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Dawn Eagles Rising by Robert Taylor. (AP) - panzer-prints.com

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Dawn Eagles Rising by Robert Taylor. (AP)


Dawn Eagles Rising by Robert Taylor. (AP)

September 1940: The Battle of Britain reaches a crescendo as Me109s of the 1./JG52, their bright yellow noses glinting in the sun, gather speed and altitude as they form up after take-off from their base at Coquelles, near Calais. Led by Hauptmann Wolfgang Ewald, the Scharwm settle into their loose, finger-four formation, the pilots alert for danger and ready for yet another raid on England, just a few miles across the Channel.
Item Code : DHM1810APDawn Eagles Rising by Robert Taylor. (AP) - This Edition
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ARTIST
PROOF
Signed artist proof edition of 75 prints.

SOLD OUT (£550, October 2009)
Paper size 27.5 inches x 17 inches (71cm x 43cm) Axthammer, Erich
Ballewski, Helmut
Bob, Hans-Ekkehard
Drees, Gustav
Hannig, Norbert
Koller, Herbert
Noller, Wilhelm
Nordenholtz, Gunther
Oesterhelt, Johannes
Reschke, Willi
Sahl, Ottfried
Scheufele, Ernst
Schlossstein, Karl-Fritz
Schuck, Walter
Seeger, Gunther
Galland, Adolf (matted)
Grislawski, Alfred (matted)
Hrabak, Dieter (matted)
Ihlefeld, Herbert (matted)
Keller, Fritz (matted)
Korner, Friedrich (matted)
Krupinski, Walter (matted)
Losigkeit, Fritz (matted)
Neumann, Eduard (matted)
Reinert, Ernst Wilhelm (matted)
Rudorffer, Erich (matted)
Obleser, Friedrich (matted)
Steinhoff, Johannes (matted)
Thyben, Gerhard (matted)
Trautloft, Hannes (matted)
Rall, Gunther
Wolfrum, Walter
Broch, Hugo
+ Artist : Robert Taylor
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Paper size 27.5 inches x 17 inches (71cm x 43cm) Rall, Gunther
Wolfrum, Walter
Broch, Hugo
+ Artist : Robert Taylor
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PRINT Luftwaffe Tribute edition of 175 prints.

SOLD OUT (£195, July 2009).
Paper size 27.5 inches x 17 inches (71cm x 43cm) Schuck, Walter
Seeger, Gunther
Bob, Hans-Ekkehard
Reschke, Willi
Hannig, Norbert
Noller, Wilhelm
Schlossstein, Karl-Fritz
Ballewski, Helmut
Koller, Herbert
Drees, Gustav
Oesterhelt, Johannes
Sahl, Ottfried
Nordenholtz, Gunther
Axthammer, Erich
Rall, Gunther
Wolfrum, Walter
Broch, Hugo
Scheufele, Ernst
+ Artist : Robert Taylor
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Colonel Herbert Ihlefeld (deceased)
Born 1st June 1914 in Pinnow Pommern and died 8th August 1995 in Wenningen lower Saxony. Joined the Luftwaffe in 1936 and scored nine victories during the Spanish Civil War. Flew 1000 combat missions and claimed 132 enemy aircraft with 56 on the Western Front including 26 spitfires and 67 on the Russian Front. Participated in the air war over Poland, France and the Battle of Britain. In 1941 Ihlefeld was transferred to the Balkans for the invasion of Yugoslavia. He was shot down by AA fire and captured by the Yugoslavian Army. 8 days lated he was rescued by the German troops. Ihlefeld participated in the assault on Crete, claiming his 36th kill, a Hurricane. He then commanded Jagdgeschwader 77 in time for Operation Barbarossa in June 1941. In April 1942 Ihlefeld became the 5th pilot to reach 100 victories and his unit 1/JG77 was credited with 323 enemy aircraft kills compared to the loss of only 17 Bf109s. Ihlefeld then took command of Jagdgeschwader 52 in June 1942 but he was involved in a landing accident and badly injured and was not ready to return to active service until July 1943. In May 1944 he commanded JG11 and then JG1 during the defence of the Reich. In 1945 he took command of Jagdgeschwader 1 equipped with the Heinkel 162.




