Details on January 14 1945

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The Pop-Tart Whisperer
Feb 19, 2007
Southern New Jersey
I'm looking for details on the air battles over the west on 1-14-45. I've gotten most of the accounts by JG 300 and JG 301 but having hard time figuring out who else was involved. Probably Eric would be best to ask this of -I read about the threads on Nov 26, 44 and Dec 44. Just trying to figure out who met who and where. Thanks.
I can give you a very good account actually. am in touch with several former 356th fg veterans that flew on this date. Just talked with one tonight for a 1/2 hour in fact..........

the 356th fg met the Fw 190A-8's and A-9's of IV./JG 54 and shot them to pieces. the 356th fg was enroute away from the target when the Fw 190's came in to attack the US bombers SW of Dummer lake and into the area of Osnabrück. I'll have to pull out the 356th fg report to be more specific. Some 11 Fw 190A's were claimed and IV./JG 54 lost at least 10 of their number with the 356th fg.

the US 355th fg met at least the I./JG 26 west of Dummer Lake and Köln and shot up at least 3 Dora 9's, maybe up to 13.

you've gt the info on the slaughter of the JG 300 Geschwader by the US 357th fg.

RAF Spitfires met up with the FW 190A's of I./JG 1 as well as Spits against SturmFw's of IV.Sturm/JG 3 which lost 8 Fw's

ask any questions you would like ....

Erich ~
I'm just trying to figure out which major battles were where. Did the slaughter of JG 301 and JG 300 also include other units? Was this the same bomb mission by the 8th against Magdeburg? The 368th FG was also jumped by a large group of LW fighters - during these same missions? I'm trying to piece together locations and missions. Thanks for what you gave, helps alot.

I'm doing an impossible task, trying to detail the day by day activities of the LW during the war but may just settle for one single day in the different theatres for a book I'm writing. Thanks. ;)
I do have to say I am amazed that several mods here, such as yourself are so involved and actually know some of those involved in these events. I'm just amazed. But I guess it just shows you never know who is out there. Fascinating.

Reminds of my best friends dad who was in the 101st and was at Bertechsgarden. (spelling is atrocious)!
that is a mammoth undertaking but I wish you much success. The US 357th fg really took it to the JG 300 and JG 301 with over 50 kills. JG 301 also met with the P-47's of the 56th fg and also P-51's of the 20th fg.

back to the IV./JG 54. Losses at Hesepe close to the airfield. An Fw 190A-9 went down over Broxten. Two Fw 190A's went down over the Großen Moor which is a rather large area northwest, north and northeast of Osnabrück. Another Fw 190A went down east of Bramsche whcih is near Engter. Another Fw 190A went down near the rail line between Osnabrück and Diepolz.

back to JG 26 which was in the area of Bonn-Cologne met the 355th fg I believe and got ripped apart with 10 kia and 3 mia plus 2 wounded. Battles over Lengerich and the 109 contingent of JG 26 was over Steinbeck. RAF Spitfires were also in this air battle.

JG 2 lost at least 5 Fw 190D-9's in the areas of Altenstaadt, Lich and Hagenau.

IV./Jg 53 flying Bf 109G-14's lost at least 3 109's with fighter bombers in the area of Bad Durrheim-Kandel the areas west of Karlsruhe. Wonder if this is the 368th fg op ? The 368th lost 5 P-47D's on the mission but claimed 5 109's in return.

the 8th AF heavies were on a 3-fold front, and yes one of these were to targets in the area of Magdeburg
Great Info! Thanks!

What I have and its limited because most of the books I have are very scant with this battle - are as follows:

370 B-17s to Derben and Magdeburg, 36 B-17s to Hallendorf, about 350 B-24s to oil targets at Hallendorf, Ehmen and 187 B-17s to bridges at Cologne.

three Gruppen each of JG 301 and JG 300 went after 3rd AD possibly also with JG 1 and JG 7 (who claimed one B-17?)

Twelve bolts from 368FG were bounced by a large formation from JG 11, JG 4 and JG 53. This might be the info you have about Bad Durrheim-Kandel.

Caldwell states that JG 26 was going after Jabos when met with the escorts for the Cologne missions which were 56thFG. Did they also hit JG 301?

