Saturday, 30 March 2013
Markus and his team at Geramond.de continue to produce a high quality magazine featuring plenty of decent content for the Luftwaffe enthusiast ; the April 2013 issue features the usual selection of interesting articles with on-line excerpts available to browse at the flugzeugclassic website.
April's issue features the Bf 109 in Czech service, a look at the radical late-war project that was the Me 329 and a detailed and richly illustrated feature on the 'second Stalingrad' that was the 'End of the Axis powers in North Africa'. Also included is the first part of an interview by Peter Cronauer with Gerhard Kott (left), former Sturmpilot with JG 3 and JG 4.
Kott joined 10. Staffel of JG 3 at Salzwedel in early 1944 for his first combat posting and flew as Rottenflieger to Walther Hagenah. On 19 May 1944 he brought down a B-17 with a frontal attack over Berlin before being shot down in turn by a P-51. With his doomed fighter in its death dive, the hapless pilot struggled to extricate himself from the cockpit but with his feet caught fast he quickly lost consciousness in the rarefied atmosphere nine kilometers up. He learnt later that he had come free at a height of around 1,000 metres but had no recollection of pulling the rip cord. He rejoined his unit after a three-day stay in hospital at Brandenburg Briest. Kott's unit then converted to the Sturm role flying the heavily armed and armoured Fw 190 Sturmbock bomber killer. IV (Sturm)./JG 3 was briefly deployed to Normandy to combat the Allied landings. On 7 July flying out of Illesheim Kott's Sturmgruppe sortied on the 'infamous' Oschersleben 'Blitzluftschlacht' which saw IV./JG 3 claim at least 30 US 8th AF bombers shot down. Kott's machine had engine problems and he saw no action. Kott's interview with Cronauer throws new light on his subsequent transfer from JG 3 to JG 4 - an accident while taxiing in after combating 8th US AF bombers over Memmingen, Bavaria on 18 July 1944 resulted in the death of a fellow pilot. And while Kott was exonerated of any blame at the subsequent court martial thanks to the witness statement of his friend Walther Hagenah his relationship with his 10./ JG 3 Staffelkapitaen Hans Weik never recovered. He transferred into the newly established II. Gruppe of JG 4 under von Kornatzki, signed the Sturm affadavit, pledging to engage in close-quarter combat with the bombers and/or ram them should a 'conventional' attack fail. And while Kott never carried out a ramming attack, " I almost certainly would have done if the occasion had presented itself..." Flying out of Welzow Kott claimed a B-24 on 26 September 1944 over Ludwigsau, a B-17 on the following day and a further B-17 on both 6 and 7 October 1944. Von Kornatzki at this point recognised that Kott was at the end of his tether and took him off operations for two weeks before a brief posting as Jagdlehrer (fighter instructor) in Liegnitz retraining Luftwaffe bomber pilots to master fighters. Kott returned to IV./JG 3 in early 1945 by which time the Sturmgruppen had been re-deployed as ground attack straffers against the on-rushing Red Army in front of Berlin...
Post-war Kott never returned to an aircraft cockpit...
Friday, 29 March 2013
Omaka Classic fighters - Flugwerk Fw 190, Schlachtflieger-Geschwader 102, Zvesda Fw 190 A-4 in 1:72 nd scale
Much more like this at the Classic Aircraft Photography Facebook page
Oblt. Helmut Schwantje (below) was a Staffelkapitaen in I. Gruppe of Schlachtflieger-Geschwader 102 from August 1944 to February 1945. SG 102 (originally Stuka-Geschwader 102) was a training, not a fighting unit. It was formed in October 1943 with two groups (6 wings of 12 FW-190 each) to train Jabo (Jagdbomber = fighter-bomber) pilots at the Schlachtflieger-Schule 2 at Memmingen in Bavaria.
A selection of Schlacht Fw 190 views currently on offer at dw-auction
Some progress on the neat new-tool Zvesda Fw 190 A-4 in 1:72nd scale. While the break-down of parts is ingenious and avoids any issues of dihedral or problems at the wing roots, it does result in 'joins' where there were no panel lines on the real machines...
detailed sprue shots are here
my completed model build is here
Sunday, 24 March 2013
FW 190 A-4 assigned to Oblt. Hans Mohr, T.O. II. Gruppe JG 1
Friday, 22 March 2013
In July 1942 1./406 was one of the last Luftwaffe units still flying the Heinkel He 115. Based in Sörreisa (between Narvik and Tromsö), Hauptmann Herbert Vater, StaKa of 1./406 was tasked on the morning of 2 July with leading a torpedo bombing raid against the ill-fated convoy PQ 17. Each Heinkel was loaded with an F5 torpedo some seven and a half metres long weighing 775 kg, of which 200 was explosive. To launch the weapon the He 115 had to maintain a speed of 180 km/h at an altitude of of forty metres. In theory the torpedo could be dropped up to two kilometres from the target but in practise a more realistic range was barely 800 metres. However at distances such as these the Heinkel pilots were very much aware they would likely find themselves in a maelstrom of defensive fire. One of the 1./406 pilots on this strike was Uffz. Karl 'Konny' Arabin seen below at the controls of his He 115. This is probably He 115 C WNr. 2759 coded K6+IH. Aircraft commander was the observer Oblt-zur-See 'Charly' Burmeister. Note the rear-view mirror and the sight for the MG 151 cannon.
