Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Wespen Zerstörer in Russia

Eagle-head Bf 110

The following information and photo are from Jet & Prop Archiv 13. Bf110 A2+NL White 13 (on rudder) with eagle head painting on nose. Photo taken at the firing range Vaerlöse/Denmark. According to the caption this may be the first eagle head seen on a Bf110.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Fw. Wilhelm "Willi" Roth Bf109E-3/N "Weisse 3", WNr.779, of 4./JG 26

Fw. Wilhelm "Willi" Roth Bf109E-3/N "Weisse 3", WNr.779, of 4./JG 26, POSSIBLE LOCATION Douai 30 km south of Lille. Shot down by a Bloch MB152 on 3 June 1940. POW for a short time. Note the 100 octane triangle - quite rare on a Westfeldzug machine

The presence of the high-octane (100) triangle may indicate that 'Weisse 3' was in fact originally a Bf109 E-3 equipped with 20mm MG FF cannon) upgraded to the Bf109 E-4/N standard, albeit with the old style windscreen retained. See Jochen Prien's 'JV der deutschen LW', Part 4/I, Page 311, Photo No. 290 showing 'Weisse 4', W.Nr. 1190, of this same unit 4,/JG 26 which was referred to as a Bf109 E-4/N (with the same old-style windscreen retained) piloted by Uffz. Horst Perez who belly landed it at East Dean in England on 30 September 1940. JG 26 was evidently one of the few Geschwader to receive the E-4/N model (and possibly a complement of DB601N engines for retrofitting the existing Bf109 E-3 aircraft) but it was believed that this was some time in early September 1940 (Galland flew a Bf109 E-4/N for the first time on 7 September 1940).

However it now appears that the Bf109 E-3/N model indeed existed and that it was delivered to II./JG 26 at the time of the Battle of France. It is perhaps little odd for a Gruppe to employ two different types of fuel (i.e. 87 and 100) in a situation where they were obliged to frequently change their air bases in order to continue providing the aerial cover for the rapidly advancing German army.

"On the Generalluftzeugmeister meeting on 19 July 1940 it was noted that up to that date one Gruppe (Wing, each with 3 Staffeln, or Squadrons with 12 planes) of Bf 109 had re-equipped with DB 601N "

Thus it would appear that II./JG 26 had a number of DB 601N equipped Bf109 E-3s, perhaps many more than previously believed, during the attack in the West (Fall Gelb) and the BoF. This was consequently most likely the Gruppe referred to in the July document quoted above. Other units seem to have received these engines during the BoB, often denoted by the C3 or C-3 triangle fuel marking when seen on Bf109 E-4/N instead of the "100" marking with the mentioned Bf109 E-3/N of II./JG 26.

Storming the bombers ! IL2 movie based on Heinz Knoke's memoir - in two parts

..just one clickto open and play the movie...well worth watching !!

The early USAAF raids over France in late 1942/early 1943 were flown principally by four B-17 F equipped BGs. The Fortresses mounted a single 0.30 cal gun in the nose fired by the bombardier using alternative sockets, none of which gave a good field of fire and did not pose a big threat to attacking fighters. JG 2 and JG 26 were the units to defend against these first USAAF raids. Hauptmann Egon Mayer, Kommandeur of III./JG 2 and Staka Georg-Peter Eder were credited as being the pilots who developed the frontal attack technique which was first used in an attack on 23 November 1942 against a USAAF raid on St. Nazaire. In a frontal attack it was possible to hit the vital parts of the cockpit and crew as well as the engines. The impact energy of the bullets was increased by the speed of the attacking aircraft as well as the targeted a/c.

