|Size||Air Force Wing|
|Heinrich Ehrler (May 1944 - February 1945)|
Jagdgeschwader 5 (JG 5) Eismeer was a Luftwaffe fighter Wing that served during World War II. As the name Eismeer (Ice Sea) implies, it was created to operate in the far North of Europe, namely Norway, Scandinavia and northern parts of Finland, all nearest the Arctic Ocean. Just over two dozen fighter aircraft that once served with JG 5 during the war still survive to the present day, more than from any other combat unit in the Axis air forces of World War II.
- 1 History
- 2 Commanding officers
- 3 See also
- 4 Notes
- 5 References
- 6 External links
JG 5 was formed when elements of the I. Gruppe/JG 77 already stationed in Norway was redesignated as I./JG 5 in January 1942. The II. Gruppe was newly created and III. Gruppe was formed from elements of I./JG 1 in May. The unit had the responsibility for providing fighter-cover over occupied territories under Luftflotte 5, and also to provide fighter support for the Heer (Army) units fighting on the Arctic front in the Murmansk area. JG 5 also had the important task of disrupting traffic on the Murmansk rail-line, as this was the main artery of the Karelian Front defenders.
I. Gruppe was based on the west coast of Norway, in Stavanger, to defend against Allied anti-shipping attacks. II. and III. Gruppe was stationed at Petsamo in Finland, to support operations in the East. JG 5 had to cope with challenges that were unique within the Luftwaffe, from 24-hour days during summer when the sun never set, to the complete darkness and extreme cold of the Polar winter.
By the beginning of Polar Summer of 1942, Luftflotte 5 had been reinforced and by July 1942 possessed a total of 250 serviceable aircraft. Operationally, these were controlled by Fliegerfuhrer Nord-Ost Obstlt. Walter Lehwess-Litzmann, responsible for operations over the front-line and by Fliegerführer Lofoten, Oberst. Ernst-August Roth, responsible for anti-shipping operations. Due to the air superiority established by II. and III./JG 5 early in the year, Luftflotte 5 enjoyed a numerical and considerable qualitative superiority, and the Soviet opposition amounted to just 170 serviceable combat aircraft. Fliegerführer Nord-Ost also benefited from a Freya early-warning radar network.
During the Summer the Soviets brought in new units, including 20 lAP equipped with the new Yak-l and an effective counter to the Bf 109-F. On 19 July 7./JG 5's Lt. Bodo Helms and Ofw. Franz Dorr claimed one Yak-1 each, and Uffz. Werner Schumacher claimed two fighters shot down. ( Actual Soviet losses were five: a MiG-3, 3 Airacobras and Kittyhawks, and a Hurricane.) In return, JG 5's Fw. Leopold Knier and Uffz. Hans Dobrich (14 victories) were shot down. Both German pilots baled out. Knier was taken prisoner, but Dobrich walked back to his own lines.
Luftflotte 5 recorded 26 combat losses in July 1942, while the VVS lost 32 of its own aircraft shot down or missing, mainly to JG 5.
On 21 August, 6./JG 5 claimed 14 Soviet fighters shot down. According to Soviet records 2 LaGG-3s and 2 1-16s were shot down over Vayenga, and two aircraft made forced landings. JG 5 lost two Bf 109s, one flown by Staffelkapitän of 6./JG 5, ObIt. Hans Dieter Hartwein (16 Kills) posted missing.
During this period, overclaims were made by both sides. JG 5 claimed some 72 victories in August, but Soviet records indicate 24 Soviet aircraft lost with another 7 damaged and 13 aircraft missing, and another 4 were shot down by ground fire.
As 1942 wore on, the increased Allied air pressure towards Norway meant that a part of III. Gruppe and the newly created IV. Gruppe had to be stationed around Trondheim. A second part of III. Gruppe was stationed in Kirkenes, both to provide cover from marauding Soviet Air Force formations, and to help with the intensifying attacks against the Arctic convoys. Leutnant Heinrich Ehrler (6. JG 5) was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 4 September for 64 victories.
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 defending Sofia in combat with USAAF on 10 January 1944, when, after I./JG 5 fighters destroyed 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 forced-landing near Chevry, France. Carganico had claimed 60 kills.
In 1944 I. Gruppe was redesignated as III./JG 6 and sent to France, and it was never replaced. In June - July 1944, Gruppenkommandeur Theodor Weissenberger was credited with 25 victories over Normandy (half the total score by the whole unit during this period).
IV./JG 5 and 14./JG 5 were transferred to the Arctic Front from Southern Norway in August 1944. The Gruppe joined the first of several large air battles commencing on October 9, opposing the final Soviet offensive against Petsamo. When the day was over, III. and IV./JG 5 had claimed 85 Soviet aircraft shot down (among them the 3,000th victory for JG 5) against the loss of only one pilot killed.
In November 1944 IV./JG 5 returned to Southern Norway. Up to the end of the war this unit formed the air defence against the Allied raids on targets in Norway, principally the submarine bases at Trondheim and Bergen.
