Zirkus Rosarius

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Zirkus Rosarius (also known as the Wanderzirkus Rosarius) was an Erprobungskommando-style special test unit of the Luftwaffe, specifically of the Luftwaffe High Command, tasked with testing captured British and American aircraft, all of which were repainted in German markings.

The purpose of testing allied aircraft was to discover any strengths or vulnerabilities in their design or performance. This information was highly useful in enabling German service personnel to develop tactics designed to counter strengths and exploit any vulnerabilities.

The unit was formed by Theodor Rosarius in 1943 and was part of the 2./Versuchsverband Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe. The Zirkus also toured operational airfields showing Luftwaffe pilots the captured aircraft and training them in techniques to counter these aircraft. The Zirkus Rosarius seemed to have merited the use of its own Geschwaderkennung ("Geschwader code") of "T9", with a few of the unit's aircraft coming from KG 200, which already used the "A3" identification code of that wing.

Known captured aircraft[edit]

Type Model Serial number Luftwaffe call sign* Notes
Lockheed P-38 L (F-5E) 44-23725 T9+MK ex 354th Air Service Sq-Delivered intact by USAAF deserter Martin James Monti 13/10/1944
Lockheed P-38 G 43-2278 T9+XB (duplicated) 15th Air Force—accidentally landed at Capoterra Italy 12/061943.
Supermarine Spitfire LF.IX MK698 T9+EK ex-No. 412 Squadron RCAF
Supermarine Spitfire PR.XI possibly MB945 T9+BB ex 14th Photo Squadron/7th PRG USAAF
North American NA-64 Armée de l'Air No. 44 DR+XD
North American P-51 Mustang B or C T9+CK
North American P-51 Mustang B 43-24825 T9+HK "Jerry" Ex 334th Fighter Squadron. captured 6 June 1944
Hawker Typhoon Ia EJ956 T9+GK Ex "SA-I" No. 486(NZ) Sqn.
Hawker Typhoon JP548 T9+GK Ex No. 174 Sqn.
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt D 42-22490 T9+FK "Agnes"/"Beetle" ex 358th Fighter Sq/355th FG-captured 7/11/1943
Republic P-47 D-16-RE 42-75971 8+6 then T9+LK "Ruthless Ruthie" ex 301st Fighter Sq/332nd FG-captured 29/5/1944
de Havilland Mosquito B Mk IV DZ466 T9+XB (duplicated)
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress F 41-24585 A3+AE "Wulf Hound" from KG 200; ex 360 Bomb Sq/303rd BG captured 12/12/1942
Boeing B-17 F 42-30713 "Phllis Marie" ex 568th Bomb Sq/390th Bomb Gp. Captured 8/3/1944
Boeing B-17 F 42-30048 A3+CE "Flak Dancer" ex. 554th Bomb Sq/384th Bomb Gp. Captured 26/6/1943
Boeing B-17 F 42-5714 DR+PB "Old Faithful" ex 332nd Bomb Squadron. Captured 14/10/1943
Boeing B-17 G 42-39974 "Punchboard" ex 731st Bomb Sq/452nd Bomb Gp. Captured 9/4/1944
Bell P-39 Airacobra GE+DV
Curtiss Kittyhawk Mark III 10+KH
Consolidated B-24 Liberator D 41-23659 I-RAIN "Blond Bomber II" ex 343rd BS, 98th BG, USAAF 20/2/1943
Consolidated B-24 Liberator G 42-78106 NF+FL "Sky Pirate" ex 758th Bombardment Squadron USAF captured 9/6/1944
Consolidated B-24 Liberator G 42-78247 CL+XZ ex 765th BS, 461st BG, USAAF 4/10/1944
Consolidated B-24 Liberator H 41-28641 A3+KB ex 735th BS, 453rd BG, USAAF 4/2/1944
Consolidated B-24 Liberator H 42-52106 "Sunshine" ex 719th BS, 449th BG, 47th BW, 15th AF, USAAF 29/2/1944
Short Stirling Mk.1 N3705 6+8 ex No. 7 Squadron RAF
  • Note: all-alphabetic codes were Stammkennzeichen form, individual to the aircraft; any codes containing one number somewhere to the left of the Balkenkreuz were combat wing-specific Geschwaderkennung codes.

See also[edit]

Note[edit]

References[edit]

  • Stapfer, Hans-Heiri. Strangers in a Strange Land. Squadron/Signal Publ. 1988. ISBN 0-89747-198-9
  • Lerche, Hans Werner. Luftwaffe Test Pilot: Flying captured Allied aircraft of World War 2. London: Jane's 1980. ISBN 0-531-03711-8
  • Smith, J. Richard, Creek, Eddie J. and Petrick, Peter. On Special Missions, The Luftwaffe's Research and Experimental Squadrons 1923-1945. 2003. ISBN 1-903223-33-4