Saturday, 18 July 2020
Stuka Denkmal im Maßstab 1:1 - life-size Stuka sculpture at the Capel Battle of Britain memorial (Kent, England)
..Just a mile or two distant from the museum featured in the previous blog post, the UK's ‘national’ Battle of Britain Memorial site in Capel-le-Ferne - on the cliff-top between Dover and Folkestone, the wartime 'Hellfire Corner' - re-opened to visitors yesterday following the Covid crisis. Currently on display for the summer season is a stunning 'new' exhibit glittering brilliantly in the sunshine - a full-sized stainless steel sculpture of a crash-landed Ju 87 B Stuka ..
To quote Flugzeug Classic magazine in the July 2020 issue, " ..Selten zuvor hat eine Skulptur aus Deutschland im Vereinigten Königreich für mehr Aufregung gesorgt als die der abgestürzten Junkers Ju 87 B von »Mister HEX« or in other words, ' rarely before has a sculpture 'made in Germany' caused more excitement in the United Kingdom than the crashed Junkers Ju 87 B of "Mister HEX"..
'Mister.Hex' is from Munich and has entitled this work 'Down-two-Earth'. The Junkers Ju 87 - with its 14 meter wingspan - has been given a place within the grounds of the UK's 'National Memorial to the Few' to highlight a new spirit of reconciliation being promoted by the charity that maintains the site. The 'Stuka' stands alongside the replica Mk1 Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft that are major attractions at the memorial’s clifftop home.
Secretary of the Memorial Trust, Group Captain Patrick Tootal, whose father Flt Lt Jack Tootal RAFVR was lost while flying Halifax bombers with Bomber Command, said:
“In early 2019, on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, trustees re examined the charity’s role and decided it should also address and record the role of the Luftwaffe in the Battle in order to provide a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the events of 1940.
“As we approach the end of an era with the passing of the Second World War veterans we must look to the future and remember the human cost of war to all nations in a spirit of reconciliation.”
Als Höhepunkt soll die Ju 87 während der Battle-of-Britain Militärparade am 12. Juli 2020 im Sonnenlicht über den weißen Klippen am Ärmelkanal glänzen. It was planned that the Stuka would be a highlight of this year's memorial parade at the Memorial site but due to Covid the event was cancelled.
'Mister.Hex' has described his motivation in making the giant sculpture;
“The whole project can be separated into three layers of reasons why I did this sculpture. These layers are about private family history, German art history and British military history added up one by one over the years.”
The sculptor's father served in the Luftwaffe in WWII and spent three years training to be a Stuka pilot but ultimately only flew sorties as rear gunner. He regularly bestowed scale model Stukas on his son. Apparently the 'Stuka' combines 'evilness' and 'sexiness' in equal measure and is the only single object he has ever really loved. Hmmm...
The memorial receives no official funding, relying almost entirely on visitor donations. A small entry fee is charged for the exhibition center while the site itself is free to enter. Running costs amount to some £250,000 per annum.
As the airfield at Headcorn is only around 15 mins away (as the crow flies) the site is regularly over-flown by Aero Legend's Spitfires and other aircraft so if visiting you may be lucky enough to experience the thrill of an impromptu flypast. But take care, warning signs around the memorial indicate that the grounds are also home to the UK's only venomous snake, the Adder..
Friday, 17 July 2020
Photos via Dale Howlett, East Kent Scale Modellers
Using the Twitter 'embed' function here's a couple of updates showing the progress on the Kent Battle of Britain museum's He 111 H-16. A 'Casa' in long-term storage at the Duxford IWM before being moved to the Hawkinge Battle of Britain museum overnight on March 14-15, 2020, the volunteers down at Hawkinge have uncovered the Heinkel constructor's plate during over-haul and repainting, indicating that this machine was manufactured during 1943 and possibly saw Luftwaffe service prior to being moved on to Spain and being re-engined. First video shows the control surfaces being operated - elevator, rudder and ailerons - while in the second tweet a view of the bomb aimer's window, opened for the first time in some 50-odd years.
