History of W.Nr. 931 862
Assembly and flight
Focke Wulf Fw 190F-8
W.Nr. 931 862 was constructed at the Norddeutsche Dormier
Werke at Wismar in early June 1944 (BAMA RL 3). It was part
of a large block of F-8s beginning with W.Nr. 931 004 and
ending with 931 920. This block was not consecutive however
and comprised a total of 324 F-8s. Assembly of the first machine
was begun on 24th May 1944 which was delivered on 10th June.
The last machine of this block was delivered on 20th July.
The specific details regarding the construction of White 1
(and its companion survivor at NASM) is as follows:
Table 1. Production
details of White 1, W. Nr. 931 862 and White 7, W. Nr. 931
884, the machine restored by NASM.
The figure below shows
a small portion of the original document upon which the above
table is based.
1. Production details of Dornier-built
F-8s, including the entry for W. Nr. 931 862.
© Luftwaffe SIG Norway.
As the table shows W.
Nr. 931 862 was assembled and ready for flight-testing by
8th July. The next five days were spent undergoing various
tests, such as firing- and range-tests. The machine was then
officially handed over to the Luftwaffe on 13th July and collected
the same day when it was flown to the Luftwaffe aircraft depot
Early service history
The early service history
of W. Nr. 931 862 has not been presented in detail before.
German records and the logbooks of Uffz. Heinz Orlowski and
Lt. Werner Gayko provide interesting insight into the operational
life of W. Nr. 931 862.
W. Nr. 931 862 was one
6 Fw 190F-8s delivered to IV./JG 5 in mid-August 1944, along
with 13 Fw 190A-8s. It is highly unlikely that 931 862 served
with another unit prior to to being allocated to JG 5 and
it thus spent a considerable time at Anklam awaiting it allocation
to an operational unit.
The A-8s and F-8s were
all allocated to 13./JG 5 (no Fw 190 losses are known from
other units within JG 5 at this time), stationed at Nautsi
in Finland and led by Oblt. Schneider (Orlowski pers. Comm.).
The Staffel soon moved to Petsamo and the F-8s were quickly
thrown into combat supporting the German ground forces that
were under heavy attack by the Soviet Army. Two F-8s (W.Nr.
581 665 and 581 668) were lost on 26th September in combat
with large Russian formations outside Vardø, Uffz.
Thonemann and Uffz. Hagemeyer losing their lives. Another
was lost in an accident on 29th September (W. Nr. unknown).
Figure 2. A Fw
190F-8 from 13./JG 5 in Northern Norway, fall 1944. Several
interesting features are visible, including the wavy band
of IV. Gruppe in white, the lack of Staffel colour to the
aroured cooler ring, the spinner spiral, the type of national
insignia on the underside of the wing, the flat canopy, the
apllication of camouflage and the very dirty apperance of
the engine, suggesting some heavy use. © Ulf Larsstuvold
Yet another F-8, White
3 (W. Nr. 580 694), was lost on 24th Oktober over Tanahorn,
near Bærlevåg, in combat with P-40s and Il-2s.
The pilot, Fw. Gustav Scharwächter, was posted missing.
The next day, Kirkenes and the nearby airfield at Høybuktmoen
were captured by the Russians. Shortly thereafter, IV.Gruppe
transferred to bases well behind the frontline. On 6. November
the pilots left Finnmark for good, leaving their remaining
Fw 190s at Banak. The Gruppe had a total of 24 A-8s and 2
F-8s on strength by 1st November. W. Nr. 931 862 was one of
the two F-8s.
The Focke-Wulfs at Banak
were subsequently taken over by the newly formed 9. and 12.
Staffel (III. Gruppe) on 9th November, the former also receiving
some pilots from 13./JG 5, including Uffz. Heinz Orlowski.
III./JG 5 reported 12 A-8s and the two F-8s (one of which
was W. Nr. 931 862) on strength on 1. December 1944. It is
also clear that 6 refurbished A-3s (probably ex-I. or IV.
