Wednesday, 19 July 2017
7./ZG 1 Bf109 E-7 coded "S9+DR" W.Nr.4964 flown by Uffz. Hans Sennholz, downed near El Alamein on 31 August 1942.
Eduard 48th Emil with decals from the Rising Decals 'Unusual Emils' sheet, model built by Pierre Giustiniani
A recent issue of the excellent Flugzeug Classic magazine (July 2017) features the recollections of 5./JG 300 pilot Norbert Graziadei as he converts onto the Fw 190 in the summer of 1944 and flies some of the last Sturm sorties of the war - you can browse some pages at http://flugzeugclassic.de/
Markus and his team at Geramond.de continue to produce a high quality magazine featuring plenty of decent content for the Luftwaffe enthusiast.
The following image via Jean-Yves Lorant, author of the two volume history of JG 300 published by Docavia in France during 2005 - 'Bataille dans le Ciel d'Allemagne'. Norbert Graziadei (middle) with Hubert Engst of 6./JG 300 preparing for a spell of cockpit readiness during November 1944. On the left is Engst's wife Elisabeth. Note both pilots are wearing the Lederkombination leather flying suit with the 'Deutsche Luftwaffe' armband. These distinctive yellow armbands were introduced by the Luftwaffe in late 1944 to distinguish downed German aircrew from their Allied counterparts in German occupied territory - and presumably prevent them being shot or otherwise maltreated after bailing out.
Peter Cronauer's article focuses on Graziadei's last combat sortie of the war - 31 December 1944.
Graziadei, flying 'Red 14', not his usual 'Red 2' 'Moidl' (lit. 'girl') - claimed two B-17s on this sortie before he was shot down and seriously injured by RAF Tempests (sic);
"...A few moments later, we closed to within firing range of the Boeing B 17s. Around and especially above us, our Messerschmitts were now pitting themselves against the enemy escorts in a violent dogfight. It must have been around midday. The battle raged for long minutes over Rotenburg. Ahead of us, the bombers were rapidly growing ever larger. I sliced through the first boxes of bombers - their gunners putting up a fusillade of fire - leaving the field clear for the pilots that were following me. Closing on the bombers, I could see that some of them were attempting to jink erratically to make our aim more difficult. I selected a B-17 and closed on it from the rear with a clear height advantage. I unleashed short bursts. The first was for the upper gunner who immediately ceased streaming his fire at me. The other gunners soon gave up the fight when my second burst disabled the outer starboard engine which lost its oil and started to burn. Having fired my weapons a third time, I saw several of the crew bail out of the bomber, its starboard wing now ablaze. A few seconds later it entered a stall dive. Just at that moment, I pulled up the nose of my “Moidl” in order to stay inside the bomber box. I had caught sight of Thunderbolts in the sun clearly waiting for our attack to end before closing to intercept us! Their pilots evidently feared the Boeings' gunners too much to dare to approach any closer. A few seconds later, I had converged on another bomber and was no more than fifty meters above it. An ideal position... I throttled back, eased up on the stick and again opened fire with my cannon aiming for the cockpit. The B 17 reared up and went into a spin just meters from my 190, forcing me to break to starboard while ramming open the throttle. In this way I left the enemy bomber box, or what remained of it. It had taken me just a few seconds to destroy these two Boeings... I should mention that just prior to our assault, the bombers (around 60-80 aircraft) had jettisoned their bombs not far from Rotenburg. Their bomb bay doors were still gaping open as we ran in on our firing pass. Having practically exhausted my ammunition, I judged it preferable not to attempt to run the gauntlet of enemy fighters by flying another pass on my own through the bombers. This was not cowardice. Any other decision would have been sheer madness...."