It’s all go at the museum! Here's a short video of all the control surfaces being operated by Ant, from the pilots seat, and by moving the control column and rudder bar pedals. Another huge step forward..— Battle of Britain (@MuseumKent) July 5, 2020
Progress report! We have managed to get the bomb aimers window to wind up and down after at least fifty years of neglect and are now working on freeing up the Observers seat and upper gunners seat. #thefew #BattleOfBritain80 #heinkel pic.twitter.com/9srMJ00cht— Battle of Britain (@MuseumKent) July 15, 2020
Thursday, 16 July 2020
Port installations at Rouen, France seen ablaze on the front cover of the 17 July 1940 issue of the Wiener Illustrierte. Inside the magazine a photo report on the damage wrought by Ju 87 Stukas to the oil storage facilities at Le Havre. The 'photo report' comment refers to " the hurried defensive measures.." [that] betray the anxieties of the war-mongers on the other side of the Channel - the digging of slit trenches, the construction of road blocks of wooden beams, the blocking of roads with old lorries and similar laughable defenses ..[..] .. which might have stopped the hordes of Genghis Khan but will serve no purpose in the face of the onslaught of the Ju 87 Stukabomber, the effects of which can be seen in these pictures from the fighting in France.."
"Anno", the digital newspaper and reading room service of the Austrian National Library for on-line newspaper and magazine issues is here
Having recently posted some 'highlights' from the history of JG 77 on this blog, Exito Decals have just featured another JG 77 ace on a new decal set featuring three Bf 109 Eastern Front aces. Entitled 'Eastern Front fighters' the set includes nicely-rendered artwork from Anders Hjortsberg of Maj. Gordon Gollob's F-4 flown during June 1942 as the recently appointed (and relatively short-lived) Kommodore of JG 77..
another 'exclusive' Luftwaffe Blog extract from a 'history' of JG 77;
"....In mid-May 1942 and promoted to Major, Gollob took command of Jagdgeschwader 77 deployed in the southern sector of the Eastern Front. He had returned the majority of his 86 victories as Kommandeur of II./JG 3. At JG 77 he succeeded the famous Gotthard Handrick who had been leading the Geschwader virtually since the invasion of the USSR. Gordon M. Gollob was to experience the important fighting in the Crimea (Sevastopol) and was very quickly in the thick of the action as JG 77 supported German ground forces pushing into the Kertsch peninsula.
On May 12, III./JG 77 claimed eight victories but lost two pilots including the Kapitän of 9. Staffel, Hptm Brutzer, shot down and killed in combat. He was replaced by Lt. Horst Marotzke. The following day II./JG 77 claimed eighteen. Shortly after Gollob's arrival, on May 16, 1942, the Kommodore himself shot down three LaGG-3s. Enjoying good back-up the Kommodore quickly took the pulse of the front in the sector and upped the number of combat sorties he flew. On 17 May, he was credited with three R-5s and another LaGG-3. The next day, three more R-5s fell to his guns; it was the same story on May 19! On the 20th, he claimed a DB-3 (his hundredth victory) as well as a LaGG-3. At that time he was not the only great ace of the unit since the Kommandeur I./JG 77, Hptm Heinz Bär, was himself credited with his 103rd victory the day before (four I-16s shot down in one combat). But it was rare to see a Kommodore committing himself so much in combat.
More extracts from the unpublished history of JG 77 on this blog here
Sunday, 12 July 2020
Werner Machold was born on 29 July 1913 at Unterneubrunn in the Hildburghausen region of Thüringen. Machold joined the Luftwaffe after a few years in the navy. He flew primarily with 1./JG 2 - Staffel emblem was the 'Bonzo' dog seen here on the cowl of what may have been his 'brown 5'. Machold was particularly successful over France during the Westfeldzug gaining at least 10 victories, including his first two on the evening of 14 May. He claimed his first Spitfire - his 8th victory - on 26 May in the vicinity of Calais. Oberfeldwebel Machold continued to record Luftsiege during the Battle of Britain, his first during the battle registered on 11 August. He was the eighth German fighter pilot to reach 20 victories. On 5 September 1940, he was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 21 victories. His 21st was a Hurricane downed over Folkestone on 4 September. On 7 September, Machold was posted to 9./JG 2 - his first kill with his new Staffel was his 22nd (see rudder scoreboard detail) returned on 27 September. He recorded his 24th through 26th victories on 30 September, shooting down three RAF fighters. Leutnant Machold was appointed Staffelkapitän of 7./JG 2 in spring 1941 - by the time he was shot down over southern England a short while later and taken captive (9 June) he held the rank of Oberleutnant. During his interrogation he confirmed that he had returned 26 victories.
