Wednesday 3 August 2022

Wartungsarbeit - Bf 110 G "2N + ??" (10.(N)/ZG 1 Lt. Josef Kociok)


 This interesting image shows (presumably) a maintenance task being undertaken on a Bf 110 - but what does it show ?  Attention seems to be focussed on the rear of the machine - master compass calibration or FuG instrument landing test perhaps? 

..No, none of these! Thank you to Alexander S for pointing out that the vehicle in the photo is an oxygen cart - the Sauerstoff-Umfüllgerät 10-50A could be mounted on its own twin-axle 'car' or on a 3-ton truck. The operator is at the Schaltafel or control panel at the rear of the unit which has been backed up to the aircraft.

The machine appears to be a "G" - note 'rounded' enclosed rear cockpit canopy and the MG Z mount apparently minus any armament. As the account below makes clear there would be little call for rearward-firing MGs on an Eastern Front Bf 110 night fighter, if that is what this is. Note the code '2N'  ahead of the Balkenkreuz -   according to Michael Holm's site 10./ZG 1 received the Bf 110 G-2 during the late spring of 1943 prior to the aircraft being 're-assigned' to the 'new'  4. and 5./NJG 200 during the summer of 1943.

More at the kfzderwehrmacht page here

Also on this blog;

Ofw. Josef Kociok 10.(N)/ ZG 1

An excerpt From "Night Witches", by Fergus Mason

" ... On May 9 Kociok shot down three U-2s from another regiment. Then on the night of May 15/16 he encountered the Night Witches. The 46th were out in force that night, to harry the Germans as they fell back on the Taman Peninsula. The deputy regimental commander, former airline pilot Senior Lieutenant Serafina Amosova, was leading a squadron in an attack on one target when the Germans tried to replicate the “Flak circus” tactic that had caused so many problems at Stalingrad. It was less successful this time; in retreat they found it harder to set up the elaborate traps, and the bombers were running at the target one after another. The guns weren’t well enough sited to catch them and the tracers were flying harmlessly wild. Then Amosova saw a trail of sparks race up into the sky and burst in a green flare. Instantly the guns stopped firing. Two miles away and 1,000 feet above, Josef Kociok was orbiting the target zone in a wide circle. Looking out the side window of his Bf 110 G-2 he searched for the tiny shapes of the Soviet bombers in the glow of the swinging searchlights. It was a confusing image, with bomb explosions and curving streams of tracer shells confusing his eyes. Still he watched patiently, until he saw what he was looking for: a line of moving specks, four of them a few hundred meters apart, all heading directly for the target. He opened the throttles and banked, swinging the big fighter round until he was directly ahead of the bombers, then chopped the power and pushed the stick forward. The Bf 110 tipped into a shallow dive. He lowered the flaps to keep the speed down as far as he dared – the Destroyer had a higher stalling speed than even the Bf 109 – and thumbed the transmit button on his radio. He gave the bearing of the incoming bombers then finished with, “Attacking now.” Seconds later the green flare popped open and the guns fell silent. He was clear to make his attack run. Weaving around in the decoy role off to one side of the defenses, Amosova saw the searchlights swing away from her towards the inbound group. It was hard to hold the Kukuruzniks in the beams but enough light was being thrown in their direction that they were suddenly clearly visible. There was no flak though, so they kept going, boring in on their target. The first of them was within yards of the drop point now, already starting to climb to avoid the blast of its own bombs. Then, to her horror, it seemed to stagger in the air as small explosions erupted all over the forward fuselage. Instantly it caught fire and spun out of control as the roar of powerful engines suddenly swelled out of the darkness. The Bf 110 was now hugging the ground, not much higher than the Soviet biplanes flew. As the first bomber blazed up like a candle Kociok pulled back on the stick to leapfrog the falling wreck, then dropped the nose again. The onrushing shape of the second Polikarpov swam into the glowing bars of his sight. His thumb stabbed down on the button, white flames erupted from the nose and the floor vibrated under his feet as the cannons thundered. The second U-2 was snatched aside by the stream of shells and bullets; it, too, erupted into flames and fell towards the steppe. Kociok was already lining up his guns on his next victim. Amosova could only watch in horror as the Messerschmitt skimmed along the line of bombers, blasting them one after another and sending all four crashing down in flames. Around her the other crews were already scattering and heading for home. There was no choice. A one-second burst from a Bf 110’s guns threw out over four pounds of metal and explosives, all travelling at more than twice the speed of sound. It was enough firepower to shatter a U-2 in an instant, and this pilot had the skill to pick off his targets with a single, lethal blast. If they tried to attack again they would be wiped out. Amosova forced her own plane a little lower, practically hiding behind hedges all the way back to the airfield. When Major Bershanskaya heard about the massacre she instantly grounded the regiment for the night; a third of a squadron had been destroyed in a minute, and she wasn’t willing to risk it happening again. Amosova, Popova and the others walked back to their billet in an old school building and sat, weeping, looking at a row of eight empty camp beds...."

(thanks Tim, what happened to the WIP on BM?)