Thursday, 23 March 2017

Kommandeur I./ZG 76 Hptm. Günter Reinecke - Jever, German Bight, Marienkäfer ladybird emblem 2./ZG 76



Established in Pardubitz in May 1939 I./ZG 76 was re-named as II./NJG 1 in September 1940. Kommandeur I./ZG 76 until his death in combat on 30 April 1940 was Hptm. Günter Reinecke (below, middle) who flew Bf 110 C 'Doppelwinkel M8+AB'. Reinecke was brought down off the coast of Norway by the defensive fire of the Blenheim he was attacking. He was replaced by Hptm. Werner Restemeyer (lost in Bf 110 D "M8+AB" over the North Sea off Newcastle on 15 August 1940) (via the Luftwaffe officer career summaries resource here)

Based in Jever in late 1939 the crews of I./ZG 76 - including Helmut Lent, Gordon Gollob and the Staka 2./ZG 76 Wolfgang Falck - were successful over the German Bight on 18 December 1939 against RAF medium bombers.


Below; a pre-sortie briefing in front of the Bf 110 C assigned to the Gruppenadjutant Oblt. Hans Jäger in Stavanger-Sola, April 1940. This aircraft, on the strength of the Stab I./ZG 76, wore the code (Kennung) chevron M8+CB



via Michael Meyer's Ebay sales here

Below;  a 2./ZG 76 Bf 110 C displaying the unit’s Marienkäfer ladybird emblem seen in Jever in December 1939. In the cockpit is Lt. Maximilian Gräff, who returned his second victory during the German Bight raid of 18 December 1939, claiming a Wellington 25 km. NW. of Borkum. Gräff was KIA that same month.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The story behind the Luftwaffe book(s) - 100 Jahre Blankensee, Die dunklen Jahre und Die Spur des Löwen - Alexander Steenbeck



Interview with Alexander Steenbeck. I've kept our chat - or at least Alex's replies - in his original German for my German readers and added a quick and rough translation for those readers who don't know German.. 

" ..Alexander, could you please tell us a little about yourself as a person, writer and historian ? I believe you trained as a journalist…"

 Ja, ich arbeite seit mehr als 20 Jahren in der Medien-Branche, seit zehn Jahren in einem der größten Medienhäuser Norddeutschlands. Ich habe in Hamburg Geschichte, Journalistik, Betriebswirtschaftslehre und Politik studiert. Die Kombination aus Beruf und Studium ist für meine Arbeit als Autor sehr vorteilhaft.

"..Yes, I've been working in the media industry for more than 20 years, for ten years in one of the largest media houses in North Germany. I studied history, journalism, business administration and politics in Hamburg. The combination of work and study is very advantageous for my work as an author..."

"..What prompted you to want to write books about Luftwaffe history and publish them yourself ?.."

Ich interessiere mich intensiv für die Fliegerei seit meinem elften Lebensjahr. Bereits im Jahr 2000 hatte ich so viele Unterlagen aus der Luftwaffen-Zeit zusammengetragen, dass ich auf die Idee kam, dieses Material anderen nicht vorzuenthalten. Es entstand 2002 mein 1. Buch (LBC – Lübeck-Blankensee), das im Lübecker Steintor-Verlag erschienen ist. Später wollte ich Layout und Umfang  lieber selbst bestimmen; 2008 und 2012 nahm ich das selbst in die Hand und veröffentlichte Buch 2 (Die dunklen Jahre) und 3 (Die Spur des Löwen).

"..I have been very interested in aviation and flying since I was eleven years old. As long ago as the year 2000 I had collected so many documents from the Luftwaffe period that I came up with the idea to make this material available to others. My first book (LBC - Lübeck-Blankensee) was published in 2002 by the Lübeck-based Steintor-Verlag. Later on I decided that I wanted to determine layout and scope myself. In 2008 and 2012, I took matters into my own hands and self- produced and published book 2 Die dunklen Jahre and then book 3 Die Spur des Löwen..."


"Alexander, your book 'Die dunklen Jahre' told the story of Lübeck-Blankensee during the period 1933-1945. For readers who don't know this book what sort of missions were flown from this airfield, especially in the last months of the war?  Can you tell us about some of the characters you met during your research ?"


