Friday, 22 September 2017

Bf 110 C/D Kommandeur I./ZG 76 II./JG 77 Emil in Norwegen - ebay photo find #222

Kommandeur I./ZG 76 until his death in combat on 30 April 1940 was Hptm. Günther Reinecke 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 (on 24 April according to Geirr Haarr). Note so-called 'Dackelbauch' belly fuel tank..presumably this airfield scene was taken at Stavanger-Sola..

Interim Kommandeur was Hptm. Werner Hansen until replaced by Hptm. Werner Restemeyer who was lost in Bf 110 D "M8+AB" over the North Sea off Newcastle on 15 August 1940.

On offer here

decals for this machine are available on John MacIllmurray's AIMS "Stab Bf 110s" sheet which is reviewed on this blog here. Go to John's site

One of Hptm. Karl Hentschel's II./JG 77 Emils in Norway also via Marco at koelsch333 Ebay sales

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Galland Emil Caffiers am Kanal 1940 Friedrich - #ebay photo find 221

Above, 22 victory markings on the Gkr. III./JG 26 Bf 109 E-1 seen in Caffiers on the Channel coast, summer 1940

Below; the machine in the background is presumably one of Galland's Friedrich 'specials' with the cowl MG 17s replaced with two 13mm MG 131 machine guns - the 'bulge' aft of the cowl gun trough  accomodated the breech of the up-gunned MGs with the cartridges being ejected sideways through improvised ejector chutes. The image presumably dates from late summer 1941, note absence of yellow cowl and/or 'Schlageter badge'. Heavily mottled finish.

on offer here

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

forthcoming AIMS Bf 110 F/G conversion set for the Dragon 1/32 kits from John McIllmurray

" ..Hello everyone, I am pleased to let you know progress on my AIMS Bf 110 F/G conversion set for the Dragon 1/32 kits. Gun pack and spinner have been 3D designed and await printing, rudder and upper engine cowl and upper and lower nose finished, rear canopy and exhausts under way, MG 81Z already done, cockpit ammo boxes still to do and revised exhaust stubs done. Still have to do straight late exhaust damper. All going very well. Just got all the decals finished and they will go off to printers any day now. Hope you like the selection. I am doing two boxings - 200 units each and both will be available at the same time - perhaps as soon as Christmas depending on how long it takes to get decals printed. One boxing is the F-4/G-2 day fighter / bomber and includes 2x F-4 options and 2x G-2 options plus 1x national insignia and full stencil set plus and everything needed to make what can be seen in the profiles. Other boxing is for the G-4 night fighter and includes 5 options plus 1x set of insignia and stencils and all what is needed to do the options As I do everything by email naturally I can tailor make orders so if you are using E-2 Trop kit and have some of the parts or if you are set on doing the F and do not need the G parts in the day fighter boxing I will remove them and lower the cost. £ TBC. Lower cowls will be split so they can hang open - still have to do the interior detail. Likewise the nose gun bay will be open. Hope you like the profiles......"

John's AIMS site is here

more Eastern Front Junkers Ju 52s - Wintertarnung - ebay photo find #220

Junkers Ju 52 possibly of KGrzbV 9 (4V+ ?U) seen unloading supplies possibly in the Demyansk pocket, Russia during early 1942. However the emblem on the nose closely resembles that of 4./KGrzbV 172. Click to view in close-up and large

on offer here

Superb new Ju 52 reference photo book - " Le Junkers Ju 52, de la Lufthansa à la Luftwaffe" by Grégory Alméras and published by  LeLa Presse - book review here

Approaching 1,000 posts and 3.5 million page views for the Luftwaffe blog

Back in March 2013 this blog passed one million page views in 420 posts, after three years of existence. See this post at this link. Today this Google blog "FalkeEins -The Luftwaffe Blog" is fast approaching 1,000 posts. Page views are now well over 3 million with daily views anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000. Below, a little screen-shot of my stats in the run up to Christmas 2016. As Nick would say, 'it's not a job, I do this for fun'. I think of it primarily as a vehicle to support the projects that warrant it, whether that be books, kits, decals, ebay shops etc etc. Thanks as ever to all supporters and correspondents, including Jean-Yves, Jean-Louis, Michel, Laurent, Erik, Robert, Jochen, Kurt, Claes, David, Simon, Paul, Alex, John, Nick, Markus, Many, Eddie, Andy, Tara, Sylvie and many others including the ebay sellers who enable us to repost their images here with links to their sales, Marco, Michael, Oliver, Darius and Manuel.

