Thursday 30 November 2017

Fw 190 II./JG 2 in Tunisia (1) - Kommandeur Adolf Dickfeld

In November 1942, Oblt. Adolf Dickfeld was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 2.  Seen in these film stills, Dickfeld had been awarded the Eichenlaub on 19 May 1942 for 101 victories and promoted Oberleutnant on 21 May 1942. Following a lengthy leave, Dickfeld returned to the Eastern Front and in August and September added a further 14 victories to his tally. When he left the unit, he had 128 victories to his credit. Departing JG 52 for the Western Front the highly-decorated ace arrived at JG 2 and a meeting with Kommodore Oesau. As Dickfeld himself recalled;

 " Kommodore Oesau welcomed me at Beaumont-le-Roger with  'I've two pieces of news for you . Which do you want first, the good or the bad ?'  I didn't mind. 'Well the good news is, you're only staying three days here. The bad news is, you're going to Africa!' I nearly fell off my chair..."   (page 207, 'Dans le Ciel de France' Volume 3, Mombeeck/Roba)

Replacing the Kommandeur II. Gruppe Hptm. Helmut-Felix Bolz, Dickfeld and his new comrades are seen here in these film excerpts from the AKH archive presumably just prior to the transfer of II. Gruppe to North Africa. As Dickfeld had flown the Bf 109 exclusively for his victory tally he undertook several acclimatisation flights in Fw 190 A-3 WNr. 2287 (seen above), a machine displaying seven victory markings on the rudder. Dickfeld achieved 5 victories over Tunisia including a Blenheim on 30 November 1942, a Spitfire on 1 December and a P-38 on 3 December 1942, before he was badly injured in a take-off accident at Kairouan on 8 January 1943, when his Fw 190 A-4 (W.Nr. 0750) ran into a bomb crater and overturned as he was attempting to get airborne during a raid on the airfield. On 17 April 1943, after recovering from his injuries, Dickfeld was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 11, based in the Bremen–Helgoland area of northern Germany performing Reichsverteidigung duties.

These stills were captured from footage made available via the Agentur Karl Höffkes film archive AKH and are reproduced here with the kind permission of Karl Höffkes.

Tuesday 28 November 2017

ZG 26 Haifisch Bf 110 and Fw 190 A-7 Sturmstaffel 1 - ebay photo find #227

Pilots of the Sturmstaffel assemble for a photo 'shoot' in front of one of the unit's FW 190 A-7 in Salzwedel prior to the 'deactivation' of the unit in late April 1944. Uffz. Maximowitz far left and Major von Kornatzki back to camera in greatcoat in the view above and seen striding out in the view below. A rarely seen view of the pilot complement prior to and after the more formal and oft-published view of the unit. Offered for sale by Michael Meyer here

Other pilots in the photo shoot are Oblt. Zehart, Lt. Elser, Lt. Müller, Lt. Metz, Lt. Gerth, Fw. Röhrich, Lt. Franz, unbekannt, Ofw. Marburg, Ofw. Peinemann, Fw. Groten, Uffz. Keune und Uffz. Boesch who is recognisable in the image below, far right

Five of these experienced Sturmstaffel 1 pilots would provide the core of Major von Kornatzki’s next command: II. (Sturm)/ JG 4 - Leutnant Ulrich Blaese, Feldwebel Gerhard Marburg, Leutnant Rudolf Metz, Leutnant Werner Peinemann and Oberleutnant Othmar Zehart. The remaining Sturmstaffel pilots integrated a newly formed 11 Staffel of IV./JG 3 under new Gruppenkommandeur Hptm Willi Moritz.

Much more on the Sturmstaffel on this blog

Below; Haifsich Geschwader Bf 110 on a field strip being refuelled somewhere in France  (possibly).

On offer here

Crashed Emil of JG 77 via Andreas Drechsler here

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1 WNr. 111711 at Frankfurt/Rhein-Main Airfield and Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, 1945

Click on the images to view large

Left side front view of WNr. 111711 Me 262 A-1a (USAF designation FE-107) on the ground at Wright Field being fueled by a crewman sitting on the fuselage. Engine panels have been removed. Photo is dated 26 July 1945. Original caption: "German Messerschmitt ME 262, FE 107, details, at Vandalia 7-26-1945.