I'm trying to get a map to plot these out and see how this developed but having difficulties. I was not aware that JG 54 and JG 2 were even in the area.

Tony Woods loss list shows a pilot from JG 7 claiming a B-17. Are you aware of any jets intercepting?

Sorry for all the questions and yes this is an idiot task. After five years I'm still probably only halfway through. I have alot of the major battles covered but its these little ones that are itching to be scratched.

Thank you for the info.
:oops: I must search this site before posting.

Erich, thanks for the info and just now realized this thread may be redundant. Found some of your info on the Piston Kills thread sooooo.....

Will search some more and post something relavant next time. Thanks.
I think there is some confusion here.

JG 300/301 were engaged by the 357thfg and slaughtered. In a minor way Jugs of the56thfg became involved and so did P-51's of the 20th fg.

JG 7 did not score but lost 2 Me 262's in aerial battles with the US 353rd fg. KG 51 lost 1 Me 262 to spitfires and another jet to ground flak.
on the outward bound flight of the 1st BD Don Strait and his 356th fg tried to intercept 2 JG 7 jets near Hamburg but the jets left the Us fg in the dust.

other 9th AF units were involved with Bf 109G's though the 368th fg got jumped by JG 53, JG 4 and II./JG 11 may have been involved as there are claims for at least 11 Thunderbolts in action.

JG 26 was west of Dummer Lak and I feel that the 355th fg engaged them though there is a note that the 78th fg may hae been in the area.

IV.Sturm/JG 3 SturmFw's were caught by RAF Tempests and lost 12 Fw's to them.

JG 1 battled Spitfires and lost 12 Fw's

IV./JG 54 actually lost 14 Fw 190A-8's and A-9's and so confused they were they gave a claim for 1 Spitfire though it should of been a P-51. In this case the assailant the 356th fg lost 0 P-51's in the combat with the Fw's, did lose 1 on a ground strafe of Me 262's at Hesepe

there were losses of some 92 German a/c, 11 in addition with under 60 % damage. 57 killed with 22 wounded.

the Luftwaffe was given credit for 9 Spitfires, 1 Beaufighter
3 P-51's
11 P-47's

JG 300/301 in separation from the above losses claimed some 37 kills but lost 89 a/c with 52 killed and 18 wounded
Wasn't that the whole war...confusion?

About JG 7 - I have a claims that lists Hptm. George-Peter eder of 9./JG 7 "claiming" a B-17. This list references the JG 7 account by Boehme. It looks as though it was a claim not awarded. Might have been a straggler.

Or ii could be mis-placed. I have to look at my research but there were some claims by JG 77 - maybe somebody didn't hit the extra key on the keyboard. Was Eder in JG 7? I'm going to check my stuff now.

Thanks for what you have. Amazing!
aerial battles of whom claimed whom are almost impossible. I have come up with conclusions and many times incorrectly for years ..........

yes Eder was in JG 7 for the early part of their- JG 7 operations, I think it is a bogus claim as the jets were intercepted before they got to the bombers and they were still flying about as 356th fg tried to intercept 2 of them as I mentioned earlier

and yes JG 77 was involved this nasty day and lost 109's
it appears that I. and III./JG 300 with Bf 109's may have been in combat with P-51's of the 20th fg. the 20th fg mixed it up with both 109's and Fw's with claims of destruction of both types

here is the leader of the 356th fg mission report for the date, Don Strait via M. Williams saved copied mission reports de-classified for the public


Shores Thomas wrote an informative piece on 14 January 1945 in their 2nd Tactical Air Force Volume Three:

Heavy bombing raids by the Eighth Air Force on oil targets throughout central Germany by 911 bombers and 860 escorting fighters, brought up the Luftwaffe's fighters in strength – but to little avail. The two main home defense Jagdesgeschwader of I. Jagdkorps, JG 300 and JG 301, suffered devastating casualties to the far-ranging fighters of 8th Fighter Command, the pilots of the P-51s and P-47s claiming 155 victories. Additionally, gunners in the bombers claimed 31 more, plus nine probables (although on past performance most of such claims can probably be discounted). RAF Bomber Command dispatched 134 Lancasters by day to bomb railways at Saarbrücken, escorting Mustangs of 64 Squadron adding claims for a further seven destroyed and one probable.

