Hermann Graf experienced his first air combat on 4 August 1941.This day when on an escort mission for III./StG 77 attacking in the Kiev area suddenly a cry was heard on the radio "Ratas". Graf saw two green I-16 flashed by, soon the German formation disintegrated, as the pilots went after the VVS fighters.
Graf pushed his stick forward and and dive after the Ratas. Suddenly the two I-16 made a quick 180-degree turn in front of him, and came racing against him, nose to nose. Enemy bullets slammed into his Messerschmitt while Graf pressed the firing button, however nothing happens, he was so exited that he have forgot to arm his weapons!
After a prolonged air-combat suddenly one of the I-16 appeared in front of him, so close he nearly have rammed it. In panic Graf closed his eyes and open fire with all his guns. When he came back to his senses he heard his wing man Steinbatz voice on the R/T: You got him, Hermann!, You got him!". The enemy fighter was seen to crash 10 km south east of Kiev at 06.20 hours.
During the III./JG 52 stay at the Ukranian town Biyala Tserkow Hermann Graf would learn the hard way. Over and over again his create was hit and more than once he was saved by sheer luck. However slowly Graf started to learn to master the the game. When he downed his third, a MiG-3 on 11 August, it was the first time that he really knew what he was doing. Seven days later on 18 August Graf would receive the Pilots Clasp in Silver for sixty-five combat sorties.
Note the first abschussbalken in black painted on the rudder of Graf´s "Yellow 9". Note also the gray overspray of the Yellow Engine cowling.
This is one of 20
new profiles that I have during the week have included in the
130 profile layout of Profile Book No 12. I have picked some
of the 50 plus profiles made during the last months, thereby
making the collection of profiles more interesting, both when
it comes to profile subjects but also when it comes to writing
much more interesting captions for this new book.