Sunday, January 10, 2016

Stukas of SG 1 in a Snowy Airfield in Finland

This photo was taken at Rovaniemi (Finland), one morning in early April 1944. It depicts a Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" D-5 of the 4.Staffel / II.Gruppe / Schlachtgeschwader 1 (SG 1). Note the white ring around the spinner in the Staffel color. In March 1944, II./SG 1 and its Ju 87 D-5 were based at Wesenberg in the northern sector of the Eastern Front. Attached to 3. Flieger-Division as part of Luftflotte 1, the Gruppe flew missions from Wesenberg in support of the hard-pressed German ground forces. On 20 March the Gruppe transferred to Rovaniemi, near the Arctic circle. From there it flew sorties, some nocturnal, against the Murmansk railway, the vital supply line from Murmansk to Leningrad. All of the war materiel shipped by Allied convoys to the ice-free port traveled south over this route. Cutting this rail line was therefore of vital importance to the fighting in the north of the Eastern Front and elsewhere. With its experienced pilots, II./SG 1 was ideally suited for this job, however the Gruppe was only in Rovaniemi for a brief time. In April it returned to the Baltic states, and at the end of the month it moved to Wilna to convert to the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 F-8. The Gruppe never returned to Finland. 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.

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

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