Below; Graziadei log-book detail for 31 December 1944; two Abschüsse and a parachute bail out on his 25th combat sortie, 31 December 1944
More Sturmbock Fw 190 JG 300 pieces on this blog; (translation copyright Neil Page)
" ...but Bretschneider ordered us into a defensive circle, a manoeuvre no doubt dictated by prudence but hardly appropriate in the circumstances! But what else could my comrades do? They were mostly former blind flying instructors or ex-bomber pilots used to flying the Junkers 88 and were barely capable of performing the most basic fighter pilots' moves. They were there to bring down enemy bombers — American escort fighters permitting! There followed an intense and confused mêlée, during the course of which I was more fearful of a collision than enemy aircraft. Indeed there were more Focke-Wulfs than Mustangs around me. I recall catching sight of “Pimpf” Erhardt’s “Red 8” with a P-51 hard on his heels below my plane. I yoked brutally around to port and let myself “fall” in behind the American. My bursts struck home and hit by several shells, the Mustang disappeared from Erhardt’s tail and dropped out of my field of vision. Matthäus Erhardt had not been hit. Unfortunately his period of grace lasted only until the following 14 January, the day his knee took the full force of an explosive round fired by a B-17 gunner..."
Sturmbock JG 300 Bretschneider
"... At 10:30, II./JG 300 put its first Schwarm in the air from Schönfeld-Seifersdorf: five Focke-Wulfs of 5. Staffel and the Gruppenstab flown by Fhj.-Ofw. Richard Löfgen, Maj. Alfred Lindenberger, Ofw. Karl Rusack, Uffz. Walter Beuchel and Uffz. Karl Werner. Leading the Schwarm, Löfgen brought his small force down to 500 meters altitude as they arrived over the front. Having overflown the Oder, the pilots were unable to discern the slightest sign of enemy activity. Ofw. Löfgen throttled back and flew a series of wide weaving curves. The Russians had infiltrated woods and villages everywhere, yet there was nothing to betray their presence. In the skies the enemy air force was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, just as Ofw. Rusack made out the town of Steinau and the river Oder in the distance, a string of tracers flitted through the air around the German fighters..."
II./JG 300 on the Eastern Front
"..Suddenly all hell broke loose. The terse order “jettison drop tanks!” came through the earphones, and in the second that followed, numerous pale blue auxiliary tanks went tumbling down into the void. Löfgen had just peeled away, bunting over to the right and was diving between the box of Flying Fortresses that had just gone past below us and the following box which was looming — menacingly — ever larger. I tightened my turn a little to keep close to our number one. I now kept my eyes fixed on him, which meant that I couldn’t watch what was happening around us. Then, exactly 1,500 meters ahead of us, I counted 25 B 17s. Despite being well out of range at this enormous distance, their gunners opened up. The sky was suddenly streaked with thousands of sparkling pearls. Or at least this is how the tracers appeared in the dazzling blue sky. I was instantly reminded of the games that we played as children in our garden and how my brother Helmut would love to try and turn the water hose on me! Thousands of bright, sparkling drops just seconds from sluicing down on me. But I could only throw the briefest of glances forward, forced to keep station on Löfgen’s wing, and anxious, above anything else, not to collide with him.Another order came over the radio: “Pauke, Pauke, auf sieee, Rabazanella!” I had to pick out a bomber immediately. I quickly switched on the gun sight and flicked off the armament safety switch..."
'Red 19' Uffz Ernst Schröder Sturmgruppe 5./JG 300
"..As I peeled away, my Focke-Wulf flew through a hail of rounds hosed out by one of the gunners. At least three rounds smashed into the cockpit; the first one slammed into the instrument panel showering me in splinters of glass and metal, the second was stopped by my parachute harness buckle and the third shattered my left knee. I heard several explosions and could see that the cockpit was filling with smoke. As it dissipated a little, I realized that my left knee had gone. My leg and foot had slipped back off the rudder bar and through the enormous tear in my leather flying suit, I saw the blood bubbling from a terrible wound..."
Red 8 'Pimpf' 5./JG 300 Matthäus Erhardt
Friday, 7 July 2017
Ukranian AMG (Arsenal Model Group) have released a new early series Bf 109 ABCD in 72nd scale.
