In August 1943 Oberfeldwebel Helmut Benkendorff, a pilot in 5.Staffel / II.Gruppe / Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 (StG 2), reached a significant milestone, completing his 500th combat mission. This photograph, taken shortly before his return from the milestone mission, shows a staffel vehicle (Mercedes-Benz 170V saloon) adorned with a wreath and the number "500", along with a gift basket and bouquet. In the basket is the Gruppe's "Adler" (Eagle) emblem. This photo itself was taken by an unidentified Hauptmann of the Gruppenstab who was taken prisoner in southern Germany in May 1945. There American soldiers took from him several rolls of exposed, but undeveloped, film. The film was later developed by Kodak in the USA, and decades after that a collector discovered the collection by chance. The photographs were subsequently returned to Germany, albeit in poor condition. Another pictures from the same event: 1, 2, 3.
"Luftwaffe im Focus", Spezial No.1 - 2003