Wednesday 26 September 2012

Arsenal VG 33 - in service during the Battle of France and tested at Rechlin - this page last edited December 2015

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The Arsenal VG 33 was the most visible model of a ‘family’ of light, fast and manoeuvrable French fighter types being developed during 1939 - 1940 to replace the Ms 406. In fact many sources quote the VG 33 – of which only a handful of examples approached service due to production difficulties – as being somewhat superior to the Dewoitine D.520, despite the fact that it was powered by a smaller engine. In addition the VG 33 was designed to be a machine that could be constructed quickly by small sub-contractors (a D.520 required 8,000 man-hours per aircraft, a similar figure to the Me 109) and had it been available in numbers the accepted view is that it “might have given the Germans a harder time over France”. As it was one or two examples of the type did see some form of service (the prototype n˚1 and VG33 n˚7) in the short-lived GC I/55 flying some sorties between 17 June and 24 June 1940 as detailed in the Avions Hors-Série n˚ 7: " La chasse française inconnue de Mai-juin 1940 ".

However the results obtained by test pilots at the French CEMA (Centre d’Essais – test centre) during mid-1939 probably posed more questions about this type than they answered. At least one French commentator (Ehrengardt in Aérojournal magazine no. 46) has stated that the constructor – while not openly falsifying the prototype’s performance figures - did everything possible to ensure that they were superior to those of the D.520 – 200 kilos lighter and powered by a smaller 860 hp Hispano Suiza engine developing some 60 hp less, the Arsenal VG 33 was supposedly able to climb to 5,500 m some three minutes quicker than the D.520 and could reach 560 km/h at 5,200 m. Tested by CEMA pilots during March 1940 the VG33 n˚5 apparently flew at 620 km/h at 4,000 m and approached 1,000 km/h in a dive. (Ehrengardt, article in Aerojournal 46) Few commentators stop to point out that the aircraft tested were prototypes – with no ‘military’ value whatsoever. And while the test pilots apparently lauded the aircraft’s flying capabilities the manufacturer’s own handbook placed certain limitations on the type’s flight characteristics which under different circumstances would have straight away precluded any attempt to put this aircraft into production let alone military service. In addition the proximity of the type’s large ventral radiator so close to the ground proved particularly problematic when operated from grass fields. The idea that here was a machine that could easily be constructed by small sub-contractors working with non-strategic materials (spruce) and that French industry was advanced enough to produce the glues required was simply pie in the sky. Construction of the series machines were dogged by a series of logistical and organisational problems that had been completely over-looked by the French Air Ministry. With sub-assembly construction dispersed throughout France and the various components brought together in final assembly plants it was hoped that production could reach 350 machines per month by March 1940. This totally over-looked the fact that for a wooden aircraft each machine required some 880 kg of steel, 436 kg of aluminium and 125 kg of magnesium, requirements that simply caught out those civil servants charged with obtaining stocks of strategic materials. Following on from the first production order of 220 machines passed during September 1939, it was not until March 1940 that the need was seen for a second production/assembly facility which was opened at Michelin in Clermont Ferrand in the south for deliveries to start during July 1940. Even large constructors such as Potez had singularly failed to relocate their factories from northern France despite the experiences of 1914-18. By the time of the evacuation of the Arsenal assembly facility at Satrouville (under the auspices of the Chantiers Adro-Maritimes de la Seine) 17 miles north-west of Paris only 19 aircraft had actually been completed – ten prototypes designated V.30 to V.39 and nine V.33 series production machines. A further 160 fuselage assemblies and some 40 machines approaching completion had to be destroyed.

See more quality VG 33 images on this blog here

Monday 24 September 2012

Horten Nurflügel prototype and gliders at Minderheide

reproduced here courtesy of Marco and currently on offer at koelsch333 Ebay sales

Horten Nurflügel  Sonderkommando 9 prototype photographed at Minderheide

more Luftwaffe/JG 53 in the Mediterranean, Comiso, Sicily

Bf 109 F/G of 6./JG 53 probably at Comiso during 1942. From the left, Ofw Rudolf Ehrenberger, 49 Luftsiege,  KIA on 8.3.1944, posthumously awarded the RK on 5 April 1944, Fw Erich Paczia, 14 Luftsiege, KIA 1 February 1943, unknown, and on the right, Staffelkapitän Oblt. Günther Hess who achieved some nine victories and was posted missing on 20 March 1943. Friedrichs at Comiso below

Gustav of JG 53 following a bombing raid on Cancello, Naples. The pilots recalled above all the intense heat of the Mediterranean summer.  JG 77 Uffz. Helmut Schwarzenhoelzer; 

" ..on Sardinia we were accomodated under canvas and the stifling heat was unbearable. Temperatures reached forty degrees plus on the ground in the broiling sun while at altitude in the cockpits of our 109s temperatures could fall as low as minus twenty..." 

