Nachtjagdgeschwader 5

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Nachtjagdgeschwader 5
Nachtjagd badge.svg
Active 1942–1945
Country Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Branch Air Force
Type Night Fighter
Role Air superiority
Size Air Force Wing
Engagements World War II
Insignia
Identification
symbol
Geschwaderkennung
of C9, 1B, 3C, 4R

Nachtjagdgeschwader 5 (NJG 5) was a Luftwaffe night fighter-wing of World War II. NJG 5 was formed on 30 September 1942 in Döberitz.

History[edit]

On 1 October 1942, 3./NJG 1 was redesignated 1./NJG 5.

In March and April 1943, General Josef Kammhuber ordered IV./NJG 5 to Rennes, France in defense of the German U-boat bases. The group was relocated to the Eastern Front again and redesignated as I./Nachtjagdgeschwader 100 (I./NJG 100)

Oberleutnant Walter Borchers was made Gruppenkommandeur of III./NJG 5 on 22 April 1943, leading the Gruppe until March 1944. He claimed six night victories and four heavy United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) bombers shot down. Promoted to Major he then took command of NJG 5. He received the Knight's Cross on 29 October 1944 for 45 aerial victories.

Werner Hoffmann was appointed acting Gruppenkommandeur of I./NJG 5 on 5 July 1943, replacing Hauptmann Siegfried Wandam (13 victories,) who had been shot down and killed on 4 July 1943.

On 20 January 1944 Hpt. Hoffmann was shot down over Berlin when his aircraft was damaged by return fire from a Lancaster bomber. On 28/29 January he shot down three Halifax bombers raiding Berlin and claimed two Lancasters the next night.

On the night of 27/28 April, Oblt. Wilhelm Johnen of III./NJG 5 attacked a Lancaster over Lake Constance heading west for Switzerland. His Bf 110 G-4 received hits during the attack, setting the port engine alight, and Johnen was obliged to land at the Swiss airfield at Zürich-Dubendorf. Johnen and his crew were interned, and the Luftwaffe employed extensive political manoeuvring to ensure the Bf 110, equipped with the still secret SN-2 radar, was kept from close Allied examination and returned intact.

Werner Hoffmann was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 31 victories on 4 May 1944 and made permanent Gruppenkommandeur of I./NJG 5 on 1 June.

At the end of July 1944 I./NJG 5 was withdrawn to Stendal for re-equipment with the new Ju 88G-6 night fighter. Then deployed to Jesau in East Prussia, night operations against Soviet bombers followed for the remainder of 1944. Following the opening of the Soviet offensive on 12 January 1945, I./NJG 5 operated in the ground attack role on the eastern front. By 25 January 1945 I./NJG 5 was again operating from bases in Germany, selocating to Parchim and Erfurt.

Major Borchers was shot down and killed on the night of 5 March 1945 by W/C Walter Gibb and F/O Kendall in a Mosquito night fighter of No. 239 Squadron. Flying Junkers Ju 88 G-6 "C9+GA" (Werknummer 622 319—factory number) his air gunner parachuted to safety while his radio operator was also killed. he was replaced by Major Rudolf Schoenert.

By the war's end the bulk of NJG 5 were based at Lübeck-Blankensee.

Service on the Eastern Front[edit]

By early 1943 the Soviet Air Forces were increasing difficulties for the invading German forces. At night harassment sorties were flown with elderly biplanes. The Polikarpov Po-2, known to the Germans as the Nähmaschine (sewing machine) or 'UvD' (Unteroffizier vom Dienst, or Duty NCO), did little damage in night raids but had an immense nuisance value. The aircraft with their slow cruising speed made interception extremely difficult.

To counter these attacks IV./NJG 5 under Hauptmann Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein was moved to the Eastern Front in February 1943. The unit moved to Bryansk and Orel in June 1943 for Operation Citadel and later operated under Luftflotte 6 in the Smolensk-Bryansk area and under Luftflotte 4 in the Poltava-Stalino area.

Commanding officers[edit]

Kommodore[edit]

Gruppenkommandeure[edit]

II. Gruppe/NJG 5[edit]

  • Hauptmann Rudolf Schoenert, 1 December 1942 – 5 August 1943
  • Hauptmann Manfred Meurer, 5 August 1943 – 27 September 1943
  • Hauptmann Baer, 28 September 1943 – 27 January 1944
  • Hauptmann Leopold Fellerer, February 1944 – 10 May 1944
  • Major Hans Leickhardt, 3 May 1944 – 6 March 1945
  • Hauptmann Gustav Tham, 10 March 1945 – 4 April 1945
  • Oberstleutnant Werner Rapp, 5 April 1945 – 8 May 1945

III. Gruppe/NJG 5[edit]

  • Hauptmann Walter Borchers, April 1943 – 15 March 1944
  • Major Paul Zorner, 16 March 1944 – 21 October 1944
  • Hauptmann Ulrich von Meien, 22 October 1944 – 6 Fwebruary 1945
  • Hauptmann Walter Engel, 6 February 1945 – April 1945
  • Hauptmann Piuk, April 1945 – 8 May 1945

References[edit]

  • Hinchliffe, Peter (1998). Luftkrieg bei Nacht 1939–1945 [Air War at Night 1939–1945] (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-613-01861-7.