Gruppe machines repaired at Kjeller) were transferred to the
Gruppe sometime in November, most of which were taken on strength
by 9./JG 5. One of these, White 17, was assigned to Uffz.
Heinz Orlowski. The other two Staffeln of III. Gruppe (10.
and 11./JG 5) continued to use the Messershcmitt Bf 109G-6
(and a few G-2s). The next day Orlowski and the others took
their crates to their new base at Bardufoss. W. Nr. 931 862
was now assigned to Staffelkapitän Werner Gayko and it
probably received its call sign during this time.
The sinking of the
On 12th November, the
fateful day when Tirpitz finally succumbed to the RAF,
White 1 was in the air in a vain attempt to catch the intruders.
Heinz Orlowski was also active, flying his Fw 190A-3, White
17. Orlowski was in the air by 09.25 and landed just an hour
later, at 10.30. He flew a second alarmstart at 11.50, but
the flight only lasted til 12.15. This second flight was probably
a chase after the Mosquito sent to photograph the upturned
Tirpitz but the interception was unsuccessful.
The next week was obviously
one of high alert and tension. An alarmstart was flown on
14th November and in the days following the sinking of the
Tirpitz, 9. Staffel flew several training missions.
The following list provides details regarding White 1 's flights
during this period:
14.November 1944; W.Gayko
- Weiße 1 - Alarmstart Bardufoss, Ohne Feindberührung
16.November 1944; W.Gayko - Weiße 1 - F.T. Flug Bardufoss
18.November 1944; W.Gayko - Weiße 1 - Übungs-Alarmstart
18.November 1944; W.Gayko - Weiße 1 - Übungs-Alarmstart
19.November 1944; W.Gayko - Weiße 1 - Übungs-Alarmstart
20.November 1944; W.Gayko - Weiße 1 - Übungs-Alarmstart
23.November 1944; W.Gayko - Weiße 1 - Übungs-Alarmstart
On 27th November 1944
9. Staffel transferred to Bodø. The stay there was
short however, for on the 30th the unit returned to Bardufoss.
Heinz Orlowski, however, developed engine problems with his
White 17 and had to make a forced landing at Bodø,
during which his trusty Focke-Wulf was destroyed. Upon return
to Bardufoss, Heinz Orlowski was assigned White 1. At this
time the unit still had the two F-8s on strength.
The Luftwaffe's response
on this faterful day has been the subject of much debate,
especially since the Kommandeur of JG 5, Major H. Ehrler was
courtmartialled and found guilty of cowardice. Although sentenced
to imprisonment and loss of rank, he was later retruned to
active duty and eventually transferred to JG 7 to fly Me 262
jets. His fighting spirit was broken, however, and he was
KIA 4th April 1945. The exact events that took place on 12th
of November and which affected to many human fates is currently
the subject of study and will be presented in detail at a
A few more flights were
carried out from Bardufoss, including a Werkstattflug by Orlowski
in White 1 on 2nd December. On the 12th 9./JG 5 finally left
Bardufoss, taking up station at Bodø again. Two days
later they flew further south, landing at Værnes near
Trondheim. Orlowski flew White 1 on both of these occations.
The Staffel was supposed to transfer to Herdla outside Bergen
in Western Norway, but the lousy winter weather so prevalent
at this time of year in Norway delayed the transfer. Not until
10th January 1945 could the unit finally touch down at the
small island airbase at Herdla, which was to become their
permanent residence for the rest of the war.
Map 1. Einsatzorte
of White 1 in Norway and Finland 1944-45. N.B. Pre-war Finnish
border only shown in the far north. © Kjetil Aakra
White 1 vs the RAF
- 12th January 1945
It did no last long
before White 1 again had to face the enemy. This time it it
was able to inteercept the Lancasters of IX. and 617. Squaron
which had eluded them during the sinking of the Tirpitz. On
January 12th Lancasters from these units, again loaded with
Tallboys, had set course for the uboat pens in Bergen. Also
attacking this vital target was Mosquoitos from 617. and 627.
squadron. Escort was provided by 12 Mustang IIIs from 315.
