In Action 1008
Luftwaffe in Action 4 (4)
Arado Ar 196A-3 of Bordflieger Gruppe 196 (1940)
Here, a ground crewman prepares the beaching cables that were carried on the Arado for attachment to the big crane in the background of the photo so that it can be hoisted back into the water for its next flight. The crane was also used to transfer the aircraft to and from shipboard if they were assigned to sea duty with one of the Kriegsmarine's capital ships.
The large crane hook is being guided toward the lifting cables of this Ar 196A-3. This aircraft is armed with a pair of SC50 110 lb bombs; one slung under each wing. Notice the rear-firing MG15 machine gun on its mount in the rear cockpit.
This shot shows the mixed construction used on the Arado Ar196. The cowling and forward fuselage skinning is of lightweight metal alloy, while the rear fuselage is made up of metal tubing, wood stringers, and a skinning of tightly stretched and doped fabric. The pilot of the aircraft wears a summer one-piece flight suit and is armed with either a Walther PP or Walther PPK automatic pistol in the holster on his belt.
This late model Ar 196A-5 of Bordfluggruppe 196 is fitted with a twin MG81Z 7.92 mm machine gun in the rear cockpit. This machine gun unit was belt fed, as opposed to the earlier MG15, which was drum fed. Bordfl. Gr. 196 was a unit which supplied its aircraft to the high seas fleet for operations off cruisers and battleships via catapult launches.
A striking view of the big Ar 196A-3 floatplane being brought up from the beaching ramp on a wheeled dolly towed by a tractor. This floatplane was armed with a single forward-firing MG17 in the forward fuselage firing through the cowling, a pair of 20mm MG/FF cannon in the wings, and a defensive MG15 machine gun fired from the rear cockpit.
T3+BH, an AS of Bordfl. Gr. 196 is prepared for a flight. This is a rather unique shot of a German military aircraft because of the worn and weatherbeaten condition of the wings and horizontal tail surfaces. Regardless of the weather or other conditions, as long as the supplies and labor were available, the Germans worked long hours to keep their aircraft in tip-top condition and appearance.
The big BMW radial engine whips up a fine spray in the faces of the ground crew personnel as they guide this floatplane down the ramp toward the water. These aircraft were of hardy construction and could withstand the rigors that came from operations on the high seas for months at a time.
6W+YN, an Ar 196A-3 of See Aufklarungs-Gruppe 128 (Marine Reconnaissance Group 128) roars out of the calm waters off the French coast near Brest in the early spring of 1943. Only a few months later this unit had been transferred to the south of France where the aircraft operated over the Mediterranean Sea.
An Arado floatplane takes off from a small protected Greek harbor for a patrol of her assigned sector in the Agean Sea. She carries offensive armament in the form of a pair of SC50 bombs slung under her wings and she bears the white fuselage band of aircraft assigned to operate in the Mediterranean theater of operations.
Banking gently, showing a pair of light French depth charges under her wings, an Ar 196 flies on patrol over the North Sea. Although this aircraft is attached to an operational Luftwaffe unit, the code letters designating the unit are too small to be legible.
With nothing to light her way except for the Arctic sun and its reflection on the Norwegian waters, this Arado Ar 196 heads out to sea, fog and eventual darkness brought about by only two or three hours of light every 24 hours during the Scandanavian winter months.
A beautiful shot of six Arado Ar 196A-5 floatplanes of S.A.Gr 128 lined up in echelon formation for a seventh Arado carrying the photographer. All of these aircraft are fitted with the MG 81Z twin machine gun unit in the rear cockpits.
After a long flight, the crew of this Ar 196A-3 climbs wearily out of the cockpit and down on to the float. She still carries her depth charges under the wings, indicating that the flight was not a successful one in terms of enemy engagements. The ground crew personnel wait patiently for the beaching dolly to be brought down the ramp so that the floatplane can be towed up for servicing, refueling and another patrol.
A Luftwaffe Waffenwart (armorer) services the machine gun mounted behind the small fairing on the fuselage side of this Arado Ar 196A. The MG17 machine gun fired through the hole in the leading edge of the floatplane's NACA-type cowling, as a close look will show.
Dornier Do 24T-1 of 3. Seenot Gruppe (1942)
A fine view of a Do 24 being towed to shore by a motor launch. Visible in the background is an Italian Cant Z 501 seaplane. The Z 501 was used mainly as a reconnaissance aircraft and she sports a white fuselage and engine nacelle with red-orange wings for high visibility when forced down at sea. A close look will reveal gun turrets on the engine pod and on the fuselage behind the wing.
Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine personnel in the motor launch tow this Do 24T-1 toward the jetty. This Do 24 is armed with a large 30mm MK101 cannon in the dorsal fuselage turret; a gun that had a relatively low rate of fire but packed an extremely large punch when its rounds struck their targets.
A last minute check of the center engine requires these Luftwaffe crew members to ascend to the top of the wing of the big seaplane as the motor launch continues its towing. Notice how the Dornier rides evenly through the white-capped water as it heads for the section of the harbor set aside for seaplane takeoffs and landings.
With the wake of the tow launch showing white in the foreground, this Dornier Do 24 is pulled out toward the breakwater of the harbor for another patrol. The pilot and the navigator can be seen with their heads out of the cockpit, wearing the cork-filled "sausage" type life jackets that were later replaced by inflatable rubber life vests.
A fine view of KD+BH, a Do 24 tied up to a buoy in an Italian harbor, along with a troop transport ship and a destroyer bearing the code letters CN on her bows. KD+BH is equipped with the long-barreled 30mm MK 101 cannon in her dorsal turret.
As two engines turn over at a low idle, Dornier Do 24 KK+UP coasts slowly along. German floatplane and seaplane bases in the Mediterranean theater of operations were located along the coasts of southern France, Italy, Greece, in the hundreds of small islands between Greece and Turkey and also in several North African ports.
As all three BMW engines roar, this big Do 24T picks up speed for takeoff, building an ever-growing wave of spray beneath her bow. The three BMW engines were capable of giving the pilot over 3,000 horsepower on takeoff. More than once these flying boats were so overloaded with downed airmen that the full power of the engines could not get them into the air.
The Dornier lifts awkwardly out of the water on her way to a long patrol. The nose turret of this aircraft appears to be unarmed, but the dorsal turret on the fuselage carries a 30mm cannon and the rear turret is fitted with a 7.92 mm MG 15 machine gun.
A close look at the boat hull of this low flying Dornier reveals that she has just recently been re-caulked on all seams. Because of the punishment the hull took on every landing, it was common for the seams between the panels on the hull to spring leaks, so caulking on a regular basis was a necessity.
CH+EW, a Dornier Do 24N-1 (built by the Dutch for use in their armed forces) belonging to the Air-Sea Rescue Service-Mediterranean shows her water streaked undersurf aces to the photographer as she heads out to sea on another long rescue mission.
Taken from the pilot's side cockpit window, this photograph shows to advantage the wing undersurface with its fence-like radio antenna, pitot-static tube, aileron hinges and aileron and landing flap mass balances.
After a long patrol the crew of this Do 24T gathers on the stub wing with their equipment and baggage to await the launch that will take them to the shore. This photo should provide the viewer with ample proof of the stability of the Dornier-designed stub wings in keeping the big seaplane on an even keel, even when the entire crew gathers on one of them.
Crewmen help a wounded and exhausted pilot out of the fuselage hatch to the stretcher braced on the flying boat's spine. These big seaplanes did a tremendous job picking up downed airmen and sailors adrift at sea wherever and whenever they could be picked up.
As the rest of the crew of this Do 24 debarks after a patrol, a Luftwaffe sergeant-crewman stands at attention on the bow and gives his report to his superiors. The crewman closest to the engine nacelles has just dropped his life jacket through the open cockpit hatch and the camera has caught it in mid-air.
An excellent shot of a big Dornier Do 24T-1 as she receives a maintenance checkup on her three BMW Bramo 323R-2 radial engines. These big radials put out 1,000 horsepower each on takeoff. Interesting is the manner in which the cowling engine access panels folded upward, while the integrally-built access stairs folded down from the side of each engine.
Luftwaffe engine mechanics dressed in thick insulated coveralls prepare to service this Do24's BMW engines. The large oil cooler radiator is very evident in this photograph, serving as a footrest for the Luftwaffe mechanic on the left.
This crewman carefully straddles the top of the rear turret of this Do 24T-1 as he replaces a curved pane of plexiglass some 20 feet above the ground. The rear turret of the Do24 was often not fitted with any armament, but when it was, it carried a single MG 15 machine gun.
