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When the Do335 prototype first flew in October 1943, it was clear that a potentially outstanding long-range fighter was in the offing. The question for the RLM was how to best employ it, as the war situation at that time had made the concept of a long range fighter-bomber somewhat superfluous. In a rare outbreak of pragmatism, it was decided to concentrate on development of the '335 as a bomber destroyer. The Luftwaffe's single engined fighters were having difficulty in carrying sufficient heavy weaponry to counter the 8th Air Force bomber fleets that were inflicting increasingly serious damage on Reich industry; performance of these heavily armed Pulk zerstorers rendering them vulnerable to the US long-range escort fighters appearing on the scene. Conversions of existing twin-engine fighter-bombers such as the Me410 were even worse. The Do335, fitted with heavy armament, having a reasonable endurance, and with high performance from it's efficient twin-engine configurations suggested a solution. 10. and 11. Staffel of IV(Sturm) Gruppe, JG3 began exchanging their FW190A-8/R2s for the B variant of the '335 in March 1944 and quickly worked up to operational status, perfecting their repeated dive and zoom slashing attacks to break up the bomber stream while remaining fast enough to cause a serious problem for the escorting fighters to intercept. The '335 may have been fast and heavily armed, but it would be at a serious disadvantage in traditional fighter versus fighter combat manoeuvring. It was shaping up to be a torrid Summer for the 8th Air Force . . . regards, Martin
When Gen Patton's court martial in late 1945 for insubordination from his public agitation for war with the Soviet Union leads Stalin to assume that the Western Allies are unwilling or unable to fight a war with the Soviet Union. Stalin, already intended to press the West aggressively chooses instead to attack in early 1946. Without sufficient force in place to truly push the Allies, the Soviet forces settle into a slow grinding advance into Germany while both sides hurry to build up desperately needed forces. The Allies, facing an exhausted France unwilling to commit forces outside its borders and the need to bring much of their needed manpower back across the Atlantic from the Americas as well as from points further west in New Zealand and Australia, realize that they will need to enlist the aid of the recently defeated Germans, as well as the Spanish and Portuguese, who were relatively untouched by the war but are also threatened by the Soviet attack. Recognizing the massive casualties suffered by the Germans during the later portions of the war it was concluded that Germany would be unable to field significant ground forces, but Germany did retain a core force of trained aviators, as well as a small but very competent naval component. The allies decided to reconstitute the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine, primarily using Lend-Lease equipment that the UK had intended to destroy otherwise, as well as certain other surplus equipment that had been slated for replacement, such as Merlin and early Griffon Spitfire's and Typhoons. With these transfers, Luftwaffe fighter and tactical bomber wings were stood up again based around what cadre could be found from pre-VE day. These wings were then paired with Allied wings as a security measure, and to build up much needed camaraderie between recent enemies. These pairings would endure long after the First Soviet War's end. With the resumption of procurement programs which had been cancelled in the aftermath of the end of WW2, the more advanced Allied development programs would slowly turn the tide of the war, slowly pushing the Soviet forces back out of North Eastern Europe. Churchill, returned to power after the fall of Atlee's government over the renewed hostilities, would successfully push a bid to open additional fronts, with forces pushing towards Romania from Italy as well as pushing into Soviet-controlled Karelia from Finland with the aid of formerly neutral Sweden. Additional US and Allied forces positioned in Persia and in Manchuria along the Siberian border would force the Soviets to pull resources off the main line of resistance to honor these threats, increasing the speed of the Allied main advance. Eventually facing logistical limitations, with the Soviet's inside line advantage and the poor infrastructure of eastern Poland limiting strategic mobility, the war would settle into a stalemate with the border, later to be known as the Iron Curtain, dividing the remnants of Soviet controlled Europe, primarily in the south-east and including Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Eastern Romania and Greece, the latter falling to a communist coup, while the Allies controlled Czechoslovakia, Poland, Austria, Hungary and Western Romania. Additionally the Finns would regain Karelia and an allied occupied region surrounding the port of Murmansk. The subject will be a Spitfire XIVc, aka a Mi224D-1in Luftwaffe service. Mi for Mitchell, the designer,224 as the manufacturer model number for the original Spitfire. D for the fourth major variant, A's were single-stage Merlin, B 2-stage Merlin, C's were Single-stage Griffon and D's are 2-stage Griffon, E's are the late Griffon's with the new wing, sub-types designate the actual mark. So a Mi224A-5 is a Va, an A-7 is a Vc, a B-3 is an IXc while a B-4 is an IXe, the only C is the XII and the D-1 is of course the XIVc, the first 2-stage Griffon Spit, the D2 the XIVe, D-3 is the XVIII, E-1 is the 21, E-2 the 22 and E-3 is the 24). The Luftwaffe operated a mix of Spitfires during this period, with small numbers of Vc's, as well as a solid force of IX, XVI and XIV's. The Luftwaffe would later standardize on the Mk.22, the Mi224E-2 in German Service as one of their two primary fighter aircraft during the First Soviet War, the other being the F4U-4B, aka the Vo101B-1 in German service. The Germans, having little need for the range of the Mustang and disliking its susceptibility to ground fire fairly quickly retired the stocks they originally were given from left-over Lend-Lease aircraft and the Typhoons, while well liked by the Luftwaffe, were out of production and new Tempest production was dedicated to RAF and RCAF needs, the Luftwaffe never received P-47's as their initial forces were all from Lend-Lease stocks in Europe or surplus RAF and RCAF aircraft). All allied aircraft received designations starting with 100 when in Luftwaffe service unless there was an available manufacturer model number, Mosquito's in German service were DH98's while Mustangs were Na73's for example. The Vo100 is the OS2U Kingfisher, which the Germans also received small stocks of as a coastal patrol & SAR aircraft. The subject is a Mi224D-1 of II.JG3 operating in the Murmansk Salient in early 1947, paired with 126 Wing of 2 TAF, which transfered to the Karelian Front in August 1946 as the primary Allied air component operating with the Ilmavoimat after the Finns entered the war and opened up the third front. Murmansk was a primary goal of allied forces to improve supply lines to Finland given the continued Soviet naval presence in the Baltic prior to late 1948 and the difficulty of transfering supplies from Norwegian ports to Finland. The kit is the Academy, chubby fuselage and all, with decals drawn from Airfix's Bf109G-6 boxing as well as some modern Luftwaffe insignia stolen from an Academy F-104G, all in 1/72. The paint scheme is undecided, but will be a Luftwaffe Eastern Front winter scheme of some sort with 2TAF theater markings (black spinner, yellow outboard leading edges) Pictures will be posted shortly