Thursday, 15 February 2018
Previously on the Luftwaffe blog I have posted on II./JG 2's departure to North Africa in November 1942 under their new Kommandeur Adolf Dickfeld
I've been trawling through the footage made available via the Agentur Karl Höffkes film archive AKH and I've come across some colour footage of II./JG 2 in Tunisia filmed during late 1942-early 1943.
I was initially under the impression that some of these stills showed Rudorffer's 'Yellow 1'. Most probably his FW 190 A-4. The ace himself features in the footage. Only you see the problem. I assumed that the type of of film used must have modified the colour of the yellow and even the white of the Balkenkreuz - although the white of the fuselage band and Hakenkreuz outline remained. But as Andrew Arthy pointed out to me, this is almost certainly "Black 1 + - " of Wolf von Bülow, Staffelkapitän of 5./ JG 2 until he was killed in early 1943. These scenes appear to have been shot at Tindja near Cap Blanc on the northern coast of Tunisia. Von Bülow returned no victories while with JG 2 in North Africa and with good reason.
On 23 February 1943 Kairouan was raided by B-17s of the 301st BG. 'Gruppenführer' * II./JG 2 Erich Rudorffer noted in Erik Mombeek's ' Dans le Ciel de France ' (Vol 4) ;
" ..we were scrambled at 08:38 on the approach of a formation of US bombers. It was my task to keep Wolf von Bülow out of the action as much as I could. This was because Wolf was the son of our former Kommodore, who had already lost his other son, a U-boat commander** . So he only flew so many sorties and on this occasion he did not scramble with us. In the end it proved more dangerous on the ground than in the air - a stick of bombs came down on his 'hole' right were he had sought shelter. Oblt. von Bülow's body was riddled with shrapnel. His death was a terrible blow to morale. In any case the atmosphere within the unit was going downhill fast following Dickfeld's departure. There was far too much bad feeling and competitiveness around aerial victories and the 'scramble' for decorations and promotion had become far too important and such a state of affairs could only harm any 'esprit de corps' ..."
(*Gruppenführer is an SS-rank and a vet I corresponded with was rather put out that such terms were used in the context of the Luftwaffe. ** His son-in-law in fact, Hans-Hartwig Trojer, U-221)
The solid black appearance of the Balkenkreuze fuselage crosses is interesting. It has been suggested that this is the result of the poor quality paint deteriorating rapidly in the sun - surely paint fades in sunlight? Elsewhere on the same airframe the white of the fuselage band and the Hakenkreuz outline is still 'white'. And from one regular blog reader;
"..I am inclined to think there is nothing wrong with the white paint, but they have simply toned down the Balkenkreuz, and nothing more. If you look at it, the entire Balkenkreuz appears to have the same tone, otherwise if it was just the white paint, than the black part of the cross would be different. Other than that, neat images…"
BTW I contacted Karl Höffkes who gave me the OK to post stills provided the watermark was present and a link was available..
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Erich Schmidt III./JG 53, RK 23 July 1941. Note, above forty seven Abschussbalken, his final tally. Currently on offer here
Below, members of his ground crew paint victory bar number 44 on the rudder of Erich Schmidt`s "Yellow 11". Surash, 27 August 1941.
(expired Ebay auction)
"..operating over Heeresgruppe Mitte, this latter organisation seems to have largely abdicated its authority to 'adjudicate' in the claims confirmation process ".
While its defenders claim Wilcke's Gruppe - established by Mölders - was a nursery for Draufgänger, as evidenced by the three Ritterkreuze awarded in this short space of time, Roba continues;
" it is nonetheless a fact that many of these pilots' victory claims were no more than flights of fancy and that they were 'encouraged' to file these claims by a benevolent hierarchy and propaganda media looking for new heroes ".
These 373 claims were made for the loss of some 31 Friedrichs either seriously damaged or destroyed and just three pilots killed. However one of those killed was Ritterkreuz holder Lt. Erich Schmidt. Following the award of the Ritterkreuz on 23 July 1941 for 31 victories he claimed five Russian DB-3 twin-engined bombers (32-36) on 26 July and his 40th, an I-16 fighter, on 7 August.
On 31 August 1941, Schmidt’s Bf 109 F-2 (W.Nr. 12 633) “Yellow 6” was hit by flak near Dubno. He was seen to bale out of his stricken machine but is still listed as MIA.