Here, mechanics service a beached Do 24T-1 of an unidentified patrol unit. The big seaplane bears the white fuselage band of an aircraft operating in the Mediterranean theater. It is possible that this big Dornier is based in southern France or Italy. Note the rear tie down hawsers on the tail of the airplane below the rear turret.
Here is a good view of the pilot of a Do 24, taken from within the cockpit. The cockpit window panels directly above the pilot opened up for quick entry or exit. Because the big flying boat sat so low in the water she had to be completely buttoned up on takeoff and landing, especially in rough water, as waves could enter the cockpit and possibly swamp the boat.
Судя по обозначению на капоте двигателя, этот Storch принадлежит 1-й "спасательной" эскадрилье (Wustennotstaffel), Северная Африка, фельдмаршалы Роммель и Кессельринг использовали Storch в начале войны, позже отдав предпочтение более быстрому Fw 189.
A Junkers Ju 87D "Stuka" and an Fi 156C-5 "Storch" on a Libyan airfield in late 1942. This all-over tan "Storch" bears the unit insignia of one of the most popular formations in the Luftwaffe; Wustennotstaffel 1 (Desert Rescue Squadron 1). This unit operated a number of Fieseler "Storches" Italian-built Caproni "Ghiblis",and a few other aircraft over the vast wastes of the African desert, picking up downed fliers in virtually inaccessible areas regardless of the side they were on - Axis or Allied!
Me 323E-2 "Gigant" of 6./TG 5 Eastern Front, spring 1944
Me 323 "Gigant" of 4./TG 5 winter 1943/44
A Huge Messerschmitt Me 323E-1 of the Second Group of Transport Wing 5 (Transportgeschwader 5) waits to be loaded up with troops and cargo on an advanced airfield in southern Russia. The large columns of smoke in the background of the photo indicate that the fighting is uncomfortably near the airfield.
A large group of Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe personnel wait patiently for the doors of this Me323E-1 to open so that they can be evacuated to the rear. This E-1 belongs to Transportgeschwader 5, a wing that operated Me323s from their introduction in 1942 to the end of the war. Once the two clamshell doors are opened the ramps placed in front of the airplane will be moved so that vehicles can be driven up into the fuselage bay.
An Me 323, probably of Transportgeschwader 5, is refuelled from the fuel truck in the foreground. Members of the aircraft's crew have gathered around the side door of the fuselage, discussing the flight and priorities for cargo loading, while two ground crewmen on the top of the high wing tend to the gasoline hose which snakes up from the rear of the fuel truck some 25 feet below.
The refuelling crew hurries to top off the tanks of this Me 323 before another flight. A close look at the undersurface of the wing between the outboard and middle engines reveals a fairing which is the floor of the HDL151 turret on the uppersurface of the wing. In the middle of the fairing is a slot where the expended brass from the MG151/20 20mm cannon could be pushed through.
Me 323E-1 до вылета в Тунис
In this shot, a big Messerschmitt Gigant of Transportgeschwader 5, coded C8+CB rests at Odessa II airfield during March of 1944. During this time Transportgeschwader 5 was engaged in flying evacuation missions out of the Crimean area. The First Gruppe of this Geschwader flew more than two thousand missions within a two month period during the evacuation of the Crimea; a testimony of the aircraft's hardiness and to the men who flew and serviced them.
No, not all Messerschmitts were sleek fighter planes. This is a huge Messerschmitt Me 323 transport and cargo plane. The men in the foreground give some indication of the aircraft's enormous size. These big transports were constructed mainly of steel tubing and fabric covering and each one took an average of over 14,000 hours to build. Her six engines enabled her to carry more than ten tons of cargo.
Here an Me 323 "Gigant' (Giant) of the First Gruppe of Transportgeschwader 5 gets ready to take on a large load of supplies at an airfield near Foscani in Rumania during the spring of 1944. As can be seen, this was less than ideal weather for flying, but the importance of the mission called for flying in all but the worst of weather conditions.
With the equipment loading finished and the clamshell doors closed, these wounded troops are led forward to enter the side door and occupy whatever space is available. An ambulance with severely wounded troops stands by to unload first. Note that the engines are still being serviced while the wounded soldiers emplane; a sure sign that everyone is in a hurry.
The long, large wing of this Me 323D-6 serves as a sun shade for for Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe personnel waiting to be transported to a hot spot on the East Front, or else evacuated to a safe place in the rear. A few hours of sleep during the hectic days of the Wehrmacht retreats along the Russian Front were an award that many soldiers and airmen valued more than the Iron Cross.
