||Last Updated: Apr 21st, 2015 - 23:52:06
One of the most successful of the early Focke-Wulf 190-equipped Jagdgruppen was the III. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 2 'Richthofen'. The unit, led by the flamboyant Hauptmann Hans 'Assi' Hahn, received its first FW 190s in May 1942, and quickly began to notch up victories. Although the Gruppe spent much of its time based in north-western France, away from the paths of the regular Allied fighter sweeps, it still built up an impressive victory tally.
Some notable Experten emerged from the Gruppe. Amongst the best known were Egon Mayer, Erich Hohagen, Georg-Peter Eder, Siegfried Schnell, Kurt Knappe, and Bruno Stolle.
Camouflage and Markings
The Focke-Wulf 190s of III./Jagdgeschwader 2 were some of the more colourful on the Channel Front in 1942. The first unit to have received the radial-engined fighter, Jagdgeschwader 26, had rarely used emblems on its FW 190s, but many aircraft from III./Jagdgeschwader 2 were adorned with unit or personal emblems.
Table: Unit Leaders, 1 May 1942
Gruppenkommandeur - Hptm. Hans Hahn
Gruppenadjutant - Oblt. Armin Faber
Staffelkapitän 7./J.G. 2 - Hptm. Egon Mayer
Staffelkapitän 8./J.G. 2 - Oblt. Bruno Stolle
Staffelkapitän 9./J.G. 2 - Hptm. Siegfried Schnell
III./J.G. 2 converted to the FW 190 in May 1942, receiving FW 190 A-2s and A-3s.
[Figures in the text in brackets, e.g. (14), indicate the pilot's personal victory tally]
2 June 1942
The Royal Air Force’s Hornchurch and North Weald Wings of 11 Group flew Rodeo 69 to Gris Nez, St. Omer and Le Touquet.
W/Cdr. Powell of the Hornchurch Wing claimed an FW 190 probably destroyed at around 10:50 near Calais, but he himself was wounded by FW 190s. 81 Sqdn claimed two FW 190s destroyed at 11:00 north of Le Touquet. 122 Sqdn claimed one FW 190 damaged at 11:05 16 km west of Merlimont, in exchange for no losses.
331 Sqdn from the North Weald Wing claimed one FW 190 probably destroyed at around 11:00 16 km north of Le Touquet. 403 Sqdn was very badly hit by FW 190s, losing seven aircraft destroyed, and one damaged, after being attacked in the Le Touquet area. One pilot was killed, five became prisoners, and one was rescued unhurt by the British. The squadron only claimed one FW 190 damaged, at around 11:00 16 km north of Le Touquet.
I./J.G. 2 and J.G. 26 made a total of twelve Spitfire claims between 10:55 and 11:25. The sole victor for III./Jagdgeschwader 2 was Lt. Ambrosius Passer of the 9. Staffel, who submitted a claim for a Spitfire destroyed at 12:10 (2).
3 June 1942
Fw. Karl Nowak of 9./J.G. 2 claimed a Spitfire at 11:57 (12).
11 Group flew a circus to Forêt d’ Eu at around midday with Hurricanes and Spitfires, although this seems to have been over France somewhat later than Nowak’s victory. One 401 Sqdn Spitfire pilot claimed a Ca. 310 destroyed at 12:30 near Ault. There were no British losses on this operation.
Later in the afternoon 7. and 9./J.G. 2 engaged Spitfires north of Cherbourg, and claimed numerous victories. Oblt. Egon Mayer led his 7. Staffel and claimed three victories himself, at 15:27, 15:35 and 15:40 (43-45). Ofw. Alfred Knies of 7./J.G. 2 claimed one of the British fighters at 15:31 (1). Lt. Augustin of 7. Staffel claimed another at 15:34 (10). Uffz. Toll of 7./J.G. 2 claimed a Spitfire at 15:37 (2). Ofw. Willi Stratmann of 7./J.G. 2 claimed a victory at 15:38 (9).
Staffelkapitän of 9./J.G. 2, Hptm. Siegfried Schnell, also had a very successful day, as he claimed to have shot down four Spitfires in the sea off Cherbourg at 15:27, 15:29, 15:45 and 15:36 (58-61). Fw. Nowak made a Spitfire claim at 15:35 (13), and Oblt. Herbert Böttcher made two claims, at 15:35 and 15:42. Fw. Heinz Pfeiffer (1) and Fw. Ludwig-Friedrich Hartmann (2) accounted for the other two Spitfires claimed. No III./J.G. 2 FW 190s were lost in the combat.
