Sunday 31 December 2023

news from the FalkeEins Luftwaffe blog and a note on photo use..


2023 was a decent year for 'FalkeEins-the Luftwaffe Blog' - a good number of posts, some good feedback, plenty of contacts getting in touch, along with a week at the ECPA- D in Paris - one of the world's great photographic archives - and a long weekend in Belgium scanning negatives of Luftwaffe photos with friends! Some nice images and stories hopefully 'brought back to life'. Not too many 'new' Ebay posts either - everyone appears to be doing that nowadays. Reposting long lost photos is good - but I always prefer to present some text as well if possible and that takes time to 'research' and/or translate. 

I started this blog nearly thirteen years ago. It is a (basic)  'google' blog  - Blogger was bought by Google in 2003 while 'Blogspot' is the domain name. It uses minimal coding - I know enough HTML to keep things 'readable', while FB and youtube conveniently provide their own 'embed' codes. No 'CSS' style sheets here. One of the chief benefits of a Google blog - aside from the fact that it is free and is easy to use - is that Google will, perhaps not unnaturally, place 'blogspot' content towards the top of its 'search results'. For example, try searching for "new Luftwaffe books" - this blog comes up near the top of any google search. I do not 'monetise' any content on this blog, there are no placed ads. Total page count is around 1300 and page views are approaching 6 million with monthly visitors at roughly 35-40,000 give or take.

(below; stats page from late 2016..)   

  The 'Luftwaffe blog' is/was primarily a vehicle for writing and posting articles and translated excerpts that I find of interest or likely to interest. I once received a message from a (presumably irate) blog visitor who accused me of just posting translations - I don't or couldn't do the kind of research that, say, Nick Beale, puts into his blog while still posting at least several times per month. Especially as I have no particular expertise. This blog is simply somewhere to 'show off' my particular 'passion' in this field and somewhere to 'practise' and 'publish' my writing. If you want to write and be published, you need to 'practise'! Throughout the period this blog has been 'live' I have authored various pieces of writing that have appeared in around 30-40 different volumes by a host of different publishers - Kagero, Classic Pubs, Casemate, Mortons, Osprey, Red Kite/Wingleader, Lela Presse, Eagle Editions and, more recently, JaPo. A while ago I highlighted a selection of these here - note I haven't listed many of the larger Kagero monographs. The early Kagero volumes were unreadable - the fact that the later monographs read 'well' ( or, at least much 'better') is largely down to my own input - until Thomas Szlagor came along. Thomas is competent in both languages. I stopped helping out Kagero when they kept asking for manuscripts to be corrected with only one day's notice. 

Having now compiled several magazines and books (Mortons have published my 'Luftwaffe Fighters -Combat on all Fronts', Parts I & II and Casemate published my " Day fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe" in two parts), I feel less need to do quite so much writing for the blog, especially when there are other deadlines to meet. It's not easy filling an entire 130-page 'book-a-zine' with content - in fact you need a lot of help. This is where the following friends come in. I also like to 'promote' their work (books, articles, models) - so thank you all once again, friends of this blog; Del Davis, Jochen Prien, Ron Ferguson, Jean-Louis Roba, Paul Stipdonk, Michael Meyer,  Robert Forsyth, Eddie Creek, Dan Sharp, David E. Brown, Claes Sundin, IBG Models, Simon Schatz, Andreas Zapf, Alexander Steenbeck, John Vasco, Nick Beale, Theo Boiten, Peter K, Jan B, Jukka J, John M, Theo B,GRM, MAH, the guys at AWP, Kurt Braatz at 296 Verlag, Markus at Flugzeug Classic, Michel and Christophe at Avions magazine, Yann and YK at Aerojournal...

Photo Use

This blog is also though a place to post reference photos and artworks for model builds, planned or otherwise. Modellers make up a large proportion of this site's visitors - check out and put 'FalkeEins' in the search box - when I last checked they had reposted several hundred pages of this blog on their forum (!!) Getting the occasional 'credit' on an Eduard kit box probably helps here. 

I do endeavour to follow some basic 'rules' (and regulations) regarding the posting of photos. For the most part and in general terms, copyright does not apply to most WW II photos, especially when posted for 'research and discussion' purposes ('fair use'). I usually try and provide attribution for all other photos. Some contributors to this blog who share their images here prefer to do so with no particular fanfare. Some of these friends have huge archives at their disposal collected over many decades. I once asked a Belgian friend for some help with photos, expecting - if I was lucky - to receive the odd image or two. As it was I got a USB key with some 4500 images on it! Other friends have been equally as generous. Some friends of this blog sell their images on ebay and similar. But if you believe I have posted a photo in violation of your copyright, please let me know and I will (usually) remove the photo from this website. I try not to go around pinching photos from other sites. 

