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Fw190D by Tom Tullis. Click to access his aviation art website.

  The Schwalbe's faithful protectors:Fw 190 D-9s of the Sachsenberg Schwarm  

The Me 262, although a great fighter, had one glaring weakness -it's engines, which remained an early development prototype practically throughout their use. The Jumo 004 was never intended by its designers for front-line service, as it was not yet fully developed. It was pressed into service because of the war situation. That, coupled with the fact that inferior materials were used, at least in the later production, made the engines unreliable. Therefore the Me 262s takeoff and landing was an extremely vulnerable time for the fighter. If a pilot was attacked while the engines weren't yet at full power and attempted to suddenly increase power to maneuver, the engines would flame out and leave the plane a sitting duck. That is, if it didn't crash right away, being so close to the ground. So to ensure that the Jet fighters could take off without being molested by the marauding Allied fighters, a new scheme was developed. Adolf Galland had the idea that the the Fw190 Dora could be used as a Protection ( Schutze) Squadron. To this end, a Staffel of Fw 190 D-9s, the finest piston engined fighter in the world (with the Spitfire Mk XIV), would fly protection flights above the airfield, circling overhead while the Me 262s were taking off. This way, low - flying Allied fighters who attempted to attack the Me 262 on takeoff or landing would get pounced on from above, and almost certainly destroyed. 

This Staffel, named the Wurger-Staffel (Butcher-Bird Squadron) or Sachsenberg Schwarm (named after Lt Heinz Sachsenberg), was based at Munchen-Riem, and was assigned protection of JV 44, Galland's elite jet squadron. Since the airfield was also heavily protected by flak batteries, these Fw 190s had to be made instantly recognizable to the flak battery crews. Therefore, the under surfaces of these fighters were painted bright red with white stripes.

 

JV44`s crest was a red circle with a black and white checker board in the middle. These aircraft were designated Red 1 through Red 5. A  pilot of this unit, Hauptmann Waldemar Wubke, flew Fw190D-9 `Rot 3` (Red 3). Sachsenberg himself flew Fw190D-9 (Red 1). The success of these pilots can be seen in the fact that very few Me 262s were destroyed on takeoff, and most that were pounced on were destroyed on landing at various other landing strips.

JV44  Unit Emblem

 

Die Schutze, Sachsenberg Staffel, 1945

 

The machines of the Würger-Staffel are well documented, and each carried a pilot's personal insignia on her port side, in the form of a statement. Below are examples of colours sported by the Dora`s of JV44.These are renderings by Claes Sundin and Denis Davidson. Thank you to Experten Decals for the copyright permissions.


`Rot 1` by Denis Davidson


`Rot 13` by Denis Davidson


`Rot 1` by Claes Sundin


`Rot 13` By Claes Sundin

A whole range of images of JV44 machines can be viewed at our Experten Decals website.

Thanks to Tom Tullis and Eagle Editions Ltd for their permission to use the image of Red 1

Also, thanks to John Payne for his permission to use his model photo. Visit his German Airplane Models page.

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