Below;  atmospheric view of Ju 88s on Comiso, SicilyImages from Michael Meyer's current Ebay sales

Ju 88s from LG 1, KG 77 and KG 30 were all at one time or another based here and Fliegerkorps X occupied the island as early as November 1940 in their vain attempts to neutralise the Royal Navy and the strategically important island staging post of Malta with its deep natural harbours. Catania became the base of Stab, II. and III./LG 1; as of January 12, 1941, these units were in possession of respectively 4/2, 38/38 and 38/38  Junkers Ju 88A-4s. The reconnaissance ju 88s of 1.(F)/121 were also located here with 12/3 Ju 88Ds. Below; shackling an SC1800 to the rack of  a KG 30 Ju 88 at Comiso.

In December 1941 the Ju 88s of the Stab KG 54 (Obstlt. Walter Marienfeld), I./KG 54 (Hptm. Georg Graf von Platen), KGr 606 (Obstlt. Joachim Hahn), and KGr 806 (Maj. Richard Linke) also arrived on Sicily. A further intensive five-month-long campaign was launched against Malta in order to restrict the operational capabilities of the RAF and the Royal Navy - according to James Holland Malta became the most heavily bombed target of the war. KG 77 joined these operations in January 1942. Raids were mounted against Hal Far, Takali, Luqa and Kalafrana airfields as well as the naval base at La Valetta. By mid-March there were about 40-50 sorties a day under strong fighter escort (JG 53, JG 77) The Hurricanes defending Malta incurred heavy losses in combat with the Bf 109 Fs. The turning point in the battle for Malta came on 17 March 1942 when the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle delivered the first fifteen Spitfires to the island. The USS Wasp delivered its first cargo of Spitfires during April.

Comiso hosted Afrikaversorgungs resupply flights flown with Me 323 Transporter

Axis forces in North Africa capitulated on 10 May 1943. At the Casablanca conference in January 1943 Churchill and Roosevelt (reluctantly) decided that the island of Sicily should be assaulted and captured as a base for operations against German forces in southern Europe. The campaign for Sicily began properly as early as 13 May following the German surrender in Africa. At this stage of the war the Allies had overwhelming superiority and deployed waves of low-flying B-17, B-24 and B-26 bombers against the airfields occupied by JG 77 and JG 53, routinely escorted by large numbers of Spitfires, P-40s, P-38 Lightnings and P-47 Thunderbolts. Kommodore JG 77 Johannes Steinhoff recounted in broad strokes the aerial battles for Sicily through June and July 1943 in his unusually powerful memoir Die Strasse von Messina. Facing crushing odds--including a commander, Hermann Göring, who contemptuously treated his pilots as cowards--Steinhoff and  pilots took to the skies day after day to meet the feared Flying Fortresses and swarms of Allied fighters in an echo of the later all-out assault on the Reich itself. 

Germany’s ‘other’ WWII female test pilot - Melitta Schiller, Gräfin (Countess) von Stauffenberg

I picked up the latest Classic monograph this weekend - Eddie Nielinger Creek’s superlative history of the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka. I was particularly interested in the brief pilot bios dotted throughout the book and especially the profile devoted to Germany’s ‘other’ WWII female test pilot - Melitta Schiller, later the Gräfin (Countess) von Stauffenberg.

Schiller was born in 1903 in the then-German province of Posen, now in Poland, the daughter of a Jewish civil engineer. She studied maths, physics and engineering, eventually specialising in aeronautical engineering at the Technical University of Munich. She worked as an engineer for DVL in Berlin and started flying lessons. She then worked for Askania developing navigation and steering systems for seaplanes such as the Ha 139 and the Do 18. In 1937 she married the historian Alexander Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg – an event that would have dramatic consequences later in the war. Alexander was the brother of Claus von Stauffenberg....

However throughout the pre-war and early war years Melitta’s career was essentially a programme of intensive test flying -  spending up to ten hours per day in the air, flying literally thousands of sorties, principally in dive bombers, where she contributed to the development of the Stuka’s automatic pilot and pull-out. For her work on these programmes Melitta Stauffenberg was one of the rare recipients of Goering's own award, the Goldene Flugzeugführerabzeichen mit Brillanten - the pilot's badge in Gold with diamonds.

