Jagdgeschwader 5 - History - 1943

1943

By January 1943 I. and IV./JG 5 were stationed in Southern Norway, being equipped with the Fw 190A-2, A-3 and A-4. I./JG 5 had its bases on Lista, Sola, Kjevik and Herdla in the southern part of Norway. IV./JG 5 were distributed on bases around Trondheim, and were equipped with Bf 109Fs and Fw 190As. II. and III. Gruppe faced the Soviets on the Polar Sea Front; at this time they were equipped with the Bf 109F-4. Stab, 4./JG 5 and 6./JG 5 were stationed in Alakurtti, 5., 8., and 9./JG 5 were stationed at Kirkenes and 7./JG 5 was based at Petsamo. As early as March 1943 6. Staffel (commanded by Hpt. Heinrich Ehrler) reached 500 victories.

In early 1943 a Jabo (fighter-bomber) unit was formed within JG 5. 14.(J)/JG 5 was equipped with modified Fw 190A's and commanded by Hptm. Friedrich-Wilhelm Strakeljahn. In May 1943 the unit was responsible for the sinking of two submarines and two freighters within three days and by the end of 1943 has claimed to have sunk over 39,000 tons of Soviet merchant shipping in over 1,000 sorties.

In June 1943 Oberstlt. Gotthard Handrick was transferred to 8. Jagddivision, and replaced by the Gruppenkommandeur III./JG 5, Major Günther Scholz. Mid 1943 also saw JG 5 at its maximum strength. It consisted of 14 Staffeln; 12 regular single-engined fighter Staffels equipped with the Bf 109 and Fw 190, one Bf 110-equipped Zerstörerstaffel and finally the Jabo unit, 14.(J)/JG 5 with the Fw 190. 1943 was also the last year in which JG 5's four Gruppen had any sense of operational unity. I and II. Gruppe left Norway and Finland for good in late 1943 to fight the rest of the war away from their parent Geschwader.

In November 1943, I. Gruppe moved to Romania as protection for the vital Ploieşti oil refineries. The gruppe were placed under the command of Luftflotte 1 for the remainder of 1943. Gruppenkommandeur since February 1943 is Hauptmann Gerhard Wengel. He died defeinding Sofia in combat with USAAF on 10 January 1944, when, after I./JG 5 jet fighters destroed 3 "flying fortresses", his Me 109 crashed near Radomir. On 26 March 1944 Hauptmann Horst Carganico was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 5 participating in the Reichsverteidigung (Defense of the Reich). After combat with USAAF B-17's on 27 May 1944, he was killed when his Bf 109 crashed after hitting high tension cables while force-landing near Chevry, France. Carganico had claimed 60 kills.

Read more about this topic:  Jagdgeschwader 5, History

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