Hptm. Stolle (centre) after their 'successful' combat with a 422 NFS P-61 Black Widow during the night of 14/15 August 1944. The Alsatians 'Max' and 'Moritz' also flew sorties.
This incident was the subject of an article in Jet & Prop magazine (issue 6/97) entitled " Schwarze Witwe contra Greif " (‘Black Widow versus Griffon’) written and compiled by Michael Balss. More on this blog here
Below; another He 177 'pet'
Some seventy five years after the event Karl-Fritz Schlossstein recalled the dachshund emblems sported by the aircraft of 1.(Z)/JG 77, the future Zerstörerstaffel of JG 5;
".. the Staffel mascots were three dachshunds , "Bamse", "Herdla" and "Lockheed" brought back from leave by Lt. Dieterichs. "Lockheed" was named after the first victory returned by the Staffel while "Herdla" was named after the airfield. " Bamse " (Norwegian for "bear" ) was named for his thick coat. From that period on, the Staffel was known as the "Dachshund Staffel" - the unit’s Bf 110s sported on the forward fuselage an emblem comprising a dachshund holding a Rata in its mouth... "
The exceptional longevity of the dachshund emblem (from spring 1941 to spring 1944) and the fact that the unit adopted the " Dackel Staffel " nickname was proof of the unit’s attachment to its dogs.
Below; In the summer of 1941, Lt. Felix Brandis was one of the leading pilots of 1. ( Z) / JG 77. He was unlucky enough to crash two aircraft before being killed on 2 February 1942 while attempting an emergency landing in a snowstorm. His Bordfunker, Fw. H. Baus, survived the crash.
Oblt. Viktor Bauer (9./JG 3) with tame Jackdaw - June 1942.
Kdr. I / JG 26 Hptm. Johannes Seifert with fox
" Als Geschenk des Berliner Zoos wird "Simba" schon bald zum Gruppenmaskottchen und erlangt schliesslich mit seinen beiden 'Dompteuren' ('Max' und 'Moritz'; d.h. von Werra und Sannemann) nationale Berühmtheit.." quoted in Heinz Sannemann - ein Jagdfliegerleben
Waldemar 'Hein' Wübke of 9./JG 54 in the cockpit of his 'yellow 5' and his G-2 a few years later. Same hound?
From III./JG 3 in Esperstedt during November 1944. Karl-Heinz Langer with puppy
Ofw. Fritz Gromotka 9./JG 27 (left) in Kalamaki, late February 1944.
JG 51 Emil
The first Focke Wulf 190 Doras entered service with III. Gruppe of JG 54 "Grünherz" during October 1944 at Achmer and Hesepe. While the first service machines undoubtedly piqued the interest of their pilots, according to Fw. Fritz Ungar of 9./ JG 54 pictured in the cockpit of "White 2" (above) the sole reason for this picture series -first published in Jean-Yves Lorant's 'Le Focke Wulf 190' (Docavia, 1980) and then later in Axel Urbanke's "Focke Wulf 190 Dora im Einsatz"- was to record the Staffel fox terrier mascot 'Struppi' for posterity. There is unfortunately no complete view of either of the aircraft.
"Struppi" perched on the forward fuselage between the twin MG 131s - note the highly polished finish for an extra turn of speed - anything up to 20 km/h according to the pilots. The pilot in the picture is Feldwebel Paul Drutschmann who would be shot down and captured unharmed on the Dutch-Belgian border during Bodenplatte on 01/01/1945
Another view of 'Struppi' - enjoying the attention of the mechanics of 9./JG 54 perched on the horizontal stabiliser of "White 3", the eighth series production machine (Wnr. 210008).