Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fähnrich Gynes from Hungarian Fighter-Bomber Squadron

On 25 January 1943, young Fähnrich (Officer Candidate) joined Hungarian 5/1. Staffel in the Eastern Front. Gynes was one of the first pilots of 5/1 to complete conversion training on the Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4. The officer candidate subsequently flew mainly ground-attack missions against Russian supply routes. We have Gynes' love of photography to thank for these images. As may be seen on the other pictures taken by him, the officer candidate also took photographs while flying. Gynes was planning to take more on 9 May 1943, but while attempting to photograph the commander's aircraft he collided with the Bf 109 flown by his wingman, Unteroffizier Tarnay. Both pilots were Killed. At the time of his death Gynes had flown 65 combat missions


Source :
 "Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Warming up the engine of a Hungarian Messerschmitt Bf 109

Warming up the engine of V- + 08, a Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 of the Hungarian 5/1. Staffel, in preparation for a training flight. The pilot is already sitting in the aircraft, which is parked in a blast pen made of tree trunks. The engine cowling has been painted green. The standard gray camouflage colors begin beneath the cockpit. This picture was made by Fähnrich (Officer Candidate) Gynes, one of the pilot in the Hungarian fighter-bomber squadron who was also an amateur photographer


Source :
  "Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

The Tirpitz in Fættenfjord near Trondheim

The Tirpitz in June 1942 in Fættenfjord near Trondheim, Norway. Note the light /dark grey splinter-pattern disruptive camouflage. This was one of several paint schemes sported by Tirpitz during her service career. Additional quad 2cm anti-aircraft guns have been fitted to the roof of turret "Bruno" and the forward part of her main superstructure, and the ship is surrounded by anti-torpedo netting. Even when damaged severely enough to prevent any further combat use, she represented a serious enough threat that the British spared no effort in seeking her total destruction


Source :
Book "German Battleships 1939-45" by Gordon Williamson
http://www.bismarck-class.dk/tirpitz/gallery/themes/gallthemetirincolour.html

German Battleships in the Operation Rösselsprung

This photo is apparently taken from the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper and is showing the Tirpitz to the right and to the left of the Tirpitz a German destroyer can be seen. The photo is taken in Norway. The combination of the paint scheme used on the Tirpitz and that she is together with Admiral Hipper in Norway indicates that the photo is taken in 1942 and most likely during Operation "Rösselsprung" which took place 2-6 July 1942. Notice the yellow turret top on the main gun of Admiral Hipper. Rösselsprung was the largest operation of its type mounted by the Kriegsmarine during World War II, and arguably the most successful, resulting as it did in the near destruction of arctic convoy PQ-17. Ironically, this success was entirely indirect, as no Rösselsprung ship caught sight of the convoy, or fired a shot at it, all PQ 17s losses being due to U-boat and aircraft attacks. Also, a number of the Rösselsprung ships were damaged in the course of the operation, while only five aircraft were shot down, and no U-boats lost or damaged in the attack on PQ 17. Despite indirectly causing the catastrophic losses to PQ-17, the Rösselsprung operation was a disappointing performance by the German capital ships. Also, Tirpitz, Lutzow and the three destroyers spent a considerable time in dock for repairs. Following this, the Kriegsmarine were unable to mount such an extensive operation again in the Arctic campaign, and never saw a comparable naval success.


Source :
http://www.bismarck-class.dk/tirpitz/gallery/themes/gallthemetirincolour.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_R%C3%B6sselsprung_%281942%29

German Battleship Tirpitz in Scheerhafen

The Tirpitz in Scheerhafen, Kiel in June-August 1941. Tirpitz was the second of two Bismarck-class battleships built for the German Kriegsmarine (War Navy) during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy), the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and her hull was launched two and a half years later. Work was completed in February 1941, when she was commissioned into the German fleet. Like her sister ship Bismarck, Tirpitz was armed with a main battery of eight 38-centimeter (15 in) guns in four twin turrets. After a series of wartime modifications she was 2,000 metric tons (2,000 long tons; 2,200 short tons) heavier than Bismarck.


