Text: Jan Bobek
Illustration: Piotr Forkasiewicz
The aircraft of the fighter ace Hans Dortenmann have already appeared in our kits several times. The first one was the Fw 190 A-6
“Black 7” of 2./JG 54. It was in this plane that
in February 1944 he crossed path with the
fighter ace Capt. I. M. Astakov of the 49th IAP.
Later it was his famous Fw 190 D-9 “Black
1” from IV./JG 26 (formerly III./JG 54) which
was probably the longest serving Dora in the
Hans-Joachim Dortenmann was born on
December 11, 1921, in Weingarten, Württemberg. He joined the armed forces in December 1939. In early 1940 he was assigned as
a machine gunner to the 1st Kompanie, Infanterie-Regiment 390. This regiment saw
heavy fighting on the Maginot Line and Dortenmann's 1st Kompanie was the only part of
it to complete the entire French campaign.
At the beginning of June, he received the
Iron Cross 2nd Class.
In 1941 Dortenmann received pilot training
from A/B Schule 2 and in 1942 from A/B
Schule 116. The latter unit recommended his
further specialization in single-engine or
twin-engine fighters. He therefore underwent fighter training with JG 103 and finally
was transferred to the operational training
unit of EJGr. Ost, which specialized in Eastern Front battlefield.
In mid-October 1943 he was finally assigned to a combat unit. He reported to
3./JG 54 “Grünherz”. In early December he
was transferred to 2./JG 54 and on February
6, 1944 he managed to achieve the first vic-
tory mentioned in the introduction. By April
1944 he had gained fourteen confirmed victories.
On June 5, 1944, his 2nd Staffel was assigned
to III./JG 54, which fought in Western Europe and fought in Normandy after the Allied
landings. The move to the western battlefield from the Eastern Front took the lives
of many German fighters before they could
adapt to the different conditions and combat tactics. But Dortenmann succeeded, and
when his Staffel commander fell, he himself took over command on June 17. Under
the cockpit of his Red 1 was the inscription
Hascherl 1, which in Swabian dialect means
He achieved his first success on the so-called Invasion Front in the evening of June
22, 1944, shooting down a P-47 near Rouen.
Two days later, on June 24 in the morning,
Dortenmann was in another battle near
Évreux. Three squadrons of Mustangs III
from the No. 122 Wing were flying at 2,000
meters when a formation of Fw 190s from
III/JG 54 and II./JG 26 plus Bf 109s from
III/JG 26 attacked them from above. The RAF
pilots claimed seven Fw 190s destroyed and
one damaged plus one Bf 109 destroyed. One
or possibly two Bf 109s were shot down in
this fight and one bailed out pilot was shot
at by a Mustang. Fw 190 pilots from II/JG 26
reported three kills, but only two were confirmed. Dortenmann's III./JG 54 reported six
kills, of which Hptm. Emil Lang rather optimistically claimed four, while at least two
Fw 190s were shot down.
In this battle Hans Dortenmann was the first
airman to achieve a victory. He attacked
a Mustang at an altitude of 1,800 meters.
First he hit the enemy in a left turn from
a distance of 80 meters and some bits of the
British machine fell off. Then he attacked the
same plane again, some 30 meters from the
rear and below. As a result of his fire, large
pieces fell off the lower fuselage. The Mustang crashed in a field at 7.15 and exploded.
Dortenmann and Uffz. Schleef, who confirmed his victory, stated that the pilot stayed
in the cockpit.
No. 19, 65 and 122 Squadron RAF took part
in the fight, but only No. 65 Sqn. suffered
losses. Four Mustangs did not return from
the fight. Three pilots managed to survive
and make it to the unit, these were F/Lt B.
W. Clapin, F/Sgt E. T. Williams and Sgt. D. C.
Webb. Dortenmann's probable victim was
twenty-three-year-old F/Sgt William Arthur
Summer, who did not survive the fight.
He is buried in the Dreux Communal Cemetery.
Dortenmann was shot down two days later
with his Red 1 in a dogfight near Paris but
bailed out. At the end of December 1944 he
became commander of III./JG 54 and on New
Year's Day 1945 led it in Operation Bodenplatte. He achieved a total of 38 victories, completed 150 combat sorties and was awarded
the Knight's Cross in April 1945. With eighteen kills on the Fw 190 D-9, he was probably
the most successful fighter pilot of this type.