Monday, 29 January 2018
Sunday, 28 January 2018
Special Hobby have released a new Me 209 kit. While I haven't seen it, it does look very similar to the 'old' Huma kit, even down to the lack of cockpit detail and the rather thick single-piece canopy. None of the control surfaces are provided as separate parts. SH do provide separate exhaust inserts which were not present on the Huma model..
More on the Special hobby blog here
Below; my build of the Huma kit;
Continuing my on-going series of ‘Luftwaffe’ types that can be easily finished without an airbrush, this my Huma Me 209....piston-engine speed record holder until the late '60s when it was overtaken by a modified Bearcat. The 209 was apparently an evil little aircraft which featured an incredibly small wing (and horrendously high loading) and a ‘novel’ cooling system dispensing with radiators to reduce drag - hot coolant was evaporated via holes in the wing so that the machine left a trail of steam behind it. Engine life was pretty short as the 200 gallons of coolant "evaporated" in 30 mins...
Like all Huma kits this is reasonably molded if a little tricky to assemble. The cockpit was bare so I've put a bit of 109 etch in, not that any of it can be seen. Fit is not brilliant overall, but you do get two sets of wings and two cowls in the kit (for the V1 and the 'military version ', the V4). Finished appropriately enough with a BMW blue automotive paint rattle can for a super glossy smooth finish..
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Eduard's new Fw 190 A-4, Lt. Eberhard Burath of I./JG 1 in April 1943 - Royal Class 'Early Versions' in-box video review
..great build of the new Eduard Fw 190 A-4 by 'Jet and Prop' editor Matthias Becker and fresh from his desk in JG 1 markings. This aircraft was flown by Lt. Eberhard Burath of I./JG 1 in April 1943. Eduard have cleverly offered this markings scheme in their new Royal Class edition of this great kit - and reproduced the 'devil in the clouds' emblem in accordance with recent research- see below. Evidently the model was built before the kit decals were available. There is only one known picture of this machine, showing the port side. Matthias is convinced that on this pic one can see that the Balkenkreuz has the white framing only above. As per instructions the Balkenkreuz was 'filled-in' with RLM 75 and not in black.
Below; Eduard artwork for the decals offered in their Royal Class boxing of this kit - note the colours of their 'revised' 'Teufel ueber den Wolken' badge and the fuselage Balkenkreuz filled in with RLM 75. My personal preference would be for a red spinner - note the similar tone to the frame of the Maltese Cross below the cockpit. Some artwork shows a green-tipped spinner, also a possibility for a Stab machine. See photo below.
During October 1942 on completion of his fighter pilot training and aged 24 years old, Eberhard Burath was posted to JG 1 and would remain with this unit until March 1945 . He would claim six Viermots shot down during this period. He was initially assigned to 11./JG 1, based in Mönchengladbach. By February 1943, Burath was fulfilling the role of Gruppenadjutant in I./JG 1. On 21 May 1943 I./JG 1 was scrambled twice against USAAF four-engine bombers. Up from Deelen the Fw 190s were unable to locate the incoming bombers and put down in Schipol. They were airborne again as the bombers returned from their targets in northern Germany. Burath later recalled;
" ..at 12:21 we were scrambled again against the bombers on their egress. This time we were correctly vectored onto them. At around 100 km north of Ameland we ran into their formation as they were headed in a north-westerly direction for home. I was flying as Rottenflieger to Hptm. Schnoor. We overtook the bombers and turned into them to set up a head-on pass. I was too low and from this difficult angle could only bring fire to bear on the right outer B-17. I held on for three long seconds, letting him have it from all barrels - with no visible effect. On landing I must have looked more than a little surprised as Hptm. Schnoor congratulated me on my first victory! But I had other matters on my mind. As we had broken off from the enemy formation I had seen a Fw 190 plunge into the sea and then a parachute pop open overhead. I had set my stop-watch and flew back on a reciprocal course and noted where I had overflown the coast. Oblt. Munz was missing, my old room-mate from Mönchengladbach. I was determined to look for him and, when my aircraft had been made ready, took off again a short while later on my own. Heading out over the coast I started the stop-watch and quartered the sea left and right when I arrived over the area. I soon caught sight of a yellow object on the waves - a dinghy being tossed up and down on the stormy waves ! To my angry disappointment I saw that it was empty. I orbited overhead in tight circles; " Hans, Mensch, where are you?" Nothing. The red low-fuel level warning lamp flashed on. 68 minutes. An air-sea rescue plane had been sent out. I returned to refuel and then rendezvoused back out over the sea with the Seenot-Wal. This time, 73 minutes. By now it was getting dark and soon the air-sea rescue craft had to break off its search. The loss of Munz affected me deeply - had he seen us searching for him? And what must have been his despair as we turned back for home? Six weeks later his body was found washed up on the beach at Sylt. A better friend I never knew..."
