Messerschmitt Bf 110E Zerstörer ZG26 01
Photo 01: This color view of a ZG26 Bf 110E shows an intense mottle on the fuselage sides. The Geschwader emblem, the stylised initials of Horst Wessel, after whom the Geschwader's honor title was named, on a shield quartered in red and black, can be seen. Red spinner tips and yellow lower engine cowlings are also in evidence. It is likely that the upper engine cowlings were also in yellow.
Messerschmitt Bf 110E Zerstörer ZG26 crash landed Russian front 02
Photo 02: Belly-landed Bf 110E of ZG26 on the Russian front. Note the variation in the style of the shield compared to the other color photograph. The position of the rear fuselage indicates that it has been badly broken on impact.
Messerschmitt Bf 110E Zerstörer ZG26. (3U+ )
Messerschmitt Bf 110E ZG26 Stammkennzeichen Stkz TF+KH Libya 1942.
Geschwader Stab Zerstörergeschwader 26
Messerschmitt Bf 110C4 Zerstörer Geschwader Stab ZG26 (3U+AA) flown by Johann Shalk France 1940
Messerschmitt Bf 110D Zerstörer Geschwader Stab ZG26 (3U+CA) in flight 01
Photo 01: 3U+CA, a Bf 110D of the Geschwaderstab of ZG26. Note the single chevron on the forward fuselage, which is in outline only. The individual aircraft letter of 'C' is in the Geschwaderstab colour of blue.
Stab I Gruppe Zerstörergeschwader 26 - Stab I./ZG26
Messerschmitt Bf 110D Zerstörer Stab I./ZG26 (3U+AB) pilot Wilhelm Spies 01
Photo 01: 3U+AB, the machine of Hptm. Wilhelm Spies, Gruppenkommaneur of I./ZG26, with twenty one victory bars on the fin. The letter 'A' is in the Gruppenstab colour of green, outlined in white. Note the protective cover over the Bordfunker's machine gun. Spies was killed in action on 27 January 1942 on the Russian front during a low-level attack south-west of Suchinitschi.
Pilots Stab I./ZG26 pilot Wilhelm Spies 01
Photo 01: Hptm. Wilhelm Spies, Gruppenkommandeur of I./ZG26, killed in action on 27 January 1942. Spies was awarded the Oakleaves to the Knights Cross, and promoted to Major, posthumously.
Messerschmitt Bf 110C4 Zerstörer Stab I./ZG26 (U8+BB) Rudiger Prosk and Bordfunker Hans Mobius based in France were shot down by No.64 Sqdn, RAF, S/Ldr MacDonnell. After a forced landing at Lydd, Kent, both were made POWs.
W.Nr 3102, U8+BB, Stab I./ZG 26, flown by Oblt. Rüdiger Proske, Bordfunker Hans Möbius. In this aircraft, on August 18, 1940 Gruppenadjutant Oblt. Rudiger Prosk and Bordfunker Hans Mobius were shot down by No.64 Sqdn, RAF, S/Ldr MacDonnell. After a forced landing at Lydd, Kent, both were made POWs. This aircraft carried the newer camouflage scheme in RLM71/02/65. Similarly to the previous aircraft, the light blue color extends up over the leading edge of the wing, and also up on the fuselage sides and the outside surfaces of the vertical tail units, which were then oversprayed with irregular squiggles of RLM02 and RLM71.
Messerschmitt Bf 110C4 Zerstörer Stab I./ZG26 (U8+BB) Gunther Specht France 1940
Stab II Gruppe Zerstörergeschwader 26 - Stab II./ZG26
Messerschmitt Bf 110C4 Zerstörer Stab II./ZG26 (3U+AC) pilot Werner Thierfelder Smolensk Russia 1942
Messerschmitt Bf 110B Zerstorer Stab II./ZG26 (3U+BC) pilot Wilhelm Schaefer 1940 01
BELOW: 3U+BC of the Gruppenadjutant of II. Gruppe, Zerstörer Geschwader 26, Wilhelm Schaefer. Note the single yellow lightning flash on the nose. The aircraft of the Gruppenkommander, Friedrich Vollbracht, carried a single red lightning flash. When they both moved to Geschwaderstab positions with ZG2, they continued the use of the single lightning flash on both of their aircraft. The individual aircraft letter 'B' in the fuselage code is in the Gruppenstab colour of green. Spinners are in the same colour. Note the swastika is carried on the fin only. There is no evidence of a Werknummer on either the fuselage or fin.
Messerschmitt Bf 110E Zerstörer Stab II./ZG26 (3U+BC) pilot Ralph von Rettberg Russia 1941 00
Pilots 2./ZG26 pilot Ralph von Rettberg Ralph von Rettberg shot down a total of 8 enemy aircraft
Messerschmitt Bf 110 D-1 Zerstörer Stab II./ZG26 (3U+BC) Russia June 1941.