However, the British losses do not match up with the German claims, and remarkably, only two British losses can be found for this combat.
10 Group had flown Circus 6 to the Cherbourg dock-yards, involving six Boston IIIs and a number of Spitfire squadrons. W/Cdr. Vasatko from the Exeter Wing, which was serving as escort-cover, claimed an FW 190 probably destroyed at around 15:30 16 kilometres north-east of Cherbourg. 312 Sqdn claimed one FW 190 destroyed and four damaged at around 15:30 in the area of Cap Lévy. Two pilots were shot down and became prisoners of war in the Cap Lévy area. 154 Sqdn made no claims, but a pilot was shot down in the Cap Lévy area and became a prisoner of war.
4 June 1942
Once more 7. and 9./J.G. 2 achieved success against British Spitfires, this time claiming eight for no loss during a combat about an hour after midday. No other Luftwaffe units were involved. Oblt. Schnell of 9./J.G. 2 opened the scoring at 12:48 (62). Uffz. Toll of 7./J.G. 2 claimed the next at 12:52 (3). Fw. Martin Reichherzer of the same Staffel claimed the next a minute later (2). Ofw. Stratmann of 7./J.G. 2 claimed a Spitfire at 12:54 (10), and at 12:55 Lt. Augustin of 7./J.G. 2 (11) and Lt. Passer of 9./J.G. 2 (3) both claimed victories. Ofw. Hartmann of 9./J.G. 2 was successful at 12:57 (3), and Oblt. Schnell got his second of the combat at 12:58 (63).
10 Group flew Ramrod 21 to Maupertus airfield, with twelve Hurricanes and some Spitfire squadrons. 118 Sqdn flying from Ibsley with Spitfire Vbs claimed one FW 190 probably destroyed and three damaged at around 12:45 in the Cap Lévy area. The squadron suffered no losses. 501 Sqdn lost two aircraft shot down in the Cap Lévy area, one pilot being killed and one becoming a prisoner of war. An unknown pilot from the squadron claimed an FW 190 destroyed at Cap Lévy at around 12:45. 234 Sqdn was flying in the high-cover wing with twelve Spitfire Vbs, and it lost one pilot killed in exchange for no victories.
5 June 1942
Uffz. Johannes Baumann of III./J.G. 2 was wounded on this day in combat with enemy fighters, although details about his aircraft are not known. The location was reported as Morlaix, and the aircraft, apparently a Bf 109, was destroyed.
No III./J.G. 2 claims are known, and there are no other known losses.
There was a major combat in the afternoon, when J.G. 2 and J.G. 26 claimed 22 Spitfires shot down between 15:34 and 15:55. This was Circus 188B by 11 Group to Le Havre.
10 Group flew Circus 7 to Morlaix airfield, where they met FW 190s at around 15:00. One Spitfire of 310 Sqdn was damaged by FW 190s, and 310 Sqdn claimed four FW 190s damaged north of Morlaix.
6 June 1942
In the afternoon III./J.G. 2 once more enjoyed success against Spitfires. This time the Gruppe claimed eleven victories without loss. Oblt. Böttcher of 9./J.G. 2 claimed the first at 17:15 (?). Ofw. Hartmann claimed a victory at the same time (4). They were followed by their Staffelkapitän, Hptm. Schnell, at 17:16 (65). Oblt. Mayer of 7./J.G. 2 claimed a pair of Spitfires at 17:22 (46-47). Ofw. Alfred Knies of the same Staffel claimed a victory a minute later (2). The Kommandeur then opened his account in the FW 190 with victories at 17:25 and 17:25:30 (63-64). The burgeoning victory tally of Lt. Augustin was increased again on this day, when he shot down a Spitfire at 17:27 (12). Hptm. Hahn claimed another Spitfire at the same time (65). Ofw. Stratmann of 7./J.G. 2 claimed the last victory of the combat at 17:34 (11). No other Luftwaffe units submitted claims.
