Thursday 26 August 2021

Ofw. Lorenz Dessoy II./JG 2


Uffz. Lorenz Dessoy joined 4./JG 2 during the Battle of Britain. He was flying as Rottenführer to Gefr. Rudi Miese on the sortie on 15 November 1940 over Portsmouth/Selsey Bill when the latter was shot down badly injured and hospitalised at Littlehampton near Brighton. According to Meimberg's memoir, there were some surreal moments during the sorties over England; 'Assi' Hahn ordering the Staffel to form up closely since ' would make a very nice photo, knowing full well that none of us had a camera' or getting out his harmonica after combat over England and ordering Dessoy to accompany him over the FT; " Dessoy, ein Lied !" Dessoy sung all the way home while we joined in.."

Dessoy was shot down over the sea during the second 'Circus' flown by the RAF on 21 June 1941 but was fished out by the Seenot off  the coast of Treport. Some two years later Dessoy was still flying combat with JG 2. Lt. Christoph Dezius reported; " when I joined the 'Richthofen' during April 1943 having finished my training with the Erg. Jagdgruppe West, the most experienced pilots were tasked with perfecting our skills. Aside from Goltzsch and our Staffelkapitän, our Staffel included another veteran of the Luftschlacht over England, Ofw. Lorenz Dessoy. It was these pilots who taught us the essential manoeuvres for air combat and we flew so many training sorties that the aircraft became extensions of ourselves. I generally flew with Dessoy during this period." 

Three years after joining JG 2 Dessoy claimed his first victory in combat with 7./JG 2 on 3 October 1943! Dessoy's victim was a Spitfire shot down that evening over La Haye-St-Romain during the course of a raid on the airfield at Beauvais. During the same sortie Huppertz claimed his 50th and Bühligen his 80th! Dessoy's second success in combat was a 9th AF B-26 south of Amiens during the afternoon of 25 March 1944. He flew sorties over the 'Invasionsfront'  during June 1944. On 17 June his 'Hundert-neun' was shot down by P-47s in the vicinity of Bayeux but was he able to bail out more or less unscathed. 

However, just two months before war's end, Dessoy was killed in an accident on 20 March 1945. He is seen here as an Unteroffizier alongside his II./JG 2 Emil...

More JG 2 pilots profiled on this blog 

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Gefr. Helmut Kofler 3./JG 77


.. A very rare image of Gefr. Helmut Kofler, seen here third left, with fellow instructors. Kofler was born 22 May 1923 in Vienna. Having served as an instructor he was posted to 3./JG 77 in late 1944 but was reported MIA/KIA during the Bodenplatte operation on 1.1. 1945. The other pilots in this image were almost certainly also posted to a front JG.

Many school instructors were sent to the front towards the end of the war; for example, several arrived at JG 53 around September 1944.

Via Jochen Prien; "Just a quick note concerning your blog – Kofler was not a Gefreiter in your photo but a Fähnrich acc. to the verso. Although you cannot see this in the photo itself, it is clearly visible there that he at least holds the rank of an Uffz. if you take a look at his epaulette. Fhr. and Uffz. are equivalent ranks with the difference that the Fhr. will become an officer in due course.."

Wednesday 18 August 2021

Erla Bf 109 G Ofw. Karl Hannes - "KJ+.."

Another image of Karl Hannes in the Gustav with the STKz "KJ+??" Note the factory finish - a single protective coat overall of the lower surface colour. Possible identity of this machine..

- Erla-built Bf 109 G-2/Trop batch W.Nr. 10 605 - 10 629 "KJ+BA" - "KJ+BY" built between July and December 1942.

- Erla-built Bf 109 G-4 batch W.Nr. 14 976 - 15 000 "KJ+GA" - "KJ+GY", produced between December 1942 and February 1943.

from Marc-Andre Haldimann; 

 "Your photo does show with high probability one of the G-2/Trop W.Nr. 10 605 - 10 629 "KJ+BA" - "KJ+BY" machines, as evidenced by the tear-shaped umbrella holders. Time frame would be late summer 1942.."

