Saturday 30 August 2014

Latest Airfix 'Dogfight Double', a selection of colourful Emils from "Avions" n°189 & 190 and the latest issue of "Avions" no. 201

Airfix continue to go from strength to strength with their new tools and re-boxings. They are also releasing some great new 'Dogfight Doubles'  - I well recall my first ever model kit which was one of these; the 'Mosquito vs Me 262' from the early 70s! As pointed out by Tony O'Toole on Britmodeller though, the latest Airfix "Dogfight Double" gift set rather improbably pits a Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb (No. 229 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Qrendi, Malta, December 1942) against a Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-7 (aircraft flown by Oblt. Joachim Müncheberg, 7./JG 26 “Schlageter”, Gela, Sicily, Spring 1941). Müncheberg did indeed claim a number of Spitfire Vs in December 1942 ..but as Kommodore JG 77 over Tunisia at the controls of a Gustav. During his time over Malta the only British fighters present in theatre were Hurricanes and Fulmars with the odd surviving Sea Gladiator. He certainly didn't meet Spitfires over Malta in his JG 26 Emil "white 12"! Of course that may well not be the point of a "Dogfight Double" - I mean two aircraft that would have run up against each other in combat ? Hats off to Airfix though; two great 48th scale kits, paints and glue for less than a single Tamiya 48th scale fighter!

You might of course not be intending to use the kit decals at all; perhaps you are considering some other colourful Emils as alternatives to the box option - note I'm not saying that these Emils would have met a Spitfire V in combat either!

The following selection is courtesy of the leading aviation history magazine "Avions"  (..and "Avions" editor/manager Michel Ledet) Over the course of two 'special' issues (nos 189 and 190) devoted to the Bf 109 Emil, authors Jean-Louis Roba and Christophe Cony and illustrator Thierry Dekker presented some 50 pages of rare Emil images and artworks .. a small taster follows...back issues can be ordered at the "Avions" secure site  (English spoken!). You can also view PDF extracts for each issue at that link...

Below; a Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1 of 2./JG 26 force landed on a French beach on returning from England during the Battle of Britain..

Above, a machine apparently destined for North Africa, until diverted to the 'new' Eastern Front, this is  Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4/B (W.Nr. 2060) of 2.(J)/LG 2 seen at Mizil, Rumania, in June 1941. This aircraft was lost with its pilot, Hans Guse, on 10 July 1941 after tangling with I-16 fighters and DB-3 bombers over Tighina (south-west of Tiraspol)..

"Red 15" Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-7 of 2. Ausbildungsstaffel/ JG 77 in flight over Rumania in late 1941. Note the absence of pilot head armour. I. ErgGr./ JG 77 would shift to Mariupol in the Ukraine during January 1942 and fly ground-attack sorties until April 1942..

Above; two Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-7 sub-types ('black3 ' and 'black 4') of 2.(H)/Aufklärungsgruppe 14 preparing to get airborne in North Africa in late 1941. This unit was the first Luftwaffe recce Staffel to arrive in North Africa during February 1941 and operated successfully in this theatre until late March 1942, with only one recorded loss to British fighters. During April 1942 2. (H)/ 14 returned to Austria to re-equip with the Bf 109 F-4/ R3

Below; Cvitan Galic climbing down from "green 15" his Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 of 15.(Kroat.)/JG 52 seen in Mariupol, Ukraine. (WNr. 950 ??) Note the armoured windscreen. Cvitan Galic was the second highest scoring Croatian ace credited with 38 confirmed victories.. He later flew the MS.406 in anti-partisan duties. He was finally killed by strafing Spitfire IXs of No. 2 Squadron SAAF on 6 April 1944 at Zaluzani airfield near Banja Luka..

..and my personal favourite and minus the swastika, in itself something of a rarity  - a housed Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-7 of 2./JG 51 in February 1942. The aircraft is probably being serviced or/and undergoing repairs - the Hakenkreuz appears to have been overpainted...

Meanwhile the latest issue of "Avions" is just published (issue no. 201) - and is absolutely superb again from the team. Articles include the Wildcats of HMS Searcher vs JG 5 during March 1945 ( "Last combats of the Wildcat in Europe,  Spring 1945"), part III of Lennart Andersson's history of the Junkers K 47 (forerunner of the Ju 87 Stuka) and part II of a magnificent feature on D-Day 6 June 1944, replete with a great selection of superlative Dekker artworks! Bravo Thierry !

