Infantry training (Page 159)

The severe fuel shortage of March 1945 led to Leutnants Willi Ferling and Fritz Resch and some EGON specialists from NSG 9’s signals echelon (including the Gruppe Nachrichtenoffizier, Oblt. Walter Flaig) being sent on a training course for infantry platoon leaders at Lago d’Iseo. The idea was that they should be able to defend their airfields against attacking Allied troops.

Ferling saw this retraining of skilled Luftwaffe specialists to carry rifles as a sign of just how bad the Germans’ situation had become.

While on the course, he overheard two of the officers from Signals discussing the possibilities of deserting to Switzerland. Had he done his officer’s duty and reported the conversation, Ferling believes that they would have been court-martialled and shot.

After two weeks, the course was cut short by a telephone call summoning the NSG 9 contingent back to flying operations. This must presumably have been around 11 April when the Allied spring offensive was launched and the Gruppe went back into action.

New sources: conversations between Ferling and NB: Bischofshofen, Austria, 3 May 2002 and Bad Dürrnberg, Austria, 4 May 2002.

Three Fw 190s off strength? (Page 164)

On 16 April 1945, NSG 9 sent an “excerpt from questionnaire for April”, with a closing date of the 15th, to the General der Schlachtflieger at Berlin-Rangsdorf. The Gruppe reported losses of “2F8 completely off strength” and “1F8” off strength to the factory. The number of aircraft operating was given as 10.

The clear inference is that this report concerned the Fw 190 F-8s of the 1. Staffel.

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