Jagdgeschwadern: a geographical distribution

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Nov 22, 2004
Gentlemen, hoping this can be of interest for some:

When originally made, the following list had a fundamental objective: to prove some guys the bulk of the fighter force of the Luftwaffe went west during the second half of 1943, and remained there (Reich/West/Mediterranean) throughout the entire year of 1944 -or better said, to shatter their arguments the VVS "broke the back of the Luftwaffe all by itself even before 1944- (!)

The list included not only the distribution of the Jagdgeschwadern in OOBs in the several fronts, but also total number of available planes (operational and non-operational). It took me quite some time to put it together.

Here i present only one aspect of the list, pointing out which fighter units saw service in the eastern front throughout the entire conflict; the list will initially include Jagdgeschwadern 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 26 and 27.

As a preliminary comment: something i hate about the new forum format is i have neither "bold" nor "italics" when formatting paragraphs, both helpful tools to make a paperwork more presentable. The original version of this paperwork is an excell sheet, which by the way is very neat and displayable, so i apologize if this looks somewhat messy.

This will give us further input as to which Luftwaffe fighter units saw service in the east, and which ones simply never went there. Here it goes:

JG 1 (unit formed by stab, I., II., III. and IV.) -never served in the eastern front. WHOLE UNIT.-

JG 2 "Richtofen" (unit formed by stab, I., II. and III.) – also IV.(N)/ JG 2 which would be later used alongside other units to form NJG 1 (no gruppe from such NJG ever serving in the eastern front) and the jabo staffel of JG 2 which likewise never flew in the east. (no unit of this JG served in the eastern front. WHOLE UNIT)

JG 3 - IV.(sturm) although initially formed by some elements of same JG 3 which served in the east, it was never based in the USSR-. The stab, I., II. and III. all served in the east before the end of 1943.

JG 4 (stab, I., II., III. and IV) –most of the gruppen of this unit formed in 1944, and were never based in the soviet union, although they were located nearby and defended romanian air space). (WHOLE UNIT)

JG 5 "Eismeer" (stab, I., II., III. and IV.) –this unit deserving special treatment; although the majority of its elements spent the most part of its operational existance in Norway and Finland, and many times fought against soviet aircraft, they were never based in soviet territory. I. and II. were brought to Germany to Reichsverteidigung in 1944).

JG 6 "Horst Wessel" (formed late in the war, 1944, had its stab and three gruppen, I., II. and III.) operated mostly in the eastern part of Germany –against soviet aircraft)

JG 7 –jet unit- formed late in 1944, saw intense action against both USAAF/ RAF and VVS aircraft, and even ground targets against the soviets in 1945)

JG 11 –unit formed by its stab and three gruppen, I., II. and III.- were never based in the eastern front, with the sole exception of III./ JG 11 moved to the eastern front to reinforce Luftflotte 6 during the summer of 1944 when the red army unleashed "Operation Bagration". The gruppe stayed in the east for a period of nearly 3 months, returning to the west in late August/ early September 1944. (WHOLE UNIT)

JG 26 "Schlageter"–unit formed by its stab and I., II., III. and IV. gruppen. (only one staffel -7.- served in the east for a brief period of nearly 5 months during 1943.) (WHOLE UNIT)

JG 27 –unit formed by stab., I., II., III. and IV.-; was never based in the soviet union. exception: gruppe II. and 15.(span) of JG 27 which served in the area of army group centre in the soviet union for a brief period of time in the early months of Barbarossa. (WHOLE UNIT)


(a) The list includes in all 33 gruppen and 9 stab –this does not include the gruppen of JG 7 and IV.(N)/JG 2-, of which 21 gruppen and 6 geschwader stab were never based in the soviet union ever.

(b) JG 5 "Eismeer" (stab and 4 gruppen) albeit never based in the soviet union, saw intense combat action against the VVS up north, not forgetting part of this unit went to Germany in 1944 for Reichsverteidigung.

