Saturday 25 June 2016

late-war Bf 109 G-14 and Fw 190 or the dangers of presenting guesswork as fact - daily ebay photo find #184

...late-war Luftwaffe subjects can be difficult enough without the confusion that results from  'guesswork' being presented as fact! 

Above;  since appearing in a recent ebay auction this machine has been labelled as a G-14 of the " Stab/JG 4 at Zellhausen.."

Very very doubtful. There is not one single mention of  'Zellhausen' in Erik Mombeek's two volume history of JG 4! In fact the only fighter Gruppe that saw action here was II./JG 11 early in 1945. Located in Hesse, east-south-east of Frankfurt/Main, in 1945 Zellhausen was home to TGr. 30 operating He 111s in the transport role flying resupply missions to the German fortress enclaves in western France as well as to Dunkirk on the Channel coast. Besides the 'dark' coloured fuselage band doesn't look black (as JG 4's fuselage bands were..) certainly not compared to the black of the 'chevron'. (Thank you John)

Below, from the same seller, a II./JG 53 G-14 with solid black fuselage band and labelled by the same poster " an unknown location "  (!).  But note how the GI in the cockpit is the same man in both images!

..and below; another image from the same seller depicting the same GI again! This machine has been labelled " Bf 109 G-6 or G-14 W.Nr. unknown, I./JG 101, Bad Wörishofen, late April 1945 " ....

So counting 'an unknown location' as a potential third airfield, we see photos of the same GI on three different airfields posing with aircraft from three different units. I don't really think that is very likely to be honest.. in my opinion we're looking at a late-war unit who painted their aircraft with a triple fuselage band and shared a field towards the end with JG 53 - narrows the field down quite a bit...

Abandoned Fw 190s photographed in Mourmelon, France by members of the 406th FG here

May, 1945, burnt-out Heinkel He 219, Handorf

Thursday 23 June 2016

AZ models Bf 109 Friedrich in 72nd scale due soon

AZ's new Bf 109 F was born..... Happy parents - left to right - Pavel Vandelik, mould maker, Petr Muzikant, author of the master model, Jan Pavlik, consultant (and Saxon fan), Jan Polc, camouflage and decals design and Petr Safra, completion and distribution.

Monday 20 June 2016

Friday 17 June 2016

JG 51 Friedrich - daily Ebay photo find#181


new Luftwaffe books (1) - Wekusta 2 in combat

New from Perre Babin and published by Heimdal (French language) is this history of weather recce unit Wekusta 2. The unit is notable for having spent its entire war in France- flying daily sorties from French Atlantic coast bases in Bordeaux, Brest, Nantes and Mont de Marsan- and for having deployed the Heinkel He 177 bomber for weather and long-range maritime recce sorties during 1944.

Below; He 111 D7 + LH and a Do 17 Z of Westa 2 Ob.d.L. in front of the hangars and the tower at Brest-Lanvéoc, autumn 1940.

Wettererkungdungstaffel 2 Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (weather reconnaissance squadron) was established during July 1940 in Oldenburg, north-west Germany and located at the German-designated 'Brest Süd' (Lanvéoc) from the summer of 1940. The primary mission of the Staffel was long-range Atlantic weather observation for the preparation of accurate forecasting both for the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine, particularly the U-boot arm. During the course of its activities the Staffel not unnaturally fulfilled the secondary but equally important of role of spotting Allied Atlantic convoys. The Staffel operated under the auspices of, and drew its personnel and equipment from, Aufklärungsgruppe 123, whose Stab was located in Tossus-le-Noble and Buc in the Paris region from July 1940 until mid-1944. 3.(F)/123 was located in Rennes from August 1942. The Staffel was one of the rare Luftwaffe units to fly sorties with 'semi-civilians' on-board - each flight carried a meteorologist who was also trained to fire the on-board armament of the He 111s and Ju 88 Ds with which the unit flew its sorties out over the Atlantic and around the western coasts of Ireland. Note there were several grades/ranks of meteorologists from Regierungsrat and Wetterdienst Assessor. The full story of Wekusta 2 is told by Pierre Babin in this new volume.

