February 1945 at Brandenburg-Briest, Germany. Messerschmitt 262 jets of JG7 are surprised at their base by an attack from P51 Mustangs and P47 Thunderbolts!
Oberleutnant Walter Schuck first flew in combat flying the Me109. In April 1942 he was based at Petsamo, Finland and began his impressive tally of victories. He finally had 206 confirmed aerial victories, including eight flying the Me262 jet. He was awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves.
Unteroffizier Fritz Wiener joined the Luftwaffe in 1942 at the age of 17. He was briefly with Jagdgruppe 200 during the Normandy Invasion and was with JG11 during the Battle of the Bulge and participated in Operation Bodenplatte. By January of 1945 he was re-deployed to Berlin/Straussberg to fight advancing Soviet forces.
Captain R. Winks was born in Sumner, Iowa. In England he was assigned to the 357th Fighter Group at Leiston, flying P51's. He scored his first victory in November 1944, with a second in December. Then on January 14, 1945, he had another 21/2 victories and the next day on a mission to Augsburg he saw a Me262 jet slow rolling near its field and shot it down in flames. He had 69 combat missions.
1st Lieutenant Norm Achen flew with the 4th Fighter Group, 334 Fighter Squadron from Debden, England from June 1 to August 15, 1944. He was shot down by ground fire in his P51 while searching for targets of opportunity after escorting B24's to Hanover. Norm later escaped from a POW camp and after 15 days reached a General Patton tank unit.
Lt. Colonel Bob Wright trained on the P-38 Lightning at Van Nuys AFB. He was transferred overseas to Italy, to the 52nd Fighter Group, 97 Fighter Squadron , still on P-38's. OverLintz, Austria, he spotted a Me262 jet on take-off roll. He dived on the target, but it was hard to spot because of its camouflage and so escaped. Bob was mostly on bomber escort and dive bomber missions and he retired as a Lt. Colonel.
Colonel Raymond F. Toliver entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1937 and trained as a pursuit pilot. Colonel Toliver became a famous author. Books include The Blonde Knight of Germany (Erich Hartmann), andThe Interrogator (Hanns Joachim Scharff, who coincidentally interrogated Norm Achen, co-signer on this print). In 1940 he resigned and joined TWA as an airline pilot. In 1942 he was with RAF Ferry Command, flying Hudsons and Liberators trans-Atlantic. He then re-joined the Army Air Corps and was Chief of Flight Testing at Fairfield Air Depot, Ohio.
Leutnant Theo Nau joined the Luftwaffe in 1943. His first missions were with home defense (JG11) and he then flew in the Ardennes Offensive and Operation Bodenplatte. Later, he was with JG77 in Czechoslovakia. He saw action in both the FW190 and the Me109.
Oberleutnant Kurt Schulze began service as a cadet in 1939. He flew combat in Me110's over Russia and in Do217's. After service with KG2 he flew Me109's with JG5 from Finland and Norway. In early 1945 he commanded l/JG51 at Gdansk. Kurt ended the war commanding 13/JG5. He has 3 victories.
Modern day world history would be quite different had German scientists and military architects been allowed free reign with the design and execution of their blueprints early in the European war. As far back as the mid 1930's these visionary engineers and military application designers had crafted exotic weapon concepts onto paper that catapulted air war into the 21st century. Their creations became known as 'wonder weapons' and encompassed the first operational jet aircraft (Me262), the rocket plane (Me163), and the intercontinental ballistic missile (V2). These revelations no doubt came as a complete shock to the Allies when first encountered, to the extent that the eyewitnesses were not believed.
But the outcome of the war was another example of 'too little, too late.' The tide had shifted in favor of the Allies, supported in large part by America's war production turning out planes, tanks and munitions, overwhelmed German industry. Fighting a continental war on two fronts was too much for these new weapons which were just entering combat service. They ultimately had minimal impact on reversing Germany's attempt at world domination.
Hitler's meddling in the design and implementation of these weapons played a large role in delaying them from entering the war at an earlier time, dooming the Reich's chances of turning the tide in their own favor.
Still, the designs of the world's first combat jet aircraft and its brief war record was exemplary. Flying at well over 100 mph faster than the fastest Allied aircraft, they raised havoc among bomber streams when they engaged them during the Allies daily missions to bomb Germany into submission. Flown by 'experten' pilots who had demonstrated mastery of combat flying, this weapon was a serious threat to the Allies.
Originally test flown in 1941 and available for combat in May of 1944, the 'Swallow' was vulnerable to attack when taking off or landing, because of the necessarily lower speed. It was on these occasions that the fighter pilots of the 8th and 9th A.F. learned to pounce on these jets.
In Robert Bailey's combat canvas, DAWN INTRUSION, Walter Schuck aborts his landing at Brandenburg-Briest when he sees that it is under attack by American Mustangs. Fellow Luftwaffe jet pilots preparing to take off at the end of the runway firewall their Jumo jet engines to escape the rapidly escalating strike in the target rich environment. Specialized Me109's guarding the vulnerable jets pass overhead to engage the incoming threat of more P51's. The air is tense with adrenalin and terse RT chatter as pilots manouevre into the most favorable position. In this case, the Luftwaffe faces overwhelming odds.