The most famous unit which flew the Fw 190D is JV 44. Up to this time, five Focke-Wulf Fw 190Ds are known to have been used by JV 44, part of the so-called ‘Sachsenberg Schwarm’. Fancy, red lower surfaces with white stripes were used as a recognition feature to prevent friendly AA fire. These Doras protected Me 262 Schwalbe jets from JV 44 during their most vulnerable phase of flight – take-off and landing. ‘Red 4’, with the ‘Der nächste Herr – diesselbe Dame’ inscription is documented as being flown by Lt. Karl-Heinz Hofmann. The inscription can be translated as ‘different man, same woman’. This Dora ended her life at München-Riem airfield.
Because of the greater length of runway it required, and the slow acceleration it had at low speeds, the Me 262 was especially vulnerable during take-off and landing. Galland thus established his own protection flight. Five Fw 190D-9s and D-11s were attached to JV44, the Platzschutzstaffel (Airfield protection squadron), headed by Leutnant Heinz Sachsenberg, to provide air cover for takeoffs and landings. Flights were to be undertaken in a two-aircraft Rotte up to altitudes of 500 metres, covering both the Me 262s taking off or landing and monitoring the surrounding skies for Allied fighters.
The Platzschutzstaffel flew the long-nosed ‘Dora’, Fw-190 D-9, or Fw-190 D-11 variant of the well-known Fw 190. These aircraft were painted bright red on their wings’ undersurfaces with contrasting white stripes so that anti-aircraft batteries could distinguish them from Allied piston-engined aircraft, leading to their humorous postwar nickname of the Papagei Staffel (Parrot squadron). The Staffel was nicknamed “Die Würger-Staffel”, a play on the common nickname for the BMW 801 radial-engined original A-version of the Fw 190, which was Würger or Butcher-bird.
W.Nr. 18807, Flown by Ofw. Alfred Surau, 9./JG 3, Bad Wörishofen, September, 1943
This aircraft was flown by Ofw. Alfred Surau, a fighter ace credited with 45 victories (some sources claim 46). Surau´s first victim hit the ground in Russia on February 28, 1943. He served on the Eastern Front till the end of August, 1943. The first kills in the West were two B-17s in September, 1943.
Two more were added to Surau´s tally on October 1. His last combat sortie came on October 14, 1943. Surau took part in an aerial battle with US bombers over Schweinfurt, but B-17 gunners hit his G-6. Surau was seriously wounded and died the same day in a Wertheim hospital. The excess paint on the gun cowling identified 9./JG 3 aircraft, and the JG 3 badge is painted on the engine cowling. The RLM 02 splotches were sprayed on fuselage sides.