Focke Wulf Fw 190 A-7

Black Chevron Green 2, flown by Feldwebel Karl Witte, 8./JG 11, Oldenburg/Germany, 8 March 1944

The 8 March 1944 USAAF Mission 252 on Berlin was flown by 623 Viermots of all three Bomb Divisions and covered by 891 escort fighters including 174 of the new P-51 Mustang. This was the second of the two days attacks on targets within the Reichshauptstadt, the capital city Berlin.

The principal target for the day was the VKF ball-bearing plant at Erkner, a southern suburb of the city. The bomber stream crossed the mainland coast north of Amsterdam and headed directly for Berlin by the shortest route possible. It thus ran up against no fewer than 20 Tagjagdgruppen and two Zerstörergruppen with various night-fighter and test Gruppen also committed during the day's clash.

The German fighters managed to break through the fighter screen and around 13.00 hours attacked the bombers in earnest between Dümmer and the Steinhuder Meer about 30 km northwest of Hannover. Little is known of the actions of JG 11's three Gruppen committed from their bases at Rotenburg, Wunstorf, and Oldenburg respectively.

JG 11 recorded nine Abschüsse and Heraubschüsse including the 123rd and 124th for the Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 11, Oblt. Josef Zwernemann who claimed one B-17 and a P-47. Following combat the survivors broke off to land at airfields in northwest Germany to refuel and replenish munitions for the bombers' return flight. At around 15:20 hours north of Hannover the I. and III. Gruppen ran into the returning bomber wings and knocked down seven B-24s and B-17s, four of them being claimed by Hptm. Rolf Hermichen, the Kommandeur of I./JG 11.

When the day's fighting was summed up for the III. Gruppen it highlighted their catastrophic day while defending their capital: five Fw 190s were lost with another two damaged for just one filed claim, that of Obfw. Erwin Laskowski whose claim was later denied by the RLM.

One of the lost machines was that flown by Fw. Karl Witte. He crash-landed this Fw 190 A-7 after combat near Pollhagen close to the Deutsche Bucht, and aircraft usually flown in the Gruppenstab. Note the machine's wide JG 11 yellow Reichsverteidigung (home defence) fuselage band.

This is one of 130 profiles and captions that is include in my new Profile Book No 12, as profile No 78

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