"Avions" have also released their own version of "Luftwaffe rudder markings" compiled by Philippe Saintes. For 14 euros you get an 80-page A-4 softback featuring some 20+ artworks and around 100 photos on glossy paper - day & night aces covered include Franz Blazytko, Heinz Bretnütz, Wolfgang Falck, Alfred Held, Harald Jung, Erbo Graf von Kageneck, Josef Kraft, Hans Krug, Helmut Lohoff, Werner Machold, Alfred Müller, Paul Schauder, Georg Schirmböck, Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, Adolf Steidle, Karl Willius and more. Recommended ! Go here to order a copy!

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Bf 109 G-10s of 2./JG 300, late 1944 - Ebay find # 93

Currently being offered for sale at the link below. Not much info from the seller on these which I find surprising for such rare images. They are prints (ie not originals) most probably acquired (indirectly) from the collection of Jean-Yves Lorant and were reproduced in Vol II of the Lorant/Goyat 'Bataille dans le ciel d'Allemagne', a history of JG 300..

The images reproduced here depict pilots and Bf 109 G-10s of I./JG 300, most probably 2. Staffel, probably seen at Borkheide during late 1944.

 below; Uffz. Hans Dahmen and Lt. Josef Jordan, pilots of 2. Staffel. I./JG 300 moved from Borkheide to Liegnitz during January 1945 as the Russians arrived at the Oder. However note the pparently cheerful demeanour of the pilots and the apparent absence of snow on the ground. Note the inscription 'Kurs' on the spinner in the image below may indicate that the aircraft was fitted with the Patin PKS 12 automatic pilot..

Also on this blog

I./ JG 300 at Borkheide

Ju 88 G of IV./ NJG 3- Schräge Musik, Unternehmen Gisela 03 March 1945, Ebay find # 92

Selection of images offered for sale by M. Meyer depicting Ju 88 G-1 Doppel Winkel  'D5+AF ' assigned to the Kommmandeur IV./NJG 3 Major Berthold Ney below and photographed in Jever during the winter of 1944-45. Note the chevron of the Kommandeur's machine immediately to the right of Oblt. Werner Davignon in the picture above..the twin barrels of the upwards-firing fuselage-mounted MG 151/20 Schräge Musik are clearly visible..

"... I got my first victory thanks to the nose mounted guns, but from December, 1943 I achieved the majority of my victories using Schräge Musik. I preferred it to the nose guns because it gave me a better guarantee of success. There was also a much smaller risk of being spotted and fired upon by the rear gunner. Our approach from the side and below, whether guided by our radar or from the ground, allowed us a better opportunity to spot the enemy against the lightness of the sky. At that point we could get under the bomber and match our speed to his and commence our attack from below..."

(Maj. Werner Hoffmann, NJG 5)

 Berthold Ney was severely injured baling out after his aircraft sustained hits from anti-aircraft fire during 'Gisela'. "Gisela" was a long-range intruder sortie directed against British bomber bases and flown on the evening of 3/3/45. RAF bombers were tracked and followed home over the North Sea following a heavy raid over Germany. Kommandeur Ney had to bale out on the return flight, broke his back in the process and was severely injured, paralysed from the waist down.

".. It was as we went to readiness during the evening of 3 March 1945 that the code word 'Gisela' finally came through. At around 23h00 a small force of some 200-300 British bombers penetrated German airspace in the region of the Münster Bight while on the ground we waited for the order to get airborne. We had on our thermal garb and had donned life jackets and stowed our life raft. Our bulky underwear and flying suits hampered our movements in the cramped cockpit of our Ju 88 G-6. Once again we were ordered down from the aircraft - the takeoff time had been put back some thirty minutes. When we were finally ordered up - right on time - we were the third crew to launch down the runway for what had been a well prepared and tensely awaited mission. We headed out over the North Sea skimming the wave tops at heights of less than fifty metres in the order to slip under the enemy's radar screen. We initially made for a radio beacon on the Dutch coast before taking up a track over the North Sea, all the while maintaining our altitude at 30-50 metres. In order to conserve fuel the throttles were set to cruise. We were looking to make landfall in the vicinity of Flamborough Head, one of the corridors leading in over the mainland. In order to preserve the effect of surprise we maintained absolute radio silence. Across a wide front virtually the entire German night fighter force, aided by some bomber units, was ploughing through the skies, heading for England to give the British a salutary reminder that the Luftwaffe was far from beaten......".  