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 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.




Friedrich Obleser (deceased)
Friedrich Obleser was born 21 February 1923 in Pottenstein, Austria. He died– 5 June 2004 in Neunkirchen, Austria. Obleser was a German World War II fighter ace and was credited with 127 aerial victories achieved in 500 combat missions.

Friedrich Obleser at one point questioned the aerial claims made by Erich Hartmann. Hartmann asked Günther Rall to have Obleser transferred to be Hartmann's wingman for a while. Obleser became a witness on some of Hartmann's claims and no longer questioned Hartmann's claims.

After the World War II Friedrich Obleser settled in West Germany and continued his career in the Luftwaffe der Bundeswehr after the re-militarization of West Germany in 1955. From October 1, 1978 until his retirement on March 31, 1983, he held the position of Inspekteur der Luftwaffe der Bundeswehr. At the end of his career he had attained the rank of Generalleutnant.




General Adolf Galland (deceased)
Adolf Galland fought in the great Battles of Poland, France and Britain, leading the famous JG26 Abbeville Boys. He flew in combat against the RAFs best including Douglas Bader, Bob Stanford Tuck and Johnnie Johnson. In 1941, at the age of 29, he was promoted to Inspector of the Fighter Arm. In 1942 Hitler personally selected Galland to organise the fighter escort for the Channel Dash. He became the youngest General in the German High Command but open disagreements with Goering led to his dismissal at the end of 1944. He reverted to combat flying, forming the famous JV44 wing flying the Me262 jet fighter, and was the only General in history to lead a squadron into battle. With 104 victories, all in the West, Adolf Galland received the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Born 19th March 1912, died 9th February 1996. Born in 1911, Adolf Galland learned to fly at a state-sponsored flying club in the early 1930s. In 1933 he was selected to go to Italy for secret pilot training. Galland flew for a brief time as a commercial airline pilot prior to joining the clandestine Luftwaffe as a Second Lieutenant. In April of 1935 he was assigned to JG-2, the Richtofen Fighter Wing, and in 1937 he joined the ranks of the Condor Legion flying the He-51 biplane fighter in support of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War. Despite flying 280 missions, Galland attained no aerial victories, a rather inauspicious start for a pilot would go on to attain more than 100 aerial victories - the highest for any pilot who flew on the Western Front. During Germanys invasion of Poland, Galland was assigned to an attack squadron and he flew over fifty ground sorties. He was promoted to Captain for his efforts, but Galland was anxious to return to a fighter squadron, and he got his wish in October of 1939 when he was transferred to JG-27. It was with JG-27 that Galland first learned to fly the Bf-109. In May of 1940 JG-27 flew in support of the invasion of Belgium, and Galland achieved his first combat victory on May 12. Two months later his score had risen to more than a dozen, and at this time he was once again transferred to JG-26 situated on the Channel Coast. Engaging the RAF on a daily basis during the Battle of Britain, Gallands score rose steadily until it exceeded 40 victories by September. After a short leave Galland rejoined JG-26 in Brittany, where the squadron played a defensive role. Following Germanys invasion of Russia in June of 1941, JG-26 became one of only two German fighter squadrons left on the Channel Coast. This resulted in plenty of flying, and by late in 1941 Gallands victory totals had reached 70. Following a near brush with death when the fuel tank of his 109 exploded, Galland was grounded for a time, and sent to Berlin where he was made the General of the Fighter Arm, reporting directly to Goring and Hitler. Galland spent most of the next few years carrying out inspection tours, and was at odds with his superiors about the need for an adequate fighter defense to negate ever-increasing Allied bombing of Germanys cities. He continued to fly combat missions when the opportunity presented itself, despite Gorings orders to the contrary. In January of 1945 almost 300 fighters were lost in an all-out attack on Allied airfields in France, a mission Galland did not support. He was dismissed as General of the Fighter Arm for his insubordination, but reflecting his flying abilities Hitler ordered Galland to organize JV-44, Germanys first jet-equipped fighter squadron. By March of 1945 Galland had recruited 45 of Germanys best surviving fighter pilots, and this new squadron was given the difficult task of trying to counter the daily onslaught of 15th Air Force bombers coming at Germany from the South. Gallands final mission of the War occurred on April 26 when he attained his 102nd and 103rd confirmed aerial victories prior to crash landing his damaged Me262. Several days later the War was over for both Galland and Germany. General Galland died in 1996.