(Polish) Sqd. Little damage was done to the pens, although
a few ships were sunk and damaged.
As the Lancasters turned
for home they became aware of a formation of single-engined
fighters approaching them. At first they believed this was
the Mustang fighter escort which had failed to rendevouz with
the bombers. As the fighters turned into them and attacked
it became clear what was going on. These were the Focke-Wulfs
from 9. and 12./JG5 stationed at Herdla.
White 1 was one of these
Focke-Wulfs. This time it was flown by its first owner, Werner
Gayko. The formation had taken off approximately at 12.50.
Gayko attacked and claimed one Lancaster shot down at 13.18.
According to Orlowski this was done during the initial attack
phase at a relatively high altitude and Orlowski witnessed
Gayko's attack. Gayko landed at Herdla with White 1 at 13:45.
The Lancaster was later confirmed and was Gayko's 13th victory.
Orlowski was flying
an A-8 this day, with the callsign White 11. He had taken
off from Herdla at 12.49 together with Uffz. Kirchner. Kirchner's
Fw 190A-8, White 5 (W.Nr. 350188) developed gun stoppage during
his attack and chose to return to Herdla. As reports came
in of a low-flying enemy aircraft, Kirchner and Fw. Georg
Lieber in Fw 190A-2 White 12 (W.Nr. 125 357) took off again
shortly thereafter but neither returned. Lieber attempted
to return but ran out of fuel and was forced to land in the
sea where he died of exposure. What exactly transpired with
Kirchner is not known; more details are forthcomming in a
soon-to-be published book by Halvor Sperbund.
Orlowski on the other
hand, successfully attacked a Lancaster and shot it down.
The exact position of this attack is unknow but it was during
the first phase of the batttle and from quite some altiitude.
Several pilots from 9. Staffel witnessed the incident. Thereafter
Orlwoski pursued and attacked another Lancaster several times,
following it out over the sea, both planes eventually decending
to sea level. This Lancaster executed several corksrew manouvres
during the fight, the standard evasive manouvre when attacked
by enemy fighters. Orlowski eventually expended all his ammunition
in attacking this Lancaster and had to break off his attacked.
Making a final flypast giving the Lancaster crew an honourary
salute he turned around and headed for home. Orlwoski landed
at 13:45 with damaged oil cooler and claimed two Lancasters
shot down. As he did not have a witness for the last claim
and had not seenit go down he was only awared the first.
Today we have a little
more knowledge regarding the claims and losses of this fateful
day. Two lossesd were suffered by the Luftwaffe, Fw. Lieber
and Uffz. Kirchner (se above) while the RAF lost three machines:
Lancaster Mk I NG257
IX. Sqd. F/O E. C. Redfern
Lancaster Mk I NF992 617. Sqd. F/O I. S. Ross
Lancaster Mk I PD233 617 Sqd. F/H H. J. Pryor
Gayko and Orlwoski shot
down the first two. Exactly which one was claimed by whom
is uncertain, expecially as the two kills were claimed at
approximately the same time and place.
The second Lancaster
attacked by Orlowski was Lancaster Mk I PD198 WS-W, christened
"Willing Winnie" and flown by F/LT. Ray Harris.
An account of the events of 12th January can be found in Lancaster
at War 3 in the chapter "Corckscrew Starboard - Go!".
What is interesting is that Harris' account is almost entirely
congruent with that of Heinz Orlwoski. It is therefore very
likely that the German fighter which "flew alongside
his port wingtip and the German pilot grinned across"
actually refers to Orlowski's flypast just before he turned
away. Harris' and his men reported being followed and attacked
by four Fw 190s out over the sea, although Orlowski's account
leaves the impression that he was the only one attacking it.
Be that as it may, PD198
was attacked no less that 15 times and suffered severe damage.
