04 January 2015

Portrait Photo of Hans-Joachim Marseille

Image size: 1171 x 1600 pixel. 671 KB
Date: Sunday, 28 June 1942
Place: Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, East Prussia, Germany
Photographer: Unknown photographer from Heinrich Hoffmann Firm
Oberleutnant Hans-Joachim Marseille, Staffelkapitän 3.Staffel / I.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 27 (JG 27) "Afrika", posed for the studio camera of Heinrich Hoffmann Firm in the day he received the coveted Schwerter zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub #12 (Swords for the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves) from Adolf Hitler, 28 June 1942 (Marseille already received the telegram from 18 June 1942). On 3 June he achieved his 75th victory, and on 17 June his 101st victory, which made him the most efficient fighter pilot of the Western Front and brought him the Eichenlaub in 6 June 1942 and Schwertern in 18 June, only a couple of days later! There is no doubt that he is the best German ace at this time. Moreover, he was also the most famous and popular German pilot who achieved enormous successes against the Britsih flyers. Marseille was described by Adolf Galland, the most senior German ace, with these words : "He was the unrivaled virtuoso among the fighter pilots of World War II. His achievements were previously considered impossible."


Jagdtiger Abandoned in Neustadt

Image size: 1600 x 1035 pixel. 563 KB
Date: Friday, 23 March 1945
Place: Landauer Strasse, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Photographer: Unknown
Panzerjäger Tiger Ausf.B mit 12,8cm PaK 44 L/55 "Jagdtiger"(Sd.Kfz.186) Nr. 331 of schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 653 after she was abandoned in Landauer Strasse in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse. The vehicles are shown here being examined by American soldiers from the 10th Armored Division, on 23 March 1945. Leutnant Kasper Geoggler commanded the Jagdtiger No.331, also the third Kampfgruppe from 3.Kompanie / sPzJg.Abt.653. Geoggler had nerves of steel, and was very keen to prove himself. He was awarded the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (German Cross in Gold) on 10 May 1943 whilst fighting on the Eastern Front. He had already had several kills to his credit with his Jagdtiger. In 22 March 1945, Geoggler had three Jagdtigers including his own placed into a good position north of Neustadt with a commmanding view of the approach roads to the town. From camouflage postions, the three Jagdtigers engaged in U.S. tank column; the first and last vehicles were shot up followed by the rest. The Shermans and M10 tank destroyer returned fire. Two Jagdtigers - Geoggler's and another, No.323 - were hit ten times between them. They withdrew into Neustadt. After the battle, 25 US tanks were claimed destroyed, while none of the Jagdtiger crew suffered any serious injuries! The thick sloping-armor had done its job.


Studio Portrait of Luftwaffe Ace Wilhelm Batz

Image size: 1113 x 1600 pixel. 384 KB
Date: Tuesday, 25 July 1944
Place: Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze, Rastenburg, East Prussia, Germany
Photographer: Walter Frentz

Sun-tanned Hauptmann Wilhelm "Willi" Batz (21 May 1916 - 11 September 1988) smile for a formal portrait by Walter Frentz after the award ceremony with Adolf Hitler and two other Luftwaffe officers (Major Herbert Lamprecht and Hauptmann der Reserve Heinz Strüning) at Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze (Rastenburg) in 25 July 1944. Only five days before (20 July 1944) Batz received the telegram from Oberkommando der Luftwaffe which informed him of the bestowal of Eichenlaub zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (vorschlagnummer 526) for his remarkable achievement as a fighter pilot with 188 confirmed victories. At that time he was a Gruppenkommandeur of III.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 52 (JG 52) / VIII.Fliegerkorps / Luftflotte 4. He was operating with such luminaries as Hauptmann Erich “Bubi” Hartmann (352 victories, RK-Br), Oberleutnant Friedrich “Fritz” Obleser (120 victories, RK) and Oberleutnant Walter Wolfrum (137 victories, RK) among the high-scoring pilots of III./JG 52 at that time. In the end of the war, Batz flew 445 combat missions and claimed 237 enemy aircraft shot down. 234 of these victories were achieved over the Eastern Front, including at least 46 Il-2 Sturmoviks, but he did claim three victories, including one four-engine bomber against the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) over the Ploieşti oil fields. He was wounded three times and was shot down four times.  At war’s end he was able to extricate his unit and men from Hungary and Austria back to Germany to surrender to American forces. He was thus able to avoid the prolonged Soviet captivity that befell the personnel of other two JG 52 Gruppen.