It would seem that even the major archives are starting to realise that 'copyright' on WWII photos more than 80 years after the event is going to be extremely hard to apply. Even where copyright does apply the “Fair Use” exception in general terms permits usage. There are obviously a couple of important “Fair Use” factors; eg non-profit/educational use is more likely to be judged as 'fair use'. As a general rule, photos are not posted here for profit or for commercial aims. I post specifically to 'educate' and on occasion promote. The  'amount' and 'substantiality' of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole is important. Fair use is more likely when only a small amount or insubstantial portion is used. Another factor taken into consideration is  the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. Unless I have received specific permissions ( eg from Michel at Lela Presse) I do not post photos from books etc in print.

Much Luftwaffe photo content comes from  'private' albums - especially on the German side. It is difficult to claim 'copyright' on these as the original photographer is no longer alive and in many instances a good number of copies will have circulated. In fact, you could argue that many of these images are already public domain, having been widely published in books, pamphlets and newspapers during the Third Reich era. Similarly with various government sources, whether it is the U.S. National Archives, the UK National Archives, the Bundesarchiv, or others, such as the ECPAD in Paris. Government documents, pamphlets, photos, film clips, etc. are in general terms exempt from copyright laws and are in the 'public domain'. This applies to the US as well as most other governments.  German PK images will have appeared in many instances in wartime publications and with the passing now of the original photographers are also thus effectively free of copyright! Many, especially those posted online by the Bundesarchiv are in the 'public domain'. Even the ECPA-D has put many pages of wartime Luftwaffe photos online that cannot be purchased and are public domain. 

Archives have been putting their holdings 'on-line' in searchable data bases for some time now. Of course most archives charge reproduction fees for works that appear in 'commercial  enterprises' but also make available images that can be posted on 'personal' sites through a 'Creative Commons' license. Both the IWM and Bundesarchiv's digital content is effectively 'free' for non-commercial use on blogs like this one under 'Creative Commons'. Even the ECPA-D is starting to digitise their (German) collection, although their site FAQ states "no reproduction", even on 'non-profit' sites - but then provides an embed code for various social media sites most notably FB and Twitter!  To quote one author/publisher, this organisation (the ECPA-D) really has to get real about the fees it charges for photo reproduction in books! Admittedly they have little or no need to display any 'commercial' nous, being a government-run department of the French military and the 'German collection' is only a small part of their huge archive. Most of  its 'jewels' appear to languish 'unused' and 'unseen' in its archives, although that seems to bother few people in the organisation as far as I can see. However they are very good about furnishing 'hard copies' for personal use, at only 2 euros per image. And, as reported elsewhere here, that makes a trip to the ECPA-D a very exciting visit - a 'must' for Luftwaffe enthusiasts!

Thursday 28 December 2023

Another 'ace' in 1:72nd scale - over one hundred AZ Bf 109s built - Michel Wilhelme


To the list of 72nd scale 'ace' modellers covered on this blog - Jeff Groves, Barry Numerick, Jes Touvdal, Giampiero Piva - add the name of Michel Wilhelme. Michel is from Dieppe and has been building kits for over 50 years. Having disposed of a large collection of 1:35 scale military dioramas he now builds exclusively Luftwaffe kits, especially the 1:72 Bf 109 series from AZ of which Michel has now completed over 100 examples!

Michel's advice for building the AZ kits... " the cockpit poses no problem of assembly. I generally insert the instrument panel/ cockpit on one side of the fuselage so that the whole is well aligned . I assemble the wings without gluing them to the fuselage, again for ease of painting the fuselage. The landing gear is easy to align at the correct angle as it's a square you just have to align everything well. I fit the wheels and gear panels last, then adjust the canopy, which is painted separately, and fit it all at the end. In fact it's classic assembly. Of course I gloss varnish before installing the decals and the dirt from the exhausts, then I do my shading and washes, everything is satin varnished to finish it off. I think the AZ kits are very simple..."

Below; AZ Friedrich in 1:72nd in the markings of JG 3 ace Hans von Hahn (Michel Wilhelme)

Michel has already finished a number of Eduard's Friedrichs;  Nowotny's 'yellow 8' and Bob's 'yellow 3' from the 'Dual combo' boxing.