On offer here
Ju 88 Flugzeug m. KG 51 Wappen Flugplatz VILLAROCHE Frankreich
Junkers Ju 88 Flugzeug KG 51 Flugplatz WIENER NEUSTADT Österreich 1941
Tim De Craene's latest Ebay sales are here
Tuesday, 7 July 2020
Jagdgeschwader 77 is one of the least well –known Luftwaffe fighter units but it was a 'colourful' Geschwader in more ways than one - and not just because of the range of emblems and insignia displayed on the Bf 109s that its pilots flew virtually from first to last. From its rather convoluted early history and diverse origins, JG 77 saw hard-fought action on all fronts (Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Greece, USSR, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Romania...) and counted among its ranks at one time or another many leading fighter aces (Bär, Gollob, Müncheberg, Ihlefeld, Steinhoff, Reinert...). Unusually its three Gruppen often fought together but in ‘difficult’ theatres, where, heavily out-numbered and with ‘backs to the wall’, it was difficult to build big scores - aside perhaps from Russia during the summer of 1941. Certainly its pilots received fewer awards than any other Jagdgeschwader fighting from first to last – only 27 Ritterkreuze and 7 Oakleaves - and no pilot was decorated twice with high awards while in the unit. As there is very little on JG 77 in English, the unit would make an excellent subject for an Osprey title - but apparently they are not interested. Ask me how I know. One reason the new Casemate ‘Day fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe’ titles include a certain amount of JG 77 material. Otherwise some highlights/extracts of a text I've compiled follow;
On August 25, 1940, I./JG 77 under Hptm. Johannes Janke was ordered to Marquise between Calais and Boulogne - at the height of the Battle of Britain. At Marquise I./JG 77 would be based alongside its former neighbour from the campaign in the West, I.(J)/LG 2, commanded by recent appointee Hptm. Bernhard Mielke. However I./JG 77 lacked the experience acquired by the first Lehrgeschwader Gruppe and their debut in the Battle of Britain would, as a result, prove catastrophic.
below; seen here left Hptm. Johannes Janke, Gkr. I/JG 77 during the Battle of Britain
‘....31 August 1940 was to be a black day for I./JG 77 recently posted to reinforce the Channel front. The Emils had only just moved into Marquise (between Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer) and were assigned to fly their first sortie – a free hunt – over Kent that morning. The Gruppe was quickly caught up in a wild dogfight with British fighters. Although Lt Herbert Muetherich of 3./JG 77 -a future Knight’s Cross recipient- claimed a Spitfire shot down, 2. Staffel lost their Kapitän, Oblt. Ekkehard Priebe, who was taken captive after being forced to bale out over Ealham. While this in itself was a serious blow, the second sortie of the day, a bomber escort mission, proved to be a total disaster – at 3,000 feet over the Thames estuary a formation of Hurricanes fell on 1. Staffel. Six JG 77 Bf 109s were shot down including the Emil of Fw. Walter Evers, a veteran of the campaign in the West. Among the pilots forced to bale out were the Staffelkapitän, Oblt. Hans-Jurgen Ehrig, and Lt. Jura Petrenko– of Russo-German parentage- who was flying his first combat sortie of the war at the controls of ‘Yellow 4’..”
The Bf 109 E-4, ‘White 13′ of Oblt. Hans-Jurgen Ehrig, Staffelkapitän of 1./JG77, lies crumpled in a field at Gates Farm near Tenterden, Kent on the afternoon of 31st August 1940. Damaged by fighters while over Hornchurch on an escort mission, Ehrig attempted to return to France but, harried by F/Lt. M.L. Robinson of 601 Sqn, he was forced to put his damaged aircraft down and was subsequently taken prisoner. 31 August 1940 was disastrous for JG 77 which, newly introduced to the Battle of Britain, lost five aircraft from 1. Staffel and one from 2. Staffel.
Despite the setbacks endured during the Tunisian campaign in early 1943, the atmosphere could still be cheerful at I./JG 77 as shown in this fine image that featured on the cover of Jägerblatt during 1971;
From left to right: Leutnant Karl Eberle (2./JG 77, 8 victories), Leutnant Armin Köhler (bare-headed future Ritterkreuzträger and Kapitän 2./JG 77), Hauptmann Bär (Kommandeur I./JG 77), Oberleutnant Heinz-Edgar Berres (future Ritterkreuzträger and Kapitän 1./JG 77) and Oberleutnant Ernst Laube (just out of shot, Chef der 3./JG 77, 8 victories).
Cover of Jägerblatt dated June 1957 carrying the news of Heinz Bär's death in a light aircraft accident on 28 April 1957 aged 44 years old. " So muessen wir Abschied nahmen von einem unsere fähigsten Jagdflieger des letzten Krieges'' - We must say farewell to one of our most able fighter pilots of the last war'. In this image taken (probably) in late 1942 in Sicily, Bär is seen with the lion cub mascot lent by Leipzig Zoo. The emblem under the cockpit of Bär’s I./JG 77 Bf 109 G-2 depicted a lion jumping from the coat of arms of the city of Leipzig, also Bär's Heimatstadt . Part of his Kommandeur 'Winkel Dreieck' is just visible behind Bär's shoulder. The grown animal was returned to its zoo. This is a slightly wider and brighter image than the photo on Page 1277 of the Jagdgeschwader 77 history (Teil 3).
below; 2./JG 77 Bf 109 F-4 'Black 4' assigned to Ofw. Walter Brandt who claimed fourteen victories over Malta and was the leading ace of this campaign..
