Wednesday, 20 September 2017

forthcoming AIMS Bf 110 F/G conversion set for the Dragon 1/32 kits from John McIllmurray

" ..Hello everyone, I am pleased to let you know progress on my AIMS Bf 110 F/G conversion set for the Dragon 1/32 kits. Gun pack and spinner have been 3D designed and await printing, rudder and upper engine cowl and upper and lower nose finished, rear canopy and exhausts under way, MG 81Z already done, cockpit ammo boxes still to do and revised exhaust stubs done. Still have to do straight late exhaust damper. All going very well. Just got all the decals finished and they will go off to printers any day now. Hope you like the selection. I am doing two boxings - 200 units each and both will be available at the same time - perhaps as soon as Christmas depending on how long it takes to get decals printed. One boxing is the F-4/G-2 day fighter / bomber and includes 2x F-4 options and 2x G-2 options plus 1x national insignia and full stencil set plus and everything needed to make what can be seen in the profiles. Other boxing is for the G-4 night fighter and includes 5 options plus 1x set of insignia and stencils and all what is needed to do the options As I do everything by email naturally I can tailor make orders so if you are using E-2 Trop kit and have some of the parts or if you are set on doing the F and do not need the G parts in the day fighter boxing I will remove them and lower the cost. £ TBC. Lower cowls will be split so they can hang open - still have to do the interior detail. Likewise the nose gun bay will be open. Hope you like the profiles......"

John's AIMS site is here

more Eastern Front Junkers Ju 52s - Wintertarnung - ebay photo find #220

Junkers Ju 52 possibly of KGrzbV 9 (4V+ ?U) seen unloading supplies possibly in the Demyansk pocket, Russia during early 1942. However the emblem on the nose closely resembles that of 4./KGrzbV 172. Click to view in close-up and large

on offer here

Superb new Ju 52 reference photo book - " Le Junkers Ju 52, de la Lufthansa à la Luftwaffe" by Grégory Alméras and published by  LeLa Presse - book review here

Approaching 1,000 posts and 3.5 million page views for the Luftwaffe blog

Back in March 2013 this blog passed one million page views in 420 posts, after three years of existence. See this post at this link. Today this Google blog "FalkeEins -The Luftwaffe Blog" is fast approaching 1,000 posts. Page views are now well over 3 million with daily views anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000. Below, a little screen-shot of my stats in the run up to Christmas 2016. As Nick would say, 'it's not a job, I do this for fun'. I think of it primarily as a vehicle to support the projects that warrant it, whether that be books, kits, decals, ebay shops etc etc. Thanks as ever to all supporters and correspondents, including Jean-Yves, Jean-Louis, Michel, Laurent, Erik, Robert, Jochen, Kurt, Claes, David, Simon, Paul, Alex, John, Nick, Markus, Many, Eddie, Andy, Tara, Sylvie and many others including the ebay sellers who enable us to repost their images here with links to their sales, Marco, Michael, Oliver, Darius and Manuel.

The 'strange' death of Staffelkapitän 11./JG 7 Lt. Erwin Stahlberg, April 1945 - Avions magazine "Hors Série" 'special' published by Lela Presse, "Les pertes des Messerschmitt 262"

The new Avions magazine "Hors Série" 'special' published by Lela Presse, "Les pertes des Messerschmitt 262" by Philippe Saintes (Me 262 losses) is a neat 100-page monograph packed with pics and profiles. Good value for money at only 17 euros, 'Avions' subscribers get a generous discount and economic postage rates (3 euros in Europe) make this a 'must-buy'. See a pdf extract and order here.

A carefully compiled compilation from published works, the main sources used in "Me 262 losses" are most notably the usual Foreman, Smith, Creek and Jurleit. However Philippe has also included one or two errors that can also be seen in these previous tomes. The most blatant example is the reported destruction in combat of the Messerschmitt 262 flown by Oberleutnant Erwin Stahlberg, Staffelkapitän of 11./JG 7 on 14 April 1945, attributed by the author -as in numerous previous works - to a Mustang pilot, Captain Clayton K. Gross of the 354th FG.

This story of the death of Lt. Erwin Stahlberg is unfortunately a total invention, endlessly repeated and misrepresented. At least two Ospreys ('Aces of JG 3' -extract below - and 'JG 7 Nowotny') repeat this 'account'- Stahlberg crashed to his death at the controls of his jet, shot down by the P-51 of Clayton Gross..

