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Victories : 25
Erich Rudorffer by Ivan Berryman.
Gunther Rall by Ivan Berryman. (P)
Walter Wolfrum by Ivan Berryman. (P)
White 8 - Walter Nowotny by Ivan Berryman.
|Squadrons for : Arnold Lignitz|
|A list of all squadrons known to have been served with by Arnold Lignitz. A profile page is available by clicking the squadron name.|
Country : Germany
Founded : August 1939
'Ace of Hearts'
Click the name above to see prints featuring aircraft of JG51
Jagdgeschwader 51 Mölders was a Luftwaffe fighter wing during World War II, named after the fighter ace Werner Mölders in 1942. JG 51's pilots won more Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes than any other Jagdgeschwader, and flew combat from 1939 in all major theatres of war. Flying Bf 109s and then FW 190s, the wing claimed over 8,000 air victories. Experten included 'Toni' Hafner, Heinz Bär, Richard Leppla, Karl-Gottfried Nordmann, Günther Schack and the legendary Mölders.
Formed in August 1939, and commanded by 48-year-old World War I ace Onkel Theo Osterkamp, the early months of the war JG 51 was based in the West, fighting in the French campaign, and in the Battle of Britain. From late June to mid July JG 51 was the only fighter Geschwader engaged against the RAF constantly. During the whole battle JG 51 lost 68 pilots, the highest casualty rate of the Luftwaffe fighter units engaged. JG 51 was one of the two Geschewader that had four Gruppen. The other being JG 1.
Four Bf 109 of JG 51 in France 1940Whilst based out of the Belgian airfield at Mardyik in late 1940, the German ace Josef Pips Priller was a Staffelkapitän with JG 51, flying Bf 109-E Yellow One. Josef Priller went on to score over 100 victories, the third highest scoring Luftwaffe day fighter ace on the Western Front, fighting solely against the Western Allies.
Against the Western Allies JG 51 had claimed 345 aircraft destroyed by May 1941. JG 51 were therefore one of the Jagdwaffe's elite units, with 'top ten' aces at this time including Werner Mölders with 68 claims, Walter Oesau with 34 claims, and Hermann-Friedrich Joppien with 31. Major Werner Mölders became unit Geschwaderkommodore during July 1940 and led the unit into the invasion of Russia in June 1941.
Claiming 69 kills on the first day of the offensive, by 30 June 1941 JG 51 became the first fighter Geschwader to claim 1,000 air victories (113 kills in 157 sorties were claimed for the day). On 24 June JG 51 claimed 57 bombers shot down for the day. Mölders became the first fighter pilot to reach 100 claims in August and in the same month JG 51's Oberfeldwebel Heinz Bär reached 60 claims and was decorated with the Oak Leaves. A total of 500 Soviet claims was reached on 12 July 1941, although 6 pilots had been lost by JG 51 in the intervening 3 weeks since the offensive had started.
After Mölders' departure in September 1941 (and death later that year) the Geschwader adopted his name as a title of honor in early 1942. Jagdgeschwader 51 Mölders was to remain on the centre sector of the Russian front throughout the rest of 1941. However Oberstleutnant Friedrich Beckh ( one of the few fighter pilots to wear spectacles) proved an uncharismatic commander after Mölders, and it was not until Major Karl-Gottfried Nordmann took over in April 1942 that a worthy successor to Mölders was found. In the period 22 June - 5 December 1941 the unit destroyed 1,881 Soviet aircraft, in return for 84 losses in aerial combat and a single aircraft on the ground.
Air support for the Wehrmacht's Army Group Centre was entrusted to General Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen's VIII. Fliegerkorps. In early January 1942, among the fighter units available to von Richthofen were II, III and IV/ JG 51. With the onset of the sub-zero conditions of the Russian winter, the majority of JG 51's available aircraft became grounded.