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1 WNr. 111711 at Frankfurt/Rhein-Main Airfield, 1945

31 March 1945: Messerschmitt AG test pilot and technical inspector Hans Fay (1888–1959) defected to the Allies at Frankfurt/Rhein-Main Airfield at the controls of a brand new Me 262 A-1 twin-engine jet fighter.

Fay had been waiting for an opportunity to bring an Me 262 to the Americans, but feared reprisals against his parents. When he learned that the U.S. Army controlled their town, he felt that it was safe to go ahead with his plan.

Fay had been ordered to fly one of twenty-two new fighters from the Me 262 assembly factory at Schwäbisch-Hall to a safer location at Neuburg an der Donau, as they were in danger of being captured by advancing Allied forces. His aircraft was unpainted other than low visibility Balkenkreuz markings on the wings and fuselage, and standard Luftwaffe markings on the vertical fin. Fay was the fourth to take off, but instead of heading east-southeast toward Neuburg, he flew north-northwest to Frankfurt, arriving there at 1:45 p.m.

WNr. 111711 was transported to the United States and was tested at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio.

711 was lost during a test flight, 20 August 1946, when one of its engines caught fire. The test pilot, Lieutenant Walter J. “Mac” McAuley, Jr., U.S. Army Air Corps, safely bailed out. The Me 262 crashed 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) east of Lumberton, Ohio, and was completely destroyed.

(text by Bryan Swopes at

Note the presumably hand-scrawled 'notes' written on the port side of the lower rudder - also evident on the kodachrome image above..(thanks for the spot Stephen!)

More like this including some fine detail shots - if you can find them - at the preposterously named Central Respository for Aircraft Photos on flickr here

shot-down 21 Sqd Blenheim IV 10/11 February 1941 - ebay photo find #226

above currently on offer here via Marco Auer. Below images offered during 2014

Beute Blenheim wearing 21 Sqd codes seen here being recovered by the Germans. 21 Sqn's T2282 is recorded in Graham Warner's Blenheim book as being shot down by flak near Flushing on the night of 10/11 Feb 1941 and crashing into the Scheldt after the crew baled out. The serial does look like T?282, so it does appear that the aircraft made a reasonable landing on the river and was recovered..note the Balkenkreuze in the two images below and in the photo showing the Citroen staff car which could perhaps indicate that this might not be Holland (?) The last view below shows the machine quite clearly atop a shingle bank alongside an expanse of water.

Wednesday 15 November 2017

new Classic/Crecy tome - V2: the A-4 rocket from Peenemuende to Redstone

My copy has arrived!  Not strictly speaking a Luftwaffe book but a quick look at the latest Classic/Crecy title.

My first impressions on this latest in the Classic Chevron series - the Crecy/Classic V2 book. According to publisher Crecy/Classic this is most detailed volume yet published on the Vergeltungswaffe 2 (revenge weapon 2 - the word 'Waffen' is the plural form of course, the letter 'n' being a common plural in German) and at nearly 300 large format, glossy pages it would be hard to disagree. I have quickly added this to my library - which includes Dungan, Holsken and other classic references - and a very impressive book it is indeed. It is for example nearly twice the size of the Greg Kennedy V2 book published by Schiffer one of the best recent tomes on the V2. Authored by Murray Barber (co-author of 'Hitler's Rocket Soldiers' published by Robert Forsyth's Tattered Flag imprint ) the text is as detailed and informative as you would expect from an expert who has been teaching and lecturing in the field for many years. While I'm happy to say I'm very pleased with this book, the very dense text and small font makes reading a little tricky in all but very good light. The most impressive aspect is the quality of the period photos included, many of them full page and rich in detail. Some overlap with Barber's previous work but justified in this much larger format and the quality is self-evident. Also included are an array of maps, cutaway diagrams and side profiles etc, and coming in at just under 300 pages the author has certainly devoted plenty of print to the subject matter. Recommended unhesitatingly to anyone with even the slightest interest in this area of wartime aviation history..

Thursday 2 November 2017

new Luftwaffe books - " Alarmstart", "Ju 88 Air War Archive", Luftwaffe Gallery, Air War Publications, Osprey etc etc

Lots of super new releases either imminently or expected - look out for some of these.

Peter Taghon's French-language history of Lehrgeschwader 1 - reworked from Taghon's German edition with additional material by Jean-Louis Roba and artwork from Thierry Dekker. Click on the image to go directly to the Lela Presse website.

