Monday 14 April 2014

Eastern Front rarities Ar 232, He 177, Me 321 - daily Ebay photo find

click to view large and currently on offer here

He 177 of KG 1

Ar 232 A-02 W.Nr. 100004 "VD+YB" , Eastern Front, early 1943 (?). This aircraft later flew as "L5+AR", 7./Erg.TG 7. ID courtesy the German airplanes WW II group on Facebook

Rare four-engined Ar 232 B on this blog here 

Aufklärungsstaffel See/88 - AS./88 Legion Condor - Nationalist Ju 52 3m (W) - Totenkopf emblem - daily Ebay photo find

Along with the first variants of the Stuka to fly combat sorties, one of the rarest Luftwaffe types to see service during the Spanish Civil War was this Nationalist Ju 52 3m (W). It is not known if there was more than a single example of the Ju-52 floatplane in service with the Aufklärungsstaffel See/88 (AS./88 or the Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron), of the Legion Condor in Spain. This particular aircraft - probably red '527' - complete with Totenkopf emblem on the nose, was used by the AS./88 for liaison and transport duties. During a flight from Cadiz to Pollensa on 21 March 1938 it came under attack from two Republican Fiat CR. 32 fighters, one of which was shot down by the Ju 52's gunner.  Republican Coastal Defence reported ;

" 15:10 two fighters were airborne to intercept an enemy seaplane spotted eight miles from the coast, north-east of Cabo Palos. The fighters engaged the seaplane but the rebel aircraft managed to shoot down one of our aircraft which came down in the sea thirty five kilometres from the coast, exploding on impact  .."

Aces and pilots of III./ JG 54- Lt. Eugen-Ludwig Zweigart - Gustavs defending the Reich

Recently offered on Ebay (see above) and also reproduced - rather too dark - in the classic Prien and Rodeike " Bf 109 F-G-K " the two images above are obviously copies of repros of copies etc etc ... here is a much better quality view of  Zweigart, wearing RK, and seated on his "Brown 7" (courtesy Jean-Yves Lorant) to view large.

"Tarzan" was a Bf 109 G-4, the variant which introduced the bulged fairings on the upper wing (just visible here) for the larger mainwheels adopted from the G-4 series..

A successful Eastern Front ace, Zweigart enjoyed one of his 'best' days on 20 February 1944, the first day of 'Operation Argument' - the US 8th AF assault on the German aviation industry. Zweigart claimed two B-17s shot down, while III./ JG 54 claimed eight in total, the best result for the defending Gustav units. Zweigart claimed three B-17s on 6 March 1944, during the first large-scale USAAF raid on Berlin. Having flown in the West for the best part of a year and seconded to the Gruppenstab of III./JG 54, Zweigart was shot down and killed in aerial combat near Les Champeaux, south-west of Vimoutiers (Normandy) on 8 June 1944. He baled out but was shot while hanging in his parachute ( Fw 190 A-8, W.Nr. 170 736, “Black 3”). He was 30 years old and had been credited with 69 victories.

Bf 109 G-6/R6 I./JG 300 wilde Sau

Above; anonymous Bf 109 G-6/R6 from I./JG 300. Note the wavy camouflage scheme, the absence of Kennziffer, flame shroud over the exhaust and the Eberspächer acoustic pipe or 'whistle' over the leading stack. These ‘whistles’ provided an audible alarm signal to alert an airfield and its flak batteries that a wilde Sau night fighter was operating in the vicinity and that they should not be fired upon! Photo is from ebay -location,unit & W.Nr. are unknown. Below; 'weisse 8 ' and 'weisse 11' are G-6/R6 sub-types under camouflage netting at Bonn-Hangelar during the summer of 1943.

Below two views of an airframe being towed from a field following an accident of some description. The tail bands are almost certainly the blue/white/blue of JG 300. The JG 300 loss list shows a Bf 109 G-14/AS "Green 14", lost on 30 January 1945 after the pilot Uffz. Gerhard von Strassmann (11./ JG 300) ground-looped on take off from Mark Zwuschen attempting to ferry  a 'Green 14' back to Jueterbog. With the Russian advance threatening to over-run JG 300's airfields in the East, the Geschwader had been ordered back to its airfields around Berlin. By his own account though the pilot recalls wiping the undercarriage off in that particular incident - there would most probably have been a dusting of fresh snow on the ground around this date too..

