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Fw190

Manufacturer : Fokke-Wulf
Number Built :
Production Began : 1940
Retired : 1945
Type : Fighter

The Focke-Wulf 190 development project began in 1937. Conceived as a hedge against total dependence on the Messerchmitt 109, the 190 was designed by Kurt Tank utilizing a radial engine. This was against generally accepted design criteria in Germany, and many historians believe that the decision to produce a radial engine fighter was largely due to the limited manufacturing capacity for in-line, water-cooled engines which were widely used on all other Luftwaffe aircraft. Despite these concerns, Tanks design was brilliant, and the 190 would become one of the top fighter aircraft of WWII. The first prototype flew in mid-1939. The aircraft had excellent flying characteristics, a wonderful rate of acceleration, and was heavily armed. By late 1940 the new fighter was ordered into production. Nicknamed the butcher bird, by Luftwaffe pilots, early 190s were quite successful in the bomber interceptor role, but at this stage of the war many Allied bombing raids lacked fighter escort. As the war dragged on, Allied bombers were increasingly accompanied by fighters, including the very effective P-51 Mustang. The Allies learned from experience that the 190s performance fell off sharply at altitudes above 20,000 feet. As a result, most Allied bombing missions were shifted to higher altitudes when fighter opposition was likely. Kurt Tank had recognized this shortcoming and began working on a high-altitude version of the 190 utilizing an in-line, water-cooled engine. Utilizing a Jumo 12-cylinder engine rated at 1770-HP, and capable of 2,240-HP for short bursts with its methanol injection system, the 190D, or Long Nose or Dora as it was called, had a top speed of 426-MPH at 22,000 feet. Armament was improved with two fuselage and two wing mounted 20mm cannon. To accommodate the changes in power plants the Dora had a longer, more streamlined fuselage, with 24 inches added to the nose, and an additional 19 inches added aft of the cockpit to compensate for the altered center of gravity. By mid 1944 the Dora began to reach fighter squadrons in quantity. Although the aircraft had all the right attributes to serve admirably in the high altitude interceptor role, it was not generally focused on such missions. Instead many 190Ds were assigned to protect airfields where Me-262 jet fighters were based. This was due to the latter aircrafts extreme vulnerability to Allied attack during takeoff and landing. The 190Ds also played a major role in Operation Bodenplatte, the New Years Day raid in 1945 which destroyed approximately 500 Allied aircraft on the ground. The High Command was impressed with the 190Ds record on this raid, and ordered most future production of the Doras to be equipped as fighter-bombers. In retrospect this was a strategic error, and this capable aircraft was not fully utilized in the role for which it was intended.

Fw190


Latest Fw190 Artwork Releases !
 On the night of 23/24 August 1943, a lone Fw190 of the Luftwaffe's crack unit JG300 Wilde Sau, defiantly engages a force of RAF Lancasters in the heavily defended, flak-torn skies over Berlin.  With the heavy bombers illuminated by bursting flak and the fires of the burning city below, the Luftwaffe pilot engages his target, just one of over 700 RAF long-range bombers thrown into the assault that night.  It was the opening salvo to the Battle of Berlin, the long and bitter aerial offensive against Hitler's seat of power that would rage throughout the winter to follow.  From November 1943 till March 1944 RAF Bomber Command would make 16 massed attacks on Berlin.  When the battle was over, the capital of the Third Reich lay shattered and in ruin, but the crews of RAF Bomber Command had paid a heavy price - 492 aircraft failed to return.

Berlin Boar Fight by Anthony Saunders.
 Concealed in the woods of northern France, Fw190 pilots break cover ready for a quick take-off to intercept Allied bombers in the summer of 1944.  One of the great fighters of World War II, the Fw190 for a time came to dominate the war-torn skies of Europe and was flown by many of the Luftwaffe's great Aces.

Breaking Cover by Robert Taylor.
 Following intelligence reports that the German destroyer Z.33 was anchored in Forde Fjord, Norway, together with a selection of minesweepers, tugs and trawlers, Beaufighters of 144, 404 and 455 Sqns were at once scrambled to attack the shipping, fully expecting their assault to take the Germans by surprise.  Quite the contrary transpired to be true however and the attacking Beaufighters had to fly through a hail of flak and anti aircraft fire to line up on their targets.  Moreover, Focke-Wulf 190s of 9/JG 5 joined the melee and a frantic battle ensued.  Here, one Beaufighter has become a victim of an Fw.190, whilst a 144 Sqn aircraft tries to make a low level escape, close to the forbidding Fjord rock face.

The Blackest Friday by Ivan Berryman.
 Leading 433 (Canadian) Squadron, top Allied Fighter Ace Johnnie Johnson -Greycap Leader - has already bagged an Fw190, and is hauling his MKIX Spitfire around looking for a second in heavy dog-fighting over the Rhine, September 1944. In the distance more enemy fighters appear, they too will receive the attention of the Canadians.

Greycap Leader by Robert Taylor. (B)

Fw190 Artwork Collection



Cat Among the Pigeons (FW190) by Ivan Berryman.


Fw190A-4, Winter 1944 by Ivan Berryman.


Fw190F Fighters - Winter 1943 by Ivan Berryman.

Willi Reschkes Fw190A8 of III./JG301 during October 1944 by Ivan Berryman.


Focke Wulf Fw190A-4/U8 by Ivan Berryman.


Bill Reid VC by Graeme Lothian. (P)


Focke-Wulf Fw190A-5/U8 by Ivan Berryman.


Fw190 by Jason Askew. (P)


Focke Wulf Supremacy by Ivan Berryman.


