1/48 Hasegawa Fw190 A-8/R2 “Black 8”, flown by Unteroffizier Willi Maximowitz, IV./JG 3, 11.Staffel, Dreux, June 1944
“Gadget”, one of the planes flown by one of the US Navy’s most successful pilots, Lt.Alexander Vraciu, is from the end of 1944, beginning of 1945 time period, when Vraciu flew as a member of VF-6 off the deck of the USS Intrepid. By that time, he was already an ace, and was nearing the end of his first combat tour. He attributed his success to, among others, his CO and mentor, Edward O’Hare, first ace of the US Navy, and for whom he flew as wingman. Vraciu claimed his first Zero on October 10th, 1943 over Wake Island. One of his most successful days came on January 29th, 1944, when he flamed three Betty bombers.
Joy over his even greater success of downing three Zekes and a Rufe over Truk on February 17th, 1944, was tempered by the fact that his carrier, the USS Intrepid, had been torpedoed. The carrier survived, but had to put into Pearl Harbor for repairs. Vraciu completed his tour as the unit’s most successful pilot. After some R and R, he began his next tour with VF-16 and VF-20, and he finished the war with 19 kills. The cowl of this aircraft points to being of a later series F6F-3, with only two of the cooling flaps on either side, and lacking the side exhaust fairing.
Fw 190D-9 Stab/JG 4, Frankfurt am Rhein-Main, April 1945
Dora W.Nr. 600150 was built by Gerhard Fieseler Werke (first production batch). It is the only recently discovered JG 4 Dora that sports the unit´s badge. U.S. forces found her at Frankfurt am Rhein-Main airfield in April, 1945. Camouflage consisted of RLM 75/83 on the upper surfaces, and blue-green RLM 76 on the lower. The RLM 75 and 83 were applied to the fuselage, and the tail unit wore RLM 83 mottling. The engine section showed original Junkers paint of RLM 83 and a whitish RLM 76. The RLM 75 spots were added to the upper cowling by GFW. The Black-White-Black band on the tail identifies this as a JG 4 aircraft.
Artur Beese was born on 11 March 1916 at Hörselgau. Beese joined JG 26 in October or November 1939. Unteroffizier Beese was assigned to the Stabstaffel of III./JG 26. He was shot down in aerial combat with French Morane 406 fighters near Lille in France and taken prisoner on 1 June 1940. He was released when France fell. Beese participated in the Battle of Britain. On 24 August 1940, Feldwebel Beese, shot down into the Channel by RAF fighters, was rescued unharmed by the German rescue service. Leutnant Beese claimed his first victory, a RAF Spitfire fighter, shot down on 24 July 1941. At the end of January 1943, I./JG 26 was transferred to Russia in an exchange with III./JG 54, who replaced them on the Channel Front. By the time the Gruppe was returned to the Channel front in June, Oberleutnant Beese had 13 victories to his credit. On 20 June 1943, Beese was appointed Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 26. He recorded his first victories over the increasing number of Allied four-engine bombers raiding German occupied territory on 17 August 1943, when he shot down two USAAF B-17s for his 16th and 17th victories. On 8 September, shot down by RAF Spitfire fighters, he baled out of his Fw 190 A-5 (W.Nr. 550 474) “White 2” west of Cambrai. He suffered only minor injuries. Oberleutnant Beese was shot down in aerial combat with USAAF P-47 fighters near Melun in France on 6 February 1944. He attempted to bale out of his Fw 190 A-6 (W.Nr. 531 060) “White 7” but hit the tail and was killed. He was posthumously awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold on 29 March 1944.
Artur Beese was credited with 22 victories in 285 missions. He recorded seven victories over the Eastern front, including three Il-2 Sturmovik ground-attack aircraft. Of his 15 Western front victories, six were four-engine bombers.
Blue 9 Fw 190 D-9 II./JG 6 May 1945 Halle, Germany
Werk nummer not known. Typical of II Gruppe JG 6 is the long horizantal II. Guppe bar behind the fuselage cross. 8. Staffel aircraft normally were assigned Blue number trimmed in white. Black numbers in II.Gruppe had no white rim.
Note glycol coolant data circle just behind the cowl flap in the RLM83 camouflage.