Source :
http://www.bismarck-class.dk/tirpitz/gallery/themes/gallthemetirincolour.html
https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t302798-59/

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

German Battleship Tirpitz in the Norwegian Fjord

A low quality but perhaps unique original color photograph of the German battleship Tirpitz in a Norwegian fjord, apparently taken in August of 1943. The British were determined to neutralise Tirpitz and remove the threat she posed to Allied lines of communication in the Arctic. Following the repeated, ineffectual bombing attacks and the failed 'Chariot' attack in October 1942, the British turned to the newly designed X Craft midget submarines. The planned attack, Operation Source, included attacks on Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, and Lützow. The X Craft were towed by large submarines to their destinations, where they could slip under anti-torpedo nets to each drop two powerful 2 tonne mines on the sea bed under the bottom of the target. Ten vessels were assigned to the operation, scheduled for 20–25 September 1943. Only eight of the vessels reached Norway for the attack, which began early on 22 September. Three of the vessels, X5, X6, and X7, successfully breached Tirpitz‍ '​s defences, two of which—X6 and X7—managed to lay their mines. X5 was detected some 200 m (660 ft) from the nets and sunk by a combination of gunfire and depth charges. The mines caused extensive damage to the ship; the first exploded abreast of turret Caesar and the second detonated 45 to 55 m (148 to 180 ft) off the port bow. A fuel oil tank was ruptured, shell plating was torn, a large indentation was formed in the bottom of the ship and bulkheads in the double bottom buckled. Some 1,430 t (1,410 long tons) of water flooded the ship in fuel tanks and void spaces in the double bottom of the port side, which caused a list of one to two degrees, which was balanced by counter-flooding on the starboard side. The flooding damaged all of the turbo-generators in generator room No. 2, and all apart from one generator in generator room No. 1 were disabled by broken steam lines or severed power cables. Turret Dora was thrown from its bearings and could not be rotated; this was particularly significant, as there were no heavy-lift cranes in Norway powerful enough to lift the turret and place it back on its bearings. The ship's two Arado Ar 196 floatplanes were thrown by the explosive concussion and completely destroyed. Repairs were conducted by the repair ship Neumark; historians William Garzke and Robert Dulin remarked that the successful repair effort was "one of the most notable feats of naval engineering during the Second World War." Repairs lasted until 2 April 1944; full speed trials were scheduled for the following day in Altafjord. The ship was finally being sunk by RAF Lancasters using 12000 lb 'Tallboy' bombs in November 1944.


Source :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_battleship_Tirpitz
http://kalboor.com/tirpitz

Latvian Volunteer of Waffen-SS Unit

A Soldier of Waffen SS's Latvian Legion wearing a shield without inscription on his lapel. There was two Latvian divisions in the Waffen-SS: 15. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (lett. Nr.1) and 19. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (lett. Nr.2). The soldiers and officers of the Latvian SS legion wore the standard uniform of the SS forces with corresponding insignia. On their sleeve, the Latvian legionaries wore a red-white-red shield, sometimes with the inscription LATVIJA in the upper portion and sometimes without an inscription. The shield also came in a variety of shapes and was worn not only on the left sleeve, as per regulations, but also on the right and even below the elbow. Near the end of the war, a shield with a wide black mounting was introduced in the 15th SS Division (Latvian No. 1), which had been extricated from the Kurland pocket and operated in Pomerania and East Prussia until the end of the war. This wide black mounting was the same as that introduced in the 20th SS Division (Estonian No. 1) and for the same purpose – a reminder of the lost mother country. As with the Estonian legion, the Latvians initially made use of plain black collar tabs or collar tabs with SS runes, despite the fact that use of the latter was permitted for only German service personnel. On 11 March 1943, collar tabs with a swastika were specially introduced for the Latvian legionaries. In the fall of 1944, new collar tabs with a stylized version of the Latvian military emblem – “sun and stars” – was introduced for the personnel of the 15th SS Division (Latvian No. 1). Use of the swastika collar tabs was then limited to the 19th SS Division (Latvian No. 2). In reality, however, swastika collar tabs continued to be worn in the 15th SS Division, until a sufficient number of the new collar tabs had been produced. In addition to all these variants, some of the soldiers of the 19th SS Division also wore collar tabs with a “twinned” swastika, which had been prepared for the 36th SS Panzer-Grenadier Division (Latvian No. 3). [In the event, there was no such division. The 36th SS Waffen-Grenadier Division was commanded by Oskar Dirlewanger and consisted of convicts and criminals – not Latvians– skoblin]. In January 1945, honorific titles and correspondingly inscribed cuff titles were given to the 42nd and 43rd Regiments of the 19th SS Division (Latvian No. 2): Voldemars Veiss (organizer of the first Latvian police units and the first Latvian to earn the Knight’s Cross – died from wounds 17 April 1944) and Hinrich Schuldt (commander of the Latvian Volunteer Brigade – died 15 March 1944). In addition, the troopers of the 19th SS Division were awarded with the cuff title Kurland as had other soldiers who had taken part in any of the three battles of the Kurland pocket. Another distinctive element of the Latvian SS was the use of ribbons on the shoulder boards, which were used in the regiments of the 15th SS Division (Latvian No. 1): white for the 32nd, red for the 33rd and yellow for the 34th.


