Saturday, 7 March 2020

Vom Feindflug nicht zurückgekehrt - Berlin Gatow Fw 190 A-8/R2 WNr. 682 060 IV./JG 3 Walkaround

The Militärhistorisches Museum Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow have what is billed as a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-8/R-2 "Uncoded" on display. "Bismarck" from the Military Aviation history channel has just posted a three-minute walkaround of Gatow's Fw 190 A-8 on youtube which is well worth watching. I've embedded the video at the bottom of this post and it can be viewed here with a single click.

 Gatow's Fw 190 is a Flug Werk static display replica with several original parts, designated Focke Wulf - Flug Werk GmbH Fw 190 A-8/N (N for Nachbau or replica). Flug Werk number is 99007. The original parts are from Fw 190 A-8 Werk Nummer 682060 coded "rote 5". This aircraft was flown by Leutnant Rolf Lahne, a 16./JG 3 pilot..

 IV./JG 3 operated from Gütersloh late in the war. On December 17, 1944 IV. Gruppe were launched on a ground attack mission in support of the Ardennes Offensive. Lahne was airborne with his Rottenflieger Unteroffizier Werner Talkenberg at 10:50 and the two machines took up a south-westerly heading. Lahne was flying Fw 190 A-8/R2 WNr. 682 060. However he never arrived in the target area. In the vicinity of Cologne (Köln) the Fw 190s ran into a force of P-47s from the 373rd Fighter Group. A wild dogfight developed. Uffz. Talkenberg pursued a P-47 and lost sight of his comrade. He managed to shoot down one American for his first victory, before catching sight of Lahne's "red 5" pursued by Thunderbolts north of Cologne. Shortly afterwards he observed hits on the Fw 190 and saw it burst into flames. It went down vertically - there was no parachute. The Americans reported two Fw 190s shot down in this combat. The pilot who had been able to get clear of his Fw 190 was Lt. Hecker of 15./JG 3. Hecker's Kaczmarek was Uffz. Karl Kapteina and in his account (Prien, p265) Hecker bailed out after his engine started running very roughly. A single P-47 fighter was reported missing by the 373rd FG. An American pilot bailed out in this combat area injured and later succumbed to his injuries. As Talkenberg was attacked again, he did not see Lahne's machine impact the ground and had also moved some distance away from the air combat, so that he could not remember the exact crash site. No German aircraft from the area was reported as having crashed that could match the "red 5". Lt. Rolf Lahne remained missing until road construction work in 2003 in Pulheim north of Cologne turned up his Erkennungsmarke 'dog-tag' and steel helmet along with parts of his Fw 190. Lahne had flown Ju 88s with KG 3 and had been awarded the Frontflugspange (combat clasp) in silver. He had subsequently been posted to ZG 76 and flew the Me 410 the defence of the Reich before retraining on Fw 190s and being posted to JG 3. He had shot down a B-24 bomber on December 2, now he himself had met this fate. One of the many unexplained and missing airmen over the territory of the Reich.

A single click to view the video here