It was on the other hand much more difficult to lead and set up a head-on attack as it demanded correct estimation of the target speed, course and altitude as even a slight deviation from the head-on direction made the attack less effective and more dangerous with the collision risk increased. To get the correct altitude and course the bomber formation was shadowed, overtaken and a final 180° turn executed. It took good estimation, timing and finally strong nerves to execute. With approach speeds of up to a combined 800-850 km/h there was only 2.5 seconds between opening fire and a collision! The 'fright factor' was expected to help break up the bomber formation and hence the defensive fire. The method was slightly modified to be initiated from a higher altitude making it easier to estimate closing speed and distance to the target - hence the classic "twelve-o-clock-high" warning! The USAAF of course tried to improve the B-17s nose armament, first by installing a hand operated 0.50 cal or even two fixed 0.50 cal in some aircraft. The final solution was the chin turret with two 0.50 cal introduced in later production aircraft. These on the other hand made the a/c a bit slower (10km/h) and more directionally unstable which was a disadvantage to tight formation flying. Frontal attacks were later augmented by stern attacks from the rear for a number of reasons - the lack of good unit leaders and experienced pilots who could skilfully could execute successful frontal attacks. In addtion the introduction of long-range USAAF escort fighters hampered the defenders attempts at assembly for frontal attacks while the improved frontal armament on B-17s and B-24s negating the earlier advantage of utilising a blind defence sector by attacking head-on.

(by F19 Gladiator)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

a page devoted to Luftwaffe 'colour' photos and images - camouflage and markings, Bf 110, Fw 190 and Bf 109 -this page last updated December 2015

Above, Ju 52 and Ju 86 A from FFS B34, Kastrup, Copenhagen Airport. Part of a series of pictures taken by the German flying instructor Josef Rotty. From the collections of the Danish Freedom Museum (part of the Danish National Museum)

Staka Oblt Böhner, 6./JG 53 on "Yellow 9" at Westerland AF at Sylt in July 1941. Here is Böhner again.

..a nice series of colour images currently offered for sale on Ebay. These may or may not be genuine historically accurate reproductions but are useful for an idea of colours and markings.. (as usual here click on the pic for a larger image..)

Servicing a ZG 26 Messerschmitt Bf 110D-3 fitted with the wing-mounted drop tanks on a Sicilian airfield, likely Palermo.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Arados in hellblau - Ar 196

Arado 196 in overall hellblau (light blue) as seen while serving on the German raider (Hilfskreuzer) 'Orion' during 1941

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Maj. Helmut Wick JG 2 & his Me 109 E WNr. 5344 - last update 29 October 2015

Having worked closely with Erik Mombeeck on his JG 2 history we've managed to pull together quite a few pics of leading JG 2 ace Helmut Wick and his WNr 5344 over the past few years... click on the pics for a larger view.

Wick went from the rank of Leutnant to the post of Kommodore in the space of just one summer based on little more than his ability to 'shoot down' RAF fighters. He was the embodiment of the Jagdflieger obssession with  the Abschussliste - the system of points and then decorations awarded for a certain number of  'victories'- a flawed 'system' which pandered ultimately to no more than personal ambition and the need for status and recognition.

First up, Wick's machine following his 18th victory on 18 Aug 1940, when he was still a mere Leutnant and not yet Staffelkapitän- note no tactical markings on the wingtips. Just forward of the Staffel number is Wick's 'humming bird' emblem.

It is likely that this photo was taken on 29 October, as it shows 43 kills... Wick scored his 43rd and 44th kills on the 29th. Me 109 E coded " << " of the Stab I./JG 2 flown by Hptm. later Major Helmut Wick RK+EL mit ca. 42 Luftsiegen am Seitenruder October 1940 in Brest-Poulmic.

The 44th bar has been added... this is between 29 Oct and 5 November, again note no tactical markings on the wingtips:

Close-up of the nose... note the worn finish on the spinner, and the very irregular camo demarcation along the leading edges of the wings... note also that what you can see of the leading edge of the port wing appears to not display any wingtip tactical markings at all, just a continuation of the camo:

Here's his aircraft on 6 November 1940, following his 48th through 52nd victories achieved earlier that day:

26 November 1940. Major Wick preparing to take off on his penultimate combat flight, no contact with the enemy. Score up to that point, 54 victories. He was shot down and killed less than 48 hours later.

Here 5344 is sporting Geschwaderkommodore markings, dating the photo between 20 October and 28 November.