Pilot Arabin recalled post-war that these types of sorties were particularly testing;
" The convoys were shadowed by a BV 138 floatplane. When ordered in we would often fly four or five sorties with no time for sleep - we took Pervitine and I could stay awake, if not alert, for up to three days and three nights. Our attacks were flown at low altitude before pulling up slightly to launch the 'eel' against the target. Our fish could travel some three kilometres. We sustained heavy losses because once the torpedo was launched pilots tended to bank away too sharply presenting a good target to anti-aircraft fire. I was a good pilot and rather than attacking from abeam the target would dive down on the prow of a vessel thus presenting the smallest target possible. Even so I got back on a number of occasions with up to one hundred impact strikes on the machine. We also feared ship-borne fighter aircraft - I recall one mission when I had three of them on my tail but we knew they only carried a limited fuel supply. Every time they opened up I managed to evade by side-slipping, the bursts of fire passing off to one one side or over my head. By the time I lost them my shirt was soaked in sweat. On returning from sorties such as this it was as much as I could do to just collapse on my bunk bed.. by then a number of beds would be empty. I lost my best friend Karl Börger on a sortie such as this - we had known each other since training school.."
During this attack against convoy PQ17 Hptm Herbert Vater was forced to ditch in the sea, smoke pouring from an engine. Burmeister's pilot Karl 'Konny' Arabin elected to put down to rescue Vater and his crew. He later remembered this particular Husarenstück (feat of arms);
" during the attack our Kapitän was hit and managing to retain control of the aircraft put down on the sea. I quickly decided to go in and rescue the crew, against the orders of our observer and aircraft commander Lt. Burmeister. I recall saying to him; ‘I'm the pilot, I'll decide’. Of course I managed to rescue the Kapitän but not before being threatened with a court martial and things got a bit sticky for me at one point, although I had a friendly meeting with Burmeister again after the war. In my opinion it was our duty to do everything possible to rescue comrades brought down in the sea. Such actions were vital for our morale ".
Text extracted and adapted from Luftwaffe Seaplanes (Roba) Vol II available from Lela Presse - only 20 copies remaining. Volume III is currently in preparation....
Stukageschwader in action over Poland courtesy of Ebay seller Kurmark-Antik (Oliver Rogge). These images are currently on offer and reproduced here courtesy of Oliver.
Access all Oliver's Ebay sales via the following link
Stuka of the Staffelkapitaen hooked up to a starter cart
Two rare views of the end at Deutsche Brod offered for sale by Ebay seller 'aerwina 4'
At least seven Hs 129 B-2 or B-3 can be seen dispersed, the nearest being "Weisse 11". The unit markings seem consistent with 13.(Pz.)/SG 9.
Bottom; Bf 109 K-4 W.Nr. probably in the 332 000 335 241 block range given the low visibility camouflage demarcation line, typical of later Mtt-Flössenburg or other Mtt operated Waldwerke in 1945. Given the black tulip decorating it's nose, the unit is almost certainly II./JG 52 - pictures taken at Deutsch Brod (today Havlickuv Brod) some time during April 1945. During the last two weeks of the war both airfields housed Hs 129s of SG 9 as well as the Bf 109s of JG 52
Thanks to Marc for the pointer..
Monday, 18 March 2013
More on Wurmheller on this blog here
Fw 190 A-3 'Blue 13' of 10. (Jabo)/JG 2, probably seen at Caen during 1942
Sunday, 10 March 2013
Rare Luftwaffe books on Ebay; JAPO Luftwaffe over Czech territory 1945, Jagdwaffe - Luftwaffe Colours - Nachtjäger vol.1 - Nachtjäger - SUPER RARE OOP!
A new contender for 'most expensive Luftwaffe book ever ' - or just how to lose control during an ebay bidding war.
A look at some of the rarer titles in this field and an idea of what they go for if you get dragged into the Ebay madness ! And what some feel they could go for - sanity did prevail in the last two auctions posted here...
Herewith some of the rarer Classic titles. I was recently offered a copy of the Classic Me 262 Volume 1 for £50 which I gratefully accepted before noticing recently that Simon Watson still has a copy on the shelves at the Aviation Bookshop. I was wondering what the re-print policy on these more difficult-to-find Classic titles is/was...and is it the case that earlier Classic titles such as JV 44 cannot actually be reprinted ? And the response from Classic Chevron supremo Robert Forsyth;
" ...the Me 262 Volume 1 book was reprinted actually, about five or six years ago (with a different cover). So with the first and second run, I guess there must be over 4,000 copies out there. As for the JV 44 tome, in 1996 when the book was produced it was made (unlike today) on film and over the years that film has deteriorated. This means that any new version will have to be a completely new book. Not that that’s a problem especially, but it means investment, redesign and layout – as well as an opportunity to correct errors, but knowing me I’d just end up rewriting it! ...''
Of course what Robert doesn't say here is that he largely rewrote the text of the "JV 44 " book for Osprey in their Elite series... and that some of the original "JV 44" content appeared in a 'special' US edition entitled 'Battle for Bavaria - B-26 vs the German jets April 1945'. Some sellers are now starting sales of "JV 44" at £149...and far from wanting to 'demonize' him, all credit to skunkalot who always starts all his auctions at £0.99 - he can hardly be accused of ripping people off after all, quite the opposite, everyone has a chance to get a bid on!
A complete set of the classic Jagdwaffe colours books, all twenty volumes - a snip at £1,345 !! ..and possibly a bargain given that some sellers are prepared to ask up to £450 for individual volumes..
..and ..probably the single rarest Luftwaffe title of them all - at least going by ebay sales in 2016