And then in July 1944 Claus von Stauffenberg triggered operation “Valkyrie” the failed Hitler bomb plot, thereby setting in motion a train of events that would apparently lead directly to Melitta Schiller’s death.

As news of the failed putsch came through she and her husband resigned themselves to ‘Sippenhaft’(imprisonment) as family members of an ‘enemy of the Reich’ - and worse. Both were arrested along with others in the Stauffenberg family. However in late August 1944 Melitta Schiller's release was secured by Hajo Herrmann so that she could pursure her work, described as ‘kriegswichtig’ – important for the war effort.  This suggests there was no real suspicion of involvement in the conspiracy with her brother-in-law to assassinate Adolf Hitler.  However according to Gerhard Bracke in his book “Das Leben einer Fliegerin” ( 'The life of an aviatrix') Melitta Stauffenberg had been approached to participate in the assassination plot. She was to fly von Stauffenberg directly back to Berlin after the bomb had gone off but had been unable to get directly involved (rather than refusing outright) as she was not able to gain access to a suitable aircraft..( Bracke p. 178) Following her release from 'Sippenhaft' she was able to visit her husband and sister-in-law in prison while continuing her flight testing for the regime...

Writing in Aeroplane magazine in June 1999 Barbara Schlussler stated that ‘confusion surrounds Melitta’s death’The ‘accepted’ version of events is that she was shot down by American fighters. During early April 1945, with the collapse of the Third Reich imminent, Melitta set out to locate her husband who was still languishing in jail. On 8 April 1945, while at the controls of a Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann trainer en route to Schoenberg - perhaps to rescue her husband-  and navigating along a rail track running near the Danube in the vicinity of Strasskirchen, Bavaria, she was bounced by a P-51. According to eye witnesses she managed to successfully crash-land the aircraft, but apparently later died from her injuries in hospital in Straubing. 

In the last chapter of his biography Gerhard Bracke looks at the ‘conspiracy’ theories surrounding Melitta Stauffenberg’s final hours. He presents evidence to suggest that the aircraft that shot down Melitta Stauffenberg were Me 109s (there were matching no US fighter claims) and looks at Gestapo involvement in her death. Bracke quotes at length another eyewitness who helped Melitta Stauffenberg out of the wreckage of her aircraft-  “ her injuries amounted to no more than a broken leg and were in no way life threatening”. Melitta Schiller must rank as one of the leading female test pilots in aviation history but her record as a test pilot is over-shadowed by the manner of her death. She will probably be best 'remembered' - if she is at all - as the sister-in-law of Claus von Stauffenberg, instigator of “Valkyrie”, the failed Hitler bomb plot.

 Model by Ed Russell

“...SF+WR is but one candidate for the Bu181 Melitta Stauffenberg was flying that day but it's one of the few documented to be attached to Fliegschule A/B 23. This is the old but neat Huma kit. The only additions were some sheet plastic card to the underside of the centre section which is rather flat on the kit but convex on the Bu181, a little detail in the cockpit. I also added the front engine cylinder, replaced the exhausts with cored-out solder and replace the tiny semi-circular windows with clear PVA. Paint is standard Model Master 70/71/65. I used some of the kit decals and some done on an Alps. The camera is cruel and emphasises the minimal silvering...”


Saturday 22 September 2012

Euromilitaire 2012 - first pictures & 'best in show' contender

Okay, the judges haven't yet decided on their 'best in show' as I write this and they are unlikely to vote for this stupendous 32nd scale crash-landed He 111 with wounded crew - but it was my personal 'best', no question. More from the 2012 edition of Europe's premier show for armour and figure modellers here

Monday 10 September 2012

Fw. Hermann Dibbel SG 2

From the Morning Bulletin (Australia 1954) and originally posted by Carlos on TOCH

Rank: Feldwebel
Unit: III./Stuka-Geschwader 2
Awarded DKIG on: February 26 1943

Teaches Writing In The SkyESSEN < AP).

