Protection squadron – Die Würger-Staffel
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.