The vast majority of these claims were identified as Fw 190s and Bf 109s, but included two Me 262s – 9./JG 7, indeed, losing three such aircraft to fighters. JG 300 lost 51 aircraft, with 39 pilots killed or wounded – most of them while flying Messerschmitts; JG 301 mounted entirely in Focke-Wulf's, lost 30 more pilots, the total of aircraft lost not being known to the authors. Amongst the units operating in the west, the 8th Air Force's fighters also caught the BF 109s of IV./JG 54 over the Münsterland area and shot down 14 of them, ten of the pilots becoming casualties. The rest of those German units in the air during the day seem also to have fallen foul frequently of the bomber escorts, for JG 1, JG 2, JG 3, JG 4, JG 11, JG 26, JG 27 JG 53 and JG 77 lost a further 92 aircraft, at least 35-40 of which would appear to have been lost to these opponents.

The tactical air forces played their part as well, but to a somewhat lesser degree. Ninth Air Force fighter-bomber and tactical reconnaissance pilots claimed 23 (three of which were not confirmed), while as will be recounted, 2nd TAF added 22 more.

Thus total Allied claims against the Jagdwaffe amounted to 238, 207 of them by fighters. Against these claims, Luftwaffe losses are known to have amounted to at least 176 aircraft, plus any from JG 301 from which the pilots extricated themselves unharmed. This represents an extremely high degree of accuracy in claiming in the circumstances pertaining.

For 2nd TAF, first off on this momentous morning were a pair of Tempests of 274 Squadron on a weather reconnaissance over the Paderborn area at 0900. Here Flt Lt H.A. Crafts attacked a locomotive on the railway running towards Hamm. As he pulled up from this attack he saw an aircraft heading west; rapidly closing, he identified it as an He 219 night fighter, which was swiftly dispatched. Lt. Reinhold Lehr of I./NJG 1 and his radar operator were killed. The Spitfires of 126 Wing were next off, 411 Squadron leading at 0935, followed by 442 Squadron, and then by 401 Squadron. At about 1020, 411 Squadron's pilots spotted at least 11 Fw 190s over the general Cosfeld/Rheine/Hengelo area, and three of these were claimed shot down, one each by Ft Lts Dick Audet and John Boyle, and Flg Off J.A. Doran. At much the same time 442 Squadron arrived over the Twente area, attacking and claiming shot down three more Fw 190s; one of these fell to Flg Off A.J. Urquhart who was then obliged to bale out when his own Spitfire was hit.

At approximately 1035, 401 Squadron's pilots, who had been accompanying 442 Squadron on the sweep, spotted Fw 190s landing and taking off from Twente airfield, and dived down to claim five of these, three of them by Flt Lt Johnnie MacKay personally. However, one of this unit's Spitfires was also hit, and Flt Lt R.J. Land failed to return.

There is little doubt that the Canadians had inflicted grievous losses on I./JG 1, this unit losing ten Fw 190s A-8s and A9s to the Spitfires, plus a single 'Langnasen Dora'. The latter was flown by Uffz Gunther Sill, who was credited with having shot down one of the attacking fighters before he too was shot down and killed while still completing his take-off. Of the 11 pilots shot down, only one survived, but he too had been hit and was wounded.

Even as 126 Wing pilots were so engaged, Flt Lt D.C. Fairbanks was leading a flight of Tempests of 3 Squadron, during which operation he was personally to claim a Bf 109 north-west of Paderhorn and an Fw 190 south-west of Gutersloh.

Eight more Tempests from 486 Squadron undertook a sweep to the Paderhorn area, commencing at 1125, and some 30 minutes later their pilots spotted a BF 109 and an Fw 190 to the north of Munster. It seems that at least the former was an aircraft of III./JG 26, heading north at low-level following a heavy engagement with Eighth Air Force P51s near Koblenz. Flg Off Colin McDonald closed to 200 yards and opened fire, seeing hits. He as then attacked by the Fw 190 and was forced to take evasive action, but his wingman saw the Messerschmitt – a Bf 109K – turn and crash near a small wood; 10.Staffel's Lt. Walter Kopp was killed.