With the hydraulics out and the trim tab controls shot out,
it took two men to pull it out of the final dive that had
turned the German fighters away. The crew eventually managed
to nurse their strciken bomber back across the unforgivning
North Sea to make an excellent wheels-down landing at their
base. PD198 itself never flew an operational mission again,
but served with 103. and 57 Sqds. before being finally borken
up in 1947. But there can be no doubt, especially after reading
Harri' account in Lancaster at war, that orlowski came very
close to actually scora a double kil against the RAF on 12th
The third Lancaster
destroyed was hit by Flak over Bergen and was seen on a northerly
course. This was the plane later intercepted by Kirchner and
Incidentally, the German
Flak-batteries claimed 11 Lancasters shot down, not really
surprising when you have 11 Flak batteries hitting one Lancaster!
The Black Monday
- 15th January 1945
After the eventful battle
with the RAF elite bomber Squadrons, there was a short lull
in the fighting for White 1. This lasted only two days, however.
Gayko took White 1 up again on the 14th but did not encounter
any enemy aircraft.
The next day was another
story. At approximately 11.18 the Alarmstart sounded at Herdla.
Only two minutes later nine Fw 190s are airborne, heading
for a reported formation of enemy aircraft at Leirvik, Stord,
to the south. In the lead is Oblt. Gayko in White 1.
This formation consists
of six Mosquitos from 143 Sqd. Led by the famous French Wing
Commander Max Guedj, four Mosquitos from 235. Sqd. and four
"TseTse" Mosuitos from 248. Sqd armed with 57 mm
cannon. Two Mosquitos from 333 (Norwegian) Sqd. are flying
as outriders. This was a formation with highly experienced
crewmembers. Their target is the already damaged cargo vessel
Claus Rickmers that has taken refuge in Leirvik harbour.
When the German fighters
arrive on the scene the Mosquitos have been badly mauled by
the heavy Flak protecting the German vessels in the harbour.
Guided by Gayko's commanding voice the nine 190s split into
three Kettes and dive in to intercept the crippled Mosquitos.
Over Selbjørnsfjordseveral small aerial duels develop.
One of the Mosquitos
being targeted by three Fw 190s in Guedj's K-King and his
wingman, Sdd. Ldr. Fitch. Fitch attempts to thrown off his
attacker with a quick turn to the port but the Fw 190 is more
manouvreable and hits Fitch's U-Uncle severely. The Mosquito
flicks into two rolls before Fitch with the help of his navigator,
Fg. Off. Parker manages to regain control of the plane. They
are even able to fire a short burst at an Fw 190 attacking
Guedj's Mosquito, unfortunately without effect as Guedjis
shortly seen to crash into the fjord with his navigator, Flt.
Another Mosquito, flown
by Flt. Sgt. Chew is fortced to ditch in the sea west of Slåtterøy
Lighthouse. Further noprth one of the "TseTSe" Mosuitos
actually fires his 57 mm cannon at a Fw 190 and apprently
he scores a hit. The Fw 190A-3 of Uffz. Helbing, White 14,
W. Nr 2127, is badly damaged and losing height rapidly. Jettisoning
his canopy he desperatly looks for a place to make an emergency
landing. Before he can attempt one, the smkoing BMW 801 quits
and the Fw 190 plunges out of the sky to impact hard againts
the ground. Helbing is killed instantly when his forehead
is smashed against the Revi sight.
Two other Fw 190s are
also lost. They were Fw 190A-8, White 4, W. Nr. 737 410, flown
by Uffz. W. Zeuner and Fw 190A-8, White 16, W. Nr. 350 183,
flown by Uffz. R. Lehnert. The exact cirumstance surrounding
their loss is not clear but they proibably engaged two Mosquitos
from 143. Sqd. in a fierce dogfight, which ended with all
four planes going down and none of the crewmembers surviving.