Photos from the G-G Voss JG 2 archive

Monday 16 August 2021

Uffz. Karl Hannes 5./JG 2 and Erla factory Einflieger


" ..Shot-up Me 109 glides back across the Channel - outstanding performance from a German fighter pilot - gliding more than 70 km home..  

"..Unteroffizier Hannes, der als Rottenhund eines Schwarms fliegt, wird gleich von zwei englischen Maschinen angegriffen... "

Uffz. Karl Hannes flew during 1939-42 in 5./JG 2 and successfully survived combat on the Westfront during this period. His Staffelbezeichnung was "12".  He returned his first victories - downing Spitfires - during September 1940. He was credited with five victories over the RAF. His 5th claim was for a Hurricane, west of Le Touquet during the evening of 17 August 1941. 

A PK report dated 23 September 1940 described an incident during a Ju 88 Begleitschutz escort sortie over London flown by the Geschwader Richthofen from their bases in northern France.

Kriegsberichter Gerhard Linke takes up the story .......

"..having over-flown the Channel at 6,000 metres, the formation came under attack from RAF fighters, diving from a favourable position directly out of the sun. Hannes quickly had two on his tail, one of which gave him a long burst of fire into the engine and fuselage from fifty metres. The enemy's shells hit the Me 109 hard, even slamming into the steel plate that protected the pilot's head. A glance at the instrument panel told Hannes he was rapidly losing his coolant and that the engine would likely seize at any moment. He chopped the throttle and his fighter fell away to the left. At that moment the RAF fighter swept past him and attempted to peel off to the right. With his engine still barely turning over, Hannes seized his chance. His 'sick' Me 109 fell in behind the RAF fighter - so long as the engine was running then he was still able to fire his MGs.  He cut across the Spitfire's curve - even if he was going to go down he would teach the Englishman a lesson. Barely thirty metres in front of him the Spitfire was framed in his Reflexvisier gunsight. Hannes squeezed the two firing buttons on his control column, unleashing in the same moment the first rounds from his MGs and cannon. Not for an instant had the Englishman expected that the Me 109 would still pose a danger to him. He attempted a split-S away but Hannes was on his tail as both machines fell away through one thousand metres. Time and again his rounds hit the Spitfire's fuselage and then a cannon shell into the engine - the Spitfire was soon trailing a banner of black smoke. Hannes could see flames licking from the cockpit. Der Gegner ist erledigt - his adversary was done for! But now his propeller juddered to a stand, the three blades starkly black against the horizon. 4,800 metres altitude and still 30 kilometres from the Channel which was at least 40 kms wide at this point. Beneath his wings the meadows and fields of the English countryside. Hannes kept his cool, feathered his prop ('Segelstellung') - the positions where the blades gave the least resistance and held the stick gently in his right hand -'keine unbedachte Bewegung darf gemacht werden' careless movement could be performed, every metre was precious. It is a strange feeling for a fighter pilot to glide through the air with no engine noise... [..]   

As a precaution Hannes jettisoned the canopy in case he had to leave the 109 quickly...[..]  Zehn lange Minuten! Ten long minutes! Jetzt kommt der Kanal. At 3,000 metres he glided out over the Channel, the machine slowly losing height  - das fliegerische Gefuhl ist jetzt alles....[..] With a slight whistling in the slipstream the Me 109 came in over the French coast at a height of fifty metres. To his right he spotted a freshly mown field and set up for a belly landing. He touched down softly,  slid along for  ten metres  and came to a stand. Hannes sat motionless for a moment. Then rubbing the dust thrown up by the landing from his eyes and face, he slowly unbuckled his belt, pulled himself up out of the seat and climbed down from the cockpit. The aircraft had sustained only slight damage in the landing but Hannes counted over twenty bullet impacts, mostly in the wings and the fuselage. There were just two in the radiator and it was these that had brought him down..[..]  .."