The 'strange' death of Staffelkapitän 11./JG 7 Lt. Erwin Stahlberg, April 1945 - Avions magazine "Hors Série" 'special' published by Lela Presse, "Les pertes des Messerschmitt 262"

The new Avions magazine "Hors Série" 'special' published by Lela Presse, "Les pertes des Messerschmitt 262" by Philippe Saintes (Me 262 losses) is a neat 100-page monograph packed with pics and profiles. Good value for money at only 17 euros, 'Avions' subscribers get a generous discount and economic postage rates (3 euros in Europe) make this a 'must-buy'. See a pdf extract and order here.

A carefully compiled compilation from published works, the main sources used in "Me 262 losses" are most notably the usual Foreman, Smith, Creek and Jurleit. However Philippe has also included one or two errors that can also be seen in these previous tomes. The most blatant example is the reported destruction in combat of the Messerschmitt 262 flown by Oberleutnant Erwin Stahlberg, Staffelkapitän of 11./JG 7 on 14 April 1945, attributed by the author -as in numerous previous works - to a Mustang pilot, Captain Clayton K. Gross of the 354th FG.

This story of the death of Lt. Erwin Stahlberg is unfortunately a total invention, endlessly repeated and misrepresented. At least two Ospreys ('Aces of JG 3' -extract below - and 'JG 7 Nowotny') repeat this 'account'- Stahlberg crashed to his death at the controls of his jet, shot down by the P-51 of Clayton Gross..

Colin Heaton in his 'Me 262 Stormbird' refers to him as Lt. Erich Stahlberg of 9./JG 7, shot down in combat of course.

The truth is that Lt. Erwin Stahlberg did not even fly a sortie on 14 April 1945 far less meet an untimely end in combat. The reality is much more mundane albeit a little bizarre...

15 April 1945 -the closing weeks of the war in Europe. III. Gruppe of JG 7 are completing preparations for one of their final moves, eastwards, via Bavaria, into the Protectorate of Bohemia, part of the one-time Czechoslovakia. This was virtually all that was left of the once-powerful jet command IX. Fliegerkorps (J). Transferring to Prag-Rusin the Gruppe had put down in Plattling the previous day, 14 April, according to one account. However on the morning of the 15th Erwin Stahlberg is still very much alive. But his Me 262 jet is unserviceable. Stahlberg elects to hitch a ride with a convoy of ground crews, jumping up into the cab of a truck with Luftwaffe mechanic Uffz. Theodor Becker and Uffz. Walter Wetzer, previously of 3./JG 300. Stahlberg's truck is towing a trailer loaded with heavy oxygen bottles. The road convoy sets out in the early afternoon on the route that links lower Bavaria with Czechoslovakia. On a section known as the Ruselberg-Strecke between Deggendorf and Regen the road is hilly, steep in places and notorious for accidents. Stahlberg's truck slows as its approaches a bend on a descent on this section. Suddenly it starts to pick up speed. The driver lets out an exclamation - " Scheiße, die Bremsen - the brakes!" By now Stahlberg's truck is speeding downhill. Turning into the bend, the driver fights with the wheel. Tyres squealing, the truck skids side on, sliding into the turn. The momentum of the heavy load pulls both truck and trailer over the edge. Stahlberg is thrown from the cab into the fast-flowing river below. He disappears under the surface. Seconds later the trailer plunges into the water. On top of him. Stahlberg never comes back up. At the crash site the bodies of the three men are retrieved and taken to the church in Deggendorf..