Colin Heaton in his 'Me 262 Stormbird' refers to him as Lt. Erich Stahlberg of 9./JG 7, shot down in combat of course.

The truth is that Lt. Erwin Stahlberg did not even fly a sortie on 14 April 1945 far less meet an untimely end in combat. The reality is much more mundane albeit a little bizarre...

15 April 1945 -the closing weeks of the war in Europe. III. Gruppe of JG 7 are completing preparations for one of their final moves, eastwards, via Bavaria, into the Protectorate of Bohemia, part of the one-time Czechoslovakia. This was virtually all that was left of the once-powerful jet command IX. Fliegerkorps (J). Transferring to Prag-Rusin the Gruppe had put down in Plattling the previous day, 14 April, according to one account. However on the morning of the 15th Erwin Stahlberg is still very much alive. But his Me 262 jet is unserviceable. Stahlberg elects to hitch a ride with a convoy of ground crews, jumping up into the cab of a truck with Luftwaffe mechanic Uffz. Theodor Becker and Uffz. Walter Wetzer, previously of 3./JG 300. Stahlberg's truck is towing a trailer loaded with heavy oxygen bottles. The road convoy sets out in the early afternoon on the route that links lower Bavaria with Czechoslovakia. On a section known as the Ruselberg-Strecke between Deggendorf and Regen the road is hilly, steep in places and notorious for accidents. Stahlberg's truck slows as its approaches a bend on a descent on this section. Suddenly it starts to pick up speed. The driver lets out an exclamation - " Scheiße, die Bremsen - the brakes!" By now Stahlberg's truck is speeding downhill. Turning into the bend, the driver fights with the wheel. Tyres squealing, the truck skids side on, sliding into the turn. The momentum of the heavy load pulls both truck and trailer over the edge. Stahlberg is thrown from the cab into the fast-flowing river below. He disappears under the surface. Seconds later the trailer plunges into the water. On top of him. Stahlberg never comes back up. At the crash site the bodies of the three men are retrieved and taken to the church in Deggendorf..

Stahlberg's friend and Staffel comrade Leutnant Friedrich-Wilhelm Schenk, who had followed him to III./JG 7 after the dissolution of I./JG 300 in March 1945 described the accident which cost Stahlberg his life in a letter written during 1983 ;

" ...Stahlberg was unable to make the transfer by air as his machine was not serviceable. The road convoy travelled on the route that links lower Bavaria with Czechoslovakia known as the Ruselberg-Strecke. (Deggendorf-Regen). He was travelling with ground crews in a truck hauling a trailer full of heavy oxygen bottles . The road descends steeply down into Deggendorf. At a sharp bend the brakes gave way and the truck and trailer went off the road straight into the fast-flowing river. Stahlberg was thrown from the cab into the water and the trailer plunged down on top of him. He drowned. I attended his funeral in the cemetery at Deggendorf. His body was later transferred and interred at the graveyard of Hofkirchen-Leithen an der Donau where I took this photo of the headstone.…"

This account by "Timo" Schenk is confirmed by the register of deaths that can be read at the catholic chuch in Deggendorf where the names of those who died in the crash of the truck on the Ruselberg-Strecke are listed;

Stahlberg, Erwin, Oberleutnant, Jagdgeschwader 3 (his unit prior to postings with 1./ JG 300 and 11./JG 7 ). Born 1 March 1917, died 15 April 1945 at 15:00 on the Ruselbergstraße.
Becker, Theodor, Unteroffizier, mechanic, born 25 October 1919 at Daseburg, fractured skull 15:00 15 April 1945 on the Ruselbergstraße.
Wetzer Walter, Unteroffizier with 3./JG 300 (disbanded mid-March 1945) Born 10 September 1921, hospitalised in the Res. Lazarett IA at Deggendorf, died 29 April from complications of lockjaw.

Details of the circumstances of the death of Erwin Stahlberg are related in the history of JG 300 by Lorant and Goyat 'Batailles dans le Ciel d'Allemagne' (Docavia, 2005).

Note that Robert Dorr in his "Fighting Hitler's Jets' publishes Clayton Kelly Gross's account of his jet victory on 14 April - " I sighted the jet ..sporting a large 'Red 1' on its fuselage....I subsequently met the pilot I had shot down that day  - a certain Kurt Lobgesong.."