A severely wounded soldier on a stretcher is carefully moved from the ambulance on the right into the cargo compartment of the Me 323. Visible directly in front of the national insignia on the fuselage is one of the waist defensive machine gun positions fitted with an MG 131 13mm gun. These machine gun stations were protected by an armor shield, through which the gun was mounted. The rest of the airplane was unarmored, protected by a single thickness of tightly stretched doped fabric.
Another stretcher-bound patient is loaded into the cargo compartment of this Me 323. Often Me 323s were so heavily loaded that the pilots made three or four takeoff runs before burning up enough fuel so that the aircraft was light enough to become airborne. Not enough can be said about the prowess of these pilots who flew the wounded out of encirclements with all of the consummate skill that their training and combat experience could give them.
This shot, taken from the rear interior of the "Gigant" shows the wooden planked floors and metal tubing that made up the framework. The hay on the floor of the fuselage has been put there to provide a semblance of comfort and warmth for the wounded in the absence of any other built-in creature comforts. Visible as squares of light are the two bow defensive machine gun stations in the clamshell doors of the nose.
This partially laden "Gigant' is in the process of being serviced while a number of walking wounded wait to be led on board for a trip to safety in the rear. These Me 323s did a tremendous job evacuating Wehrmacht personnel, often making their last flights from bases where Soviet troops were within rifle range.
A half-tracked prime mover and its 50 mm PaK 38 antitank gun drives out of the great fuselage of this Me 323D-6. Notice how the Me 323 sat on her tail until she was loaded, at which time the nose dropped and she sat on all ten main wheels. The D-6 could be distinguished from the E series aircraft by the fact that the Ds had no upperwing turrets, and their nose machine gun positions were mounted higher up on the clam-shell doors than those of the E series.
An 88 mm FIA 18/36 multi-purpose cannon is loaded into the fuselage of this Me 323E-1, still mounted on its Sonderanhanger 201 trailer carriage.The machinegun mount - on the clamshell door on the left of the photo is barely visible on the inside of the door.
This Opel "Blitz" 3-ton truck has just been loaded on to the ramp and backed into the fuselage of the Me 323E-1. The truck has a large crane mounted on the bed, attesting to the huge entry area in the nose of the aircraft. The loading ramp on the right side has been removed, while the ramp on the left side is still in place. This photo was taken in late March of 1944.
A herd of sheep shares a grassy airfield with this Messerschmitt Me 323 "Gigant" of Transportgeschwader 5. The huge clamshell doors on the nose of the transport could be opened to accept large loads. On each of the opened doors is a built-in machine gun station fitted with either an MG 15 machine gun, an MG 131 13 mm machine gun, or a 20mm cannon.
Here an Me 323E-1 awaits yet another flight to the front after servicing. The Me 323 in this shot is one belonging to the First Gruppe of Transportgeschwader 5 that was operating in the southern area of the Russian Front during the summer of 1943. The Me 323E-1 was characterized by the two HDL151 aerodynamic gun turrets on the uppersurfaces of the wings, each mounting an MG 151/20 20mm cannon. Earlier versions of the Me 323 did not have these turret mountings on the wings.
Crewmen work on one of the ten big main landing gear wheels of this Messerschmitt transport. These wheels had to be big to withstand the forces of landings made on grassy, bumpy and otherwise unsophisticated runways of the East Front. Quite frequently the Me 323 and its full cargo combined weighed over one hundred thousand pounds. The landing gear had to be sturdy to support that kind of weight.
На крыле Me 323E-2 были установлены башни с 20-мм пушками MG 151
It frequently took the entire contents of the fuel truck and trailer in this photo to fill both the wing and auxiliary fuselage fuel tanks of the big Me 323 for a long-range flight. The six Gnome-Rhone French built engines produced over six thousand horsepower to get this behemoth and ten tons of cargo into the air.
This Me 323E-1 is being refuelled by the fuel truck on the right while ground personnel are in the process of changing one of the big aircraft's ten big main landing gear tires. The 20mm MG 151/20 cannon in the HDL151 turrets on the wings' uppersurfaces are plainly visible here.
This ground crewman balances precariously atop the tall ladder while he services one of the six Gnome-Rhone engines of this Me 323. Each one of these French engines, originally intended for use in their own bombers but captured and used instead by the Germans, produced 1,100 horsepower on takeoff. The blistered and peeling paint on the nacelle behind the cowling indicates the wear and long hours of service this aircraft has had in the recent past.
