Tuesday, 21 August 2018

JG 5 Reichsverteidigung Staffelkapitän Lt. Paul Weitzberg KIA 2 November 1944

I recently came across two surprising comments on two different threads concerning JG 5 on the TOCH forum;

firstly; that Peter Schmoll's latest book 'Me 109 Production und Einsatz' 'erroneously' depicts a Gustav in JG 5 markings overflying a German town as the jacket illustration, and, secondly, that three JG 5 pilots were KIA over Holland on 15 August 1944 including Lt. Paul Weitzberg of II./JG 5  (thread here)

 Established in January 1942, II./JG 5 was a successful Gruppe in the Eismeer Geschwader fighting in the Far North. Among several ace pilots that had flown with this unit were Major Horst Carganico, Major Heinrich Ehrler, Ofw. Rudolf Müller and Oblt. Hans Döbrich…

However, with an 'invasion' of the Continent looming and the Reich being pounded almost daily by huge bombing raids, the Gruppe -along with I./JG 5 - transferred in late May 1944 from the Artic Circle to southern Germany. Here they re-equipped with new Bf 109 G-6 fighters. In June 1944, both Gruppen were sent to France to oppose the Allied landings in Normandy, I./JG 5 flying out of Herzogenaurach during 6 June. II./JG 5 was still in Gardelegen re-equipping and did not fly to France until mid-June.  (cf. Jochen Prien, JfV 13/III)

Elements of Hptm. Theo Weißenberger's I./JG 5 arrived on the 'Invasion' Front at Montdidier in the vicinity of the French capital on 6 June while Weißenberger himself and the rest of his Gruppe clashed with P-47s coming into Montdidier on 7 June. I./JG 5 also saw combat over Beauvais that same day and in total Weißenberger claimed five victories. He filed a further three claims the following day. In the Bundesarchiv image below he is seen on 8 June 1944 being interviewed by a Kriegsberichter. In the background, left, is Oblt. Lothar Gerlach, Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 5. Weißenberger went on to return his 199th and 200th victories on 25 July and with some 25 victories was easily the most successful Jagdwaffe pilot over Normandy - although a number of his 'invasion victories' cannot be confirmed from Allied records.

Eichenlaubträger Hauptmann Weißenberger, Gruppenkommandeur in einem Jagdgeschwader bei einer Nachbesprechung. Prop.-Kp. Lw.KBZ 15 Film-Nr.: 8279/10 Bildberichter: Schödl 4.10.44

Both Gruppen of JG 5 fell back to the Reich in late July. II./JG 5 occupied a number of airfields through this period, moving from Herzogenaurach, Salzwedel, Werl, Sachau and Rheinsdorf before finally arriving at Finsterwalde. During August 1944 combat over the Reich was particularly murderous for II./JG 5 - some seventeen II./JG 5 pilots were killed in combat with  four-engine bombers, one of the bleakest months in the unit's history. However Lt. Paul Weitzberg was not one of them.. in the image below taken during August 1944 Lt. Paul Weitzberg, Stk. 5./JG 5 was photographed in front of the Me 109 G-6 "gelbe 1" assigned to his friend Staffelkapitän 4./JG 5 Oblt. Günther Schwanecke...

16 October 1944 was the last day the unit fought under the designation "II./JG 5"- two pilots were killed, a single pilot was wounded and no less than sixteen aircraft were lost. Four days later an order emanating from Luftflotte Reich re-designated II./JG 5 as IV./JG 4. The Gruppe, still at Finsterwalde, was organised as follows;

 IV./JG 4 (ex-II./JG 5): Hptm. Franz Wienhusen,

13./JG 4 (ex-5./JG 5): Lt. Paul Weitzberg,
14./JG 4 (ex-6./JG 5): Lt. Ernst Scheufele,
15./JG 4 (ex-4./JG 5): Oblt. Lothar Wolff,
16./JG 4 (ex-8./JG 5): Oblt. Hans Schleef.

Staffelkapitän of 5./JG 5 since 1942, Hptm. Franz Wienhusen had spent several months at Lamsdorf in Upper Silesia as an instructor before being appointed to command II./JG 5 in September 1944. He had achieved around twelve victories in air combat.

 Lt. Paul Weitzberg had been posted to 4./JG 5 when the unit was still in Norway during 1943 before succeeding Hptm. Franz Wienhusen at the head of 5. Staffel during the spring of 1944. Among his pilots was the experienced Ofw. Hermann Holtkötter who had flown for a long period with I./JG 5 prior to moving to 5./JG 5.