Eyewitnesses later related about a combat between twin-engined
planes and smaller single-engined fighters shooting each other
Altogether 5 Mosquitoes
were lost this day and sadly, only one cremember survived
to become a POW for the remainder of the war. Their target,
the Claus Rickmers not only survived the attack but
also the war, only to be broken up in Spain in 1964.
More details of this
combat are avilable in the article "Black Monday"
by H. Sperbund, published in the March 2001 edition of Flypast.
The Black Friday
- 9th February 1945 - White 1s final combat
The Black Friday was
very similar to the Black Monday of the preceeding month.
It began when two Beaufighter Mk Xs from 489. Sqd. discovered
a Narvik-class destroyer at the entrance to vevringfjord in
Western Norway on the morning of 9th February 1945. This was
the Z-33. After encountering heavy flak the two beaufighters
preceeded with their patrol and discovered 5 transports in
Nord-Gulen, the largets being between 4-5000 tonnes. All of
these were attractive targets but the Admirality's new target
priority list put the destroyer first on the list, even if
this was better defended by small escort vessels and the naturalk
Even so an attack force
was assembled, consisting of no less than 9 Beaufighters from
144. Sqd., 11 beaus from 404. (RCAF) Sqd. and 11 from 455.
(RAAF) Sqd. Escort was provided by 12 Mustangh Mk IIIs from
65. Sqd while 2 warwicks from 2790. Sqd. would fly as support.
Two additional Beaus144. and 489. Sqd would act as outriders.
Even from the start
the attack force got into trouble. Normally an attack such
as this would be conducted so that the formation would exit
out the narrow fjords in Western Norway but as the large formation
prepared to turn "out to sea" they suddenly discovered
that the enenmy vessels were placed directly beneath them!
The German commander obviously knew what would be coming and
had moved their ships further into the fjord, where the very
steep mountain sides would protect the ships from enemy aircraft
with hostile intentions.
This unfortunate move
on part of the Germans necessitated regrouping and the mission
commander, Wing Commander Colin Milson, had to make a difficult
decition. Should they riks valuable time realigning themselves
on the target or should they abort it altogether? The latter
was not realy an option and deciding not to vast an opportunity
to attack such an important ship as the Z-33, Milson ordered
the formation to turn east to prepare for an attack "out
During the manouvering
to position themselves it became clear toMWilson that an attack
"out to sea" was impossible and again ordered the
formation to change position. Now they would attack into the
fjord, contrary to any normal practice. All this regrouping
and positioning had taken a lot of time and just as they aligned
themselves for attack distaster struck in the form of Fw 190s
The Alarmstart had sounded
at Herdla shortly before 15.50. At least 16 Fw 190s had taken
off, 9 from 9./JG 5 and 7 from 12. Staffel (the exact number
of planes participating is open to conjecture, but 16 is most
likely). The former were led by Fw. Rudi Artner in his "White
10" while Lt. Rudi Linz is leading his Staffel in his
faithful Blue 4, an Fw 190A-8 marked with almost 70 black
victory bars on its white rudder. The Kette from 12. Staffel
is placed above and to the rear of 9. Staffel's formation,
to provide cover in case allied escorts fighters intervene.
This day Heinz Orlwoski is flying White 1.
Wing Commander Milson
made the first attack, behind him others were queing up to
make theirs. It was simply not room in the fjord for more
than two or three beaus to attack at the same time. Projectiles
of all calibres were streaming towards the planes, making
the entire fjord look a very dangerous place to be! It is
certain that the Flak was very heavy this day as the ships
had been placed with the intention of giving such effective
cover. The German gun crew were also highly skilled in their
profession after more than 5 years of war. This speaks volumes
of the courage and bravery of the young men who were to press
their attack home, regardless of considerations to chance
of survival and other trivial matters! But it was not a one-sided
battle. The Beaufighters singled out their targets and according
to one of the eyewitnesses "it seemed to us as if it
was the boats in the middle of the fjord which got the worst
of it". Some planes attacked from southwest, others from
a more western direction, the latter used cannon and rockets
against the Z-33. If not hit, there were certainly near-misses
as the boat "rocked and shaked in the sea".
