Jagdgeschwader 6, dubbed "Horst Wessel", was initially formed from elements of ZG 26 in July of 1944, and later in October, the III. Gruppe was formed from elements of I./JG 5. JG 6 first saw first action in the Normandy Campaign, and to the end of 1944 lost 137 machines in air combat while claiming 71 Abschüsse during fighting in the West. The most successful unit within the Geschwader during this period was the II. Gruppe with 55 claims for 60 losses.
At the beginning of 1945, II./JG 6 was based at Quakenbrück and from here they participated in Operation Bodenplatte. However, they failed to locate their target for the day, the air base at Volkel. While searching for it, II. Gruppe stumbled across the Helmond airstrip then under construction, but occupied by two RAF squadrons. Helmond's Spitfires and Tempests along with those from now alerted nearby bases, immediately engaged the II. Gruppe, causing severe casualties.
Shortly thereafter, the Gruppe moved to the Eastern Front based at Sorau, and then Welzow on 10 February 1945. In March of 1945, the Gruppe finally moved to Görlitz, where it was subordinated to Gefechtsverband Rudel. By 9 April 1945, II./JG 6 reported 45 serviceable machines. At dawn on 16 April following a ferocious artillery bombardment, units of the Soviet Army stormed over the rivers Oder and Neisse and soon developed salients on the western banks. Accompanied by some 7,000 VVS aircraft, they soon owned the air. The Germans, outnumbered two-to-one in men and five-to-one in aircraft, fought a series of skilful actions and initially their defensive lines held. Every Luftwaffe combat unit that could be scraped together was thrown into action. However, the overwhelming might of the Soviets could not be defended against over the duration, and five days later on 21 April 1945, the capital Berlin came under direct fire from enemy artillery.
On this day, 8 May, as German forces surrendered, II. Gruppe was finally dissolved in the Görlitz area and many of its pilots flew out heading westwards. Oberfeldwebel Hermy Härtel took-off from Altkemnitz (known today as Stara Kamienica, Poland) situated 100 km east of Dresden. After a flight of some 180 km to the West to avoid falling into the hands of the Red Army, Ofw. Härtel landed his "Black 8" at Halle and surrendered to the "right enemy", in this instance the US 7th Armor Division occupying the base.
This profile of "Black
8" displays the principal elements of an MME-produced Dora,
with its late war upper colors of brown and light green RLM 81/82,
and a lower color consisting of the yellowish-brown RLM 76. Like
many similar aircraft its rudder was produced at a separate subcontracting
facility and was painted in RLM 75 with a heavy mottling of RLM
76. Note the yellow-painted underside cowling panel which was
documented by a US soldier using color film in his camera.