Messerschmitt Bf 110 E Zerstörer Stab II./ZG26 (3U+CC) 01
Photo 01: Bf 110's of II./ZG26, with 3U+CC of the Gruppenstab nearest the camera 3U+AN of 5.Staffel carries the Geschwader emblem on the nose and the n. Gruppe clog emblem on the engine cowling. The 4.Staffel machine behind it also carries the same emblems. 3U+AM has light coloured rudders, possibly yellow, perhaps an identifying feature of the Staffelkapitän's aircraft. Note the strong contrast of the camouflage colours on the wing of the Bf 110 from which the photograph was taken.
Stab III Gruppe Zerstörergeschwader 26 - Stab II./ZG26
Messerschmitt Bf 110C4 Zerstörer Stab III./ZG26 (3U+DD) France 1940
Photo 01: Bf 110C, 3U+DD, of 8./ZG76
Messerschmitt Bf 110D3 Zerstörer Stab III./ZG26 (3U+ED) North Africa 1941-42
Photo 01: Messerschmitt Bf 110 D-3 Zerstörer Stab III./ZG26 (3U+ED) North Africa 1941-42
Stab IV Gruppe Zerstörergeschwader 26 - Stab IV./ZG26
Messerschmitt Bf 110D Zerstorer Stab IV./ZG26 (3U+FF) belly landed Crete June 1941
Messerschmitt Bf 110C I./ZG26 1939-40 01
Photo 01: A line up of Bf 110C-1s of I./ZG26 photographed in the winter of 1939/40. Note the oversized under-wing cross on the nearest aircraft on the left.
Messerschmitt Bf 110G Zerstörer I./ZG26 Bad Lippspringe 1943 01
Photo 01: I./ZG26 Bf 110G-2s at Bad Lippspringe in late 1943. Note that no armament is carried in the upper nose of the nearest aircraft, but a pair of MG 151/20 cannons in a ventral tray is in place under the fuselage. The Bf 110G-2 alongside it carries a broad white fuselage band on the rear fuselage and a supplementary fuel tank under the starboard wing.
Messerschmitt Bf 110E Zerstörer 3./ZG26 crash landed North Africa 01
Photo 01: Belly landed Bf 11 0 of III./ZG26 in the desert, with a white rear fuselage band and an indistinct W. Nr. on the starboard fin.
Messerschmitt Bf 110E Zerstörer 3./ZG26 with ZS2 emblem 01
The unit emblem shown here, a flying bird, with other birds on a wire, plus the ZG26 Geschwader emblem in the top right-hand corner, has previously been ascribed to Zerstorer Schule 2. However the connection of that training school with ZG26 is not known. This photograph is from the private collection of a pilot who flew with III./ZG26 in the African theatre, so the more likely explanation is that it is a III./ZG26 emblem, that was never removed from the Bf 110s of that Gruppe when they were passed on to ZS2.
Messerschmitt Bf 110E Zerstörer 3./ZG26 with ZS2 emblem 02
Photo 02: Personnel pose in front of a Bf 110 of Zerstorer Schule 2, showing the ZG26/ZS2 emblem.
Messerschmitt Bf 110E Zerstörer 3./ZG26 (3U+ B) North Africa 01
Photo 01: Two Bf 110Es of III./ZG26 in sand overall upper surface camouflage fly low over shipping in the African theatre.
Pilots 3./ZG26 pilot Schalk 01
Photo 01: Major Schalk, -Gruppenkommandeur of III./ZG26 photographs the fin and rudder of an aircraft of the unit while Oblt. Barschel, Gruppenadjutant, looks on. Barschel was killed in action on 27 September.
Messerschmitt Bf 110B Zerstorer II./ZG26 01
Photo 01: Covers are still on the front canopies and noses of these Bf 110 'B' variants of ZG26. Of note is the early style camouflage, but the whole of the swastika on the fin was somewhat uncommon on 'B' series aircraft; it was more commonly seen across both fin and rudder.
Messerschmitt Bf 110 Zerstörer II./ZG26 01
Photo 01: A Bf 110 of II./ZG76 receiving attention to its port engine and machine gun compartment.
Messerschmitt Bf 110E Zerstörer II./ZG26 pilot Herbert Schob 01
Photo 01: Herbert Schob of II./ZG26 belly landed this Bf 110E following a mission on the Russian Front.
4. Staffel II. Gruppe Zerstörergeschwader 26
Messerschmitt Bf 110D Zerstörer 4./ZG26 01
Photo 01: This 4./ZG26 Bf 110D seen during the Balkans campaign has its spinner tips in the Staffel colour of white. The nose and rear fuselage are painted yellow, and interestingly, the clog emblem of II./ZG26 and the ladybird emblem of III./ZG26 are carried. Note the heavy oil streaks on the port undercarriage door.
