Focke Wulf Fw 190 D-9


Flown by Uffz. Karl-George Genth, 12./JG 26, Plantlünne/Germany, March 7, 1945.


Hawker Tempest Mk V

Flown by P/O Basilios Michael "Vass" Vassilles, 3rd Squadron, B.80 Volkel/Netherlands, March 7, 1945.


This day, 7th of March 1945, The American First Army´s 9th Armored Division captured an intact bridge over the Rhine at Remagen. This created an crises for the Wehrmacht, however the Luftwaffe reaction was slow, unable to alter the planned missions for the day and hampered by bad wether and low fuel supplies.

However at 14.45 the third Gruppe of JG 26 was ordered to take off and flew in the direction of Rhine. Reaching Enschede the JG 26 pilots found the sky filled with enemy aircraft. - Typhoons were attacking motor convoys, and Spitfires were circling above, and below them several flights of Tempests.

Uffz. Karl-George Genth in his "Yellow 15" was flying as the wing man of the formation leader Obfw. Willi Zester, spotted the Tempest below and tried to warn his comrades. To no avail, as he saw that the Tempest used their superb climbing performance to attack the rear of the formation from beneath without any reaction from his fellow pilots.

Then Genth saw six Tempest that was climbing towards him and Zester in their dead angle below. Genth turned on his methanol injection and his speed increased to 600km/h, suddenly an oil line feeding his engine broke, and his "Yellow 15" left a long stream of oil behind as he headed for the nearest cloud layer. He reached a cloud layer safety while the Tempests flew over, below and behind him.

As his engine still ran quietly Genth decided to pull upp to a zoom climb and make a head-on attack at the Tempests. Seen by one of the pursuing Tempest through the thin cloud layer, he was suddenly attacked from below and his D-9 was hit; with a lost elevator control he had no other option than to bail out. As he was leaving his Focke-Wulf standing on its nose, Genth´s arm stuck the elevator so hard that it broke cleanly through.

The pilot who shot him down was P/O Basilios Michael "Vass" Vassilles, an Greek ace pilot flying in No. 3 Squadron. "Vass" known as the "millionaire playboy" had since the D-day landing enjoy a highly successful spell as a fighter pilot in the RAF, shooting down nine enemy aircraft, including two Dora-nines.

Versailles had follow Genth´s action for nearly ten minutes pursuing undetected below, when Genth pulled upp and emerged from the cloud layer, he got on his tail and with one burst hit in the cockpit area, he saw the German pilot bail out, his 10th and last victory of the war

In all four Fw 190 D-9 was lost to the Tempest this day, with two pilots KIA and two WIA including the formation leader Zester. Uffz. Karl-George Genth's injuries was found to be so severe that his flying career was over.

P/O Basilios Michael "Vass" Versailles was not so lucky, he was killed in action just little over two weeks later. On the 25 March 1945 he was leading four Tempests in an attack against a truck convoy situated in the midst of an area well-known for its lethal defending flak, the Bocholt woods.

After one of the Tempest was shot down during their first pass, the another two pilots refused to follow "Vass" orders, so he went in all alone as an self-sacrificing example, his Tempest, coded "JF-A" EJ755, was blown to smithereens just as he was emerging out of the flak barrage. The second highest scoring Greek fighter ace in history was killed instantly in the inferno.

Please note that there is not any known photos of Vassailles or Genth's machines, the profiles is therefore based on other machines from those units, blocks and the period of time.

© Claes Sundin 2015