Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4

Black 8, W.Nr. 13 292, flown by Oberfeldwebel Oskar Wunder 2./JG 52, Grawkowo/USSR, 24 June 1942

The German battle orders for the month of June 1942 read: "Breakthrough and pursuit against upper Don and capture of Woronech". Luftwaffe fighter missions flown during this period were fighter sweeps, bomber escort units, and scramble against enemy aircraft incursions. The Geschwader's operational area including I./JG 52 was mainly the area near Kupyansk and Waluki.

The I. Gruppe was so successful in clearing the air for the German bombers that they no longer required any escort protection. This freed-up the fighter units and allowed sweeps by all JG 52's Gruppen over their operational area. Together this resulted in great successes for both with the bombers attaining great accuracy with their bomb runs and the number of enemy aircraft intercepted and downed by the fighters.

In total the I. Gruppe filed claims for no fewer than 92 Soviet aircraft with 1./JG 52 reaching their 100th Abschuss on 2 June. Amazingly on the 22nd I. Gruppe celebrated their 400th confirmed victory. The day after 3. Staffel claimed their 150th on the 23 June followed by 1. Staffel two days later who also reached 150.

This all was however not without losses as I./JG 52 lost eight machines with another four damaged with four of the total losses and three damaged due to air-combat. Two pilots who previously claimed enemy aircraft were on this list of killed; Oblt. Göbel with four Abschüsse and the more prominent Obfw. Oscar Wunder with a total of 14 confirmed victories. On this day, 24 June 1942, Wunder was intercepted by a large number of LaGG-3s and in the ensuring dog-fight his Messerschmitt was hit and crashed 20 km northeast of Kupyansk.

What is known about Oskar Wunder is that he joined 3./JG 52 after pilot training. He would file his first claim on 2 June 1941, a RAF Blenheim downed northeast of Ameland Island. His second was another Blenheim, claimed five days later and also downed over Ameland. His first known victory in the East was an SB-2 claimed on 18 January 1942. On 27 May Oskar Wunder filed a triple claim for two Il-2s near St. Savintsy and a Pe-2 8 km northeast of Petrovskaya. His 12th, an I-16, followed the next day. On 11 June his next confirmed victory was filed, an Il-2. Wunder's final Abschuss was a LaGG-3 downed two days later on 13 June 1942.

Wunder's Bf 109 F-4 has the name "Musch" painted in red under the cockpit, a private soldier or "squaddie"!. Typical for JG 52's I. Gruppe of JG 52 is the unit crest positioned aft of the fuselage cross, and on the yellow-painted engine cowling is the crest for the 2. Staffel.

This profile and caption is included in my new Profile Book No 12 as profile number 38

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