JG2 Survivors Still Alive?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by aquarya, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. aquarya

    aquarya New Member

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    #1 aquarya, Oct 25, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
    Hi, guys,

    I've been trying for a year to determine whether JG2 Commander Egon Mayer shot down a B-24 on Jan 7, 1944 over France with 20mm or a rocket. I have no definitive answer. The after-action reports of the other American pilots are split evenly down the middle - half say it was a rocket, half 20 mm. Confusingly, the pilot flying deputy lead said 20 mm then and says rocket now. The damage pattern could indicate either (flight deck crew, top turret gunner, and navigator and bombadier instantly killed, raging inferno in the front of the plane, fire exploded through the fuselage, right wing ripped off, sending it into a flat spin right before the whole plane exploded)

    Any chance anyone out there know anyone from JG2 who is still alive? Or know someone who might know someone who might know someone?

    I'll be in Germany from Nov 6, 2011 to Nov 21, 2011, and will be going to the Military Archives to research the JG2 files, that is after I go a Wehrmacht tank reunion (Yes, tankers!) and interview as many German WW2 veterans there as I can. And take a little battlefield tour where the 9th Army was wiped out by the Russians.

    I hang out with WW2 pilots here in southern California once a week for breakfast, including Luftwaffe pilots, but they don't know anyone from JG2.

    I speak German fluently and fly over to Germany 2-3 times per year to interview WW2 veterans there, but I have no connections that get me anywhere close to JG2.

    I know it's a needle in a haystack, but can anyone help? Or put me in touch with an aviation museum there that might help?

    I really appreciate it.

    PS - I can always be reached directly at [email protected]
     
  2. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    I looked up his A-6 WN and it was made by Dornier but listed as a normal production variant, it should've been armed with 4x 20mm as delivered. If fitted with rockets the outer guns iirc should be deleted on the A-6 wing (I think an A-5 can keep them), making the given damage highly unlikely to be from his guns in a head on snapshot. I thought Mayer had dual gondolas with a total of 6x 20mm for his though, he pioneered the head on bomber attack and this is a guns type of kill. That would preclude rockets, he couldn't carry them with a guns setup.

    So if you can find out for certain what his plane was armed with that day, that should tell you rather directly given it was a head on snapshot attack. No strafing time. Small calibre against heavy bombers.
    At least speaking in terms of likelihoods.
     
  3. aquarya

    aquarya New Member

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    Thanks so much for your reply.

    More info: Mayer also downed three other planes between 1300 and 1330 with 20 mm shells, and this was his second or third head-on pass on the lead plane when he finally got it.

    If he downed three other B-24's with 20 mm shells, must he have had a fairly large amount of 20 mm shells on board?
     
  4. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    #4 vanir, Oct 26, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011
    Exactly what I was thinking. Most of us enthusiasts have watched the classic footage of a German interceptor pouring a lot of 20mm shells into a B-17 from behind, taking out the tail and ball gunners before slowly raking from the outer engine of one wing, through each engine to the other side and back again, it's like trying to stop a diesel locomotive with a rifle.

    From head on it's a snapshot burst. You need a large bank, firing quite a volley of shells in an instant. I know Bär was using a Fw-190A-6 at one point with two cannon gondolas for a total of 6x 20mm guns. He used to do head on attacks and take out the upper cockpit deck at the wing roots. This was favoured for this type of gun attack, best shot at taking down a heavy bomber quick.

    It really sounds to me like the WGr.21 rockets could not be carried by the aircraft with this setup attack for a guns kill, and that as many MG-151 guns as possible were mounted. A rocket attack you do obliquely or from behind, ahead of the bomber and into the stream. They're terribly inaccurate and aren't well stabilised or anything so are generally referred to as mortars. They have a very big charge and will do tremendous damage if they do hit, but usually they missed but shrapnel and concussion would force a couple of bombers from the stream for the rest of the squadron to take down with guns.

    "rockets" (mortars really) upset their formation cruise, gun attacks finish them off.

    But Mayer isn't fighting like this. He came up with his own idea. Heavy bombers bristled with defensive fire but weren't well protected from the front. A lot of guns in a head to head pass could bring them down by taking out the cockpit section or weakening the wingbox/monocoque structure enough for a catastrophic failure.

    It was very smart and calculated. But you had to be an aerial marksman with nerves of steel.

    So even the tactics used lean heavily away from the WGr.21 mortar being used and a guns kill instead. In lieu of actual documentation to the effect. If you could find some kind of field report about his werk nummer on that A-6 that day, there should be a point somewhere in the paper trail which says which armament configuration Mayer's focke wulf had. It should tell you with extreme likelihood which weapon was used.


    As for the atmosphere of life threatening combat in a metal box a 6-8km up where all you can do is look out a window and fire a browning, a good hit from a 6 gun cannon volley isn't something you see coming from everyday fighter planes. Most interceptors had two cannon maximum, many had just one 20mm. In that snapshot he could've landed 90 shells maybe and obviously hit it just right, I'm sure it would've seemed like they got hit by an asteroid.
    And the things bomber crews were warning each other about were the twin engine fighters that were using rockets (mortars) and field artillery pieces (flak guns and tank guns) to crush bombers like pieces of tissue paper. Rocket attacks were talk of the town. Some of those German rockets were based on battleship artillery shells with a rocket motor slapped on, you don't want to be hit by one.
     