 Leutnant Ernst Scheufele had joined 12./JG 5 as early as 1 July 1942 and had seen almost constant front line action ever since. Posted to II./JG 5 on 1 October 1943, he had been appointed to command 6./JG 5 on 15 March 1944 - his experience and length of service meant that he was regularly called upon to replace the Kommandeur in the air. Scheufele had tallied eighteen victories, including a Thunderbolt and a number of four-engine bombers. Among his pilots were Fw. Erhardt Mecke and Uffz. Berthold Klaus, both of whom had achieved around ten victories.

 Oblt. Lothar Wolff was an experienced Zerstörer pilot. Gruppenadjudant in IV./KG 40 since 1943, he had fought most notably in the bloody clashes over Normandy before undergoing a single-engine fighter conversion course.Officially he had tallied four victories - two Wellingtons, one B-17 and a single B-24- which he had achieved at the controls of a Ju 88. He had been posted to II./JG 5 at Finsterwalde just in time to undergo his baptism of fire at the controls of a Bf 109 during the bitter battles of 16 October. Among his experienced pilots was Uffz. Hubert Schubert.

 Oblt. Hans Schleef was one of the seven Ritterkreuzträger to serve with JG 4. He had received the award on 9 May 1942 for the 41 victories he had achieved while serving with 7./JG 3- during this period he had been shot down behind the front but had managed to return to German lines some four days later. Schleef had subsequently been appointed to command 8./JG 5 on 21 July 44. At the time IV/JG 4 was stood up, he had downed some 97 enemy aircraft.

"... Finsterwalde - 2 November 1944. Weather conditions were poor. The cloud ceiling was at 800 metres. The Gruppe was put on thirty-minute readiness. After about an hour's waiting an 'Alarmstart' was suddenly ordered - the signal flare shot up from the operations building - scramble! The four machines of our Staffel were led off by our Kapitän, Lt. Weitzberg - heading due west. We hadn't been in the air for very long - no more than about fifteen minutes - when we came across the first Pulk of bombers at around 4,000 metres altitude. I waded in to set up for a head on attack on a box of six B-17 G Fortresses, squeezing off the first bursts from about 400 metres. It was then that I realised that I was all on my own and could only imagine that my comrades had been caught up in a tussle with Mustangs somewhere behind me. As I hurtled in towards the bombers I now bore the brunt of their defensive fire - a number of hits slammed into my 109 - in particular the oil tank was perforated and great gobs of the viscous liquid coated the canopy severely restricting my forward vision. Thick bitter smoke seeped into the cockpit and then suddenly flames erupted from the engine cowl and the engine seized. I quickly jettisoned the canopy, which flew free. I tore off my flying helmet and prepared to jump. At this point I noticed that the chute which lay in the seat-pan appeared to have been damaged which made me think twice about bailing out- I elected to try and glide down for a crash landing. Pointing the nose down into the cloud layer I soon had ground visibility and headed for a field running alongside a village. By now flames were whipping around the cockpit but I successfully guided the 109 down for an emergency landing and managed to scramble clear of the blazing machine. I ran clear in the direction of the village. Suddenly I heard a shout behind me - "Halt- stehen bleiben!". A bicycle-mounted police man had a pistol trained on me - as I was covered in oil and my face was charred by second degree burns I suppose he may have taken me for a black American. My life jacket also concealed the rank insignia on my uniform. I was marched into the village at gun-point - my eyes had closed up with the burns - before I managed to persuade my 'captor' that I was in fact a German pilot - I was then taken to hospital in Dessau .."
(Uffz. Friedrich Zenk, 13./JG 4)

Four IV./JG 4 pilots were shot down and killed during this sortie on 2 November 1944 - among their number was the Kapitän of 13. Staffel, Lt. Paul Weitzberg. Weitzberg fell to a Mustang while he was lining up to come in for an emergency landing at Zerbst.

Just six Bf 109s of IV./JG 4 managed to return to Finsterwalde. Both here and at Welzow, there was deep dismay at the outcome - each of the Gruppen had lost a Staffelkapitän. Hptm. Erich Jugel would be succceeeded by Oblt. Werner Vorberg, while Lt. Paul Weitzberg was briefly replaced by his friend Oblt. Günther Schwanecke until the latter was posted to a Gruppenführer training course. Lt. Josef Kunz was appointed Kapitän of 13. Staffel on 10 November. He had recently completed the Verbandsführerlehrgang - formation leaders training course - at Königsberg/Neumark and had been a member of III./JG 5 since the Gruppe had been set up in June 1942.