Lübeck-Blankensee war ein Fliegerhorst, der durchweg eine wichtige Rolle in der Luftwaffe gespielt hat. Zu Beginn des Krieges als Drehscheibe für Einsätze gegen England und Skandinavien, 1944/45 war der Platz einer der ersten Plätze im Reich, der für Düsenflugzeuge ausgebaut wurde. In den letzten Kriegswochen nutzten Ar 234-, Me262- und He162-Verbände ihn für Einsätze oder auch als Einsatzbasis. Blankensee war von 1938-45 Heimat des KG 26, zudem dessen Ausbildungsbasis der IV. Gruppe. Außerdem diente der Platz der Flugzeugindustrie - insbesondere den Heinkel-Werken - als Umrüstort. Und es waren nicht nur bekannte Flieger wie Herbert Altner, Walter Briegleb und Co., mit denen ich für meine Bücher im Austausch stand. Vielfach waren es gerade die weniger oder gar unbekannten Luftwaffenangehörige, die meine Arbeit wesentlich voran gebracht haben. Ironischer Weise habe ich die detailiertesten Schilderungen rund um Blankensee von denen, die nicht geflogen sind; von den Technikern, Zivilangestellten und dem Verwaltungspersonal. In Sachen KG26 verhält es sich ähnlich, zumal nur wenige Besatzungsmitglieder die Flüge überlebt haben.

"....Lübeck-Blankensee was an airbase that played an important role in the Luftwaffe. At the beginning of the war it was a key airfield for missions against England and Scandinavia. During 1944/45 it was one of the first bases equipped for jet operations. In the last weeks of the war the Ar 234, Me 262 and He 162 all flew from here. The field was also home to KG 26 throughout the war. The German aircraft industry in general - especially the Heinkel factories used the airfield. And it wasn't just well-known fliers like Herbert Altner, Walter Briegleb and co. with whom I was in contact for my books. In many cases it was precisely the 'lesser' or even unknown members of the Luftwaffe who have significantly advanced my work. Ironically, I have the most detailed descriptions around Blankensee from those who were not airmen - from technicians, civilian employees and administrative staff. In terms of KG 26 it was a similar story, especially since only relatively few crew members survived their combat sorties...."


 " ..How did your interest in KG 26 develop ? What was your aim in writing the history of this unit ? "


 Die Heimat des KG 26 ist auch meine Heimat: die Hansestadt Lübeck. Es gibt sehr viele Verbindungen des Löwengeschwaders zur Luftfahrtgeschichte Lübecks.Das Geschwader prägte die Fliegerei hier mehr als ein halbes Jahrzehnt, viele der ehemaligen Flieger und ihre Familien leben bis heute hier. Die Recherchen zu meinen ersten beiden Büchern brachten insofern sehr viel Material über das KG 26 hervor. Gleichzeitig war das Buch „Achtung Torpedo los!“ von Rudi Schmidt längst überholt. Was lag da näher, als das Material über das KG 26 in einem neuen Buch zu veröffentlichen?

"..KG 26 and its men had their home in my home so to speak; Lübeck. The 'Lion Geschwader' has so many connections with the aviation history of the town; many of the former Geschwader members and their families still live here. During the research for the my first two books I accumulated so much material on KG 26. At the same time Rudi Schmidt's 'standard' work on the Geschwader „Achtung Torpedo los!“ was in need of revision and an update. It seemed self-evident to publish all this material in a new book.."

"..How much time was devoted to the research and writing of this particular book ? And your other books ? 

 Die Recherche war und ist nicht kontinuierlich. Forschung hört ja nie auf. Das Zusammentragen, Schreiben und Produzieren des Buches hat rund ein Jahr gedauert und somit ähnlich lange wie bei meinen anderen Büchern. Generell ist die Arbeit aber nicht abgeschlossen. Schade ist nur, dass nachträglich auftauchendes Material nicht in die Chronik(en) eingebunden werden kann, so dass jeder Leser davon partizipieren kann. So etwas funktioniert nur bei Online-Veröffentlichungen wie beispielsweise von Andreas Zapf.

".. research was and is not continuous. Research never ends. Compiling, writing and producing the book lasted for about one year, which is similar to my other books. Generally work like this is never finished. It is only a pity that material that emerges later can not be included in the chronicle (s), so that every reader can share in it. This is only possible with online publications such as the research undertaken by Andreas Zapf..."

"..How were you received by the veterans themselves and how did they react to the work..?"