Erich Rudorffer - Eastern Front Ace by Brian Bateman. (P)


Erich Rudorffer by Brian Bateman. (P)


The Battle for the Skies Over Dieppe, 19th August 1942 by Graeme Lothian.


Winter Wolves by Nicolas Trudgian.


Hannes Trautloft by Graeme Lothian.


Looking for Business by Ivan Berryman.


Knights Realm by Brian Bateman.


Eismeer Patrol by Anthony Saunders.

The Last Offensive by Nicolas Trudgian.


Checkertail Clan by Nicolas Trudgian


Operation Bodenplatte by Nicolas Trudgian.


Twilight Conquest by Nicolas Trudgian.


First Strike on Berlin by Nicolas Trudgian.


Hostile Sky by Robert Taylor


Ramrod by Robert Taylor


Greycap Leader by Robert Taylor.


On the Prowl by Philip West (AP)


Mountain Wolf by Nicolas Trudgian


Timber Wolf by Nicolas Trudgian.

Winter Combat by Nicolas Trudgian.


Ardennes Offensive by Nicolas Trudgian.


Ramraiders by Robert Tomlin.


Savage Skies by Robert Taylor.

Ramraiders by Richard Taylor.

Snow Warriors by Nicolas Trudgian.


Storm Chasers by Nicolas Trudgian.


Day of the Fighters by Nicolas Trudgian.


Green Heart Warriors by Nicolas Trudgian. (B)


The Blackest Friday by Ivan Berryman.


Breaking Cover by Robert Taylor.


Berlin Boar Fight by Anthony Saunders.

Hauptmann Hermann-Friedrich Joppien, Knights Cross. by Richard Hook.


Holding the Line, Dunaburg, Latvia, 21st July 1944 by David Pentland.


Head on Pass by David Pentland.


Unhappy New Year by David Pentland.


Hunting Sturmoviks by David Pentland.


Lucky 13 by David Pentland.


African Expedition by David Pentland.


Fw190s by Ivan Berryman.

Tough Day by James Dietz.


Predator by Keith Aspinall.

Focke-Wulf Fw190 by Malcolm V Lowe.


Ice Warriors by Nicolas Trudgian.

Focke Wulf Fw190 Aces of the Russian Front.

Focke-Wulf Fw190 Aces of the Western Front.

Fighter Aircraft of World War Two - Focke-Wulf FW190.

Gathering Storm by Robert Taylor.

Swansong by Robert Taylor.


Eagles on the Channel Front by Robert Taylor.


No Turning Back by Robert Taylor.


Long Nose Trouble by Stan Stokes.

Ivan the Terrible by Stan Stokes.

Top 100000 Aces for this aircraft
NameVictoriesInfo
Gunther Rall signatures275.00
Otto Kittel267.00
Kurt Tanzer143.00
Alfred Grislawski signatures133.00
Rudolf Rademacher126.00
Dieter Hrabak signatures125.00
Heinz Marquardt signatures121.00
Anton Dobele94.00
Josef Jennewein86.00
Hugo Broch signatures81.00
Alfred Teumer76.00
Adolf Glunz signatures72.00
Alfred Heckmann71.00
Heinz Lange signatures70.00
Hermann Buchner signatures58.00
Gunther Seeger signatures56.00
Herbert Koller signatures49.00
Gerhard Schopfel signatures45.00
Norbert Hannig signatures42.00
Erwin Leykauf signatures33.00
Werner Hohenberg signatures33.00
Willi Reschke signatures28.00
Robert Spreckels21.00
Wolfgang Schenck signatures18.00
Siegfried Muller signatures17.00
Heinz Radlauer15.00
Hans-Ulrich Rudel signatures11.00
Leander Mayer11.00
Alfred Ambs signatures7.00
More...
Squadrons which flew this aircraft
SquadronInfo
JG1
JG11
JG2
JG26
JG3
JG300
JG301
JG302
JG4
JG5
JG51
JG54
JGr Ost
SG10
SG2
SG3
Pilot signatures for this aircraft
NameInfo
Dieter Hrabak (deceased)Dieter Hrabak was shot down in his first aerial combat during the Polish Campaign. He survived to become one of the Luftwaffes most respected and popular leaders. He scored his first victory in the Battle of France, and got 15 more during the Battle of Britain. By Eagle Day he was in command of II./JG 54, which he led until taking command of JG 52 in 1942. He was the first JG 54 Ace to be awarded the Knights Cross. He ended the war back in command of JG 54, and was credited with 125 victories.