More on Wekusta 2 on this blog

Thursday 16 June 2016

Circuses over France - on the eve of Barbarossa; 21 June 1941 in the West

 On the eve of Barbarossa, 21 June 1941 -  and indicating perhaps that the British, via Ultra, were aware of the imminent German invasion of the Soviet Union - the RAF mounted two successive Circuses over northern France for the first time. Circuses were essentially large-scale fighter sweeps, taking the war to the Luftwaffe. The RAF's tactic was to lure the German fighters - principally of JG 2 and JG 26 - into the air to write them down using a handful of bombers as 'bait' escorted by sometimes as many as nine squadrons of fighters. This is what Jean-Louis Roba in his new publication for Lela Presse, 'Non-Stop Offensive' (cover image left, go here to purchase), refers to as " the Battle of Britain in reverse" - and which in many instances imposed similar constraints on the RAF fighter squadrons as the Jagdwaffe had endured during the previous summer. Circus N° 16 targeted the airfield at Longuenesse (St-Omer) during the early afternoon – six Blenheims of 21 Sqd and an ‘escort’ of no fewer than fifteen squadrons of fighters. JG 26 alone intercepted, the German pilots claiming four victories. After scrambling from Audembert with his wingman Ofw. Bruno Hegenauer in tow, Kommodore Galland was soon up-sun and at altitude, launching a diving attack that pierced the RAF fighter screen to set one of the Blenheims alight. He claimed a second Blenheim shot down although this ‘victory’ was not confirmed and his 'victim' returned home. Galland’s machine, an early series Bf 109 F-2, WNr. 5776, was hit by future ace Boleslaw ‘Ghandi’ Drobinski of 303 Sqn - damage later assessed at 40% - but the Kommodore JG 26 was able to carry out a belly landing close to the airfield at Calais-Marck before being picked up by a Bf 108 and ferried back to Audembert. Fw. Bruno Hagenauer bailed out near St. Omer while Gefr. Christian Knees of 9./ JG 26 was shot down on his first sortie. II./JG 26 who chased after the RAF raiders also lost several machines to the Biggin Hill fighters, two pilots being shot down over the UK resulting in a largely positive outcome for the RAF from Circus N° 16 – at least five JG 26 Bf 109s for one Blenheim and three fighters damaged.

Circus N° 17, mounted later that afternoon against the aerodrome at Desvres, resulted in II. Gruppe of the Richthofen being scrambled in support of the Schlageter over the coastal sector between Boulogne and Le Touquet to counter no fewer than seventeen fighter squadrons escorting six 110 Sqd Blenheims. For the second time that day the fighting was largely favourable to the raiding RAF force. Kommodore Galland was airborne again, this time in his replacement Friedrich, minus a wingman. This was Bf 109 F-2 WNr. 6713 (DG+MU) displaying a chevron and two bars. (Isby in his excellent account in 'The Decisive Duel' states that Galland's second machine of the day was an Emil).

Once again the aggressively flown Spitfires brought him down, although not before he claimed his 70th (probably the Spitfire of P/O Edward of 616 Sqd which came down near Boulogne). The moments after being shot up Galland described as the most terrifying seconds of his life. Wounded in the head and the right arm, it was only with great difficulty that he managed to extricate himself from his doomed machine. WNr. 6713 crashed at Bellebrune, 12 km east of Boulogne-sur-Mer. On landing Galland was taken to a farm by some "unpleasant looking Frenchmen" before being taken back to Audembert and on to the Kriegsmarine Lazarett at Hardinghem. Theo Osterkamp later drove over to inform Galland that his tally of victories ( revised down to 69 as subsequently seen on the rudder scoreboard of his F-2 WNr. 6750) had now earned him the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern). In addition to the Kommodore, JG 26 suffered three more losses.

Während des Geburtstagsempfangs im April 1941 bei Generalleutnant Theodor Osterkamp (r.) schildert der Jagdflieger der deutschen Luftwaffe, Oberstleutnant Adolf Galland (2.v.l.) einen Luftkampf; 2.v.r. Oberstleutnant Werner Mölders. (Dreesen) 10443-41 - Galland at Osterkamp's 49th birthday describing a combat, April 1941 (Bundesarchiv photo via wiki commmons)

II./JG 2 claimed no less than eleven victories ( ten Spitfires and a single Hurricane), with the notable aces adding to their scores; Ofw. Kurt Bühligen (4./JG 2, three Spitfires), Lt. Siegfried Schnell (4./JG 2, two Spitfires west of Le Touquet), Oblt. Hans-Jürgen Hepe (4./JG 2, two Spitfires) and the Kommandeur Greisert (a single Spitfire). These Spitfire claims were in addition to eight Spitfires claimed by JG 26. In total the RAF lost no more than four Spitfires for nineteen German claims !

The extent of the over-claiming on the German side may be a reflection of the RAF’s numerical superiority or it may possibly reflect the intensity of the fighting - the British had lost in fact (inclusive of the losses sustained during the early afternoon )… just three Hurricanes and probably a similar number of Spitfires. The RAF though had claimed some thirty victories- including a number of the new Friedrichs. While just as optimistic, the British claims were at least partially founded since JG 26 had lost around ten aircraft plus a further four aircraft seriously damaged. Of the JG 2 pilots, Uffz. Lorenz Dessoy of 5. Staffel had to bale out following combat with a Spitfire off Tréport. He was rescued by the Seenot and was able to rejoin his unit. Dessoy would eventually perish in 1945 shortly before the end of the war. It was notable too that no British bomber was lost during the course of the fighting, no doubt as a result of the excellent protection afforded by the imposing fighter escort. While generally described as Galland's worst day of the war - shot down twice - the Schlageter and the Richthofener were about to enjoy their most successful period of the conflict! Although Galland himself would be shot down again in another Friedrich on his next sortie on 2 July - the leading fighter ace of the Luftwaffe downed three times in three consecutive sorties!

