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  #1  
Old 20th July 2011, 18:12
Raimo Malkamäki Raimo Malkamäki is offline
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Me 410 or FW 190? Carnage over Oder - again

Dear all,
I ask your help regarding the II/ZG 76 "carnage" in 1944/1945. I know that this has been discussed here before, back in 2007 as "Me 410 carnage over Oder 1945".

The sources are a bit confusing. Let´s take first Held-Trautloft-Bob: "Grünherzjäger", from which is the following quote;
"Eine zweite "Neuaufstellung" der IV. Gruppe im Früjahr 1945 war lediglich eine Umbenennung der II. Gruppe des Zerstörergeschwaders 76. In Grossenhain rüstete die Einheit auf Fw 190 um (vorher Me 410). Hier in Grossenhain besichtigt Oberstleutnant Hrabak - 5. Kommodore des JG 54 seit Oktober 1944 - die Gruppe, die jedoch zu keiner Zeit dem Grünherzgeschwader unmittelbar unterstellt war. Ihre Einsatzbefehle kamen von der Jagddivision in Bad Saarow.

Den schwesten Verlust erlitt die Gruppe bei einem geschlossenen Angriff mit Bomben auf die Oderbrucken und Bereitstellungen im Raum Göritz-Lebus. Mehr als 15 der schwerfälligen, mit 250 kg-Bomben beladenen maschinen wurden von Mustangs abgeschossen. - Die bilder zeigen die übernahme der neuen IV. Gruppe in Grossenhain durch Otl Hrabak. Rechts neben Hrabak der Kommandeur der Gruppe, Hauptmann K F Schlossstein." On the same page there are 2 pictures which show FW 190 A on the backgrund.

Another quote from Norbert Hannig´s memoirs (he was in JG 54). This is a loose translation from the Finnish edition of his book:
"In December 1944 Hannig got a personal order from Oberst Trautloft. Hannig and Leutnant Kabbe were to go right away to Grossenhain and train the remaining crews of II/ZG 76 to fly FW 190 A-8. They were to report Major (!) Schlossstein, who was the Kommandeur. The Gruppe had attacked with their Me 410s (with 250 kg bombs) against the Oder bridges, but had been surpised by Mustangs and over 15 planes had been shot down. The remaining pilots were not in the mood to talk about the battle.

At Grossenhain Hannig and Kabbe meet very serious Schlossstein who told that they had been on their way to attack bridges near Küstrin, but they never got there. Only three crews escaped the carnage, Schlossstein himself being one of them. Hanning reports to Trauloft that the remaining pilots are mentally unable to be retrained with FW 190 at that moment. Trautloft accepts his evaluation and Hannig is released to his former duties."

And finally, here is the man (Schlossstein) himself in Mombeek´s Eismeerjäger, Band 1, page 190:
"Am 15. Juli wurde Ich dann von Oberst Handrick (Jafü Wien) angefordert und übernahm in Malatzki (Slowakei) als Kommandeur die II./ZG 76, die mit Bf 410 ausgerüstet war. Die Gruppe verlegte nach Ostpreussen auf den Fliegerhorst Seerappen bei Königsberg und rüstete ab Oktober/November 1944 in Grossenhain bei Dresden auf die FW 190 um. Im Januar 1945 wurde die Gruppe in IV./JG 54 umbenannt und flog bis April 1945 Einstze gegen die vorrückende Rote Armee."

I found the timeline of events very confusing. If Hannig is correct and the carnage happened while flying Me 410, it should have been sometime in late autumn 1944. But why would they attack Oder bridges then??
If I understand correctly, Russians reached Oder only in January/February 1945. It seems obvious that Hannig is wrong with the timeframe.

In the previous thread regarding this issue in 2007, 22nd of March 1945 was suggested to be the day of the carnage. If that is the case, then the planes were FW 190s and attackers were Mustangs from 4FG.

Finally, my question is; does somebody have loss lists for II/ZG 76 or IV/JG 54 for late 1944 or 1945? I hope to clear this question.

As a side note regarding II/ZG 76 and the old question if it became III or IV/JG 54 in February 1945, my "theory" is:
For about a week (18.-25.2.1945) there were two III/JG 54s, the "old" one which soon became IV/JG 26 (flying 190 D) and the "new" one, which was the former II/ZG 76 (flying 190 A).

While this was confusing to say the least, it was decided soon to rename the "new" III/JG 54 to IV/JG 54. IV/JG 54 -name was available, since the "old" IV/JG 54 was renamed as II/JG 7 in early February 1945. I don´t have written proof, but...

