Saturday 17 February 2024

5./KG 100 Heinkel He 177 A-5 and crew - archive photo scan #14


Via Ulf Balke collection.

Heinkel He 177 A-5/K.IV seen in or around May 1944 in II./KG 100 at Aalborg.  - in other words a He 177 A-5 fitted with Kehl IV equipment for launching stand-off weapons. Click on the image to view large.

Kehl IV allowed missions to be flown with either two Hs 293s (powered) or four Fritz X's (unpowered) in theory. A mix of both stand-off weapons was not possible. The Hs 293 was too large to fit on the wing centre section rack/lower fuselage rack.

II./KG 100 was the last operational He 177 anti-shipping unit. It actually only ever flew one operational mission and that - fortunately for them - did not result in contact with the enemy.

The aircraft appears to be WNr. 550131, 6N+DN of 5.Staffel (so spinners are red up to the section covering the prop blades). 

This aircraft was the first example of the second block of around 240 x He 177 A-5/K.IV Serie aircraft built by Arado, Brandenburg/Neuendorf (ArB) as W.Nr. 550 031 to 550 270. (The first Arado A-5 block was very small; just six as W.Nr. 550 001 to 550 006.) Stkz. is unknown.

This nose shot of another A-5 from II./KG 100 has been published in Balke ('Kampfgeschwader 100 Wiking') but the image there was reversed. Note the addition of the sealing tape to the large servicing panels in the fuselage sides behind the cockpit. 

Self-evidently, these scribble schemes were unique to the individual aircraft. It is, however, definitely another He 177 A-5/K.IV of II./KG 100 from the same period. No other He 177 unit carried this scheme which was essentially a quick and economical way of lightening up the dark factory finish. Because these aircraft were only going to have a reasonable chance of surviving a mission if attacks were performed at dusk and the return leg was flown by night,  the factory finish finish had to be lightened up very considerably. A little later the factory finish was changed over to one where the entire fuselage sides and tail fin were painted in a light colour eg see KG 40 in the summer of 1944.

There are a number of photos of this machine, clearly taken at some sort of special photo op - perhaps an 'Erinnerungsfoto' for the six-man crew in front of their aircraft. See the front cover photo of the Griehl+Dressel: He 177-277-274 (Motorbuch) below. Interestingly this machine appears to be parked up in the long grass - literally put out to grass indicated by the caption in the English-language edition of the Griehl/Dressel book..

Caption compiled with the kind assistance of  Ivon N Moore.

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