Profile no 43. Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4

White 9, flown by Oberfeldwebel Karl Kempf, 7./JG 54, Siwerskaja/USSR, 12 June 1942

JG 54's chief area of operations had been south of Leningrad. However, as the spring thaw settled in the Soviet "ice road", the lifeline to the besieged city, was being replaced by an armada of supply ships. I an attempt to stop the supplies, a small German-Italian naval fleet was created in Lake Ladoga. As this small Axis naval unit needed top-cover for their operations, JG 54 was picked for this task and hence the Geschwader extended their operations northwards into Finland. The Staffel to be transferred to Finland was 7./JG 54 who arrived at the air base in Petäjärvi on 23 June 1942. Commanded by Oblt. Hans Götz, the Kommando would remain here until early October when the ice on the lake froze and the ice-road traffic was resumed by the Red Army. Before this transfer, back on 12 June, Obfw. Kempf had just returned after force-landing his machine the day before north of Noworogod due to Flak damage. He was lucky to survive this crash which resulted in 95% damage to his Bf 109, making it in other words a total write-off. Despite this, he bagged three fighters in his "White 9" within four minutes, one MiG-3 and two Yak-1s for his 49th to 51st Abschüsse. It would be another 17 days before he shot down his next adversary, another Yak-1, perhaps as a result of his accident or due to the transfer to the north to Petäjärvi. In all, Leutnant Karl Kempf was credited with 65 victories before he was shot down and killed during a transfer flight on 3 September 1944 while serving in JG 26.

Note that this profile and caption is from my new book Luftwaffe Fighters, Profile book No 10

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