Also on this blog

Wednesday 27 December 2023

Friday 22 December 2023

Erich Rudorffer JG 2 - archive photo scan #11


One of the aims behind the 'archive photo scan' series on 'FalkeEins- the Luftwaffe blog' is to post images that would never otherwise make it into an article, far less a book. This rather poor quality image shows JG 2 ace Erich Rudorffer somewhere in Africa, according to the original album caption. He is wearing his RK awarded in May 1941. The image was scanned by a friend from Rudorffer's album many years ago...

Also on  this blog;

Fw 190s of II./JG 2 in Tunisia in colour

Click on the link for all images posted in the 'archive photo scan' series

Monday 18 December 2023

Sitzbereitschaft ! More 3./ JG 11 Fw 190s


This image of Fw 190s of 3./JG 11 apparently at cockpit readiness in their dispersal at Husum during the summer of 1943 has been published on several occasions, most recently in the ultimate Luftwaffe fighters book "German fighters in the West" by Paul Stipdonk and Michael Meyer (JaPo, 2022).. However no-one AFAIK has taken the original image and 'blown it up' so that we can see more details of the machines in the background. 

Below;  a closer view of the three Fw 190s seen in the top left of the original pic. The 'Waffenmixer' (armourer) appears to be working on the cowl MGs of 'Yellow 14'  while pilots are at readiness in 'Yellow 12' and 'Yellow 5' which features a Schwarm leader's red 'Vee' stripe..Thanks once again  to Delmar for image manipulation!

I sent the 'enlargement' to Claes Sundin  -  and was thrilled that he wanted and was able to produce some exclusive artwork for the blog. His comments on these machines follows. Click on the image to view large.

'Yellow 12' is a Fw 190 A-5/U12 with the underwing cannon packs - just visible - usually flown by Oblt. Hans Pancritius.  'Yellow 14' was probably flown by Lt. Heinz Hanke. Unfortunately the name of the Staffel leader who flew in 'Yellow 5' with the red 'Vee' is not known. Note the rather large and 'compressed' numerals on the fuselages of these 3./JG 11 machines and the Staffel emblem on the cowl. Click on the image to view large..

Claes Sundin's Centura Publishing book shop for Luftwaffe profile books and prints is here

Saturday 16 December 2023

Special Hobby/Academy Junkers Ju 87 G-2 by Giampiero Piva


Special Hobby's re-release of the 1:72nd Academy Junkers Ju 87 G has been given the Giampiero Piva treatment!

 Academy's Ju 87 G-2 is a nice kit, and certainly looks looks impressive in the box with its very crisp, finely engraved panel lines, thin clear parts (two canopies included, one multi-part) and decent detail, especially in the cockpit which includes a nicely rendered radio set. GP has re-worked the model, added the superb Aires resin cockpit and much more detail to the cannon.

The kit features the longer-span wing and two 37mm anti-tank guns slung under the wings. The underwing 37mm cannon pods are especially well done. As might be expected in this scale, some of the more subtle elements are oversimplified. These include the "Zwilling" twin machine -guns in the rear of the cockpit and the hinge arrangement for the flaps/ailerons.

Subject of the model is a 10.(Pz)/SG 3 'Panzerknacker', as seen operating from Schippenbeil (Poland) or from Jakobstadt (Lithuania) in the winter of 1944. According to Giampiero. "..all my models are brush-painted, which makes my output somewhat slow. I post models made recently but also others made a while ago.."

Thanks to Del (James V. Crow collection) for images of the real machines - which are fairly rare. Note the 'Wolfskopf' emblem on the cowling of 'S7+ET'  (see below)

Ebay sale album depicting  Stukageschwader 3 Junkers Ju 87s, including images of the BK 3.7 anti-tank Panzerknacker Kanonenvogel cannon toting variant. - note unit prefix 'S7' partially visible.

Also on this blog; More on Rudel's Ju 87 Kanonenvogel

Friday 15 December 2023

Uffz. Willi Drude (7./JG 77) by his son Wolfgang Drude


On 15 December, 1944, Uffz. Wilhelm-Karl 'Willi' Drude (7./JG 77) was one of a group of pilots transferred from JG 77 to JG 5. He had been with JG 77 only a matter of weeks having just completed his fighter pilot's training in 1./EJG Süd (Strausberg) during November 1944. On 26 December, during the transfer flight to Norway, Drude headed out over the North Sea and landed at Dyce (Scotland). He was one of the few deserters from JG 77.