Stahlberg's friend and Staffel comrade Leutnant Friedrich-Wilhelm Schenk, who had followed him to III./JG 7 after the dissolution of I./JG 300 in March 1945 described the accident which cost Stahlberg his life in a letter written during 1983 ;

" ...Stahlberg was unable to make the transfer by air as his machine was not serviceable. The road convoy travelled on the route that links lower Bavaria with Czechoslovakia known as the Ruselberg-Strecke. (Deggendorf-Regen). He was travelling with ground crews in a truck hauling a trailer full of heavy oxygen bottles . The road descends steeply down into Deggendorf. At a sharp bend the brakes gave way and the truck and trailer went off the road straight into the fast-flowing river. Stahlberg was thrown from the cab into the water and the trailer plunged down on top of him. He drowned. I attended his funeral in the cemetery at Deggendorf. His body was later transferred and interred at the graveyard of Hofkirchen-Leithen an der Donau where I took this photo of the headstone.…"

This account by "Timo" Schenk is confirmed by the register of deaths that can be read at the catholic chuch in Deggendorf where the names of those who died in the crash of the truck on the Ruselberg-Strecke are listed;

Stahlberg, Erwin, Oberleutnant, Jagdgeschwader 3 (his unit prior to postings with 1./ JG 300 and 11./JG 7 ). Born 1 March 1917, died 15 April 1945 at 15:00 on the Ruselbergstraße.
Becker, Theodor, Unteroffizier, mechanic, born 25 October 1919 at Daseburg, fractured skull 15:00 15 April 1945 on the Ruselbergstraße.
Wetzer Walter, Unteroffizier with 3./JG 300 (disbanded mid-March 1945) Born 10 September 1921, hospitalised in the Res. Lazarett IA at Deggendorf, died 29 April from complications of lockjaw.

Details of the circumstances of the death of Erwin Stahlberg are related in the history of JG 300 by Lorant and Goyat 'Batailles dans le Ciel d'Allemagne' (Docavia, 2005).

Note that Robert Dorr in his "Fighting Hitler's Jets' publishes Clayton Kelly Gross's account of his jet victory on 14 April - " I sighted the jet ..sporting a large 'Red 1' on its fuselage....I subsequently met the pilot I had shot down that day  - a certain Kurt Lobgesong.."

William Hess in his "German Jets versus the USAAF" writes;

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Henschel Hs 123 LG 2 auf Feldflugplatz Polen, Frankreich

a neat selection currently on offer from dw-auction here depicting Hs 123 of LG 2 and other types on various field strips in Poland and France. Above;  " for your 4 o'clock tea-time "

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Dornier Do 217 E and K of KG 2 - ebay photo find #218

The primary Kampfgeschwader in the West during 1943-4 operating the 'D' 'K' and even 'M' variants of the Dornier Do 217 bomber- for a short period simultaneously -was KG 2. Here courtesy of seller Oliver Rogge - who identifies these as KG 40 machines - 'D' and 'K' variants of the Do 217 seen together in 'Nachtbomber' finish preparing for a sortie probably from their base in northern France. Another image showing '10.Staffel' painted on a prop blade is another indicator that these machines are on the strength of KG 2. Kommandeur of IV. Gruppe during early 1943 was Hptm Helmut Powolny, possibly seen in the bottom image walking across the tarmac at Melun-Villaroche north of Paris..

new-tool Airfix Me 262 -should the wing slats be open or closed ?

It appears that the new-tool Airfix Me 262 in 72nd scale is finally here with Airfix taking orders on the website. It looks like it will be a nice kit although I've read one or two gripes about the apparent lack of options such as slats and flaps. I'm sure there will be lots of aftermarket; flaps, vac canopy, resin engines, wheels and so on. And just in time too. The Revell Me 262 is getting very long in the tooth nowadays - the last one I built I had to smash-mold a new canopy. The Academy 262 tooling was also first released way back - in 2007 to be exact! 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. The canopy in the last Revell 262 I attempted was un-useable but it can't be replaced with an Academy canopy (which also happens to be a tad 'flattened-out' at the top..). We certainly have no lack of aftermarket decal options for the 262 already!

Below; Airfix at Nuremburg - IMPS Deutschland photo

As far as the discussion about 'poseable' slats is concerned, see below - the 'famous' Transit films 262 walkaround sequence in the 'Wings of the Luftwaffe' video series clearly shows that the slats are deployed on the ground. They can be pushed in and pulled out - and could be left out. Whether this was because they had a tendency to stick or not I don't know.  The sequence goes on to show the technician working on the inboard slats, pushing them in and then letting them slide back out...