10 Group flew Ramrod 22 to Maupertus airfield. Twelve 175 Sqdn Hurricane IIbs dropped 24 250 lb bombs on the target. One of the Hurricanes was seriously damaged by an FW 190 off Cap Lévy. 118 Sqdn provided twelve Spitfire Vbs for the escort, and lost two aircraft shot down. S/Ldr. Carver DFC was shot down and killed by a reported nine FW 190s off Cherbourg. Sgt. Jones was also shot down and killed by nine Spitfires off Cherbourg. The squadron submitted no claims.
At Théville airfield FW 190 A-2 W.Nr 0122 194 ‘White 12 + I’ force-landed due to engine failure, suffering minor damage. The pilot was unhurt.
The victory on this day was Oblt. Böttcher’s last with 9./J.G. 2. His next victories came with 6./J.G. 2 on 19 August 1942. He was serving as a Staffelkapitän in II./J.G. 2, taking over 5./J.G. 2 from Lt. Krüger, who was taken prisoner on 26 July 1942. Böttcher was from East Prussia. In October he had the EK I and II.
10 June 1942
Fw. Karl Nowak of 9./J.G. 2 was shot down in the sea by Spitfires from 70 m altitude, and was subsequently posted missing in Pl.Qu. 15 West/11.7.3. He had been flying FW 190 A-2 W.Nr 0120 282 ‘Yellow 2 + I’.
Two Spitfire Vbs of 41 Sqdn flew an intercept mission over St. Catherine’s Point between 07:15 and 08:20 in which they encountered FW 190s. P/O T.R. Poyton claimed an FW 190 destroyed at 08:05 at Pte de Barfleur.
In the morning Uffz. Karl-Heinz Münsche of 9./J.G. 2 claimed two Spitfires shot down in the sea south of the Isle of Wight (2-3). The victories came at 08:37 and 08:40.
Two more 41 Sqdn Spitfire Vbs took off at 08:35 to intercept enemy aircraft in the Isle of Wight area. However, they were both attacked. F/Lt. Wainwright was shot down and killed, and Sgt. Wright was wounded and his aircraft was badly damaged, but he was able to land.
On this day Uffz. Friedrich May of 8./J.G. 2 achieved his first victory, when he claimed a Boston at 14:10. His victim was AL283 of 107 Sqdn. There are no other known Luftwaffe claims in this day.
10 Group flew Circus 9 to Lannion airfield on the Brest peninsula. They encountered FW 190s at around 14:00. 310 Sqdn claimed three destroyed, one probably destroyed and one damaged at 14:00 64 km north of Lannion in the sea. At the same time and place 313 Sqdn claimed one FW 190 probably destroyed and one damaged. 107 Sqdn of 2 Group had provided twelve Boston IIIs for the operation, and it suffered one loss. The four-man crew were all killed.
11 June 1942
In the afternoon Lt. Augustin of 7./J.G. 2 claimed two Spitfires shot down in the sea north of Cherbourg. The first went down at 14:27, and the second at 14:31 (13-14). No other Luftwaffe claims were made in this combat.
Four Spitfire Vbs of 340 Sqdn had flown a defensive patrol between 14:00 and 14:45, and they claimed two FW 190s damaged north of Cherbourg at 14:20.
12 June 1942
On this day 8./J.G. 2 received FW 190 A-2 W.Nr 0122 107 from the Villacoublay repair facility.
17 June 1942
At 11:00 Lt. Augustin of 7./J.G. 2 claimed a Spitfire shot down in the sea north-east of Barfleur (15).
Between 10:20 and 11:25 four Spitfire Vbs of 118 Sqdn flew a ‘Jim Crow’ shipping reconnaissance to the French coast. One pilot claimed an FW 190 damaged at 11:00 in the Barfleur area. There were no British losses.
[19-22 June 1942 will be included later]
23 June 1942
This day saw one of the most famous events in the history of the III. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 2, when the Gruppenadjutant, Oberleutnant Armin Faber, landed his Focke-Wulf 190 A-3 at Pembrey aerodrome in south Wales, gifting the Allies a pristine example of the newest German fighter aircraft.
Since the war there have been mentions that Faber's landing in south Wales might have been more complicated than a simple case of a pilot becoming disorientated. However, the relevant British interrogation report, A.I.(K) Report No. 155/1942, gives no hint that 25 year old Faber might have defected. In fact, the British reported that one of Faber's captured Jagdgeschwader 2 colleagues remarked that Faber was "just the sort of bloody fool one would expect to do a thing like that"!
