Sunday, 17 April 2016

Anti bomber pilots, in defense of the Reich. Part 5

Focke-Wulf Fw190A-8 'White 21' of feldwebel Fritz Buchholz of II./JG 6
 sits on the apron outside a hangar at Königsberg-Neumrk, on the doors
 of which has been painted a full-size frontal rendition of B-17.
 The Gruppe was formed from the Me410-eqipped II./ZG 26 in the summer
 of 1944. Buchholz had previously flown the twin-engined
 Messerschmitt Me410 fitted with the 5cm BK cannon.
"One fourth of the German war economy was neutralized because of direct bomb damage, the resulting delays, shortages and roundabout solutions, and the spending on anti-aircraft, civil defence, repair, and removal of factories to safer locations. The raids were so large and often repeated that in city after city, the repair system broke down. The bombing prevented the full mobilization of German economic potential."

RAF estimates of destruction of "built up areas" of major German cities:
Berlin 33%, Cologne 61%, Dortmund 54%, Dresden 59%, Düsseldorf 64%, Essen 50%, Frankfurt 52%, Hamburg 75%, Leipzig 20%, Munich 42%, Bochum 83%, Bremen 60%, Chemnitz 41%, Dessau 61%, Duisburg 48%, Hagen 67%, Hanover 60%, Kassel 69%, Kiel 50%, Mainz 80%, Magdeburg 41%, Mannheim 64%, Nuremberg 51%, Stettin 53%, Stuttgart 46%.

A pilot catches up with his rest on the grass beside Focke-Wulf Fw190A-8 'White 5' of II.(Sturm)/JG 300 at Holzkirchen in late August 1944. The aircraft is fitted with armoured glass side windscreen panels as well as armoured panels on either side of the cockpit. A parachute is ready on the wing of 'White 10', the next aircraft in line.
Messerschmitt Me262A-1a 'Green 3'of the Geschwderstab of JG 7 prepared to move of across the concrete surface at Brandenburg-Briest in February or early march 1945. the aircraft, finished in a relatively rare application of streaked horizontal lines, has been fitted with a pair of 21cm WGr air-to-air mortar tubes visible beneath the fuselage aft of the nose wheel.
Hauptmann Alfred Grislawski, Staffelkapitan of 1./JG 1, watches a mechanic work on the wing of his Focke-Wulf Fw190A-7 'white 9' at Dortmund in January 1944. The aircraft is fitted with flame suppressors over the engine-mounted 13 mm machine guns so that it could be flown on night operations. The fighter also boasts an armoured windscreen. This Focke-Wulf would be lost on 22 February 1944 in combat with USAAF heavy bombers while being piloted by Gefreiter Alfred Martini of 2./JG 1
5./JG 53's Leutnant Herbert Rollwage is adorned with a wreath as he sits in the cockpit of his Messerschmitt Bf109 on a Sicilian airfield following his 300th mission against the enemy on 8 August 1942, during which he shot down  Spiti over Malta for his 29th victory. he survive the war, but finally exactly numbers of his victories is unknown (80-85). Rollwage is believed to have accounted for at least 14 four-engined kills he was awarded the Oak Leaves on 24 January 1945
Hauptmann Dr Peter Werfft, Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 27. He was awarded the Knighht's Cross on 28 January 1945 and is credited with 24 victories, of which 14were Viermots. On 9 may 1944, while Staffelkapitän of 9./JG 27, he shot down B-24s east of Helmstedt for his 21st and 22nd victories, but his Messerschmitt Bf109G-6 was attacked by US fighters as he flew to Gardelegen to refuel and re-arm, and he was severely wounded. Werfft did not return to opertional service until November, when he took over command of III. Gruppe from Oberleutnant Franz Stigler.
A Messerschmitt Bf109G-6 is checked by a member of the ground crew in its forested dispersal in the summer of 1944. The fighter is equipped with under wing 20 mm MG151 cannon designed for use against four-engined bombers.

