Thursday, September 3, 2015

Oberingenieur Rudolf Blaser on the wing of a Fw 190 flown by Oberfeldwebel Walter Grünlinger

In September 1942, III.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26) “Schlageter” received some special visitors at its base at Wevelghem, Belgium. Profesor Kurt Tank, Focke-Wulf’s chief designer, and his senior engineer Rudolf Blaser, chief designer for single-seat fighters and head of the Fw 190 program, came to asses the Gruppenstab’s operational experiences with the Fw 190 A-2. The photo shows Oberingenieur Blaser on the wing of a Fw 190 A-2 bearing the tactical marking < + I. This aircraft, Werknummer 20206, was flown by Oberfeldwebel Walter Grünlinger, wingman of the Gruppenkommandeur, Hauptmann Josef Priller. Grünlinger had apparently just returned from a combat mission when the photograph was taken, and Blaser is seen explaining some technical aspects of the aircraft. Feldwebel Grünlinger’s Fw 190 had previously been flown by Hauptmann Priller, first appearing in the latter’s logbook on 11 December 1941. The small double chevron signifying a Gruppenkommandeur and Priller’s personal emblem, an Ace of Heart playing card bearing the name “Jutta”, were overpainted. Grünlinger replaced them with his own personal marking, a Seven of Hearts playing card with the name “Rata”. The card was painted on both sides of the fuselage. Also note the black “Eagle Wing”, which is largely hidden by Blaser’s coat. This marking was a commonly seen on Fw 190 fighters at that time, its purpose being to conceal the black exhaust stains on the fuselage. The aircraft wears a factory-applied camouflage scheme of RLM 74 (visible beneath the cockpit), 75 (beginning at the windscreen) and 76, with 75 mottling on the engine cowling. Feldwebel Grünlinger continued to fly with Priller after the latter became Geschwaderkommodore JG 26 on 11 January 1943. By 4 September 1943 he had raised his victory total to 12 (5 fighters, 7 medium and heavy bombers) in 88 combat missions. On that day he took off with 10.Staffel / Jagdgeschwader 26, to which he had been attached the day before. The Staffel engaged a group of about 20 Spitfires and Oberfeldwebel Walter Grünlinger was shot down and killed three kilometers northwest of Bomy in northern France (Fw 190 A-5 Werknummer 7287 of the Geschwaderstab). On 9 September 1943 he was buried in JG 26’s cemetery in Abbéville. Photo by Hauptmann Rolf Schödter

Source :
Luftwaffe im Focus Spezial No.1 2003

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