“Die Spur des Löwen” ist die erste Chronik, die nicht von und für Veteranen gemacht wurde. Die Ausrichtung konnte so eine andere sein. Die Reaktionen, die ich – auch von Seiten der Ehemaligen – erhielt, waren durchweg positiv. Es gab Lob und Anerkennung für diese neue, umfassende Darstellung der Einsatzgeschichte des KG 26.

"..."The Trail of the Lion" is the first chronicle not made by and for veterans. The way the book is set out is different. The reactions that I received, including on the part of the vets, were consistently positive. There was praise and appreciation for this new, comprehensive presentation of the combat history of KG 26..."

Below; book extract from Alexander Steenbeck's Die Spur des Löwen. Decorated rudder of Konrad Hennemann's He 111 H-6. Hennemann and his crew flying He 111 H-6 "1H+GH" went down on Saturday 4 July 1942 after launching an attack against the British freighter Navarino sailing in PQ 17. Hennemann was awarded a posthumous RK and is still listed as missing.



“ You published a long extract –in English – from your KG 26 history in The Aviation Historian (issue 8). How did that come about? Does this mean that your book will be translated one day?”

Der Artikel im Aviation Historian war Material, das mir erst nach der Veröffentlichung von “Die Spur des Löwen” vorlag. Britische Luftfahrtmagazine sind eine sehr gute Alternative zu den deutschen Magazinen, so lag es nahe, die Geschichte vom Bombenunglück der II./KG 26 in Gabbert in England zu veröffentlichen. Eine Übersetzung meines Buches wurde häufig nachgefragt. Doch der Buchmarkt für Luftwaffen-Literatur wird immer schwieriger. Insofern muss man sich allein aus kaufmännischen Gesichtspunkten vorrangig die Frage nach den Käufern stellen. Und die werden, was diese Spezialliteratur angeht, immer weniger.

"..The article that appeared in the Aviation Historian was essentially material that I uncovered after the publication of my book... I'm often asked whether a translation of my book will ever appear but the book market especially for Luftwaffe books is getting ever more difficult. You have to ask yourself purely from the sales point of view who would buy it as such interested readers are growing less and less.."

" Is there any one piece of information or fact that you uncovered in your research that you are especially proud of..? Can you tell us about your proudest and most frustrating moment as a writer ? "

Das Ausmaß der Einsätze gegen Schiffe ist erstmals anders geschildert, als im Buch von Rudi Schmidt oder in der deutschen WK-II-Propaganda, die bis heute noch ihre Wirkung behalten hat, wenn man so manche heutige Veröffentlichung genauer betrachtet. Die übermäßigen Erfolge des KG 26 konnte ich relativieren, ohne die Einsatzleistungen der Besatzungen zu schmälern. Zudem habe ich sehr viel Bildmaterial zusammengetragen, auf das mich viele Leser angesprochen haben. Negativ war während der Vorarbeiten zum Buch der Kontakt zu einigen Sammlern. Manche hüten lieber ihre Schätze, als sie zu veröffentlichen oder Forschern zugänglich zu machen. Schade war auch der Kontakt zur Familie von Rudi Schmidt. Ich hätte mir auch eine überarbeitete Fassung von „Achtung Torpedo los!“ vorstellen können, aber die Familie blockte Kontakte ab. Angeblich sei Schmidts Nachlass komplett in den Müll gewandert, hieß es. Trauriges Ende seiner Recherchen zum KG 26.

" ..the extent of anti-shipping operations is probably portrayed somewhat differently from how they have been in Rudi Schmidt's book or in war-time German propaganda which even today has retained its impact, as a close look at certain publications demonstrates. I was able to put the supposed great successes of KG 26 into some sort of context without besmirching the reputations of the crews that flew these sorties. In addition, I compiled a lot of picture material, which many readers have been pleased with. One not so positive outcome was during the preliminary work for the book - contact to some collectors. Some prefer to keep their treasures for themselves rather than publish them or make them accessible to researchers. Also a disappointment was the contact I had with the family of Rudi Schmidt. I could have imagined maybe writing a revised version of "Achtung Torpedo los!", but the family blocked all communication. Supposedly Schmidt's estate had been disposed of, thrown out with the rubbish I was told. If that was indeed the case then it was a sad end to his research on KG 26.."

"..Do you have any projects that you are working on currently?.."

