Thursday 25 May 2023

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1 WNr. 111711


A previous blog post shows Me 262 A-1 WNr. 111711 at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, 1945 - see right. These still captures from REDA archive colour footage at quite clearly depict WNr. 111711 following Hans Fay's defection/arrival at Frankfurt - presumably. The tarp and the foliage suggest otherwise. I have read that the branches around WNr.111711 are the result of US troops’ hasty efforts to conceal Fay’s aircraft soon after its landing - they had only arrived at the airfield a few days prior to this. They then later removed them to inspect the machine.

thanks to Snautzer for the find.

Sunday 14 May 2023

Last gliders into Berlin, April 1945


  On April 27, 1945, Gatow airfield fell into the hands of the Red Army. With the loss of Berlin's last airfield for heavy aircraft, the main east-west axis in Berlin was used as an adhoc landing ground by smaller aircraft including a handful of re-supply DFS 230 Lastensegler cargo gliders. The participation of the gliders was symbolic in every sense of the word. G. Schlaug writes;

"..On the night of April 28-29, five DFS 230s took off from Rerik with Uffz Kestner, Uffz Schleicher, Uffz Kugler, Ogfr Heine and Gefr Heim at their controls. The east-west axis was under intense artillery fire and no landings were attempted. Uffz Kugler took advantage of the fires burning in the centre to locate a flat area and carried out a landing near Tegel. His cargo of anti-aircraft shells was immediately recovered and used by a nearby Flak battery. Kugler, like his comrades, was carrying an authorisation of safe passage which allowed him to climb into one of the last Ju 52s leaving the area and return to Rerik. Heim was forced to make an emergency landing before reaching Berlin, probably due to the failure of the He 111 that was towing him. Nothing is known about the fate of the other three pilots. On the night of March 29-30 (or March 30-April 1?), two more DFS 230s flew to Berlin. Wilhelm Schneider's machine was hit by flak and its pilot, seriously wounded, landed near the east-west axis and was immediately captured by the Soviets. The pilot of the other glider, Uffz Göbel, was killed attempting a landing..."

Mark Felton's latest video attempts to describe some of the Luftwaffe's last operations into Berlin during April 1945 and specifically those adhoc glider re-supply sorties flown by TG 30 He 111s towing DFS 230 gliders.