Armin Faber had joined Jagdgeschwader 2 in the autumn of 1941, at which time he was promoted to Oberleutnant. Despite a long time with the unit he had made only ten or fifteen operational flights when captured. The British reported that his morale remained “very high” despite his capture.
24 June 1942
While landing at Guernsey airfield the unknown pilot of FW 190 A-2 W.Nr 0125 291 collided with an obstruction, causing 30 per cent damage to the aircaft. After this incident W.Nr 0125 291 was sent to Villacoublay to be repaired.
Fw. Günter Toll of 7./J.G. 2 claimed a Spitfire shot down at 18:08 (5). This is the only known German claim.
There are no matching British combats.
25 June 1942
8./J.G. 2 was involved in a combat with Spitfires during the day. Oblt. Bruno Stolle and Fw. Georg Hippel both claimed victories in the sea near Ushant (2).
10 Group flew a Roadstead to Ushant between 17:21 and 19:25, involving four 175 Sqdn Hurricanes alongside Spitfire squadrons. The British made no victory claims, but 130 Sqdn lost two Spitfire Vbs to FW 190s, with both pilots being killed.
26 June 1942
Hptm. Schnell of 9./J.G. 2 claimed a Spitfire shot down at 17:43 in the area of Fécamp-Étretat (66). I./J.G. 2 made a further three claims for Spitfires in this combat.
11 Group flew Circus 194 to Le Havre in the afternoon, with Spitfires escorting twelve Boston IIIs. 602 Sqdn from Kenley lost one pilot killed by FW 190s off Étrètat, and another Spitfire Vb was badly damaged. In return the squadron claimed one FW 190 destroyed, one probably destroyed, and four damaged at around 17:20 in the Le Havre and Étrètat areas. 66 Sqdn had one of its twelve Spitfire Vbs badly damaged by FW 190s off Fécamp. 118 Sqdn had an aircraft badly damaged by FW 190s off Fécamp.
FW 190 A-2 W.Nr 0125 257 belly-landed at Théville airfield due to technical problems, suffering 25 per cent damage.
15 July 1942
Three aircraft of 7./J.G. 2 took part in a scramble, including Lt. Holzapfel on his third mission. They encountered enemy aircraft.
Lt. Jacob Augustin of 7./J.G. 2 was shot down and posted missing in combat with enemy fighters in the morning. He was shot down in FW 190 A-2 W.Nr 0122 103 in the sea in Pl.Qu. 15 West/2188 or 2186.
10 Group flew a Rodeo to the Cherbourg area between 08:55 and 10:15. Twelve Spitfires of 66 Sqdn were involved, and S/Ldr. R.D. Yule of that unit claimed an FW 190 destroyed at 09:45 36 km north of Barfleur. He then claimed an FW 190 damaged at 09:48 in the same location.
31 July 1942
Eight 7./J.G. 2 aircraft scrambled during the day and were involved in combat. Lt. Holzapfel took part in the scramble, his fifth combat mission. Oblt. Mayer of 7./J.G. 2 shot down a Spitfire at 18:09 (50).
10 Group flew a Ramrod to the dock-yards at St. Malo in the afternoon, with Spitfires accompanying twelve Boston IIIs. 317 Sqdn was part of the diversion wing, and it lost Spitfire Vb BL627, which was attacked at St. Malo by an FW 190, and which crashed in the sea off Selsey. The pilot, F/O. Kratka, was wounded, but was rescued by the British ASR. The British made no claims.
At Théville airfield FW 190 A-2 W.Nr 0122 194 ‘White 12 + I’ was 30 per cent damaged when its undercarriage collapsed on landing.
[1 August 1942 - 1 October 1942 will be included later]
2 October 1942
III./J.G. 2 engaged bombers and escorts in the afternoon. Lt. Behrendt of 9./J.G. 2 claimed a Fortress II at 16:45 ten kilometres north-west of the mouth of the Somme from 6,000 m (4). Two minutes later Ofw. Ludwig-Friedrich Hartmann of the same Staffel shot down a Spitfire in Pl.Qu. 04 Ost/1154 (8).