These early 109s are well overdue for an up-dated kit with etch as the Heller kit is more than a bit long in the tooth (raised panel lines) and the Avis one difficult to put together nicely. By all accounts. Let's hope this one addresses those short comings. Lay-out of the lower wing looks a little odd at first look, since it does not follow any regular join line, but cockpit is fully detailed as is the engine..
Tuesday, 27 June 2017
..from Dan Snow's Historyhit.tv on FB
".. Big day today. In partnership with historian Rob Schäfer we are taking 95-year old Luftwaffe ace Hugo Broch (81 Soviet aircraft kills in 324 combat missions) up in a Spitfire for the first time, flying from Biggin Hill airfield in Kent, England. He hasn't flown in a single-seater since 1960. We believe that this is the first time post-war that a German Luftwaffe ace has gone up in a Spitfire. He will be one of the very few men who have flown the Me 109 in combat and a Spitfire in peacetime. Looking forward to having his opinion of which was best!! "
I think we can guess what he said. He loved flying in the Spitfire, a joy to fly and handles better than the Bf 109, but would still take a Bf 109 over a Spitfire any day..
Well in the event Herr Broch declined to take controls....but watch the video below..
Sunday, 18 June 2017
pre-orders being taken, with free shipping until publication. Due October 2017.
Lehrgeschwader 1 – the Griffon Geschwader
Lehrgeschwader 1 (Experimental or ‘demonstration’ Bombing Wing 1) was one of the first units established in the new Luftwaffe shortly after 1933. Primarily equipped with the He 111 at the outbreak of the Second World War the unit was multi-purpose, deploying a Gruppe of Bf 110 Zerstörer and another of Ju 87 Stukas. It took an active part in the first Luftwaffe campaigns (Poland, Norway, France ...) before being re-equipped with Ju 88 bombers, which it retained exclusively until 1945. Deployed early on in the Mediterranean, LG 1 would immediately prove to be one of the most formidable and feared opponents of the Royal Navy. Under the orders of Kommodore Helbig, the Helbig flyers as they were dubbed were responsible for sending many Allied ships to the bottom. Notable actions included the sinking of three large transport vessels Clan Campbell, Clan Chattan and Rowallan Castle from the convoy MW 9, during attacks on 13–14 February 1941. On 22 May 1941 during the Battle for Crete, LG 1 Ju 88 pilot Gerd Brenner finished off the RN cruiser HMS Fiji with heavy loss of life (see below) III./LG 1 also damaged the Australian destroyer Waterhen on 9 July 1941, sinking it on 11 July. The Geschwader supported the Afrika Korps effectively in Libya and Egypt until 1942. Bombing raids were made on the Suez Canal, Cairo during this time. On 11/12 May 1942 I.(K)/LG 1 again led by Helbig were responsible for sinking HMS Kipling, HMS Jackal and HMS Lively in the Gulf of Sollum. This Volume I is a new updated French-language edition of Peter Taghon’s original German study with additional text and photos by acknowledged Luftwaffe expert Jean-Louis Roba. Volume 1 describes in detail the first years of combat of LG 1, the text being fleshed out with numerous rare personal accounts. Pre-order here
Below; Iro Ilk Staffelkapitän of 1./LG 1 during 1943 and bomber ace at the controls of his Ju 88. Both Ilk and his close friend in LG 1 Gerd Stamp were awarded the Knight's Cross with I./LG 1 for audacious attacks on British shipping in the Med, before going on to fly single engine night fighters with the wilde Sau. Ilk was shot down and killed by Spitfires as Gruppenkommandeur III./JG 300 on 25 September 1944. Post-war Stamp achieved high rank in NATO and married Ilk's widow.
The following is the text of a letter sent to HMS Fiji Survivor, ex-Boy Seaman Reg Verne by Gerd Stamp in 1986:
" Dear Mr Verne
Thank you very much for yours of 31st October 1986. Let me first mention that I admired your compilation of HMS Fiji news to a scrap book, from which every reader can learn a lot. I was about to write to Admiral William Powlett, but you say that he remembers almost nothing of the 22nd May 1941.