By 16.10 another factor
is about to be brought into the battle. Beaufighter PL-Y of
144. Sqdn. piloted by P/O Smith and P/O "Spike"
Holly acting as navigator, was one of the first into the attack.
This crew was amongst the most experienced of the squadron,
having more than 35 operations behind them. This was going
to be their last, they reckoned, though it happened not they
way they had imagined! As they dived into the fjord, Smith
noticed about 8 small planes coming from the southwest. "Mustangs?"
he wondered before he consentrated on his attack again. Having
succesfully attacked and evaded the enemy ships, they headed
up the vally of Naustdal barely 50 m over the landscape. Holly
photograped the chaotic scene behind him and as he looked
over the tail, he saw a fighter a couple of hundred yards
behind them. He also wondered if this was a Mustang, but his
hopes were shattered as he noticed the characteristic broad
cowling of a radial-engined Focke-Wulf. It was a Focke-Wulf!
A quick message to Smith over the intercom, and then things
happended frightfully quickly. The German fighter attacked
and he and Holly fired almost simultanously. A cannon shell
exploded near Holly, and splinters wounded him in the belly,
knocking him unconsiouss. The cockpit and port Hercules was
also hit, destroying the intercom and any hopes of regaining
base. At very low level they cut off some treetops and headed
west, just north of Fordefjord. Smith had trouble comntroling
the Beau' and understood that a crashlanding was the only
option. But where? This part of Norway is not noted for its
flat areas. PL-Y continued to fly some time westwards, and
Smith managed to effect a crash-landing on the sea in Hoydalsfjord.
Here they were resqued by civilians, but as Holly's wound
needed proffesional attention, the Norwegians had no option
but to contact a doctor. That was equal to contacting the
Germans. Smith and Holly were thus captured later that evening,
and eventually transported to Bergen. But they had survived.
Others were not so fortunate.
9. Staffel had attacked directly into the swarm of Beaufighters
waiting to attack the ships. Artner wrote the following report
after the battle:
"About 50 km north
of Sogne-Fjord, we saw the enemy formation which consisted
of approximately 30 Beaufighters and 10 Mustang escort fighters.
During a combined attack with my Staffel, I managed to gain
hits on a Beaufighter, which I attacked from behind and above.
The beaufighter crashed burning in a flat angle. The crash
was noted at 16.10 about 10 km north-west of Forde (Quadrat
06 East LM 1.5) The crew did not leave the plane."
This Beaufighter was
seen to loose its tail and exploded shortly afterwards. A
member of the crew, identified as a French-Canadian, was later
found in the sea. This indicates that this Beau, possibly
the first casualty of the day, was EE-V of 404 (RCAF) Sqdn.
P/O Blunderfield and P/O Jackson were both killed.
At about this time,
FD/L Foster in YT-Q, leader of the 10 Mustang MK III of 65.
Sqdn. discovered the German fighters too. He could see how
they attacked the Beaufighters over Vevring, diving out of
the skies from about 4000 feet. Foster alerted his comrades
over the radio. Then he saw three more fighters, heading directly
for him. He fired a short burst at one of them, obtaining
hits in the BMW-engine. Pursuing the Focke-Wulf, he observes
how the enemy fighter was trailing black smoke; this is at
least a "probable". The German fighter finally crashed
into the sea near Heilevang. The pilot, Lt. Karl-Heinz "Charly"
Koch took to his parachute and like his plane he ended up
in the cold fjord. Norwegians eventually rescued him. Koch
was flying a Fw 190A-8 coded "Blue 9". These events
indicate that the three Focke-Wulfs of 12. Staffel flying
top cover attacked some of the Mustangs, whilst the 9. Staffel
dealt with the Beaufighters, at least initially.