"....By now my fuel was getting low and it was time to think about swinging onto a heading for home. I made a last circuit of the aerodrome identified as Dishforth but, as the moon had slipped behind a bank of cloud, we were unable to make out any further targets..However we were still some eighty kilometres from the coast. We were under instructions to return with empty magazines in our nose weapons and had been given free rein to strafe any ground targets. The enemy didn't hesitate to shoot at anything that moved on the ground by day over Germany - road traffic, trains, people working in fields or going about their business in villages and towns. Now he would get a taste of his own medicine. A double morse identification beacon ahead of me served as target practise and was quickly destroyed. A train heading northwards, lights blazing, was singled out for a long burst. Several wagons were set alight. Copious amounts of steam issued from the many impact strikes on the loco. I emptied my last rounds into the streets of Scarborough itself before emerging out over the sea. I quickly let down over the waves and suddenly found myself in the middle of a convoy assembling off the coast. A searchlight probed the night skies, illuminating a barrage ballon that was immediately hoisted down, while Paul fired off a red flare, the international emergency signal. We hurdled the balloon - thanking our British hosts below - before setting course for home just metres above the rolling waves of the North Sea. We had enjoyed great good fortune, taken the British completely by surprise, achieved two victories ourselves and caused great confusion if the other downings we had witnessed were anything to go by..."

extracted from an account by Lt. Arnold Döring (10./ NJG 3) in the 'Nachtjagd War Diaries' Vol II (Boiten/Mackenzie) - original translation by this blog author.. Döring - a former bomber pilot with 9./KG 53 and wilde Sau nightfighter with JG 300, had taken off for 'Gisela' from Wittmundhafen at the controls of 'D5+FV' and claimed two RAF bombers shot down over Yorkshire.

Below;  Hptm. Rossner of the Stab IV./ NJG 3 in front of Ney's  'D5+AF '

Michael Meyer's current Ebay sales are here 

Monday 11 August 2014

Bf 109 G-6/AS or G-14/AS W.Nr unknown "Grüne 5", Oblt. Manfred Dieterle, 2./Erg. JG 2

Below; a nice print from my collection via Jean-Yves Lorant of Bf 109 G-6/AS or G-14/AS 'Green 5' of I./EJG 2, the Ergänzungsnachtjagdstaffel  (night fighter replacement training unit), in overall gloss back finish. Established in March 1944 at Ludwigslust under Staffelkapitän  Hptm. Heinrich Spitzer, this unit was augmented to two Staffeln in July 1944 and trained pilots for single-seat night fighters. "Grüne 5", along with two sister ships "Grüne 6" and "Grüne 7", were briefly deployed as night fighters as described by Joachim Geier in the German-language "Jet & Prop" magazine issue 3/03.  Joachim Geier's article " Die schwarze "Grüne 5" der 2./Erg.JG2 "  (front page below) was the first to publish views of these machines. Geier's photos were taken from the album of Staffel erster Wart Gerhard Hübner. Note that Geier in his feature states that "Grüne 5" was more likely to have been a G-14/AS than the far less numerous G-6/AS sub-type and points primarily to the absence of lower cowl bulges as a basis for this conclusion. Pilots for this special Moskito hunting Staffel were drawn from the ranks of the Ergänzungsnachtjagdstaffel instructors and tasked specifically with 'Moskito-Jagd'. Among their number was former I./ JG 300 wilde Sau ace Manfred Dieterle.  Note the owl unit emblem on the engine cowl and, unusually for a Luftwaffe fighter, the yellow propeller tips. Note that the gear legs - as recalled by erster Wart Hübner - were also painted black! The wheel hubs are also black as well, rather than red as often illustrated..Click on the image for a quality screen-size view.

Crandall on Hyperscale in 2012

 " After a successful tour of duty with JG 300, Dieterle was transferred to take over as Staffelkapitän 2./EJG 2 on 21 November 1944. His unit was flying mostly Bf 109 G-6/AS aircraft. The aircraft he flew had Red numbers since they were in the 2./Staffel. He never flew "Green 5". They were not chasing Mosquitos, but doing night ground attack work. In his own words, "My last battles of the war were night ground attack missions, bombing convoys, bridges and anti-aircraft positions in the north. We had about 80 pilots and 56 Me 109 G-6s. My last flight was on 3 May 1945."

