WNr. 0142481, Fw. Otto Kittel, 2./JG 54, Krasnogvardeyjsk, Soviet Union, February 1943
Otto Kittel was born on February 21, 1917, to German parents in Korunov (German: Kronsdorf, since 1945 Krasov) near Krnov in Austria-Hungary. After the declaration of the Czechoslovakia, the Krnov region became part of it, but after the Munich Agreement it was one of the territories that Czechoslovakia had to cede to Germany under pressure from the Great Powers. The inhabitants claiming German nationality subsequently became German citizens. Kittel was apprenticed as a car mechanic in Mladá Boleslav and joined the Luftwaffe in 1939. He completed his first combat deployment during the fighting in Yugoslavia in the ranks of JG 54, which was deployed in East Prussia to support Army Group North in the advance on Leningrad during the attack on the USSR. On June 24, 1941, Otto Kittel scored his first two aerial victories, and on September 14, 1943, he achieved his 100th kill. However, he did not survive the war. His aircraft went down in flames near Dzhūkste, Latvia, after a dogfight with a formation of 14 Il-2s. However, it is not clear when this occurred, it is stated to be either 14 or 16 February 1945. During World War II, he shot down 267 enemy aircraft, all on the Eastern Front, ranking him 4th in the list of Luftwaffe aces.
Lt. Leopold Wenger, 10./JG 2, Caen-Carpiquet, France, February 1943
At the end of 1941, the Luftwaffe considered a resumption of the bombing of Great Britain and coastal shipping. It was ordered that every fighter unit taking part in operations against Great Britain would include one Staffel for the purposes of the so-called “hit and run” bombing missions. This role was taken up by 10.(Jabo) Staffel within JG 2. Under the command of Oblt. Frank Liesendahl, the unit sank twenty ships for a total of 630,000 BRT of shipping in four months. Wenger’s aircraft carried the standard day camouflage scheme of Luftwaffe fighters consisting of RLM 74/75/76. The fox biting a ship in two was the insignia of 10.(Jabo) Staffel. One of the pilots of this unit was Leopold Wenger, born on November 19, 1921 in Graz. He was killed on April 10, 1945, when he was shot down over Vienna.
WNr. 142317, Fw. Ludwig Seif, 11./SKG 10, Sidi Ahmed, Tunisia, January 1943
An order dated November 30, 1942 redesignated III./ZG 2 as III./SKG 10, but the unit maintained its combat assignment for ground support, bombing and destroying of enemy ground assets including airfields and ports in Tunisia. III./SKG 10 operated in the area until April 30, 1943, when they handed over their remaining four aircraft to II./Schl.G. 2, the unit they shared a base with. During combat operations, pilots of III./SKG 10 destroyed hundreds of Allied tanks and other ground equipment, shot down thirteen aircraft and sank or damaged twelve ships. The aircraft flown by Feldwebel Seif was camouflaged in RLM 74/75/76. The white fuselage band was applied to aircraft operating in the MTO. The port side of the engine cowl sported the III./SKG 10 unit marking, a yellow winged arrow on a blue shield.
Jaboschwarm I./JG 54, Krasnogvardeysk, Soviet Union, Spring 1943
JG 54 received its first Fw 190A-4s in early February 1943, with white camouflage on the upper surfaces and RLM 65 on the bottom. On February 19, 1943, JG 54 scored its 4,000th aerial victory, achieved by an Fw. Otto Kittel. After the winter period, the upper surfaces of the aircraft were painted black RLM 70, dark green RLM 71 and brown. As was customary with JG 54 in a variety of camouflage fields. The winter white paint remained on some of the less worn areas. The Roman numeral III marked aircraft is an example of such a state and the color scheme is partly a mere reconstruction based on the better documented aircraft of JG 54. Roman numerals were used to mark staff aircraft in this period.