The Sinking of the Tirpitz
On 12 November 1944 Avro Lancaster bombers of 9 and 617 Squadrons raided the Tirpitz in Tromsø fjord. Major Ehrler scrambled to intercept at the head of a formation of JG 5 Bf 109G's, but the fighters were too late. The Tirpitz was sunk with the loss of a thousand sailors. Ehrler was court martialed and sentenced to three years Festungshaft, and stripped of his command. (He was killed flying with JG 7 on 4 April 1945).
Surviving aircraft that served with JG 5
About twenty of JG 5's Messerschmitt Bf 109s, comprising six E-models, eight 109F-models and seven G-models; and five of JG 5's Focke-Wulf Fw 190s, four of them A-models and one F-model, survive into the 21st century, believed to be (at about 27 aircraft) the highest number of surviving World War II-era piston-engined German combat aircraft from any single Geschwader-designated operational unit. The oldest existing aircraft of all that served with JG 5 in World War II is the Bf 109E-3 with Werknummer 1983 that was assigned to JG 5's 5th Staffel, housed at Charleston Aviation Services, Colchester, England in the UK currently undergoing restoration, with the oldest Fw 190 remaining in the world, the A-2 model that served with JG 5, bearing Werknummer 5476, existing in Texas awaiting restoration. The lone surviving Fw 190F model that served with JG 5 is under restoration in Massachusetts to possibly become the first restored, original F-series BMW 801 radial-engined Fw 190 since the end of World War II to fly again in coming years. It was originally being restored by The White 1 Foundation in Kissimmee, Florida, until its 2012 transfer to the Collings Foundation in Stow, Massachusetts. A former IV Gruppe/JG 54 Fw 190A, Werknummer 1227 and initially found nearly intact in a Russian forest near Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1989, was the first-ever BMW 801 powered Fw 190 of any version to fly since World War II, with its own first flight occurring during the summer of 2011 in Washington State, USA.
Condition code: (A) = Airworthy (D) = Display (R) = Under restoration (S) = Stored (W) = Wreck (U) = Unknown Location
JG 5's Messerschmitt Bf 109E survivors
- Bf 109E-3 1983, ex-5/JG 5 "Red ?", Charleston Aviation Services, Colchester, UK (R)
- Bf 109E-3 2023, ex-Bf 109E-7, ex-8/JG 5 "Black 9" (pilot Ofw. Walter Sommer) - crashed 27 May 1943, Military Aviation Museum, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA (R)
- Bf 109E-3 3285, ex-Bf 109E-7, ex-4/JG 5 "Black 12", "White 4", "Yellow 2", Finnish AF Museum, Tikkakoski (S)
- Bf 109E-3 3523, ex-CS + AJ, ex-Bf 109E-7, ex-5/JG 5 "Red 6", Jim Pearce, Sussex, UK (S)
- Bf 109E-7 5975, ex-6/JG 5 "Yellow 4" - shot down 10 May 1942, Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, Savannah, Georgia, USA (D) 
- note: cockpit section from Bf 109G-2
JG 5's Bf 109F survivors
- Bf 109F-4 7108, ex-NE + ML, ex-9/JG 5, Central Finland Aviation Museum, Tikkakoski, Finland (D)
- Bf 109F-4 7485, ex-9/JG 5 "Black 1" Charleston Aviation Services, UK (S)
- Bf 109F-4 10144, ex-6/JG 5 "Yellow 7" (pilot Fw. Albert Brunner) - crashed 5 September 1942, Air Assets International, Bloomfield, Colorado (R)
- Bf 109F-4 10212, ex-JG 5, Air Assets International, Bloomfield, Colorado, USA (S) : note: wings and parts
- Bf 109F-4 10256, ex-11/JG 5 "<", Air Assets International, Bloomfield, Colorado, USA (S)
- Bf 109F-4 10276, ex-JG 5, Air Assets International, Bloomfield, Colorado, USA (S)
- Bf 109F-4 w/rn unknown, ex-JG 5 "White 4", Belgian (R)
JG 5's Bf 109G survivors
- Bf 109G-2 10394, ex-6/JG 5 "Yellow 2" (pilot Fw. Erwin Fahldieck) - crashed 29 April 1943, Malcolm Laing, Texas, USA (R)
- Bf 109G-2 13427, ex-9/JG 5 "Yellow 2", Russia (S)
- Bf 109G-2/R1 13470, ex-CI + KS, ex-8/JG 5 "White 4", Norsk Luftfartsmuseum, Bodo, Norway (R)
- Bf 109G-2/R6 13927, ex-6/JG 5 "Yellow 6", USA (W)
- Bf 109G-1/R2 14141, ex-DG + UF, ex-2/JG 5 "Black 6", Flyhistorisk Museum, Sola, Norway (R)
- Bf 109G-2 14658, ex-KG-WF, ex-6/JG 5 "Yellow 2", Museum of the Air Forces of the Northern Fleet, Severomorsk, Russia (D)