Messerschmitt Bf 110B Zerstorer 5./ZG26 01
Photo 01: An excellent in-flight view of a Bf 110B-1 of 5./ZG26, with the 'Ace of Spades' Staffel emblem prominent on the forward fuselage.
Messerschmitt Bf 110C Zerstorer 5./ZG26 01
Photo 01: This machine belonging to 5./ZG26 shows a variation in the painted spinners with the main part of the spinner in what appears to be white and black-green, with the tip possibly in another colour. Victory bars can be seen on the port fin above the swastika.
Messerschmitt Bf 110B Zerstorer 5./ZG26 pilot Alois Komanns 01
Photo 01: 10 May 1940. Aircrew of 5./ZG26 gather round to receive instructions about the next mission. On the right of the picture at the front is Alois Komanns, who would be killed in action eight days later.
7. Staffel III. Gruppe Zerstörergeschwader 26
Messerschmitt Bf 110C Zerstörer 7./ZG26 01
Photo 01: Mechanics work on a Bf 110 of 7./ZG26. The panel covering the ejection chutes is seen on the floor, indicating work being carried out on the 20 mm Kanone.
Pilots 7./ZG26 pilot Seehausen and Camehl 01
Photo 01: Lt. Seehausen, pilot, and his Bordfllnker, Uffz. Camehl, behind him pose for the camera in the cockpit of their Bf 110. Part of the 7./ZG26 emblem can be seen on the fuselage.
Messerschmitt Bf 110 Zerstörer 7./ZG26 01
Photo 01: An unknown pilot of 7./ZG26 prepares for a mission. Note the 7.Staffel emblem on the nose, the armoured windscreen, spinner tip in the Staffel colour of white and the angle of dive line on the lowered pilot's window.
9. Staffel III. Gruppe Zerstörergeschwader 26
Messerschmitt Bf 110E Zerstörer 9./ZG26 (3U+ T)
Zerstörergeschwader 26 Leaders and Pilots
Luftwaffe 9./ZG26 pilot Georg Jakstadt
Photo 01: Gefr. Georg Jakstadt, pilot,left) and Bordfunker Gefr. Emil Lidtke were involved in a spectacular collision over Dorset on 27 September. Their Bf-110, 3U+FT of 9./ZG26, collided head-on with the Spitfire of Pilot Officer Miller of 609 Squadron, only Jakstadt surviving. He managed to extricate himself from the flying wreckage of his Bf-110 and parachute into captivity.
Awards: Fighter Operational Clasp
Known Aircraft: -
Remarks: Identified as a fighter pilot, adding commentary, on in a World Timeline documentary about Ernst Udet. This could be Rudolf Proske.
Units: Adj Stab II./ZG 2
Awards: Destroyer Operational Clasp
Known Aircraft: Bf 110C-4 WNr 2116 '3M+AA' (lost)
Remarks: POW 4 September, 1940 after being attacked by fighters of RAF Nos. 43, 601 and 602 Squadrons. With both engines shot up, he turned them off to prevent fires and force landed his AC at Mill Hill, Shoreham Downs, West Sussex, where he and R/O-Gunner Uffz Heinz Bendjus (WIA) were taken prisoner. This AC was the normal mount of Obst Friedrich Vollbracht. Prior to his capture, he had been a Bf 109 pilot. Alternate spelling: Schaefer.
Gunther Specht was born on 13 November 1914 at Frankenstein in Niederschlesien. Specht was serving with ZG76, at the beginning of World War 2, flying Bf 110 Zerstorer twin-engined fighters. Leutnant Specht was assigned to 3./ZG76. On 29 September 1939 he achieved his first victories when he shot down two RAF Hampden twin-engine bombers. On 3 December 1939, he shot down a RAF Wellington twin-engine bomber over the North Sea. However, his aircraft received hits in the cockpit from return fire seriously wounding him and necessitating a ditching in the sea. He subsequently lost the sight in his left eye. Specht did not let the disability deter him from combat flying. On 23 May 1940, he shot down three RAF Spitfire fighters. However, his aircraft was shot up in the engagement necessitating a forced-landing between Calais and Boulogne. Specht again received serious wounds, which would keep him from combat duty for some time. On his recovery, Specht became a staff officer and, on 31 October 1941, Gruppenkommandeur of III./Nachtjagdschule 1, a position he held until 31 October 1942. At the end of 1942, Specht returned to a combat role. On 26 February 1943, as a member of 10./JG1, he shot down a USAAF B-17 four-engine bomber.