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.


General Johannes Steinhoff (deceased)
By early 1940 Macky Steinhoff was leading 4 / JG-52 during the Battle of Britain. He was then transferred to the eastern front where his success continued. In the final stages of the defence of the Reich he joined JV-44 flying the ME 262 in which he scored 6 victories before being seriously burned in a crash. He flew 939 missions scored 178 victories and was awarded the Knights Cross with Oak leaves and swords.




General Walter Krupinski (deceased)
Walter Krupinski first saw combat against the RAF on the Western Front. Transferring to the east, he became a Squadron Commander in the legendary JG52. In 1943 his victories reached 150 but, in March 1944 with 177 victories to his name, he was transferred to Germany to command JG11. Flying high altitude Me109s, he chalked up another 12 victories before being wounded. In September 1944 he was promoted Kommandeur of III./JG26 and led them on Operation Bodenplatte before joining Galland's famous JV44. He completed the war with 197 victories in over 1100 missions.

Walter Krupinski, known as Graf Punski or Count Punski in the Jagdwaffe, was a swashbuckling fly-boy with a phenomenal record of 197 aerial victories. Krupinski not only never lost a wingman, but also had the ability to help beginners develop to their full potential. He joined the Luftwaffe in 1939 as a student in the 11th Flying Training Regiment. He first served with the Jagderganzungsgruppe JG52, a combat replacement unit, flying the Me109, in October 1940. By the end of 191, he had earned the Iron Cross 1st class after his seventh victory and was awarded the German Cross in Gold and the Knights Cross one year later after scoring over 52 aerial victories. Krupinski taught the aerial art of closing with the enemy aircraft until it filled the windscreen before firing. It was during this time that the young Erich Hartmann was assigned as Krupinskis wingman. The young and overly enthusiastic Hartmann was seriously struggling in his first attempts at aerial combat, resulting in severe reprimands by the group commander. However, under Krupinskis expert tutelage, Hartmann mastered the art of aerial combat and went on to become the top scoring fighter ace in the world with 352 victories. While still a first lieutenant, Krupinski was selected as Dquadron Commander of 7.JG52 in the spring of 1943. On 5th of July of the same year, he scored victories 80 to 90 - 11 in one day! He later transferred to the Reich Defence in the west with 1./JG5 in the spring of 1944. His units mission was to help halt the Allied strategic bombardment campaign against Germany. Krupinski continued to rack up aerial victories and was awarded Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross after his 177th victory. He was promoted to Captain and became Group Commander of II./JG 11. Later, Krupinski became Group Commander of II./JG 26 Schlageter Group. In March 1945 he joined General Adolf Gallands famed Jagdverband 44 and flew Messerschmitt Me262 jet fighters until the end of the war. After logging a total of 1,100 combat missions, Krupinski was officialy credited with 197 aerial victories. Krupinski was also wounded seven times in aerial combat and received the Verwundetenabzeichen in Gold - the German equivalent of the American Purple Heart. A civilian after the war, Krupinski later joined the new Luftwaffe in 1952 and was promoted to major in 1955. He received jet fighting training from the Royal Air Force and became the first commander of the Jagdbomber Geschwader, Fighter-Bomber Wing - 33. Krupinski flew various jet fighters in the German Air Force, but held dear the last aircraft he flew until his retirement, his beloved F-104G Starfighter. General Krupinski retired as Commander of the German Air Force Tactical Air Command in 1976.