In his diary, Lt Armin Köhler (3./JG 77) described the first Mediterranean engagement on July 5, 1942;
"Comiso. 15.00 Uhr, erster Einsatz gegen Malta - first sortie to Malta. Life jackets, dinghy and Kanalhosen are handed out - ‘Channel’ trousers for operations over the sea. Mission: escorting Ju 88s, contact at 5,200 meters over our airfield. Participants: I./JG 77 and II./JG 53. Objective: Luqa/Miccaba airfield. A large formation of Bf 109s orbits between 5 and 6.000 meters. “ Da – Land!” Over there, land! The island of Gozo and then further to the south, Malta! Twenty 'Red Indians' are reported at 8,000 meters. The Ju 88s dive on the airfield. The anti-aircraft guns unleash accurate salvos. There's a lot of debris floating around the sky. I am constantly swivelling my neck to watch the sky above my head, especially in the direction of the sun. I'm waiting for the Spitfires to arrive at any minute. And then they are there! Here they come, diving down on us. I manage to briefly get on the tail of one of them but he spots me just as I am about to squeeze the firing button. He manages to take evasive action – eine Abschwung – a Split-S. All of our machines return to base. [...] 18:30 hours, our next sortie. Ju 88s attack Ta Venezia. Several machines return with hits. There are the Spitfires, although there are some Hurricanes and P-40s. We are not used to flying at these sorts of altitudes and it’s having an impact on the machines – my supercharger pressure regulator is faulty. The engines are suffering in the heat…”
Below; Pilots of 8./JG 77, Mizil, Romania, spring 1944. The ace Uffz. Karl-Heinz ‘Pummel' Böttner is in the middle (fourth from the right). Second right is Uffz. Jürgen Kilian.
July 22, 1944 saw a repeat of the attack of the week before with approximately four hundred and fifty bombers launched. Four B-24s and one HSS were claimed by III./JG 77 as well as two P-38s. ‘Pummel' Böttner returned his 16th victory – another Liberator- and 8./JG 77 suffered only minor material losses. That day, at least nine B-24s were lost to the combined actions of the fighter force and the Flak arm. It was during this period that 8./JG 77 was taken over by Lt Wilhelm Mockel. Born in 1918 Mockel had spent a number of years as an instructor in training schools. Sent in mid-1944 to I./JG 53 operating in Romania, he was then posted to III./JG 77, a Gruppe short on officers. Mockel may have volunteered for combat but he had no experience of it - unlike the survivors of the African and Italian campaigns, aces such as Hackler or Böttner.
July 28, 1944 saw the 15th USAF mount its fourteenth attack on the Romanian oilfields; some 350 bombers were launched, fully intending in this last phase of the assault to deal the final blow to the defense of the oilfields and refineries. Some twenty four-engine bombers were lost, two of which were attributed to Uffz Böttner. But in the course of the fighting 8./JG 77 lost two pilots, both probably reinforcements having arrived in Romania at the beginning of 1944. On July 31, three hundred and fifty bombers were split between Bucharest and Ploesti. 7./JG 77 was decimated and 8./JG 77 lost three aircraft and one pilot killed. The Kapitän Mockel was wounded and temporarily put out of action (his post would then probably have been taken over by Hackler). Poorly guided from the ground, the Bf 109s were directed towards the escort which was present in much greater numbers, resulting in substantial losses.
On August 6, an internal note from the Luftwaffenmission in Romania stated brutally; Romanian airspace can no longer be defended by aircraft because 1°) the enemy is far superior in number; 2°) the German and Romanian fighter pilots no longer have enough experience. Indeed, apart from a few 'old hands', the ranks of III./JG 77 were largely made up of novices. Attacks could only be mounted when certain of having at least a slight tactical advantage. III./JG 77 had thus become no more than an auxiliary force, the defenders relying mainly on the Flak as well as on the units producing smoke to mask the objectives.
G-6 Gustav 'Black 2' flown by Uffz. Jürgen Kilian 8./JG 77
Below;a recent ebay find - a Bf 109 K-4 of III./JG 77 - this is a 12. Staffel machine, 'Blue 3' assigned to Lt. Günther Beine. Beine was posted to III./JG 77 during September 1944. The 'red heart' badge is visible on the cowl..