 ..Ja, Ich habe gerade mein neues Buch veröffentlicht, das sich mit der 100-jährigen Geschichte des Lübecker Flughafens beschäftigt. Es ist immer wieder erstaunlich, was nach vielen Jahrzehnten aus privater Hand oder aus Archiven noch an Material auftaucht. Man darf also gespannt sein!

"..Yes, I've been working a new book - which is just published - dealing with the history of Lübeck Airport, which will be 100 years old in 2017. It is always surprising, even after many decades, how much material from private hands or from archives still appears. Plenty of reasons to be excited !.."

"...Alexander, thank you for answering my questions, thank you for your superb books and good luck with sales of the new book which is now available. More about "100 Jahre Blankensee" can be found here: www.100-jahre-blankensee.de


Training centre, operational base for torpedo and jet bombers during WWII, regional airport and several times threatened with closure, Lübeck Airport has had a turbulent history. Aircraft have been taking off and landing in Blankensee, one of the oldest airfields in Germany for 100 years. The first buildings were built in 1916 but up to the late 1940s the present airport served purely military purposes. Only after the fall of the Iron Curtain did civilian use really come to the fore, but even then new developments proved controversial with the coming and going of private investors at the beginning of the new millennium. With what is now his fourth book, Alexander Steenbeck describes the ups and downs of Lübeck Airport, reveals its developmental history, and summarises his years-long, meticulous research into Lübeck's aviation history. More than 500 unpublished photos, plans, tables and documents illustrate a century of aviation in the Hansestadt. The book "100 years of Blankensee" supplements and completes the author's works, published so far on the history of Lübeck Airport (see above).



 Units based in Lübeck Blankensee during WWII include the Immelmann-Geschwader (II./StG 162 und I./StG 167) as well as the Löwengeschader (KG 257, later KG 26 ), but also the Ju 88 nightfighters of Nachtjagdgeschwader 5 (principally III./NJG 5 ). Blankensee was also developed for jet deployments, in particular the Messerschmitt Me 262s of "Kommando Welter", 10./NJG 11, and the Ar 234 jets of KG 76. Late on elements of Nachtschlachtkommando 9 flying Bücker Bü 181 training machines carrying Panzerfauste and Splitterbomben also flew from Blankeesee as the British closed in around the Elbe bridgehead around Hamburg. Some of the last sorties of the war were flown by He 111s of KG 4 launched on re-supply missions over Berlin on 4 May 1945.

Probably the last movements of the war saw three Ju 188 and 11 Ju 88 torpedo bombers belonging to KG 26 land at Lübeck-Blankensee on 8 May 1945 after their flight to the Kurland pocket from where they had helped to evacuate German soldiers. Evading three Russian fighters by letting down to wave top height after crossing the coastline, Ju 88 "1H+KM" flown by Lt. Horst Naumann was one of up to forty aircraft from various units that flew from Norway to Courland returning into Lübeck-Blankensee late into the evening of 8 May 1945 with up to eight so-called 'Kurland Flüchtlinge' ('Courland refugees', ie soldiers, Landser)  on board to be greeted by British troops who had taken the airfield on 2 May.

(" As the British drove across the airfield we stood outside the workshops in our overalls waiting for what was to come - in the end we were greeted in a friendly way, some even waved at us - not at all the reception we would have dreamed of expecting..")



Above and left; Ian Calderwood's father took a series of excellent images at Lübeck-Blankensee in 1945 which have been posted on flickr here


More author interviews on this blog;

-  Jan Forsgren, author of the Fonthill Media title "The Junkers Ju 52 Story" here

- The story behind the Luftwaffe book - John Vasco's 'Bombsights over England -Erprobungsgruppe 210 in the Battle of Britain' here

- The story behind the Luftwaffe book(s)  - a chat with the doyen of Luftwaffe book authors - Eddie Creek here

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Dornier Do-17 Z-7 Kauz, Airfix/OWL by Jes Touvdal

The Luftwaffe blog presents another fantastic build from Jes Touvdal, the rather rare Do 17 Z-7 Kauz. Jes writes;

