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continued …

Warthol’s story is backed up by the following message (Op. 2, No. 5432) sent by Luftgau Westfrankreich:

[At] 18.18 [hrs. on] 12/7, Me 109 was shot down by III. Zug [platoon] of 2./757 and Züge of 3./757. Aircraft made crash landing, pilot Obltn. Kaiser alive.

As Flak Abt. 757 is being subordinated to III. Flak Korps, request investigation and direct report to Luftflotte 3.

Kaiser himself seems to have survived the light Flak’s attentions relatively unscathed since, allowing for a transcription error, he was among a list of 5.(F)/123’s pilots ready for operations on 16 July 1944:

Signed TILLA [5.(F)/123] stamped 06.30/15/7:-

Crews return of 16/7:

Ready:

Obltn. Kasper [i.e. Kaiser], Obltn. Spiek [i.e. Spies], Ltn. Wirthol [i.e. Warthol], Ltn. Weber, Ltn. Metzler

Ofw. Jartl, Uffz. (name smudged), Uffz. Geiser, Gefr. Schmidt

Conditionally:

Uffz. Kuhlmann, Uffz. Bothe, Uffz. Lueck, Uffz. Müller

Fw. Bolten in hospital [in] Arras since 10/5.

As for the unlucky Bf 109 H, W.Nr. 110073 was surrendered by the Staffel to the Guyancourt Workshop on 27 July 1944 where its presence was reported next day along with two Bf 109 G-4 (W.Nr. 14903 and 14923) was well as a G-5 (W.Nr. 110388). Gerhard Kaiser was promoted to Staffelkapitän with effect from 1 August.

Development at Memmingen

Development of the Bf 109 H had continued in parallel to W.Nr. 110073’s brief service career, at the Messerschmitt facility in Memmingen. The test airframe the Bf 109 V54 was a converted G-5, W.Nr. 15708, powered by a DB 605 A. It made two flights totalling 27 minutes on 29 June but experienced engine trouble and made a belly landing which damaged its undercarriage. Repairs were expected to take until 25 July and the prospects for the provision of a second test aircraft were “very indefinite”. As it turned out, the repairs were still incomplete on 27 July but the parts had at least arrived in Memmingen. The arrival of a second experimental aircraft was no longer expected.

As of 7 September, conversion of W.Nr. 15708 was still unfinished. When it was back in action it was due to have a DB 605 AS engine under a “big bulge” (the revised cowling associated with the DB 605 AS and D), a wing with altered dihedral, strengthened oleo legs, “production improved” ailerons, a metal tailplane (still being built) of 2.8 m² and a 1.57 m² fin . The plan was to fit a second prototype with a wooden tail assembly. There seems to have been little progress since on 21 December the project’s status was as follows: “the 109 H fuselage, W.Nr. 15708, is still here, which is to be repaired and go to Daimler-Benz at Untertürkheim”.

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