Source :
http://latvianhistory.com/2011/03/08/latvian-waffen-ss-legion/

Maintenance of German Aircraft by Hungarian Ground Crew

Hungarian mechanics servicing the DB 601 engine of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 belong to 1. Ungarische Jabostaffel (1st Hungarian Fighter-Bomber Squadron). This photograph was taken in February 1943. The mechanics were exposed to the bitter cold on the open airfields. This man is wearing a fleece cap and vest. The aircraft has a black spinner. On 20 December 1942 the squadron had eight Bf 109 F-4 fighters on strength. At the end of December, after 140 mainly close-support missions, the squadron was withdrawn from the front and replaced by Staffel 5/1 and 5/2. The pilots of these two units had to be retrained too. Staffel 5/2, commanded by Hauptmann Heppe, used three Bf 109 F-4s bearing the aircraft codes V- + 08, V0 + 10 and V- + 12. The photograph presented here were taken during Staffel 5/2’s conversion training. Staffel 5/1 continued training through all of January 1943, several times having to hastily abandoned airfields after Russian forces broke throught the lines. On 20 January the Staffel was at the Uman airfield. At the beginning of April Staffel 5/1 was combined with Gruppenstab 5/1 at Kharkov-South. In April the Staffel finally went into action, flying fighter-bomber missions with I./JG 52 commanded by Hauptmann Horst-Günther von Fassong


Source :
 "Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Crash Landed Kawasaki Ki-61 Being Inspected by the Marines

This sad Kawasaki Ki-61-I KAIc Hien, code-named 'Tony', had suffered several indignities during its short life. These marines were practicing the age old American art of "chicken plucking" for souvenirs. Before their arrival on the scene at this Okinawa airfield on 9 April 1945, the Japanese Army interceptor had been involved in a crash landing, and that piece of ground support equipment (oil drum) was evidently being used in an attempt to remove the propeller. Like ground crews of all nations, the line mechanics wanted to salvage what they could from the broken hulk, but the American invasion of April 1st quickly put an end to things. The Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (飛燕, "flying swallow") was a Japanese World War II fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force. The first encounter reports claimed Ki-61s were Messerschmitt Bf 109s: further reports claimed that the new aircraft was an Italian design, which led to the Allied reporting name of "Tony", assigned by the United States War Department


Source :
Book "WWII Pacific War Eagles: China/Pacific Aerial Conflict in Original Color" by Jeffrey L. Ethell and Warren M. Bodie
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/341781059197234472/
http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php/3475-Imperial-Japanese-Army-Fighter-Aircraft