Unteroffizier Willi Unger, an accomplished Sturmgruppe pilot of 12./JG3, sits on the engine cowling of Focke-Wulf Fw190A-8/R2 'Yellow 17' at Barth in May 944. The first 21 of Willi Unger's 24 confirmed victories were four-engined bombers. He was awarded the Knight's Cross on 23 October 1944.
Three leading Sturmgruppe officers in discussion at Memmingen following the Allied bombing attacks on the airfield on 18 and 20 July 1944. From left to right are Hauptmann Heinz Lang (Chief of the Stabskompanie, IV./JG 3) and Majors Walter Dahl (Kommodore of JG 300) and Wilhelm Moritz (Kommandeur of IV./JG3). Together, Dahl and Moritz would account for more than 40 Viermots shot down.
Leutnant Rudolf Metz (left) is seen here with a member of his ground crew whilst serving with I./JG 5 in Norway in 1943. Following a period with Sturmstaffel 1 in the spring of 1944 he ws assigned to 11./JG 3 in May. Metz shot down three Flying Fortresses on 12 May 1944 and two Liberators on 27 September.
Leutnant Klaus Neumann had been awarded the Knight's cross by Hitler in December 1944 for his operations against American heavy bombers. While flying with IV.(Sturm)/JG 3, he was accredited with 17 Viermots shot down. In 1945 Neumann flew Messerschmitt Me262s with JG 7 and JV 44.
Leutnant Oskar Romm flew with 1./JG 51 over Russia from late 1942 to June 1944, with whom he shot down 76 Soviet aircraft. he was awarded the Knight's Cross on 29 February and transferred to 11.(Sturm)/JG 3 before being appointed Staffelkapitän of 12.(Sturm)/JG 3 on 7 July - a post he held until November, when he became leader of 4./JG 3. After a period with the Stabsschwarm of I./EJG 1, Romm returned to command 12.(Sturm)/JG 3, before being appointed Kommandeur of IV./JG 3 on 17 February 1945, taking over from Major Erwin Bacsila, formerly of Sturmstaffel 1. He recorded 92 victories, of which eight were Viermots scored while with JG 3. After 283 combat missions, Romm was a injured in a crash-landing following combat with Il-2s on 24 April 1945, this incident ending his flying career.

Mechanics approach the Focke-Wulf fw190A-8 piloted by Oberleutnant Heinz-dieter Gramberg of 8./JG 300 as it taxies to a stop at Löbnitz following a mission in early December 1944.  former maritime pilot, Gramberg was based in Italy prior to transferring to the Sturmgruppe in late October 1944. He was credited with two victories before being killed by Soviet flak in late January 1945.
Leutnant Franz Shall, leader of 2./Kommando Nowotny (left), stands in front of an Messerschmitt Me262 of the unit, probably at Achmer, in the autumn of 1944. later appointed Staffelkapitän of 10./JG 7, he would see more aerial combat in the Me262 than most pilots, being credited with the destruction of six Viermots while flying the jet. 
Leutnant Rudolf Rademacher joined 11./JG 7 with 81 victories to his name, these having been scored over the Eastern Front. He accounted for four P-51s and RAF fighter shit down while flying the Messerschmitt Me262, as well as 11 four-engined bombers.
This Messerschmitt Me262 of 9./JG 7 has been fitted with a 20 kg wooden launch rack, loaded with a dozen 55 mm R4M rockets, on the underside of it starboard wing.
50 mm R4M Air-to-Air rockets underwing of Messerschmitt Me 262A
In early 1945, the Stabstffel of JG 7 carried out trials using the 21 cm WGr 21 air-toir mortar nd, later, 55 mm R4M rockets. Here, two Me262A-1 as of JG 7, seen at either Brandenburg-Briest or Parchim, have been fitted with mortar tubes. The machine in the foreground, 'Green 1', carries as distinctive diagonally sstriped camouuflage scheme, with markings thought to have been those of the Kommandeur of III./JG 7, Major Rudolf Sinner
On 30 March 1945, Leutnant Karl Schnörrer, commander of 11./JG 7 and former wingman to Walter Nowotny, was chased by P-51s following an engagement against American bombers over northwest Germany during which he shot  down two B-17s. These proved to be his last victories of the war for he was forced to bail out a short while later, injuring his legs for a second time.
Major Erich Rudorffer, photographed in the West in 1942 while commanding 6./JG 2. In the final months of the war this 136-victory ace and recipient of the Knight's cross with Oak leaves and Swords, took command of I./JG 7. He personally accounted for ten four-engined bombers destroyed, all scored while flying the Messerschmitt Me262