I do think that Mr Schlossstein would remember the number of his old Gruppe correctly and II/ZG 76 finally became IV/JG 54.
 
I hope to hear your comments,
Raimo Malkamäki


PS I am asking this because Mr Schlossstein is coming to Helsinki in August! So, I will be able to ask the question from the man himself, if we are not able to find the answer here.
I am currently writing a short bio (4-5 pages) about his career. Everything else is quite clear, but these last months of the war are not (what a surprise...).
But I´ll write more about his visit later.
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  #2  
Old 20th July 2011, 19:47
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Re: Me 410 or FW 190? Carnage over Oder - again

Hi Raimo,

I am interested in ZG 76 for some time now, and also met Mr.Schlossstein.
I may tell you following:
Hannig is totally wrong! His arrival to GRuppe may be OK, in December they were preparing to retrain to Fw 190s, but his info about already suffered losses due to Me 410 attacks is wrong.

II./ZG 76 became ONLY IV./JG 54. Therefore the Fw 190s wore the wave 4th Gruppe sing on fuselage.
It was ZG 76 until February 1945, since then it was JG 54. Disbanded beginning April 1945 partially due to heavy losses. March 23, 1945 the taking off Fw 190s were bounced by P-51 Mustangs while they were taking off with bombs. Quite a losses!
So Mr. Schlossstein is mostly right on what he wrote. However he does not remember much of the ZG 76 and JG 54 command he hold. Nothing concrete...

If you have more questions, Ask!

regards

Peter
http://www.airwarsk.sk/ZG76
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  #3  
Old 21st July 2011, 22:09
Raimo Malkamäki Raimo Malkamäki is offline
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Re: Me 410 or FW 190? Carnage over Oder - again

Peter,

many thanks for your confirmation. What you wrote, is exactly the same I thought at the beginning. Only after when a friend reminded me about the Hannig-book, I started to wonder when this "carnage" actually happened.
Now I think that this case is closed.

Regarding Mr Schlossstein´s visit, the most interesting part of his career for the Finnish audience is naturally between 1941-1943, when he flew in northern Norway and Finnish Lappland. I still want to get the facts straight for his later career too, since we are going to distribute his "CV" for the people at the museum before his presentation. That will help the people at the auditorium to make more relevant questions when all the basic facts are already there, on paper.

Again, thanks for your help. I am looking forward to your ZG 76 -book in the future.

Raimo
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  #4  
Old 22nd July 2011, 03:44
Leo Etgen Leo Etgen is offline
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Me 410 or Fw 190? Carnage over Oder - again

Hi guys

Interesting topic and indeed almost certainly the particular air battle that is being discussed occurred on 22 March 1945 when III./JG 54 was battered by the 4th FG, USAAF. One point that is worthy of further discussion is which unit is being discussed - III./JG 54 or IV./JG 54. Various sources such as those listed by Malkamäki state that the unit in question was IV./JG 54 but according to the QM 6 list the unit involved was III./JG 54. According to Luftwaffe in Focus Spezial Nr. 2 when III./JG 54 was directed by the OKL operations staff to be redesignated IV./JG 26 on 7 February 1945 a new III./JG 54 was simultaneously ordered to be formed through the redesignation of II./ZG 76. Although the redesignation was supposed to be completed on 10 March 1945 it was actually completed on 18 February 1945. Therefore, until 25 February 1945 when the original III./JG 54 was redesignated IV./JG 26 there were two III./JG 54 with the new Gruppe being referred to during that time as III./JG 54 (II./ZG 76). The article specifically mentions that this new III./JG 54 has often erroneously been confused with IV./JG 54 possibly due to the wavy line marking on the rear fuselage. Incidentally, when the new III./JG 54 was disbanded on 5 April 1945 its aircraft and several of its pilots were transferred to IV./JG 51. There are images of the aircraft of the new III./JG 54 both in the above mentioned publication as well as Focke Wulf Jagdflugzeug by Peter Rodeike. An interesting account from the American side of the air battle that is the topic of this thread can be read at http://www.spitfireperformance.com/m...-22march45.jpg.

Horrido!

Leo
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  #5  
Old 22nd July 2011, 07:30
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Re: Me 410 or FW 190? Carnage over Oder - again

My mystake., it was III. Gruppe JG54 !!!
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  #6  
Old 22nd July 2011, 23:06
Raimo Malkamäki Raimo Malkamäki is offline
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Re: Me 410 or FW 190? Carnage over Oder - again

Guys,
thanks for this additional info. The late war Luftwaffe and its organisational changes are never a clear case, it seems!