Note that the Me 262's slats are not 'sprung' or have any actuators - they simply slide in and out on rails. In the clip below the technician is pulling them out and pushing them in - whereupon they 'slide' open of their own accord. Once landed and parked-up good practice says they should be closed up before leaving the aircraft for any length of time. You really don't want anything getting into the gap or into the mechanism. Checking the freedom of movement of free-floating slats as they open and close is part of good pre- and post-flight inspection on types thus equipped. Other points to consider;  because the Me-262 has a tricycle undercarriage the wing is more horizontal to the ground compared to, say, the Bf 109, so that it is more likely that gravity will cause the Me 262's slats to drop out on their rails. You're less likely to see this on a Bf-109 because gravity will be acting with the coefficient of friction to keep them in. And they could be locked in.

Note that the slats are lockable. "North American F-86 SabreJet Day Fighters", (Warbird Tech Vol. 3, Hughes and Dranem) - North American engineers actually used the slat locks from a complete 262 wing when they were putting together the slats on the XP-86. "…Finally an entire Me-262 wing was flown in from Wright Field. North American engineers disassembled the slats and modified the slat track mechanism to fit the XP-86 wing. The engineers also used the slat lock and control switch from the Me-262. Although not perfect, it was at least a start and the slat worked. "

So if you have a man in a black overall walking around your 262 model it would be entirely reasonable to have the slats open on one side and closed on the other. In other words when modelling the Me 262, wing slats could be deployed in any manner you see fit. Note though that in the air aerodynamic forces keep the slats in and they will deploy as the airflow is not sufficient to keep them in and the wing is losing lift. See this discussion here on

Also on this blog;

blue/white Karoband chequers on KG(J) machines

Revell Me 262 in 72nd scale;

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

New and forthcoming Luftwaffe books - JG 54

from Thierry Dekker;

 " Bonjour, luck would have it I am currently working on the same subject for two different publishers - the famous Eastern Front Jagdgeschwader JG 54. I have just completed some sixty new JG 54 artworks, 32 of these to appear in Erik Mombeeck's « Luftwaffe Gallery Special » n°3 and 30 in a new volume in the Lela Presse "Units" series compiled by Philippe Saintes and entitled 'Eagles of the Green Heart' - only two of these profile artworks will appear in both volumes! Of course the approach adopted by these two volumes is totally different, aside from the fact that one is published in English and one in French ..I've sent through an example of one of my artworks - as you know JG 54 was known for the original and unusual schemes applied to its machines! "

Thierry Dekker's artwork blog is here

And the blurb for Philippe Saintes' volume as written by this blog author for the Lela Presse web-site;

    Part one of a new French-language history of Jagdgeschwader 54, one of the best-known fighter units of the Luftwaffe. Philippe Saintes’ new history of this unit is illustrated with hundreds of photos (mostly rare and/or previously unpublished) and relates the struggles, successes and reverses of JG 54 during the first half of the Second World War when its pilots flew the Bf 109 exclusively. From first deployment against Poland in 1939 to the bloody duels with the Soviet air forces in the skies of Leningrad, including the combats on the Western Front during 1940, JG 54 (the 'Green Hearts') left its mark in European skies. Based on numerous first-hand accounts and documents (victory reports, stories taken from war diaries, loss lists) compiled over many years, the author reconstructs the history of this famous unit, which even today has remained largely unknown despite the presence in its ranks of many famous aces. 380 pages, more than 850 photos and 30 color profiles.

Jagdgeschwader 54 - the Eagles of the Green Heart. Volume 1. Publication 20/12/2017 Author: Philippe SAINTES Edition: Units history 05 ISBN: Published in DECEMBER 2017. FREE SHIPPING on pre-orders up until October 2017! Pre-orders by cheque (French bank account – to be cashed on publication). For overseas orders payment is also possible by bank transfer, bank or credit card but in this instance payment will be debited on placement of the order.