In May 1943, Hauptmann Specht became Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG11. At the end of 1943, he had 24 victories to his credit, including 14 four-engine bombers. Despite his visual handicap, he became one of the leading Viermottoter. On 20 February 1944, he force-landed on the Danish Aroe Island as a result of technical trouble with his Bf 109 G. On 8 April 1944, Major Specht was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 31 victories. On 15 May 1944, Major Specht became Kommodore of JG11. In July, he again suffered head injuries in a forced-landing. Despite suffering severe pain from his injuries, Specht remained on combat duty. Specht was listed as missing in action over Asch, Belgium on 1 January 1945, during operation Bodenplatte, in Fw-190A-9 (W.Nr. 205033) "Black 4". It is presumed he was a victim of flak. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Oberstleutnant and was recommended for the Eichenlaub.
Gunther Specht shot down 34 enemy aircraft. All his victories were recorded over the Western front and include 15 four-engine bombers.
List of aerial victories for Gunther Specht
Date Pilot Name Unit Enemy A/C Type Height Time Location 1. 29.9.1939 10:01 Hampden 3./ZG 26 SE Helgoland Hampden of 144 Sqn RAF 2. 29.9.1939 10:05 Hampden 3./ZG 26 SE Helgoland Hampden of 144 Sqn RAF 3. 3.12.1939 - Wellington 3./ZG 26 Near Heligoland Wellington Ia (N2880) "Z" of 38 Sqn RAF 4. 23.5.1940 - Spitfire 3./ZG 26 Calais-Boulogne Spitfire of 92 Sqn RAF. P/O Paul Klipsch 5. 23.5.1940 - Spitfire 3./ZG 26 Calais-Boulogne Spitfire of 92 Sqn RAF. S/L Roger Bushell 6. 23.5.1940 - Spitfire 3./ZG 26 Calais-Boulogne 7. 26.2.1943 12:18 B-17 10./JG1 80km NW Borkum 8. 14.5.1943 12:10 B-24 II./JG11 E Schleswig 9. 15.5.1943 - B-17 II./JG11 10. 19.5.1943 - B-17 II./JG11 11. 11.6.1943 18:05 B-17 II./JG11 84/7/1/5, 8000 m 12. 25.6.1943 8:52 B-17 II./JG11 Ost S/AQ-5/6, 7900 m 13. 26.7.1943 11:42 B-17 II./JG11 Ost S/FS-5/4, 8200 m 14. 28.7.1943 9:02 B-17 II./JG11 Ost S/RS-4/7, 5200m 15. 17.8.1943 15:00 B-17 II./JG11 22km NNE Diest 16. 17.8.1943 15:20 B-17 II./JG11 2km W Hergarten 17. 4.10.1943 10:16 B-24 II./JG11 Ost S/TN-6, 4500m 18. 8.10.1943 16:39 B-24 II./JG11 North Sea 19. 9.10.1943 - B-17 II./JG11 20. 13.11.1943 - P-38 II./JG11 Bremen-Zuider Zee 21. 26.11.1943 - B-17 II./JG11 Bremen-Zuider Zee 22. 29.11.1943 - P-47 II./JG11 Bremen-Oldenburgh 23. 20.12.1943 - P-51 II./JG11 Bremen P-51 of 354 FG USAAF 24. 22.12.1943 - P-47 II./JG11 Munster-Osnabruck 25. 5.1.1944 - P-38 II./JG11 Kiel-Cuxhaven 26. 30.1.1944 - P-47 II./JG11 Pl Qu 05 Ost S 27. 11.2.1944 12:15 P-51 II./JG11 Near St Wendel, 8000 m 28. 21.2.1944 13:54 P-47 II./JG11 Hannover-Liethe area, 8000 m 29. 22.2.1944 13:25 P-51 II./JG11 Blomberg area 30. 22.2.1944 13:42 B-17 II./JG11 Detmold area, 7100 m 31. 11.9.1944 - P-51 JG11 unknown place, 150 m 32. 26.9.1944 14:04 Typhoon JG11 Deventer 33. 26.9.1944 14:04 Typhoon JG11 Deventer 34. 5.12.1944 12:35 P-51 JG11 S Mittellandkanal
Victories : 34
Awards : Ehrenpokal (23 August 1943)
Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (25 November 1943)
Ritterkreuz (8 April 1944)
Units : ZG26, JG11
Asisbiz Database of 33 aerial victories for Gunther Specht
Date Pilot Name Unit Enemy A/C Type Height Time Location 29-Sep-39 Gunther Specht 3.ZG26 Hampden 5900m 10.05 SE Helgoland 29-Sep-39 Gunther Specht 3.ZG26 Hampden 1800m 10.01 SE Helgoland 03-Dec-39 Gunther Specht 1.ZG26 Wellington 3000m NW Helgoland 23-May-40 Gunther Specht Stab I.ZG26 engl.Jager 1700m Raum Calais 23-May-40 Gunther Specht Stab I.ZG26 engl.Jager 5500m Raum Calais 23-May-40 Gunther Specht Stab I.ZG26 engl.Jager 5000m Raum Calais 26-Feb-43 Gunther Specht 10./JG1 B-17 Fortress 6500m 12.18 50km NNW Borkum 14-May-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-24 Liberator 7500m 12.14 Eckenforder Bucht 19-May-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-17 Fortress 5500m 13.17 05 Ost N/8562 S. Pellworm 11-Jun-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-17 Fortress 3600m 18.05 05 Ost S/84715 25-Jun-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-17 Fortress 7900m 08.52 AQ 56 (off Friesian Islands) 