Drude was flying Me 109 G-14 'Yellow 15' (WNr. 463224) and had (probably simulated) engine trouble before take off from Aalborg airfield. He was thus airborne later than the rest of the formation. He seized the opportunity to fly alone to the UK, reported that he was ditching his aircraft, and arrived at Dyce airfield in Scotland later that day. Indicating he was going to land by waggling his wings, he then approached the runway, bounced a few times, and survived without injury when the aircraft flipped onto its back. He was recovered from the aircraft by British airmen on the scene, and taken prisoner.

Drude was born in Bremen in 1922 and had joined an army unit in 1940 as a mechanic and not started pilot training until late 1943. He died at the age of 81 in Grants Pass, Oregon in September 2003.

His only son Wolfgang Drude tells his story with several detail differences;

".. Dad told me everyone knew the war was lost and they were now just being used for canon fodder. I remember him telling me he had been stationed in Paris, France when he got caught coming back on base with a suitcase full of nylons and cigs. So basically he was black marketeering. That little stunt got him a transfer to the Russian Front, so most of his photos were from there. In November of 1944 his JG was stationed at an airfield in Eggersdorf, Germany. It's just SE of Berlin and that airstrip still exists today. It was at this airstrip that I believe the last photos of him were taken. I googled it and actually found it. The same forest in the background on the photo is also still there. The airstrip also has a bar/ pub, or Kneipe as it's known in German called "Die fliegende Kiste" (The flying crate), 'Kiste' (or 'crate') of course being the German slang pilots used to call their planes. I got in touch with the owner via email and he was totally unaware that a fighter squadron had been stationed there for a brief time during the war. It's now mainly used by small planes and gliders. From there his Staffel was transferred to Stavanger/Sola in Norway. It's located on the south-western most side of Norway right by the North Sea. It was from here that dad flew his last combat mission. Engine failure caused him to make an emergency landing over enemy territory. Dad spent the next 18 months in an English POW camp after which he came back to Germany. I'm his only son and was born in Bottrop, Germany in 1949. It's about 6 km from the city of Essen in the Ruhr area..."

"..Dad had 4 other brothers who were in the Wehrmacht, but none were pilots. All survived the war but one went missing after it ended. His name was Karl Drude and he sent a card home from just outside Berlin saying he'd be home in just a few days. He never arrived, was never heard from again and was the youngest of them all. Dad figured he was snatched up by the Russians and sent to his doom in one of their work camps. I named my first son after him, so now there's a 2nd Karl Drude who also lives here in Boise, Idaho...."

"...I wonder if any of those other pilots in his JG survived. When the opportunity arose several years after the war, we all migrated to Sydney Australia. Back then (1953), Australia was in dire need of trades people and would pay for the trip out there. You in turn had to stay there for a minimum of 5 years to pay them back by just being there. Dad jumped on that opportunity and was the only one of his brothers to migrate to a foreign country. It would be interesting to find out if POW Camp 7 was in Scotland, because I recall dad mentioning the city or town of Liverpool. Again, if he defected, I'm surprised he was able to collect his military pension from Berlin for all those years once he retired..."

Wednesday 13 December 2023

Messerschmitt Me 210 - archive photo scan #10

By the spring of 1942 over 300 Me 210s had been constructed yet the type was still suffering from hydraulic and undercarriage problems that resulted in machines ground-looping. This is Wnr. 153 VC+SQ which went to the E-Stelle Rechlin in January 1942 and was later converted to 410 standard..

(negative scanned from the Petrick archive. Thanks to Del for scan enhancement)

Extract from a letter sent by Messerschmitt to Francke, head of the E-Stelle Rechlin, dated 25 March, 1942;

"..You will be aware that difficulties with the Me 210 are being encountered in the field and that, contrary to all expectations, these are primarily due to ground-looping as a result of undercarriage failure (das Abkippen). Since a large number of aircraft have been completed and are currently under construction, it is absolutely essential that these shortcomings be remedied as quickly as possible. The known defects (breaking away on landing  - das Ausbrechen bei der Landung - and unsatisfactory characteristics in the elevator) have already been addressed by lengthening the fuselage and installing the balanced elevator, both measures having already been approved by the E-Stelle and after the few flights undertaken so far, service pilots and the E-Stelle have found them to be satisfactory...."

