Monday, September 28, 2015

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 At the end of December, after 140 mainly close-support missions, the squadron was withdrawn from the front and replaced by Staffel 5/1 and 5/2.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

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