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 ?

Tuesday 9 November 2021

Wolfdieter Huy's 'ship kill' rudder markings

This photo of a Bf 109 rudder displaying an unlikely tally of 13 ships sunk recently sold for 334 euros. Aside from perhaps Liesendahl's JG 2 Jabo Staffel, there is probably only one other JG with this many shipping claims - III./JG 77. This is therefore most probably a machine featuring a unit tally rather than an individual pilot's score. 

From Del Davis; 

 " ..based upon Wolfdieter Huy's dark camouflage and that of other aircraft in the III./JG-77, I would say that is an aircraft from that Gruppe. Also although this score does not match the ship count on Huy's known rudders, the shape and features of the ship profiles are consistent with his. This theory would place this aircraft in III./JG77 in Romania in summer / fall 1941..."

 Below a comparison shot of this rudder with  two views of Huy's Bf 109 Friedrich WNr. 8282


During the summer of 1940 - with the re-designation of the carrier Gruppe II./186 as III./ JG 77 - Oblt. Wolfdieter Huy was appointed Staffelkapitän of the new 7./JG 77. As the new Gruppe had to have a Jabo-Staffel (a fighter squadron that could occasionally operate as a light bomber with a 250 kg bomb under its belly), 7. Staffel was designated to fulfill this role. With his men, the new Kapitän was stationed from late November in Brittany, training with cement bombs anchored off the Breton coast. On 28 March 1941, JG 77 left France for Detta in Romania and the launch of the Blitzkrieg in the Balkans and Greece. On the first day of 'Marita', 6 April 1941, Kapitän Huy flew three Stuka escort missions bombing Belgrade. On completion of the missions, the Bf 109s strafed Yugoslav troops. Flights of this type continued for the next few days. On the 14th, 7./JG 77 operated from Greece, this time concentrating on the retreating British Expeditionary Force. The fighter bombers of 7./JG 77 were fully deployed, attacking the ships evacuating the Allies. On 17 April, Oblt. Huy flew two bombing sorties. On one mission he claimed a hit on a cargo ship of about 4,000 tons. On 20 April, during the attack launched by the Luftwaffe on Athens, Huy escorted Stukas and then, during a second mission, bombed the port of Piraeus, scoring a hit on a 3,000-ton cargo ship. The following day back over the Athens area Huy was reportedly credited with another ship damaged, possibly sunk. On the 22nd, III./JG 77 moved to Almiros to get closer to the evacuation of the expeditionary force. Once again operating with Uffz. Pichler, the Kapitän of 7. Staffel dropped his bomb on a cargo ship of some 3,000 tons. Over the following days, 7./JG 77 carried out various missions: escort, strafing, etc. On the 25th, during two Jabo operations off Eleusis and then off Chalkis, Huy dropped his bombs on two cargo ships of 4,000 tons. And, on the 27th, in the Nafplio sector, Huy (assisted by his wingman, damaged a ship of about 20,000 tons....With the successful conclusion of 'Marita' Huy's Staffel continued their anti-shipping missions against Royal Navy vessels operating off Crete. On the morning of 22 May, Huy claimed a bomb dropped effectively on a cruiser and returned to Molaoi. During the attacks on 'Force C', the cruisers Naiad and Carlisle were damaged by Bf 109s and Ju 87s. Huy was airborne again around noon and is reported to have seriously hit HMS Warspite (some sources say this was HMS Valiant which was not badly damaged). Ordered to concentrate their attacks on Royal Navy ships these actions were highly risky for the Bf 109 pilots of JG 77 as Huy's wingman Uffz. Pichler discovered to his cost, having to crash-land his aircraft at Molaoi, damaged by enemy fire (the pilot escaped unhurt). On 29 May Huy placed his bomb on the light cruiser HMS Dido evacuting British troops from Crete to North Africa..

Below; Oblt Huy received the RK on 5 July 1941 for his 7 victories and succesful Jabo attacks during the battle of Crete.

Also on this blog;

5./JG 77 ace Rudi Schmitt in the battle for Crete  here

Monday 8 November 2021

Dornier Do 217 N/M - ebay photo find #345


Do 217 K/M Flugzeug der Luftwaffe auf Kompensierscheibe 

 Do 217 N Nachtjäger Flugzeug auf Kompensierscheibe FuG 202

also on this blog;

-modelling the Do 217 M-1 night recce unit Aufklärungsgruppe Nacht (Italeri Do 217) here

-translated extract from Roderich Cescotti's 'Langstreckenflug' ( KG 100, Dornier Do 217 M-11, Henschel Hs 293)  here

Do 217 M-04, GB+CV, WNr.56004, at E-Stelle Rechlin on the compass-swing platform as seen from the rear.

