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German troops were still engaged in bitter hand- to-hand battles amid the rubble when, on 19 November, the Russians launched a counter-attack timed to coincide with the onset of the winter freeze. Many German aircraft were iced up and thick patches of fog further prevented a major attack, but the more experienced crews from St.G 2 were ordered off from Karpovka and at Kalatsch the Fw190s of II/Sch.G 1 under Maj. Alfred Druschel (RK 21.8.41, FL 3.9.42, S 20.2.43) scrambled for bombing and strafing attacks. Nevertheless, the Russians succeeded in closing the ring around Stalingrad during the night of 22 November, and as they strengthened their grip, Luftwaffe units were forced to operate in defence of their own threatened airfields. Forward air fields between the rivers Chir and Don were abandoned, and at Oblivskaya St.G 2 and Oberst Hubertus Hitschold's Sch.G 1 attacked infantry, cavalry, artillery and tanks on the very edge of their runways. Ultimately Oblivskaya had to be evacuated, and the Stuka and ground-attack units retreated in great confusion to Morovskaya, an airfield vital to the Stalingrad airlift. This, loo, was captured, and with the 6th Army completely isolated its fate was a foregone conclusion. On 2 February, German resistance in the Stalingrad pocket ceased.
Feldwebel Stuka pilot in flying clothing, 1940. He wears the lightweight fawn canvas summer flying helmet with brown bakelite earphone housings. The tan canvas flying suit, worn at this period by bomber and Stuka crews, has a diagonal zip fastener which gives the suit a taped effect on the right shoulder. There were two types of lifejacket in use by Stuka crews at this time: the fighter pattern illustrated - note compass strapped to air tube and the ribbed kapok type usually worn by bomber crews. A rank patch bearing three stylised white wings on a brown background is worn on the upper arms. The blue Other Ranks sidecap is stuffed in the thigh pocket, with white thread Luftwaffe eagle badge and black-white-red national cockade. The flying boots have black suede legs and black leather feet and straps.
MESSERSCHMITT Bf109E-4/B of II (Schlacht)/LG 2, summer 1941
Messerschmitt Bf109E-4/B flown by Willi Tritsch of II (Schlacht)/LG 2, Russia, summer 1941. The wings are camouflaged in a splinter pattern of shades 70 and 71, which also appear along the fuselage spine, fading off in soft sprayed patches on the sides. This meeting of this mottled camouflage and the blue, shade 65, of the undersides is further obscured by patches of the grey-green shade termed 'RLM-Grau'. The yellow areas are an indication of the Russian theatre. The white 'C' is the individual aircraft code, the triangle of black a Gruppe symbol. Note that their positions are reversed on the starboard side. The Mickey Mouse emblem of the Gruppe appears on both sides of the cowling; note that the close-up view is the starboard presentation - the mouse always faced the tail of the aircraft.
JUNKERS Ju87D-1 Trop. of 6/St.G 3, July 1942
Junkers Ju87D-1 Trop. of 6/St.G 3, operating in the Western Desert, July 1942. The upper surface splinter scheme of shades 70 and 71 is very weathered, with poor definition, but the factory scheme is illustrated on the upper view. The white fuselage band is the theatre marking for Africa, Mediterranean, and South Russia. The Geschwader code S7 appears on the left of the fuselage cross on both sides, followed by the individual aircraft letter K, and the 6 Staffel code, P. The diving raven emblem, retained when I/St. G 1 was redesignated II/St.G 3 in March 1942, appears on the port side only. The two filler triangles appeared low on both sides beneath the cockpit (yellow, E87) and in the position shown on the port side only (red, white lettering). Bombs were painted RLM-Grau.