Messerschmitt Bf 109 of Leutnant Werner Schroer in Africa

Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4/Trop "Schwarze 8" of Oberfeldwebel Werner Schroer (8.Staffel / III.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 27) above the North African coast of Ain el Gazala/Libya, April 1941. The aircraft is wearing  a short-lived leopard camo scheme. The mottle is definitely sprayed free hand but the job was done very carefully and skillfully. For example the mottle extends onto the canopy framing so the canopy must have been carefully masked. These aircraft had lower surfaces in RLM 78 and upper surfaces in RLM 79. For the mottle itself, some expert said that it's RLM 80 but there is a distinct possibility that it was not an RLM colour at all but rather an Italian paint. It was dark green anyway. The leading edge slats were completely independent of all other surfaces and each other. They had a mechanism which caused them to deploy automatically at low airspeeds. As the flaps would only normally be deployed at low airspeeds it is likely that the slats would also deploy but they are not linked so it is possible for one to be up and the other down. They would usually remain deployed whilst taxying as well but it was common practice for ground crew to push them back up on parked aircraft to minimise the chances of foreign objects getting in to the mechanism.This means you can display them either way. If the slats are down the area at the leading edge of the wing revealed would usually be in RLM 02 (primer). The Luftwaffe suffered high rates of attrition in the conditions of North Africa. The Bf109E did have a tropical filter fitted, as did later Fs and Gs. It was cleverer than the British solution as it's frontal area is no greater than the standard intake. There was no drag penalty. Also it could be opened and shut. On the ground or at low level, in the dust and sand, the air intake was closed so that air was taken in through the filter medium. Once clear of the hazard the intake was opened and air flowed directly into the engine. This means that the filter wasn't strangling the engine. It was all operated by a handle in the cockpit.


Source :
http://historicalsocietyofgermanmilitaryhistory.com/messerschmitt-bf-109/
http://www.scale-models.co.uk/threads/me-109-4-7-collours.11760/

Fighter-Bomber Mission of Hungarian Fighter Squadron in the Eastern Front

This picture of Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 from 1. Ungarische Jabostaffel (1st Hungarian Fighter-Bomber Squadron) was taken during a fighter-bomber sortie. Over the wingtip, Fähnrich (Officer Candidate) Gynes photographs a Russian supply road. The white cross on the black square was introduced in late 1942, as the Hungarian nationality marking previously used (red-white-green arrow) had caused many recognition problems. Note how misaligned the national emblem is! The purpose of the red lines on the wing is not known. In October 1942 the Luftwaffe command agreed to equip Hungarian fighter units with the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The first eight pilots of the Hungarian 1/1 Fighter Squadron under Oberleutnant Banlaky were given conversion training by I.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52) at the Stary Oskol airfield in mid-October. The Hungarian flew their first combat sorties after just a few days of training, using six second-hand Bf 109 F-4s that had been transferred to the Hungarian Air Force. Beginning on 25 October, the squadron regularly flew combat operations as part of I./JG 52. The Hungarians were constantly in action, despite snow in early November. Operating from Urasovo, they mainly flew fighter-bomber missions against Russian units that had broken through the Italian held-sector of the front. Railway lines were also popular targets. In mid-November snow and strong winds temporarily brought operations to a halt. The weather improved at the end of November, and the Hungarian squadron, which the Germans had by then designated as 1. Ungarische Jabostaffel (1st Hungarian Fighter-Bomber Squadron) resumed its ground attack missions. On 20 December 1942 the squadron had eight Bf 109 F-4 fighters on strength. At the end of December, after 140 mainly close-support missions, the squadron was withdrawn from the front and replaced by Staffel 5/1 and 5/2. The pilots of these two units had to be retrained too. Staffel 5/2, commanded by Hauptmann Heppe, used three Bf 109 F-4s bearing the aircraft codes V- + 08, V0 + 10 and V- + 12. The photograph presented here were taken during Staffel 5/2’s conversion training. Staffel 5/1 continued training through all of January 1943, several times having to hastily abandoned airfields after Russian forces broke throught the lines. On 20 January the Staffel was at the Uman airfield. At the beginning of April Staffel 5/1 was combined with Gruppenstab 5/1 at Kharkov-South. In April the Staffel finally went into action, flying fighter-bomber missions with I./JG 52 commanded by Hauptmann Horst-Günther von Fassong


Source :
 "Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Friday, September 25, 2015