Dieter Hrabak was born on 19th December 1914 in a small village near Leipzig. Upon graduation from high school, he hoped to become a commercial pilot, but in 1934 Hrabak joined the Reichsmarine. Within 6 months he transferred to the newly formed Luftwaffe for flight training. By April 1939, Hrabak was recognised as an experienced pilot and given command of a squadron in Vienna. On his very first combat mission in September 1939 over Poland, he was shot down - the first of 11 times. Hrabaks first aerial victory came during the Battle of France. Flying an Me109, he claimed five more victories before the armistice. In the summer of 1940, his squadron was incorporated into a newly formed fighting wing, JG54 Green Hearts. Hrabak commanded II./JG54, one of the wings three groups as the Luftwaffe began its assault on England. During the Batttle of Britain he brought his score to 16 Royal Air Force fighters and Field Marshal Goring personally decorated him with the Knights Cross. In the spring of 1941, II./JG54 flew in the short campaign against Yugoslavia. When Operation Barbarosa began in Russia, he flew on the northern sector of the front and fought over Leningrad. In November 1942, Hrabak took command of JG52 on the southern front and fought over Stalingrad. In August 1943, he got his 100th aerial victory and in November, Hitler awarded him Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross. In early 1944, JG52 achieved its 10,000th aerial victory - the most by any Luftwaffe wing. In October 1944, he returned to his old wing, the Green Hearts, as Commander. Flying the Focke Wulf Fw190, he fought until near the end of the war in Kurland. After the war, he worked in the auto and chemical industry. He was a key architect in rebuilding the modern German Air Force. In 1953, Chancellor Adenaur asked him to help form a new German Air Force. Hrabak personally interviewed most of the officers who would form the nucleus. In mid-1955, he came to the United States and trained on modern jets. In the summer of 1956, he returned home to command the Advanced Pilot Training Centre at Furstenfeldbruck AB. By 1960, he commanded all GAF flying training centres. Two years later, he took charge of the air defence sector covering northern Germany and the Netherlands. In 1964, he was named NATOs Chief of Air Defence, Central Europe, until he became special manager for the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. Finally, as a major general, he commanded the GAFs tactical command, retiring on 1st October 1970. He died on 15th September 1995.
Feldwebel Erich BrunotteBorn in 1923, Erich Brunotte joined the Luftwaffe and started immediate pilot training in June 1941. He flew on the Eastern Front with 1./Gruppe Nauhaufklarungs Geschwader 102, and later transferred to fly with IV./Jagdgeswader 51 Molders, in the 13th Staffel. Promoted to Unteroffizier in December 1944, and Feldwebel in April 1945, he flew most marks of the Bf109, and the Fw190. His very last combat mission was in the Fw Dora 9 on 3rd May 1945 at Flensburg in northen Germany.
Feldwebel Heinz RadlauerHeinz Radlauer learnt to fly gliders in 1940, aged 17, and joined the Luftwaffe in August 1941. After Fighter School, in June 1944 he was posted to join JG51 Molders then fighting on the Eastern Front near Minsk, scoring his first victory in October of that year. Heinz Radlauer fleew the Bf109G, the Fw190A, and at the end of the war the Fw190D, by which time he had notched up over 100 combat missions, flying his last combat mission on 30th April 1945. Credited with 15 air victories, all on the Eastern Front, he was awarded the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class.
Feldwebel Herbert KollerPosted to II./JG54 on the Eastern Front, Herbert Koller flew Fw190s with 5./JG54, scoring his first victory on 19th February 1943, over an Il-2. By the end of the year his victory claims had risen to 12, including 8 Il-2 Shturmoviks, and a Boston bomber. The year 1944 saw intense combat 5./JG54 on an almost daily basis, and month by month Herbert Kollers victories continued to mount, by the end of 1944 his tally had risen to 48. His final, and 49th victory came on 9th April 1945 when he downed a Yak 3.
Feldwebel Oskar BoschFlew Fw190s in the East and West with JG3 scoring 18 victories.
General Gunther Rall (deceased)A young pilot with III/JG52 at the outbreak of war. He quickly demonstrated his natural ability and leadership qualities, scoring his first air victory early in the Battle of Britain, and by July 1940 was leading 8/JG52. After transfer to the Eastern Front his air victories mounted at an astonishing rate. A crash hospitalised him but within nine months he was back in the cockpit, and, when commanding III/JG52, gained the Wings 500th victory. Gunther fought throughout the war to become the 3rd highest Ace in history with 275 victories. He was awarded the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. Gunther Rall was born on March 10, 1918 in the small Bavarian town of Gaggenau, Baden. Immersing himself in Boy Scout activities during the difficult economic times in Germany following WW 1, Rall finished school in 1936 and joined the German Army. Influenced by a friend, who was a young officer in the Luftwaffe, Rall entered pilots school in 1938. His initial posting was with JG52. He attained his first aerial victory during the Battle of France in May of 1940. During the Battle of Britain JG52 absorbed many casualties, and Rall was promoted to Squadron Commander at the young age of 22. With his fair-hair and smooth complexion the young officer looked even younger than his years. But behind this pleasant exterior was a fierce competitor with the heart of a tiger. Later, Ralls squadron would support the attack on Crete, followed by deployment to the Southern Sector on the Eastern Front. Ralls victory totals began to mount. Following his 37 th victory, GiInther was himself shot down. He was lucky to survive the crash, but with a badly broken back he would spend most of the next year in various hospitals. In Vienna at the University Hospital he would meet his future wife, Hertha. Miraculously, Rall recovered and returned to the Luftwaffe in August of 1942. By November his score exceeded 100 and he was awarded the Oak Leaves to accompany the Knights Cross he was awarded only weeks earlier. As the War progressed against Russia, Rall began to encounter ever more experienced Soviet pilots flying better performing aircraft. Despite this fact, and being shot down several more times himself, Ralls victory tally kept rising. By March of 1944 the ace had attained 273 aerial victories. With the War now going badly for Germany, Rall was transferred to the Western Front. He was able to attain only two more victories against the swarms of Allied bombers and fighter escorts which now pounded Germany every day and night. In May of 1944 Rall was shot down by a P-47. Losing his thumb in the battle he remained out of combat until later in 1944. Ralls final assignments included flying 190Ds as Kornmodore of JG300, and flying the Me-262 jet. Ralls 275 aerial victories (attained on less than 700 combat sorties) make him the third highest scoring ace of all time. If not for the down time suffered as a result of his broken back, Rall might have actually equaled or exceeded Erich Hartmanns alltime record of 352 aerial victories. Rall was not much for socializing during the War. He was a fierce competitor with a businessmans attitude about flying. He was an excellent marksman, and possibly the best deflection shot expert of the War. He continued to fly with the Bundeslufwaffe following the War, serving as its Commander-In Chief in 1970-74. Sadly Gunther Rall died on 4th October 2009.
Generalmajor Josef HaibockFlew Me109s & Fw190s in the West & East with JG26, JG52 & JG3 scoring 77 victories.
Hans Rudel (deceased)Hans Rudel, born in July 1916, was the most decorated Nazi pilot. In 2,530 combat missions flying dive-bombers, mainly on the Russian front, Rudel was credited with destroying 519 tanks, 150 gun emplacements and 800 combat vehicles of various types. According to Luftwaffe records, he also sunk a Russian battleship, a cruiser, a destroyer, 70 smaller craft and numerous trains. For this he was awarded the Golden Oakleaves with Sword and Diamonds to the Knights Cross. He was the only recipient of this award. He was also the first German pilot to reach 1,000 sorties. Of his over 2530 sorties, some 400 were in the Focke-Wulf 190 fighter, in which he was credited with 11 air victories. He was so effective that Joseph Stalin himself put a price of 100,00 rubles on his head. He flew more than 600,000 km; fired over 1,000,000 machine gun rounds; dropped over 1,000,000kg of bombs; fired over 150,000 rounds of 20mm ammunition and over 5,000 rounds of 37mm ammunition. He hated to take home leave or sick leave and even after he had his leg amputated, he was back in the air within weeks. He did not limit his attacks to Russian tanks, trains, ships or aircraft. On more than one occasion when food was in short supply, he would bomb rivers and both the German airmen and Russian civilians would feast on the stunned fish that floated to the surface. Rudel was shot down several times, but escaped serious injury until April 1945, when he lost a leg in combat. Rudel flew the Ju87 B-2 Stuka dive bomber and, in all of its ugliness, the bomber was made famous by him. His accomplishments with an aircraft that was outdated and vulnerable were incredible. He was captured by Allied forces at the end of the war, and released from a POW camp in April 1946. He died 18th December 1982.