However, in exchange for these victories, two III./J.G. 2 FW 190s were lost, and one was damaged. Uffz. Rudolf Engfeld crashed at Amiens/Glisy airfield after the mission in FW 190 A-3 W.Nr 0130 455, and was killed. Uffz. Werner Werk crashed near Amiens/Glisy airfield and was killed in FW 190 A-3 W.Nr 0130 551. Neither of these men had any victories (check other claims lists). FW 190 A-3 W.Nr 0135 290 landed at Amiens/Glisy airfield with 20 per cent damage from enemy fire.
This was an inauspicious debut for III./J.G. 2 against the bombers.
III./J.G. 26 pilots claimed Spitfires at 15:35 and 15:40. 1./J.G. 2 claimed Spitfires near Fécamp at 15:43 and 15:52. 2./J.G. 26 claimed a P-38 at 16:25, and an Airacobra at 16:30. 6./J.G. 26 claimed a Spitfire at 16:58.
VIII Bomber Command flew its thirteenth mission in the afternoon, while for the RAF it was Circus 221. The first diversionary raid went to Cayeux, Abbeville and Le Tréport.
Another with 71 Spitfires went to Dixmuide, St. Omer and Ambleteuse. 331 Sqdn from 11 Group flew the second diversion, and lost two pilots killed by FW 190s at Gravelines. In return, at around 15:35 the squadron claimed one FW 190 probably destroyed out of around fifteen encountered in the area of Cassel-Gravelines. W/Cdr. Duke-Woolley from Debden shared an FW 190 victory with a 334th FS/4th FG pilot at around 15:45 twelve kilometres south-east of Calais. The 334th FS/4th FG claimed 2.5-0-1 FW 190s in total, the other victories coming at 15:45 south-west of Dunkirk, with the damaged claim occurring south of Nieuport. The 335th FS/4th FG claimed one FW 190 destroyed south-west of Dunkirk and one damaged east of Calais at around 15:45.
A third diversion was flown to the Le Havre docks by twelve 15th BS DB-7s. 486 Sqdn from Duxford with ten Typhoon Ibs took part in the escort as rear-support. One pilot was shot down and killed 80 km south of Selsey Bill in Typhoon Ib R8683.
One target attacked by the bombers was St. Omer airfield. 124 Sqdn with twelve Spitfire Vbs was part of the escort wing, and it claimed one FW 190 damaged at 16:40 north of St. Omer. 616 Sqdn also provided escort for the B-17s, and it claimed one FW 190 destroyed at 16:25 over St. Omer. In return one pilot was shot down and rescued by British ASR off Sangatte.
The 71st FS/1st FG with thirteen P-38Gs also escorted the B-17s to St. Omer between 15:30 and 16:45. It made no claims, but lost 2/Lt. Young, who was posted missing after being attacked by FW 190s.
43 1st Bomb Wing B-17s attacked an S.N.C.A. factory at Meaulte. Seven escort squadrons flew 83 sorties, claiming 1-1-3 for one aircraft lost. 401 Sqdn provided twelve Spitfire F.IXs for escort. One pilot was shot down by FW 190s in the Somme estuary, and was killed. A Bf 109 G was claimed probably destroyed at 16:40 over the Somme Estuary at 26,000 feet. At the same time an FW 190 was claimed damaged over the Somme Estuary at the same altitude. 306 Sqdn also provided Spitfire F.IXs for escort, and one pilot claimed an FW 190 destroyed at around 16:30 off the French coast. 611 Sqdn was another Spitfire F.IX squadron taking part, and for no losses it claimed an FW 190 damaged at 16:35 just east of the Forêt de Crécy from 25,000 feet, along with a Bf 109 F damaged at 16:45 east of Abbeville from 27,000 feet.
22 October 1942
On this day, Fw. Beckers re-joined 7./J.G. 2. He had thirteen operational missions and three victories to his credit, gained with 7./J.G. 2 in mid-April 1942.
27 October 1942
8./J.G. 2 fought with Spitfires in the evening, and claimed two victories. The first successful pilot was Uffz. Eisele, at 17:19 in Pl.Qu. 14 West/5924 from 7,000 m (4). A minute later Oblt. Landmann claimed the second Spitfire in Pl.Qu. 14 West/5916 from 7,000 m (3).
10 Group flew a Rodeo to Île de Batz and Ploumanach. 234 Sqdn provided twelve Spitfire Vbs between 16:40 and 18:01, but lost two pilots, including S/Ldr. Palmer DFC. Both were shot down and killed by FW 190s near Île de Batz. The unit made no claims.