In order to service the engines of the Messerschmitt Me 323, specially designed and constructed platforms and scaffold systems carried by Opel trucks were developed by the Luftwaffe. They could be driven into position under one wing of the aircraft and erected in a matter of minutes. A number of these maintenance vehicles and platform systems were built and distributed to various airbases in the East. Here is an example of the system used by the Luftwaffe when none of the special rigs were available.
This photo shows the kind of structural damage that many "Giganten" were subjected to when landing on unimproved runways. This Me 323E-1 of the 2nd Gruppe of TG 5 set down with a very hard landing on a forward airfield, bending the steel tubing of the fuselage's framework and tearing out several great sections of the stretched fabric covering.
A fine view of a Do 24 being towed to shore by a motor launch. Visible in the background is an Italian Cant Z 501 seaplane. The Z 501 was used mainly as a reconnaissance aircraft and she sports a white fuselage and engine nacelle with red-orange wings for high visibility when forced down at sea. A close look will reveal gun turrets on the engine pod and on the fuselage behind the wing.
Fi 156C-1 "Storch" of Division Staff, winter 1942/43 Poland
Fi 156C-3/Trop "Storch" North Africa 1942
Fi 156D "Storch" Ambulance Aircraft in southern Italy
With snowy mountain peaks in the background this Fieseler Fi 156C-3 bears a white band around her fuselage underneath the rolled back camouflage netting, indicating that the "Storch" is assigned to one of the air fleets of the Luftwaffe operating on the Eastern Front. Obvious in the photograph are the aileron and flap mass balances that extend down from the undersurfaces of the wings of this dark green liaison bird.
Судя по обозначению на капоте двигателя, этот Storch принадлежит 1-й "спасательной" эскадрилье (Wustennotstaffel), Северная Африка, фельдмаршалы Роммель и Кессельринг использовали Storch в начале войны, позже отдав предпочтение более быстрому Fw 189.
A Junkers Ju 87D "Stuka" and an Fi 156C-5 "Storch" on a Libyan airfield in late 1942. This all-over tan "Storch" bears the unit insignia of one of the most popular formations in the Luftwaffe; Wustennotstaffel 1 (Desert Rescue Squadron 1). This unit operated a number of Fieseler "Storches" Italian-built Caproni "Ghiblis",and a few other aircraft over the vast wastes of the African desert, picking up downed fliers in virtually inaccessible areas regardless of the side they were on - Axis or Allied!
A close-up shot of the so-called "desert anchor" holding this Fi 156 to the ground. A close look at the photo will show the viewer the large full-span flaps and ailerons on the rear of the wing. The large flaps and the leading edge slats provided the all-important increase in wing area and lift necessary to get the plane into the air and back onto the ground in phenomenally short distances.
This desert-yellow and green Fieseler Fi 156C-3 "Storch" shows off its full 47 foot wingspan here on a small desert airfield in North Africa. The Fieseler's characteristic spindly main undercarriage can be seen to full advantage in this front view. Notice the manner in which the "Storch" has been tied down to full sandbags under the wings to keep the strong desert ghibli winds from picking the aircraft up and flipping it over on its back.
This Fieseler Fi 156C-1 sits at rest at an airbase in Germany. She is painted with the markings of the pre-war quasi-military National Socialist Flying Corps (NSFK). The "WL" prefix of the registry letters indicated that the aircraft was built for the Luftwaffe, but has been loaned to a non-military organization. The C-1 variant of the "Storch" did not possess the defensive machine gun station in the rear cockpit. This was one of the major distinguishing factors between the variants preceding the C-3 (no machine gun) and all those variants from the C-3 onwards.
With her oil cooler and exhaust pipes showing, this Fieseler "Storch" forms the backdrop for a Luftwaffe marching band as high-ranking Luftwaffe and Navy officers form for a funeral ceremony somewhere in Germany. The shoulder devices worn by the Luftwaffe bandsmen in the foreground were typical of those worn by all military musicians in the German armed forces; a tradition that carries over to today's Bundeswehr.
Here two Luftwaffe mechanics are stopped by the camera in the process of servicing the inverted-vee Argus As 10P engine of this Fi 156C-3 "Storch". The Argus As 10P engine put out a maximum of 270 horsepower on takeoff, enabling the "Storch" to get up into the air within 150-250 feet from a standstill. This photograph was taken at a small airbase at Tsachenskaya, about 80 miles west of Stalingrad on the Volga River during December of 1942.