III./JG 77 received 75 brand new Bf 109 K-4's in November 1944 while based at Neuruppin and a number of images of these machines are known. 'Blue 3' has featured in a recent issue of 'Luftwaffe in Focus' magazine. Note this is not the same 12./JG 77 ‘blue 3’ K-4 featured on page 87 of the Luftwaffe Gallery JG 77 ‘special album’.
" JG 77 Fighting on every Front " is a Luftwaffe Gallery 'Special album' via Erik Mombeeck and still available on his site.
Saturday, 4 July 2020
Friday, 3 July 2020
..translated by this blogger..
Special offer on Casemate Illustrated series - link below - and more many offers in the Casemate Summer 2020 catalogue on Casemate, Kagero, Helion, Stackpole and RZM titles (..including £20 off the Unternhemen Ilse title ..)
Thursday, 2 July 2020
Just a few weeks ago former Jagdflieger Erich Brunotte flew again in a Bf 109 after a 74-year break. He went up in the Hangar 10 (Usedom, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) Bf 109 G-12 Schulflugzeug ( a Merlin-engined Buchon) ..aged 96 years old. Note the Luftwaffe pilot insignia on his jacket - swastika covered up..
Erich Brunotte was born on June 2, 1923 so he has just turned 97 years old.. From his early teenage years he turned to the aviation world and passed his A, B and C glider licenses between 1940 and 1941. On June 3rd, 1941, he entered the Luftwaffe to be trained as a fighter pilot. Between July 1942 and April 1943, he received various assignments on the eastern front, flying sorties with a Nauaufklärungsgruppe - short-range recce unit. In August 1944 he was posted to 13. Staffel of JG 51 "Mölders" and often flew as wingman to Heinz Marquardt. Some sources credit him with as many as 33 victories. According to his own account - see video below from the 14-minute mark - Erich Brunotte flew his last sortie on May 3, 1945 from Flensburg in northern Germany at the controls of Focke Wulf 190 D-9 "Weisse 11". A single click to view here - a double click to go to Erich's youtube channel.
Also on this blog;
JG 54 ace Hugo Broch flies the Spitfire
Wednesday, 1 July 2020
more Lela Presse news - latest 'Avions' issue - 80th anniversary of the Battle for France and more new Luftwaffe titles
" ..Incompetent leaders, a government in paralysis, tens of thousands dead, a total rout, does that sound familiar? No, I'm not talking about the coronavirus pandemic! Come on, try harder: France ridiculed by Germany, a trial exonerating those responsible of any wrongdoing, and finally, the hero who stood up to the invader, condemned to death. Still not ringing any bells ? No, I'm not talking about Dr. Didier Raoult but about General de Gaulle! Eighty years ago, this great man - from every point of view - restored some honour to a country swept away in little more than a month by the armies of the Third Reich. As our sister magazine Batailles Aériennes has devoted more than ten of its issues to compiling a detailed picture of the air battles of May-June 1940, we have chosen to cover the 80th anniversary of this campaign in a different and original way. In the manner of Jean-Jacques Annaud's film "Stalingrad", you will be able to follow the journey of some of the most notable participants from both sides. Whether it is the men (Leblanc and Schmidt), the units (I./JG 20) or aircraft types (the CAO-200), the conclusion is always the same: it is the best prepared camp that will always emerge victorious from the confrontation. On reflection, you may not be wrong, dear reader: there is indeed a relationship between the events of 1940 and those of 2020 ...
I would like to make it clear right away that I am not the author of the introduction to the article devoted to the ace Christian Leblanc! It is the sole responsibility of its author, whom I would like to take this opportunity to thank for the confidence he has shown in the AVIONS team for so many years. If the confinement has postponed the publication of your magazine by two months, it has not stopped or put too much of a brake on our activity .We have just published two books dedicated to types sporting French roundels : "Armée de l'Air Vampire and Mistral" (Vol. 1) and "The SA 330 Puma" (Vol 1), as well as a very interesting 'special issue' dedicated to the French jets in Israeli service; " Ouragan, Mystère et Super-Mystère à l’étoile de David ".
In addition we have just published three new volumes in our series of histories of famous German units;
"Jagdgeschwader 54: Eagles of the Green Hearts" (Vol. 2),
"Stukageschwader 2 'Immelmann'" (Vol. 2) and "Lehrgeschwader 1, the Griffon Wing" ..." ..
Christophe Cony...editor-in-chief Avions at Lela Presse