German Aircraft of Hungarian Air Force in the Eastern Front in Winter

This photograph of V + 12, a Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 of the Hungarian 5/2. Jagdstaffel, was most likely taken at the end January-beginning of February 1943 while the aircraft was being prepared for a mission. Note the emblem beneath the windscreen. The mainwheel fairings have been removed to prevent snow from building up between the wheel and the fairing. The aircraft’s wingtips are painted yellow, while the tail surfaces are in the Hungarian national colors of white, red and green. The red spinner was a common feature on aircraft of Jagdstaffel 5/1 or 5/2. Surprising is the absence of any winter camouflage, like that worn by the Junkers Ju 88 that may be seen in the sky under the Messerschmitt’s nose. In October 1942 the Luftwaffe command agreed to equip Hungarian fighter units with the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The first eight pilots of the Hungarian 1/1 Fighter Squadron under Oberleutnant Banlaky were given conversion training by I.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52) at the Stary Oskol airfield in mid-October. The Hungarian flew their first combat sorties after just a few days of training, using six second-hand Bf 109 F-4s that had been transferred to the Hungarian Air Force. Beginning on 25 October, the squadron regularly flew combat operations as part of I./JG 52. The Hungarians were constantly in action, despite snow in early November. Operating from Urasovo, they mainly flew fighter-bomber missions against Russian units that had broken through the Italian held-sector of the front. Railway lines were also popular targets. In mid-November snow and strong winds temporarily brought operations to a halt. The weather improved at the end of November, and the Hungarian squadron, which the Germans had by then designated as 1. Ungarische Jabostaffel (1st Hungarian Fighter-Bomber Squadron) resumed its ground attack missions. On 20 December 1942 the squadron had eight Bf 109 F-4 fighters on strength. At the end of December, after 140 mainly close-support missions, the squadron was withdrawn from the front and replaced by Staffel 5/1 and 5/2. The pilots of these two units had to be retrained too. Staffel 5/2, commanded by Hauptmann Heppe, used three Bf 109 F-4s bearing the aircraft codes V- + 08, V0 + 10 and V- + 12. The photograph presented here were taken during Staffel 5/2’s conversion training. Staffel 5/1 continued training through all of January 1943, several times having to hastily abandoned airfields after Russian forces broke throught the lines. On 20 January the Staffel was at the Uman airfield. At the beginning of April Staffel 5/1 was combined with Gruppenstab 5/1 at Kharkov-South. In April the Staffel finally went into action, flying fighter-bomber missions with I./JG 52 commanded by Hauptmann Horst-Günther von Fassong. Photo by Fähnrich Gynes


Source :
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 of Jagdgeschwader 3

In May 1943, I.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG 3) began receiving the first new Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 fighters to replace its existing equipment, Bf 109 G-2s and G-4s. Conversion to the new type took the entire summer of 1943. Like the earlier Bf 109 G-2 and G-4, the G-6 could be equipped with two 20-mm cannon beneath the wings through the use of Rüstsatz R6. Many fighter pilots did not like to fly machines fitted with the externally-mounted cannon because of the resulting loss of speed. This photograph depicts on such machine, or “Gunboat” as the pilots often called them, after delivery to I./JG 3 somewhere in the Reich. The only airfields used by the Gruppe in the summer of 1943 were München-Gladbach and Bönninghardt, from where it flew missions over the Reich and the Netherlands. The aircraft wears the standard gray camouflage scheme with gray mottling on the fuselage sides. The spinner is painted in four colors. Behind the red tip are black-green and black segments covering two-thirds of the spinner. The remaining segment is white with a fine black-green line. The Bf 109 in the background has a yellow spinner tip. Also note the spoked wheel rims, which were very rarely seen on aircraft of the G-6 series. The second aircraft also has these rims. The standard production G-6 was filled with disc-type rims. The long antenna masts suggests that this is one of the first G-6s built in the spring-summer of 1943 with the Werknummer blocks 15200, 16300, 18000 and 19000. Photo by Hauptmann Rolf Schödter


Source :
  "Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Focke-Wulf Fw 190 of Jagdfliegerschule

This highly polished Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-2 “Blaue 4” was photographed while serving with Jagdfliegerschule 2 or 4. Both schools used as their emblem the so-called “Jägerpfeil” (Hunter Arrow) on a red shield. The emblem is just visible on the fuselage in front of the cockpit. As the blue aircraft numbers suggests an aircraft of a 4. Staffel, it may have belonged to 4./JFS 4. The photo must therefore have been taken in the summer of 1942, for in April 1943 JFS 4 was renamed Jagdgeschwader 104 and use of the JFS 4 emblem was discontinued. The fact that the aircraft is sitting in the open on the airfield tends to confirm the timing of the photo. The aircraft is finished in a factory-applied camouflage scheme of RLM 74/75/76, with the upper colors extending far down the fuselage sides. As the photograph shows, the lower edge of the dark colors is near the bottom of the tactical number. In the close-up photo, note the black-blue spinner and the yellow cowling underside. In the forward view a thick red ring may be seen on the armored cowling ring, with a fine black circle within. The significance of this marking is not known. Also visible between the starboard undercarriage leg and its retraction strut is the red cable which retracted the tailwheel. Photo by Hauptmann Rolf Schödter