 ".. I have completed this new kit from Airfix a little while ago, I think that Airfix has done a very good job on this kit and it fits very well. I chose to convert it to a Z-7 nightfighter using the OWL conversion set. I spent a lot of time researching the camouflage scheme. Firstly I contacted Owl asking for reference photo documentation confirming that the scheme in the decals offering was correct, but received a rather weak answer from them about the photo that they couldn't publish. My own research indicated that their conclusion that the finish was an overall black scheme is questionable, based on the photo published in Luftwaffe im Focus 10, from Start Verlag, and the fact that only 3 aircraft were converted to Z-7, comparing the spinners and the placement of NJG shield I also backup the finding that Axel Urbanke claims that this aircraft is R4+HK. So I have gone for a 70/71/65 scheme that has been overpainted in black on the undersurfaces and sides. A thing that was not in the conversion kit from OWL was the armoured glass on the front of the cockpit I had to scratch something here as well as the FuG under the fuselage..." Jes adds that only eight Do 17s were converted to this configuration, although only two WNr. are known, 2817 and 2834.








More of Jes Touvdal's Luftwaffe models on this blog here

also on this blog - building the new-tool Airfix 72nd scale Dornier Do 17
http://falkeeins.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/building-airfix-new-tool-dornier-do-17.html

Dornier Do 26 Erprobungsstelle Travemünde #ebay photo find #205




For the invasion of Denmark and Norway, launched on 9 April 1940, five Do 26 seaplanes (V-1 to V-5) were brought together in the so-called Transozeanstaffel incorporated in 9./KGzbV 108. Among the pilots flying these machines were the 'cream' of the Lufthansa fleet : Rudolf « Miesi » Mayr, the Graf Schack von Wittenau, and later night fighter ace Ernst-Wilhelm Modrow among others. The Staffel was tasked with transporting troops, munitions and mail with particular responsibility for re-supplying the Narvik area which saw hard fighting between the Allies and General Eduard Dietl's Gebirgsjäger. I previously featured a rare personal account courtesy Jean-Louis Roba on this blog here

According to the seller this Do 26- named "Seekuh"and still displaying the emblem of the Transozeanstaffel (either the V-4 or V-6) - was used to evacuate civilians towards the end of the war. There were six V-series machines - two were still in service with the Erprobungsstelle Travemünde during 1944, while the other four had all been lost in accidents by that time. " Die "Seekuh" ist eine der beiden letzten Maschinen!" On offer here


-Do 26 V-1 (Seeadler ; WNr. 791), ex D-AGNT = P5+AH ;

-Do 26 V-2, (Seefalke ; WNr. 792), ex D-AWDS = P5+BH ;

-Do 26 V-3, (Seemöwe ; WNr. 793), ex D-ASRA = P5+CH.

-Do 26 V-4 (Seebär ; WNr. 794), P5+DH. first flight 25 Jan 1940 (temporary code P5+DF) ;

-Do 26 V-5 (WNr. 795), P5+EH. First flight 24 Jan 1940

-Do 26 V-6 (WNr. 796), P5+FH. First flight 29 Jul 1940.

The Do 26 V-5 P5+EH crashed on 16 November 1940 shortly after being catapulted from the Friesenland, off the coast of Brest, killing the six crew (among them, DLH pilot Lt Otto Emmerich).

During June 1943 the V-6 flew the mission to 'rescue' the personnel of meteorological station 'Holz Auge' on Greenland. The last record of the two surviving Do 26s, the V-4 or V-6, is dated May 1944. Roba writes, "Neither aircraft was captured by the Allies, so we have to assume that both machines were either destroyed before the end of the war, possibly in an Allied bombing raid, or scrapped".

More on this machine at the LRG here


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Fw 190 - White B+I WNr 840203 SKG 10, Italy 1943 -ebay photo find #210

Fw 190 A - White B+I WNr 840203




via Tim De Craene's current Ebay sales here


Saturday, 18 March 2017

72nd scale Luftwaffe aircraft news -Eduard Kora Fw 190s, Owl decals, new Printscale decals, RS Models Me 309



New Luftwaffe subjects in 72nd scale via Adam Garrett's 72nd scale blog include more Eduard Fw 190s in the Sturm A-8/R2 variant including II.(Sturm)/JG 4 Kommandeur von Kornatzki's 'green 3'  and new decal sheets from Owl. Especially interesting are the 2./JG 2 nightfighting Fw 190 subjects as depicted in Erik Mombeeck's most recent 'Luftwaffe Gallery' including ace Lt. Detlef Grossfuss' Fw 190 A-6 'black 13'. Finally some Kora re-boxings of the Fw 190 plastic and a quick look at the new RS Models Me 309 already added to the stash.