Friday 30 October 1942
At Pix-Nord airfield FW 190 A-4 W.Nr 0142 425 of III./J.G. 2 had a taxying accident, and suffered 30 per cent damage.
This was the first reported loss of an FW 190 A-4 for the Gruppe. It received 27 of this variant direct from the factory in October.
Saturday 31 October 1942
Seven aircraft of 7./J.G. 2 took part in an offensive sweep to Deal, including Obgefr. Kreuzer, who was on his first combat mission. Obgefr. Albrecht Kreuzer had only been transferred to the unit on this day, from the Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe West.
This mission was in support of the German raid on Canterbury carried out by the fighter-bombers of 10.(Jabo)/J.G. 2, 10.(Jabo)/J.G. 26 and III./Z.G. 2. II./J.G. 2 contributed some of its aircraft as fighter-bombers. The fighter-bombers took off at 17:40. Around 50 aircraft took part. The escort was ordered to stay close to the fighter-bombers, which approached the target at low altitude in radio silence. They crossed the coast near Deal and flew to Canterbury. There was only one German loss, Lt. Paul Galland of 5./J.G. 26. Two Spitfires were shot down, from 91 and 453 Sqdns. Luftwaffe fighter pilots made five claims for Spitfires shot down, but III./J.G. 2 had no success.
A 5./J.G. 2 pilot, Fw. Alfred Hell, took off from the St. Omer area at 16:30 to escort fighter-bombers to Canterbury. He was shot down by anti-aircraft fire at 17:15, and the pilot was taken prisoner.
Sunday 1 November 1942
Hptm. Hahn was posted to take command of II./J.G. 54 on the Eastern Front. As a result Oblt. Mayer became Gruppenkommandeur of III./J.G. 2.
Lt. Georg-Peter Eder was transferred to 7./J.G. 2 on this day. He had been born in 1921, and joined the Luftwaffe in 1938. He flew his first mission in September 1940 with 1./J.G. 51. In 1941 he joined 4./J.G. 51, and got his first victory in May. He had gained eleven victories when, on 22 August 1941 he collided with a Ju 52 and was injured. After recovering he went to Jagdfliegerschule 2 as an instructor on 1 November 1941. A year later he returned to a combat unit, 7./J.G. 2.
Sunday 8 November 1942
Seven FW 190s of 7./J.G. 2 took off for a scramble, and became involved in combat. Obgefr. Kreuzer was involved, in what was his second combat mission.
Fw. Martin Reicherzer of 7./J.G. 2 was wounded in combat in the area of Le Treport, near Dieppe, in FW 190 A-3 W.Nr 0132 429. Martin Reicherzer died of his wounds on 9 November 1942.
Oblt. Schnell of 9./J.G. 2 claimed a Spitfire destroyed at 12:13 in Pl.Qu. 05 Ost/1176 from 6,500 m (72). Lt. Günther Behrendt of 9./J.G. 2 shot down a Spitfire at 12:15 in Pl.Qu. 05 Ost/1172 from 6,500 m (5). Fw. Günter Toll from 7./J.G. 2 made the last claim of his Gruppe in this combat at 12:40, another Spitfire, this time in Pl.Qu. 05 Ost/1173 from an altitude of just ten metres (8).
III./J.G. 2 was not alone in making claims for this combat. After the first two claims by the Gruppe J.G. 26 fought with the bombers and Spitfires, claiming three B-17s destroyed, along with five Spitfires, the last at 12:54.
VIII Bomber Command flew its 17th mission, supported by RAF Circus 235. The target for one part of the raid was Lille, and one bomber was lost. Another part of VIII Bomber Command attacked Abbeville-Drucat airfield. 350 Sqdn provided escort for this raid with eleven Spitfire F.IXs, and had one aircraft badly damaged by an FW 190 at Calais. 122 Sqdn lost one pilot shot down and killed in Spitfire F.IX BS349 at Dunkirk. 421 Sqdn lost two pilots shot down and killed by FW 190s at Abbeville, in return for no claims. 611 Sqdn claimed one FW 190 damaged at around 12:45 near Gravelines. 401 Sqdn lost two pilots at Audruicq, one being killed and one becoming a prisoner. The squadron claimed no victories. 165 Sqdn lost a pilot shot down and killed by FW 190s at Calais, and in return claimed one FW 190 damaged at around 12:45 in the area of Gravelines and Dunkirk. 306 Sqdn lost a pilot shot down and killed in a Spitfire F.IX, the location not being given.
