Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6

White 2, flown by Leutnant Josef-Emil Clade, 7./JG 27, Tanagra/Greece, 1 December 1943

Josef-Emil Clade was from early age a flight enthusiast and started flying gliders in 1931 at the age of 15. As a consequence he joined the Luftwaffe during 1936 and when the war started he was posted to 1./JG 1 as a Feldwebel.

His first two claims were filed on 11 May 1940, when he downed a Belgian Gladiator and later in the evening an Armée de l´Air LeO 451, both shot down over Maastricht. He would add another two Luftsiege during the French campaign.

In March of 1941 Clade became an instructor, a position he would hold for more than a year. In June, now as an Oberfeldwebel he was shipped over to the Mediterranean theater joining 5./JG 27 based in North Africa. Here he would on 7 August claim an unescorted Bombay, one of the passengers killed was Lieutenant General William Gott. Gott's death would result in a new commander for the Eighth Army (the "Desert rats") in North Africa, Bernard Montgomery.

On 23 May 1943, Lt. Clade, now with 17 confirmed victories under his belt became Staffelkapitän of 7./JG 27. On 5 October he shot down his first four-engine bomber, a USAAF B-24, but was hit by the bombers return fire, forcing a bail-out from his crippled Bf 109 G-6.

On 1 December, he led a three Messerschmitt flight on an escort mission, protecting the He 111 transporting Generale Holle and Fiebig on route to Crete.

His next claim was filed on 20 December for his 22nd Luftsieg, a B-17 NE of Megara. Thereafter he was once more posted as an instructor, transferred to 2./Jagdgruppe Süd, based in Avignon in France. Here he was seriously injured in an attack by the French resistance on 16 February 1944.

His wounds would keep him out of action until November 1944 when he was posted to 12./JG 27, by then flying in the Home Defense. In February 1945, Oblt. Clade became acting Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 27. He flew his last air-combat on February 25 when he downed a USAAF P-38.

After disbanding III./JG 27 in Saalbach on 3 May 1945, Clade took over as the Kommandeur of I./JG 27. In all Hptm. Josef-Emil Clade, shot down six times, was credited with 27 confirmed victories.

This profile and caption is taken from my Profile Book No 10, and this Bf 109 G-6 is the 74th profile presented in that book.

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