-Ten years ago, front-line Russian soldiers gazed Into the skies where a lone German Stuka spelled out in huge, smoky letters an appeal to them to surrender. Sky-writer Hermann Dibbel, a Luftwaffe Master Sergeant was on his job. Today, Hermann Dibbel is a miner in a Ruhr colliery with: a monthly salary of about 600' marks (142.80 U.S. dollars). But recently, Dibbel got back his old job with a new twist. He claims to be Europe's only sky-writing instructor and foreign aerial advertising firms have hired him to teach their own pilots. Sky-writing is difficult, Dibbel says. lt is not only aerobatic flying, but requires extra delicate balance and control.  "When you are writing 2400 ft. letters in the sky, you do not see them," he said. "You have to use a stop watch and rely on skill. This is because a bad letter cannot be erased. If one letter is bad, the whole slogan may be illegible to the people down below." Only by going 3000 ft. lower, after finishing the text, can Dibbel see what he has written.Dibbel was one of several pilots selected by the German psychological warfare division for sky-writing surrender appeals over the Russian front. Until then, he had been a combat flier. He is credited with sinking a British cruiser, three transports and destroying 30 Soviet tanks with his single-engined Stuka dive bomber. He was a talented sky-writing student and later flew missions over Yugoslavia In an attempt to induce Tito's partisans to surrender.After World War Two, he fled from East Germany to the Ruhr and became a miner. Then he was re-discovered. Dibbel has accompanied a Swiss pilot on several flights from Duesseldorf airport and showed him how to sky-write.He has a simple method for beginners; mount a can with limewater on a bicycle and then try to write upside-down letters backwards while riding.Aerial advertising agents estimate that each sky-written letter costs about 50 marks (1150 dollars). Dibbel can do more than 30 letters an hour.He hopes to set up his own advertising firm soon. But Dibbel-like all other Germans -is forbidden to fly by Allied occupation law. This ban is to be lifted whenever the West German peace contract, restoring sovereignty 'of the Bonn Republic, goes into effect....

Sunday 9 September 2012

Bf 109 ace Arnold Bringmann JG 3, JG 7

Above; Me 109 E "schwarze 11" of 5./JG 3 in St.Omer-Arques during the winter of 1940/41. Pilot in the photo is Gefr. Arnold Bringmann (on the right) who survived the war with "at least" 30 victories including 2 Abschüße while flying a Me 262 with III./JG 7 (or EJG 2). Images from Michael Meyer's ebay sales. 

Bf 109 Friedrich belonging to the  Stab II./JG 3 photographed on 1 July 1942. Gefr. Arnold Bringmann seen here on his return from the sortie on which he achieved his first victory, an Il-2 over Schtschigry. Having flown with II./JG 3 during the Battle of Britain he was acting Staffelkapitän of 1./ JG 3 for the Bodenplatte operation on New Year's Day 1945 with the rank of Feldwebel. At war's end he was flying the Me 262 Turbo with JG 7.

Contending with torque - late war Messerschmitt 109s - and the limitations of German engineering

"..The day was rounded off with a demonstration of captured American aircraft, in particular a P-51 Mustang – it was stressed that our Bf 109s and Fw 190s were generally superior to this type. We soon realised on our first combat sortie that this statement was not entirely accurate.."

Uffz. Kurt Scherer II./JG 4 (quoted in Mombeek " Storming the Bombers")

As Bob Goebel explains so eloquently in his fine memoir  'Mustang Ace' all pilots flying single-engined fighters have to contend with torque - the heavy spinning engine and propeller causes the small light fighter airframe to veer off its centre-line axis. This is obviously inconvenient, especially for a gun-platform when you are trying to keep the sight pipper on the target. Trimming or re-trimming, usually through applications of rudder is essential to keep the aircraft flying straight without yawing. And -as my good friend 'Crump' points out- there are are other contributory factors to the left-swinging tendencies at work on high-performance tail-draggers, eg P-factor (propeller effect) - the blade on the left side upswing has the wing and the ground interfering with its thrust production compared to the right side down-swinging blade. The right side produces more thrust and therefore pushes the aircraft to the left.

On the P-51 a light off-set of the vertical fin was built into the design which generated an aerodynamic force which helped to balance out the torque. But even here any zero-yaw condition enhancements incorporated into the airframe are only true at one given airspeed and power setting- at a high power setting and low airspeed, as during a steep climb, the torque is greater than the correction. Conversely in a high speed dive aerodynamic forces are greater than the torque.

