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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.

NOTE: Leichte Flak Abteilung 757 (light anti-aircraft battalion) came under Genlt. Wolfgang Pickert’s III. Flak Korps. It was commanded by a Maj. Beltz and in mid-july was among seven light Abteilungen deployed on »Strassenjagd«. When used of aircraft, this term (“road hunting”) meant attacks on enemy road traffic but in this context probably means defending German lines of communications against Allied bombing and strafing.

Freindly fire was obviously a more general problem since on 2 August Army Group G was warning its units that:

Luftflotte 3 advises that our aircraft on operations are reportting an increasing number of incidents of being fired on by light Flak over our territory. Investifations show that most of the firing does not come from Luftwaffe Flak units.

Owing to the handing over of air defence weapons to Army and Navy formations, some of whom are naturally poorly trained in aircraft recognition, Lfl. 3 once again requests all commands and individual units to point out that fire should only be opened when Luftwaffe Flak stationed nearby has started shooting or when aircraft are definitely identified as hostile.

The above is specially applicable for individually-deployed air-defence weapons or such weapons accompanying columns.

Aircraft qualify as definitely hostile when they are recognised as such through national markings, type of hostile behaviour (strafing, bomb-dropping, dropping flare and so on).

This should be made known to the troops immediately.

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:


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


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. A conference took place four weeks later, chaired by Generalstabsing. Roluf Lucht, simultaneously the Luftwaffe General Staff’s Chief Engineer and Head of Operations at Messerschmitt, Regensburg. considering a report from the Rechlin test station comparing the Bf 109 H with the Ta 152 H. There was agreement that the latter could cover the requiremnt for high-altitude fighters while Messerschmitt should deliver Bf 109 K-series airframes instead of the H. The “gadgetry” being produced for the type in Italy should be brought to the Reich and placed in storage. 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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