Friday, 26 December 2014

Focke Wulf 190 A-3/U3 “Black 3″ of 14 (Jabo)./ JG 5

The Norsk Luftfartsmuseum - Norwegian Aviation museum - in Bodø has recently put on display a newly restored Fw 190 A-3

The museum’s Focke Wulf FW-190 A-3/U3 “Black 3″ was built in 1942 at the AGO factory in Ochersleben, WNr. 0132219. The machine was transferred to Herdla in Norway and in September 1943 went to Petsamo in North Finland with 14.(Jabo)/ JG 5. The aircraft was lost on 5 October 1943 when pilot Hans Gunther Kleemann lost his way in bad weather and ran out of fuel. He baled out with only slight injuries. “Black 3″ was recovered - minus most of the removeable parts - in the early 1980s. Full story on the museum's web site here.

14.(Jabo)/JG 5 was activated in Petsamo in mid February 1943 under the 27-year old Hptm. Friedrich-Wilhelm Strakeljahn, the former Staffelkäpitan of 12./JG 5. This new Jabostaffel extended the Luftwaffe's Eastern Front bomber force beyond the Polar circle to the tip of northern Norway - albeit with an initial strength of just eleven Fw 190 A-3s, modified to carry bombs in a Norwegian repair facility at Kjeller. The second-hand A-3s, formerly belonging to 11./JG 5, were supplemented by a couple of older, overhauled A-2 variants. The basic modifications consisted of adding the ETC 501 bomb rack under the fuselage and removing the outboard wing MG FF cannons. Such machines were unofficially designated Fw 190 A-2/U and A-3/U.

For such a small force the unit's achievements apparently earned a number of notable plaudits;

  " ..the unit owed a lot to the great personality of its commander, “Straks” Strakeljahn. A characteristic figure in a white fur cap, permanent smile and neatly-trimmed beard, he was usually to be found among his pilots. “Hptm. Strakeljahn was like a father to us; the perfect officer” – one of his pilots recalled. Lenient and cheerful on the ground, in the air he was an aggressive and efficient fighter pilot. This would be proven during a three-day run of luck for 14.(Jabo)/JG 5 in early May. On 7 May German recce aircraft discovered a Soviet convoy sailing across the Motovskiy Bay. In late afternoon six FW 190s, escorted by four Bf 109s of 9./JG 5, took to the air. It soon became apparent that the convoy was defended from the air by about 20 Hurricanes and P-39 fighters. As the Messerschmitts engaged the escorts, the Focke Wulfs, each armed with SC 250 bomb, went for the vessels. Fw. Karl-Heinz Froschek sank a “M”-class submarine escorting the convoy, whereas “Straks” sent to the seabed a 2000-ton auxiliary with a direct hit. The following day Uffz. Walther Pohl sank another “M”-class submarine. On 9 May Hptm. Strakeljahn himself sank a 3000-ton freighter. Further attacks were not so successful; on 11 May Lt. Günther Busse, flying “black 7”, fell to anti-aircraft fire from the ships in the Pummanki Bay. Nonetheless, on the same day the commander of Luftflotte 5 Generaloberst Stumpff sent his personal congratulations to 14.(Jabo)/JG 5 - five days later, more compliments came, this time from… AH himself!..."

 ..quoted in Fw 190 Vol III (Kagero)