Saturday 6 November 2021

New release from Claes Sundin - Luftwaffe Fighters in profile - Book 11 (Uffz. Heinz Schlechter of 5./JG 27 - " I lost my wingman over the Austrian Tyrol " )

The new profile book from Claes Sundin - with rare Fw 190 cover artwork - has arrived;

- 136 full color pages with 130 aircraft profiles
- Features all-new profiles of single-seat fighter types flown by Luftwaffe Experten
- 140 additional illustrations of unit insignia (Wappen) and personal markings
- Detailed captions for each profile with historical and descriptive information of the pilots and their aircraft
- A pilot and unit index for all Claes' Luftwaffe one-seat fighter artworks published to date
- Exceptional high-quality paper and print quality and glossy hard-bound cover

Click on the low-res image of Claes' profile of Arnulf Gottschall's G-6 below to go directly to the Centura Publishing web site to order the book..

The story of Uffz. Arnulf  Gottschall's demise is particularly tragic. During the morning of 19 December 1943 II. Gruppe of JG 27 were scrambled from Wiesbaden-Erbenheim under their Kommandeur Maj. Werner Schroer against unescorted 15th AF four-engine bombers mounting one of the first 15th AF raids on Germany proper. In two waves of some 150 machines, B-17s raided Innsbruck rail yards, while a small force of B-24s targeted Messerschmitt facilities in Augsburg. Uffz. Heinz Schlechter of 5./JG 27 wrote the following account, published in a 1980s issue of Jägerblatt;

 "... after an intermediate stop in Ingolstadt our 5. Staffel arrived over Innsbruck at 6,000 meters and from 11:30 we flew a holding pattern waiting for the bombers to appear. We slowly ran low on fuel. After a while the red low-fuel warning light blinked on in the cockpits of several of our Messerschmitts. This obviously gave cause for concern. As we had received no updates on the air situation report (Luftlagemeldung) the sortie was finally called off and we were ordered to land back in Aibling. It was while heading in the direction of Hall im Inntal at lower level that I noticed flak bursts and at around 4,000 meters altitude I caught sight of bombers heading towards us from a westerly direction. Climbing at full power I attempted to close on a Liberator Pulk with my Katschmarek - Uffz. Arnulf Gottschall in his 'black 13' was close on my tail. We opened up at long range, at the same time running into stiff defensive fire. As I broke off I lost sight of Gottschall. A radio call brought no response. Below us the mountains of the Ziller valley in the Austrian Tyrol were shrouded in cloud. My low fuel warning light had also by now lit up on the instrument panel and a second attempt to hit the bombers was out of the question. I managed to land safely in Aibling on my last drops of fuel. However Gottschall failed to return. Some two weeks later we received news that his body had been found up in the mountains on a glacier..."

 Gottschall had bailed out successfully and survived the landing. However he had evidently been unable to make his way down from the mountains and died of exposure. He is buried in the military cemetery at Amras near Innsbruck.

And a small correction to Schlechter's account from M-A Haldimann;
".. Further to your latest post, Uffz. Arnulf Gottschall was lost after parachuting from Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 160818 "Schwarze 12" and not whilst flying Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 440069 "Schwarze 13", shown in Claes's illustration. Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 440069 "Schwarze 13" became a total loss as Uffz. Franz Kiekbusch, also from 5./JG 27 had to crash this machine north of SS Schule Hochbrück, owing to engine trouble after taking off 21 February 1944.."