Tuesday, 24 January 2023

More Aufklärungsgruppe Junkers Ju 88s - Ju 88 H with Aufkl.Gr. 123


The Junkers Ju 88 H was a development of the Ju 88 D intended for long range reconnaissance missions over the Atlantic in support of the U-boats. Powered by BMW 801 engines the design incorporated two additional sections in a fuselage 'stretched' to 17m - 99 cm was added forward of the leading edges and another 230 cm section was incorporated aft of the trailing edge root point to house an extra fuel tank. The wings were taken from the G-1. Three Robot Rb 70/30 and 50/30 cameras were mounted in the rear fuselage. The variant was also notable for the absence of a cupola under the forward fuselage. Prototype machine, the Ju 88 V89 (W. Nr 430820, RG+RP) was fitted with a FuG 200 Hohentweil search radar, two MG 81s in a WT 81Z ventral pod, and one MG 81 in the windshield and rear posts. It was first flown on November 2, 1943.

The Ju 88 H-1 was the reconnaissance version with BMW 801 Ds (1700 hp) and FuG 200. Maximum range was 5130 km. Ten were built. The H-2 was a more heavily armed Zerstörer sub-type not fitted with radar or cameras. Wing span was 20.08 m and engines were BMW 801 D-2s. Armament – two MG 151/20 cannon in the closed nose and four in a ventral pod. Five were built. (Smith and Kay)

Below; ECPA-D images possibly depicting an H-1 (note FuG 200 just visible) operational with 3.(F)/Aufkl.Gr.123 in France.  AufklGr. author Harald Rabeder comments;

".. The photos were taken early 1944 during a visit of General Ulrich Keller at 3.(F)/123 to inspect the Ju 88 H. Beside General Keller is Staffelkapitän Hptm. Höfer and an unknown officer -most-likely the adjudant aide-de-camp of General Keller or Technical officer of 3.(F)/123. The "German mastif" is the Staffelhund of 3.(F)/123 - unfortunately I do not know it's name .."


Ju 88 D of 1.(F) / Aufkl. Gr. 122 based in Greece in early 1944. Note the unit spinner marking. More on this blog at the links below 

Also on this blog;

Monday, 23 January 2023

Ju 52 Transporter at the Kent Battle of Britain museum, Hawkinge, 21 January 2023

..barely two months ago the RAF Museum's CASA 352 (basically a Spanish-built Junkers Ju 52/3M) was looking immaculate in its hangar at Cosford in its pre-WW II British Airways livery, painted to represent G-AFAP of British Airways Ltd circa. 1939. Now transported half-way across the country it is literally in pieces in the car park at the Hawkinge Battle of Britain museum awaiting a re-spray in a 'spurious' Battle of Britain 'scheme'. Although no transport Gruppen had undergone preparation for the 'planned' Operation Sea Lion, KGzbV1 and KGzbV2 were apparently primed to move to France, should the invasion become a possibility. The team at Hawkinge have around ten weeks to strip the machine down and repaint it prior to the opening of the museum for the summer season.  Not to mention lay some concrete for an outside 'dispersal'. Note the shot of the fuel tanks in the wing - volunteers on duty on Saturday mentioned that these had to be drained prior to the move from Cosford as there was still fuel in the tanks following the tri-motor's flight into Cosford some 30-odd years ago! Smaller parts including cowls, BMW radials, ailerons etc are already in the hangar at the Hawkinge museum where it was planned to apply the first coat of paint on Saturday.

Sunday, 22 January 2023

Hptm. Herbert Treppe 13.(Zerstörer)/JG 5


Born in Sprottau (now a town in western Poland) on January 30, 1914, Herbert Treppe studied at Breslau university, joining the Marineschule Mürvik in April 1935 where he learned to fly. He studied at the Luftkriegsschule Gatow 1935-36 (note two 's') and received his A/B licences at Celle in September 1936. His 'Lehrlingszeit' concluded with five months blind-flying at the Blindflugschule Wesendorf and subsequently he became an instructor in Brandis. Determined to join a front unit he was posted to KG 26 late in 1940 and according to one source flew in the 'Luftschlacht um England' (Battle of Britain). He flew both day-and-night sorties against land and shipping targets in England and Scotland. On one occasion he succesfully belly-landed his badly shot-up Heinkel He 111 with four wounded crew members in Beauvais after surviving a night-fighter attack.  On February 21, 1941 he was forced to ditch in the North Sea/Skagerrack and spent five hours in a dinghy in temperatures well below freezing before being found. He did not return to flying duties until October that year. After a spell as Ic to the Fliegerführer Nord he flew combat against England, Murmansk and in support of the German army in the Far North. He was appointed Staffelkapitän of 13.(Zerstörer)/JG 5 on June 1, 1943. He wrote an account of one of his first sorties leading the Staffel that summer, claiming two Bostons downed for a 'Doublette' -  as he put it, ".. not bad for a new boy". There are apparently no corresponding Boston losses in Soviet records.

13.(Z)/JG 5 re-equipped with the Bf 110 G early in 1943. Treppe flew Messerschmitt Bf 110 G-2  "1B+AX" (W. Nr. 120 037) out of Kirkenes during autumn 1943 as illustrated here by Kjetil Åkra in Eduard-Info 2015. 

The Zerstörer Staffel was re-named 10./ZG 26 in July 1944. Later in the year Treppe was named as Gruppenkommandeur of IV./ZG 26 (formed during the summer of 1944) and claimed an RAF Coastal Command Liberator on 28 September 1944 timed at 1245 hrs at only 5 metres altitude (over the sea). 

IV./ZG 26 became the new II./JG 5 in February 1945 with Treppe as Kommandeur. As related by Jan Bobek in Eduard-Info 2015-10 the newly reformed II. Gruppe was built up from elements of 9., 12., and 16./JG 5, and partly from the Stab IV./ZG 26 and 10./ZG 26. Interestingly the Messerschmitt Bf 110 Gs from the defunct Zerstörerstaffel were divided amongst the three Gruppen of JG 5 with single-engined fighters and were flown up to the end of the war. 

While the 'Luftwaffe Officer career summaries' page indicates that Treppe passed away in 1984, Jägerblatt published a 75th birthday profile in the December 1989 issue. At this time Treppe was 'Vorsitzender' of the 'Traditionsverband JG 5'.