(p102, Mankau/Petrick)

Monday 11 December 2023

JG 11 Fw 190 ace Schwarm leader machine - ebay photo find #365


A 3./JG 11 Fw 190 A-5/6 painted with the red 'V' of a Schwarm leader. Note the wooden planked dispersal, typical of Fl. Pl. Husum, north of Hamburg close to the Danish border on the North Sea.

Note the 3. Staffel emblem on the cowl with its 'Wer zuerst schiesst...' or  'He who shoots first lives longest..' motto. Another image shows a 'yellow 9' with the red 'V' - this aircraft may have been the usual aircraft of Lt. Michael Widmann or Fw. Heinz Stöwer. The so-called Schwarmführerstreifen or red diagonal stripes of a Schwarm leader along the fuselage sides appearing as a 'Vee' from above were typically featured on unit leaders' machines in JG 11 to aid re-formation in the air prior to the introduction of fuselage bands. This 3./ JG 11 machine also appears to feature a yellow fuselage Rumpfband.

Thursday 7 December 2023

New monster Chandos Publications title on the He 115 seaplane has arrived! New Luftwaffe books


Chandos Publications cements its reputation as the leading specialist Luftwaffe publisher with this superlative new tome on the Heinkel He 115. Now well-known for its somewhat esoteric choice of subject matter and lavish treatment of Luftwaffe aircraft and operations, the new He 115 tome is the last word on this important seaplane type covering historical and technical aspects. Featuring masses of data, text and photos on Luftwaffe and foreign operators, the book includes scale plans, profile artworks and detailed 'handbook' drawings. But don't take my word for it, check out the video - a single click to view here - as we leaf through the book! Then head over to the official website of Chandos Publications or check with reputable book retailers, online bookstores, or aviation bookshops for ordering details.

Sunday 3 December 2023

FalkeEins blog at the ECPA -D photo archive in Paris, Nov 14-22, 2023


.. arriving at the ECPA -D  ( Etablissement de communication et de production audio-visuelle de la defense) in the Paris suburb of Ivry.

As a Luftwaffe enthusiast are you always on the look out for 'new', rare and unpublished Luftwaffe photos? If the answer to that question is a resounding 'Yes!' then a visit to the 'Médiathèque' (multi-media 'room') of the ECPA-D is a 'must'. Just reserve a morning/afternoon/day on-line and turn up with your passport. The ECPA produces images, films  and publications for the French military and general public and is one of the world's biggest photographic archives. Their 'German collection' ('fonds allemand') alone is around 400,000 pictures. While there is some 'over-lap' with the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz, much ECPA-D material is unseen and unpublished. They also have the negatives, which the Germans don't. The great thing is that anyone can visit, just make a booking next time you are in Paris and take along your passport. (taken off you in exchange for a visitor's pass). There is no requirement whatsoever to be a 'serious' researcher, whatever that may be. Modellers and even photo collectors get a great welcome too.

So what is 'special' about the ECPA-D and why come to Paris? I put this question to John M, who was spending several days in the 'Médiathèque' when I was there;

" ..For many years my friend Del has raved about the quality and range of photos stored at the ECPA D and the friendliness of the staff there and the service provided. When he suggested that we go together -meeting up with Neil P who I had been in contact with for many years but never met- it was an opportunity too great to miss. I am a Ju 88 fanatic and modeller and to see so many crystal clear, small detail photos was a life changing event from a modelling point of view. The staff were patient and kind and hospitable and enthusiastic - the family of both workers and visitors was tangible, each helping and supporting the other making the whole investigative mission enjoyable and 100% more rewarding and productive. I would love to go again and recommend it to anyone interested in Luftwaffe research..."

Once inside the facility - this is a government military institution, “inside a fort” - the 'Médiathèque' or 'multi-media library', is quite a small place with desks/PCs for 10-12 people which makes a reservation system necessary. It is not a library in the usual sense of the word - unfortunately there are no books available to consult. Just a huge archive of photos. You are usually advised to bring a thumb drive, since you can order photos on-line once you have identified the file number/photo number that is of interest. 90% of the photos are ‘digitised’ and can be saved into a Word document via the computers in the ‘media room’. You can consult the very large original albums from which the collection is built up – around 410,000 images. Very useful if you happen to want a look at a photo series that has not been scanned. The images are mostly exceptional and mostly extremely clear –  with their Agfa film and Leicas, the PK Berichter (reporters) were after all professional photographers. However, there is no inventory. Luftwaffe images can be found in all sorts of files including German Army, Afrika Korps, even the Kriegsmarine files. There is a block of files (the LWEK files, around 15,000 images) which are not available in albums or on the main ECPA-D computer system but can be viewed on request on another PC system. That is, if some-one has told you about them..

