A new GRUPPE of FW. 190’s and M.E. 109’s are now operating over the Beach head and are reported to be particularly aggressive — EAGER BEAVERS…

(Operations Record Book of No. 145 Squadron RAF, 5 March 1944)

The E/As encountered were very aggressive and are believed to be part of the crack new Gruppe which has moved recently to the Viterbo area.

(Operations Record Book of No. 234 Wing RAF, 7 March 1944)

The new FW 190 Gruppe I./JG 2, which has operated successfully for three weeks in Italy is reported to have 40 victories to its credit…

(Interrogation of Uffz. Helmut Kölbach, 4./JG 77)

In 1944, I./JG 2 (1., 2. and 3. Staffeln with the Fw 190 A-6 and A-7; 4./JG 2 with the Bf 109 G-6) spent just over six weeks in Italy and claimed 52 victories. This put them well ahead of the other German units operating over the battle front at the same period and, as the above quotes show, they quickly gained a reputation as hotshots on both sides of the line. When actual RAF and USAAF losses are added up however, a somewhat different picture emerges. This article draws on German and Allied sources to tell the story of I./JG 2's time in Italy, it does not claim to be definitive by any means.

© Nick Beale 2004–21

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