The average Bf 109 pilot enjoyed no such refinement as an off-set tail fin - with its small airframe and control surfaces the Bf 109 pilot had more to do in the cockpit than most. Of course as Messerschmitt himself put it, he had set out to produce a small fast fighter " and not a barn door.." ( as quoted in Isby, ' The decisive duel' P378) But with its small wing, narrow-track undercarriage, an overloaded airframe and large engine driving a broad-three-bladed propeller there were potentially lethal handling difficulties to contend with. At high speeds the Bf 109 required considerable stick forces. Well-trained pilots could handle this, but the Bf 109 could nonetheless be quite a handful even for an experienced pilot, especially on the ground! On the afternoon of 25 August 1944 the Kommandeur of I./JG 4 Major Walter Hoeckner taxiied out at Ziegenhain to lead his Gruppe on a transfer to France and the Western Front ;

"..It was on 25 August that I saw Hoeckner kill himself at Ziegenhain. His fighter powered off but flipped over at a height of around twenty metres and smashed into the ground. Those pilots that were already airborne and those just lifting off were completely stunned.... I almost met the same fate. The cockpits of our Me 109s were extremely cramped. With parachute, equipment and personal items it was sometimes difficult to get much leverage on the stick, wedged as it was in-between our knees. On one takeoff my machine veered off to starboard without me being able to do much about it - my knees got in the way of the stick movement. Fortunately I was already over the valley that ran along one side of the airfield. I was able to push the stick forward and pick up speed and managed to keep the aircraft under control by the skin of my teeth..." 

Ogfr. Horst Jaekel, 3./JG 4 ; (extracted from 'Storming the bombers' - a chronicle of JG 4, Mombeeck, trans. Neil Page )

Aged nearly 30, Walter Hoeckner had been flying the Bf 109 since 1940. On 25 June 1941 as Staffelkapitän of 6./JG 77, he had claimed no less than eight SB-2s during a freie Jagd sweep. At the time of his death he was a 68-victory Ritterkreuzträger, with sixteen of his victories notched up in the West, of which at least six were four-engined bombers. The Bf 109 was a particularly unforgiving aircraft, both for the novice and the seasoned ace. The tendency of the Bf 109 to swing badly on landing and take-off could of course be countered - but it required plenty of rudder. And if the tail was " lifted aggressively ", in the words of the late Mark Hanna (who also died at the controls of a Bf 109!), " the left swing tendency was difficult to stop and happens very quickly ". At altitude and high speed the Bf 109 tended to swing “like a pendulum combined with a rolling movement” to p
araphrase an RAF translation of comments by test pilot Heinrich Beauvais;

".incompletely trimmed ailerons and rudder ruin the feel of the aircraft to uselessness. Therefore, the aircraft must be carefully flown in.. " At high speed, the Bf 109 was " like a brick..", requiring both hands to move the controls. Oscar Boesch commented;

" ..When turning the FW 190 as high speed, it only took one hand on the stick to control the aircraft. In the 109 it took two hands and a lot of strength to make a tight turn if you had some speed. This destroyed the feel for flying the aircraft...

The following data for the Bf 109 E is extracted from a British test document "Messerschmitt Me 109 Handling and Manoeuverability Tests by the Ministry of Supply. September 1940" (via Olivier 'butch2k' at the allaboutwarfare forum) "...More detailed aileron tests (measurement of stick forces and time to bank) were made.. These tests showed that although the Me 109 ailerons felt much heavier than those of the Spitfire at speeds between 300mph (483kph) and 400mph (644kph), the a/c could be made to bank at about the same rate as the Spitfire at these high speeds. The more ‘solid' feel of the Me 109 ailerons at high airspeeds is attributed to the smaller stick travel (± 4 in. compared to ± 8 in. on the Spitfire), fairly rigid control circuit, and partly to the awkward seating position of the 400mph (644kph) the Me 109 pilot, pushing sideways with all his strength, can only apply about 1/5 aileron, thereby banking 45 deg. in about 4 secs.; on the Spitfire also, only 1/5 aileron can be applied at 400mph, and again the time to 45 deg. bank is about 4 secs..."  

Both aircraft types thus have their rolling maneuverability at high speeds seriously curtailed by aileron heaviness. The Spitfire's ailerons do not feel as ‘solid' at 400mph as those of the Me 109; this is because there is rather more 'stretch' in the aileron control circuit of the Spitfire. Note the detail for the maximum sideways force a pilot can exert on the stick - which worked out at around 60 lb. on the Spitfire, but only about 40 lb. on the Me 109; as indicated in the personal account above the reason for this difference is that the cockpit of the Me 109 is so cramped that a pilot cannot bring his arm round into the position most favourable for applying a large side force to the stick.  And it was not only the ailerons that caused problems for the 109 pilot. The following is again from the "Messerschmitt Me 109 Handling and Maneuverability Tests by the Ministry of Supply. September 1940":

 "..It is at high speeds that lack of a rudder trimmer most seriously inconveniences the pilot. At 215 mph (346 km/h) the a/c is trimmed directionally, no rudder being required. At higher speeds left rudder must be applied, and at 300mph (483 km/h) about 2 deg of left rudder are needed. The rudder is very heavy at high speeds, and a large force is required to apply even such a small amount; this becomes very tiring, and affects the pilot's ability to put on more left rudder to assist a turn to the left. Consequently at high speeds the Me 109 turns more readily to the right than to the left...."  

