Thursday 30 December 2021

Reviews - "Luftwaffe fighters - Combat on all Fronts " Vol I



Review in the current issue of "Avions" magazine

" ..The book-a-zine/Mook is a magazine disguised as a book. It brings together several articles on the same subject but is competitively priced (£9.99 for Luftwaffe fighters..'). By way of comparison, the format is almost the same as Lela Presse's 'Air Battles' with 130 pages and over a hundred photos. The ten articles of this Volume I written by Neil Page include general accounts (the evolution of the Bf 109, the birth of the Jagdwaffe), descriptions of campaigns (Norway 1940, Malta 1942, Courland 1945), a 20-page unit history (JG 51) as well as short or long biographies of little-known heavy or light fighter aviators (Biderbick, von Winterfeldt, Böttner, Kaschuba,... ). In other words the author has compiled a very wide overview of the history of the German day fighter arm, which is innovative and not lacking in interest. Recommended for aficionados of the history of WW II in the air..."

"Siko" on

"I’ll keep this short, this is a really interesting read with many new accounts and also lavishly illustrated with photos throughout, covering some lesser known units of the Luftwaffe and the fighter pilots who flew in them. Each account is liberally scattered with stories of combat, most of which seem new to me. Includes a very interesting piece on Reinhard Heydrich's career as a fighter pilot. Well worth picking up or as I did, free delivery through Morton's website..." 

 Alfred Monzat on TOCH

"..a great bookazine and I'm looking forward to the next volume.."

Leon Venter on TOCH

"...Morton's new "Luftwaffe fighters .." is a well-researched, high-quality publication that's a pleasure to read. Its eleven chapters are wide-ranging -- each describes a particular unit, pilot, aircraft or campaign. The narratives contain many personal accounts from lesser-known aces and ordinary Jagdflieger, with interesting insights about pilots, aircraft handling, armament, tactics, and operational conditions. At 130 pages, it's excellent value. It's profusely illustrated with excellent, well-captioned photographs, and even includes a glossary and a mini German grammar guide..."

Wednesday 29 December 2021

Hummel Hummel - Mors Mors


In Hamburg – before the advent of a mains water supply - water carriers, the so-called "bumblebees" were a common sight. They were often teased by children with the words "Hummel Hummel" - to which the reply was "Mors-Mors", an old retort known by anyone from the city of Hamburg – and still seen on car stickers today. And under the cockpit of the Fw 190 of a certain Gruppenkommandeur from Hamburg...

Wednesday 22 December 2021

I./JG 54 Friedrich - Wintertarnung


an unpublished image from the album of Hans Girke, a Wart in I./JG 54. Girke contributed to the Lela Presse two volume history of JG 54 (Philippe Saintes) reviewed elsewhere on this blog. Reproduced large across the screen to maximise details of the winter  finish. A yellow (?) Kennziffer is just visible as is the green heart (?) under the canopy.

perhaps a different view of the same machine as it is pushed back into its 'shelter'


Tuesday 21 December 2021

1/SG.4, Rieti airfield, March 1944


1./SG 4 Fw 190 - click on the image above for screen-wide view. 

Captioned by Denys Boudard as 1/SG.4, Rieti airfield, March 1944. Reposted larger here.

ECPA-D photos posted by Denys Boudard on FB

Monday 20 December 2021

IBG Models PZL P.11b (Romanian service) in 72nd


Zygmunt Puławski’s PZL Państwowe Zakłady Lotnicze (or State Aviation Works) P.11 fighter was for a brief period between the wars one of the world's leading fighter designs. While most fighters of the time were of biplane configuration, Pulawski developed a 'family' of fighters fitted with a high-mounted and aerodynamically clean gull wing faired into the fuselage replacing the cabane struts of the biplane and which provided the pilot with a superior field of view. The P.11 was Poland's primary fighter during the 1930s and the aircraft enjoyed considerable export success. Romania (with 14 P.7s, 190 P.11s and 30 P.24s) was the second main user of the PZL "gull wing" fighters. The PZL P.11b was the Romanian 'export' version of the P.11a.