This machine is illustrated by Anders Hjortsberg at his Profile Paintshop blog

Friday 11 April 2014

NJG 1 Venlo Nachtjagd photo album - Daily Ebay photo find

On offer at this link, a NJG photo album featuring Ordensverleihungen (award ceremonies - award of RK during June 1943 to Staffelkapitän Hans-Dieter Frank 2./ NJG 1) Gruppenkommandeure und Geschwaderkommodore of NJG 1 on the Flugplatz Venlo Holland and scenes from airfield activities at Flugplatz Arnheim, Flugplatz Gütersloh, Flugplatz Schleswig. As well as Me 110 Nachtjäger, the album features Do 17 nightfighters and Me 109s of 11.(N) JG 2 prior to or on this unit's incorporation into NJG 1.

Monday 7 April 2014

JG 51 Mölders Messerschmitt Bf 109 - Daily Ebay photo find

Fw 190s JG 1 JG 4 - daily Ebay photo finds

comment on the above from Jakub Plewka;
" F-3/R1. Location of the Erste Hilfe pack + underwing ETC + MG flat cowl denotes the type. The BSK presence is interesting. Cool bird but what is the one on the left? Ju 188 nose...?"

Below; two images of late 1944 Fw 190 A-8s; given the camouflage and style of Kennziffer, these are almost certainly JG 1

below; two previously unseen images of belly-landed Sturm Fw 190 from 5.(Sturm)./ JG 4. Of course this might be an A-6 from the Sturmstaffel, it is difficult to tell whether the MG cowl cover is flat or bulged.

Friday 4 April 2014

Rudi Dassow ZG 26 Me 410 - defending the Reich

Leading Zerstörer ace Lt. Rudi Dassow seen here at the conclusion of a sortie in his Messerschmitt Me 410 "Hornisse" displaying the tactical number '11'

"..Hier nach der Rückkehr von einem erfolgreichen Feindflug mit seinem Bordschützen beim Ausstieg aus seiner Maschine des nur in wenigen Stückzahlen zum Einsatz gekommenen Flugzeugmusters Messerschmitt Me 410 "Hornisse" mit der taktischen Nummer "11" und der charakteristischen Bugbewaffnung.."   ...seen here on his return from a successful sortie with his gunner dismounting their aircraft, a type that was deployed and saw combat in only limited numbers, the Me 410.. 

As Staffelkapitän 8./JG 6 (Fw 190 A-8 WNr. 171711 "Blue 8") Dassow was KIA on 25 August 1944 over the Invasionsfront in France in combat with US fighters and awarded a posthumous RK.
II./ZG 26 had been redesignated II./JG 6 on 5 August 1944. The unit did not receive its new Fw 190 A-8 fighters until that month as can be seen on the strength returns. The action in which Rudolf Dassow was lost was the first large-scale operation of the Gruppe which had arrived in France only three days before. With 22 Luftsiege (12 Viermots) - as quoted in Obermaier, source unknown -  he was one of the most successful Zerstörer pilots against US four-engine bombers.

compare these images with the footage below, from 04:00 mins - an Me 410 is seen performing an airfield flypast, waggling its wings and then taxiing in to dispersal and the crew dismounting.....

via John Manhro; "...The main problem with the career and claims of Dassow are the lack of primary sources. Furthermore the data Obermaier (RK) gives is a problem. He states that Dassow arrived at 10./ZG 1 in May 1942 in the East and transferred to 7./ZG 1 on 27.7.1942. Furthermore Obermaier says he had 22 Luftsiege in the West and of these were 12 Viermots. I have not seen any primary source that confirms this. Not for the total count of 22 claims nor the 10./ZG 1 note..."

More on this on Michael Zeh's TOCH thread here

Lt. Walter Bohatsch I. & II./ JG 3 - Bf 109 Gustavs defending the Reich, Reichsverteidigung

 Bf 109 G-5 W.Nr. 26 09x "Schwarze 6" flown by Lt. Walter Bohatsch (seen below, right, click to view large) with his Erster Wart, Amsterdam-Schipol, probably 11 November 1943. It is just possible to make out the lower edge of the II. Gruppe Balken more or less concealed by the sunlight reflection here. G-5 ID confirmed by the following as pointed out by Jakub Plewka; canopy framing reveals additional seals, silica gel capsules in the windscreen side windows. Likely pressurised. Confirmed G-5s relatively rare. Note that this pic is reproduced on p261 of Prien's II./ JG 3 history although Schiffer's reproduction is very dark..