A brief look at Chris Goss's new Fw-200 book published by Crecy.

" first "open" of the book, looks really good' says James Stewart who took these snapshots..

via Chris Goss

" first photo books for Frontline are now available with the remaining books in the first part of this series following in the next few months. Bit of a departure for me but they wanted to do a series along the lines of what Bryan Philpott did for PSL in the late 1970s The idea of this series is based on Bryan Philpott's BA books from the late 1970s but with decent sized photos and full captions (which was what the 70s books lacked). Photo quality was insisted on. The trouble with many of the early 109 photos is that quality wasn't that brilliant. Feedback from the 109 and He 111 books has been good I should say..."

These two volumes look at the early variants of the Bf 109 and the Ju 88 - with extensive coverage of Battle of Britain units. The captions are mostly very detailed. While some are a good half page in length, others though offer merely a handful of sentences; for example on page 99 of the "Emil" book ; " Major Adolf Galland in his Bf 109 E-4 of JG 26. The nose appears yellow and the aircraft carries the Schlageter shield, his personal Mickey Mouse emblem and the Kommodore's chevron". And for a photo book which will perhaps stand or fall on the quality of the image reproduction, some images are not as clear as others, but doubtless included due to their rarity. Some photos are reproduced over an entire page, others get half a page. Photo selection is interesting - although perhaps less so if you have the author's previous works covering JG 53 for example and/or are familiar with Michael Payne's archive. I was impressed with the page count, which is around 170 for each volume in this series which represents good value for money.

New from Amberley books - "Alarmstart " by Patrick G. Eriksson.

Leon Ventner writes;

"..I'll add another huge thumbs-up for "Alarmstart". I wasn't expecting much when I ordered it, but I was thoroughly impressed when it arrived. Eriksson includes personal accounts provided by 108 Luftwaffe veterans, with ranks ranging from Gefreiter to Oberst. He weaves them into well-researched potted histories of the major campaigns in the West, from Poland to the defence of the Reich in June '44. He also includes some OOBs and interesting analyses in the form of tables and charts that are reminiscent of Williamson Murray's fine work. It's rounded out with a good selection of photos, extensive footnotes, and a bibliography and index. The cherry on top is that two further volumes are planned: one devoted to the Mediterranean and the last year over Germany, and the other covering the Eastern Front, the German victory claims system, and pilot training. I'm very much looking forward to these..."

Erik Mombeek's latest Luftwaffe Gallery is due back from the printers soon. Some page samples can be viewed at Erik's site here. 'New' personal accounts translated by Neil Page (blog author)

Morton Jessen at Air War Publications has released a new eArticle entitled 'wilde Sau und Moskitojagd' compiled by this blog author. Features rare personal accounts with some excellent images from the collection of Jean-Yves Lorant who deserves our gratitude, not only for making this a quite exceptional eArticle for AWP in my humble opinion, but for enabling this publication to go ahead. For just a handful of euros you get rare photos, accounts and some exclusive Hjortsberg artwork. Download the 19-page PDF for your tablet or print it out.

Two former wilde Sau pilots of JG 302 and I./NJG 11 describe some of their hair-raising experiences in single-engine fighters at night in the cloud-banked and freezing skies over Germany during the winters of 1943 and 1944. Text and pilot interview translation by Neil Page. Photographs and pilot interviews, Jean-Yves Lorant. Artwork and additional caption commentary by Anders Hjortsberg.

Seen on Osprey's Twitter feed - the first look at a new Forsyth 'Aces' title due before the end of the year.

Available via Tony Holmes at Telford next weekend

...and another quick mention for Claes Sundin's superlative 'Luftwaffe Bombers' profile artwork book, below. Note that this is far more than a book of profiles- there is a decent text providing an historical overview of the Luftwaffe bomber arm along with comprehensive caption information for each distinctive machine illustrated. Contributors include acknowledged colours expert David E. Brown. I received this copy directly from Claes for my own contribution to this volume. Thanks Claes! Check out the reviews and order your copy here

Well Done, Claes! Your "Bomber-Book" arrived Yesterday. What a variety of Camouflage patterns, Great. The colors are awesome. As well all the Details and of Course the "background" information about each plane. Bravo. 

Fritz Braun/Germany