Generalleutnant Hans Seidemann and the Yak-3 - "Unbekannte Pflicht" Walter Wolfrum on the Bf 109 with Peter Cronauer (296 Verlag)

In June 1941, the Wehrmacht swept into Russia. Apparently caught by surprise, large numbers of out-moded machines in Russia's Air Force, the VVS, were destroyed on the ground and in the air. Alexander Yakovlev moved his design and manufacturing facilities east of the Ural Mountains and began production of the Yak-9 in 1942. Eventually some 16,800 Yak-9 models were built, more than any other aircraft in the Soviet Air Force. The Yak-9 was designed for mass production and durability. Due to shortages in Russia, it incorporated a minimum of scarce strategic materials. They were designed to outnumber the enemy, not for technical superiority. While not necessarily out-classing the Fw 190 or even the increasingly obsolescent Bf 109 in its early incarnations, Yakovlev's piston-engined fighters were good fighters in numbers, durable, maneuverable, fast, light, capable of absorbing a lot of battle damage and still getting home. The 'T' -tank-destroyer- variant armed with a 37mm cannon packed decent firepower. And appearing during the summer of 1944 the Yak 3 was one of the lightest, fastest most agile fighters of WW II  - " perhaps only the Spitfire could rival this machine for manoeuvrability "  according to Yefim Gordon and Dimitri Khazanov.

".. the Yak 3 conferred a considerable advantage - the effect of surprise. Its silhouette was essentially the same as that of the previous versions of the Yak fighter, but its performance simply didn't compare. It could out-climb and out-turn the Fw 190 and caused some panic among the Luftwaffe pilots who had difficulty comprehending just what had suddenly happened to them.."

(Joseph Risso, 11 victories, in "Normandie Niemen" by Jean-Charles Stasi)

 The Fw 190s and Bf 109s were hard-pressed to keep up with the Yak -3 and Jagdwaffe pilots were expressly forbidden from engaging the  Yak 3 below certain altitudes. If it had one weakness the wooden Yak 3 offered little protection to its pilot, the undercarriage locking mechanism was prone to failure and its outstanding manoeuverability and light structural strength resulted in several accidents. Even so, 7-victory ace Francois de Geoffre chose not to open his French-language memoir of flying and fighting with the Normandie Niemen with a description of this supreme dogfighter's air combat capabilities - his sortie flown on 23 September 1944 was a successful low-level high speed strafing of Gumbinnen rail station - the first incursion deep into German territory by the Regiment;

 " ...pushing the throttle wide open, and tucked in alongside side each other, our flight of four Yak-3s accelerated down the track and were rapidly airborne. We didn't climb but stayed low. At more than 500 km/h our deadly excursion through West Prussia was underway - 40 minutes of hurdling trees, roads, and villages, leaving our ear-shattering calling cards - the awesome fireworks of four cannon and eight machine guns.."

Flying Legends 2010, Nico Charpentier pictures, Yak-3 flown by British aerobatics champion Mark Jeffries, powered by a  V-12 1400 hp Allison engine, a rebuild by the 'original' factory in Russia following the discovery of the 'original' jigs. The original Klimov engines are not available however. Mark said;

 " ..I start the display at 400 mph, maximum speed is 500 mph, although I haven't had it up to 500 mph yet ! Instructions to Luftwaffe pilots were - do not engage below 4,000 metres, the sort of heights at which the Yak 3 normally operated. It is lighter and just as powerful so will out-turn any contemporary. In a dogfight it will just get on your tail and shoot you down.."

Walter Wolfrum's memoir was entitled "Unbekannte Pflicht" co-written with Peter Cronauer and published by 296 Verlag. He recalled a confrontation with  General Hans Seidemann  Kommandierender General of VIII. Fliegerkorps (Generalleutnant from 1 January 1944) not over the qualities of the Yak-3 but over the type's very existence!

" ....In the meantime I replayed that last dogfight in my head. No, they could not have been Yak-9s. What had just put me through the wringer looked very similar to a Yak-9, but evidently was in another class in terms of performance - and also in another class to the Bf 109. Could have I perhaps have encountered two of the mythical Yak-3A fighters, about which I had heard some terrible stories in the mess (Kasino) ? Supposedly we were near Schweidnitz, where our Corps commander, General Hans Seidemann, had set up his headquarters. This was a good opportunity to meet the jovial commander, whose champagne I had drunk on many occasions, and report to him directly. Seidemann had to be informed about the new Yak. We had to adapt our tactics to meet this new threat. I asked my (driver) to take me to him.  On arrival I was immediately summoned  into the Schweidnitzer officers' mess to meet him and his Staff. Admittedly, the anaesthetic of the artillery doctor who had just sown up my head wound was still working; it had a very long lasting effect. Nevertheless, I believed that I started to present a militarily correct account of my recent combat experiences, when Seidemann, after the first sentences, spluttered;