(p314-315, Prien, JG 1 und 11, Teil 1 1939-43)
On 26 July, Burath participated in an attack on USAAF B-17 four-engine bombers in the Leeuwarden area. In the ensuing combat, Burath’s Fw 190 was hit and he was forced to carry out a belly-landing in a potato field near Buitenpost. Burath was shot down again on 10 February 1944. While attacking USAAF B-17s over Braunschweig, his Fw 190 was hit. He successfully baled out, landing near Watenstedt uninjured. On 1 March 1944, Oberleutnant Burath was appointed Staffelkapitän of 4./JG 1. Burath was shot down again on 29 March. In March 1945, Burath was appointed Staffelkapitän of 9./JG 51. He recorded his seventh, and last, victory on 22 March, when he shot down a Russian Pe-2 twin-engine bomber.
In box video review of the Royal Class box for the new Eduard Fw 190 'early versions' kit; 14 markings options, two complete kits with resin accessories (wheels, cowling/tropical filters) and coloured cockpit etch, extraordinarily fine surface detailing of the plastic parts, a multitude of options, masks for wheels and canopies, a gorgeous A-2 print to frame and a beer glass with unique Fw 190 motif - a single click to view here
Only one of the superlative Jim Laurier artworks in the new Osprey JG 1 Aces title features the 'devil in the clouds' emblem - and appears in its 'previous' pre-Jet and Prop 1/2012 incarnation. At first glance Osprey appear to be repeating themselves in an effort to prolong their money-spinning series with another Luftwaffe subject - 'JG 1 aces' obviously includes all those aces already covered in 'Fw 190 aces', ' Fw 190 aces in the defense of the Reich', 'Bf 109 Reich defence aces' 'Viermot aces' etc etc.. However long-time writer and artist John Weal has evidently been retired (he must be at least 80!) along with his slightly dated artwork so this volume is absolutely worth getting for Jim Laurier's superbly realistic profile views and Robert Forsyth's excellent text. While I suspect author Forsyth must have been involved in the three-volume series devoted to JG 1 published by Classic (author Mombeeck), those volumes featured Tullis artwork ..far too many red cowls! So this latest Osprey Aces title is absolutely worth getting even if you have the Classic series. My only 'gripe' here is with the rather sparse photo coverage - an effort has presumably been made not to re-hash previously seen images, but that doesn't leave much to chose from...
Below; a good view of what may have been Gkr. I./JG 1 Schnoor's Fw 190 A-7 showing the later red winged-one Geschwader emblem, black and white cowl stripes with red spinner and yellow lower cowl, Deelen in early 1944.
A big thank you to Patrick Crew of the "Decal Dungeon" for helping me out recently with a couple of very-hard-to-find Eagle Strike decal sheets featuring JG 1 subjects. Patrick's FB page is here
Also this blog
".....Hello, I´m very thankful to read your statement on your blog regarding your thoughts on JG 1 checker cowl colours with which I fully agree ! I´m the nephew of Fw. Bernhard Kunze (Fw 190 A-5 -White 1, WN 410055) and I maintain a web site devoted to Bernhard Kunze's life . I have researched the circumstances and details of Bernhard´s fatal crash at the controls of his 2./ JG 1 FW 190 A-6 (Black 1, WN 550884) on 5 January 1944 close to Bergisch-Gladbach, Germany. One thing I've come across very often is the very inconsistent discussion of the checkerboard colour of the fighters he piloted. Corrections of the sometimes wrong published profiles of Bernhard´s 190-checkerbord-colours are really needed. In writing to all the relevant publishers I have attempted to get the truth published - but a pity without success. Everyone should know - as you state - that black/white is correct - there were no black/yellow chequers on Kunze's machines. There were no exceptions at any time - all the different Staffeln of JG 1 were painted the same identical black/white colour combination irrespective of the Staffel or Staffel Kennung ..."