At very much the same time, and to the south-west of Münster, six Typhoons from 184 had been strafing MET when four Bf 109s were seen, three of these being pursued. One broke away and was 'bounced' by Wt Off A.J. Cosgrove, whose fire caused the aircraft to blow up – the Squadron's first ever victory of the war; a second was claimed damaged. Fifteen minutes later the New Zealand Tempest pilots spotted five more German fighters, one Fw 190 being claimed damaged by Wt Off Johnny Wood.

56 Squadron's Tempests were also out during the middle part of the day, and their pilots intercepted Fw 190s to the south-west of Gutersloh, Flg Off J.J. Payron claiming one shot down, a second being shared by Flt Lt J.H. Ryan and Plt Off J.E. Hughes. It has not proved possible to identify the opponents of the various Tempest squadrons, nor of 184 Squadron, with any degree of confidence, for so many Luftwaffe units were operating in the area, and suffered so many losses during the day. It is possible that 56 Squadron's victims were Fw 190A-8s of JG 11, which reported the loss in combat of a number of these aircraft.

There is much greater clarity regarding the rest of the day's activities, however. With their enthusiasm for combat heightened by the numbers of German aircraft in the air, some of the Ninth Air Force pilots appear to have allowed this to run away from them, and they were responsible for shooting down two Typhoons. One of these fell to the east of Haltern where 174 Squadron's Flg Off G.B. Chapman became a prisoner; Flt Sgt D.C. Horn's 247 Squadron Typhoon was hit in the engine, but he managed to stretch his glide into Allied territory, only to be killed when his aircraft came down three miles south-west of Ewijk, struck the bank of a dyke and burst into flames.

In mid afternoon 132 Wing's two Norwegian squadrons swept over the Rheine/Achmer, area setting off at 1440. Three of 331 Squadron's Spitfires returned early, leaving 21 fighters to complete the sweep. The pilots of these reported meeting large formations of Bf 109s and Fw 190s, and at least five Me 262s to the west of Rheine. 332 Squadron dived to attack, Capt K. Bolstad shooting down Me 262 9K + LP of 6./KG 51 at 1520, in which Uffz Fredrich Christoph was killed.

The Dora-9s of I./JG 26 then joined the combat, apparently together with some BF 109s. Maj Martin Gram and 2/Lt O.K. Roald of 331 Squadron each claimed a Messerschmitt, while Capt Helmer Grundt-Spang of this unit and 2/Lt O. Wagtsjold of 332 Squadron each claimed a Focke-Wulf. A third German fighter was seen to be shot down by 2/Lt J.P. Ditlev-Simonsen, but he failed to recover from his attack and his Spitfire was observed to fly into the ground. A fourth Fw 190 was claimed damaged by Capt Ola Aanjesen of 332 Squadron, but two of this unit's Spitfires were lost, Lt Hassel and FLt Sgt Syversen both apparently having fallen to enemy fighters.

Three of I./JG 26's Dora-9s were indeed lost, with two of the pilots killed and the third wounded; Uffz Karl Russ's 'White 6' was seen to collide with a Spitfire – probably one of the 332 Squadron aircraft – and both were reported to have crashed in flames. Two claims for Spitfires were made, one by Maj Karl Borris, the Gruppenkommandeur, as his 43rd, and one by Lt. Karl-Heinz Ossenkopf, who shot down his victim as it was on the tail of one of the unit's other pilots. He was subsequently told than his victim had been a Polish 'Major'.

Several units undertook strafing attacks on airfields during the day, 3 Squadron's Flt Lt K.F. Thiele claiming two Ju52/3m transports destroyed at Detmold early in the afternoon, while Flt Sgt Rose claimed damage to two Fw 190s here. 74 Squadron's Spitfires made a similar attack on Rheine, where three more Focke-Wulfs were also claimed damaged.

continued below...
Continued from above...

Employing its Spitfire XIVs against ground targets, and led by its new Commanding Officer, Sqd Ldr Terry Spencer, who had been posted in from 41 Squadron earlier in the month, 350 Squadron achieved 125 Wing's best results of the day, claiming 4 MET destroyed and 20 damaged, two staff cars, two motocycles and 25 SS personnel. These results were typical of those achieved on many of the sorties now being flown by both the Tempests and Griffon-Spitfire units.

