Focke Wulf Fw 190 D-11

Red 2, W.Nr. 220013, possibly flown by Leutnant Karl-Heinz Hofmann, JV 44, Bad Aibling/Germany, late April 1945

Me 262s were most vulnerable during take-off and landing and allied fighter pilots soon learned of this weakness and so constantly patrolled the known jet airfields. The procedure was for the piston fighters to take-off before the Me 262s, and clear the airspace around the airfield. Once the Me 262s had formed up and left the local airspace, the covering fighters were to land.

In April 1945, JV 44 was subjected to similar pressure from USAAF fighters prowling about the München-Riem area. With American ground forces closing in on München, JV 44, now commanded by Oberstleutnant Heinz Bär, was forced to evacuate München-Riem on 28-29 April relocating its headquarters to Salzburg-Maxglan. Aircraft that could be flown ended up there as well as Innsbruck-Hötting and Innsbruck-Reichenau, with a few individual aircraft found at places like Ainring and Bad Aibling. JV 44 was ordered to move to Prague on 3 May, but Obslt. Bär chose to stay at Maxglan, where the unit finally capitulated on 7 May 1945. Over the short duration of its existence, the jets of JV 44 were credited with a total of around sixty abschüsse.

This machine, an Fw 190 D-11 coded "Red 2", is one of the five Fw 190 Doras used by the Platzschutzschwarm (airfield protection flight) of JV 44 from about 16 April onwards. The Staffel was also given a number of informal designations such as the Sachsenbergschwarm, Würgerstaffel and Papagei Staffel. The Doras were distinguished by their red undersides accentuated with narrow longitudinal stripes, no doubt applied for recognition purposes considering German Flak crews were trigger happy and had poor aircraft recognition skills. The bright colorations continued with the front half of the spinners painted yellow. Below the canopy of the port side was applied the unit's crest that very closely resembled the Prussian Flyer Observer Badge from the Great War.

All pilots in the Staffel chose their own numerals for their crates and applied a hand-painted, often outrageous inscription in white after the crest such as: "The next guy, the same girl" ('Red 4'), "Sell my clothes I´m going to Heaven" ("Red 1"), "He must get in even if they both cry" ("Red 13"), and "In service of the State Railway" ("Red 3"). The relevance of those expressions will be left to the reader's private reflection. "Red 2" is the least known of this unit's Doras. It was discovered by US troops at Bad Aibling, about 25 km southeast of München-Reim.

With a new photo emerging this year of this Fw 190 D-11 "Rote 2", photos taken at Bad Abling by Daniel Veit an US Army soldier of the left hand side we could set aside the speculations regarding the inscription under its cockpit. Some narrative sources suggest it could have read "In with Sack and Flute" or "Elephants work the landing zone", however in fact there is no inscription to be found. Its pilot is unknown, but possibly was Lt. Karl-Heinz Hofmann.

Many of the fellow enthusisats that contacted me is asking me why I don´t make both the right- and left hand side of an profile. The answer is rather strait forward, because there is very few Luftwaffe fighters, (up to now just a handful) profile subject that is documented from both sides, fortunately this "Rote 2" is one of those. The right hand side version of this profile was first published in Profile Book No 10 as profile No 122. This the left hand side version would probably be included in profile Book No 15.

This profile was made by me yesterday and most of the caption is copied from that included in Profile Book No 10.

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