The Russian winter counter offensive forced III./ JG 51 into flying numerous fighter-bomber operations in direct support of the infantry, and the gruppe filed few aerial 'kill' claims through January 1942. II./ JG 51 however, accounted for most of VIII. Fliegerkorps's aerial victories during the Soviet offensive. Particularly successful was the duo of Lt. Hans Strelow and Ofw. Wilhelm Mink, both of 5. JG 51. They claimed five MiG-3s of 16 IAP on 4 January (Mink claimed three) and 9 days later Mink claimed a Pe-2 and Strelow destroyed two R-Z biplanes for his 30th and 31st victories. On 4 February, Strelow increased his victories to 36 by shooting down four Russian aircraft. The 19 year-old Strelow claimed his 40th victory on 28 February and claimed 4 victories on both 6 March and 17 March. The next day he was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes and also shot down seven Soviet aircraft. He was awarded the Eichenlaub on 24 March, his claims total at 66.
7./JG 51, (with Bf 109G-6's) was attached to II./JG 1 in May 1944 from Brest-Litovsk, with pilots arriving at Störmede late in May and hurriedly converting to the FW-190. (It was later renamed 8./JG 1 on 15 August 1944 when the four-Staffeln Gruppe became standard) 7. Staffel was led by Ritterkreuzträger (Knight's Cross winner) Hptm. Karl-Heinz Weber with 136 confirmed kills. Its two other experten were Lt. Friedrich Krakowitzer (23 kills) and Ofhr. Günther Heckmann with 12 kills.
7./JG 51 joined II. Gruppe with 15 pilots on strength at the end of May, and during the first two months of the Normandy campaign the staffel was decimated, with twelve pilots killed, one POW and one severely wounded.
As the war turned against Germany JG 51 was forced to operate closer and closer to Germany, finally staging out of East Prussia.
Country : Germany
'Ace of Hearts'
Click the name above to see prints featuring aircraft of JG54
I./JG 54 was initially formed as I./JG 70 near Nuremberg in July 1939, just two short months before hostilities broke out. As was to become tradition within Grunherzgeschwader, the Gruppe took the Nurember coat-of-arms (a veritcally divided shield with a black heraldic bird on the left, and red and white diagonal stripes on the right) to represent the region the unit came from.
On September 15, 1939, I./JG 70 was redesignated I./JG 54
The initial unit designation for II./JG 54 was I./JG 138. This unit was raised in 1938 after the Austrian annexation. Naturally many Austrian nationals were recruited when I./JG 138 was formed. The Aspern coat of arms (black lion's head surmounting a white cross on a red field) was taken by the Gruppe for its identity.
I./JG 138 was briefly designated I./JG 76 before finally becoming II./JG 54 on April 6, 1940.
The III./JG 54 has its roots in Prussia. Initially I./JG 21, the members were drawn from the Jesau region in Prussia. The modified Jesau coat-of-arms (a shield with a Jesau cross with three diving aircraft on a red background, with a white outline on the shield) was adopted as the Gruppe's own.
On July 15, 1939, I./JG 21 was redesignated III./JG 54. However, the bureaucratic nature of the young Luftwaffe was such that it was over a year before records would reflect the new designation. Consequently, III./JG 54 fought in Poland and France as I./JG 21.
Kommodoren of JG 54 :
Major Martin Mettig; 2 Feb 40 to 25 Aug 40.
Oberst Hannes Trautloft; 25 Aug 40 to 5 Jul 43.
Major Hubertus von Bonin; 6 Jul 43 to 15 Dec 43.
Oberstleutnant Anton Mader; 28 Jan 44 to Sep 44.
Oberst Dieter Hrabak; 1 Oct 44 to 8 May 45.