  5. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    all rocket attacks were made either from the side or from the rear.
     
  6. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Was Mayer's 20 m/m loaded with Minengeschoss rounds? If so, that would explain the large amount of damage in a single pass...
     
  7. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    I can't remember the typical MG151/20 loadout at this time, something like 3mine, ap-tracer, 4mine, ap-tracer, repeat. On MG151(15mm) they had a penetrator type AP round and optional tungsten mixed with he-tracers, but neither came in 2cm...and 15mm didn't come in mine shells.

    And that's a lot of damage for 2cm mine shells anyway, we've all seen them in action against bombers and they won't typically do that. Had to be quite a volley, both the cockpit deck and nose was destroyed and the inner wing tank ruptured, a lot of area got hit.

    That would be hard to do even with four MG151, hence I've been thinking gondolas.
     
  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The 20m/m Minengeschoss wasn't as devestating as the 30m/m minengeschoss, it was still capable of quite a bit of damage compared to the standard 20m/m HE round
     
  9. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    #9 vanir, Oct 27, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
    True yes GrauGeist, and point taken. The B-24 is known particularly for the wing box weakness among Luftwaffe pilots, because it is that particular bomber it is quite possible Mayer's A-6 had four MG151/20 standard armament fitted. It is listed with Dornier as being delivered with this configuration by werk nummer. Now you could fit WGr.21 mortars slung in the field, from the A-5 onwards the fittings are already there for it.

    And I may have it the wrong way around between the A-5 and A-6 wing. Could one of the experten at this site confirm for me? Is it the A-5 or A-6 that had to have the outer guns deleted to fit WGr.21? I was pretty sure the MGFF didn't interfere, but with the MG151 some of the gun mount had to be used.

    This detail would infer whether Mayer's A-6 was even fitted with rockets.


    Oh yeah sorry and I didn't think to mention, the werk nummer of Mayer's particular airplane that mission sortie was 470 468, same plane he was killed in.
     
  10. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    #10 Erich, Oct 27, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
    the time frame all attacks by Fw's were from the front, and they did NOT use rockets. the mine rounds were not developed this early in the war but the standard was still in effect High explosive for the 2cm cannon. in fact when the standard attack came from the rear in June of 1944 this is when development at a rapid pace began for both 2cm and 3cm Minen rounds in their varied form(s)

    back to A-5 and A-6 the outer 2cm weapons did not have to be removed for placement of rocket launchers, photo evidence shows this as being so.

    you guys should refer to the excellent volumes by Dr. J. Prien covering JG 1/11
     
  11. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    #11 vanir, Oct 27, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
    That seems strange, I thought they were being produced in numbers well before then, 1942 at the latest. Production of minen shells for the MGFF started in 1938 and it was considered then a better way of making HE ammunition, Tony Williams explained in detail once how the changes are made in production, the minen shell is a new production setup making thin cased shells, it was really an industrial update in this sense and one would simply assume MG151 ammo followed suit as production was begun, using the new thin-cased system.

    minen shells are in two variations, parts number 113-1977 MGFF and 113-1978 MG151 in 2cm, listed in serial Rechlin documentation dated June 1943.


    I vaguely recall somebody mentioning minen shells for high velocity shells were troublesome. But also standard loadouts for all Mk108 equiped craft were minen shells right from Nov43. And I'm pretty sure they were using minen loadouts on MG151 in Africa in 42.
     
  12. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    In my interviews over the years both day and night fighter pilots have all agreed that it was not until late spring of 44 when the M shells arrived and for day fighter crews it was the ace pilots that were given permission to use them but of course that quickly changed as the crews began receiving them in all JG's. In fact in one German ammo manual I own it says June of 44 from 1942 different versions of HE, HEI and AP shot are included with different fuses and contents to increase range and of course lethality.

    I have no doubt that other German texts refer to earlier dates but this may have been under extensive test purposes (Kommandos) and not under actual varied operational useage to Allied fighters and of course the dreaded 4-engines.
     
  13. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    At the very least I found a photo proving the WGr.21 could keep the outer guns on the A-6 wing. But given as Mayer is celebrated for his head on tactic, a guns attack I think it unlikely the rockets were fitted.
     
  14. aquarya

    aquarya New Member

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    Thanks, everyone, for the discussion. I'm flying on Saturday and not quite sure when I'll get to the archives in Freiburg, or what I'll find in the meantime, but I'll try to update as I can. This is really a tremendously exciting adventure investigating all of the possibilities!
     
  15. aquarya

    aquarya New Member

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    Well, I went to the archives in Freiburg, and there weren't any operational files there that I could find for JG2. I did get some information about the BR21 and its testing at Rechlin, but I'm still not any closer to "knowing" than I was before. I went to visit the video of the adjutant of JG2, and scanned tons of pictures, but she's not sure anyone is still alive. I'll be contacting the folks at the Jaegerblatt to see if they'll respond.
     
  16. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    thanks for the update, keep us posted. I'm still curious about this myself, I've filed this whole topic in memory so that day to day if I come across anyone or anything that can shed any authoritive light I'll post it here. Like you said though, a vet or a piece of documentation is hard to find on demand some 70yrs on.

    imgine how much we've got wrong about the roman empire and have no idea.
     
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