The display of airmanship shown by Hannes in downing a Spitfire in his crippled fighter and then gliding it home was second-to-none and won the fulsome praise of his comrades - 'Hannes hat ..[..] eine Leistung vollbracht, die gerade bei seinen Kameraden in der Jagdfliegerei bewundert wird..' His feat was evidence of the 'immense skill' and 'Siegeswillen' or 'will to win' of the men of the German Luftwaffe..

Below; Uffz. Karl Hannes in front of his (presumably) 'red' or 'black 12' of 5./JG 2 - a 'cropped' version of this photo was first published in the April 1977 issue of Jägerblatt.

Above; Karl Hannes was subsequently posted to Erla and served as a factory 'Einflieger' (test pilot) and in the works Jagdstaffel.  In this role he would perform more than a few emergency landings..

Below; Hannes seated on the spinner of a crash-landed Gustav coded 'G1'

Below; Hannes flew this modified Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-4 coded "H1" (Hannes, aircraft # 1 ?). The aircraft was written off in a crash landing during 1943. Hannes can be seen near the engine bearer arm, hand resting on one of the cowl MGs..

A 'second' "H1" (?) trialed a system for direct injection of liquid oxygen into the engine turbocharger to significantly improve the rate of climb. 

Friday 13 August 2021

Siegfried Lemke Flugbuch Kommandeur III./JG 2 on 1.1.45 (Model build by Paul Stipdonk)

A friend of the blog recently sent through a copy of Hptm. Siegfried Lemke's Flugbuch. Using this document he has built a scale model of the Fw 190 flown by Lemke on the New Year's Day 1945 'Bodenplatte' mission. Siegfried Lemke's Flugbuch details this sortie, see image below (second line from bottom) Tasked with attacking St Trond, Lemke's III. Gruppe of JG 2 flew out of Ettinghausen, north of Wiesbaden. At around 09h00-09h05, JG 2 crossed the front line at Malmedy and was greeted by an enormous volume of Allied ground fire. I./JG 2 lost at least seven fighters to ground fire alone. III./JG 2 lost 10 fighters on the ill-fated mission and fifteen aircraft including at least six Doras were shot down! Lemke records that on 1.1. 1945 he flew a Fw 190 Dora marked with his Kommandeur chevrons and toting Werfer rocket launchers ('Werfereinsatz' as per the logbook entry). Werknummer '210286' almost certainly wore the JG 2 RVT fuselage bands and displayed a III. Gruppe Balken. Note that most -if not all- of the WNr. 210 000 series produced by Focke Wulf were fitted with the standard Fw 190 A canopy. Fw. Werner Hohenberg's well-known belly-landed Dora (I./JG 2) was D-9 WNr. 210194. 

(Click to view larger)

Also on this blog;

Thursday 12 August 2021

Who collided with the 97th BG B-17 F 'All American' ? - Luftwaffe in Tunisia (2)


 The internet it would appear was made for stories like that of the 97th BG B-17 'All American'. 

 "..The 'All American', a B-17 Flying Fortress, seen returning to Biskra, Algeria, after a mid-air collision with a German fighter almost tore the bomber's tail off completely..."

While quite amazing in its own right, the story has been somewhat embellished in the re-telling. Some versions even have the B-17 returning to England. The 'Disciples of flight' web site even uses a German newspaper illustration of a Sturmstaffel Fw 190 ramming attack to illustrate its article. 

The bombing raid was flown from Biskra, Algeria to Tunis on February 1, 1943. The American B-17s - a small force of some 12 unescorted machines - were targeted head-on by the Bf 109s of II./JG 53. As related in his memoir, Jules Meimberg's 11./JG 2 - subordinated to JG 53 in Tunisia - also participated in this action. Meimberg - who had claimed a P-38 over Tunis the previous day - was still testing the frontal pass for attacking 'Ami' bombers, concentrating his fire at the weakest point defensively on the B-17 F. However his luck ran out on February 1, 1943. His Bf 109 G-4 was quickly set alight by the gunners' fire and  Meimberg bailed out badly burnt. He subsequently claimed the B-17 shot down but none were lost. 6./JG 53 ace Fw. Erich Paczia also set up for a frontal pass. According to Steve Birdsall in his 'Pride of Seattle, The Story of the First 300 B-17 Fs', what happened next left indelible impressions on the men at the front of the aircraft. Bombardier Lt. Ralph Burbridge recalled ; “I was firing at it all the way… I figure one of us must have killed the pilot because the plane crashed right into us… When we hit, our plane almost stood up on its tail. Then we went down at a very sharp angle. I thought to myself, ‘boy, this is it’.”
Paczia's wing plowed through the rear fuselage of the 'All American' and the 16-victory German ace plunged to his death. 