Source :
 "Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Bridge Watch in the Back Light in a Heavy Following Sea

This color photo was taken by Kriegsberichter Garms in 1942. It shows a “Brückenwache” (Bridge Watch) in the back light in a heavy following sea. Such seas could pose a serious threat to the Bridge Watch if it underestimated the wave heights. Few other positions on a U-boat were as critical as the Bridge Watch. Keeping lookout was a “holy act”, on which the success and fate of the boat largely depended. Carelessness at this post could have fatal consequences. The Bridge Watch consisted of four men. An officer and one man stood forward in the conning tower with an NCO and another man aft. Using binoculars, each member of the watch had to observe a fixed sector without interruption. Every five minutes each lookout had to report “Sektor ist frei melden” (sector is clear) if that was the case. Regulations forbade conversation during the watch. Sighting reports were to be made in clear, plain language while pointing a finger to indicate direction. The watch was also forbidden to smoke. In areas where there was no threat from the air, other members of the crews could be allowed onto the bridge to smoke, but never more than two in addition to the Bridge Watch. There was no smoking on the bridge at night. The Bridge Watch was expected to be especially alert transiting areas where the aerial threat was great (Bay of Biscay and the North Sea) and in special situations. These included the stopping of ships, use of the deck gun, encounters with other submarines and the interrogation of survivors. In such situations the Bridge Watch could easily become distracted, resulting in lack of concentration. The danger of a surprise attack rose proportionally in such situations. Because of the blinding effect of the sun, lookouts were required to wear sunglasses when the sun was in their quadrant. The watch was relieved every two or four hours. The lookouts were relieved one at a time at five minute intervals for a full hour. This was intended to prevent too many men from being in the conning tower during a crash dive and to give the new watch time to become accustomed to the darkness or brightness. To accelerate the change at night, 15 minutes before beginning their watch, below deck the new lookouts put on infrared glasses. The lookout being relieved could only leave when the new man had become accustomed to his surroundings. As a rule, the best watch officer and bridge lookouts worked the most dangerous periods. Assignment of lookouts was the responsibility of the captain. In heavy seas, with breakers rolling over the conning tower, Bridge Watch was a task that demanded everything of the men. If wind, cold, rain or fog were added, the men were often completely exhausted when it came time to be relieved. In heavy seas the captain could order the men to put on restraining belts, which were supposed to prevent them from being washed overboard. A following sea was especially dangerous, as its height and power were often underestimated. The restraining belts could only be taken off by order of the captain. The conning tower hatch was kept closed in high seas to avoid damage to the latch. Without an efficient Bridge Watch, a U-boat had neither great chances of success nor a long life expectancy.



Source :
 U-Boot im Focus - ediiton no.3, 2008

U-Boat Bridge Watch

This color photo was taken by Kriegsberichter Garms in 1942. It shows a “Brückenwache” (Bridge Watch) in the conning tower after a storm, still wearing their rubber things. In addition to the four lookouts, the Obersteuermann (first mate) may be seen behind the periscope with the sextant preparing for a “Sonne zu Schießen” (sun shot). He was responsible for accurate navigation and took every opportunity to use the sun to determine the boat’s position. Only the commander and the Obersteuermann were allowed to enter the resulting position on the map. The color photo also documents an interesting detail undetectable in black-and-white photos, namely the very different colors of the rubber clothing, from beige to pale green to dark green.



Source :
U-Boot im Focus - ediiton no.3, 2008

A Long-Range Fighter-Bomber Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-5

A rarely-photographed Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-5/U8. The Fw 190 A-5 was manufactured from November 1942 until August 1943. The U8 conversion was a long-range fighter-bomber (Jabo-Rei). Beneath each wing is a 300-l fuel tank on a so-called “Ju 87 Rack”. The tanks were not jettisonable and seriously reduced the aircraft’s maximum speed, consequently this type of rack was not put into production. Beneath the fuselage is an ETC 501, which could accommodate a bomb or auxiliary fuel tank. When this rack was fitted, it was standard practice to lengthen the mainwheel fairings to at least partly replace the missing wheel well doors. The MG FF cannon in the outer wings and the fuselage-mounted MG 17 machine-guns were removed, and armament was limited to two MG 151 cannon in the wing roots. Note the unusual red underside of the engine cowling. The photograph was taken in the summer of 1943, however the unit to which the aircraft belonged is not known. It has a factory-applied camouflage scheme of RLM 74/75/76 supplemented by patches of 74/75 on the fuselage sides. Photo by Hauptmann Rolf Schödter