The signatures : Hans Rudel had arranged to be interviewed by a professor of military history, who was also an author, in 1982. Many similar interviews had been conducted with other military heroes, during which the interviewee had signed various photographs, blank sheets and bookplates for use in the author's publications, although many were never published as intended. Rudel was also due to sign such items. However, the interview had been arranged to be conducted at a Luftwaffe reunion, which Rudel could not attend due to ill health. However, a friend of Rudel's, a RCAF mechanic, took the items to him to be signed, which they duly were, although Rudel died before any interview could take place. Cranston Fine Arts purchased the signatures from the original collection. All signatures on prints are therefore 'mounted' signatures, placed in a mount with the print, rather than the print itself being signed.
Hauptmann Alfred Grislawski (deceased)Alfred Grislawski joined 9./JG52 in 1940, quickly becoming an Ace. An outstanding fighter pilot, his air victories were 133 in over 800 combat missions until he was severely wounded. he was awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves. Died 19th September 2003.
Hauptmann Gunther NordenholtzAfter joining the Luftwaffe in December 1941 and training as a fighter pilot, Gunther Nordenholz joined JG11 where he flew Messerschmitt Bf-109s and Fw190s, scoring a victory over a P-51 Mustang. He flew against the heavy bombers of the US Eighth Air Force in the Defense of the Reich, and fought in combat against B-24s over western France during the Normandy Invasion. Posted to Bremen in late 1944, he was wounded during an air raid at his base, before being transferred to the Eastern Front. He finished the war flying the Bucker Bu181 and was captured by the British on 8 May 1944, later rejoining the new German Air Force as an instructor.
Hauptmann Karl-Fritz Schlossstein (deceased)Karl-Fritz Schlossstein initially flew Me110 heavy destroyers with JG5, when th Group first arrived in Norway in 1942 to provide air cover for the convoys supplying the rapidly increasing German garrison in that country. He commanded 13(Z)/JG5 from the summer of 1942 to June 1943, and then converted to fly Me109s. Later in Norway he flew the Me410 Hornet with ZG76, but finished the war with JG54 Greenhearts flying Fw190s in the Defence of the Reich. He died on 18th July 2017.
Karl-Georg Genth12th Staffel D-9 pilot Uffz Karl-Georg Genth, who flew with III./JG26. Genth was shot down in Yellow 15 near Enschede on 7th March 1945 by Tempests of No.3 Squadron, bailing out and hitting the tailplane of his D-9, and breakinghis left arm in the fall. Genth also flew the 109G-6, G-10 and K-4 variants, and flew with the extremely popular Hptm Walter Krupinski on several missions in which Krupinski was Gruppenkommandeur. Genth also took part in the air battle which brought down the famed Tempest ace Foob Fairbanks on 28th February 1945. Genth tallied a final total of 2 victories.
Leutnant Alfred Ambs (deceased)Born in Gladbeck on the 23rd January 1923, Alfred Ambs joined the Luftwaffe on the 10th July 1942. Initiqally attached to a training unit, he flew Ju88s, Me110s, Me109 and Fw190 aircraft. He was in the following units : Flg.Rgt. 53, Luftkriegsschule 3, Flugzeugfhrerschule C14 in Prague. Flugzeugfhrerschule B33 (Prague-Rusin), and Zerstrergeschwader 101. As the war situation worsened, Ambs was transferred to train on the new Messerschmitt 262 fighter with JG7 in Lechfeld. Flying with this unit, Ambs shot down 6 Allied aircraft to finish the war an Me 262 jet Ace. He flew his last mission on 23rd March 1945, and had flown a total of nearly 75 missions on the Me262. Sadly, Alfred Ambs passed away on 30th March 2010.
Leutnant Hugo BrochVital to all fighter units are the pilots who make such superb wingmen that their leaders are loath to part with them. Hugo Broch was one such wingman. Having joined VI./JG54 in January he flew first with Horst Adameit (166 victories), and later with Bazi Sterr (130 victories), but soon demonstrated his own skill in combat. By the end of 1944 he had lifted his personal score to 71 victories. One of JG54s great Fw190 Aces, Hugo Broch saw combat on the Eastern and Baltic Fronts, and completed the war having flown 324 combat missions, and claiming 81 victories. He was awarded the Knights Cross.
Leutnant Jorg CzypionkaVery few Luftwaffe pilots flew the Me262 jet as a night-fighter. Jorg Czypionka was one of them. In 1944 he flew Fw190 and Me109 night fighters before moving to 10./NJG11 flying high altitude Me109s. In January 1945 he joined a new unit - Kommando Welter - which was formed within 10./NJG11 to counter the RAF Mosquitos flying fast intruder operations. Equipped with single seat Me262 fighters he flew his jet 'Red 6' alongside the top scoring jet ace of all time, Kurt Welter, scoring two confirmed night victories over Mosquitos.
Leutnant Kurt WuppermannKurt Wupperrnann was called up in 1942, and with a love of flying, joined the Luftwaffe. After completing his pilot training, he was posted to join JG54 Greenhearts flying the Fw190A-8. Transferring to the northern sector of the Eastern Front, he notched up three quick victories and flew oil combat operations continually until 18 December 1944, when he was shot down over the Baltic near Riga, making an emergency landing. On theground, he was rescued by Strafgeschwader 291, but had suffered bad facial injuries. So great was the need for experienced pilots in the last months of the war however that after six weeks in hospital he was patched up and flying combat again.