Fortunately there is a 'Search' facility which is easy to use. Searches by unit, aircraft type, location are possible. Any photos can be ordered for personal use, hard copies cost around 2 euros, digital photos are around 9 euros – but have many more conditions attached. Publication fees can be eye-wateringly high but can be discussed with ECPA management - if you speak French.  While the staff in the media room can speak English and in some instances German, their management does not apparently..

One row of the five or six rows of photo albums at the ECPA-D. The blue folders are the DAA files (Documents Allemands Air). The green folders are the DAT files (Documents Allemands Terre). The DAK files (Afrika Korps) are beyond them..

Photos are organised into 'reportages' of around 30-40 thumbnails. Individual pictures can then be viewed large. Much work has been done on captioning each 'report' series. Although a colleague did run across a set of images captioned as "Fw 189 recce pilot" which turned out to be rare and unseen images of leading Eastern front ace Gustav Francsi of NJG 100. 

Below; 'thumbnail' screen for a photo report series on SG 3 and one of the images enlarged on the screen.

This 'reportage' photo report was entitled " JG 1 pilot briefing" and a view of one image on the screen.

A typical photo album page  - this 'reportage' (file DAA 2548) shows US POWs loading a Ju 52 in Tunisia.

- Most of the images available to look at are unpublished. If your interests extend to Normandie Niemen, post-war French conflicts etc then the numbers of images in the archive are in the millions. Heer and Kriegsmarine as well as Luftwaffe. Note French Air Force 1939-1940 is stored at the SHD - Service Historique de la Defense at Vincennes.

Note that the archive features many many hundreds of films, other moving images and radio recordings. I was given the chance of listening to some recordings made by Luftwaffe fighter aces. Even staying here for the best part of a week I did not get around to viewing any of the films!

Why don’t more enthusiasts, writers, publishers, modellers and photo collectors go to the ECPA-D?

- possibly don't know that it exists, how easy it is to access and or are unaware of the huge collection of photos available to view.
- Possibly intimidated by potential bureaucracy. Hard to deal with as a government agency. (Neither of which is the case)
- You need to speak the language (you really don’t)
- Travel hassles. From London, Eurostar trains from St. Pancras through the Channel tunnel go into Gare du Nord at least 10 times/day. Traffic is apparently still down on pre-Covid levels, although the trains I was on were very full. Services to and from Amsterdam are being halted for six months next year. The much-touted EU Entry/Exit system (EES) is currently not set to be introduced until after the Paris Olympics. (summer 2024)

I spent the best part of a week here - I even ran into the infamous 'Denys Boudard'. (..nice guy! Very good English, ex special-forces, a man-mountain, not somebody to get on the wrong side of!)

Needless to say I'm looking forward to going again next year! Thanks to the staff - Nicolas, Justine, Philippe and Christine - for helping us make the most of our week!  Apologies, I forgot to sign the visitors book..and to Del, John and Christophe, thanks for a great week!

Below; typical ECPA-D (thumbnail) photo-file 'reportage', depicting the Ju 188s of  Aufklärungsgruppe 11. An 'LWEK' file, not available in hard copy, nor on the main computer system..

Also on this blog;

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

Saturday 2 December 2023

NAG 11 Bf 109 Gustav -archive photo scan (9)


NAG 11  Bf 109  Gustav Aufklärer following a ground-loop somewhere in Italy, late 1943-early 1944. Note wing uppersurface camo pattern and barrel of underwing gondola cannon visible ahead of wing slat. The prancing horse emblem on the cowl was displayed by the Gustavs of 4.(H)/12 when they were incorporated into the 'new' NAG 11 during October 1943, being re-designated 2./NAG 11.  

Kapitän of 2. Staffel NAG 11 was Fritz Galland - eldest of the four Galland brothers..

Also on this blog;

Fritz Galland, reluctant fighter pilot - eldest and least well-known of the four Galland brothers

More Bf 109 Aufklärer - 4.(H)/12 in Tunisia January -April 1943

Thursday 30 November 2023

Stuka crews of 10.(St)/LG 1 relax ahead of the attack in the West

A Stuka crew from 10.(St)/LG 1 relaxing by their machine just prior to the Westfeldzug, the campaign in the West. The Ju 87s of IV./LG 1 departed their field near Cologne on 19 May 1940 and headed for Belgium. Their new base was a field strip near Hargimont (Marche). This 10. Staffel machine was Ju 87 B-1 'L1+CU'.