Another Mustang managed
to pick off Fj.Ofw. Otto Leibfried's "White 22",
actually an F-8 fighter-bomber, near Gjesneset just opposite
to where Z-33 lay. Leibfried managed to bail out despite being
wounded, but he landed in very difficult terrain. In the nights
following the battle, people could see his flares calling
for assisance. There was however, little the Norwegian and
German patrols could do. In summer 1945 leibfried's dead body
was finally located lying on a small bed of pine branches.
The battle soon spread
over a large area in all directions. The Beaufighters suffers
heavily at the hands of the Focke-Wulfs. Near Gaular terrified
civilians witness how a Beaufighter is pursued by a Focke-Wulf
and is hit several times. The Beaufighter tries to land on
an elevation, but the terrain makes this an impossibillity.
The plane brakes in half during the ensuing crash and the
cockpit-section slides down the hillside for more than 500
meters. Sadly, the crew perished in the crash. This was EE-C
of the ill-fated 404 Sqdn. The crew, F/O Knight and F/O Lynch
was on their first strike.
A single Mustang tried
to help out, and attacked the German fighter. A long aerial
duel developed. The Mustang finally caught fire, and made
a wide turn out the fjord. Perhaps he will try to get away
and make a crashlanding. But then the British pilot turned
back. According to eyewitnesses the pilot must have been badly
wounded, but instead of bailing out he continued the fight.
But to no avail. The Mustang crashed in the green pine forest
as the only Mustang loss of this battle. W/O Cecil Claude
Caesar perished in the crash.
The German fighter was
in trouble also. The engine had been damaged and this forced
the pilot to bail out. A small charge dispensed with the canopy
and a small figure detatched itself from the plane. But he
was to close to the ground for the chute to open fully. Fortunately,
the snowy hillside enabled the pilot to survive; a small avalanche
carried him to the bottom of the valley. During the journy
down, the flare gun accidentily went off, causing severe burns
on one leg. Still, he could walk, and he found his way into
a small barn. After a little while some Norwegians contacted
him and made sure he got to hospital. The pilot was Heinz
Orlowski and some distance above him was the final resting
place of White 1, a very battle-experienced combat aircraft
that had finally met its fate.
Further north, in Naustdal,
three fighters followed closely in the tracks of Smith and
Holly's damaged Beaufighter. The leading plane had an in-line
engine, noticed the civilian witnesses, a British Mustang.
The other two were clearly Germans as the Mustang suddenly
dived into the valley to emerge below one of the Focke-Wulfs
and then fired a short burst of fire at hit. It was a certain
"kill" as the Focke-Wulf quickly flicked over and
spiralled down with black smoke trailing behind to crash in
a ball of flames near Solheimsstolen. The occupant, Leutnant
Rudi Linz was probably killed before impact, as he made no
attempt to evacuate the plane. 28 years of age, he was one
of the most successful German pilots in Norway at this time,
having been credited with 70 victories, most of them against
Artner got his second
victory of the day not far from where Linz fell. Coming barely
three minutes after the first, Artner wrote the following
report detailing his 19. victory of the war:
"As the battle
developed I manged to hit another Beaufighter twice during
a low-level tailchase. The plane finally turned and crashed
straight into the ground after yet another salvo. The crash
was noted at 16.13 about 5 km nort-northwest of Naustdal (Quadrat
06 East KM 8,5)."
Beaufighters were shot
down over a wide area. The Beaufighter of F/O Savard and P/O
Middleton bellied in on the ice, but turned over and trapped
to crew. Norwegians tried to help them but turned around as
German soldiers fired at them. Middleton was severly wounded
and died when he was being transported to land, but Savard
survived to spend the rest of the war as a POW.
fell at the entrance to Fordefjord. F/L McColl and W/O MacDonald
from 455 (RAAF) Sqdn. survived the crashlanding only to be
taken in arrest by German soldiers in a nearby civilian house.