Two of 16 Squadron's PR Spitfires were intercepted on this date, one of them by what appeared to be a pair of Me 163s in the Düsseldorf area. Flg Off W.F. Barker took such violent evasive action that he blacked out, and upon recovering the use of his eyes, saw a column of smoke from the ground which he thought had been caused by one of his attackers crashing; he was credited with having caused the destruction of this aircraft. A second of the unit's aircraft, flown by Flt Lt J.M. Campbell-Horsfall, failed to return from the same area, and it was surmised that he may have fallen to another Me 163. However Lt Kaiser-Dieckhoff of I./JG 77 claimed two victories in the Düsseldorf area on this date, one of them a Spitfire, and it is possible that it was he who brought down the 16 Squadron machine. His second claim was for a twin-engined aircraft which may have been a Ninth Air Force B-26.

The results of this catastrophic day for the Luftwaffe had been very severe. Apart from the appalling losses sustained by JG 300 and JG 301, and by IV./JG 54, JG 26 had suffered its worst pilot losses of the war (worse even than 1 January), with 12 pilots killed and three more wounded. Adolf Hitler was by now very disillusioned with the ability of the Jagdwaffe to achieve cost-effective results in the West, feeling that there was probably more that they could do in the East against the Soviets. Next day, 15 January, JG 1 and JG 11 were transferred to the Eastern Front where a big Soviet offensive had commenced. More units were to follow, and by the end of January all four Gruppen of JG 3, and three of JG 77 had been transferred there, as had the remains of JG 6 and elements of JG 4. Despite these departures, Luftwaffe 3 in the West was numerically stronger than it had been through much of 1944, although this would prove of little value in practice.


There are over 50 8th Air Force Encounter Reports from 14 January 1945 here:
P-51 Encounter Reports

There a couple of Tempest V Combat Reports from 14 January 1945 here:
Tempest V Performance

The 357th Fighter Group had a particularly successful day on 14 January 1945, claiming some 56 ½ destroyed. The January 1945 Installment of the 357th Fighter Group Unit History tells some of the story.

thanks for adding to the thread Mike and making the reports available to all. I must correct your statement about IV./JG 54 as it was made entirely of Fw 190A-8's and A-9's and blasted apart by the 356th fg. Also the new second volume on Jg 300 will give full coverage of JG 300's losses of 109's and Sturm Fw's.

JG 11 lost in I./JG 11, one Fw 190A-8
10./JG 11 lost two Fw 190A's
3 Fw 190A's were lost due to unknown causes in III. gruppe
II./JG 11 lost 5 Bf 109G's

JG 301 lost 20 KIA and 8 wounded

confusion ? yes certainly on this battle and what resources you check

Hello Erich:

Yes, you're quite right about IV./JG 54. I'm sure Shores Thomas know better; it has to be a slip up. I'm glad you find the reports interesting and of value.

Werner Girbig wrote the following account of 14 January 1945 in his book Six Months to Oblivion. This is a really nice piece of writing and quite remarkable given that it was translated from German:

When the two pilots in the Arado 96 TG+UK spotted the large number of enemy aircraft on their tail, it was already too late. Feldwebel Hassinger and Unteroffizier Foerster, both from the fighter training Geschwader JG 102, had taken off early on a training flight and headed south. It must have been about 1045 when the Mustangs appeared; they shot down the lone Arado near Eggebek, killing both pilots. This marked the start of Black Sunday for the two home-based Geschwader of I Jagdkorps. Two weeks after the sacrificial action by the German fighter units in the west, JG 300 and JG 301, which had escaped January 1 relatively unscathed, were to suffer their worst defeat.

January 14 was a clear, cold winter's day. For the first time since the New Year, the US 8th Air Force was headed for the German heartland in strength. 600 heavy bombers in all – the Flying Fortesses of 3rd Air Division and some Liberators from 2nd Air Division – were already between the islands of Föhr and Pellworm and about to cross Schleswig-Holstein north of Husum, when the Mustangs of 357th Fighter Group, fanning out ahead of the bombers, chanced upon the German trainer at Eggebek.