Test programmes to improve the flying characteristics of the Bf 109 ran virtually throughout the career of the aircraft. But it was only with the introduction of the high powered AS variants that certain refinements were introduced into the Bf 109 design to improve directional stability and reduce stick forces at high speed.  These essentially involved redesigned and enlarged tail surfaces (with better aerodynamic profiling - see diagram above), Flettner rudder tabs controllable from the cockpit, the introduction of a taller tail wheel strut and larger main wheels giving better ground control and visibility. All these options were tested from 1941 onwards in an effort to reduce aileron and rudder forces and eliminate yaw.  

 But, although the taller rudder as well as the Flettners made the 109 a more agile machine, the tall rudders were generally only introduced on the AS engined variants, and the Flettner tabs, – as on Friedrich-Karl Müller’s Bf 109 K here and Specht's G-6/AS below- were only incorporated on a smallish percentage of production - in the case of the Bf 109 K-4 only some 200 were equipped with Flettner rudder tabs

 Messerschmitt testing never resulted in widespread introduction of the possible 'improvements' - dispersed production and quality-control issues, to cite just a few reasons, saw to that. At war's end plenty of Bf 109s were of course still flying with the short vertical stabilizer and rudder and still featured the short tail-wheel strut. 

As mentioned above yaw is a vitally important factor in aerial gunnery - if the aircraft is yawing then the line of sight is not pointing in the direction of travel. It is perhaps significant that as bigger, faster turning engines were introduced in the same basic Bf 109 airframe the numbers of high-scoring aces on the type dried up; only 8 Luftwaffe aces out of the supposed 100 + who achieved more than one hundred victories started their careers after 1942. Of course this mostly has to do with the quality of the opposition too eg the performance of the P-51 over the Reich. Performance was also impacted by the various upgrades in the
 Bf 109's firepower. But you have to wonder whether any of this was of any benefit to the average Bf 109 pilot. In February 1944 alone over one thousand Luftwaffe aircraft were lost in accidents, a good proportion of which were due to inadequate training (quoted in Isby 'The decisive duel' P361). As Bob Goebel points out, all fighter pilots - certainly all US P-51 pilots - could probably fly well. However only relatively few could shoot well. The Luftwaffe Nachwuchs at the controls of their high-powered and heavily armed Bf 109s could do neither. They didn't stand a chance. 

Also on this blog  - Pilot training, discipline and procedures - " the Luftwaffe's greatest failure.." 

Thursday 6 September 2012

The "RAF-waffe" captured Luftwaffe - No 1426 Flight - Enemy aircraft Circus visit Framlingham Station 153, 390th BG during March 1944

Just back from holiday in the beautiful county of Suffolk. Visited the 390th BG Memorial air museum housed in the original wartime control tower of Framlingham station 153 located just outside Parham village, some five miles from Framlingham. On display are recovered aircraft wreckage and engines, uniforms, documents, photos and rare memorabilia. I was allowed to photograph these interesting and 'atmospheric' views of the "RAFwaffe" - No 1426 Flight - Enemy aircraft Circus, seen visiting Parham/Framlingham airfield, home to the Flying Fortresses of the 390th BG on 12 March 1944. These photos are on display at the control tower museum. American aircrews had the chance to inspect these captured enemy aircraft, observe them in flight as they flew passes over the airfield and generally improve their aircraft recognition skills. The flight was based at Collyweston near Wittering until early 1945. 

The Fw 190 was labelled as 'PE 882', which would make it the SKG 10 machine originally coded " H+ " of II. Gruppe, flown by Uffz. Otto Bechtolder. Disorientated en route and running short of fuel, the pilot had force-landed at RAF West Malling, 16 April 1943. 

There are colour views of some of the RAF's captured Luftwaffe machines elsewhere on this blog..

Monday 3 September 2012

Heinkel He 59 over Dunkirk

courtesy of Marco at koelsch333 Ebay sales

Currently on offer at koelsch333 Ebay sales, a selection of 'atmospheric' views from June 1940 of the remnants of the BEF on the beach at Malo-les-Bains, just down the coast from Dunkirk..