- Bf 109G-2 14798 (VH-EIN), ex-GJ+QP, ex-8/JG 5 "Black 10", Christopher Kelly, Seaforth, Australia (R)
- Bf 109G-6 411768 ex-FN + RX, ex-RW + ZI, ex-II/JG 5 "Black 1", Vadim Zadorozny Technical Museum, Moscow, Russia (D)
JG 5's Focke-Wulf Fw 190 survivors
- Fw 190 A-2, Wk. Nr. 5476, from JG 5, owned by Wade S. Hayes and currently located in Texas USA. It is thought to be one of the oldest Fw 190s still in existence. (R)
- Fw 190 A-3, Wk. Nr. 2219, from IV./JG 5, recovered from underwater location, currently being rebuilt for the Norwegian Air Force Museum. (R)
- Fw 190 A-8, Wk. Nr. 350177, from 12./JG 5, owned by Jon W. Houston and located at the Texas Air Museum in Rio Hondo, Texas, USA. (R)
- Fw 190 A-8, Wk. Nr. 732183, from 12./JG 5 as flown by Rudi Linz, a German ace with 79 victories, this aircraft was shot down over Norway by a British Mustang during the 'Black Friday' raid on 9 February 1945. The aircraft is currently owned by John W. Houston and currently under restoration at the Texas Air Museum. (R)
- Fw 190 F-8, Wk. Nr. 931862, from 9./JG 5, the "White 1" as flown by Unteroffizier Heinz Orlowski, who examined his former aircraft personally in 2005, during its restoration. Shot down by P-51s over Norway, and is a second surviving Axis aircraft from the February 9, 1945 "Black Friday" engagement. Previously under restoration in Kissimmee, Florida, USA by The White 1 Foundation, transferred to The Collings Foundation in 2012, and is still expected to be returned to airworthy status. (R)
- Oberstleutnant Gotthard Handrick, May 1942 - June 1943
- Oberstleutnant Günther Scholz, June 1943 - May 1944
- Major Heinrich Ehrler, May 1944 - February 1945
- Oberstleutnant Günther Scholz, February 1945 - May 1945
- Major Joachim Seegert, January 1942 - April 1942
- Hauptmann Gerhard von Wehren, April 1942 - February 1943
- Hauptmann Gerhard Wengel, February 1943 - 10 January 1944
- Oberleutnant Robert Müller, 10 January 1944 - 25 January 1944
- Major Erich Gerlitz, 25 January 1944 - 16 March 1944
- Major Horst Carganico, 26 March 1944 - 27 May 1944
- Hauptmann Theodor Weissenberger, 4 June 1944 - 14 October 1944
- Major Hennig Strümpell, January 1942 - April 1942
- Hauptmann Horst Carganico, April 1942 - 26 March 1944
- Hauptmann Theodor Weissenberger, 26 March 1944 - 3 June 1944
- Oberleutnant Hans Tetzner, 4 June 1944 - 19.7 1944
- Oberstleutant Franz Wienhusen, 1 September 1944 - October 1944
- Hauptmann Herbert Treppe, February 1945 - May 1945
- Hauptmann Günther Scholz, March 1942 - June 1943
- Major Heinrich Ehrler, June 1943 - May 1944
- Hauptmann Franz Dörr, May 1944 - May 1945
- Oberleutnant Rudolf Glöckner, 1944/1945
- Hauptmann Hans Kriegel, unknown - April 1944
- Oberleutnant Rudolf Lüder, 3 October 1943 - unknown
- Hauptmann Fritz Stendel, 15 May 1944 - May 1945
13. (Z)/JG 5
- Olt Felix Maria Brandis, 25.1.42 - 2.2.42
- Olt Max Franzisket,[Notes 1] February 1942 - March 1942
- Oberleutnant Karl-Fritz Schloßstein, March 1942 - June 1942
- Oberleutnant Hans Kirchmeier, June 1943 - September 1943
- Hauptmann Herbert Treppe, September 1943 - July 1944
14. (Jabo)/JG 5
- Hauptmann Friedrich-Wilhelm Strakeljahn, February 1943 - February 1944
- Max Franzisket was the brother of Ludwig Franzisket. Max was killed in action on 19 July 1943 on the Eastern Front.
- Hafsten[et al.], Flyalarm - Luftkrigen over Norge 1939-1945, 145
- 5975 (Warbird Recovery)
- 7108 (Preserved Axis Aircraft Collection)
- Bf 109F-4 10144 owned by Air Assets International
- White 4 (preserved axis aircraft page)
- Norsk Luftfartsmuseum
- Flyhistorisk Museum
- 411768 "Black 1 (airliners phto collection)
- Youtube video of the recovery
- Project Page of the Collings Foundation
- Bjørn Hafsten[et al.](1991). Flyalarm - Luftkrigen over Norge 1939-1945, Sem & Stenersen AS. (ISBN 82-7046-058-3).
- Luftwaffe.no, a reference site for the German airforces operating in Norway and Finland
- Girbig, Werner: Jagdgeschwader 5 "Eismeerjäger" (Motorbuch Verlag 1976)