The events of the air battle over the Czech-German frontier
on Monday, September 11th, 1944, remained virtually forgotten for decades after the war. The rich mosaic of the fates
of those involved began to come together over the course of
over thirty years , which began with research into the fates
of the American and German pilots and crews, that met over
the Ore Mountains on that day, resulting in the loss of over
sixty aircraft and more than eighty lives on both sides. These
were the fates of family members, friends and fellow flyers
who had ended up paying the ultimate price.
The fruits of the ongoing research into this event, culminating in the museum dedicated to it, has also been beneficial
to the modeling community. The first project on which the
museum and Eduard cooperated on was the nostalgically remembered Royal Class edition of the Fw 190A-8/R2 in 1:48th
scale back in 2007. After that, there was a ProfiPACK kit,
‘Sturmbock’, in the same scale carrying the catalog number
8175. This kit, for the first time, featured boxart by Martin
Novotny depicting the battle itself. After several years, this
was followed by the Fw 190A-8/R2 Royal Class kit in 1:72nd
scale, the 1:48th scale Royal Class Bf 109G, and several other
projects as well.
Currently, we see a return by Eduard to the subject of the Air
Battle Over the Ore Mountains in the form of theme specific
boxart by Piotr Forkasiewicz and one of the marking options
supplied with the kit. The centre of attention of the boxart is
a Sturmbock aircraft coded Yellow ‘1’, flown by Obgefr. Karl
Kleemann, attacking one of the elements of the 100th Bomb
Group shortly after noon on September 11th, 1944. That,
which is depicted in the boxart, tries to stay faithful and accurate to as many details as possible, but it still needs to be
said that due to the monumental nature of the intercept by
II.(Sturm)/JG 4, it is impossible to ascertain whether or not
Kleemann and his 7. Staffel actually attacked this specific
element of B-17s of the 349th Bomb Squadron. At some point,
despite all efforts, some artistic license must be allowed for.
The ‘feel’ of the battle, and the fates of individual aircraft,
is depicted in the painting extremely well. Given the severe
losses suffered by both sides, it should come as no surprise
that none of the five aircraft depicted on the box ever made
it home again. And this accounts for less than a tenth of the
total losses suffered. So, this painting of Piotr’s has been
christened ‘No Way Back’. Let’s take a look at the individual
INFO Eduard - July 2021
fates of the aircraft that are shown in closer detail. Although
the centre of focus is Kleemann’s aircraft, we’ll leave that
story for the end of this article. In order to save space, I will
leave out the history of the battle, which can be referenced
in Eduard Newsletters from the years 2010 - 2018 here :
07/2010 – STURMBOCK: Panzerglass, Panzerplatte
and the Whites of the Tail Gunner’s Eyes
05/2012 – The Aircraft in the Background
07/2014 – Black Four
04/2015 – Pauke! Pauke!
09/2018 – Lone Adler
Besides Kleemann’s aircraft, the artwork is also dominated by
the burning B-17G, dubbed ‘Now an’ Then’. This was an aircraft
carrying the serial number 42-97806 and was coded XR-D. The
bomber flew its first mission for the 100th Bomb Group as a new
addition on May 20th, 1944 in a raid on Brussels. Up to the fateful mission to Ruhland, the aircraft completed 37 combat flights,
most flown by the crew commanded by Lt. Ferdinand J. Herres.
His crew flew this aircraft on 17 of their 33 combat missions.
It was also them that named the aircraft. After they became the
leading crew, aircraft mission assignments were irregular, and it
was impossible to predict which mission they would be assigned.
So, as a result, they named the aircraft ‘Now an’ Then’. As fate
would have it, or maybe it was a squadron bureaucrat, Herres’s
crew flying their last mission on the current tour of duty on September 11th, 1944, wasn’t in ‘Now An’ Then’, but rather a newer
Main Picture: Painting by Piotr Forkasiewicz ‘No Way Back’,
depicting the scene of the attack by 7.(Sturm)/JG 4 on a formation of 100th BG aircraft on noon on September 11th, 1944.
It is the boxart of the Eduard Model Accessories
kit No. 84114, Fw 190A-8/R2.