The Allied invasion of Vichy French North-West Africa on this day provoked a number of Luftwaffe moves. Much of Jagdgeschwader 2 moved south to Marseille, while II./J.G. 2 moved to Tunisia in mid-November. However, with the increasing threat from four-engined bombers, III./J.G. 2 was kept in north-western France.
Monday 23 November 1942
Seven aircraft from 7./J.G. 2 scrambled to intercept American bombers. Pilots from the Staffel involved include Obgefr. Kreuzer (third combat mission), Oblt. Hohagen (361st mission), and Uffz. Angele.
On this day B-17s attacked St. Nazaire for the fifth time. Only nine B-17s made it to the target, and these were attacked by groups of three FW 190s attacking from twelve o’clock. Four of the nine B-17s were shot down, although the III./J.G. 2 pilots claimed six.
VIII Bomber Command flew its 23rd mission in the middle of the day to the U-boat pens at St. Nazaire, supported by Ramrod 39. The 1st Bomb Wing B-17s and B-24s were over the target at 13:30, and four B-17s were lost.
Oblt. Egon Mayer claimed the first B-17 at 13:25 in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/38/5/3 from 6,000 m (54). Fw. Ebert of 8./J.G. 2 claimed a B-17 at 13:33 in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/40/3/7 from 3,000 m (3). At 13:34 Oblt. Mayer claimed a second bomber west of Lacanau from 5,000 m (55). At the same time Uffz. Friedrich May of 9./J.G. 2 shot down a B-17 in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/40/3/7 from 3,000 m (2). The Staffelkapitän of 9./J.G. 2, Oblt. Schnell, claimed another B-17 at 13:40 south-east of Belle Île from an altitude of 3,000 m (73). The last victory, a B-24, was credited to Oblt. Mayer at 14:00 in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/48/5/5 from 3,200 m (56).
Uffz. Theodore Angele of 7./J.G. 2 was shot down and killed in combat with the bombers in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/38/6/1/14 in FW 190 A-4 W.Nr 0147 061 ‘White 10 + I’.
30 November 1942
On this day Fw. Kurt Knappe was posted to join 7./J.G. 2. He had flown 300 combat missions, claimed 51 victories, and received the Ritterkreuz, Deutsches Kreuz in Gold, Ehrenpokal, Eisenkreuz I and II, and Gold Frontflugspange with II./J.G. 51 in the East. Kurt Knappe was born in 1918 in Berlin, and in spring 1941 was sent to 5./J.G. 51 as a Gefreiter. He got his first victory on 24 July 1941 in the East. He got his 50th victory on 4 October 1942, and received the Ritterkreuz on 3 November 1942.
Oblt. Hohagen was posted to command 7./J.G. 2 on this day. He had the Ritterkreuz, Eisenkreuz I. and II. Klasse, and Frontflugspange in Gold. He had 360 missions and 29 victories to his credit.
FW 190 A-4 W.Nr 0140 675 of III./J.G. 2 ditched in the sea north-west of Le Havre because of engine failure, and the pilot was rescued unharmed by the German rescue service.
Uffz. Rudolf Eisele of 8./J.G. 2 claimed a Beaufighter at 10:20 in Pl.Qu. 14 West S/89/8/5 from an altitude of 100 m (5).
Tuesday 29 December 1942
An 8./J.G. 2 Rotte carried out a raid on Eastbourne, led by Oblt. Stolle. They took off at 14:21 to carry out a Störangriff. Two SC 500 bombs were dropped at 14:55 on buildings in the centre of the town, accompanied by machine-gunning. Two elderly civilians were killed, and at least 33 other civilians were wounded. In addition, two houses were destroyed, three were badly damaged and others were less seriously damaged. After releasing bombs, Oblt. Stolle then attacked and shot down the Spitfire Vc EN782 of P/O. Downer, who was one of two 91 Sqdn pilots on patrol off Beachy Head. Downer was killed. Stolle’s victory came at 14:58 in the sea three kilometres east of Beachy Head. The Germans saw one other Spitfire.
