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.

Friday 24 November 2023

Oblt. Armin Faber, Stab III./ JG 2 - was he 'disorientated', did he get 'lost' or did he just 'defect' ?


Is there anybody visiting this blog who isn't familiar with the different versions of the Armin Faber 'story' and how the British were 'gifted' a brand new example of the Fw 190 on 23 June 1942. The unlucky pilot was Oblt. Armin Faber who after shooting down Sgt. František Trejtnar over the Bristol - and not the English - Channel, apparently became disorientated and by mistake landed his machine at RAF Pembrey in south Wales. Observers on the ground could not believe their eyes as Faber did three victory rolls, lowered the Focke-Wulf's undercarriage while inverted and following a quick half-roll made a perfect landing into British hands...or so the story goes.

That evening elements of III./JG 2 - 7. and 9. Staffel  - were at three-minute readiness and playing handball at their dispersal at 'Maupertus' - according to Faber's interrogation report. They were ordered up to intercept the RAF's Perranporth and Exeter Wings (312 and 313 Sqds led by W/Cmdr Vasatko) flying escort for six Bostons on a RAMROD raid on Morlaix airfield. In the fighting Oberleutnant Egon Mayer, Staffekapitän of 7./Jagdgeschwader 2, claimed his 47th and 48th victories. Elsewhere the 26-year old Oblt. Armin Faber - III. Gruppe Adjutant and former instructor at Werneuchen with around 1,000 hours in his logbook - was flying on his 18th combat sortie. He had got airborne some three minutes late after a fellow pilot returned with engine problems..and 90 minutes later touched down at RAF Pembrey, apparently 'lost' and running out of fuel. Fellow pilot Uffz. Willi Reuschling had already shot down a Whirlwind and a Hudson before he collided with Vasatko's Spitfire and was also taken captive that evening. When he heard of Faber's landing he reputedly said, " that is the sort of bloody stupid thing he would do..!".

Philip Hawes on his YT channel 'Caliban Rising' has done a good job of explaining the Armin Faber story on his YT channel using primary sources such as the pilot's own interrogation report.

"..In this video, I delve into the remarkable incident of JG 2 pilot Armin Faber, who unexpectedly landed his Focke-Wulf FW 190 in Pembrey, Wales AKA the "Pembrey Incident". But the story you know might not be the whole truth.

I'll begin by exploring the popular narrative: a daring pilot, a dramatic chase, and a landing that handed the Allies a priceless war asset. But, as I dig deeper, I uncover a more complex and compelling version of events.

Relying on primary sources and a personal conversation with a close friend of Armin Faber, I challenge long-standing assumptions to reveal a narrative steeped in historical accuracy yet overlooked by many.

So, come along as I debunk myths, present facts, and add a touch of my own brand of humor to this puzzling tale. Get ready to see this WWII enigma through a new lens in an academically sound yet engaging format. It's time to rethink what we thought we knew about the Pembrey incident!.."

A single click to view here


Thursday 23 November 2023

late-war Gustav - archive photo scan (7)


..just back from a hectic and breathless (breath-taking!) week at the ECPA -D in Ivry, Paris. More on that soon. Meanwhile I scanned this at a friend's house from a negative; a (presumably) late-war G-14 (possibly), 'yellow 15' with Erla Haube and no antenna mast. Note the figure '5' doesn't appear to have been fully filled in with yellow paint. The camo demarcation is rather distinctive. No other info -one for the Experten perhaps. Thanks to Del for photo enhancement.

Sunday 12 November 2023

Werner Mölders on the Channel coast, summer 1940 - archive photo scan (6)

Werner Mölders on the Channel coast, summer 1940

II./JG 77 Emils in Brest - archive photo scan (5). A new JG 77 monograph due soon!


..these photos simply labelled "Brest".  II./JG 77 departed Scandinavia** for France in early November 1940. Machine with Kommandeur chevrons and 'Seeadler' emblem probably belonged to Hptm. Karl Hentschel. Click on the image to view large!

A detailed account of II./JG 77 actions against RAF Bomber and Coastal Commands during the summer of 1940 appears in this blogger's "Luftwaffe Fighters -Combat on all Fronts" Volume I, published by Mortons)

Coming soon from the publishers of AÉROJOURNAL - due on 12 January 2024 is a 'special' (HS N° 47) devoted to JG 77 available to preorder now here

"..Heinz Bär, Joahnnes Steinhoff, Siegfried Freytag, Kurt Ubben, Wolf-Dietrich Huy, Gordon Gollob, Joachim Müncheberg or Armin Köhler - a number of illustrious Experten passed through JG 77, the Luftwaffe fighter arm's "ace of hearts" Geschwader, whose Gruppen quickly distinguished themselves at the start of the Second World War: I. /JG 77 in the Polish campaign and II./JG 77 protecting the Bay of Germany from RAF bomber raids. This was followed by the Western campaign for the former, the Norwegian campaign and protection of the fjords for the latter, and the unprecedented creation of III./JG 77 in July 1940 from the planned carrier fighter Gruppe that was to have manned the 'Graf Zeppelin', which was never completed. After the hard-fought Battle of Britain and victory in the Balkans and Crete, the three Gruppen of JG 77 were scattered across all fronts, in the Soviet Union of course, but above all in the Mediterranean. Hard-fought campaigns over Malta, North Africa and Italy were the Geschwader's 'finest hour' but which relentlessly wore down its fighting strength. In 1944, elements of the Geschwader took part in the Battle of Normandy and the defense of the Reich, with JG 77's last bloody feats of arms coming in the Ardennes and the "Bodenplatte" operation in December 1944-January 1945. This exceptional special issue is the complete history of this JG, which claimed some 4,000 victories between 1939 and 1945..."

Friday 10 November 2023

new tool Me 410 from Airfix - surprise kit announcement!


...Just checking its not 01 April... and just in time for this weekend's 2023 Scale Model World in Telford. Via the Airfix web site.

" We are thrilled to announce the newly tooled 1:72 Messerschmitt Me 410A-1/U2 and U4, the ‘backbone of Germany’s home defence’. The Messerschmitt Me 410 is undoubtedly one of the most impressive-looking aircraft types of the Second World War, the ultimate incarnation of Germany's fascination with the Zerstörer heavy fighter concept. Featuring two intriguing schemes, 137 parts, and an exceptional level of detail, this kit is bound to pique your interest.."

It would appear that the kit does not feature the ZFR (Zielfernrohr) telescopic sight visible in the windscreen when toting the heavy cannon. Model on display at the Airfix stand (Telford Scale Model World) . A look at the sprues here

Below; model build by Luke Flynn of Mach Models. See link below.

Below; III./ZG 26 Kommandeur Maj. Johann (Hans) Kogler dismounting his Me 410 in spring 1944. Kogler was appointed Kommodore ZG 26 that summer. According to one source he had three 'kills' as Kommandeur of III./ZG 26:-

24th February 1944 a B-24 at 1330 hrs
8th March 1944 a B-17 at 1335 hrs
11th April 1944 a B-17 at 1200 hrs

He was awarded the DKiG during July 1944 for his command of Zerstörer units. As Kommodore of JG 6 he was shot down and taken captive near Venlo during the Bodenplatte 1945 New Year’s Day airfield attacks.  

Via Michael Meyer expired ebay auction

..Mach Models have already built the kit on youtube - some views of the cockpit detail follow
Mach Models build of the kit on youtube. A single click to view here