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.