Crandall's statement conflicts with information presented in the original Jet &  Prop article. But then he  clearly doesn't read German. Colour images published subsequently (ie in LiF magazine) quite clearly show 'Green 5' of course. And while by war's end of course nobody was chasing Mosquitos, they certainly still were at the turn of the year 1944/45!

According to the original Jet & Prop photo caption the view above apparently depicts Dieterle in the cockpit with erster Wart Gerhard Hübner leaning against the wing leading edge and was taken at Hagenow, south of Schwerin, during the winter of 1944/45. The lower surfaces of all three Bf 109s of the 2./Erg. JG 2 were black. However "Grüne 6" and "Grüne 7" featured 'standard' upper surface colours with some areas of their airframes, such as the yellow lower cowl, in a cross-hatched black over-spray, while "Grüne 5" was sprayed black overall.

"Grüne 6" with  erster Wart Gerhard Hübner on the cockpit sill (via Joachim Geier)

According to Hübner, Dieterle had initially requested that his machine "Grüne 5" be stripped of all camouflage paint for an extra turn of speed for Mosquito chasing duties, and a Probeflug - check flight- was flown in the bare metal finish. However the airframe was finally painted a glossy black finish that was highly polished. Two of the three Bf 109s were eventually lost;  "Grüne 7" with Ofw. Steinhagen at the controls had to make an emergency landing in the vicinity of Magdeburg.

The front page of Geier's article below, shows the over-sprayed lower cowl of 'Green 6' framing 'Green 5' in the background..

More rare images of "Grüne 5" depict the aircraft 'captured' at Gardelegen having been left there in the spring of 1945 with mechanical problems. Note the 'extended' flame damping exhaust shield in the view below, evidently a field mod made subsequent to the photo above..

Modellers looking for decals for this machine should check out John McIllmurray's new AIMs decal sheet "Monotone Me's". Likewise modellers should consider purchasing a digital copy of Roger S. Gaemperle's superlative "Captured Eagles" which features two pages of previously unpublished coverage of this Ergänzungsnachtjagdstaffel Gustav including new photos and detailed text...

More information can be found at Vintage Eagle Publishing's News page

Sunday 10 August 2014

Priller's 'Jutta' - Focke Wulf Fw 190 A-8 'Black 13'

No captions necessary ! Super Jan Malý artwork reproduced with permission.  Lovely clear shot of Priller at the controls of 'Black 13'. Thanks to Jean-Yves Lorant for the photo to view large..

Friday 8 August 2014

I./ JG 300 Borkheide, October 1944

A line-up of JG 300 Bf 109 G-14/AS fighters including W.Nr. 16. ... "Rote 1" of 2. Staffel seen at Borkheide during October 1944....and below "Rote 5", expired Ebay auction via Marc-André Haldimann's photostream on flickr, and bottom, 'Red 5' via J-Y Lorant.

Borkheide was an isolated village some thirty miles or so south of Berlin, the 'airfield' an open expanse of what the pilots described as a "heath-land" of sandy soil, grassy tufts and felled pine fir stumps. It was surrounded by pines on three sides, in theory difficult to spot from the air - and by marauding P-51s. The pilots and ground crews of I./JG 300 'lived' in underground log bunkers - a "foretaste of the coffin" according to one pilot- and spent most of their days at cockpit readiness.

Ofhr. Friedrich-Wilhelm Schenk (2. Staffel) recalled;

 " Borkheide, autumn 1944. The order to go to cockpit readiness had come through twenty minutes previously. A deathly silence descended over the field. The pilots found themselves alone with their thoughts, seated at the controls of their Messerschmitts... Our life expectancy was no more than two hours. Two hours during which our lives hung in the balance; we were on a knife edge, either about to survive to see the dawn of another day or to die a horribly violent death. If you have never lived through that type of situation you could only with difficulty comprehend its intensity... A suffocating feeling of powerlessness, inner turmoil, intense fear and silent resignation. Above our heads the sky was unashamedly blue. Two fitters stood on the wing leading edge, ready to wind up the heavy inertia starter of the Daimler-Benz engine. They spoke in low voices if they spoke at all. To break the tension someone uttered a word of encouragement or cracked an unnecessary joke. Then, a Kettenkrad ran down the line of aircraft carrying our Adjutant Oblt. Noschinski, or the Technical Officer, Oblt. Dudak, or our “Doc”, staff-surgeon Dr. Ditgens, or the Signals Officer Lt. Käppeler. There was a word for each pilot, the offer of a cup of coffee, mineral water or some cake. Could they refuse anything to men who they perhaps would never see alive again, who perhaps had only two hours to live?..."