Just one of the many excellent photos published in the latest BA (issue 104) from Lela Presse " Stuka dans la Blitzkrieg " Part II (the  attack in the West. Part I covered Poland and Scandinavia..). BATAILLES AÉRIENNES is the leading French-language quarterly from Lela Presse, in continuous publication since 1997. Features rare first person accounts, rarely seen photos and superlative artwork from Eric Schwartz, still only 13 euros (100 pages, 200 illustrations, 10-15 artworks). Available here

" Here is the second part of our study dedicated to the terrifying weapon -in its day- that was the Stuka. After a successful trial in Poland, the Ju 87 was to prove its worth on the battlefield in the West. As we know, it was a great success. And the Allied anti-aircraft defences of the time were not the equivalent of the German Flak; not to mention the Allied fighters who, although overwhelmed by the scale of the Luftwaffe attacks, were able to score a few successes against the Stuka, successes which already revealed the vulnerability of the dive-bomber. So, no, the Stuka was not a miracle weapon; it was simply a question of making good use of a weapon in a rather favorable context. Mention is often made of the Stuka's siren, which terrorized the population and Allied troops. Certainly, this was the case during certain attacks, and this is essentially what was remembered and, above all, peddled. Nevertheless, numerous photographs show that personnel were happy to get rid of this equipment... whose effectiveness could not have been as radical as later reported...

To this day, the Stuka remains a legendary weapon, inseparable from the 'Blitzkrieg' waged by the 3rd Reich. The author's account shows us that the reality needs to be nuanced, as the losses suffered by Stuka units were not negligible; nor were those suffered by other Luftwaffe units, even in a context of near-total victory..."

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Eduard 1/72 Bf 109 F by Roy Sutherland


" little 109 F-2/4 is finished! This is my fourth completion for the year and a personal record for me. I'm pretty pleased about that and intend to maintain this pace or better for 2024. Many years ago, once the decals were on, it was a short dash to the finish line. These days, it just marks the start of the third chapter of the build. Weathering and paint effects take me many hours of careful work. Every small part also has to be finished to match. After the panel wash is completed, the model was given a coat of Galleria satin (a mix of their flat and gloss). I've grown to like and trust this stuff. Generously thinned with Mr. Levelling Thinner, it sprays well and dries to a nice speckle free, tough finish that is a good base for weathering fluids.

Weathering was done with a wide array of materials including AK filters , Tamiya panel accents, pencil, airbrushing of exhaust, water color pencils, spit, finger oil and graphite powder. Chipping was done with a silver Prismacolor pencil, and kept to a minimum, as these aircraft were extremely well maintained at this point of the war. The cockpit hood and antenna mast were drilled and pinned as I hate breaking off and losing parts with just a casual touch. Not easy to do in 1/72. Rigging was made with Uschi .003" rigging thread.

Overall, I'd say this is an excellent kit. Its typical Eduard, in that its fussy in places and things like the separate gun troughs are quite tricky to fit just right. With a little care, they install cleanly and look great. The beefed up landing gear mounts are a big improvement, though I had to do some tweaking as the glue set to get them to align in all 3 axis. I could see building more 109s from Eduard as they release more variants, but for now, I have many other subjects vying for my attention. Back to the Sea Fury, now that everything is put away and the bench cleaned up! BTW. I finished the 109F on Friday night around midnight and took it to the IPMS Fremont show the next morning. It took a first in it's category. Fun show with lots of nice models. Happy modelling! Roy.... "

Monday 27 November 2023

a new Luftwaffe quarterly publication from Chandos due early in 2024


A new publication from Chandos is always an event. The news that a new quarterly publication will be launched early in 2024, entitled 'Axis Wings' is great news for the Luftwaffe enthusiast. 'Axis Wings' will be a compendium of stories, artwork and rare photos concerning the Luftwaffe and co-belligerent air forces from inception to demise. Chandos hope that this will be a regular publication and currently have two issues in the pipeline. Each issue will feature prominent and respected authors, who have contributed articles that are too short for a conventional book, but too long to just sit on a hard drive somewhere, unshared. According to Chandos supremo, Rich Carrick '.. there is still a great wealth of information on the Luftwaffe and its allies waiting to be uncovered and shared, and 'Axis Wings' aims to redress that balance...'