Then the leading American formations turned southeast and headed for Schwerin on a broad front between Kiel and Neumünster. When the bombers reached grid square "Cäsar- Cäsar" on their usual route in over Ludwigslust, the German air defense expected a daylight raid on the German capital.

But the American strategic air force, based in England, had quite different intentions. Their targets for the day were industrial installation in Central Germany, and in particular the large military fuel depot on the Elbe near Derben-Ferchland, some eight miles west of Genthin. Other bomber elements were directed onto Magdeburg; and a second force about 400 heavy bombers strong was operating the same day in the Cologne area, attempting to take out the Rhine bridges there.

The Mustang formations screening 3rd Air Division had penetrated almost as deep as Perleberg when Col. Dregne and his 357th Fighter Group met Jagdgeschwadern 300 and 301, which had scrambled for an interception. A major, very costly battle was about to begin. Fighting was heaviest in the area between the Havel and the Elbe, and here the Germans took appalling casualties. The pilots made desperate efforts to break through to the bombers, but most of them simply did not have enough operational experience; their attacks tended to be tentative and were carried out without vehemence.

Visibility was excellent and virtually no maneuver made by either side remained undetected by the other. But the Americans were quicker off the mark and continually got on the tails of the grey-mottled German machines; every attack on a Flying Fortess quickly turned into evasion of the Mustangs. At least five fighters were lost over Havelberg, and another dozen or more were shot down in the Kyritz area. 13 Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 300 suffered worst and was virtually wiped out. One of this Staffel's Messerschmitts crashed near Glöwen on Riechstrasse 107. The pilot, Feldwebel Kansek, did not get out. Obergefreiter Schlüter was wounded in combat only a few miles to the northeast, while "White 9" crashed in the nearby community of Görike with Oberfeldwebel Esche still aboard. A third Bf 109 of 13./JG 300 crashed near Breddin, killing Gefreiter Leinbach.

Jagdeschwader 301 too, notably 2, 4 and 8 Staffeln, suffered heavy casualties in the same area. 2 Staffel reported three pilots having baled out near Kyritz, and 4 Staffel reported Unteroffizier Funken, Feldwebel Walter Schmidt and Fähnrich Strauss shot down and killed and two other pilots wounded in the triangle Barenthin-Kyritz-Gumtow, an area under ten square miles. But that was not all. The Fw 190 A-9 of the Staffelkapitän of 6./JG 301, Knight's Cross wearer Hauptmann Hankamer, was shot down over Kyritz. Hankamer was killed. As well, the leader of 11 Staffel, Oberleutant Herzog, was wounded over Kyritz.

The two German units committed 189 aircraft to this operation, and in the face of casualties on this scale it is all the more remarkable that I Jagdkorps pilots succeeded in shooting down a number of bombers. Their most notable success was against a flight of 390th Bomb Group which came down low to make its run over the Derben fuel depot. All eight Flying Fortesses were shot down in a running battle.

The American escort pilots reported an encounter with several Me 262 northwest of Berlin. These jets were from Hauptmann Georg Eder's 9./JG 7 based at Parchim. The Americans managed to shoot down one jet fighter near Wittstock on the east edge of the Prignitz; its pilot, Feldwebel Wurm, was killed.

Meanwhile the main bomber force was over the area between Stendal/Tangermünde and Rathenow. Once again the German fighters went in, attacking the Flying Fortresses with their bristling armament head-on, or diving on them singly, in pairs or in formation from behind, in the traditional manner. But only rarely did they succeed. The silvery Mustangs knew just how to protect their bombers and inflicted heavy casualties on the Germans. A Focke-Wulf from Stab/JG 301 crashed near Strodehne at the north end of Gülper Lake. Not six miles west of this elements of III Gruppe ran into enemy fighters which shot down two machines – "Yellow 9" with Unteroffizier Friederich Diestel crashed near Wulken, and Fähnrich Wipfli was killed when his Bf 109 G-14 crashed near Jederitz. Another formation was jumped by Mustangs in the Rhinow-Friesack area, losing three pilots killed: Fähnrich Spanka of 10./JG 300, as well as Unteroffiziere Kilzer and Maximini of JG 301.

