Focke Wulf Fw 190 D-9

Black 1, W.Nr. 211143, flown by Major Erwin Bacsila, Stab IV./JG 3 Prenzlau/Germany, early February 1945.

As the situation during the summer of 1944 became desperate for the German Air defense individual Jagdwaffe pilots had taken to ramming USAAF bombers. Special units, Sturmgruppen was created, one of them IV./JG 3. Using the Fw 190 A the pilots of the different Sturmgruppen took a oath that they would carry out the attack on the bombers within the closest possible range of the enemy and if this was impossible take down the bomber by ramming. At the same time the pilot was to make every effort to ensure that the attack left them with the possibility of escape. Between 7 July 1944 and the end of March 1945 this tactic would be rather successful and result in the destruction of around 500 4-engine bombers.

The Austrian Erwin Bacsila was definitely suited as the leader of IV.(Sturm)/JG 3 as he already In November 1943, joined Sturmstaffel 1. He was also the first pilot in this unit to claim the first confirmed victory, downing a USAAF B-17 bomber on 30 January 1944 for his 15 abschüsse. However later in April 1944, he was wounded in the arm and was subsequently declared unfit for combat. Major Bacsila was to be one of the last Gruppenkommandeure of IV./JG 3 when he took command of the Gruppe on 5 January 1945. He held the post until 17 February 1945.

Erwin Bacsila had a long military career, in 1931 he was accepted into the Austrian army, initially served in the artillery before transferring to the Austrian Air Force on 1 September 1935, serving with a flak regiment with the rank of Leutnant. Bacsila later undertook flying training and flew as a reconnaissance pilot before converting to fighters.

Following the German annexation of Austria, Bacsila was absorbed into the Luftwaffe and was promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant on 1 June 1938. Bacsila would serve in units such as I./JG 333, later redesignated I./JG 54, II./ZG 1 then to 11.(N)/LG 2 and 7./JG 52. Later, during the Soviet campaign in 1941 he was placed in temporary command of the whole JG 52. Thereafter he joined a number of staff position before In September 1942 being transferred to the JG 77 Geschwaderstab. Then followed another stint in staff position before being back in action in Sturmstaffel 1. On his recovery from the wounds he received, Bacsila was posted to Erprobungskommando 16, then the Ergänzungsstaffel of JG 400 and I./JG 400 , where he flew the Me 163 rocket powered fighter. In November 1944, Bacsila was serving as a Staffelführer in JG 301. After leaving IV./JG 3 he was finally transferred, once again back to JG 400.

Lucky to survived the war, Bacsila returned to Austria and Vienna where he passed away on 3 March 1982, 72 years old. Oberstleutnant Erwin Bacsila is credited with a total of 34 victories and eight unconfirmed victories during the war years.

This is one of 130 new profiles that I will include in my forthcoming book, Profile Book No 12.

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