Fw. Erich Paczia of 6./JG 53 (left) seen in Comiso during 1942

Below; the B-17 managed to fly back to its base and land safely without any crew member injured.

"..Wings ablaze with gunfire, the Messerschmitt pilot aimed his fighter directly at the nose of the 'All American'. The crew aboard the B-17 Flying Fortress had seconds to respond. The bomber’s nose gun flashed in reply. The gunners of the lead bomber joined the fray, raking the air with bullets. At the last moment, the fighter turned to pull away. Suddenly, the pilot froze – one of the American gunners had found their mark. The fighter shot right over the cockpit of the B-17 'All American' with a deafening “whoosh” before plowing into the tail section. The craft shuddered as a tremendous “whoomp!” tore through it..."

A full day-by-day account of the Luftwaffe in Tunisia is related in issue #96 of 'Batailles Aériennes' over 96 A-4 pages, comprising 200 photos and 15 artworks all for 12 euros. Even if you don't read French this is a bargain.

"..From 1940 to late 1942, the Tunisians had seen few Luftwaffe aircraft, except for the few aircraft of the Armistice Commission that had come to verify compliance with the conditions set in June 1940 at Compiègne. This changed in November 1942 when the Allies landed in Algeria and Morocco, catching the Afrika Korps (then in full retreat) in a pincer movement. Mustering all it could, the Wehrmacht rushed in disparate units from land, air and sea to take control of Tunisia, towards which Rommel's army was retreating. On the ground, the Heer was initially able to block the advance of the enemy forces, while in the air, the Luftwaffe stepped up all kinds of operations: fighter and bomber escort sorties, ground attack, reconnaissance and also supply operations following the creation of an air bridge linking Europe to Africa. Airborne units and the flak arm were also put to great use. However, even if the German fighters were able to inflict heavy losses ( the USAAF in particular lacked combat experience), they often appeared powerless against large forces of American heavy bombers that were dispatched to pound their airfields as well as troop concentrations. The Luftwaffe, confronted with sophisticated enemy equipment, was to find out the hard way what 'Materialschlacht' meant. As the months passed and Allied numerical superiority increased, fatal blows were dealt to the air and sea supply units, which isolated the Tunisian pocket. Despite the disproportionate nature of the fighting, the Axis were able to hold on to the country for some six months, although their positions were slowly  whittled away. And on 13 May 1943, after suffering heavy losses, the Axis lost Africa for good..."


Monday 9 August 2021

Lt. Rolf Schlegel of 4./JG 53 - Luftwaffe in Tunisia (1)


Lt. Rolf Schlegel of 4./JG 53 climbing into the cockpit of his G-6 ‘Trop’ ‘white 6’ for a spell at 'readiness' during early 1943 in Tunisia. Note the 'painted' cowl gun troughs. Schlegel flew as Staffelkapitän 10./JG 4 during February-March 1945 and was posted to EJG 2 at Lechfeld for jet training for the final months of the war. He returned nine victories. Click to view large

Tuesday 3 August 2021

Dragon/Revell Me 110 C in 32nd scale


Rod Bettencourt's superlative Revell (Dragon) Me 110. Additions include Quickboost exhaust, Eduard set and HGH Seat belts. Painted with Model Master and AK real colors; 

Rod;  " this was the first-time using AK paints since I cannot get the Model Master any longer. With that said, I really enjoyed using the AK and have started to buy more. The decals came from one of the Kagero books. I also riveted and stressed the skin". 

The 109 in the back ground is the Cyber kit and was featured on this blog in March 2019.