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Old 10th August 2010, 19:43
Larry Hickey Larry Hickey is offline
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Larry Hickey
Early career & a/c of Oblt/Hptm Dietrich Hrabak of I/JG76 & II/JG54 during 1939-40


I have posted previously about this important combat leader and Battle of Britain Knight's Cross winner. Since then I've acquired a lot more information, including his FB and full, detailed reports on Hrabak's victory claims during the Western Campaign of May-June, 1940. I'm now seeking to round this info out in several ways to support a series of color profiles of his a/c from the 1939-40 period for the EOE book project.

Although I've no proof of this, the existence of his victory claim reports for the WC suggest that similar detailed reports probably exist on him for the Battle of Britain period from 7.40 to 10.40, as well. The ones that I have probably originated from personal records that Hrabak himself kept and made available to one or more researchers after the war. It would be extremely helpful to have copies of his additional victory claim reporting from 7.40 through the end of the year. Does anyone know if these reports for the BoB period exist, and, if so, how and where I can acquire copies?

By a combination of these reports and info in his Flugbuch, I am pretty sure that the aircraft at the beginning of the Polish Campaign, while StaKap of 1./JG76, WNr. 3311 (an E-1), was "White 1" (as Prien notes in his JFV 1). This aircraft was written off during a crack up near the front lines in Poland on 3 Sept 1939. A Polish aviation book has done a color profile of this a/c, although I find no photographic evidence to support this artwork. Please note that Hrabak apparently then took over a new "White 1," WNr. 1304, but flew it only briefly before he started flying "White 11," W.Nr. 1250, which he then flew almost exclusively until it was slightly damaged during the WC in a forced landing near Landiniére, France?, on June 7, 1940. To my knowledge, no photos have come to light of a "White 11" from 1./JG76 in 1940-style camouflage with no mottling, which would be that a/c. If anyone knows of such photos, either in operational service, or force-landed, please let me know.

It should be noted that W.Nr. 1304 (an E-3) was the well-known "White 1" of 1./JG76 that fell into French hands while being piloted by Fw Karl Hier on 22.11.39, and subsequently was sent to Britain, where it was extensively tested. This was apparently initially intended to be Hrabak's replacement aircraft for W.Nr. 3311, but for some reason he did not fly it more than a few times after the loss of 3311 before switching to W.Nr.1250.

Hrabak's victory claim reports for May-June, 1940 have one unique element that I've not seen before. Each one gives the plane number of the a/c he was flying at the time of the victory claim. I'm presuming that his claims reports for the BoB would provide the same info, which, when combined with the Flugbuch, which gives only W.Nr.s, gives us the markings on his planes AND W.Nr.'s of the aircraft that he flew after his mishap with 1250.

Hrabak moved up to Gr. Kdr. of II./JG54 on 1.8.40, and I'm still looking for clear photos of the a/c that he flew with the proper markings for that position, especially at the time of his RK award. If anyone has same, or knows where they might be obtained, I'd very much appreciate hearing from them.

All for now.

Larry Hickey
Eagles Over Europe Project Coordinator
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