The bombers had already been over their targets for some time, while a whole string of engagements was taking place east of the Elbe. At this stage the Americans finally sealed off access to the bombers. III./JG 300 lost four pilots in the area of the lakes around Rathenow: Oberfähnrich Grothues, Leutnant Klostermann, Unteroffizier Reiche was posted missing. Gefreiter Frank and Oberfähnrich Weissin of I./JG 300 were shot down and killed a few miles further south, near Böne and Premnitz on the Havel.

The 357th Fighter Group claimed 56 kills on January 14; with it in the massacre over Brandenburg were the 20th and 56th Fighter Groups, the latter being Colonel Schilling's Thunderbolt unit which had already made its mark at Christmas time 1944. One of the biggest dogfights of the day took place over the Stendal area, where elements of Jadgeschwader 300 attempted to attack the heavy bombers. This action cost the lives of five pilots: Oberfähnrich Bremer and Feldwebel Christoffer of II Gruppe, as well as Oberfeldwebel Jahannes Deutscher and Josef Pornkopf (missing) of IV./JG 300. The fifth pilot, Unteroffizier Kettman, was a member of 8./JG 301. The Mustangs pursued his "Blue 8" as far as Wittenmoor, where they shot it down.

And thus these two Geschwader's costly operation drew to its end. The following day's Supreme Headquarters communiqué put the German losses at 78 machines, while the casualty lists show 69 pilots, 39 of them from Jadgeschwader 300 and 301. Compared with the number of sorties, this amounts to a loss rate of 41%. The Allies on the other hand reported many more kills – 161 in fact. This probably refers to the total of aircraft kills for the day; taking Germany and the Western Theater together, the German fighter force lost at least 150 aircraft. Or perhaps the famous "air gunners' multiplication table" was in operation. If the Americans had really shot down 161 aircraft over Central Germany, Jadgeschwader 300 and 301 would have had only 28 machines left.

Nonetheless German casualty figures must be regarded as very high, with II and IV Gruppen of Jagdgeschwader 300 (12 and 14 respectively) at the head of the list. 13 Staffel took a punishing blow with its six pilots lost, three of them killed. But the hardest hit was 10 Staffel, with five killed. Then came 4, 6 and 8 Staffel of Jagdgeschwader 301, with five pilots killed or wounded each.

The figures for kills on Allied aircraft over Germany are also conflicting. The communiqué mentioned above quotes 37, but the Americans reported only nine bombers and sixteen fighters (thirteen P-51s and three P-47s) lost.

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Luftflotte Headquarters West also had a busy day on January 14th. As mentioned above, 400 8th Air Force bombers raided the Cologne area and a heavy bomber formation from RAF Bomber Command attacked the Dortmund-Ems canal. In addition 2nd TAF flew a large number of missions, mainly in the west and northwest of German airspace.

In the morning three Spitfire squadrons crossed the front in the east of Holland on an offensive patrol in the Hengelo-Twenthe area. 401 and 442 Squadrons RCAF caught a number of I.JG 1 Focke-Wulfs as they were preparing to scamble. Unteroffizier Günter Sill of the Gruppenstab managed to get airborne in his "Dora 9" and shoot down one of the British fighters before being shot down himself and killed. The British destroyed seven other Focke-Wulfs on take-off or over the Twenthe area. Oberfähnrich Wilhelm Ade of 2./JG 1 bailed out over Lünthen, only nine miles south of Enschede. Two other pilots, Leutnant Honsek and Feldwebel Rosemund of 1 Staffel, were shot down and killed shortly after take-off.

Meanwhile the third Spitfire unit, 411 Squadron RCAF, had despatched three German machines, so that the eleven kills claimed by the RAF tally exactly with the losses reported by Jagdgeschwader 1. The British reported two Spitfires lost.

Over Münsterland another tragedy was enacted when IV./JG 54, already much reduced in strength from the operations of the past few weeks, was set upon and cut to pieces by Allied fighters between the Dümmer See and the Mittelland Canal. Two Staffelkapitäne were killed in this battle – Oberleutnat Helmut Radke, leader of 14./JG 54, near Hesepe, and Leutnant Carl Resch, 15./JG 54 near Broxten. Over the Grossen Moor and Allied aircraft shot down "White 5" flown by Oberleutnant Breitfield, as well as the Focke-Wulf of Oberfeldwebel Seifert. Both pilots were killed. 16 Staffel also had two killed, Unteroffizier Krawack and Schwarz. Krawack was shot down east of Bramsche near Engter, and Erhard Schwarz' machine came down near the Onasbrück-Diepholz rail line.