Each issue will be around 200 pages, in full colour, with detailed information, fantastic artwork and rare photos (including previously unpublished material)

" It gives me great pleasure to announce that Chandos Publications, in association with Robert Forsyth at Chevron Publishing, will soon realise a long-held ambition to release the first in what we hope will be a long-running compendium relating to the Luftwaffe and co-belligerent air forces. Drawing on the talents of many well known names in the Luftwaffe research and writing community, each issue will be packed with stories, photographs and artwork. There are many fascinating pieces of information on the Axis air forces that are still unpublished, that are too short for a regular book, but are also too important to sit on a hard drive ad infinitum. 'Axis Wings' aims to make these stories known, accompanied by specially commissioned artwork, and photographs from private collections. Each issue will be approximately 200 pages long, in a softcover format. The price will be around £40 per issue, and initially we plan to release two issues per annum. A subscription with a reduced price is something that we will consider if there is strong enough interest. The success of this project very much depends on how well the concept is received, but as long as there is a demand we will keep working. We hope that 'Axis Wings' will grow organically, and become self-perpetuating, and to that end we welcome the submission of stories, photographs and comments for future editions..."

not forgetting of course the new 390-page volume on the He 115 due imminently, "Heinkel He 115 Developmental and Operational History 1937-1952" ...

More news, including how to order, on the Chandos Publications Ltd website here

Sunday 26 November 2023

He 177 KG 100 - archive photo scan (8)


A crew member taking a pee at the tail wheel of I./KG 100 He 177 A-3 '6N+NS' prior to a sortie. Scanned from the Ulf Balke photo archive...

Saturday 25 November 2023

"Joschko” Fözö, ein Fliegerleben mit Mölders - first 'kill'


By the time Mölders left Spain in early November 1938 he was the most successful fighter pilot of the Legion Condor with 14 victories. One of his young 'protégés' was Lt. Josef “Joschko” Fözö who ‘finally’ managed his first victory on 31 October during a bomber escort sortie, a 'kill' he recounted his 1943 memoir ‘ein Fliegerleben mit Mölders’...

" ...the Staffelkapitän is setting up for an attack. We are still almost one kilometre from the adversary and yet Mölders has pulled up into a steep climb. We follow. I make a rough calculation of the enemy’s strength – three squadrons, around 35-40 aircraft. I don’t recognize the model. They are not Ratas or ‘Curtiss’ fighters. It is a new and sleek design, fast, much faster than the Ratas. Will we be faster? Yes, we are. And more powerful. Not that speed decides the combat – that is down to the skill of the pilot and the quality of his fighter. And we are Germans in German aircraft. Like a buzzing swarm, the cloud of fighters suddenly splits up for the attack. I stay tight to Mölders covering his tail. Then he dives on the first, attempting to come in on an oblique pass. He gives it a burst from all barrels as the enemy machines raises his nose to fire. Der Pilot muss getroffen sein. The pilot must be hit. I see him just pull up slightly, then sluggishly and helplessly falling away and spinning down, clear indication that there are no control inputs. My brain works with feverish clarity. I pick out a thousand details like a film strip being wound on rapidly..I climb after the next opponent and try and get in behind him, but he banks into a tight curve and veers off to the side. Should I follow in after him? I’m just about to haul the stick over and throw the throttle wide open, when – like a present from heaven – a second enemy fighter climbs up directly into my line of sight, barely a few hundred metres distant. I can dive away underneath it, or fly right past it or I take it on. Is it time? Fractions of a second to decide. I press myself down behind the sight, every fibre of my being obsessed with the single necessity – to fight. Time flashes past. Now, now – he sits slap bang in the middle of the ring sight. Eyes, don’t fail me – brain, remain clear – hand, squeeze the firing buttons! If only my guns don’t jam then the victory is certain! I press the buttons and a stream of rounds hisses from the barrels. I follow the tracers. There, on target. My burst slams right into the nose and the engine – right where I have aimed, the bullets strike home. Unless a miracle saves him, he is done for..."

“Joschko” Fözö climbs down from his Bf 109 A. Fözö's machine was coded 6-16.

Lt. Fözö’s Bf 109 A '6-16'. In his 1943 account he captioned this image “ ein neuer Balken..ein neuer Abschuss..” ( ‘ another kill marking.. another victory’). Scanned directly from his book - published 1943. Fözö returned three victories in Spain. '6-16' served with all three Staffeln of J/88 at various times and was eventually handed over to the Spanish air force.