The Kora Models kits are 'upgraded' versions of the Eduard plastic with a price tag to match. Probably pass on these. Kora Models web site is here



Recent Printscale.org sheets include Aces of the Condor Legion and Bf 110 night fighter aces featuring some great subjects to add to my collection of black Bf 110s. A reference page of black Bf 110 images can be found here.






Also recently added to the stash is  the new RS models Me 309 - two options of the prototype V1 GE+CU are in the box including the enlarged and re-designed empennage of the 'late' variant (November 1943). The Me 309 was conceived as a possible replacement for the Bf 109 powered by the new liquid-cooled DB 603G and featured a nose-wheel patented by Messerschmitt and at the time of the first flight in July 1942 not yet seen on the Me 262 V2. RS Models are also planning a twin fuselage Me 609 box.




And finally, my latest finish, the Academy G-14 (1/72nd) as Hartman's G-6 February 1945, Kommandeur I./JG 53. More on this machine here


Monday, 13 March 2017

Air War Publications eArticle Henschel Hs 123 - the Luftwaffe's first Dive-Bomber




Part One of Morten Jessen's Henschel Hs 123 eArticle is just released and should be required reading for Luftwaffe experts and air-minded enthusiasts alike. Not only was the Henschel Hs 123 virtually the Luftwaffe's last operational biplane in service (aside from a handful of Nachtschlacht machines), it was a stand-out in a very small category of aircraft -dedicated ground attack- that proved crucial in the Luftwaffe's early conduct of the war. Based on a range of primary sources such as factory documents, Flugbücher, interviews and personnel files, this 21-page feature (part one of two) primarily covers the developmental period from 1935 to 1938 of the superb 'eins-zwei-drei' as the little biplane dive-bomber and ground-attack aircraft was known. The Hs 123 would go on to serve in front-line units of the Luftwaffe literally until there were none left - used up by relentless and arduous service and attrition as Lt. Konrad Pingel's account of strafing Russian T-34's at Kursk during July 1943 that opens the article attests.

Author Jessen covers the type's early development and also looks at the type's competitors for the RLM's light dive-bomber specification issued in the early 1930s; for example the Fieseler Fi 98 with its wires and struts and the cumbersome gull-winged Ha 137 with its poor flight characteristics - the Hs 123 had single streamlined struts and gear spats and light alloy skinning. I was fascinated to read that while some prototypes had three bladed propellers, production examples didn't because of the cost of the extra blade! Production orders started to arrive during late 1935, the type being manufactured at Henschel's hard-pressed Schönefeld works in Berlin which was also churning out Junkers bombers. Events though soon pushed the Hs 123 into combat. When civil war broke out in Spain the type was quickly shipped to the Nationalists where the 'Angelito' proved durable and the type's performance in the Condor Legion with the creation of the Hs 123-equipped Stuka Kette 88, led by Lt. Brücker won plaudits, stimulating interest from air forces around the world. In fact the Hs 123 was probably the first dive-bomber to see combat anywhere. Sales representative and company pilot for Henschel during the mid-thirties was WWI Jasta 20 Albatros 'ace' Alexander von Winterfeldt - who accompanied a shipment of Hs 123s to China during 1938. The twelve Chinese Hs 123s carried out bombing attacks on Japanese warships on the Yangtze river while von Winterfeldt would go on to command units of JG 2 and JG 77 during WWII.

Indeed the type's early operational service probably carried far greater impact than even it's supporters could have imagined - from its involvement in the Sudeten crisis, its much more active role with the Condor Legion over Spain in 1936 and 1937 to its critical role in the Polish campaign where the machines of II./ (S) LG 2 undertook key ground-attack duties in von Richthofen's Luftflotte 4 contributing hugely to the defeat of Polish General Kutrzeba's counter-attack threatening the northern flank of German Army Group South. The Poles had never experienced such ferocious and sustained bombing and ground attack. Notably one of the Henschel pilots was a future fighter General -Adolf Galland.

And while during the intervening period aeronautical development had moved on and Hs 123 production was ended - the Junkers Ju 87 and Henschel's own dedicated tank-busting Hs 129 were the future - the Henschel Hs 123 again performed during the Blitzkrieg in the West.