He received the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves. He died 7th October 2000.




Generalmajor Friedrich Korner (deceased)
Born 24th January 1921. Friedrich Korner joined the Luftwaffe in November 1939 and after training joined II/.JG27 in North Africa. On 19th March 1942, over Tobruk, Korner claimed his first victory, and with his 10th victory, over an RAF P-40, he claimed the 1000th victory for JG-27. He scored a further 20 victories in June 1942, including 5 in a day where he shot down three South African Air Force P-40s and two RAF Spitfires. He became the 7th most successful Ace in North Africa, but was shot down in his Bf-109 while taking off to intercept a bomber group. He was taken prisoner, and sent to Canada as a PoW, released in 1947. He recorded a total of 36 victories flying the Bf109, was awarded the German Cross in Gold on 21st August 1941, and the Knights Cross on 7th September 1942, after his capture. After the war, he conitnued in the post-war Bundesluftwaffe, retiring from military service in June 1979. He died on 3rd September 1998, in Paris.




Hannes Trautloft (deceased)
Hannes Trautloft is one of the Luftwaffe's great fighter leaders, scoring his first air victory in the Spanish Civil War in August 1936. Returning to Germany in 1937 he joined the national aerobatics team flying the Me109. Soon after the outbreak of World War II, Hannes took command of I./JG20 taking part in the Battle of Britain, before moving to the Balkans as Kommodore of JG54. Now leading the group on the Russian Front, JG54 took part in the heavy fighting, first in the Me109, then the Fw190. In the summer of 1943 Hannes Trautloft joined General Galland's staff. As a 'mutineer' he was sacked by Goering, thus ending an illustrious combat career comprising 550 combat missions and 57 aerial victories. he died 11th January 1995.




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 Ernst Wilhelm Reinert (deceased)
Ernst Wilhelm Reinert flew with JG77, before transferring to the Eastern Front in 1941. He was posted to Tunisia in January 1943 where he became the most successful Luftwaffe Ace in North Africa during that period. On January 2nd 1945 he was given the leadership of IV./JG27. In March he transferred to III./JG7 flying the Me262. In his 715 missions Reinert scored 174 aerial victories. he was awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. Born 2nd February 1919 in Lindenthal, died 5th September 2007.


Hauptmann Fritz Keller
Fritz Keller flew and fought with JG-27 from the outbreak of war in 1939 right through to the cessation of hostilities in May 1945, most of the time with I./JG-27. He took part in all major actions in the Desert and fought in the skies over El Alamein. Fritz Keller finished the war as Kommandeur of II./JG-27 with a total of 13 victories. He was a close personal friend of the legendary Hans-Joachim Marseille and was highly respected by all those that flew with him.


Hauptmann Gunther Nordenholtz
After 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
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.




Leutnant Helmut Ballewski
Helmut Ballewski was one of the 'younger' generation flyers, not joining the Luftwaffe until November 1942. Posted to JG53 PIK AS he flew all of his 47 missions in the west. With IV./JG53 from January 1945, Helmut Ballewski was Helmut Bennemann's wingman on Operation Bodenplatte. He also flew fighter bomber operations on the Bridge at Remagen operation. He was awarded the Iron Cross.




Leutnant Hugo Broch
Vital 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 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 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 Fritz Losigkeit (deceased)Died 14th January 1994




Major Hans-Ekkehard Bob (deceased)
After success in the Battle of Britain, Hans-Ekkehard Bob took over leadership of 9./JG54 in 1940. The following year he was awarded the Knights Cross. Transferring to the Eastern Front his victories rose steadily to 50 by September 1942. His Group later transferred back to the West for a short period, where in April 1943, he rammed a B-17 Fortress. Returning to the Eastern Front as Kommander of IV./JG3, he ended the war as Adjutant of Gallands JV44 in the West. In his 700 missions he scored 60 victories.