Falk Börsch, nephew of Fw. Berhard Kunze (Fw 190 A-5 -White 1, WN 410055)
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
The Stories behind the Luftwaffe book. Interview with Jean-Yves Lorant author of 'Le Focke Wulf 190' and the two volume history of JG 300 published by Lariviere (Docavia)
Jean-Yves Lorant, author of the two volume history of JG 300, was recently in touch with the sad news that one of the last living JG 300 Sturm pilots, Hans-Dieter Oehm of II.(Sturm)/JG 300 - one-time wingman to 'ace' Konrad Bauer- has passed away (this was shortly after Christmas 2016). Hans-Dieter was 94 years old and had corresponded with the wilde Sau Geschwader historian since 1982.
I have known Jean-Yves since around the year 2000 having contacted him while he was writing his books. I subsequently went out to Paris on the Eurostar and spent an enjoyable weekend at his home, going over the manuscript of his two volume history of JG 300 " Bataille dans le ciel d'Allemagne ", listening to some of his tape-recorded interviews, and sifting through his enormous photo collection- boxes of them. No wonder his front door is the steel security type. (That didn't stop one individual from attempting to plunder his letter box). In the end we must have spent about eighteen months writing and re-writing some 400 pages of text for the English-language edition of the two volumes. As some of the reviews stated ' probably the most in-depth history of a Luftwaffe JG to date '. When an interview with Jean-Yves first appeared on a French web site some ten years ago, he graciously allowed me to translate what follows and responded to some additional queries that I posed. Recently I asked him to re-visit and update and extend his responses in the light of his experiences. So some 13 years after he first published his major two volume history of JG 300 Jean-Yves Lorant recalls writing and researching in the pre-internet era and compares and contrasts with what is happening in today's digital environment. (Please note this material is copyright to falkeeins.blogspot.com and should not be reproduced elsewhere)
(photo) Veterans of III./JG 300 pictured at Heinsberg in 1984. J-Y Lorant on the right (seated)
Qu: Bonjour Jean-Yves, could please tell us a little about yourself as writer and historian?
J-YL "..I wrote my first article as a freelance for the French aviation magazine 'Le Fana de l'Aviation' in 1975 - the same year I earned my private pilots license - and passed my school leaving certificate. I did my military service in 1976 in the French Air Force - assigned to BA 901 - at Drachenbronn in Alsace - where I worked on the base newspaper. I subsequently spent four years on the staff of 'Le Fana' working on all aspects of the magazine, subbing, editing, re-writing etc. During this period I was researching and writing the Docavia Focke Wulf 190 with J-B Frappé - I was still in my teens and while the book is a decent enough history reference - at the time only my friend Alfred Price's 'Fw 190 at War' could be considered so - I didn't know then half of what I do now!.."
Below; 'Le Focke Wulf 190' (Larivière, 1981). The jacket cover 'composition' was painted by Richard Goyat and depicts Hagen Förster's 7. Staffel JG 301 Dora 'white 8', photo on page 362 of the Lorant book. While featured on the cover, the Kennung was 'purposely' difficult to decipher while the photo reproduction was particularly poor. Even today most 'Experten' are left wondering what the Staffel number was, while artworks and models usually just feature an empty space where the 'white 8' should appear!
" ....The intention was to improve on Nowarra's Harleyford Fw 190 book. Heinz Nowarra I knew well - I translated his articles for 'Le Fana' - he was always a very disorganised guy though - under pressure from his publisher- and his last works were pretty chaotic affairs. When he used to come to Paris in the late seventies I would always have to book his tickets at L'Opéra. When he wasn't working on his books he could be found listening to classical music or pruning his roses. In 1980 I joined the staff at the Musée de l'Air - and spent sixteen years rummaging around in dusty archives, researching and writing photograph captions. I left when the museum started to employ graduates with deep interests in Byzantine Art but none in aircraft! It was also in 1980 that I first met a young lawyer by the name of Jochen Prien - we've been good friends now for 36 years. Time flies doesn't it? I subsequently joined the S.H.A.A (French Air Force historical branch) - now the SHD, the Service Historique de la Defense. That was twenty years ago and I'm currently responsible for the photo library - a collection of some six million photographs - none of which I have been able to use in my books !.."
