Monday, January 11, 2016

Stuka Ace Johann Klaus with Fellow Pilots at Rovaniemi

In this photograph, taken at the beginning of April 1944, Oberleutnant Johann Klaus (third from left) is seen with other crews of II.Gruppe /Schlachtgeschwader 1 (SG 1) in the Gruppe command post at Rovaniemi/Finland. His Ritterkreuz has been adjusted for maximum visibility. The purpose of the wall of boards was to shield the command post from bomb splinters. On 20 October 1944, while acting commander of II./SG 1, Oberleutnant Klaus was shot down by Russian anti-aircraft fire in his Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in the Ebenrode area in East Prussia. He baled out over the front lines, however the wind blew his parachute into Russian-held territory. Klaus sustained serious injuries as a result of striking the aircraft's tail surfaces. He was captured by the Russians and held as a prisoner of war until 1949. This photo 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.

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

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