I saw your ship from above, and I dived at her during the early afternoon. However, I am not quite sure if it wasn’t the Gloucester. It must have been during that attack that the Fiji shot down one of our aircrew, who never returned.
The pilot was the son of a Luftwaffe general. Another pilot's JU 88 was hit by the Fiji’s anti-aircraft fire. He force landed near Monemvasia. He is still around and when I told him on the phone about my contacts to Fiji Members, he immediately replied that he was shot down by your anti-aircraft
His engines were fading and near Monemvasia he had to swim. The pilot, who dropped the final bombs on Fiji, was a close friend of mine. I enclose a photograph, but you will get a better one as soon as I shall have copies made. His name was Gerhard Brenner, born 1918 at Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart. He was a cheerful chap, full of humour. He loved girls and he was constantly fighting his 8 years older sister, who is still around.
On 14 June 1942 Brenner attacked a cruiser ‘Vigorous’ south of Crete. His JU 88 was forced to land north of the convoy in a high sea. We shadowed him for 3 days but had neither helicopters nor a ship to rescue him. Seaplanes could not land on the high waves. On the fourth morning the sea was calm and flat, the rubber dingy was empty. The only thing left is his voice on a tape.
I had no time yet to make a written transcript as he described his final raid against the Fiji, you will certainly get a copy.
My research is a one man band, and it takes time to answer all these letters. I got stuck in the middle of February 1941 as I had to move with all my documents and files into another flat, which is less spacious. 22nd May 1941 might became a book of its own, as it was the first great air-sea battle in the history of mankind ..."
below; Ju 88 of the Stab LG 1, September 1941
Sunday, 11 June 2017
The final part of Diego Quijano's "Encyclopedia of Aircraft Modelling techniques" is now published and provides a great excuse to show once again his stunning Hasegawa Fw 190 in 72nd scale
More on Diego's blog here
More on Diego's blog here
Saturday, 10 June 2017
A new issue from Academy. Nicely timed to steal some of Airfix's 'thunder' as they prepare to release a real 'new-tool' Me 262 in 72nd, this Academy tooling was first released back in 2007! It is reasonably detailed but as with a number of Academy WWII kits the basic outline shapes are a bit off; the fuselage is rather fat and wide with an overly bulbous nose. The Academy glazing is, for example, far too wide for the Revell kit. I had a cracked Revell canopy and needed to replace it - not possible with the Academy canopy which also happens to be a tad 'flattened-out' at the top. Still, you get two sets of tail parts in the box, one for the rocket-powered Heimatschuetzer variant -albeit inaccurate -and the decal sheet is good, although in this release doesn't feature the rocket-boost variant. However quite who the 'ace' in 'white 4' is we'll never know ! The yellow fuselage band and the well-known “snake” or 'tadpole' camouflage pattern on the tail fin assigned to Kdo. Nowotny is another Luftwaffe 'myth' that refuses to die! The Galland machine is given as 'white 3' whereas more recent photographic research for his 'white 5' is now widely known - see the picture/artwork in Aces No.3 in my last post. Personally I'd check out the new Airfix release first (due imminently) - and at quite a bit less than the cost of this one too no doubt.
Below; 2007 release Academy Me 262 in 72nd
Friday, 2 June 2017
"Aces" is the quality new quarterly aviation title in French from the leading independent publisher Heimdal under the stewardship of Georges Bernage ("39-45 Magazine") and the latest issue (no. 3) has just arrived. Editors-in-Chief are Many Souffan and Jean-Charles Stasi both well known for their diligently researched books and articles. Contributors include well-known 'specialists' such as Arnaud Prudhomme, Phil Listemann and Jean-Yves Lorant.
This is an excellent title - 100 pages, A-4, card covered, 11 Euros, French language. Front page feature in No. 3 is the American RAF ace Lance 'Wildcat Wade' - a dossier full of insights and new info and photos over 36 pages.