Oberfeldwebel Erich Axthammer
Born 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 Willi Reschke
One 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 Ernst Scheufele (deceased)
Joining the Luftwaffe in October 1940, Ernst Scheufele was posted to Norway in June 1942, to join 4./JG5. There, flying Me109s he carried out a total of 67 escort missions for the German battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz. In October 1943 he joined II./JG5 flying over Arctic waters, in Finland, and on the Russian Front, before transferring to the defence of the Reich in June 1944. On 3 December 1944 he was shot down by an American flak battery near Saxony, wounded and taken prisoner. He had a total of 18 victories. Sadly, Ernst Scheufele died on 18th February 2010.


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 Walter Schuck (deceased)
Initially with JG3, Walter Schuck was posted north to 7./JG5 in April 1942. On 15 June 1944 he chalked up his 100th victory during a day when he shot down 6 aircraft. Two days later he had his most successful day, achieving 12 victories in twenty-four hours, a feat never surpassed in JG5. On 1 August, he assumed command of 10./JG5. Walter Schuck transferred to fly the Me262 as Staffelkapitan of 3./JG7, and achieved 8 further victories flying the new jet. His final tally was 206 air victories. He was awarded the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves. Walter Schuck died on 27th March 2015.




Oberst Eduard Neumann (deceased)
A veteran of the Spanish Campaign, Edward Neumann, at the start of the war, was leading 4./JG26 in France, later promoted Adjutant of I./JG27. He took part in the Balkan Campaign before moving in 1941 to North Africa, where I./JG27 was the only German fighter unit for the first nine months. In 1942 he became Kommodore of JG27, a position which he held throughout the remainder of the Desert Campaign. He was credited with moulding the careers of many outstanding pilots, the best known being the young Hauptmann Marseille. Following the defeat of Rommel's Afrika Korps at El Alamein JG27 covered their retreat back to Tunisia. When his wing left the desert, 'Edu' Neumann was transferred to the Staff of General of the Fighter Arm, where he remained until 1944. Promoted to Oberst in the autumn of that year, he took over as Fighter Commander of Northern Italy. Edu Neumann ended the war as one of the Luftwaffe's most highly respected Commanders. Died 9th August 2004.




Unteroffizier Gustav Drees
Born 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 Johannes Oesterhelt
Born in August 1925, Johannes Oesterhelt joined the Luftwaffe in July 1943 and was one of the youngest pilots to fly with JG51 Molders. Joining IV./JG51 he flew his first combat mission in January 1945, aged 19, flying with the 13th Staffel against the advancing Russians in the area around the northern city of Danzig, and protecting the retreating German army. He flew against Russian II-2s, Yak-3s, Airacobras, and also against Russian tanks. He scored 2 confirmed air victories before the war ended.


Unteroffizier Otfried Sahl
Born in Eigenrode on 17th August 1925, Ottfried was called up for service in 1943, joining the Luftwaffe in July of that year. Trained as a fighter pilot he was posted to the Eastern Front to join 5./JG52, where he undertook 35 combat operations on Me109s before the end of the war.




Walter Wolfrum (deceased)
Walter Wolfrum first saw combat in the Crimea with 5/JG52. He was shot down three times, and wounded twice before scoring his first victory. With his score at 70 he was again wounded, but returned to take command of 1/JG52 in May 1944, taking part in the fiercely fought defence of the Ploesti oilfields. he was again wounded, but returned to command 1/JG52 until the end of the war. he had flown 423 missions, achieved 137 victories, and was awarded the Knights Cross. Sadly, Walter Wolfrum passed away on 26th August 2010.

The Aircraft :
NameInfo
Me109Willy 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.

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