Wednesday 28 February 2018

notgelandete Do 217 Nachtjäger, Henschel Hs 123 - daily ebay photo find #240

Lichtenstein-equipped Do 217 Nachtjäger crash-landed in Luxemburg, 1943  (inscription on reverse), probably an NJG 4 machine. Note this particular machine is probably an N-1 (DB 603 engines and dorsal turret) and would have been hard-pushed to catch British bombers. The N-2 variant lost the turret and could manage 310 mph..

via Heiko Fuchs here

on offer here
location given as Steg am See (northern Germany) for this Ju 52 W floatplane seen in July 1944

Ju 88 Motorenwechsel (engine change), Flugplatz Eleusi Athens here

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Bf 110 3U+ ZG 26, Me 110 C-2 "CF+NS" WNr.3078 Mannheim-Sandhofen 1939/40, Aufklärungsstaffel See/88 - AS 88 -daily ebay photo find #239

Me 110 C-2 "CF+NS" WNr.3078 Mannheim-Sandhofen 1939/40

A selection of ZG 26 Bf 110s via Heiko Fuchs ebay sales

on offer here 

Seeflughafen Cadiz 1936-7 - Einsatz bei der Legion Condor LC, Aufklärungsstaffel See/88 - AS 88

on offer here

Some of the rarest Luftwaffe types to see service during the Spanish Civil War served with the Aufklärungsstaffel See/88 (AS./88 or Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron) of the Legion Condor including a single Nationalist Ju 52 3m (W) and torpedo carrying He 59 seaplanes complete with Totenkopf emblems on their noses. More details in the book As de Picas or "Ace of Spades" by Galland Books devoted to the seaplane Staffel AS./88 of the Condor Legion which was translated and republished by Schiffer books. It is a slim A-5 hardback volume of only 186 pages retailing for well over £35. More on the Aufklärungsstaffel See/88 (AS./88 or the Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron) of the Legion Condor in Spain on this blog here.

Below; II./JG 27 Kommandeur Hptm Gustav Rödel (RK on 22 June 1941 + EL on 20 June 1943) officiating at a Ferntrauung or 'proxy' distance wedding where one of the partners was not present. (seated, facing camera). “Ferntrauung” was introduced as a celebration of marriage for women whose men had been KIA. They then became entitled to a widows pension and their children were deemed to be born in wedlock. The practise was later extended to two living partners separated by the circumstances of war. Presumably as here. Also dubbed "Stahlhelm Trauung" or 'steel helmet wedding' as can be seen in the picture - bride and groom being represented by Stahlhelme. Seen here in the fall of 1942 in Nordafrika or spring 1943 in Italy. Marked with a cross is Emil Wirthmann of the Gruppenstab and fourth from the left Gustav Rödel.

Michael Meyer's current ebay sales are here

Sunday 25 February 2018

'Diving Raven' emblem on Emils of 5./ JG 26 - daily Ebay photo find #238

'Black 4'  displaying an inscription 'Lore' and with a 100 octane fuel filler triangle. Fuel being siphoned off following a landing accident (?) below.

more 5./ JG 26 Emils on this blog here

'Red 1' Emil of the Staffelkapitän and associated 'Mickey' emblem suggesting a Legion Condor veteran.

Thursday 22 February 2018

Red Kite/Wing Leader Nachtjagd Combat Archive - the death of Hptm. Reinhold Knacke, 3-4 February 1943 - new Luftwaffe books

A few years ago now Theo Boiten asked me if I wouldn't mind helping out on his Nachtjagd War Diaries project which was finally published by Red Kite in 2007-2008. In the end I translated about 65 text pages worth of vets accounts including Peter Spoden's moving and eloquent Foreword. When I was finally able to peruse the books I was hugely impressed with the sheer size of the two tomes (a total of 750+ pages!) and the evident deep research therein.

Peter Spoden and Rolf Ebhardt sitting with author Theo Boiten at the launch of the 'original' Nachtjagd War Diaries, November 2007. Standing behind are Rod Mackenzie and Mark Postlethwaite, flanked by the team from The Aviation Bookshop who organised the launch.

Almost as soon as they appeared though there was talk of reprints and revised editions and now in 2018 the first of the new edition 128-page softback volumes has been published by Red Kite. And very nicely done it is too. Again the stats are mind-boggling; the authors are planning on illustrating their million or so words with some 1,200 photos most of which are previously unpublished. Every claim/loss of the night air war over the Reich will have been investigated (some 6,000) and dubious information ruled out. Many new primary source documents will have been consulted and photographs located. If you are familiar with Red Kite's superb 'Battle of Britain' and 'Dunkirk' Combat Archive then you will know what to expect. The publisher appears to have hit on a winning formula, so kudos to them. Red Kite apparently decided to publish 1943 first as this was a major transitional year in the night air war, and will follow up 1943 (three volumes) with the release of the volumes for 1940-42. The series will be concluded with new volumes on 1944-45 and on the night air war over Russia and the Med. It is estimated the series will run to between 12 – 15 books as previously mentioned and be published every two-three months. While it would be churlish to nit-pick I will say that it is a shame that there is no profile artwork in the 'Nachtjagd..' book, although there are plenty of full page, full colour mission and situation maps.