Leutnant Norbert Hannig (deceased)Norbert Hannig began operations with JG54 on the Eastern Front near Leningrad in early 1943, flying first the Messerschmitt Bf109G, later converting to the Fw190. He became a Staffelkapitan with JG54, notching up an impressive 42 victories. Towards the end of the war, in early 1945, he converted to fly the new jet fighter, the Me262, and flew it in combat with III./JG7 from their airfield base at Brandenberg-Briest. Norbert Hannig died on 21st February 2014.
Leutnant Siegfried Muller (deceased)Born in 1924, Siegfried Muller first flew with JG1 Molders in the south of France. In 1943 he took part in the air battles over Salerno and Monte Cassino. He joined IV./JG3 Udet in June 1944, where he was promoted to Staffelkapitan of 16 Staffel /IV Sturm Gruppe flying heavily armoured Fw190s. With this Gruppe he took part in the Ardennes Offensive and on 1st January 1945, Operation Bodenplatte. At the end of the war he was attached to JG7 for training on the Me262 jet fighter. Awarded the Iron Cross 1 and 2, he scored 17 victories, including 9 four-engined bombers.
Leutnant Wilhelm Noller (deceased)Wilhelm Noller joined the Luftwaffe in 1939 and trained as a bomber pilot. In May 1942 he was posted to join 2./StG 2 fighting on the Eastern Front. He took part in the battles of Kursk and Stalingrad, and became one of the most successful pilots of StG 2. By early 1943 his combat mission total passed the 500 mark, rising to over 800 by the end of the year. He was awarded the Knights Cross in April 1944, a few weeks after passing the 1000 mission mark. After a period instructing, he returned to combat in February 1945, flying the Fw190 with 7./SG 10 in Czechoslovakia. Wounded in April 1945, and hospitalised in Prague, he was taken prisoner by the Soviets when they took over the city in May. Transported east by rail towards Russia, he jumped from the moving train and escaped back to Germany. During the war he had flown 1058 missions, destroyed 86 tanks, 2 armoured trains, plus many vehicles, boats and bridges. He also gained 2 victories in aerial combat. Wilhelm Noller passed away on 26th December 2011.
Major Erich Rudorffer (deceased)Erich Rudorffer was born on November 1st 1917 in the town of Zwickau in Saxony. Erich Rudorffer joined the Luftwaffes I./JG2 Richthofen in November 1939, and was soon flying combat patrols in January 1940 and was assigned to I/JG 2 Richthofen with the rank of Oberfeldwebel. He took part in the Battle of France, scoring the first of his many victories over a French Hawk 75 on May 14th, 1940. He went on to score eight additional victories during the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain. Rudorffer recalled an incident in August 1940 when he escorted a badly damaged Hurricane across the Channel - ditching in the English Channel was greatly feared by pilots on both sides. As fate often does, Rudorffer found the roles reversed two weeks later, when he was escorted by an RAF fighter after receiving battle damage. By May 1st 1941 Rudorffer had achieved 19 victories, which led to the award of the Knights Cross. In June 1941 Rodorffer became an Adjutant of II./JG2. In 1942 Rudorffer participated in Operation Cerberus (known as the Channel Dash) and flew over the Allied landings at Dieppe. Erich Rudorffer along with JG2 was transferred to North Africa in December 1942. It was in North Africa that Rudorffer showed his propensity for multiple-victory sorties. He shot down eight British aircraft in 32 minutes on February 9th 1943 and seven more in 20 minutes six days later. After scoring a total of 26 victories in Tunisia, Rudorffer returned to France in April 1943 and was posted to command II./JG54 in Russia, after Hauptmann Heinrich Jung, its Kommodore, failed to return from a mission on July 30th 1943. On August 24th 1943 he shot down 5 Russian aircraft on the first mission of the day and followed that up with three more victories on the second mission. He scored seven victories in seven minutes on October 11th but his finest achievement occurred on November 6th when in the course of 17 minutes, he shot down thirteen Russian aircraft. Rudorffer became known to Russian pilots as the fighter of Libau. On October 28th 1944 while about to land, Rudorffer spotted a large formation of Il-2 Sturmoviks. He quickly aborted the landing and moved to engage the Russian aircraft. In under ten minutes, nine of the of the II-2 Sturmoviks were shot down causing the rest to disperse. Rudorffer would later that day go on and shoot down a further two Russian aircraft. These victories took his total to 113 and he was awarded the Oak Leaves on April 11th 1944. Rudorffer would on the 26th January 1945 on his 210th victory receive the addition of the Swords. In February 1945 Rudorffer took command of I./JG7 flying the Me262. He was one of the first jet fighter aces of the war, scoring 12 victories in the Me262. He shot down ten 4-engine bombers during the "Defense of the Reich missions". He was the master of multiple scoring - achieving more multiple victories than any other pilot. Erich Rudorffer never took leave, was shot down 16 times having to bail out 9 times, and ended the war with 222 victories from over 1000 missions. He was awarded the Knights Cross, with Oak Leaves and Swords. Erich Rudorffer died on 8th April 2016.