Source :
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Refuelling of Messerschmitt Bf 109

In the summer of 1940, Major Adolf Galland’s III.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26) “Schlageter” was based at Caffiers airfield east of Calais, from where it flew missions over England. There III./JG 26’s technical officer, Hauptmann Rolf Schödter, took a series of color photographs. This photo depict the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 “Weiße 13”, flown by Leutnant Walter Blume of 7.Staffel / III.Gruppe / JG 26. The four black victory bars on the rudder date the photograph between 25 July 1940 (Blume’s 4th victory) and 15 August 1940 (when Leutnant Blume was lost). Also in evidence are the yellow identity markings introduced by Luftflotte 2 at the beginning of August, which were applied to the wingtips and outer horizontal stabilizers and, in some cases, the top of the rudder. The presence of these yellow markings suggest that the photographs must have been taken in the first two weeks of August. With the repair completed, a member of the ground crew fills the glycol tank of “Weiße 13”. Note the red servicing instructions applied by band beneath the filler point: “Füllung… 50% Wasser, 50% Glycol, 1.5% Schutzöl” (Filling… 50% Water, 50% Glycol, 1.5% Preservative Oil). The bullet hole is clearly visible in the machine-gun cover in the foreground. The shape of the hole shows that the bullet came from behind. Also note the Geschwader emblem of JG 26 and the black spinner. Strangely the work is being watched by a civilian in overalls (possibly a team member of Profesor Kurt Tank, Focke-Wulf’s chief designer).


Source :
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003

Messerschmitt Bf 109 Flown by Leutnant Walter Blume

In the summer of 1940, Major Adolf Galland’s III.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26) “Schlageter” was based at Caffiers airfield east of Calais, from where it flew missions over England. There III./JG 26’s technical officer, Hauptmann Rolf Schödter, took a series of color photographs. This photo depict the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 “Weiße 13”, flown by Leutnant Walter Blume of 7.Staffel / III.Gruppe / JG 26. The four black victory bars on the rudder date the photograph between 25 July 1940 (Blume’s 4th victory) and 15 August 1940 (when Leutnant Blume was lost). Also in evidence are the yellow identity markings introduced by Luftflotte 2 at the beginning of August, which were applied to the wingtips and outer horizontal stabilizers and, in some cases, the top of the rudder. The presence of these yellow markings suggest that the photographs must have been taken in the first two weeks of August. The yellow identity markings on “Weiße 13” are clearly visible in this view. Note how haphazardly the painting was done! For example, application of the rudder triangle resulted in significant overspray on the vertical stabilizer. Also of interest is the marked difference between the yellow of the identity markings and the yellow of the octane triangle. The yellow used to apply the identity markings is more orange in color. This color often looks the same as red in black and white photographs, and in the past this has led to errors in interpretation. Note, too, the small tactical number, typical in size and shape for III./JG 26. Visible beneath the port wingtip is the engine cowling bearing the heart emblem of 7. Staffel. On the rudder may be seen four victory bars, the first two red and the last two black. This is surprising, as all of Blume’s victories came against the RAF in the West. The markings above the bars are not cockades, but circles in which the date of each victory was recorded. The aircraft wears the standard 1940 camouflage finish. Note the feeble attempt to hide the wing crosses with straw. The presence of straw on the ground suggests that this was a regular practice. In the background is the Gruppe’s Klemm 35, also camouflaged with straw. On 18 September 1940, several days after this photograph was taken, Leutnant Walter Blume was shot down by Hurricanes of No. 32 Squadron near Canterbury during a mission over England in “Weiße 13”. He was seriously injured in the ensuing crash-landing and the aircraft largely destroyed. Blume returned to Germany in a prisoner exchange in 1943 and resumed operational flying, recording another 14 victories by the end of the war.


Source :
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003