Qu: How did your interest in JG 300 develop? What was your aim in writing the two volume history of this unit?
J-YL .." Like all air enthusiasts of my generation my bedside reading comprised the 'classic' fighter pilot memoirs; Dupérier, Clostermann, Knoke's 'Die grosse Jagd' etc etc. During the early seventies Werner Girbig published his 'Start am Morgengrauen' (translated in English as 'Six months to oblivion') which portrayed the defeat of the Luftwaffe fighter force with particular emphasis on the Bodenplatte operation. It was a book that virtually amounted to one terrible list of losses. It gave the impression that every sortie was a massacre and that during 1945 lack of fuel and aircraft meant that the Luftwaffe had virtually ceased to exist. As it is, most historians tended to skirt over the last months of the war in their unit histories, mentioned JG 300 in passing - but there was never any detail. I was left with the impression that the real history of the last months of the war - seen from the German side - had still to be written. Of course JG 300 was heavily involved in these last air battles of the final months of the war so my attention was naturally drawn to this unit. Its losses were indeed terrible - a rough calculation shows that that the average life expectancy of a JG 300 pilot for the last year of the war amounted to just 11 hours of flying - barely four sorties..including check and ferry flights.."
Qu: How much time was devoted to the research and writing of the books? How was the work-load shared with your co-author Richard Goyat?
J-YL .." I met my first veterans - from the Sturmgruppe II./JG 300 - in 1977 and started reseaching their stories in 1978 with the aim of filling in some of the gaps that existed in the history of the air war 1943-1945. In total there is about 25-years worth of research in the books while the actual writing took about four years - on and off - family commitments and a spell of illness got in the way a little bit- having the builders in at home didn't help either.…I met Richard Goyat in 1979 and he soon took on board the job of researching in the Anglo-american archives. Richard's 'speciality' - aside from his superb paintings of course - was combing the FG mission reports, compiling and drawing up maps of the tracks flown -hour by hour - by the different US and British formations. These situation maps enabled us to compare and contrast events night by night and day by day with the German veteran accounts and log books. In the end we had an annotated map for every day of air combat, details that were enhanced and completed by comparison with the Lagekarten (air situation maps) drawn up by the German air defence authorities at the time. The main research effort was devoted to tracking down former members of JG 300 - by running a fine tooth comb through the loss lists of the various authorities, Red Cross, Bundesarchiv, WaST etc I was able to use the details therein to hunt down the relatives & families of the injured, or even the former servicemen themselves. As a general rule the Germans are quite sedentary - there is a good chance for example that a mechanic stationed at Holzkirchen during 1944 might still have family in the area. From there it was a straightforward if somewhat arduous task - involving many trips to Germany - to dissect telephone directories, marriage registers etc etc in the hope of locating a family member. Here's just one example by way of illustration; I learnt from Heinz Wischhöfer (1./JG 300) that his Staffel comrade Hans Fenten had been living in Düsseldorf during the sixties. The phone book for that city listed no less than 28 people with the name of Fenten - I must have spent hours contacting them all before finally getting through to Hans Fenten himself - needless to say he was amazed to learn that a young Frenchman speaking German had been trying to track him down. While terribly time-consuming it was ultimately a very rewarding experience - although there were plenty of ups and downs; moments of both joy and depression! Not forgetting of course that all this was undertaken without the aid of the Internet !.."
Qu: How were you received by the veterans themselves?
J-YL .." Richard and I always received a warm and friendly welcome where ever we went. I felt it was important that we actually travelled to meet every one of our contacts - many of these gentlemen were far too frail and elderly to write down their stories and they were always more forthcoming over a beer or meal - with the tape recorder running discreetly alongside. Even so, it was no easy task to get some of them to open up about what had been on occasion deeply harrowing events - more than one veteran was reduced to tears as he recalled events that he had no doubt spent many years trying to forget - on one occasion the wife of one pilot warned me that her husband had already suffered one heart attack and that she didn't want me inflicting another perhaps fatal one. Being a pilot myself also helped when it came to discussing aircraft performance, the problems of navigation and weather - in general the veterans were generally less inhibited than might otherwise have been the case. But they were no less restrained when it came to evoking a sentiment that was ever present both before and during sorties - sheer unadulterated fear. Most were also open and frank on other 'difficult' subjects - the various substances and stimulants that were taken to combat these feelings of fear, the performance - or otherwise - of their leaders and on the Nazi regime in general......"