Also on this blog;

Kanalgeschwader JG 2- Bf 109 Friedrich into service

Bf 109s Jabos of JG 2 in 1941

Operation Sunrise, 24 July 1941 - I./JG 2 versus RAF bombers over France

Der Reichsmarschall bei Oberst Galland JG 26 - Der Adler 01/42

Sunday 12 June 2016

Focke Wulf Fw 200 Condor - new Osprey, Classic Pubs and Lela Presse titles due. First I./KG 40 Condor losses over Norway, April/May 1940 - Goss, Roba

A number of new books on the Fw 200 and Condor operations are due soon. Chris Goss has an Osprey title in preparation while Jean-Louis Roba is compiling a much larger Fw 200 title to be published by Lela Presse. And Classic Pubs are promising the definitive Condor volume next year..

Luftwaffe Feldwebel Ewald Kockmann was for a large part of the war a professional photographer attached to III. Gruppe of Kampfgeschwader 40 and responsible for a large number of high quality images of this unit's Fw 200 Condors based in Bordeaux recently offered by a number of ebay sellers.

Startklar zum Feindflug

C-4s of III./KG 40 seen at Bordeaux- Mérignac. The Germans carried out extensive works at Mérignac for their Atlantic air operations - the aerodrome was developed into arguably the most important Atlantic coast base for anti-shipping and reconnaissance operations. The Germans constructed two concrete runways -  the main runway 2 was oriented north-west/south-east and was some 2,000 metres in length and 80 metres wide. Also constructed were thirteen large metal hangars of some 6,000 sq m organised in three groups. Large numbers of taxiways and dispersal points were constructed over the 410 hectare site - which was surrounded by pines - in attempts to minimise the effects of any Allied air raids. The aerodrome was defended by the RAD-Flakabteilung 595.

Also on this blog;

Unsere Kondor, unser Pilot;  Knight's Cross winner Oberleutnant Bernhard Jope's F8+EL here

A note on some of the first I. Gruppe KG 40 Condor losses of the war

According to Ulf Larsstuvold's article ‘Condor Over Norge i 1940’ in Flyhistorie magazine Nr.19 (2011, via GoranL) three Fw 200 Cs of I./ KG 40 were lost in April and May 1940.

21.04.1940 - Loss of Fw 200 C "F8+CH", pilot Oberleutnant Karl Beckhaus. Besides a crew of six a war reporter was on board when the aircraft failed to return presumed lost over the North Sea after a mission to Narvik had to be abandoned after meeting bad weather and icing conditions at Vestfjorden.

25.05.1940 - Fw 200 C piloted by Oberleutnant Helmut Schöpke was on a mission towards Narvik by three ‘Condors’ that day when attacked by Flying Officer Francis Grant Ede of 263 Sq RAF in his Gloster Gladiator over Harstad. The Condor caught fire and made a forced landing around 11.00 a.m. at Finnøya in Hammarøy with one crew dead and the other becoming POWs. Two other wounded crew members were taken to hospital. No a/c identity given

29.05.1940. Skarsfjord power station was attacked by two ‘Condors’ around midday. F.O. Neville Banks of 46 Sq RAF in a Hurricane attacked the ‘Condor’ flown by Oberleutnant Günther Thiel which caught fire and went into the sea at Dyrøy in the Solbergsfjord at 4.p.m. and exploded during the landing with the loss of all six onboard. F.O. Banks was shot down and killed the same afternoon. In a caption to a colour side view profile the author comments that this aircraft might be Fw 200 C-1 "F8+BH"of 1./KG 40 which is resting at the bottom of the sea between Senja and the mainland.

Wednesday 1 June 2016

New titles from Simon Schatz and Christer Bergström - Stuka and Barbarossa

Simon's 1st title in hardback now in bookshops and Christer's 27th due at the end of June for the 75th 'anniversary' of Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. Congratulations!

Simon's book is the latest MMP title for modellers entitled 'Spotlight On' and presents detailed illustrations of the Junkers Ju 87. The book features 42 full page highly detailed colour profiles by Simon and 3 top views by Dariusz Karnas in a variety of Luftwaffe camouflage colours and markings -including all versions from A to G in different theatres of war. Contrary to the amazon blurb the book does not includes a large fold-out profile..

Based on decades of research work in both German and Russian archives, as well as interviews with a large number of key figures and veterans, Christer's Operation Barbarossa brings our knowledge on the war on the Eastern Front several big steps forward. It reveals and dispels many myths and misconceptions including: the myth of mass surrenders by Soviet soldiers; the myth about the vast differences in troop casualties between the two sides; the myth of the Soviet partisans and the myth that it was the Arctic cold that halted the German offensive. It also does not shy away from difficult truths such as the true nature of Finland s participation in Operation Barbarossa, and the massive scale of rapes committed by German troops. Illustrated with over 250 photos, many never previously published, and several clear and detailed maps, this is an objective, balanced account, published in time for the 75th anniversary of the start of Operation Barbarossa on 22nd June 2016. As with his previous fine English-language title devoted to a re-appraisal of the Battle of Britain, Christer Bergström has once again produced what will become a definitive account of this monumental campaign.