"..Have you all gone mad? You and your Jak-3! There is no Jak-3! And certainly not in this section of the front! It is a fairy tale ("ein Ammenmärchen"), how often do I have to explain this?!? "

Although I thought I knew him quite well, the General who had so often praised me for my 'extraordinary achievements in the air war' and who had visited me in hospital after my last serious wound, now gave me a terrible bawling out in front of his approvingly grinning staff officers ('machte mich zur Minna'). In unrestrained fashion the 42-year-old worked himself into a frenzy -  we let ourselves be driven mad by the enemy propaganda, and had the audacity to spread it further, he roared. We were seeing ghosts and over-reacting. All that remained now was to charge me with cowardice before the enemy and make an example of me in front of my comrades..

I wanted to blurt out a reply, but the effects of the cognac and seething with anger brought forth no more than a slurring. A few hours ago, I had just escaped with my life and for our gentlemen with the 'raspberry trouser seams' it was simply not true, that which could not be true. Although outwardly unmoved, my mood grew ever darker. I let Seidemann's never-ending tirade go over my head. In order not to succumb to the temptation to utter a retort, I turned on my heels and walked out, leaving him and his entourage standing there....

....Perhaps they did actually believe what they were claiming - that we still had the best machines. But those days were long gone. In the hands of an experienced pilot the Bf 109 could still be dangerous. But how many experienced pilots did we still have left? And by early 1945 the 109 was starting to get long in the tooth. It's development had reached its high point with the agile 'Friedrich'. Since then every planned upgrade and improvement was actually a step backwards. During the summer of 1944 I flew the G-6, in 1945 I flew the G-14, the G-10 and finally the K-4. The fuselage was strengthened, armament was increased and each time the engine had to be up-rated  to compensate. But the DB engine had reached the end of its development potential. The latest variant, the DB 605 was essentially the same DB 601 that had powered the 109 at the outbreak of the war. While the engine had been overhauled it was very vulnerable and breakdowns and failures piled up. When we flew for just three or four minutes at full-throttle and with emergency power, the engine was finished. The average engine life under front conditions was in any case only around 40 hours....In addition, we had not made any decisive progress in the armament. The 30 mm cannon MK 108, which fired through the propeller hub of the Me 109, was on paper an absolutely lethal gun and appeared mainly suited to combating the ubiquitous Il-2, but the weapon tended to jam easily. It fired shells weighing 480 grams at a muzzle velocity of only 550 meters per second and at a rate of 660 rounds per minute. One could almost observe the trajectory of these heavy, slow projectiles falling away without ever reaching their target - unless you were at very close range. I preferred the old MG 151/20, despite its smaller caliber. You could shoot much more accurately with it .."

Monday, 21 August 2017

Oblt. Erwin Leykauf "Blue 1" Staffelkapitän 12./JG 54

Signed photo of Oblt. Erwin Leykauf  offered for sale on Ebay here. Leykauf is seen climbing down from his Bf 109 G-4 'Blue 1' of 12./JG 54 some time during April-May 1943 either in northern France or Belgium. Leykauf had been appointed Staffelkapitän in April 1943 and a few months later moved to 11./JG 54 in the newly established IV./JG 54. Leykauf survived the war with 33 confirmed victories, 27 of which were scored over the Russian front. In May 1940, he joined 2./JG 21 and shortly after on May 10, he scored his first victory. I./JG21 was re-designated III./JG 54 and Leykauf was posted to 7. Staffel with whom he flew during the Battle of Britain scoring 4 victories.

 Below; Bf 109 G-6 with Gondelwaffen "Blue 12" and 'Blue 1' of  12./JG 54 seen in May 1943. Source: film compiled by Erwin Leykauf via

Also on this blog;
Film diary of a Jagdstaffel July 1941 - Erwin Leykauf 8./JG 54