"..... Gerd Stamp (pictured, left, with J-Y Lorant and Richard Goyat - Nassau 1983) once said to me, " Jean-Yves, between Bismarck and Hitler we Germans have been very unfortunate in our choice of leaders and the sheer sense of shame most of us feel will be with us for centuries to come.." In fact I often got the impression that answering my questions gave many JG 300 veterans the opportunity to get a good many things off their chests once and for all. Incidentally I was told a number of anecdotes that were simply too risqué to include in the book - and at least one - the night-time shenanigans at Bad Wörishofen related in volume 1- was toned down by the narrator himself so as not to overly embarrass the participants - in fact the statue of Pasteur Sebastian Kneipp was adorned with a necklace fabricated from ..condoms. Each filled with the sacrosanct spa water at that! The perpetrator's wife was sitting next to him when that came out. She couldn't believe it ! Generally speaking Germans are not given to invention - where there was doubt about a particular event we chose to leave it out - or waited for confirmation from elsewhere. I recall a discussion with Norbert Graziadei in 1981 - he was an ace with the Sturmgruppe. He promised to get back to me on a particular point. Over a year later - after I'd given up all hope of hearing from him - I received a hand-written letter with detailed answers to all my questions - over 23 pages in length ..! Sadly Norbert died in 1999. My investigations among the veterans had a number of unexpected consequences for some of the former pilots. - I was often able to put them in touch with each other many years after they had lost all contact with each other. The most moving of these reunions involved the four pilots who flew the last combat sortie mounted by III./JG 300 on 30 April 1945 flown from Kleinkarolinenfeld; Klaus Lambio, Arnulf Meyer, Jochen Stiege and Günther Obst. The two pilots that managed to reach Ainring - Stiege and Lambio - had always assumed that their two comrades - reported missing - had failed to survive. None of them had had any contact with other JG 300 vets until I put them in touch with each other - the celebrations that took place the night of their reunion was something to behold ! I organised a number of JG 300 Treffen - or reunions - during my research. Former members of I./JG 300 first gathered at Gerd Stamp's lovely home in Nassau an der Lahn in 1980 while we held a number of II./JG 300 gatherings over the years since 1981. For a while the numbers of participating vets grew larger every year, providing an opportunity for accounts and anecdotes to be compared and discussed. It was in a small hotel at Homberg near Nassau that we first met Hermann Berdelmann who told us how he was shot by Czech partisans in the ground fighting around Prague on 4 May 1945 and how he had been carried to safety by a brave IV./JG 300 pilot who he had never seen before or since. He described him as being of 'North African appearance with an affro-style haircut, olive skin and thick lips' - rather unusual for a Luftwaffe fighter pilot! And the name of his rescuer; " Unteroffizier Eugen Maier …". Richard and I looked at each other dumbfounded - we were due to meet the same Eugen Maier the next day in Winterlingen! As you can imagine Hermann Berdelmann was as surprised as we were and quickly recorded for us a message of thanks which we played the next day to Eugen Maier (14./JG 300). After playing the message to him, Maier was quiet for a moment but eventually muttered ..." hmm, yes, the wounded guy, well at least he wasn't a big fellow. Yes I remember him now. Thank you for that recording.." There were some unforgettable moments during these reunions- Gerd Stamp shooting two wild boar in the Westerwald for one- it took us all three whole days to eat those!.."
Right; Ernst Schröder in 1993 seen here visiting Riesdorf . Schröder belly-landed his Fw 190 at Riesdorf on 26 April 1945, voluntarily ending his last sortie of the war. He spent the next two days evading capture..
Qu: What was the the reaction to your two volume history of JG 300 on publication?