During 1932 French engine manufacturer Gnome-Rhône expressed interest in equipping the P.11 fighter with their engine, counting on export orders. In the same year the prototype P.11/IV with Gnome-Rhône 9Kcr Mistral 550 hp engine aroused interest from the Turkish, Romanian, Portugese, Greek, Swedish, Czechoslovak, Japanese and Yugoslavian air forces.

Several of these countries decided to purchase the subsequent P.24 version. Romania ordered the P.11 version equipped with the GR 9K Mistral produced in Romania under licence. The PZL factory started Romanian production ahead of the Polish Air force's P.11a. To speed up the work some of the structural solutions (the wing) from the previous PZL P.7a were used. The order for 50 aircraft was delivered at the turn of 1933-34 (coded from 1 to 50) and the type was still in service as an advanced trainer in Romania during WW II. In Romania, manufacturer IAR subsequently produced ninety-five P.11f’s under licence. Production started in 1936 at IAR’s Brasov plant, airframe codes 51 to 145 being allocated to these machines. At Poland’s fall large quantities of Polish aircraft, including some P.11c’s, escaped to Rumania.

IBG's family of PZL P.11 models in 72nd scale are very nicely detailed kits, well-engineered and superbly molded. The scale effect 'corrugated' skinning on the wings is probably the best representation of it I've seen, certainly in 1:72nd scale. The kit also features a detailed IAR 9K engine and a photoetched fret with some tiny details such as throttle lever, seat harness, rudder pedals, gun-sight, undercarriage strengthening wires and the windscreen frame. Much of the sheet in fact is not required for this kit. Inevitably perhaps - for those of us with 'fatter' fingers and poorer eyesight - not every etch part will be used. The control surfaces - elevators, rudder and ailerons- are all separate parts. Fit is very good - as it has to be with so many small parts. Decals are by Techmod with options for three Romanian machines.

Saturday 11 December 2021

Henschel Hs 129 Panzerknacker Panzerjäger - ebay photo find #351


Der Kampf geht unerbittlich weiter! 

PK series of the Henschel Hs 129 Panzerknacker Panzerjäger of Hauptmann and Staffelführer of 10.(Panzer)/Schlachtgeschwader 9, Rudolf-Heinz Ruffer, RK on 9 June 1944, KIA on 16 July 1944, his aircraft hit by Soviet flak over Poland while attacking Soviet armoured formations. The machine exploded and he was killed instantly. At the time of his death he had recorded approx 80 tank kills.. 

Letter from Generalleutnant Seidemann dated 13 March 1944, signed by Hptm. Ruffer (Staffelkapitän 10 (Pz)./SG 9), in recognition of the excellent performance of his Staffel in destroying 19 T-34s west of Proskuroff on March 12  " ..easing the rather threatening situation..[..] and playing  a decisive role in the defence and destruction of the enemy attacks on Proskuroff..[..]...I express my very special appreciation to Fw. Dittrich who accounted for seven T-34s alone.."

Monday 6 December 2021

some images from the JG 2 archive - ebay photo find #349

..a seller asking some huge prices for several nice JG 2 images including Schnell's rudder scoreboard, Hahn's Fw 190 and Friedrich, a close-up of the III./JG 2 Abschusstafel during the campaign in France and Gen. der Jagdflieger Galland in front of the Kommodore's Fw 190.

On offer here

Friday 19 November 2021

III./JG 5 Gustav - ebay photo find #348

" ..Our successful Eismeer fighters receiving an unexpected visit....the four-legged comrades of our Gebirgsjäger are already used to the aircraft - even the roar of the engines being run-up barely bothers them.." 