Below; two-page spread extract from issue No.2 feature on Stanislaw Skalski, interviewed by author Souffan in Warsaw in the year 2000.
In their latest editorial the editors acknowledge the point raised in my previous report and have elected not to confine themselves to bios of aces within the strict meaning of the term (five victories). Issue no. 3 thus features some welcome features on lesser known airmen such as Bertrand du Pouget, bomber 'ace' of the Groupe de Bombardement 'Lorraine' while Many Souffan retraces the career of 249 Sqn Hurricane pilot Henry Bouquillard, one of the small troupe of French pilots to fly during the Battle of Britain. Later wingman to René Mouchotte, Bouquillard was the first Free French pilot to score a victory over a German bomber - a Dornier 17 of 6./KG 2 claimed as a probable on 16 October 1940 - and the first to be killed in combat in the RAF.
Highly recommended www.editions-heimdal.fr or Facebook
The bust of one of the masterminds of the RAF's victory in the Battle of Britain has been unveiled this week by Prince Michael of Kent and Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding's daughter-in-law Lady Odette Dowding at the Capel-le-Ferne Battle of Britain memorial to the 'The Few' near Folkestone. Sir Hugh Dowding is credited as the man who ensured the RAF had a critical advantage in the famous air combat which took place over the south of England during the summer of 1940. The bust was sculpted by Will Davies whose bust of Sir Keith Park is also at the memorial. Park was tactical chief during the Battle and looks right, over the Channel out towards France and an incoming raid. Dowding's bust looks left towards the memorial Wall, which has inscribed on it all the names of the RAF pilots who took part in the Battle , the men he described as 'my fighter boys'.
According to some "Dowding ranks with Nelson and Wellington as the saviour of Britain at its time of need". Primarily known as head of Fighter Command during the Battle, he had stood up to the Air Council and Churchill to prevent Fighter Command being sent to France in large numbers and being destroyed. During the pre-war period he was head of the technical branch leading the push for radar and integrated it into a fully operational integrated air defense system - the world's first. His command was at the forefront of developments in radar (or RDF - radio direction finding) and a control system for his squadrons to use their maximum capacity possible. Importantly he enjoyed the great respect of his pilots and ground crews. Hugh Dowding passed away in 1970 at his home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
The Battle of Britain Memorial website
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Compiled by two leading writer/researchers at Lela Presse (the leading French publisher of Luftwaffe publications),'Luftwaffe in Colour - from glory to defeat 1943-45' is the keenly awaited second installment of a two-part photographic compilation of the best of Luftwaffe colour photography published by Casemate in this English-language edition. This is a card-covered softback featuring some 160 pages on thick glossy paper. Volume I was divided into nine chapters covering theatres from 'Poland and the Sitzkrieg', the 'Blitz and the Battle of Britain", 'Barbarossa', the 'Mediterranean and Africa' and Volume II continues with chapter X, 'Facing the Soviet steamroller', through to chapter XIV 'The Eagle Falls' via chapters on the Mediterranean front and the 'invasions' in the West. So while the first half of this volume features the best from the German Propaganda-Kompanie reporters, the second is compiled largely from French and American sources. And while the German PK photo reporters on the ground for the launch of Blitzkrieg and the subsequent campaigns had privileged access to colour film arguably the Americans had access to even more of it and their photos in comparison are rather more 'spontaneous' and generally of excellent quality. In France many colour images originate from newly captured airfields. In among the wrecks and relics there is plenty of interesting material - aircraft featured include machines from the anti-partisan unit Geschwader Bongart and a selection of Ju 88s from the Junkers Frontbetriebreparatur (FBR - advanced maintenance facility) at Villacoublay near Paris. With Ju 88s operating from no fewer than thirty eight aerodromes throughout France at the height of the Battle of Britain the French had quickly gained a certain amount of expertise on the type which helped the Vichy authorities to preserve employment and some of their aircraft manufacturing base.