J-YL " .. The veterans - and I sent out books to those of them who were still with us - were unstinting in their praise and pleasantly surprised and delighted by the scale and scope of the work - and the extent of the primary sources we were able to gather and consult - their praise was of course reward enough for all our efforts. On the enthusiast internet discussion forums the books were very well received; the one or two critical comments -with perhaps one exception - have generally tended to miss the point or been completely off track - Burkhard Otto's (Bobo) comments are a case in point ..and of course he never met the former Staffelkapitän of 8.and 11./JG 300. Something to bear in mind when you read some of the incorrect assumptions on jg300.de (go to this page on this blog for more ). Ehrengardt of Aérojournal was a little critical of the lack of maps - and he is probably right. It should be borne in mind though that more maps would have meant less text and fewer photos - not a choice we were prepared to make. Of course not everyone has read the books - various 'pamphlets' on German nightfighting (published by TMA in France) tend to repeat all the old errors that can be found in Aders and Cuny - the old Aders volume has recently been republished in the UK, but still has the same errors. I should point out here that a work like ours doesn't make its authors any money whatsoever. (French publisher) Larivière sold each of our two volumes for 70 Euros in bookstores - the authors earned just 1.70 Euros for each book sold. In the US, Crandall of Eagle Editions produced an English-language edition but have never confirmed how many copies of our books they sold - although all indications are that Volume 1 sold out, so at least 8-10,000 copies by our estimate. The point is we shouldn't have had to 'estimate' how many sales we made! And at the time of talking to you we are still awaiting outstanding royalty payments from Eagle Editions...many years later!"
Qu: Do you have any projects that you are working on currently ?
"..the years since we first published our two volume history of JG 300 « Bataille dans le Ciel d’Allemagne » have seen huge changes in the aviation book and magazine publishing business. The Internet has given many people the impression that they can help themselves to everything for free. In my view this has led to a spectacular decline in the amount of magazines and books sold....to take just one example; when I was on the editorial staff of the French title 'Le Fana de l’Aviation' average monthly sales in 1981 were about 32,000 copies. Today the title struggles to sell 9,000 copies on good months. As you may know other titles are in difficulty; 'Air Fan' closed recently, although it has since re-opened. Even an excellent title like 'Avions' prints far fewer copies nowadays than ever before. To survive Aéro-journal seems to have adopted a policy of publishing more and more Luftwaffe articles - usually with any number of errors I have to say - like the recent feature on the 'wilde Sau' or a rather far-fetched 'biography' of Werner Mölders. Of course the Luftwaffe is a fascinating subject - but that unfortunately doesn't mean that only good authors write about it! As for books - even the best, like those compiled by Jochen Prien and Eric Mombeek - only sell in small numbers. Basically, the internet is killing book and magazine publishing. Modern software and digital phone handsets and scanners now all perform so well that it is child's play to take the 'latest' photos and profile artworks and simply put them on your own Facebook page or website. While most who do this are small-time 'thieves', others you would think, should know better. Of course all these 'photo-thieves' are busy sawing through the branch that is holding them up, so to speak. As far as I am concerned I say let them do their own research, contact the veterans for themselves, pay for research trips to Germany and we'll see how far they get! So nowadays I very rarely respond to requests that good friends might make for photos for their works. It is something that I regret, but a necessary step. I am currently working on an updated and improved edition of my JG 300 history, featuring more accounts and new photos- well over 50 'new' and 'exclusive' JG 300 photos. I won't be publishing it through Eagle Editions. Copies will be exclusively for a small circle of friends and colleagues. None of these 'discoveries' will find their way onto the internet where people come up with their usual misinformed captions, where invariably they get the aircraft variant, the pilot name and the dates incorrect which ultimately just leads to more and more confusion. Even 'retired' magazine editors do this - once and for all the Fw 190s of the Geschwaderstab of JG 300 during 1943 had GREEN Kennziffer.
Seen in 1984 Heinz Ackermann, a former mechanic of II.(Sturm)/JG 300 in Rottach-Egern near Tegernsee. Jean-Yves Lorant on the left.
Below; Ernst Schröder and Jean-Yves Lorant together in 2006 at Ernst's home in Bonn-Röttgen browsing through Jean-Yves' two volume history of JG 300. As Jean-Yves says, " ...if I appear a little emotional in this pic, well, it's because I had waited 25 years for this moment! " ..
An eArticle via Air War Publications featuring new personal accounts from wilde Sau pilots of JG 301, JG 302 and NJG 11 with additional material and rare photos from the collection of Jean-Yves Lorant with original profile artwork from Anders Hjortsberg is now available; low-res and 'copyright marked' cover illustration - buy the article -cost, just 4 euros - get all the images and artworks perfectly reproduced!