Major Gerhard Schopfel (deceased)Gerhard Schopfel was Staffelkapitan of 9./JG26 at the outbreak of war, and became Kommandeur of III./JG26 in August 1940. In December 1941 he succeeded Adolf Galland as Kommodore of JG26 until Januray 1943. Later, Kommodore of JG4 and JG6. He flew over 700 combat missions, achieving 40 victories, all in the West. He was awarded the Knight's Cross in 1940. Died 17th May 2003.
Major Heinz Lange (deceased)At the outbreak of war Heinz Lange was with I./JG21 scoring his first victory in October 1939. He flew 76 missions in the Battle of Britain with 8./JG54, and never lost a wingman. After flying in the Balkan campaign he took part in the invasion of Russia, scoring 7 victories during the first week. In October 1941 he was given command of 1./JG54 and in 1942 command of 3./JG51. In January 1944 Heinz Lange returned to JG54 to command 1.Gruppe and then back to JG51 where he was appointed Kommodore of JG51 Molders, leading IV./JG51 at the same time. Heinz Lange flew over 628 missions and achieved 70 victories. He was awarded the Knight's Cross. Born 2nd October 1917, died 26th February 2006.
Major Wolfgang Schenck (deceased)Born 7th February 1913, Wolfgang Schenck joined the Luftwaffe in 1936. After training he was assigned to JG132 flying Me109s before the squadron was renamed ZG1 and converted to Me110s. He took part in operations against Poland, Norway and France but was hospitalised for three months after being wounded. After recovering, he joined EG210, an experimental squadron, to develop fighter bomber tactics. Renamed as SG210, the squadron later took part in the advance into Russia, where Schenck was awarded his Knights Cross. In March 1942 Schenck took command of 1./ZG1, and was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross with this unit. He went on to command SG2, flying Fw190s in the Mediterranean. Later, from December 1944 to January 1945, Schenck commanded KG51, flying the newly developed Me262 jet fighter-bomber. Flying over 400 missions, Schenck scored 18 aerial victories and sunk 28,000 tons of shipping. Wolfgang Schenck passed away on 5th March 2010.
Oberfahnrich Heinz MeyerOne of the most successful of the younger Stuka pilots, Heinz Meyer joined the Luftwaffe in January 1940, and completed his Stuka pilot training in 1942. In July of that year he first saw action 3./St.G. 102 in Foggia, Italy, whilst flying on an armed reconnaissance mission. In February 1943 he joined 8./SG2 Immelmann on the Eastern Front. With his Staffel he was one of the most highly regarded pilots on the entire Eastern front and took part in the Battle of Kursk with Rudel. Heinz flew his 500th combat mission on 31st May 1944, and received the German Cross in August 1944. By the end of the war he had completed 618 combat missions, including 30 in the Fw190, and destroyed 40 tanks, 40 gun positions, 100 vehicles, 3 bridges, 2 ammunition dumps and 2 supply trains. He was awarded the Knights Cross on 17th April 1945.
Oberfeldwebel Erich AxthammerBorn 3rd December 1920, he joined the Luftwaffe in November 1938, learning to fly on Me109s and Me110s. He was posted to the eastern front flying the Hs123. In March 1943, he joined SG1, again on the eastern front, flying over 300 missions with the Hs123. He then served with 1./SG152, 5./SG77 and later 8./SG10 from August 1944. After 505 missions he was awarded the Knights Cross on 28th April 1945. He also flew the Fw190. In a final total of 530 missions, 305 of which were on the Hs123, he destroyed many ground targets, including armoured vehicles, supply vehicles and flak guns. After the war he became a miner, but rejoined the Bundesluftwaffe in 1958, as a carrier and helicopter pilot, retiring in 1979.
Oberfeldwebel Heinz Marquardt (deceased)In late 1941 Heinz Marquardt was with a training squadron south of Paris. In August 1943 he was posted to join IV./JG51 in Russia, achieving his first victory two months later. Shot down eight times, he once achieved twelve victories in a single day. Awarded the Knight's Cross in November 1944, he flew a total of 320 missions, and scored 121 victories. Sadly, Heinz Marquardt died 19th December 2003, aged 80.
Oberfeldwebel Werner Hohenberg (deceased)Werner Hohenberg joined JG52 in July 1942, flying with 8th Staffel. On July 9th 1942 he was badly wounded when his aircraft was hit by Russian flak, causing him to be in hospital until November 1st, 1944. He was then posted to JG2 'Richtofen' on the Western Front. On January 1st, 1945 he took part in Operation Bodenplatte, and was again shot down, this time by US flak. Landing behind British lines he was taken POW. Werner Hohenberg flew over 200 combat missions, scoring 33 air victories. He was awarded the Iron Cross. He died in October 2001.
Oberfeldwebel Willi ReschkeOne of the outstanding younger Luftwaffe pilots, Willi Reschke was one of the leading members of JG300 Wilde Sau flying the Fw190A in the 'Defence of the Reich'. Towards the latter months of the war he transferred to the Stabsschwarm of JG301, still flying the Fw190A. Awarded the Knight's Crossin April 1945, he was credited with 26 victories - all in the west - including 18 four engined bombers.
Oberleutnant Adolf Glunz (deceased)Adolf Glunz served with 4/JG-52 on both the Channel Coast and then in Russia. Returning to the English Channel with II./JG-25 he became one of the most successful fighter pilots on the Western Front. Adolf Glunz saw combat continuously right up to the war end and, remarkably, was never shot down or wounded in over 574 missions, many whilst flying the Fw190. Awarded the Knight's Cross in 1943, he acheived a personal score of 71 victories. He died 1st August 2002.