The scene is thus set for Part Two, which will cover Hs 123 operations during the Second World War in more depth, with the author promising personal accounts from the vets that flew the machine on operations, a 'first' compared to almost all the other publications on the small biplane. In fact the only ones I know of appeared in Marius Emmerling's articles on the Polish campaign in 'Jet & Prop' magazine in Germany. As Ivon Moore writes;

 " A miniscule 230 or so were taken into service by the Luftwaffe, a tiny investment from which the Luftwaffe squeezed an extraordinary amount of work over the front lines through the astonishingly long period to at least the spring of 1944. Specific details are thin but the battlefield contributions of the Hs 123 seem to have been out of all proportion to the tiny numbers employed. The Hs 123 is probably the most remarkably cost-effective ground attack aircraft of all time and the story of its longevity is genuinely extraordinary..".

The final section of Morten Jessen's article touches upon another vital role played by the aircraft: its service in various Luftwaffe training schools.

The team at AWP are to be congratulated on coming up with an accurate - and very readable - story. In fact it would appear that the author has taken care to avoid nuts’n’bolts facts in the main text. They are there of course - but mostly in well-presented tables and side bars. This approach serves to heighten 'readability' and interest.

As well as a selection of nice clear photos - most of them new to me and including a number from the collection of Jean-Louis Roba - the article features Claes Sundin artworks. These are accompanied by a short description of the 'A' and 'B' schemes, the two patterns laid down by the RLM for the type- worth the price of admission on their own. Of course with digital articles like these you can really get in close to see the detail.

Like all AWP eArticles you not only get a great read, but new research and a ready-to-print pdf file for your tablet or device. All for less than the cost of a print magazine which would probably only have a handful of pages dealing with Luftwaffe subjects - if any at all. Recommended.

Air War Publications eArticles are available here


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Ju 88 C-6 von der 14./KG 40 - ebay photo find # 209


A line-up of Ju 88 C-6 machines of  14./KG 40 in their distinctive over-sprayed 76 camo finishes seen in the late spring/early summer of 1943 in the Bordeaux area of south-western France



Ju 88 C-6 "F8+RY" von Flugzeugführer Oblt. Kurt Necesany von der 14./KG 40 Lorient im Mai 1943




some decal options for these unusually camouflaged Ju 88's can be found on the AIMS Ju 88 Fighters sheet reviewed on this blog here

images currently on offer here


 This much more colourful edition of the history of V.(Z) /KG 40, 'Bloody Biscay' is published by Lela Presse in their Batailles Aeriennes quarterly series. Entitled 'Wolves over the Atlantic', this French-language 100-page A-4 format soft back monograph features new photographic material, super Thierry Dekker artwork and a fifteen-page 'presentation' of the Junkers Ju 88 C-6 with photos and handbook drawings from the archive of Jean-Louis Roba - all for just 13 euros..

V.(Z)/KG 40 was the Zerstörergruppe or heavy fighter wing of KG 40 and was initially established with a complement of three Staffeln to which a fourth was later added.  The unit’s long range fighters were chiefly deployed on U-boot  and shipping escort protection sorties over and across the Bay of Biscay, where vessels of all types could potentially come under attack from RAF Coastal Command and US Air Force aircraft.




A formation flight of Ju 88 C-6 machines of  14./KG 40 seen in the late spring/early summer of 1943 over south western France. The aircraft in the shot are "F8+OY" and "F8+LY". A number of the Staffel’s aircraft typically wore this light camo finish. 






Above; Oblt. Kurt Necesany and his crew flew  14./KG 40’s 500th Feindflug or combat sortie on 21 May 1943 and were duly feted on their return home to Lorient by their Staffel comrades in front of their Ju 88 C-6 "F8+RY". They were presented with flowers and a sign reading: "Congratulations on the 500th combat flight"..

Of the unit's other leading pilots, Lt. Knud Gmelin of 13./KG 40 brought down an RAF B-24 Liberator on 3 September 1943.  On 18 September 1943 the Rotte of Oblt. Dieter Meister and Lt. Knud Gmelin of 13./KG 40 encountered a Horsa cargo glider under tow by a Halifax.Both pilots lined up firing passes on the four-engine machine which promptly cast off the glider. The Halifax came under heavy fire from Lt.Gmelin, but managed to escape. Oblt. Meister finished off the Horsa glider.The nose armament of  the Ju 88 C Zerstörer (eg "F8+MX" of 13./KG 40 in early 1943 in Bordeaux-Merignac) typically comprised three MG 17 7,9 mm in the upper nose and a single MG 15 7,9 mm mounted in the lower nose.