26-Jul-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-17 Fortress 6000m 11.42 FS-5.4 8.200m (N. Wagenfeld) 28-Jul-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-17 Fortress 5200m 09.02 RS-47 (S Darmstadt) 17-Aug-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-17 Fortress 6000m 15.00 22km NNE Diest 17-Aug-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-17 Fortress 6000m 15.20 2km W Hergarden Kr Schlieden 04-Oct-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-24 Liberator 4500m 10.16 05 Ost S/TN 6 08-Oct-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-24 Liberator 7800m 16.39 AR-6 in See (NW Nordholz) 09-Oct-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-17 Fortress 4200m 15.30 MI-8 13-Nov-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 P-38 Lightning 6000m 11.20 05 Ost N/FQ-7.3 (Furstenau) 26-Nov-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-17 Fortress 7000m 12.30 ER-27 29-Nov-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 P-47 Thunderbolt 8800m 15.30 EQ-57 20-Dec-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 P-51 Mustang 9000m 11.50 in Raum Bremen 22-Dec-43 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 P-47 Thunderbolt 6000m 05-Jan-44 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 P-38 Lightning 2500m 30-Jan-44 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 P-47 Thunderbolt 11-Feb-44 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 P-51 Mustang 6000m 12.15-30 SP-6 8000km (S. Idar-Oberstein) 21-Feb-44 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 P-47 Thunderbolt 8000m 13.54 Leteln (NE Minden) 22-Feb-44 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 P-51 Mustang 800m 13.35-45 Blomberg-Akland (E. Detmold) 22-Feb-44 Gunther Specht Stab II./JG11 B-17 Fortress 5500m 13.42-55 Blomberg-Detmold 11-Sep-44 Gunther Specht Stab /JG11 P-51 Mustang 7200m Ort unbekannt 26-Sep-44 Gunther Specht Stab /JG11 Typhoon 2000m 14.04-06 05 Ost S/HN-GN (Deventer) 26-Sep-44 Gunther Specht Stab /JG11 Typhoon 2000m 14.04-06 05 Ost S/HN-GN (Deventer) 05-Dec-44 Gunther Specht Stab /JG11 P-51 Mustang 4900m 12.35 GT Stadthagen
Gunther Specht (13 November 1914 - 1 January 1945) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace during World War II.
Specht joined the heavy fighter wing (German: Zerstörergeschwader 26) (ZG 26) "Horst Wessel" in early 1939. The unit was initially equipped with Messerschmitt Bf 109s and later with the Bf 110. In 1939 he was wounded by an RAF tail gunner and blinded in one eye. He returned to active duty and was shot down six times during the war. After his recovery in 1939, he chose to return to active service but was shot down again in France and was seriously injured. These injuries kept him grounded for the next two years. In 1942 he returned to active duty with 1st Fighter Wing (Jagdgeschwader 1 Oesau; JG 1)). He was then made Group Commander (Gruppenkommandeur) of II Group of JG 11 (II./JG 11) and promoted to Major. He was appointed as Wing Commander (Geschwaderkommodore) of JG 11 and was listed as missing in action during the attack on the Allied bases at Asch and Ophoven as part of Operation Bodenplatte. He was posthumously promoted to lieutenant colonel (German: Oberstleutnant) and was recommended for the Oak Leaves (German: Eichenlaub) to the Knight's Cross, which was refused for unknown reasons.
Specht was considered as one of the best fighter leaders during the war and was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). During his combat career he was credited with 34 enemy aircraft destroyed, all downed on the Western Front.
Specht was born on 13 November 1914 in Frankenstein (modern ZÄ…bkowice ÅšlÄ…skie) of Prussia (modern Poland). Specht was small in stature but full of energy. He had a distinguishing patch of gray in his hair just above his forehead. He was a perfectionist with a high sense of duty, and expected his men to follow his high standards. Although he lost his left eye in late 1939, according to Squadron Leader (German: Staffelkapitän) Heinz Knoke of 5./JG 11, he could see like a vulture and was an excellent marksman. Specht also had an eye for detail, and he wrote detailed mission log reports for future use.
