By John Weal
Jagdgeschwader 3 would possibly not have a similar speedy resonance as a few of the extra recognized Luftwaffe fighter devices, such Jagdgeschwader 2 'Richthofen', however it is arguably the archetypal German fighter formation of global conflict 2. not just did it perform each crusade fought by means of the Luftwaffe (with the exceptions of Poland and Norway), it flew each significant variation of the 2 mythical German wartime opponents, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Focke-Wulf Fw a hundred ninety - beginning with the Bf 109E in 1939 and finishing with the Fw 190D-9 'Long-nose' in 1945. And, throughout the process the hostilities, it numbered between its ranks greater than 70 Knight's go winners (a overall surpassed by means of just one different Jagdgeschwader). The wealth and diversity of element afforded via any such history - together with the ancient battles of england, Stalingrad, Kursk, Normandy, the Ardennes and Berlin - presents a fantastic framework upon which to painting the multitude of reports, exploits and supreme fates of...
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Extra resources for Aces of Jagdgeschwader 3 'Udet'
Yet even against this background of more than 1200 claims in just four months (sometimes as many as 20 or 30 in a single day), certain names began to stand out above the others – those referred to in Luftwaffe circles as the true Experten. It was to be the Geschwader’s most successful period of the entire war, both in terms of the number of enemy aircraft destroyed and in the number of decorations conferred upon its pilots. Between 9 July and 4 November 1941 no fewer than 19 Knight’s Crosses and higher would be awarded to JG 3.
In prison camp he had teamed up with Oberleutnant Harry Wappler, the only surviving crew member of a Heinkel bomber that had been brought down by hitting a balloon cable while returning from a night raid on Ellesmere Port. After breaking out of camp, the pair had audaciously stolen a Miles Magister trainer, only to have to abandon their plan to fly to the continent when they discovered that they were running dangerously low on fuel while still over East Anglia. Leutnant Schnabel was thus destined to sit out the rest of the war as a prisoner.
July 1941 brought the Geschwader its first clutch of eastern front awards. /JG 3, on 9 July for his 21 victories. Eighteen days later the next went to Oberleutnant Robert Olejnik, the Kapitän of von Hahn’s 1. Staffel, for 32 victories. /JG 3, received his for 34 victories. The month had also seen two other even more prestigious awards. Having claimed his 50th on 30 June, Hauptmann Walter Oesau reached his 60th on 8 July, his 70th three days later and his 80th just four days after that. This amazing run culminated in another ‘first’ on 15 July – the immediate award of the first Swords to be won by a member of the Geschwader.
Aces of Jagdgeschwader 3 'Udet' by John Weal