(c) JG 6 (stab and 3 gruppen) albeit formed late in the war -1944- they certainly remained in an area –eastern germany/polish border- where combat with VVS was common.

(d) From all geschwadern presented on the list, (only a stab. and 3 gruppen) the stab, I., II. and III./JG 3 served in the east for a significant period of time –not forgetting elements of this unit went west for Reichsverteidigung in 43/44-.

(e) III./JG 11 and II./JG 27 (2 gruppen) served in the east for brief periods of time which did not exceed 5 months for both units.

In following days i´ll do the same with the rest of the "important" Geschwadern: 50 -of real brief existance-, 51, 52, 53, 54, 76, 77, 300, 301 and 302.

Any comments and further input will be greatly appreciated (corrections included!)

in the middle of Janaury 45 the Reichsverteidigung units were almost abandoned and nearly 3/4r's of the units were transferred east to take on the Soviets.
Even JG 300 and 301 were to battle the Soviets as well as the Western Allies in the skies.

JG 2, JG 26 and parts of JG 53 were the only units to "stay away" from the Soviets upon their push westward

as i stated in (a) of the conclusion part, JG 7 was not included in the total number of gruppen and geschwaderstab.

now, if we talk about it, JG 7 had the stab, I. and III. only, is this correct?

although i find II./JG 7 in some books and printings i have, i was once told there was never an operational II. gruppe.

what are your thoughts erich?
II./JG 7 was supposed to be made up of a Bf 109G cadre but was a paper unit. I. and III. gruppe were operationally, II. gruppe was kept on paer more as a propaganda tool to make beleive it was a full strength Geschwader. in late 45 a IV th gruppe was added again on paper and was the rest of JV 44.
Erich, thanks for the response.

Now, and i have commented this before, don´t you think it´s somewhat "excessive" to say that by late January 1945 the bulk of the jagdwaffe was brought east to face the soviet onslaught?

I´ll explain myself Erich. Right after the disaster of new years operations of the Luftwaffe, and seeing the frontlines in Europe during that phase of the conflict it can be very difficult to affirm German fighters switched east.

By then, the units that had been committed to Reichsverteidigung were virtually "encircled" inside the German territory, with the US and British army scratching the german border in the west, and the reds in the eastern border.

So my thoughts are that by late January 1945, even when jagdgeschwadern were issued orders to attack the advacing soviets, German fighter pilots could meet planes from all enemy nations, you name it, British, USA and/or Soviets -as it actually happened not ony in 1945 but also in late 1944; an example could be JG 4 covering romanian air space in 1944, they fought both USAAF and VVS planes-.

You and i have privately discussed the OOB of both JG 300 and JG 301 when 1945 commenced, and keeping in mind both units did not take part in Bodenplatte, they were very powerful units...fielding more than 300 fighters altogether and plenty of pilots.

It´s correct to affirm JG 300 and JG 301 were very active against the soviets in 1945, however, the list i presented when opening this thread -same for the oncoming list- does not include 1945 for the reasons i have stated here.

The launching of Bodenplatte, and its outconme, can certainly add strenght to this viewpoint: even in January 1945 the main objective was hitting the USAAF and RAF, to then "switch" east, in a moment when they were trapped inside the German borders.

What you think erich?
Udet simply put the Jagd flugzeug was not entrapped. The orders were thus ............. "go east and defend Berlin to your last" One special note is IV.Sturm/JG 3 who remained east never to see US a/c again. JG 4 was also another unit after the heavy battles in Reich defence moved east, and the listing goes on.....

In fact recorded in the JG war diaries and comments from former Luftw pilots all say they fought in the defence of Berlin from February beginnings till wars end, except for the few that I noted. JG 7 since their movemnt to Prague also came into contact with Soviet armor and fighters which they massacred, but because of the long range tanks suited on the 8th AF Stangs also had to deploy against them and the US heavy bombers. there were few units like JG 26 and JG 6 and 2 that simply faialed to keep the US and RAF fighters at bay.

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