Counting Feldwebel Lehmann of 13 Staffel, IV Gruppe finished up with eight pilots killed and two wounded. That made their flight on January 14 the Gruppe's last defensive operation of the war.

Just before noon a group of Tempests from 3 and 486 Squadrons, based at Volkel, intercepted a formation from IV./JG 3. In the dogfight which followed, Flight Officer Payton shot down and killed Unteroffizier Helmut Kenne of 14 Staffel near Gütersloh. A second Focke-Wulf, "Blue 2", crashed to the southwest near Rheda, killing Feldwebel Landschützer. 10 Staffel lost Oberfähnrich Nikolaus, who was shot down near Lippstadt. On the same day IV Gruppe lost six machines over Holland; four pilots baled out. Feldwebel Otto Erhardt of 13 Staffel and Stabsfeldwebel Wilhelm Scheschonka of 15 Staffel were killed in the Arnhem area.

The general area of Kaiserslautern was another focus of action. Here a battle group made up of five Staffeln from Jagdgeschwader 4 and 11, as well as IV./JG 53, became involved with allied fighters whose duel task was to cover the raid on Saarbrücken and to seal off the Lorraine combat zone. Jagdgeschwader 4 lost two Staffelkapitäne between Rhine and the Haardt hills. Oberleutnant Stark, who led 3./JG 4 fell north of Ludwigshafen near Oppau, and the former JG 5 "Eismeer" pilot Josef Kunz was shot down over Neustadt. In spite of his wounds, Kunz was able to bail out of his "White 1". Nearby at Gimmeldingen, the Allied fighters shot down two Messerschmitts, one from I./JG 4 and another from 8./JG 11. The pilot of the first machine, Feldwebel Wille Becker, baled out, but the second, Unteroffizier Winter, was unable to do so and was still aboard "Blue 13" when it smashed into the ground.

Elements of IV./JG 53, based at Stuttgart-Echterdingen, encountered some American fighter-bombers west of Karlsruhe. In the scrap that ensued Leutnant Liebscher was killed. A second pilot, Feldwebel Erich Kramp, was wounded and had to abandon his Bf 109 G-14.

Jagdgeschwader 26 was assigned to patrol the Ardennes sector on January 14. About midday it met a strong force of enemy fighters over the Cologne-Bonn area. The outcome – ten pilots killed in action, three missing and two wounded. Among the fallen was the Kapitän of 5./JG 26, Knight's Cross wearer Gerhard Vogt, who was shot down near Cologne with 48 victories to his credit. Unteroffizier Karl Ullerich was shot down by a Spitfire near Lengerich. He managed to abandon his aircraft but was unable to pull the ripcord. Unteroffizier Karl Russ was killed after ramming a Spitfire near Steinbeck.

At last Black Sunday was over; and the balance-sheet was a grim one. It bore witness to the German fighter pilots' desperate efforts to achieve something in the face of all the odds by barring the Allies way into German airspace. For the picture that the men in their Focke-Wulfs and Messerschmitts saw in their minds eye was always the same – the daily destruction of German cities, buildings reduced to rubble, conflagrations and civilians dead and injured. January 14, 1945 cost the German fighter force 107 pilots killed or missing and 32 wounded. The fighter pilots had shown themselves full of dash and ready to give their lives. But the air defense of Germany, and indeed German airpower in the West had taken yet another hard blow. The day-fighter force equipped with piston-engine aircraft was no longer in a position to make a significant impact on the course of events.


"The day-fighter force equipped with piston-engine aircraft was no longer in a position to make a significant impact on the course of events."

It is interesting -and entertaining- to remark there are several "significant" aerial battles after which the allied creatures affirm the very same thing...

Some state a similar thing was the consequence of the so-called "Big Week", others say kind of a "final" similar phrase after Bodenplatte, while others affirm such thing after the battle that took place the day being commented here...

To me it seems the Luftwaffe simply did not give up, and that the allies simply can not put their stuff together regarding their conclusions on the matter.

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