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JG4tag

The following information, derived from deciphered signals plus Allied Technical Intelligence reports, shows just how costly the retreat from France to Belgium and then to Germany was for one Luftwaffe fighter Gruppe; none of these losses was incurred in combat.

I./JG 4’s involvement in the 1944 battle for France came late and was notably brief. Before the Gruppe had moved forward from the Reich, Kommandeur, Maj. Walter Höchner was killed in an accident soon after take-off from Ziegenhain on 25 August. He was succeeded by Hptm. Wilhelm Steinmann, Kapitän of the 1. Staffel. The aircraft took off the following morning for Frières, 19 km SSW of Saint-Quentin.

Date

Unit

Bf 109

W.Nr.

Marking

Place

% Damage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25/8

Stab

G-14

460397

red 2

Ziegenhain, Germany

85

 

 

Navigation error during transfer, Major [Walter] Höchner dead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27/8

4.

G-14

781172

blue 15

La Fère, France (21 km SSE Saint Quentin)

100

 

 

Crashed and burst into flames during transfer, not observed by enemy, Uffz. Gustke dead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.

G-14

780310

black 14

Beauvechain, Belgium (15 km SSE Leuven)

100

 

 

Made an interim landing en route, burnt out in low-level air attack, observed by enemy, no casualties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After just one night in France, the Gruppe was pulled out since American troops were threatening to outflank them to the south (Soissons and Reims were both liberated on the 30th). Two Messerschmitts came to grief landing at Brussels-Melsbroek:

28/8

4.

G-14

781163

blue 7

100

 

 

Burnt out in low-level air attack on Beauvechain, observed by enemy, no casualties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29/8

4.

G-14

780303

blue 1_

Frières-Faillouël, France

100

 

 

Landed during transfer, ran into bomb crater and blew up, no casualties, not observed by enemy. [Second digit of marking missed by Allies]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.

G-14

460374

black 2

Melsbroek, Belgium

80

 

 

Landed during transfer, taxied into bomb crater, not observed by enemy, no casualties. [Later examined by Allies: black 2 outlined in red, black/white spiral on spinner]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5/9

Stab

G-14

460389

red 3

Beauvechain, Belgium

28–30

 

 

Heavily shot-up in low-level air attack, observed by enemy, apparently blown up, no casualties, turned over to Aerodrome Command Speyerdorf. Replacement required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.

G-14

460380

white 3

Lachen-Speyerdorf, Germany

20

 

 

Broke up on landing, damage to fuselage. Replacement required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.

G-14

460510

yellow 2

Beauvechain, Belgium

15–20

 

 

Shot up no casualties, observed by enemy. Replacement required. [Later examined by Allies, only Bf 109 mentioned at this airfield: Bf 109 G-14 W.Nr. 450510 (sic), DB 605 A-1, W.Nr. 00705052. Maker: nsq]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.

G-14

413696

yellow 14

Krefeld, Germany

15–20

 

 

Crashed during transfer, damage to fuselage, no casualties, not observed by enemy. Replacement required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.

G-14

460382

blue 1

Antwerp-Deurne

15

 

 

First reported as "apparently blown up by Aerodrome Command on account of damage to undercarriage and wings." On 18/9 confirmed as 15% damaged, not observed by the enemy, no personnel losses, turned over to Aerodrome Command, Antwerp-Deurne. [Found by the Allies: DB 605 A-1 No. 00205227. MW 50. “Badly looted.”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.

G-14

781159

blue 4

Antwerp-Deurne

20

 

 

First reported as "apparently blown up by Aerodrome Command on account of direct hit by Flak." On 18/9, confirmed as 20% damaged, not observed by the enemy, no personnel losses, turned over to Aerodrome Command, Antwerp-Deurne. [Found by the Allies: DB 605 A-1 No. 007/08612. MW 50. Maker: hsq. “Had been under repair but badly looted.”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.

G-14

780304

yellow 15

Lachen-Speyerdorf, Germany

80

 

 

Crashed on take-off, due to technical faults, no casualties, not observed by enemy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6/9

4.

G-14

20477

Lachen-Speyerdorf, Germany

25

 

 

Shot to pieces in low-level air attack, observed by enemy, replacement required, no personnel losses. [Werk Nummer as given in two messages]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/9

2.

G-14

413689

30

 

 

Shot up and set on fire by low-flying aircraft, observed by enemy, no casualties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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