Bf 109 and Bf 110 nightfighters in colour, Fritzlar, May 1945 - 'gelbe 11' of 3./NAGr. 13


Thanks to Tim Wheeldon for the heads-up on this footage. The full video was posted  via YT's own embed link for blogs at the bottom of the post..but it appears that it has now been taken down. I've saved the following screen captures..

The Gustav looks to be a 'hybrid' of standard G-6/G-14 with red legs and 'later' parts - an 'unrefined' cowl, small 'early' tail, small wheels/tyres but with red gear legs and the wider wing bulges.Note too the Erla-haube. ..

" ..'yellow 11' is actually Mtt built Bf 109 G-6/R2 W.Nr. 230785 "Gelbe 11", operated by 3./NAGr. 13. According to our friend Charles Bavarois, W.Nr. 230785 is reported by ULTRA Hw5/686 as being at Fritzlar Werft on 30 March 1945 with 3./NAGr. 13. This is the very day Fl.Pl. Firtzlar was overrun by the US Army with some striking photos made by US Signal Corps during the action.." According to another source 'Gelbe 11' was produced in a a very late production run of 200 G-6/R2 machines. All aircraft in this batch were built as tactical reconnaissance fighters during November and December 1944, just three months before German Bf 109 production came to an end. These aircraft were the last G-6 machines built by WNF, and by the time of their construction the supply chain consisted of late model parts. Note the supercharger intake on this aircraft is the type introduced for the later asymmetric cowls, lacking the cutout on the upper flange for the fuselage beule. Additionally the machine has the late style colored lens (red/green) on the wing tip navigation lights and the the large wing bulges. 

With thanks as ever to M-A Haldimann for additional info

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.." 

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Oblt. Winfried Schmidt - ace of III./JG 3 -article extract


On 23 June 1941, Schmidt was appointed Staffelkapitän of 8. Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 3, replacing Oblt. Willy Stange, KIA the previous day, the first day of Operation Barbarossa. On 11 July, Schmidt was severely wounded in combat near Fastiv, hit in the chest by the defensive fire of a Tupolev SB tail gunner. His wingman Lt. Wilhelm Lemke managed to guide him back to the airfield at Polonne for a crash-landing (Bf 109 F-2 WNr. 8236). The next day, Schmidt was replaced by Oblt Franz Beyer as commander of 8. Staffel...

On 18 September 1941, while still in his hospital bed, Oblt Schmidt learned that he had been awarded the Ritterkreuz. Given his rather modest victory scoreboard the award of the RK may appear a little surprising. While, at the beginning of the war, the Knight's Cross was often awarded for about twenty victories (17 for Galland, 20 for Mölders), the criteria for the award became increasingly more difficult to fulfill -especially after the "carnage" both real or ‘over-claimed’ on the new front in the East, where some aces with fifty+ victories never received the award. It may have been the case that the Luftwaffe high command wanted to honour the courage and obstinacy of its recipient through this distinction. Although 'only' a reservist, Schmidt had been officially credited with thirteen victories, had been shot down three times, had baled out once but had always returned to combat (except after July 11). A short but full career that certainly deserved recognition.

After convalescence, the pilot from Cologne was assigned to a staff position with 7. Jagddivision. This enabled him not only to survive the war (out of the ten pilots of 8./JG 3 identified at the beginning of 1941, only three survived) but also to find happiness. As his wife recalled during the 1990s;

In 1942, together with my parents, I travelled to Cologne from München-Gladbach to visit relatives. Our train was late and we had to wait at the station buffet. It had been partially destroyed and the buffet was now in a narrow and crowded hut. A young Luftwaffe officer entered in an impeccable uniform. He was also wearing the Ritterkreuz. Admiringly, I said to myself; 'This one is not for me'. But there was an empty seat at our table and he asked to sit down. We got chatting and exchanged addresses. Two weeks later, he contacted us and, six months after that, we were married. And we have been for over fifty years…”

But misfortune struck the couple when their only son was killed on 8 February 1988 in the crash of Nürnberger Flugdienst Flight 108 at Düsseldorf airport. All twenty-one occupants perished in the crash after the aircraft, a Swearingen Fairchild Metroliner, was apparently hit by lightning on the approach. "Fortunately, we have excellent contacts with our daughter-in-law and often see our grandchildren”.

Winfried Schmidt passed away in his home town of Cologne on 3 August 2009 as far from the spotlight as he had fought in the skies of Europe...


Flying with 5./JG 77 Lt. Winfried Schmidt shot down an RAF Wellington on December 18, 1939 in Bf 109 E-1 ‘red 1’ during the so-called ‘Luftschlacht über den Deutschen Bucht’ (Heligoland Bight). The machine is still finished in the dark green splinter scheme. The ‘seagull’ Staffel badge forward of the cockpit would soon be replaced with a more war-like eagle..

A full biography of Oblt. Winfried Schmidt appeared in Avions magazine No. 235  authored by Jean-Louis Roba.