Wednesday 30 December 1942
All of III./J.G. 2 took part in a scramble to intercept VIII Bomber Command’s 27th mission. 1st Bomb Wing B-17s attacked the U-boat pens at Lorient. They were over the target at 11:38, and three B-17s were lost.
Four FW 190s from the Stab III./J.G. 2 took off to intercept, and Oblt. Mayer downed one of the B-17s in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/48/4/7 from 6,000 m at 11:42 (57). Lt. Fritz Rösle flew his third mission, but had no success.
Nine FW 190s of 7./J.G. 2 scrambled towards midday to intercept American bombers. On his 302nd mission, Fw. Knappe of 7./J.G. 2 shot down one of the B-17s at 11:45 in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/45/2/1 from 5,000 m. Lt. George-Peter Eder got his first victory with 7./J.G. 2 at 11:55, a B-17 in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/48/5/7 at 5,000 m (12). Other unsuccessful 7./J.G. 2 pilots taking part were Oblt. Hohagen on his 362nd mission, Lt. Holzapfel on his twelfth mission, Uffz. Löhse, and Obgefr. Kreuzer on his fourth mission. Uffz. Karl Löhse of 7./J.G. 2 was shot down by bomber’s gunners at 11:50 in the sea in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/4864 in FW 190 A-4 W.Nr 0142 470 ‘White 12 + I’. He was posted missing.
8./J.G. 2 pilots claimed three victories in the combat. Fw. Ebert downed a B-17 at 13:17 in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/48/5/7 from 5,900 m (5). Uffz. Friedrich May claimed a B-17 at 13:30 in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/59/3/5 from 1,000 m (5). The third B-17 was shot down by Lt. Hans-Ulrich Tartsch, who got his victory in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/59/1/8 from 1,000 m at 13:38 (1).
There were also two victories claimed by 9./J.G. 2. The Staffelkapitän, Oblt. Schnell claimed a B-17 at 11:52 west of the Île de Groix from 5,000 m (74). Lt. Bruno Eder was the other 9./J.G. 2 claimant, getting his victory at 11:56 in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/48/5/7 from 5,900 m (1).
Later in the afternoon 8./J.G. 2 claimed two more B-17s shot down. Lt. Wilhelm Godt claimed the first at 19:36 in Pl.Qu. 14 West N/59/1/8 from 1,000 m (1). Lt. Hans-Joachim Schmidt claimed the second two minutes later in the same location from 1,500 m (1).
In the period covered by this article III./J.G. 2 converted to the FW 190 and entered combat with it, enjoying great success in the summer of 1942, before moving to north-western France where the Gruppe began to face the American heavy bombers. The unit's pilots quickly adapted to this challenge, and achieved a degree of success against the ‘heavies’.
During this period losses were not too heavy. That would become a serious problem later in 1943, as Allied air superiority grew over Europe. III./J.G.2 used the FW 190 for the rest of the war, and by 1945 was using the FW 190 D-9.
BA-MA RL 10/681
NA AIR 40/1887
NA AIR 40/2410
NA AIR 40/2411
Ring, Hans ‘JG 2 loss list’
Goss, Chris Luftwaffe Fighter-Bombers Over Britain: The Tip and Run Campaign, 1942-43, Crécy, Manchester, 2003.
Neitzel, Sonke Der Einsatz der deutschen Luftwaffe über dem Atlantik und der Nordsee 1939-1945, Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Bonn, 1995.
Rodeike, Peter Focke-Wulf Jagdflugzeug - FW 190A, FW 190 "Dora", Ta 152H, Struve-Druck, Eutin, 1998.
Weal, J. Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Western Front, Osprey Publishing, Botley, 1996.
Wood, W.J.A. ‘Losses of Jagdgeschwader Richthofen Nr. 2 (JG 2)’
Wood, W.J.A. ‘RAF Fighter Command Combats & Casualties 1942’
Wood, W.J.A. ‘RAF Fighter Command Combats & Casualties 1943’
Zirus, W. Als Schlachtflieger im Einsatz, Band 1, Editura Modelism, Budapest, 1998.
More to come soon ...
|A well-known shot of an FW 190 A-2 or A-3 of the 9. Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 2. Note the toned down wing and fuselage crosses. The lower cowling is yellow, as is the III. Gruppe bar and obscured individual code number.
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