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It was hoped by Galland's superiors that his return to combat-flying in a front-line command would result in his death in action.
Galland was charged with setting up a small Me unit of staffel strength to demonstrate that the jet could be developed into the superior fighter it promised to be. The unit was to be independent of all other Luftwaffe commands, including division, corps or air fleets. Galland inspected a number of facilities, and eventually settled on Brandenburg-Briest airfield, west of Berlin for its initial base. In late February, Galland discussed his personnel and logistical requirements with the Luftwaffe Chief of General Staff.
The staff approved the establishment of JV 44, with its cadre of pilots provided through the normal channels, and ground personnel provided from 16 Staffel, JG Galland also compiled a list of experienced pilots whom he considered to be competent enough to convert quickly to the Me The list included some of the Jagdwaffe's most skilled and successful formation leaders.
Thus JV 44 eventually comprised a core of highly experienced pilots chosen from Galland's former staff or otherwise recruited from units which had been disbanded or were being re-equipped.
With an aircraft that could make devastating strikes on bombers and easily escape any Allied fighter and a collection of the Luftwaffe's top surviving aces, JV 44 performed with great success during its' brief history, amassing a 4-to-1 kill ratio.
However, it had relatively few operational jet planes available for any single sortie and was repeatedly forced to relocate due to the approach of Allied ground forces. At war's end the unit was disbanded and its brief history came to an end. If measured by the accumulated victories of its pilots the Jagdverband 44 literally "hunting formation" was the most elite fighter unit in the history of military aviation.
The unit was established in February as a jet fighter squadron; many of its flying personnel were high-scoring aces or Experten —the unit's top five aces alone had more than 1, combined victories. Other Luftwaffe pilots joked that the Knight's Cross Ritterkreuz was part of standard uniform in the Jagdverband 44, because all of the pilots were such highly decorated fighter aces. The unit eventually comprised some fifty pilots and 25 Me jets, although no more than six of the latter were operational at any one given time.
Early in the war, some efforts were made to convert the Me fighter into a fast tactical bomber. In late German industry was struggling to produce enough Me 's as fighters for defense against the constantly growing Allied bomber formations. Because of the greater length of runway it required, and the slow acceleration it had at low speeds, the Me was especially vulnerable during take-off and landing. Galland thus established his own protection flight.
Five Fw D-9s and Ds were attached to JV44, the Platzschutzstaffel Airfield protection squadron , headed by Leutnant Heinz Sachsenberg , to provide air cover for takeoffs and landings. Flights were to be undertaken in a two-aircraft Rotte up to altitudes of metres, covering both the Me s taking off or landing and monitoring the surrounding skies for Allied fighters. These aircraft were painted bright red on their wings' undersurfaces with contrasting white stripes so anti-aircraft batteries could distinguish them from Allied piston-engined aircraft, leading to their humorous postwar nickname of the Papagei Staffel Parrot squadron.
By 14 March JV 44 had taken delivery of its first Me JV 44's improvised training programme continued into late March. General der Flieger Koller issued orders for JV44 to relocate to southern Germany in order to operate in the defence of the aircraft manufacturing plants and fuel and ammunition storage facilities in the area. Thus the unit was on the move constantly as the Allied ground forces advanced, including short stays at Munich-Riem , Salzburg-Maxglan , Ainring Platzschutz and Innsbruck, also allegedly using converted Reichsautobahn roadbeds serving as improvised highway strips in early , eventually surrendering at the end of the war.
Nearly all the aircraft were destroyed, including some deliberately blown up as Allied troops advanced. A number of aircraft however survived the war and were tested extensively by the United States. Galland himself claimed 7 kills before being wounded in action. On 26 April Adolf Galland was shot down and was wounded in the knee.
Whilst in hospital Galland devised a plan to prevent the JV 44 pilots and aircraft from falling into Russian hands or being accidentally destroyed by approaching Allied ground troops. He discharged himself from hospital and set up his headquarters in Tegernsee. Two aides, Maj. Wilhelm Herget and Capt. The two aides were interviewed regarding the possibility of this surrender.
They returned to Galland with instructions on how the surrender would proceed, including handing over the remaining Me aircraft into American hands. The significance of this is that the SS, if they had known of this offer by Galland, might have destroyed the aircraft and executed the associated personnel. Though Herget survived the crash Galland's response did not get to the Americans.
American troops advanced on the JV 44 base near Salzburg and shortly before surrendering, the remaining Me 's were blown up by JV 44 personnel, grenades being inserted into the engine intakes.
Hans Ekkehard Bob , who was ordered to prepare the Innsbruck airfield for operations. Sign In Don't have an account? Jagdverband 44 JV Contents [ show ]. Categories :. Cancel Save. JV Fighter Aircraft. Defense of the Reich. This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia view authors.
Jagdverband 44 : Squadron of Experten
Jagdverband 44 - Unit of top German fighter Ace Pilots
Galland was charged with setting up a small Me unit to demonstrate the capabilities of the jet fighter. JV 44 comprised a core of experienced pilots Experten chosen from Galland's former staff or recruited from units which had been disbanded or were being re-equipped. JV 44 performed well during its brief history, achieving a 4-to-1 kill ratio. However, it had relatively few operational jet planes available for any single sortie and was repeatedly forced to relocate due to the approach of Allied ground forces.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Jagdverband 44 was formed in February on Hitler's orders, to fly the Me Stormbird, the world's first operational jet fighter, and demonstrate its superiority. The unit was led by the legendary Adolf Galland, who recruited some of Germany's leading aces into it, to the extent that it was said that the Knight's Cross was its unofficial badge. JV 44 engaged the US Ninth Army Air Force over Bavaria and, with its significant speed advantage and powerful armament of cannon and rockets, the Me proved a formidable interceptor in the hands of its expert pilots. In its brief operational existence, never able to get more than six jets in the air at any one time, this small unit achieved approximately 50 kills in less than a month. Unfortunately for the German defensive effort though Galland himself was glad not to have prolonged the war there were not enough Me s to have any overall effect on the Allied air campaign.