Wednesday 14 November 2018

Herbert Huppertz JG 2 6-8 June 1944, Jean-Bernard Frappé's revised "La Luftwaffe face au débarquement " published by Heimdal

from the publisher's blurb - a Luftwaffe blog translation

" ....More often than not nowadays it is a celluloid version of history that determines how we may perceive real events! Who has not seen the now-famous scene from Darryl F. Zanuck's film "The Longest Day", when two Luftwaffe fighters, alone and confronted with a huge Allied naval and air armada, came in low for a brief firing pass along Sword Beach, leaving several hundred startled Tommys as dumbfounded as they were amazed, before heading back home eastwards unscathed to their base north of Paris. For many years this enduring image has helped to condition the idea that the Luftwaffe was particularly absent from the skies of Normandy on 6 June 1944 when the liberation of France and the annihilation of the armies of the Third Reich were at stake....

In 1999 Heimdal published a superlative history compiled by Jean-Bernard Frappé -"La Luftwaffe face au débarquement "- detailing the actions of the Jagdwaffe in the skies of Normandy and the Ile de France region around Paris and then again in Provence, after the Allied landings on the Mediterranean coast. With a wealth of detail and photos the book presented an exhaustive panorama of events. And while compared to the 15,000 sorties flown by American and British aircraft during D-day itself, the Luftwaffe had only been able to organize a little over 300, four days later no fewer than 1,300 Luftwaffe machines, including nearly 500 fighters belonging to some 20 fighter Gruppen were able to mount combat sorties. With the Wehrmacht in headlong retreat the largest number of Luftwaffe fighter sorties on the Normandie front was recorded on 20 August with 580 Focke Wulf 190 A and Messerschmitt 109 Gustavs present. Fighting against overwhelming odds of 10 to 1, German fighter pilots paid a heavy price in blood for their interventions - more than a thousand of them were shot down over the course of many hundreds of air battles against USAF Mustangs and Thunderbolts and RAF Typhoons and Spitfires. In return for these terrible losses, these same German pilots carried out their duties to the limits of physical and mental endurance - more than 1200 claims for victories were filed between June 6 and August 31, testifying to their determination and courage.

The success of the first edition of  Jean-Bernard Frappé's tome "La Luftwaffe face au débarquement " - June 6, 1944 to August 31, 1944 - found a ready readership and nowadays has become difficult to find at a sensible price. Therefore, some twenty years after the first printing Heimdal Editions have chosen to offer to a new generation of readers, a revised, corrected and expanded reissue, with extensive photo coverage - some images previously unpublished-  enriched with dozens of colour profiles representing the Focke Wulfs and Messerschmitt 109s that saw action during that terrible summer of 1944....."

Kommandeur III./JG 2 at the time of the Normandy 'invasion' this is Herbert Huppertz on the left. Photos of this pilot appear to be quite rare aside from the usual RK portrait. To the right is Josef Puchinger. Note Huppertz is wearing the officers Fliegermütze or side capknown more colloquially as the Jaegerschliff ...

Hptm. Herbert Huppertz was Gkr. III./JG 2 on 6 June 1944. He was one of those veterans that David Clark in his history of the Normandy air battles "Angels eight" qualified as a 'super-ace'. Having claimed his first victory, a Spitfire, over Dunkirk on 28 May 1940 with 6./JG 51 his victory total at the start of June 1944 was around 70 confirmed.

Below; Huppertz (right) with JG 51 on the Channel coast.." Kanal gegen England "

 At noon on 6 June 1944, Obstlt. Kurt Bühligen (who scored his 100th victory on 7 June 1944) and Huppertz participated when 29 Fw 190 attacked at least 24 Thunderbolts (of US 365 FG) and Typhoons (of RAF 183 Sqn). The Germans claimed to have shot down six Allied fighters - including two Typhoons in less than two minutes by Huppertz - for a single loss. Actual Allied losses in this engagement were five (two P-47s, three Typhoons). (Clark, “Angels Eight”, p. 42.) That same evening, Huppertz caught eight Typhoons of 164 Sqn and shot one down, with F/O Roberts KIA. (David Clark, CD “Daily Data tables of the Normandy Air War Diary”, 6 June 1944.)

In the course of another sortie late on 6 June, Huppertz engaged the numerically superior formations of Allied aircraft which by that time filled the skies in the area (on 6 June 1944, the USAAF and RAF conducted 14,674 sorties over the Normandy area - against only 319 Luftwaffe sorties). During this single mission, Huppertz was entangled in combat with several Allied fighter units, involving both Mustangs and Thunderbolts, but in spite of the odds he claimed a Mustang and a Thunderbolt. David Clark has identified the former as one of the 352nd FG’s losses.

Huppertz thus returned five victories in a single day, 6 June 1944.

8 June 1944 was a black day for III./JG 2. At around 0915 the Gruppe was airborne with around ten machines and were engaged by Mustangs and possibly Thunderbolts around Caen. Hptm. Wurmheller claimed one Mustang, while three Fw 190s were shot down - two of the JG 2 pilots were killed  - including Gruppenkommandeur Huppertz. The WASt. loss report gives the time of this action as 10:30.

 (JfV Teil 13/III Einsatz im Westen 1.1 bis 30.9.1944 Prien/Stemmer/Bock)

Also on this blog;

Seine bridgehead 22 August 1944 - the Jagdwaffe vs. US anti-aircraft artillery at Mantes
SKG 10 - first Luftwaffe unit in action on D-Day
Two pilots in Normandy - Hans-Ulrich Jung III./JG 3
Priller's Jutta - Fw 190 A-8 'black 13'