Much to the german's intence irritation, Norwegians supplied
McColl and MacDonald with food rarely seen at this stage of
The last Beaufighters
to attack the vessels was PL-O with F/S Stan Butler at the
controls. He had just attacked a small vessel with cannon
fire and was trying to escape the inferno when a small calibre
projectile pierced the cockpit and destroyed a distribution
manifold in the hydraulic system at the base of his control
column. As Butler was manoeuvering wildly to put the Flak
gunners off their aim, the liquid splashed all over him and
his canopy, making it very difficult to see out. At that moment
the navigator F/S Nicholl discovered " the unmistakable
front silhouette of an Fw 190 with little lights sparkling
along its wings". Butler used a spesial trick he had
learned during his training by a Canadian instructor in Calgary,
Alberta. By careful control of the rudder and banking port
and starboard, he was giving the impression that he was weaving
from side to side. This would make it difficult for any attacker
to get a good shot at his target, especially since Butler
was constantly changing his altitude. Before the German pilot
could figure out what to do about this elusive Englishman,
Nicholl had fired a red Verey cartridge, which thankfully
alerted a Mustang to their problems. The Mustang successfully
chased the offending Focke-Wulf away.
Butler and Nicholl continued
into Fordefjord for a while before they found a suitable place
to climb into the skies. This was not done without some risk,
though, as the Beaufighter was damaged and they did not know
the extent of these damages. They managed to find the correct
cource to Dallachy and after a 3000 ft croissing of the North
Sea, they finally put down at Dallachy making a perfect wheels-up
landing. Butler still recalls how he prerssed hard on his
non-efficient brakes during the landing! A ground crew later
found a bullet in one of PL-Os self-sealing fuel tanks.
The battle lasted only
about 15 minutes. Thus at about 16.30 the last combatants
withdrew from the battle and set cource for home. The remaining
Beaufighters and Mustangs, many of which were damaged, flew
singly or in small groups all the way to Dallachy. Not only
the planes had suffered; aboard Beaufighter UB-X of 455. Sqdn.
F/O Spink, the pilot, was severely wounded. The navigator,
F/O Clifford, had suffered a wound in his arm, but still he
was able to assist his pilot. It did not help that the starboard
engine had been damaged and was running out of control. At
Dallachy they made a wheels-up landing in the dark, quite
remarkable in view of the damages on both men and machine.
Both received the "Distinguished Flying Cross" for
this considerable feat.
F/O Thompson from 455
Sqdn. also made a belly landing with his Beaufighter UB-Q
at Dallachy. Many of those that did manage to land in the
normal mode had shot up fuel tanks, missing parts of the control
surfaces and other damages. The ground crew were obviously
in for a lenghty period of repairs. At 18.45 the last beaufighter
landed at Dallachy.
Alltogether 9 Beaufighters
and one Mustang had been lost, aloincluding no less than six
from 404. (RCAF) Sqd. This Sqadron lost 11 men, a high percentage
of the 14 allied crewmmbers killed this day.
The Luftwaffe also suffered
heavily. Four planes went down, and two pilots were killed.
Artner had led his Staffel into combat and landed at Herdla
on 16.55, barely more than an hour after take-off.
Full details of this
aerial battle, surely one of the largest and fiercest ever
fought over Norwegian soil, can be seen in Kjell ove Nordeide
and Halvor sperbund's new book, "Den Svarte Fredagen"
(only available in Norwegian at the time of writing).
This was not the end
of Orlowski flying career however. Although he was hospitalized
he managed to fly to further alarmstarts from Herdla. On 4th
and 5th May 1945 he flew on some of the very last interception
missions flown by JG 5. On both of these occations Orlowski
flew an Fw 190 marked White 8.
were two further White 1s in 9. Staffel after the demise of
931 862. The "second" White 1 did not last long
as it was destroyed on its very first mission on 25th March
when Gayko made a forced landing on the sea after having developed
engine trouble (caused by hits from a P-51 Mustang. This incident
is related in some details in Girbig's book on JG 5. The plane
was an Fw 190A-8, either W. Nr 732 217 or W. Nr. 737 935.
The "third" White 1 was flown on at least two occations
by Gayko in April, including one combat mission.