PK photo of  a Bf 109 G-2 of III./JG 5, Feb./March 1944. There is a series of this 'reindeer visit' on pp138-141 of  Erik Mombeeck's Eismeerjäger, Band 3 (Jäger). The pilots were from 8. Staffel. (Thanks George)

Midwest Aero Restoration Bf 109 Gustav - first engine run November 16, 2021


Below - 'tweet' from Warbird Digest using Twitter embed code for blogs. Youtube video of the Gustav engine run below, a single click to view here.
"..On Tuesday, November 16th, Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 Wr. Nr. 410077 passed a major milestone in its decade-long restoration at Michael Vadeboncoeur’s Midwest Aero Restorations Ltd. in Danville, Illinois. The fighter’s newly-rebuilt Daimler Benz DB 605 roared into life for the first time since the aircraft’s forced landing in 1944! With these engine tests now underway, the momentous occasion of the aircraft’s first flight is sure to follow sometime soon..."

Thursday 18 November 2021

Fw 190 F-8 Kommandeur II./SG 3 model by Pedro Rocha featuring Exito Decals.

Model of Maj. Theo Nordmann's Kommandeur II./SG 3 Fw 190 F-8 by Pedro Rocha  using Exito Decals 'Luftwaffe  Ground Attackers' decal sheet as illustrated by Janusz Swaitlon and based on the rare photo reproduced here..

 Note the diving crow emblem used by I./StG 1 and II./StG 3 that became I./SG 1 and II./SG 3 in October 43 and then converted to Fw 190 respectively around Dec 44 and June 44.

Also on this blog;

Decals still available at the Exito site here

Erich Leie Geschwaderstab JG 2 - ebay photo find #347


on offer here, start price 150 euros

Below; from the JG 2 archive.  Part of a photo-set to mark the award of the RK (21 victories) on August 1, 1941. The majority of Leie's successes for the award achieved in the Geschwaderstab. Note the starter crank handle and the armoured windscreen on his F-4. Another image from this sequence published in 'Dans le ciel de France' Histoire de la JG 2 Richthofen, Vol 2, (1941)

Wednesday 17 November 2021

new IBG Fw 190 D series in 72nd -renders and box-art


Polish scale model concern IBG are close to releasing the first in  a promising new Dora family series - the best Dora kit in 72nd according to their blurb. " In our opinion this is simply the best Fw 190D kit ever produced in 1/72 scale!"

" Our goal is to set new standards for 1/72 scale and finally give you an ultimate kit. Our latest 1/72 project, Focke-Wulf Fw 190 D, is a brand new set that was created based on the wide-ranging factory documentation of the aircraft and numerous period photos. We have made every effort to render the model to scale as faithfully as possible and in the process we’ve uncovered many aspects not described until now. This means that our kit may or may not comply with the modeller's plans published so far..."

Project highlights include: * All main versions are covered including D-9, D-11, D-13 and D-15 variants * All subcontractor variations of the Dora-9 are included, covering external detail differences * Surface details  are faithfully reproduced, including hinges, covers, inspection hatches, fasteners and rivets * As the engine was visible through the wheel wells, a detailed replica of it (specific for a given version) is included in the kit * IBG have used an unorthodox, ingenious solution for wing fitting, to enable the reproduction of details on the fuselage underside. * Decals are printed by Techmod, ensuring extremely high resolution, perfect register and good reaction to softening fluids * Stencil decals, covering all possible variants, including information/instruction plates *

IBG box-art of the second of the two "premiere boxes". Again according to the manufacturer's announcement the sets will  each contain three finishing options -  the D-9 version box three machines from combat units, the D-15 box one painting of the flying prototype and two 'what-if' paintings. Both  illustrations released so far by Antonis Karidis.

More details, renderings and photos coming very soon!

Follow developments with Adam at the 72nd scale news blog here where you can also catch up with news on the long-awaited and eagerly anticipated Arma Hobby P-51 B/C

Monday 15 November 2021

Peter Spoden NJG 5 and 6, " der Leitwerk-Reiter "- 100 years old


Peter Spoden was born in Borken (north of Duisberg and close to the Dutch border) on 8 November 1921 and just one week ago celebrated his 100th birthday. He is one of the last - if not the last - surviving German night fighter aces of World War II. He was credited with some 24 night victories and was awarded the German Cross in Gold. Spoden served with night fighter units NJG 5 and NJG 6 and was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of I./NJG 6 at the end of war. In the 1950s, after the re-establishment of the German airline Lufthansa, he became Captain on the DC-3 and the famous Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation, later flying the Boeing 707 and Boeing 747. He trained hundreds of commercial pilots up to his retirement in 1981.