(extracted from Jean-Yves Lorant's " Bataille dans le Ciel d'Allemagne " and translated by this blog author..)

On 2 November 1944 around fifteen P-51s of the 355th FG - the 'Steeple Morden Strafers' - discovered the 'airfield' at Borkheide and gave it a working over, flying strafing passes for up to ten minutes. This attack resulted in virtually half the entire aircraft complement of I./ JG 300 going up in flames - at least nineteen Bf 109s with fuel tanks and magazines recently replenished for a sortie were destroyed on the ground. At Jagddivsion HQ the entire incident reeked of incompetence and following a visit and interview by Generalleutnant Beppo Schmid, CO of I. Jagdkorps, accompanied by Kommodore Dahl, Kommandeur Hptm. Stamp only narrowly avoided disciplinary sanctions..

More from 'Timo' Schenk on this blog

Thursday 7 August 2014

Dornier Do 17 Z, Ju 88 C Nachtjäger of 2./NJG 2 - Luftwaffe Ebay find #91

Ju 88 C-2 Nachtjäger of I./NJG 2 seen at Gilze-Rijen 1940/41

more scenes of I./NJG 2 Ju 88s at Gilze Rijen on this blog at the following links

Below; Ju 88 C Nachtjäger of 2./NJG 2 in Bengasi-Berka Libya during 1942. See pic on page 74 of Volume 2 of the Stipdonk/Meyer Zerstörer- und Nachtjagdverbände series. Note the aircraft is taxiing with the Bola still open ...

According to the seller the following image shows Ju 88 C Nachtjäger of 2./NJG 2 seen on convoy escort duties (beim Schiffsgeleitschutz) over the Med during 1942. Note the 'R4' code and the white theatre fuselage band and the wing stripe.

Do 17 Z-6 of 2./NJG 2 seen in Gilze-Rijen during September 1940. See pic on page 65 of Volume 1 of the Stipdonk/Meyer Zerstörer- und Nachtjagdverbände series. Originally with 5./ NJG 1 this Staffel was re-designated 2./ NJG 2 in September 1940..

Below; Heinkel He 59 Seenot machines on the beach at Calais - or possibly Boulogne-sur-Mer according to one correspondent.. Note the landmark jetty left - photo taken during September 1940. Another Ebay win to be forwarded to Jean-Louis Roba for a planned "Luftwaffe Seaplanes" volume 4....

Me 323 D undergoing servicing in Rumania during 1944

Michael Meyer's current Ebay sales are here

Wednesday 6 August 2014

NASM’s Heinkel He-219 and Horten flying wing Restoration Update

The restoration crew at the Paul E. Garber Restoration Facility in Silver Hill, Maryland has finished their work repairing the wings for the museum’s unique Heinkel He-219 A-2 Uhu, Wk.Nr.290202. In mid-July, the team prepared the freshly repainted wings for shipment to the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. For the first time in years, they took the long-hidden 63′ span airfoil outside, mounted to its massive custom steel frame, and rotated the whole assembly 90 degrees, until it lay in a more natural, horizontal configuration. It is now more or less ready for loading onto a flat-bed truck for the forty mile journey to its final home.

Elsewhere the centre section of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's unique Horten H IX V3 is being prepared for transport to their Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. This radical-looking, flying wing is the prototype for what would have been the formidable Horten Ho-229 jet fighter with the Luftwaffe had WWII lasted much longer. Only one of the prototypes flew, and it crashed, but the Horten brother’s had proven the basic concept with smaller, but similarly-shaped gliders, so it really was only a matter of time and resources before the jet-powered variant could have been perfected for combat. NASM’s example is the last of her breed. American forces captured her in the closing days of the war, and shipped her back to the US for evaluation. The aircraft is based upon a steel frame, but the exterior cladding is mostly plywood, which is in quite poor condition with significant de-lamination in places.

NASM’s Heinkel He-219 Restoration Update

NASMs Horton flying wing restoration update via Warbirds News

via Chris Simmonds @  German Airplanes of the Second World War