At a Crimean airbase this Fieseler Fi 156C-1 gets prepared for a flight along the coast of the Black Sea. The aircraft is one belonging to Kustenfliegerstaffel-Krim (Coastal Patrol Squadron-Crimea) and bears the fuselage code letters 6M+YN. The ground crew members are in the process of pumping hot air into the engine compartment through the big canvas sleeves that are attached to a combination air heater and compressor. The hot air warmed the engine and thawed the lubricants. In more primitive conditions, Luftwaffe personnel were known to have thawed out frozen engines by building fires under them!
On a snowy winter morning a Luftwaffe ground crew member prepares to fuel this Fi 156C-1 "Storch" from an underground fuel tank. This photograph is believed to have been taken at the Bavarian airfield at Kaufbeuren; a primary and basic flight training base. Today, the West German Luftwaffe operates a good-sized training base there.
The refuelling crew prepares to top off the fuel tanks of this Fieseler "Storch" as it rests on the perimeter of the airfield. The extremely fragile looking landing gear struts were in reality very robust in construction, the main oleos capable of absorbing much more force from landing shocks than would be expected at first glance. Even the most experienced and capable pilots expressed amazement at the kind of punishment the venerable "Storch" could take.
This Fi 156C-3, coded H3+BF, of an as-yet unidentified unit receives a tankful of fuel at a forward Russian airfield. The aircraft in the rear of the photo is a Focke Wulf FW 58 "Weihe" twin engined liaison aircraft.
This view shows the Fi 156C-3 version with its rear defensive machine gun position behind the trailing edge of the wing. Notice how the outward bulging cabin transparencies allowed the crew members good downward visibility, as well as obviously good vision to the front, rear and sides.
The long overcoats worn by these Luftwaffe officers tell a story about the African desert that isn't always clear. On many nights, and even during the early morning daylight hours, the temperature often hovered near the freezing mark. This view of the FH56C-3 shows the dark green mottle sprayed over the desert sand base camouflage. The undersurfaces retained the light blue coloring common to most other Luftwaffe aircraft.
Just before takeoff the ground crew members check to make sure that everything is all right before closing the "Storch's" door. Notice that a second officer has entered the aircraft and is now sitting strapped into the rear seat of the Fi 156. The leading edge slats on the wing have been fully extended to enable the airplane to get into the air in a hurry.
With his "Storch" all buttoned up, the pilot, Feldmarschall Kesselring guns the Argus As 10 engine, moving the plane toward the runway as the tail skid drags in the sand behind. The ground crewman in the foreground is in the process of shooting a picture for his personal collection as the Fi 156 taxies forward for takeoff.
An officer cadet strides toward this Fi 156C-1 as his commanding officer swings into the cabin during the opening phases of the German summer offensive in the Soviet Union in 1942. This "Storch" carries an auxiliary fuel tank slung under its belly and is missing a cowling side panel (very common during hot weather). Note the dropped rear wing flaps and extended leading edge slats; a sure sign that this "Storch" is ready to move once the cabin door swings shut.
Only a close look at the fuselage of this Fi 156C "Storch" will reveal that the skin covering the airplane is stretched and doped fabric. This Fi 156 carries an antenna mast, possibly for high frequency Funkgerat FuG XVII radiotransmitter-receiver combination; a feature not seen on very many 'Storch' aircraft, except those that acted as air control and guidance aircraft for German fighter-bomber and ground attack formations.
The pilot has dropped the flaps a good fifteen degrees and is applying full left rudder to counteract the propeller's pull as the engine is run up to full power. The aircraft's single 7.92mm MG15 hand-held machine gun has been installed into its bubble at the rear of the cockpit canopy for the forthcoming flight.
In this photograph a Fieseler Fi 156C-2 "Storch" prepares to land at a grassy airfield. The main landing gear of the "Storch" appears as skinny and as long as it can be because the oleo shock absorbers in the gear struts are fully extended when the plane is in the air. This "Storch" bears an unidentified unit insignia on her cowling and carries an antenna mast for the Funkgerat XVII radio equipment.
An all-white Fi 156D-0 ambulance aircraft sits on an Italian airfield during the spring of 1941. The aircraft bears large red crosses on both the undersurfaces and uppersurfaces of the wings, as well as on the fuselage sides in place of the German Balkenkreuz national insignia.