There are more airfield scenes from Austria, Czechoslovakia and Denmark (Ju 88 night fighters). The capitulation on 8 May 1945 provided the opportunity to record a host of late-war machines surrendering; SG 10 Fw 190s arriving at Neubiburg and the red-bellied Doras of JV 44 at Munich-Riem are just two of the highlights - it still seems difficult to believe that when the first images of these machines came to light some believed them to have black and white striped lower surfaces. All types of aircraft are presented in colour; from the rockets and jets to the bizarre piggy-back Misteln, from seaplanes and transports to night fighters, trainers and reconnaissance machines. Among my personal favourites are the rare colour images of the Dornier Do 24 T seaplanes of Seenotstaffel 81 deployed to evacuate civilians from the Baltic pockets ahead of the on-rushing Red Army - during these airbridge flights from Nest to Rügen one trimotor is recorded as having loaded over 100 passengers (17 adults and 99 children!). Such flights were flown by unarmed aircraft - to lighten them - at wave-top height. At least one crashed into the lake at Kamp - the four crew and 72 civilians were lost.
Any photo book stands or falls on the quality of photo reproduction and fortunately here not only is the standard very high but the quality of 90% of the images is very good indeed while each picture is informatively and expertly captioned. This is a book to keep close to hand for reference, to dip into constantly.
Below; Me 321 'W6+SW' of the GS-Kdo.2 (Grossraumsegler) seen in the Kuban at Sslawjanskaja just weeks after the fall of Stalingrad in mid-February 1943. He 111 Z-1 'TM+KI' is on the right of the image in the background. The two Bf 109 G-2s are 'white 3' of 4./JG 52 and the 'chevrons + bars' of the Kommodore Major Dietrich Hrabak. Low res image copy courtesy of Jean-Louis Roba and extracted from 'Luftwaffe in Colour -from glory to defeat 1943-45 ".
" a present from the Nazis " - captured Messerschmitt Bf 109 F of I./JG 26, St Margaret's Bay near Dover, filmed by British Pathé
Messerschmitt Bf 109 F of I./JG 26 captured after a forced landing near St Margaret's Bay near Dover, filmed by British Pathé
" ....the Nazi pilot, a certain Captain Pingel, who wears corsets and claims to have destroyed 22 British aircraft, thought he could outwit the RAF gunners...as a result of his swollen-headedness all the closely guarded secrets of the plane are disclosed to our research experts....."
Bf 109 F-2 WNr. 12 764 was belly-landed along the Dover-to-Deal road on 10 July 1941 by Kommandeur Hptm. Rolf Pingel following an engagement with RAF four-engined Stirling bombers. Note the segmented spinner and the wing upper surface colour demarcation. Coded ES 906 by the RAF, the aircraft was lost on 20 October 1941. Below; a single click to view..
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
A new contender for 'most expensive Luftwaffe book ever ' - or just how to lose control during an ebay bidding war.
Erik Mombeeck's Luftwaffe Gallery 3 - JG 26 Special edition here . English text by "FalkeEins- the Luftwaffe blog"
more rare Luftwaffe books on Ebay; JAPO Luftwaffe over Czech territory 1945, Jagdwaffe - Luftwaffe Colours - Nachtjäger vol.1 - Nachtjäger - SUPER RARE OOP!
more rare Luftwaffe books on Ebay; JAPO Luftwaffe over Czech territory 1945, Jagdwaffe - Luftwaffe Colours - Nachtjäger vol.1 - Nachtjäger - SUPER RARE OOP!
Monday, 15 May 2017
The Experimental Units of Hitler's Condor Legion: German Aircraft in Action During the Spanish Civil War (Air War Archive) Paperback
Print Scale 'Aces of the Condor Legion' decal sheet - while the He 111s feature some striking emblems. However there is no colour key so the reader is left to guess - once again - at the upper surface finish of the Bf 109s that saw combat in Spain. To sum up, a title certainly worth adding to the library.