- Note the account of the sortie flown on 2 November is a translated extract from Erik Mombeek's "Storming the bombers" Volume II  (translation by this blog author). More info here
- Image of Weitzberg via Peter Neuwerth and his excellent site devoted to JG 5 and JG 7 here
- Jochen Prien's Jagdfliegerverbände series including the latest tome, Teil 13/ III, is available via jagdgeschwader.net here

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G with DB 605 A Engine from MMP, Chandos Publications KG 76 Arado Luftwaffe Jet bombers on the Western Front

great video representation of the latest MMP publication " Messerschmitt Bf 109 G with DB 605 A Engine "

And via email from Rich Carrick, news of a new publishing company specialising in Luftwaffe subjects;

" Taking my cue from such established and successful publishers as Classic Publications, Monogram, Schiffer, JaPo and Trojca, my aim with Chandos Publications is to produce high-quality titles that you will be proud to own. They can be used both as stand-alone history books, and as primary references to help ensure an accurate model build. The initial focus will be on World War Two Luftwaffe subjects, although I am also hoping to explore other areas of military history. For this, and future projects, I have employed the services of the original Classic Publications team of Robert Forsyth, Eddie J. Creek, Arthur Bentley and Mark Nelson. Our first book will be a completely re-worked, expanded and up-dated edition of Martin Pegg’s seminal 1997 work Hs 129 Panzerjäger!, originally published by Classic. Following the debut release, keep an eye out for a fascinating title covering late-war Luftwaffe operations using the Arado Ar 234. I hope that these two books will be the first of many in our planned ‘Luftwaffe Library’ series..." Rich Carrick

The Chandos Publications website is here

Interview on this blog with Eddie Creek

Interview on this blog with Robert Forsyth

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Skies above the Reich GMT Games -1,000 th post on the Luftwaffe blog

Skies Above the Reich is a solitaire game depicting a Staffel of Bf 109s struggling to deter and destroy the relentless daylight raids over Germany during World War Two. The player’s individual aircraft, each represented by a stickered block, must confront the mighty “combat box” formation of the United States Army Air Force, a deadly terrain of B-17 Flying Fortresses. The game is a broad strokes depiction that presents the arc of the desperate air war. Stretching from late 1942 to early 1945, Skies Above the Reich follows that trajectory in a series of missions strung together to make a campaign. Each mission will take a half hour or more to play, while a campaign can last anywhere between 6 to 60 missions.

GMT games site and game play resources here

youtube reviewer blastpop plays the game here. A single click to view

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Legion Condor Henschel Hs.123 A-1 Wappen Teufel-VJ/88, Fernaufklärer 3 (f) Ju 88 beim Tanken, Cockpit nach Notlandung - ebay photo find #261

on offer here

on offer here

Oblt. Johannes Naumann..leading ace of JG 6 ?

Above; Vitry-en-Artois 1943

Naumann joined JG 26 in 1938 and was a long-time Staffelkapitän of 6./JG 26. He was badly injured on 23 June 1944, shot down by anti-aircraft fire south-west of Caen. Awarded the RK on 9 November 1944 as Kommandeur II./JG 6 - insgesamt 34 Luftsiege im Westen - 34 victories in the West including 7 bombers in around 350 combat missions. Ended the war with JG 7.

His 1st victory, a Spitfire (n.b.) off Folkestone on 12 August 1940. A 2nd, a Spitfire 10 km SE of Southend on 3 September 1940. A 3rd, a Hurricane W of Boulogne on 21 June 1941. A 4th, a Spitfire on 3 July 1941, no location. His 5th, a Spitfire on 21 August, 1941, no location. His 10th victory, a Spitfire northeast of Rue on 13 February, 1943. Another victory, B-17 # 41-24399 "Man O War" of 91st BG, 323BS, flown by 2/Lt Keene C. Mc Cammon on 30 July 1943. Eight were KIA, 2 POW. On 26 July 1943 he shot down a twin engine Boston III RAF No. 88 Sqdn as Stfkpt 6./JG 26.

Appointed Kommandeur II./JG 26 from March 1944. He was shot down on 23 June 1944 by British anti-aircraft fire and had to bale out but both his legs struck the rear of his FW 190 A-8, WNr. 730425, "black 30" resulting in severe injuries. He had at least 27 victories with JG 26. He was replaced by Hptm Emil Lang. He returned to combat operations as Kommandeur II./JG 6 and returned a double victory on 12 September 1944; both P-38s in the Düren-Zülpich area. A P-38 E of Cologne on 4 October 1944. He led II/JG-6 on the Volkel airfield raid on 1 January 1945. Deceased 22 March, 2010 Fürstenfelbruck (P. Bastin).