In 2006 Peter contacted me and asked me if I knew anyone who could help him produce a French-language version of his memoir. As it happened my friend Michele Levert was more than keen to take on the task and the French edition of "Ich war Nachtjäger in Görings Luftwaffe" entitled "Missions de nuit a la Luftwaffe" appeared in 2007. Peter's memoir was reprinted in 2014 as " Feinde in der Nacht: Geschichte eines Nachtjagdpiloten der Luftwaffe 1943-1945 ". Read in conjunction with books like Wilhelm Johnen's "Duell unter den Sternen" the reader gets a very good picture of events as the two books complement each other well.

Peter is perhaps best known for his sortie flown on August 23, 1943 over Berlin - original combat report or Gefechtsbericht - below. This was apparently typed up with Spoden still in his Berlin hospital bed (note top left "z. Zt. Res.Laz 101 Berlin"). Airborne from Parchim for the Funkfeuer Berta (radio beacon) west of Berlin Spoden reached 6,000 metres. Unlike the interception flown on August 17 (Peenemünde) when Berlin had been incorrectly identified as the target, Hauptstadt Berlin was already burning. As Spoden later related;  " the skies were full of contrails, tracers and multi-coloured target indicators, night fighters firing off signal flares and huge columns of smoke rising into the sky ..[..] a Lancaster attempted to escape a cone of searchlights by pulling up steeply into a loop  (sic - 'ein Looping' ).I had the impression that everybody was shooting at everybody else and I was caught up in the middle of this Hell! .."  The combat report relates that after downing a 'four-engine bomber with twin tailfins' (he was credited with a Halifax) Spoden sighted a Stirling at 4000 metres which he was obliged to attack from head-on as the RAF bomber turned in towards his 6./NJG 5 Bf 110 ( C9+KP). With an accurate salvo the Stirling went straight down but in so doing the brave tail-gunner was able to unleash several bursts into the Bf 110's fuselage setting it alight and badly wounding Spoden in the left leg ('Zerstrümmerung des linken Oberschenkels' -a comminuted fracture of the femur). After ordering the crew to bail out, Spoden jettisoned the canopy and departed his spinning aircraft only with difficulty.  Caught up on one of the tailfins by the ferocious slipstream - 'der Fahrtwind drückte mich am Leitwerk fest' -  he was luckily able to get free at around 1000 metres altitude, a feat which earned him the 'nickname' in the subsequent Signal report of 'der Leitwerk-Reiter'.(lit. 'tailfin rider' ..but in English 'rudder rider' sounds better ) As he later explained, it is known that more than one hundred Luftwaffe pilots bailing out of the Bf 110 were caught up against the twin-fin empennage and plunged to their deaths with the aircraft. Of his crew that night, radio operator Uffz. Kiel parachuted out safely, landing on the roof of a house in Berlin, while the body of his gunner, Uffz. Ballweg, was found in the wreck of the Bf 110. 

Some three months later Peter Spoden returned to combat, claiming a Lancaster heading for Berlin on November 23, 1943.

Spoden hängt am Leitwerk nach Luftkampf über Berlin (Zeichnung von Hans Liska in "Signal" Nr 8/1944)
Spoden caught on the tail fin as 'The rudder rider' during the Berlin raid of 23/24 August 1943 (drawing by Hans Liska published in "Signal" Nr 8/1944)

Peter Spoden's books on sale on his web site here

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Russland Feldflugplatz Focke Wulf Fw 190 Junkers Ju 87 Wintertarnung - ebay photo find #346


I./JG 54 Fw 190 A-3? I./JG 51 A-2 a possibility. Note white-wash prop blades/cooling fan. Is the cowling the same colour as the fuselage band ?