Specht's personal emblems adorning his aircraft included a design by Specht of a pencil superimposed on a chevron (termed a winged pencil) as a wry comment on being deskbound following his injuries. It may also have symbolized his possible desire to pilot the Dornier Do 17, nicknamed the "Flying Pencil". His single-engine aircraft with JG 11 sported a green spinner and a Knight's Cross painted on the cowling after he was awarded the honour in April 1944.
Specht would not allow women on the group base, considering them an unnecessary diversion. According to Knoke, one time Specht's wife came to visit him on the II./JG 11 base but was held at the guard room on Specht's orders and refused to receive calls from the guard. Instead he asked Knoke to pass a message to her to 'put herself on ice', saying that he would only have time for her after the war. Specht however did not survive, dying five months before the war in Europe came to an end.
After taking command of II./JG 11, Specht led the group on every mission in which it participated. Following each mission, he wrote detailed and analytical mission reports. He soon gained a reputation as one of the most reliable formation leaders, with II./JG 11 reputed to be one of the best units among the fighter force (German: jagdwaffe) on Reich air defense (German: Reichsluftverteidigung).
On 17 August 1943 Specht led the group from Gilze en Rijen on an intercept and sighted the B-17 Flying Fortresses of 381 Bombing Group near Antwerp. He waited for 30 minutes until the escorts turned back at Eupen before attacking. Within the next half hour, sixty percent of the bombers went down. Specht himself was credited with downing two as his 16th and 17th victories.
On 11 September 1944 Specht and the JG 11 staff flight (German: Stabsschwarm) led a combined formation of II./JG 4 (Sturm) (German: Sturmgruppen) and III./JG 4. Due to Specht's skills, they positioned themselves against thirty-four B-17s of the "Bloody 100th" and fifteen B-17s were downed before the escorting P-51s arrived. Specht was credited with one P-51.
At the beginning of the Phoney War in late August 1939, Specht was an Oberleutnant serving with 3rd Staffel, Zerstörergeschwader 26. On 29 September 1939 11 Royal Air Force (RAF) Handley Page Hampden medium bombers of No. 144 Squadron RAF conducted an armed reconnaissance operation near Heligoland in the German Bight. One six-strong aircraft formation attacked two destroyers unsuccessfully, while five bombers led by Wing Commander J. C. Cunningham were intercepted by Specht's unit. All five were shot down and Specht claimed his first two victories.
On 3 December 1939, 24 RAF Vickers Wellington bombers from Marham and Mildenhall bases attacked Heligoland. These were intercepted by I./ZG 26 along with other Messerschmitt Bf 109 units. Specht attacked one bomber over the North Sea, and his aircraft was hit by return fire from the Wellington's tail gunner, seriously wounding him in the face and forcing him to ditch the aircraft. He subsequently lost the sight in his left eye. Specht resumed combat flying despite the handicap. He would eventually be shot down six times during the war. He was shot down by Corporal Copley of No. 38 Squadron RAF.
On 23 May 1940 Spitfires were encountered by Bf 110s and Bf 109s for the first time. The engagement resulted in the loss of two Bf 110s and two Bf 109s. However, Specht would claim three RAF Supermarine Spitfire fighters shot down. The British No. 92 Squadron RAF involved lost three Spitfires in the entire engagement. Squadron Leader Roger J Bushell became a prisoner of war while Paul H. Klipsch and Patrick Alexander George Learmond were killed in action. During the course of this battle, Specht and his rear gunner/radio operator were wounded, force land near Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer with a damaged aircraft. Specht's wounds were serious enough to keep him from combat duty for almost two years.
Upon recovery Specht served as Group staff officer (German: Gruppenadjutant) of I./ZG 26. His aircraft at the time had group identifier (German: Gruppenkennung) U8+BB. It carried the group staff flight (German: Gruppenstab) emblem of a winged pencil which had been designed by Specht.
Specht was appointed as Gruppenkommandeur of the night fighter training group (German: Ergänzungsgruppe) of Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 on 31 October 1941. Located at Ingolstadt-Manching, Specht instructed pilots in conversion to night fighting. Paul Zorner, a future night fighter expert, was one of his students. This was the last time Specht flew a twin engine aircraft.
A year later, with the training group converted into a night fighter school (III./Nachtjagdschule 1, Specht returned to active combat with a transfer to 10 Staffel, Jagdgeschwader 1 (10./JG 1, operating from Mönchengladbach (moved to Deelen in February 1943) and equipped with the Focke-Wulf Fw 190. On 26 February 1943, he shot down his first USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress.