A close-up shot of the side of the Fi 156D-0 ambulance aircraft, coded D-EMAW. The Luftwaffe medical orderly is holding up the swinging side door of the aircraft, showing where the specially built aerial stretcher carrying a wounded patient could be slid in or out of the fuselage.
In this photograph German and Rumanian General Staff officers exchange salutes before a Fieseler "Storch" bearing Rumanian national insignia. The Rumanian general is wearing an Iron Cross First Class on his breast and has just been awarded another medal, hanging above the breast pocket flap. The Rumanian "Storch" is one of about fifty Fi 156s sold to the Rumanians. There are not many photos of Rumanian Fi 156s in existence.
The sleeve insignia on the flight coat of General Feldmarschall Albert Kesselring is that of an Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel). Here, he buckles himself into the seat harness of the pilot's seat in what appears to be a very roomy Fieseler 'Storch' cockpit. The device directly behind the pilot's seat is a laminated metal seat support that doubled very nicely as an armor plate, protecting the pilot's back.
Here we see the rear of the Fieseler Fi 156C-3's cabin and defensive armament station. Notice the open side panel giving access to the rear cabin and fuselage area. Also very obvious is the internal metal tubing that made up the sides of the fuselage framework. The tightly stretched fabric skinning on the fuselage was put on by draping it over the top of the fuselage, pulling it down over the sides snugly, and then lacing it up like a boot on the bottom of the fuselage along the aircraft's centerline. A proper job produced a fuselage skin that was as tight as a snare drum.
Dornier Do 18D-1 of 2./Ku.Fl.Gr. 506 (1941)
A peaceful scene at a large German seaplane base on the North Sea coast. Some of the Dornier Do 18D-1s bear the markings and iron gauntlet insignia of Kiistenflieger Gruppe (Coastal Patrol Group) 406, while the Dornier flying boats in the foreground carry the three seagulls of the First Staffel of KuFlGr 506 on their engine cowlings. These Dorniers are armed with a single MG15 machine gun in the bow station, and another in the open middle fuselage turret.
Dornier Do 18D-1s are shown here at rest, being serviced by ground personnel. The Do 18 in the foreground has been mounted on a large rubber-tired dolly, as are the other Do 18s in this photo. It is interesting to note that the personnel of the German Coastal Patrol units were taken from the ranks of both the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine. Teamwork between the men of the two services was at a high standard and there was a great deal of competition among the ranks of the Luftwaffe to get assigned to one of the prestigious units.
A rather rare photo of a dark green camouflaged Do 18D-1 flying boat of the Second Staffel of Coastal Patrol Group 306 (later part of KuFlGr 406) being wheeled back on a catapult mount on board a seaplane tender during the opening phases of the German campaigns of 1940. The Dornier Do 18D was one of the largest seaplanes to be launched from a catapult mount during WW II.
This view shows the forward engine cowling of the Junkers Jumo 205 diesel engine on a Dornier flying boat of the Second Staffel of Coastal Patrol Group 106. The insignia on the cowling is a stylized shield with a dolphin leaping through a white-capped wave. This photo was taken in Norway during the 1940 campaign. Later in the war the unit insignia was frequently shown without the shield background.
Fokker T-VIIIW/M of 1/SAGr. 126
A Fokker T-VIIIW/M floatplane of See-Aufklaungs Gruppe 126 sits on its beaching dolly as ground crew personnel inspect the Dutch built aircraft to familiarize themselves with it. This Fokker T-VIII is of all-metal construction, as the "M" in the aircraft designation indicates. Only a few T-VIIIs were used by the Luftwaffe, where they served very well.
This photo shows the rugged construction of the T-VIII floatplane. Visible is the bow window in which the nose observer/bombardier could get a good forward look. The metal variable pitch propellers proved to be a bit more difficult to operate and maintain than the VDM variable pitch propellers common to many German aircraft.
This close-up of the nose of the T-VIII shows us the bared American Wright "Whirlwind" engine, the long open bomb bay, and the unit insignia of the First Staffel of S.A.Gr.126, a Dutchman spying through a telescope. Notice the rather unique position of the pitot-static tube, mounted on a pylon attached to the windscreen on the cockpit canopy.
This Fi 156C-3, coded H3+BF, of an as-yet unidentified unit receives a tankful of fuel at a forward Russian airfield. The aircraft in the rear of the photo is a Focke Wulf FW 58 "Weihe" twin engined liaison aircraft.