 John Weal profile. Note that II./ JG 3 eschewed theatre and tactical markings through late 1943 and as per the image below used 'outline' codes with no yellow recognition markings such as lower cowls or rudders. This was to tone down their markings and appear as anonymous as possible - they were at the time facing the brunt of the US bomber formations. The Geschwader 'winged U' badge was displayed in 'reverse' and featured a red 'dot', the significance of which is not known. See Ebay pic below of Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 18 802 "Schwarze 1", Lt Joachim Kirschner, Staffelkapitän 5./JG 3, Amsterdam-Schipol, Autumn 1943. Sitting on the cowling is Fw. Paul Draeger. Via Prien JFV 10/II..

Walter Bohatsch was born on 14th January 1921. He trained as a fighter pilot from June 1942 until 15th February 1943 with JFS 2 and JFS 5 before joining Erg./JGr.Ost. He made at least thirteen claims that were confirmed. The first was 17th April 1943, the last with JG 3 was a B-17 on 29th April 1944. He made at least four further B-17 claims with 1./ JG 7. The 14th claim was a B-17 shot down on 10 April 1945 and the 15th, a B-17 over Dresden on 14 April. Bohatsch claimed two further B-17s, the last Fortress going down south-west of Prague on 19 April 1945. Walter Bohatsch self-published a small book about his experiences in JG 3 from 1943 to 1945 entitled "Zeitzeugenbericht über eine Jagdfliegereinheit von 1943 bis 8. Mai 1945"  ( "Eyewitness account from a fighter unit-1943 to 8 May 1945'')  The following from Leon Ventner published in 2004 on TOCH;

 " an attractive hardcover book, with JG 3 and JG 7 emblems on the cover, comprising 86 pages, most of which are illustrated. The majority of the photographs are of JG 3 and JG 7 pilots, but several shots have aircraft in the background, including Bohatsch's Bf 109 Gustav "Black 6" and Me 262 "White 4". The text describes the author's experiences as a member of 5./JG 3 in Russia, Holland and Germany (55 pages). After being wounded, he served in 2./JG 3 (6 pages) before joining I./JG 7 (10 pages). He flew the 109 G-4, G-5, and G-6 in operations, as well as the Me 262. He flew his last flight in Me 262 "White 4" on May 8th, 1945. ..."

Bohatsch was appointed Staffelkapitän 2./ JG 3 in early 1944 but flew infrequently due to his injuries. Based in Burg bei Magdeburg, 2./ JG 3 was deployed on high cover duties for the Sturm Fw 190s of the Sturmstaffel 1 and IV./ JG 3.

Bohatsch flew a Bf 109 G-6/AS 'Black 7', possibly the machine in the picture below;

His Staffel comrade Horst Petzschler recalled;

" was the second week of May 1944 and we were sat around the Staffel briefing room when we we told that a large formation of bombers was assembling over England. We watched their advance closely and predicted that they were heading for Berlin. Our assumption proved correct sometime later when the alarm was sounded; the klaxon going off signified that we should go to cockpit readiness. We were driven out to our Gustavs and almost immediately ordered to get airborne. As Burg was such a large field our entire Staffel took off in unison. We followed Bohatsch  and climbed to 30,000 feet as instructed by our ground station at Dobernitz. I sighted the approaching B-17s at 24,000 feet and our Staffel formed up to the rear of their formation. We opened out into our attack formation and on Bohatsch's command "Angriff!" we dove on the B-17s. Almost immediately we realised that P-38s were behind us and our Staffel attack was completely disrupted - it appeared that they were all on my tail and coming after me. My inexperienced wingman had disappeared into the clouds and now our flak was exploding all over the sky. I put my Gustav into a steep dive flying by the bomber stream and headed north with the P-38s in close pursuit...15 minutes into the chase I noticed my temperature gauge climbing fast and knew my coolant had been holed. I was too low to bale out..I knew I would have to belly in before my engine seized .... "