|Aircraft for : Arnold Lignitz|
|A list of all aircraft associated with Arnold Lignitz. A profile page including a list of all art prints for the aircraft is available by clicking the aircraft name.|
Manufacturer : Messerschmitt
Production Began : 1937
Retired : 1945
Number Built : 33984
Willy Messerschmitt designed the BF109 during the early 1930s. The Bf109 was one of the first all metal monocoque construction fighters with a closed canopy and retractable undercarriage. The engine of the Me109 was a V12 aero engine which was liquid-cooled. The Bf109 first saw operational service during the Spanish Civil War and flew to the end of World War II, during which time it was the backbone of the Luftwaffe fighter squadrons. During the Battle of Britian the Bf109 was used in the role of an escort fighter, a role for which it was not designed for, and it was also used as a fighter bomber. During the last days of May 1940 Robert Stanford-Tuck, the RAF ace, got the chance to fly an Me109 which they had rebuilt after it had crash landed. Stanford-Tuck found out that the Me109 was a wonderful little plane, it was slightly faster than the Spitfire, but lacked the Spitfire manoeuvrability. By testing the Me109, Tuck could put himself inside the Me109 when fighting them, knowing its weak and strong points. With the introduction of the improved Bf109F in the spring of 1941, the type again proved to be an effective fighter during the invasion of Yugoslavia and during the Battle of Crete and the invasion of Russia and it was used during the Siege of the Mediteranean island of Malta. The Bf109 was the main fighter for the Luftwaffe until 1942 when the Fw190 entered service and shared this position, and was partially replaced in Western Europe, but the Me109 continued to serve on the Eastern Front and during the defence of the Reich against the allied bombers. It was also used to good effect in the Mediterranean and North Africa in support of The Africa Korps. The Me109 was also supplied to several German allies, including Finland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovakia. The Bf109 scored more kills than any other fighter of any country during the war and was built in greater numbers with a total of over 31,000 aircraft being built. The Bf109 was flown by the three top German aces of the war war. Erich Hartmann with 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories and Gunther Rall with 275 kills. Bf109 pilots were credited with the destruction of 100 or more enemy aircraft. Thirteen Luftwaffe Aces scored more than 200 kills. Altogether this group of pilots were credited with a total of nearly 15,000 kills, of which the Messerschmitt Bf109 was credited with over 10,000 of these victories. The Bf109 was the most produced warplane during World War II, with 30,573 examples built during the war, and the most produced fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced up to April 1945. Bf109s remained in foreign service for many years after World War II. The Swiss used their Bf109Gs well into the 1950s. The Finnish Air Force did not retire their Bf109Gs until March 1954. Romania used its Bf109s until 1955. The Spanish Hispanos flew even longer. Some were still in service in the late 1960s.
Known Victory Claims - Arnold Lignitz
|14/04/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||3||JG 20||Blenheim||WNW Emmerich||17.3||Western Front|
|31/05/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||3||JG 20||Spitfire||Dünkirchen||21||Western Front|
|31/05/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||3||JG 20||Spitfire||NW Dünkirchen||21.1||Western Front|
|31/05/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||3||JG 20||Lysander||W. Dünkirchen||21.25||Western Front|
|08/07/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Hurricane||NW Cap Gris Nez||16.35||Western Front|
|10/07/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Spitfire||Dover||12.2||Western Front|
|13/07/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Spitfire||S. Dover||18.25||Western Front|
|19/07/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Spitfire||Folkestone||17.05||Western Front|
|19/07/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Defiant||S. Folkestone||13.48||Western Front|
|15/08/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Hurricane||S. Folkestone||12.4||Western Front|
|24/08/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Defiant||-||14.23||Western Front|
|24/08/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Defiant||-||17.1||Western Front|
|31/08/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Hurricane||-||14.3||Western Front|
|07/09/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Spitfire||-||18.35||Western Front|
|27/09/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Hurricane||-||13.03||Western Front|
|27/09/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Hurricane||-||16.35||Western Front|
|29/09/1940||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||9||JG 51||Hurricane||-||16.35||Western Front|
|06/04/1941||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||Stab III.||JG 54||Blenheim||Arad||14.15||Western Front|
|30/06/1941||Hptm. Arnold Lignitz||Stab III.||JG 54||SB-2||-||13.26||Eastern Front|
|05/07/1941||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||Stab III.||JG 54||I-18||-||5.3||Eastern Front|
|07/07/1941||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||Stab III.||JG 54||SB-3||-||8.02||Eastern Front|
|17/08/1941||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||Stab III.||JG 54||I-18||-||19.3||Eastern Front|
|17/09/1941||Oblt. Arnold Lignitz||Stab III.||JG 54||I-16 Rata||-||12.4||Eastern Front|
Known Claims : 23
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This website is owned by Cranston Fine Arts. Torwood House, Torwoodhill Road, Rhu, Helensburgh, Scotland, G848LE
Contact: Tel: (+44) (0) 1436 820269. Fax:
(+44) (0) 1436 820473. Email: