Jagdgeschwader 4

Jagdgeschwader 4 (JG 4) was a Luftwaffe fighter-wing of World War II. JG 4 was formed as a full Geschwader on June 15, 1944 in Ansbach from Stab/Jagdgeschwader z.b.V. and its first Geschwaderkommodore was Major Gerhard Schöpfel.

I./JG 4 was formed earlier on August 7, 1942 in Mizil, Romania from the Ölschützstaffel/JG 77, with 2./JG 4 formed December 1, 1942. Stab I, 3. and 4./JG 4 were formed on January 10, 1943 at Mizil, and the I Gruppe was now complete. II. Gruppe was formed in July 1944 at Salzwedel from I./ZG1 and partially from Sturmstaffel 1. III. Gruppe was formed in July 1944 at Rotenburg from III./ZG1. IV./JG 4 was formed on October 20, 1944 at Finsterwalde from II./JG 5.

I./JG 4 was assigned in early 1943 as defensive protection of the Mizil and Ploesti Oil complexes in Romania. I./JG 4 first saw action in combat against the force of B-24 Liberators dispatched on the low-level attack against Ploesti on 1 August 1943, code-named Operation "Tidal Wave", claiming 12 B-24 bombers downed.

The unit saw further action over the Balkans against the USAAF 15th Air Force heavy bombers flying from bases in North Africa and Italy. The unit was later deployed to the defence of Rome and northern Italy. I./JG 4 first saw action in combat against a strike force of B-24 Liberators dispatched on the celebrated low level attack against Ploesti on 1 August 1943 as Operation "Tidal Wave". Stab and I./JG 4 claimed twelve B-24 bombers shot down.

JG 4 was then deployed in the German defensive campaign in Italy during the first half of 1944, prior to being shifted to the France for the Normandy invasion. Over the Lake Bracciano area on 7 May 1944, I./ JG4 encountered Spitfires of No. 72 Squadron, who claimed nine Bf 109's shot down; I gruppe lost 4 killed and 2 wounded in the action. During their Italian campaign, I./JG 4 lost 40 men killed or missing, 26 wounded, and 7 taken prisoner.

JG 4 were then withdrawn after heavy losses back to the Reich in September 1944.

4./JG 4 was the Rumanian Staffel Escadrilla 53, which left again in December 1943. A new 4./JG 4 was formed in June 1944. In September 1944 2./JG 4 and 8./JG 53 exchanged designations. I./JG 4 was disbanded on March 19, 1945.

Sturmgruppen 1944

Jagdgeschwader 4 became one of only three Luftwaffe geschwader to operate the specialised 'bomber-killer' gruppen designated Sturmgruppe. II./JG 4 Sturmgruppe was formed on 12 July 1944 at Salzwedel from I./Zerstorergeschwader 1 (ZG 1) and from elements of Major Günter von Kornatzki's Sturmstaffel 1. The gruppe was equipped with the modified and heavily armoured FW 190A-8/R2. While the heavily armoured fighters proved effective against the heavy bombers of the USAAF, they proved vulnerable to the numerous escort fighters and hence suffered heavy losses.

III./JG 4 was also formed in July 1944 from III./ZG 1 in Rotenburg.

In common with other fighter units engaged in Reichsverteidigung operations the Geschwader were sported unique coloured markings in mid 1944. JG 4's marking was a black-white-black band on the rear fuselage.

On 11 September 1944 II.(Sturm) and III. Gruppen intercepted a USAAF bombing raid near Chemnitz. Attacking the 100th and 95th Bomb Groups the geschwader claimed some 13 destroyed bombers. Intercepted by the 339th and 55th Fighter Groups JG 4 was severely mauled, and lost 21 pilots killed during the mission.

In October 1944 IV./JG 4 was formed from elements of II./JG 5 in Finsterwalde, equipped with the Messerschmitt Bf-109G and K.

On 2 November the Sturmgruppe, in conjunction with IV./JG 3, intercepted American bomber formations in the Leipzig area. II./JG 4 attacked the 457th Bomb Group and destroyed nine B-17s, although the gruppe lost 16 FW-190s out of 22 committed to the massed US fighter escorts.

From November 1944 onwards the Geschwader, operating from Frankfurt took heavy losses flying against the Allied air offensive. Apart from for II.(Sturm)/JG 300, heavy losses meant the Sturmgruppen had virtually ceased to exist by late November 1944, and with the transfer to Babenhausen in December 1944 the remnants of II./JG 4 would carry out the same fighter and ground attack operations as their sister units for the rest of their existence, and would not claim another heavy bomber.

During Operation Bodenplatte on 1 January 1945 JG 4, along with all other units taking part, again took very heavy losses. With 75 JG 4 aircraft tasked with various targets, including an attack on Le Culot airfield, I, II and IV gruppen were hit by heavy anti-aircraft fire and the massed formation became scattered and therefore impossible to co-ordinate an effective attack, with only 12 or so aircraft locating or attacking any intended objective.

Overall, some 26 fighters were lost and 6 damaged; with nearly half the participating aircraft lost, JG 4 suffered the highest percentage losses of all the units taking part in the operation.

By late January 1945 JG 4 was deployed in Guben-Juterbog until the end of the war in May. On 21 January 1945 the four gruppen of JG 4 were switched to Luftlotte 6 on the Eastern Front and pitchforked wholesale into ground-attack missions, for which the unit was ill-equipped and pilots untrained. By early February 1945 II.(Sturm)/JG 4 were located at Neuhausen under Major Gerhard Schroeder in defence of Cottbus.

Although nearly 400 vehicles were claimed destroyed, losses during the month inevitably emasculated the unit, with some 57 aircraft lost, with 26 pilots killed or missing and 14 wounded.

I./JG 4 was dissolved during March 1945 and the remustering of the unit personnel as infantry followed. Elemnts of JG 4 flew their last sorties against the Soviet armies and air forces around Berlin and in late April 1945 the unit withdrew to the Schleswig-Holstein area and disbanded on 8 May 1945.

Insignia

Some JG 4 aircraft displayed on the engine cowling the Geschwaderzeichen, a blue escutcheon with a grey or silver knight's helmet with a red (red-white) plume.

This insignia was first used by II. Gruppe, but later also appeared on other JG 4 Gruppen aircraft.

Jagdgeschwader 4

Geschwaderkommodoren:

  • Maj Gerhard Schöpfel, 15 Jun 1944 - 6 Aug 1944
  • Obstlt Gerhard Michalski, 7 Aug 1944 - 8 May 1945

Stab:

Formed 15 Jun 1944 in Ansbach from

Airfields and Air Base Locations
Date Location Gruppe Aircraft Used
15 Jun 1944 - 20 Jun 1944 Ansbach   Fw 190A
20 Jun 1944 - 9 Jul 1944 Juterbog   Fw 190A
9 Jul 1944 - 17 Sep 1944 Bad Lippspringe   Fw 190A
17 Sep 1944 - 21 Nov 1944 Dortmund   Fw 190A, Bf 109G
21 Nov 1944 - 23 Jan 1945 Darmstadt-Griesheim   Fw 190A, Bf 109G
23 Jan 1945 - 14 Feb 1945 Neuhausen bei Cottbus   Fw 190A
14 Feb 1945 - 9 Apr 1945 Juterbog-Damm   Fw 190A/D
9 Apr 1945 - 19 Apr 1945 Marz Zwuschen   Fw 190D
19 Apr 1945 - 30 Apr 1945 Rechlin-Roggenthin   Fw 190D
30 Apr 1945 - 2 May 1945 Parchim   Fw 190D
2 May 1945 - 8 May 1945 Leck   Fw 190D

I. Gruppe:

Gruppenkommandeure:

  • Hptm Franz Hahn, 10 Jan 1943 - 22 Jan 1944
  • Hptm Wilhelm Steinmann, 23 Jan 1944 - 14 Feb 1944 
  • Hptm Walter Hoeckner, 15 Feb 1944 - 25 Aug 1944
  • Hptm Wilhelm Steinmann, 26 Aug 1944 - Mar 1945

1./JG4 was formed 7 Aug 1942 in Mizil (Rumania) from the with 2./JG4 formed 1 Dec 1942. Stab I, 3. and 4./JG4 was formed 10 Jan 1943 at Mizil, and the Gruppe was now complete. 4./JG4 was the Rumanian staffel Escadrilla 53, which left again in Dec 1943. A new 4./JG4 was formed in Jun 1944. In Sep 1944 2./JG4 and exchanged designations. I./JG4 was disbanded 19 Mar 1945.

Airfields and Air Base Locations
Date Location Gruppe Aircraft Used
Aug 1942 - 26 Nov 1943 Mizil* Luftflotte 4
Jafu Balkan (from Jun 1943)
Bf 109E/F/G
26 Nov 1943- 21 Dec 1943 Bad Wörishofen   Bf 109F/G
21 Dec 1943 - 4 Jan 1944 Lavariano   Bf 109G
4 Jan 1944 - 5 Jan 1944 Perugia   Bf 109G
5 Jan 1944 - 6 Jan 1944 Viterbo Jafu Oberitalien Bf 109G
6 Jan 1944 - 22 Jan 1944 Osa (Littorio) Jafu Oberitalien Bf 109G
22 Jan 1944 - 17 Mar 1944 Fabrica di Roma** Jafu Oberitalien Bf 109G
17 Mar 1944 - 19 Mar 1944 Orvieto Jafu Oberitalien Bf 109G
19 Mar 1944 - 1 May 1944 Ferrara Jafu Oberitalien Bf 109G
1 May 1944 - 1 Jun 1944 Fabrica di Roma Jafu Oberitalien Bf 109G
1 Jun 1944 - 4 Jul 1944 Lavariano Jafu Oberitalien Bf 109G
4 Jul 1944 - 25 Jul 1944 Maniago Jafu Oberitalien Bf 109G
25 Jul 1944 - 1 Aug 1944 Ghedi Jafu Oberitalien Bf 109G
1 Aug 1944 - 25 Aug 1944 Kassel-Rothwesten 3. JD? Bf 109G
25 Aug 1944 - 27 Aug 1944 München-Gladbach   Bf 109G
27 Aug 1944 - 29 Aug 1944 Friere   Bf 109G
29 Aug 1944 - 4 Sep 1944 Antwerpen-Deurne 5. JD Bf 109G
4 Sep 1944 - 25 Sep 1944 Lachen-Speyersdorf***   Bf 109G
25 Sep 1944 - 6 Oct 1944 Götzenhain 1. JD Bf 109G
6 Oct 1944 - 21 Nov 1944 Gahro 1. JD Bf 109G
21 Nov 1944 - 22 Jan 1945 Darmstadt-Griesheim Jafu Mittelrhein Bf 109G/K
22 Jan 1945 - 14 Feb 1945 Guben 3. Flieger-Division Bf 109G/K
14 Feb 1945 - 19 Mar 1945 Berlin-Schonfeld   Bf 109G/K

* main base. 3./JG4 was based at Boteni, 23 Aug 1944 - 8 Oct 1944, and Tarsorul-Nou, 8 Oct 1944 - 30 Oct 1944

** 1./JG4 was based at Vignanello, 10 Feb 1944 - late Feb 1944; 3./JG4 was based at Centocelle, 10 Feb 1944 - late Feb 1944

*** 1. and 3./JG4 at Gemersheim, 5 Sep 1944 - 25 Sep 1944; 4./JG4 at Langen-Dietzenbach, 5 Sep 1944 - 25 Sep 1944.

II. Gruppe:

Gruppenkommandeure:

  • Olt Hans-Gunther von Kornatzki, 12 Jul 1944 - 12 Sep 1944
  • Maj Rudolf Schröder, 13 Sep 1944 - Mar 1945
  • Maj Wilhelm Moritz, Mar 1945 - 8 May 1945 

JG4 JG4JG4

Formed 12 Jul 1944 at Salzwedel from with :

Stab II./JG4 from Stab I./ZG1
5./JG4 from 1./ZG1
6./JG4 from 2./ZG1
7./JG4 from 3./ZG1

8./JG4 was formed on 21 Jul 1944.

Airfields and Air Base Locations
Date Location Gruppe Aircraft Used
12 Jul 1944 - 31 Aug 1944 Salzwedel   Fw 190A
31 Aug 1944 - 30 Nov 1944 Welzow* 1. JD Fw 190A
30 Nov 1944 - 23 Jan 1945 Babenhausen** Jafu Mittelrhein Fw 190A
23 Jan 1945 - 9 Feb 1945 Neuhausen bei Cottbus 3. Flieger-Division Fw 190A
9 Feb 1945 - 12 Feb 1945 Guben   Fw 190A
12 Feb 1945 - 4 Apr 1945 Berlin-Schonfeld   Fw 190A
4 Apr 1945 - 12 Apr 1945 Mortitz   Fw 190A
12 Apr 1945 - 19 Apr 1945 Glücksburg   Fw 190A
19 Apr 1945 - 30 Apr 1945 Rechlin-Roggethin***   Fw 190A
30 Apr 1945 - 2 May 1945 Parchim   Fw 190A
2 May 1945 - 8 May 1945 Leck 2. JD Fw 190A

* part of II./JG4 at Mainz-Finthen, 19 Nov 1944 - 30 Nov 1944

** 5. and 8./JG4 at Schafstädt, 30 Nov 1944 - 4 Dec 1944

*** part of II./JG4 at Rechlin-Lärz

III. Gruppe:

Gruppenkommandeure:

  • Hptm Friedrich Eberle, 12 Jul 1944 - 8 Jan 1945
  • Hptm Gerhard Strasen, 9 Jan 1945 - 8 May 1945

JG4 JG4

Formed 12 Jul 1944 at Rotenburg from with :

Stab III./JG4 from Stab III./ZG1
9./JG4 from 7./ZG1
10./JG4 from 8./ZG1
11./JG4 from 9./ZG1
12./JG4 from Ergänzungsstaffel/ZG1 (21 Jul 1944)

Airfields and Air Base Locations
Date Location Gruppe Aircraft Used
12 Jul 1944 - 11 Aug 1944 Rotenburg   Bf 109G
11 Aug 1944 - 31 Aug 1944 Hoya   Bf 109G
31 Aug 1944 - 17 Sep 1944 Alteno 1. JD Bf 109G
17 Sep 1944 - 4 Oct 1944 Bad Lippspringe 3. JD Bf 109G/K
4 Oct 1944 - 20 Nov 1944 Alteno   Bf 109G/K
20 Nov 1944 - 21 Nov 1944 Erfurt-Bindersleben   Bf 109G/K
21 Nov 1944 - 26 Nov 1944 Esperstedt   Bf 109G/K
26 Nov 1944 - 26 Dec 1944 Biblis   Bf 109G/K
26 Dec 1944 - 23 Jan 1945 Darmstadt-Griesheim   Bf 109G/K
23 Jan 1945 - 14 Feb 1945 Drewitz 3. Flieger-Division Bf 109G/K
14 Feb 1945 - 2 Apr 1945 Juterbog-Damm 3. Flieger-Division Bf 109G/K
2 Apr 1945 - 12 Apr 1945 Löbnitz   Bf 109G/K
12 Apr 1945 - 19 Apr 1945 Mark Zwuschen   Bf 109G/K
19 Apr 1945 - 30 Apr 1945 Rechlin-Roggethin   Bf 109G/K
30 Apr 1945 - 2 May 1945 Parchim-Redlin   Bf 109G/K
2 May 1945 - 8 May 1945 Leck 2. JD Bf 109G/K

IV. Gruppe:

Gruppenkommandeure:

  • Hptm Franz Wienhusen, 20 Oct 1944 - 3 Dec 1944
  • Hptm Ernst Laube, 19 Dec 1944 - 3 Apr 1945

JG4

Formed 20 Oct 1944 at Finsterwalde from :

Stab IV./JG4 from Stab II./JG5
13./JG4 from 5./JG5
14./JG4 from 6./JG5
15./JG4 from 7./JG5
16./JG4 from 8./JG5

Disbanded 3 Apr 1945.

Airfields and Air Base Locations
Date Location Gruppe Aircraft Used
20 Oct 1944 - 20 Nov 1944 Finsterwalde 1. JD Bf 109G
20 Nov 1944 - 23 Jan 1945 Frankfurt/Rhein-Main Jafu Mittelrhein Bf 109G
23 Jan 1945 - 26 Jan 1945 Reppen 3. Flieger-Division Bf 109G
26 Jan 1945 - 14 Feb 1945 Drewitz   Bf 109G
14 Feb 1945 - 3 Apr 1945 Marz Zwuschen   Bf 109G
  • Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen,
  • Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen,
  • Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen,
  • Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen,
  • Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen,

Book References:

  1. 'Those Other Eagles', Christopher Shores, 2004
  2. 'Storming the Bombers', Erik Mombeeck, ASBL, 2009
  3. 'Luftwaffe Sturmgruppen', Weal, page 106
  4. 'Bodenplatte-The Luftwaffe's Last Hope', Manrho& Pütz, page 188
  5. The Last Year for the Luftwaffe, Alfred Price, page 142

Web References:

  • http://www.ww2.dk/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luftwaffe_units_before_the_1939_invasion_of_Poland
  • http://www.feldgrau.com/luft.html
  • http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/

Book References:

  • Bundesarchiv-Militïärarchiv, Freiburg.
  • Feldpostübersicht, RH 3/18 - 129. Has also been published by N. Kannapin in 3 volumes.
  • Schematische Kriegsgliederung, RH 2. Has also been published in Kurt Mehner's Geheime Tagesberichte der OKW, 12 vols. Exists in full, for the period 8 Jun 1940 - 31 Dec 1943, and partly for 15 Apr 1944 - 7 May 1945
  • Flugzeugunfälle und Verluste bei den fliegenden Verbanden, RL 2 III/184, 752 - 767, 1170 - 1198. The year 1944 is missing, but can be extracted from RL 2 III/852 (summarischen Verlustmeldungen).
  • Flugzeugunfälle und Verluste bei Schulen und Sonstige Verbanden, RL 2 III/769 - 784
  • Flugzeugbestand und bewegungsmeldungen, RL 2 III/874 - 882. Only covers the months Mar 1942 to Dec 1944. The rest is missing.
  • Storkemeldungen der fliegenden Verbande, RL 2 III/1732 - 1765
  • Übersicht über Soll, Istbestand, Einsatzbereitschaft, Verluste und Reserven der fliegenden Verbande, RL 2 III/700 - 734
  • Flakübersicht Nov 1943 - Dec 1944, RL 2 III/1119 - 1122
  • Kriegstagebücher
  • USAF Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
  • K1028F - Eastern front 1942, incl. KTB Fliegerführer Süd (Feb 1942 - Aug 1942), extracts from Richthofen and Fiebig's diaries, monthly strength returns for entire eastern front, 60 page summary of 1. Luftwaffen-Flotilla (Siebel ferries) operations on Ladoga Sea
  • K1028G - Eastern front 1943, mainly VIII. Fliegerkorps operations
  • K1028Y & K1028X - KTB I. Jagdkorps (Sep 1943 - May 1944) and KTB 5. Jagddivision (Jun 1944).
  • A1128 - German Order of Battle - Statistics as of Quarter Years, 1938-45 (parts of the USAF Strategic Bombing Survey)

Luftwaffe Emblem References:

  • Junkers Ju 87: From 1936 to 1945 by Herbert Leonard Paperback
  • Messerschmitt Me 110: Messerchmitt's twin-engined Bf 110, Me 210 and 410 by Dominique Breffort Perfect Paperback
  • Focke-Wulf Fw 190: From 1939 to 1945 (Planes and Pilots) by Dominique Breffort Paperback
  • Messerschmitt Me 109, Vol. 1: From 1936 to 1942 (Aircraft and Pilots) by Anis ElBied Paperback

 

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This webpage was updated 5th January 2019