Much more on the publisher's web site here

The following account was translated by this blog author and appears in the sample page extract featured on the Red Kite/Wingleader site. Ofw. Kurt Bundrock was Bordfunker (radio operator) with Bf 110 NJG 1 ace Hptm. Reinhold Knacke (44 night victories). Here he describes the ace's death on the night of  3-4 February 1943 during the course of a raid on Hamburg..

Thursday 15 February 2018

Fw 190 II./JG 2 in Tunisia (2) "Black 1 + - " Wolf von Bülow, Staffelkapitän of 5./ JG 2

Previously on the Luftwaffe blog I have posted on II./JG 2's departure to North Africa in November 1942 under their new Kommandeur Adolf Dickfeld

I've been trawling through the footage made available via the Agentur Karl Höffkes film archive AKH and I've come across some colour footage of II./JG 2 in Tunisia filmed during late 1942-early 1943.

I was initially under the impression that some of these stills showed Rudorffer's 'Yellow 1'. Most probably his FW 190 A-4. The ace himself features in the footage. Only you see the problem. I assumed that the type of of film used must have modified the colour of the yellow and even the white of the Balkenkreuz - although the white of the fuselage band and Hakenkreuz outline remained. But as Andrew Arthy pointed out to me, this is almost certainly "Black 1 + - " of Wolf von Bülow, Staffelkapitän of 5./ JG 2 until he was killed in early 1943. These scenes appear to have been shot at Tindja near Cap Blanc on the northern coast of Tunisia. Von Bülow returned no victories while with JG 2 in North Africa and with good reason.

On 23 February 1943 Kairouan was raided by B-17s of the 301st BG. 'Gruppenführer' * II./JG 2 Erich Rudorffer noted in Erik Mombeek's ' Dans le Ciel de France ' (Vol 4) ;

" ..we were scrambled at 08:38 on the approach of a formation of US bombers. It was my task to keep Wolf von Bülow out of the action as much as I could. This was because Wolf was the son of our former Kommodore, who had already lost his other son, a U-boat commander** . So he only flew so many sorties and on this occasion he did not scramble with us. In the end it proved more dangerous on the ground than in the air - a stick of bombs came down on his 'hole' right were he had sought shelter. Oblt. von Bülow's body was riddled with shrapnel. His death was a terrible blow to morale. In any case the atmosphere within the unit was going downhill fast following Dickfeld's departure. There was far too much bad feeling and competitiveness around aerial victories and the 'scramble' for decorations and promotion had become far too important and such a state of affairs could only harm any 'esprit de corps' ..."

 (*Gruppenführer is an SS-rank and a vet I corresponded with was rather put out that such terms were used in the context of the Luftwaffe. ** His son-in-law in fact, Hans-Hartwig Trojer, U-221)

The solid black appearance of the Balkenkreuze fuselage crosses is interesting. It has been suggested that this is the result of the poor quality paint deteriorating rapidly in the sun - surely paint fades in sunlight? Elsewhere on the same airframe the white of the fuselage band and the Hakenkreuz outline is still 'white'. And from one regular blog reader;

"..I am inclined to think there is nothing wrong with the white paint, but they have simply toned down the Balkenkreuz, and nothing more. If you look at it, the entire Balkenkreuz appears to have the same tone, otherwise if it was just the white paint, than the black part of the cross would be different. Other than that, neat images…"

 BTW I contacted Karl Höffkes who gave me the OK to post stills provided the watermark was present and a link was available..

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Erich Schmidt III./JG 53 RK July 1941 - ebay photo find #237

Erich Schmidt III./JG 53, RK 23 July 1941. Note, above forty seven Abschussbalken, his final tally. Currently on offer here

Below, members of his ground crew paint victory bar number 44 on the rudder of Erich Schmidt`s "Yellow 11". Surash, 27 August 1941.

(expired Ebay auction)

A previous ebay sale image of III./ JG 53 ace Lt. Erich Schmidt. The exploits of III./JG 53 over the fourteen week period from the launch of Barbarossa to the end of September 1941 have assumed legendary status - by the end of the first summer in the East, III./JG 53 had submitted claims for some 373 victories! But as Jean-Louis Roba has pointed out in his four-part history of JG 53 published by Lela Presse and discussed here

 "..operating over Heeresgruppe Mitte, this latter organisation seems to have largely abdicated its authority to 'adjudicate' in the claims confirmation process ".

While its defenders claim Wilcke's Gruppe - established by Mölders - was a nursery for Draufgänger, as evidenced by the three Ritterkreuze awarded in this short space of time, Roba continues;

 " it is nonetheless a fact that many of these pilots' victory claims were no more than flights of fancy and that they were 'encouraged' to file these claims by a benevolent hierarchy and propaganda media looking for new heroes ".

 These 373 claims were made for the loss of some 31 Friedrichs either seriously damaged or destroyed and just three pilots killed. However one of those killed was Ritterkreuz holder Lt. Erich Schmidt. Following the award of the Ritterkreuz on 23 July 1941 for 31 victories he claimed five Russian DB-3 twin-engined bombers (32-36) on 26 July and his 40th, an I-16 fighter, on 7 August.

On 31 August 1941, Schmidt’s Bf 109 F-2 (W.Nr. 12 633) “Yellow 6” was hit by flak near Dubno. He was seen to bale out of his stricken machine but is still listed as MIA.