I have talked with many, many veterans over the years and I know from the experience that human memory is not very reliable source for accurate information, but I still wonder since Mr Schlossstein has stated himself in several occasions that he was Gruppenkommandeur of IV/JG 54. After all, that period lasted for some months and it seems strange that he would not remember the exact number of his Gruppe. But anything is possible, I guess.

Well, after exactly four weeks I am able to talk this over with him personally. Something to look forward!

Have a nice weekend,

Best regards
Raimo
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  #7  
Old 27th August 2011, 23:04
Raimo Malkamäki Raimo Malkamäki is offline
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Re: Me 410 or FW 190? Carnage over Oder - again

So, Mr Schlossstein was here last weekend. He met Finnish veterans and gave a presentation at the Finnish Aviation Museum on Saturday. One can only admire his great condition (born in 1918). He doesn´t need eyeglasses, drives a car, uses internet etc. Just Amazing! He has a very clear memory regarding, names, dates and incidents from the war years.

Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat has an 8 minute video clip of his lecture on their web site, here: http://www.iltasanomat.fi/videot/his...409005747.html
Please take a look.
Regarding his career during the late war years and JG 54, he was very explicit: II./ZG 76 became IV./JG 54, all other info is incorrect. Since he was the Gruppenkommandeur,
I decided not to argue against that statement.
He also told that after his Gruppe was disbanded in April 1945, he was transferred to JG 11, but did not have any commanding position anymore.

His last flight was from Rechlin to Berlin-Gatow with 190 D-9. With that flight, a circle was closed since his first flight was also made from Gatow in 1939.
I have Band 2 of Prien´s JG 1 and 11 book, but it would be interesting to hear from somebody who has Band 3, what is mentioned there regarding the last days of war.

I am very proud and happy that I had the priviledge to be his host during this brief visit.

Best regards,
Raimo
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  #8  
Old 28th August 2011, 09:48
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Re: Me 410 or FW 190? Carnage over Oder - again

Hi Raimo,

Thanks for sharing the video with us.
re JG 54 Gruppe. If no argue, then no argue. So the RLM verlustmeldungen and Wehrpasses of other ZG 76 members are not correct while Mr. Schlosssteins, which as far as I know he did not show at least not to me, is right?
After disbanding the Gruppe of JG 54 where ex II. ZG 76 men flew (I wont give the number as no argue is wanted ) some of the men went to JG 11, some as well went to JG 2. Did not find any other units where the men were posted to. Anyone can add something?

regards

Peter
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  #9  
Old 28th August 2011, 13:12
Raimo Malkamäki Raimo Malkamäki is offline
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Re: Me 410 or FW 190? Carnage over Oder - again

Peter,
I feel I have to define what I meant with "not to argue". I do not mean that I ignore historical documents, like Verlustmeldungen etc. But I also feel very strongly that it is not my job as his host to start a quarrel with Mr Schlossstein. I find it very disrespectful, even impossible to think that first we invite him - a distinguished 93 years old veteran - here and then we say: "Welcome to Finland, nice to have you here, but you are telling us wrong information." I just wanted to tell that he sees this case closed, IV/JG 54 it was. We can discuss it here, like we have done, with interesting input from the researchers.

The information which is presented in this thread is very convincing for III./JG 54, I have absolutely no argument against that.
And like I wrote above, I know from the experience that a human memory is not the most reliable source.

Sometimes it difficult to express opinion when writing in foreign language, hopefully I succeeded now.

Best regards,
Raimo

PS Mr Schlossstein also told that his final assignment in the war was to lead a column of cars and lorries with JG 11 personnel from almost encircled Berlin to Schleswig-Holstein. He advised his Kommodore Anton Hackl to undersign the order with "Ritterkreuzträger mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern". Schlossstein thought that it was the only argument strong enough to help them get out from Berlin and pass the roadblocks.
He is convinced to this day that it was the trick that helped them to get thru and later to surrender to Western Forces
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  #10  
Old 28th August 2011, 13:25
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FalkeEins FalkeEins is offline
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Re: Me 410 or FW 190? Carnage over Oder - again

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raimo Malkamäki View Post
Peter,
And like I wrote above, I know from the experience that a human memory is not the most reliable source.
I think your approach was very wise and sensible Raimo, had this discussion recently regarding some of Hubert Engst's recollections (Ta 152s in Ainring May 1945 ? ) - some veteran statements are best treated with a healthy dose of scepticism ..

Thanks for the video.
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