On 14 May, Captain (German: Hauptmann) Specht moved to Jagdgeschwader 11 and became Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 11, equipped with the Bf 109G Gustav. JG 11 was a newly formed day fighter unit operating across the north German plains.
After joining JG 11, Specht continued to claim Viermot (German slang for heavy bombers). His fifth victory with JG 11 was on 25 June 1943 giving him a total of 12. He claimed one a month later during Blitz Week, when bombers targeted the Blohm & Voss U Boat yards in Hamburg and the synthetic rubber factories of Continental AG and Nordhafen in Hanover.
On 4 October 1943, Specht led II./JG 11 with III./JG 11 and Jasta Heligoland to down four B-24 Liberator bombers out of twenty three, one being credited to Specht. Specht became increasingly critical of the relatively weak armament of the Bf 109 during this time. By the end of 1943 Specht had a total of 24 victories, including 14 heavy bombers, one of the leading Viermot (heavy bombers) experts. He was also II./JG 11's leading scorer, having claimed 17 victories in 1943.
On 11 February 1944 II./JG 11 engaged escort fighters returning from a raid on Frankfurt with Specht downing 2nd Lieutenant Richard McDonald of the 354th Fighter Group, who crashed his P-51 Mustang "Plane Jane" near Oberalben. Nine days later, Specht had to crash land on the Ã†rÃ¸ Island as a result of technical problems with his Bf 109G. On 15 March II./JG 11 lost six killed in action, two wounded, and eight aircraft lost, resulting in Specht declaring the unit non-operational for six weeks to rest and replace losses.
On 8 April 1944 Specht was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes for 31 victories on the Western Front. While II./JG 11 was still rebuilding at Eschborn, Specht was moved to wing command flight (German: Geschwaderstab) as kommodore-in-training, and was replaced by Major Gunther Rall from JG 52. On 15 May 1944 Specht was appointed Geschwaderkommodore (Wing Commander) of JG 11 after Hermann Graf was wounded. In July, Specht had to crash land again and suffered head injuries. Despite severe pain from his injuries Specht remained on combat duty.
During Operation Market Garden, the Allied parachute landings in the Netherlands, JG 11 was credited with 22 aircraft downed on 22 September, with two credited to Specht. Four days later, Specht claimed two RAF Hawker Typhoons near Deventer. According to RAF records only three Typhoons were shot down on 26 September; two to flak and one in aerial combat against Jagdgeschwader 53 Bf 109s near Apeldoorn. No fighters were recorded lost near Deventer. However, it may be the case that loss records were lost or not well kept, meaning Specht's claims cannot be traced and may well be accurate.
On New Year's Day 1945 the Luftwaffe launched Operation Baseplate, a low-level fighter attack targeted at Allied airfields throughout France, Belgium and the Netherlands in support of the German Army in Battle of the Bulge. JG 11 was assigned the USAAF airfield at Asch (Code Name Y-29) and the RAF airfield at Ophoven north of Asch. The 366th Fighter Group (366th FG, Ninth Air Force) and the 352nd Fighter Group (352 FG, Eighth Air Force) were based at Asch. No. 41, No. 130, 350 and No. 610 Squadrons of the 2nd Tactical Wing were based at Ophoven.
For this mission Specht wore his full dress uniform with medals instead of his flight suit. JG 11 was based at Darmstadt-Griesheim, Zellhausen, and Gross-Ostheim. I./JG 11, III./JG 11 (Fw 190 A-9, and II./JG 11 (Bf 109G) mustered sixty-five aircraft for this mission. Specht flew Fw 190 A-9 (Wk. Nr. 205033) "Black 4". At 8:08 am[c] the aircraft took off and assembled over Aschaffenburg with two Junkers Ju 188 'Pathfinders' to navigate. After assembling, Specht ordered all aircraft to fly at 400 feet (120 m) to the target area, climbing to 1,500 feet (460 m) prior to commencing the attack. Some P-47 Thunderbolts of the 390th Fighter Squadron, 366th FG, were already airborne and Mustangs of the 487th Fighter Squadron, 352nd FG, were on the runway. The formation was disrupted by flak, and several German aircraft were shot down.[a]
Death and confusion
There was some confusion over the circumstance of Specht's death. Lt. Melvin Paisley and his wingman Flight Officer Dave Johnson were flying 366th FG P-47s; Johnson shot down two German fighters before his aircraft was heavily damaged from return fire. Bailing out, he landed in a field near Asch. A Bf 109 he had shot down had belly landed close by and Johnson rode a borrowed bicycle over to inspect it. The aircraft was intact but the pilot was dead. Johnson took the pilot's identification card and gun and rode back to base. The identification card identified the pilot as a Oberstleutnant (German: Oberstleutnant); however, the card actually belonged to Oberleutnant (German: Oberleutnant) August Engel of 8 Staffel.
