Tuesday 26 September 2023

Erwin ‘Caesar’ Clausen -6./JG 77 - ebay photo find #364


 Photos of JG 77 ace Erwin Clausen are comparatively rare - a large achive of JG 77 images gifted to this blog feature only a couple of this pilot. So a recent ebay find - a couple of which apparently depict Clausen's return with his 100th  - are of interest. (thanks Sinisa for the heads-up). 

Born on 5 August 1911 in Berlin, Erwin ‘Caesar’ Clausen joined the Reichsmarine (German Navy) in 1931, transferring to the Luftwaffe in 1935 where he received flight training as an Unteroffizier. When the war commenced Clausen flew in I.(Jagd) Gruppe of LG 2 under the command of Major Hans Trübenbach and filed his first claim on 9 September 1939 downing a Polish biplane. In France during the latter half of the Westfeldzug the Gruppe was stationed at Ferme Montecouvez, approx 15 kms south of Cambrai. Here I.(J)/LG 2 provided fighter escort for German transports resupplying the 4th Army in the vicinity of Cambrai. On 25 May Clausen would claim his second Abschuss, an Armée de l’air Potez 63, however his Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4B, W.Nr. 5804, also received damage, resulting in a belly-landing near Cambrai (sustaining 75% damage). During the Battle of Britain flying fighter sweeps and ground attack missions he added just one more victory, a Spitfire on 23 September. Close to a month later, on 20 October Clausen’s Bf 109 was badly shot up over England by a Spitfire. He was able to limp back over the Channel for a forced-landing.

On the launch of Barbarossa I.(J)/LG 2 with some 40 Emils on strength was subordinated to JG 77 on the southern sector. Oblt. Clausen was CO of 1.(J)/LG 2 - Strakeljahn and Tismar led 2. and 3. Staffel respectively. He claimed two I-153 downed on 2 July. He was at Jassy, Romania on 15 July for the visit of King Mihail. I./LG 2 claimed 15 victories (six for Clausen) defending the oilfields from Soviet bombers during the interlude replacing III./JG 52 in this theatre. I./LG 2 returned to the 'front' in early October departing Romania for Mariupol. In early 1942 I./LG 2 was re-designated I./JG 77 (with the 'original' I./JG 77 being incorporated into JG 5). On 9 March Clausen claimed five for one of his his best days, reaching some 47 victories. A few months later - I./JG 77 departing the Eastern Front for the Mediterranean- Clausen was posted to II./JG 77 on the central sector of the Eastern Front.

Below;  Bf 109 F-4 'white 1' flown by Oblt. Erwin Clausen as Stkp. 1./JG 77. The rudder scoreboard shows 57 victories, the 57th being a claim for an I-16 on or around 14 June 1942..

During July 1942 as StaKa 6./JG 77 he was one of the leading 'scorers' in the Geschwader claiming some 43 victories for the month. During late September he was at Rastenburg to receive the Eichenlaub, having passed 100 victories during late August/early September.  Towards the end of the year he was replaced as StaKa by Lt. Johan Badum after falling ill with malaria. In February 1943 he was posted to EJG Süd and in June 1943 was named Kommandeur of I./JG 11. He was KIA on 4 October 1943 attacking USAF bombers near Borkum. Variously credited with as many as 132 victories although Matthews/Foreman located only one hundred claims on the microfilms. His awards included the DK (25 May 1942), RK (22 May 1942) and Oakleaves (23 July 1942). The image below may or may not show the celebrations for Clausen's 100th...