WNr. 1079, Ofw. Erich Rudorffer, 2./JG 2, Baumont-le-Roger, France, September 1940

Erich Rudorffer was assigned on November 1, 1939 to 2./JG 2. He scored his first victory, a French Curtiss Hawk 75 fighter, on May 14, 1940 and added eight more victories during the Battle of France. By May 1, 1941, Leutnant Rudorffer had achieved 19 victories, for which he was awarded the Knight’s Cross. In November 1941 he was appointed commander of 6./JG 2 and in April 1943, during the fighting in Africa, he became commander of the entire II./JG 2. In the summer he briefly commanded IV./JG 54 on the Eastern Front and then until early 1945 he led II./JG 54. In January 1945 Rudorffer became commander of I./JG 7 equipped with Me 262 jets. He was credited with a total of 222 victories and awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak leave and Swords. During the war he flew about 1,000 combat sorties and is reported to have been shot down sixteen times. After the war, he flew DC-2 and DC-3 transport aircraft in Australia, then worked for Pan Am and later was employed in Germany by the Lufthart Bundesamt.

Oblt. August-Wilhelm Schumann, 5./JG 52, Mannheim-Sandhofen, Germany, November-December 1939

“Rabatz” Schumann was born in March 1915 in Berlin and after his pilot and fighter training served from October 1938 to July 1939 with the Legion Condor in Spain. Following brief service with I./JG 52 and II./JG 72, he was appointed commander of 5./JG 52 in September 1939. His aircraft bore a non-standard camouflage on upper surfaces. It was with this aircraft that Schumann probably achieved his first aerial victory in World War II. He shot down an observation balloon at Weissenburg on November 8, 1939. Schumann achieved a total of twenty victories, four of them in Spain. He was killed on the Eastern Front on September 6, 1941, south of Leningrad in a collision with another Bf 109.

WNr. 1380, Obstlt. Carl-Alfred Schumacher, CO of JG 1, Jever, Germany, early 1940

Carl-Alfred Schumacher was born in February 1896 in Rheine and fought as an artilleryman and later as a naval aviator during World War I. He attained the rank of Leutnant zur See and served aboard the floatplane carrier SMH Answald. In 1933 he joined the Luftwaffe and commanded several naval aviation units. In March 1939, Carl-Alfred Schumacher was promoted to Oberstleutnant, at which time he commanded II./JG 77. After the German invasion of Poland in October 1939, he was appointed commander of the Jafü Deutsche Bucht to direct all fighter units stationed on the northern coast of Germany. On November 30, 1939, he was appointed the first commander of JG 1, stationed at Jever. Carl-Alfred Schumacher scored his first victory on December18, when he shot down one Wellington. His second victory came on December 27, that time a Blenheim was his victim. His aircraft sported the JG 1 emblem on the left side of the fuselage below the windshield, as well as the Kommodore marking consisting of chevron and two horizontal bars. In September 1941 Schumacher was appointed Jagdfliegerführer Norwegen, but on November 8 he accidentally shot down a Finnish de Havilland Dragon and was relieved of command consequently and served in various administrative positions until the end of the war.

Obstlt. Max Ibel, CO of JG 27, Guines, France, September-October 1940

This aircraft probably belonged to Kommodore of JG 27 and as a quick identification marking had a yellow engine cowling, following the rule introduced on September 9, 1940. The pilot of the aircraft was probably Max Ibel. He was born in Munich in January 1896 and served in the Army Engineers and Air Service during the First World War. He did not retire after World War I and from August 1928 underwent extensive training at a secret military base in Lipetsk, Russia. In the 1930s he commanded several flight schools and worked for RLM as well. From 1936 he changed several fighter units and starting from May 1939 he was Kommodore of JG 3. In October 1939 he was appointed Kommodore of JG 27. He led the unit for one year including the Western Campaign and the Battle of Britain. In October 1940 he took command of Jagdfliegerschule 4, but in July 1941 he was appointed Jagdfliegerführer 3. In February 1942, during Operations Cerberus and Donnerkeil, he was a fighter liaison officer aboard the battleship Scharnhorst. In 1943 and 1944 he was commander of the Jagddivision 2. At the end of the war, he was captured at Tegernsee and subjected to extensive interrogations at Island Farm Camp. He was released in March 1948 and joined the Bundesluftwaffe in October 1957, becoming commander of the Luftverteidigungsdivision 1. He retired in September 1964 and died in 1981.

WNr. 1271, Oblt. Helmut Henz, CO of 4./JG 77, Kristiandsand-Kjevik, Norway, September 1940

Helmut Henz was born in January 1911 in Berlin. After completing his pilot training and transferring to I./JG 136, Helmut Henz was sent to the Legion Condor to gain pilot experience in the fighting of the Spanish Civil War. The beginning of World War II found Oblt. Henz in command of 4. Staffel of JG 77, achieving his first victory on December 14, 1939, by shooting down a British Wellington. JG 77 was part of the invasion force in the attack on Norway, its 4. Staffel under Oblt. Henz moved to Kristiandsand-Kjevik airfield on April 11, 1940. The II. Gruppe JG 77 remained in Norway until November 1940, when it moved to the front at the Channel. This aircraft sported camouflage in RLM 70/71/65 colors with a high transition between upper and lower colors on the fuselage sides (so called 40-er Anstrich). On the left side of the fuselage in front of the windshield was the II. Gruppe emblem and under the cockpit a black reaper with an umbrella flying on a scythe was painted as the emblem of the 4. Staffel. The initials LF belonged to the pilot’s girlfriend. In April 1941 Henz became commander of II./JG 77, but on May 25 he was shot down in a dogfight with the crew of Blenheim near Crete and is still missing. In total he achieved six victories.

WNr. 5058, Fw. Arthur Haase, 6./JG 51, Marquise-West, France, August 1940 

The serial number 8508 is sometimes mistakenly given for this aircraft. In fact, the serial was probably 5058 and the aircraft was produced by Wiener Neustädter Flugzeugwerke GmbH in late 1939. Its pilot was Arthur Haase, who had a personal symbol inspired by his surname (der Hase, in English: hare) painted on the side of the aircraft. The painting was done by mechanician Hoffmann. On the side of the fuselage, there was also the emblem of II./JG 51, depicting a raven with the inscription “Gott strafe England!” (May God punish England!). The yellow color of part of the rudders, wing tips and horizontal tail surfaces was introduced in early August 1940. The commander of 6./JG 51 was the legendary Josef “Pips” Priller. During the fighting over France in May and June 1940, Haase shot down two Hurricanes and added one Spitfire in late July. His fourth and final victory came on August 15, 1940, when he fought Hurricanes from No. 1 Squadron RAF off Clacton-on-Sea. However, he was wounded in the battle and crash-landed his aircraft at Wissant, France. Photographs from the preparation of the transport of the damaged aircraft show Haase’s machine with three kills marked on the tail. Haase was killed on January 29, 1944, in aerial combat. At the time he was serving as a flight instructor with the rank of Oberfeldwebel with 1./JG 107 in France.