Oberleutnant Erwin Leykauf (deceased)Born in January 1918, Erwin Leykauf learned to fly at glider school and Luftkriegschule, before being called up to fly at the beginning of the war. He flew with JG21 at the beginning of the Battle of Britain, which soon became JG54 where he scored his first 7 victories. Transferring to the Balkans and later the Eastern Front he was forced into an emergency landing behind enemy lines during Operation Barbarossa, eventually making his way back to rejoin his unit. On the night of 22nd - 23rd June 1942, he claimed 6 victories in less than one hour. In August 1943, Leykauf began converting with JG54 to the Fw190 fighter. At the end of the war he was with JG7, flying the Me262, although he did not get a chance to fly any missions on the jet fighter. Erwin was awarded the Iron Cross I and II and his victories had climbed to 33.
Oberleutnant Gerhard Thyben (deceased)Gerhard Thyben was born on 24th February 1922 in Kiel, Germany. Gerhard Thyben volunteered for military service in the Luftwaffe in late 1940 and by summer 1941 gained his pilots licence. Gerhard Gerd Thyben flew 385 combat missions and claimed 157 aerial victories. He claimed 152 victories on the Eastern Front, including 28 II-2 Sturmoviks and five victories on the Western Front. He flew 22 fighter-bomber missions on which he claimed two aircraft and seven trucks destroyed on the ground. On 8th May 1945 he claimed his last victory over the Baltic Sea. Thyben shot down a Petlyakov Pe2 that was almost certainly looking for German refugee ships escaping from the besieged Courland Pocket. Thyben caught the reconnaissance Pe2 at 07:54 and achieved what very well might have been the last Fw190 victory of World War II. The Pe2 crew, consisting of Starshiy Leytenantt Grigoriy Davidenko, Kapitan Aleksey Grachev, and Starshina Mikhail Murashko were all killed in the engagement. Thyben surrendered to the British on touching down. He was released in 1946 and later servied as an instructor with the Colombian Air Force. He died on 4th September 2006
Oberleutnant Gunther Seeger (deceased)In February 1940, Gunther Seeger was an Unteroffizier with 3./JG2, scoring his first victory in the early days of the Battle of Britain. he served on the Channel Front until December 1942, including several months with the Geschwaderstabsschwarm. He transferred to the Mediterranean theatre with II./JG2 before joining 6./JG53. In February 1943 he joined 7./JG53 becoming Staffelkapitan in September 1944. Awarded the Knight's Cross, Gunther Seeger scored 56 victories.
Oberleutnant Wolfgang WollenweberAfter his flight training Wolfgang was transferred to JG5 in the Arctic where he flew the Me110 on escort missions over the North Atlantic, Murmansk and Russia, he was then awarded the Iron Cross First Class. After this he retrained on the Fw190 fighter aircraft and rocket fighter Me163. Wolfgang flew the Heinkel He162 as a Squadron Leader of the first jet fighter squadron. This revolutionary jet was demanding even for the most experienced pilots, many of them did not survive, but miraculously he survived 14 missions on this aircraft.
Oberst Hajo Hermann (deceased)Hans-Joachim Hermann was born on August 1st 1913 in Kiel, Germany. Hans-Joachim Hermann began his military career as an infantry officer, but after his introduction to gliding and an invitation from Herman Gring, he transferred to the newly-created Luftwaffe and was commissioned in 1935. In August 1936, Herrmann was in the first group of Germans to arrive in Spain to support General Franco's Nationalist forces. Initially Hans-Joachim Hermann flew bombing operations in the Junkers 52 before becoming a founder member of the Condor Legion, whosemain mission was to attack airfields and defensive positions near Madrid. Many more bombing operations followed, and in April 1937 he returned to Germany. When Germany invading Poland Hermann took off in his Heinkel He111 to bomb railway lines in Poland on the first day. This was the first of 18 targets that Hermann attacked before his unit moved to support the German invasion of Norway. His unit was deployed to bomb targets near Oslo and Stavanger and after the fall of Norway, Hermann's unit was re-equipped with the Junkers 88 and moved to support the German army during the blitzkrieg across the Low Countries and France. During the battle of Britain Hermann was the commander of the 7th Staffel of KG-4, and he led many bombing attacks on England. His first target was oil refineries at Thames Haven and on the night of the 7th / 8th of September 1940 he attacked London. This was his 69th operation against England, when he bombed the India Dock. By the end of the Battle of Britian Hajo Hermann had flown 21 missions over London. A formidable figure in the Luftwaffe, Hajo Hermann was originally awarded the Knight's Cross in 1940 as a bomber pilot. In February 1941 while based in Sicily, Hermann led dive-bombing attacks against airfields on Malta. He was also ordered to hold the British Fleet in check. Attacks against the Royal Navy's heaviest ships followed. On April 7th 1941 following the German advance into Greece, Hermann's unit started mining and bombing operations in the eastern Mediterranean. On one attack, against shipping in Piraeus harbour, Hermann's bomb hit Clan Fraser, which was carrying 350 tons of high explosive. The resulting explosion sank 10 other ships and closed the port for many months. Hermann flew over 320 operations with KG4. In July 1941 Hermann was appointed commander of a bomber group, initially based in France to attack targets in England, before moving to a new base in the far north of Norway. His unit attacked