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Old 16th February 2009, 11:14
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Andreas Brekken Andreas Brekken is offline
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Re: Photo online: Bf 109 E-7 w.3, 8./JG 5, May 1942

Hi, Kari

A terrible monday morning it is here in Norway, with icy roads (just witnessed a really bad traffic accident on my way to work...) and now you turn up with this 'enigma'.

Well, for one it seems that the TO or Ia of the rather new III. Gruppe wasn't quite up to standards when recording loss data for this period.

What really happened? Not that easy to know for sure, but it seems that the 8. Staffel (or pilots from 8. Staffel) did fly aircraft coded with white numerals even if they should have been black.

Examples are the one mentioned here, which should have been WNr 5133 as far as I can see, coded White 3 + (the NVM of Sommer, lost on 27.05.1942, also says WNr 5133, but this is commented on the original document as probably wrong, in the GenQu report for Sommer WNr 2023 is given), Goretzki a bit later with White 14 +.

I cannot offer a full explanation, but there are a few pointers that might give us a bit of help:

1. A large part of the technical personnel of 8. Staffel was killed in a Ju 52 accident during a transfer flight on April 22. 1942. It is thus likely that the 7. and 8. Staffel might have used the same personnel for maintenance and to get their aircraft ready.

2. In my opinion Hptm Scholz might have chosen to treat these units as a single fighting unit, even if they 'Truppendienstlich' as it is written in German belonged to 7. and 8. Staffel respectively. Both Staffeln had just arrived in their new area of operations (9. Staffel was not in the north), and it is totally possible that the commanding officers put together what they believed to be the best Rotten, Ketten and Schwärme for the job, regardless of which unit they belonged to technically. In fact there is strong evidence to support this in the personnel and aircraft strength report of the unit of 25.04.1942 (and later in the relevant period), where 7. and 8. Staffel report their personnel strength jointly, while the 9. Staffel is treated separately. Also - and this might even be more important: Due to the fact that they were transferred to a new area of operations, the unit report only 15 out of 29 pilots ready for action on this date! The remaining pilots probably still not finished their familiarization training in the north by this date.

3. The total number of pilots ready is getting higher when we approach the date of the loss of White 3 + , but the number of aircraft ready for action decrease. On 30.04.1942 the combined 7. and 8. Staffel only have 11 aircraft ready (pilots 18 + 11 so called 'bedingt', best translation here is 'conditionally ready for action'), on the day after this loss the number is 13 (pilots 22 + 3 conditionally ready). So there are a lot more pilots than aircraft.

How to conclude...?

Well, I believe that during the first part of their northern operations the 7. and 8. Staffel of JG 5 were operating as a single fighting unit, utilizing pilots and available aircraft to get the best fighting force in the air at any given time.

Regards,
Andreas Brekken

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Ahhh... but I have seen the holy grail! And it is painted RLM 76 all over with a large Mickey Mouse on the side, there is a familiar pilot in front of it and it has an Erla Haube!

Last edited by Andreas Brekken; 16th February 2009 at 11:25. Reason: Spelling....
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