William Hess in his "German Jets versus the USAAF" writes;

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Henschel Hs 123 LG 2 auf Feldflugplatz Polen, Frankreich

a neat selection currently on offer from dw-auction here depicting Hs 123 of LG 2 and other types on various field strips in Poland and France. Above;  " for your 4 o'clock tea-time "

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Dornier Do 217 E and K of KG 2 - ebay photo find #218

The primary Kampfgeschwader in the West during 1943-4 operating the 'D' 'K' and even 'M' variants of the Dornier Do 217 bomber- for a short period simultaneously -was KG 2. Here courtesy of seller Oliver Rogge - who identifies these as KG 40 machines - 'D' and 'K' variants of the Do 217 seen together in 'Nachtbomber' finish preparing for a sortie probably from their base in northern France. Another image showing '10.Staffel' painted on a prop blade is another indicator that these machines are on the strength of KG 2. Kommandeur of IV. Gruppe during early 1943 was Hptm Helmut Powolny, possibly seen in the bottom image walking across the tarmac at Melun-Villaroche north of Paris..

new-tool Airfix Me 262 -should the wing slats be open or closed ?

It appears that the new-tool Airfix Me 262 in 72nd scale is finally here with Airfix taking orders on the website. It looks like it will be a nice kit although I've read one or two gripes about the apparent lack of options such as slats and flaps. I'm sure there will be lots of aftermarket; flaps, vac canopy, resin engines, wheels and so on. And just in time too. The Revell Me 262 is getting very long in the tooth nowadays - the last one I built I had to smash-mold a new canopy. The Academy 262 tooling was also first released way back - in 2007 to be exact! It is reasonably detailed but as with a number of Academy WWII kits the basic outline shapes are a bit off; the fuselage is rather fat and wide with an overly bulbous nose. The Academy glazing is, for example, far too wide for the Revell kit. The canopy in the last Revell 262 I attempted was un-useable but it can't be replaced with an Academy canopy (which also happens to be a tad 'flattened-out' at the top..). We certainly have no lack of aftermarket decal options for the 262 already!

Below; Airfix at Nuremburg - IMPS Deutschland photo

As far as the discussion about 'poseable' slats is concerned, see below - the 'famous' Transit films 262 walkaround sequence in the 'Wings of the Luftwaffe' video series clearly shows that the slats are deployed on the ground. They can be pushed in and pulled out - and could be left out. Whether this was because they had a tendency to stick or not I don't know.  The sequence goes on to show the technician working on the inboard slats, pushing them in and then letting them slide back out...

Note that the Me 262's slats are not 'sprung' or have any actuators - they simply slide in and out on rails. In the clip below the technician is pulling them out and pushing them in - whereupon they 'slide' open of their own accord. Once landed and parked-up good practice says they should be closed up before leaving the aircraft for any length of time. You really don't want anything getting into the gap or into the mechanism. Checking the freedom of movement of free-floating slats as they open and close is part of good pre- and post-flight inspection on types thus equipped. Other points to consider;  because the Me-262 has a tricycle undercarriage the wing is more horizontal to the ground compared to, say, the Bf 109, so that it is more likely that gravity will cause the Me 262's slats to drop out on their rails. You're less likely to see this on a Bf-109 because gravity will be acting with the coefficient of friction to keep them in. And they could be locked in.

Note that the slats are lockable. "North American F-86 SabreJet Day Fighters", (Warbird Tech Vol. 3, Hughes and Dranem) - North American engineers actually used the slat locks from a complete 262 wing when they were putting together the slats on the XP-86. "…Finally an entire Me-262 wing was flown in from Wright Field. North American engineers disassembled the slats and modified the slat track mechanism to fit the XP-86 wing. The engineers also used the slat lock and control switch from the Me-262. Although not perfect, it was at least a start and the slat worked. "

So if you have a man in a black overall walking around your 262 model it would be entirely reasonable to have the slats open on one side and closed on the other. In other words when modelling the Me 262, wing slats could be deployed in any manner you see fit. Note though that in the air aerodynamic forces keep the slats in and they will deploy as the airflow is not sufficient to keep them in and the wing is losing lift. See this discussion here on

Also on this blog;

blue/white Karoband chequers on KG(J) machines

Revell Me 262 in 72nd scale;