Allied convoys heading for Murmansk with supplies for the Russians - these artic convoys included PQ-17, which was continously attacked. PQ -17 would lose a total of 24 merchantmen and only 11 ships made it through. With II./JG30, Hermann sank a total of 12 ships and in 1942 Hermann was assigned to the general staff in Germany, where he became a close confidant of Gring. In July 1942 he was appointed to the Luftwaffe operational staff. During the summer of 1943 as the Royal Air Force carried out night bombing raids, Hermann devised the tactic of using day fighters to hunt alone rather than in packs. As a bomber man himself, his ideas initially gained little support from the Luftwaffe's night fighter staff, but Gring supported the idea. Flown by experienced night fighter pilots and ex-instructors, the fighters waited in the darkness above their Allied targets, using the light of fires below to illuminate the bombers before attacking. He was responsible for the formation of JG300 and founded the highly successful Wilde Sau (Wild Boar) tactics of free roaming Fw190 night fighters. Hermann himself flew more than 50 wild boar missions and was twice forced to bail out of his stricken fighter. In December 1943 he was appointed Luftwaffe Inspector of Aerial Defence. At the end of 1944 he led the 9th Flieger division and created the famous Rammkommando. Hermann was credited with shooting down nine RAF bombers. After being Inspector General of night fighters, Hermann was appointed to command the First Fighter Division, when he continued to fly on operations. At the end of the war he was captured by the Russians. He spent 10 years in Soviet camps and was one of the last to be released, returning to Germany on October 12th 1955. Hajo Hermann awarded the Knight's Cross, Oak Leaves and Swords. Sadly, we have learned that Hajo Hermann passed away on 5th November 2010.
Oberst Hermann Buchner (deceased)Hermann Buchner was born in Salzburg, Austria, 30th October 1919. Hermann Buchners first combat role was ground attack. After 215 combat missions he was badly injured when his Me109 exploded at 22,000ft. Returning to action in 1943, he flew a further 200 missions before again being wounded. Back in action a third time, he fought in the Crimea and Romania. After 500 ground attack missions he transferred to join Nowotny, the Me262 jet trials unit, and then 9./JG7. He was the first jet pilot in history to score a victory. Hermann Buchner had 58 air victories plus 48 tanks, numerous trucks and anti-aircraft units. He was awarded the Knights Cross in July 1944. Hermann Buchner died in Lorsching, 1st December 2005, aged 86.
Unteroffizier Gerhard KottLuftwaffe Fw190 with 8 victories. Kott joined III./JG3 in 1943 flying Me109s on the Eastern front. Transferring to IV./JG3 he converted to the Fw190 Sturm, before joining JG4 Sturmgruppe, also on Fw190s. Here he shot down four B-17s and one B-24. After a period instructing he returned to the East, adding to his score. He finished the war with a total of 8 victories.
Unteroffizier Gunther Kolb (deceased)Gunther Kolb joined I./JG5 in the autumn of 1944 under the command of Major Weissenberger. A few weeks later, at the end of that year he was posted to join IV./JG5 in norway, where he flew both Me109s and Fw190s on coastal and shipping patrols until the end of the war.
Unteroffizier Gustav DreesBorn in 1923, Gustav Drees was called up for military service in 1942, and with a passion for flying joined the Luftwaffe. After training as a fighter pilot he was immediately posted to the Eastern Front with his first front-line unit - JG54 Green Hearts, where he flew the Me 109. In very early 1943 he became one of the first of the JG54 pilots to fly the Fw190A in combat. With four air victories to his credit with JG54 in Russia, towards the end of the war he was posted to join JG 108 in Austria, where he stayed until the end.
Unteroffizier Heinz KernHeinz Kern qualififed as a Luftwaffe pilot and was posted to join III./JG5 Eismeer. He flew both the Me109 and Fw190, and saw action in France, Austria, Norway and Finland. Flying with II./JG5 he flew escort missions in the northern Arctic waters to the Tirpitz, and later flew with IV./JG5
Unteroffizier Karl-Heinz WiesnerKarl-Heinz Wiesner was born at Charlottenhof/Gorlitz in 1921. He entered the German Air Force in 1941. Wiesner flew captured French aircraft including the Saiman 202 and Cuadron 445. His last assignment was at Rostock-Marienehe where he first flew Mistel combinations, and later Fw-190 fighter bombers. He served with Sammelgeschwader 200 at Gatow, KG 30, and KG (j) 30 where he flew the Mistel combination. Following the cessation of Mistel operations he was assigned to Schlachtgeschwader 3 flying fighter bomber missions in the Focke-Wulf Fw-190 F. Wiesner's last rank was Unteroffizier, and he received the Iron Cross Class 1. He currently resides in Germany at Fuldabruck-Dornhagen.
Unteroffizier Kurt KestenKurt Kesten was born in 1922 and entered the Luftwaffe in 1941. He flew many types of training aircraft, and later flew the He-111, Do-17, and ju-88. Kesten served with SG 3, KG 30, and KG (j) 30 where he flew the FW190 F Mistel combination. His last assignment prior to the end of the War was at Rostcock-Marienehe, a former Heinkel factory airfield, where he flew the Mistel combination. After Mistel operations had ended Kesten flew a number of fighter-bomber missions in the FW-190 F. Kesten was awarded the Iron Cross Class 2. He currently resides in Hannoversch-Munden, Germany.

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