Further research has revealed more detail. German records confirmed Specht flew a Fw 190, not a Bf 109, and that he was a Major at the time, confirming Johnson's victim was most likely to have been Engel. Johnson's claim form revealed he had claimed a Bf 109, not an Fw 190. The ID card of Johnson's victim was passed on to a member of the ground crew who spoke German. This individual stated that the rank was given as Lieutenant Colonel. The incorrect identification was most likely a language error and misunderstanding of German ranks. This may have caused the belief that Johnson had killed Specht. Johnson died in October 1976, and aviation historians were unable to secure his version of events.
Specht was officially listed as missing in action over Maastricht, and to date he remains missing. The cause of his demise is unknown. Specht was promoted posthumously to Oberstleutnant and nominated for the Eichenlaub to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Oak Leaves were not awarded. Specht shot down 34 aircraft including 17 heavy bombers. All his victories were recorded over the Western Front and included 15 four-engine bombers.[b]
- Iron Cross in 1939 2nd and 1st Class.
- Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe on 23 August 1943 as Hauptmann and Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 11.
- German Cross in Gold on 25 November 1943 while serving in the II./JG 11.
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 8 April 1944 as Major and Gruppenkommandeur of the II./JG 11.
Dates of rank
- August 1939: Leutnant
- 23 May 1940: Oberleutnant
- May 1943: Hauptmann
- 8 April 1944: Major
- 1 January 1945: Oberstleutnant.
In this aircraft, on August 18, 1940 Gruppenadjutant Oblt. Rudiger Prosk and Bordfunker Hans Mobius were shot down by No.64 Sqdn, RAF, S/Ldr MacDonnell. After a forced landing at Lydd, Kent, both were made POWs.This aircraft carried the newer camouflage scheme in RLM71/02/65. Similarly to the previous aircraft, the light blue color extends up over the leading edge of the wing, and also up on the fuselage sides and the outside surfaces of the vertical tail units, which were then oversprayed with irregular squiggles of RLM02 and RLM71.
Units: Legion Condor, I./ZG-26, Stfkpt 1./ZG-26 (6/41), Kdr I./ZG-26 (1/42)
Awards: RK(6/14/41)-EL(4/5/42 Post.), Spanish Cross, DK-G(3/21/42), EK 1 & 2, Destroyer Operational Clasp
Known Aircraft: Bf 110 C-4 WNr 2059 '3U+FH'
Remarks: KIA 27 January, 1942 near Suchinitchi Russia during close support operations.His RO/Gunner, Uffz Höpfner was also killed. 10 victories in the West. Bowers/Lednicer, 20 victories. Alternate spelling: Spies.
Ralph von Rettberg
Units: ZG-26 ('37, Stafkpt 1/ZG-26, Kdr II/ZG-26 (8/40, Kdr ZG-2, Stab/ZG-1, Kdr ZG-26
Awards: RK(6/14/41, DK-G(10/19/42, EP(9/28/40, EK 1 & 2, Destroyer Operational Clasp
Known Aircraft: Bf 110C
Remarks: Channel pilot. 150+ combat missions. 3 victories in the East. 12 AC destroyed on the ground. Kdr ZG-2 in April, 1942. Kdr ZG-1 November, 1942.
Units: 5./ZG-2, Kdr III./ZG-26 (6/43), Kdr. EKdo 262 (12/43 later Kdo Nowotny at Lechfeld)
Awards: RK(10/10/41), DK-G(12/7/42), EK 1 & 2, Wound Badge, Fighter Operational Clasp
Known Aircraft: Bf 110 & Me 410 in ZG-26, Me 262V5 WNr 000005 'PC+UE' (lost 2/1/44), Me 262S-6 WNr 130011 'VI+AK' (lost 7/18/44)
Remarks: KIA 18 July, 1944 during one of the first Operational sorties of the unit. He was engaged in aerial combat in his Me 262 near Landsberg/Lech. and failed to bale out. His V5 was written off after a crashed landing, during testing, due to a collapsed nose wheel. Thierfelder was the first commander of EKdo 262. Nowotny took command of the unit after Thierfelder's death.
Gunther Specht (13 November 1914 - 1 January 1945) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace during World War II. Keith checkmysix C6 http://forum.1cpublishing.eu/showthread.php?t=33311
Graf - http://www.mission4today.com
- Zorner (not being there) did not know the reason for putting on the uniform. But he speculated that Specht may have known about his impending death.
- The similar but differing meaning of Oberleutnant and Oberstleutnant may have contributed to the misunderstanding. It is not clear whether Johnson himself said Specht's name was on the ID card. Johnson died in 1976 and the authors were unable to confirm this.
- According to Uffz. Ludwig Bertram of I./JG 1, the Geschwader took off at 08:08 am.
Citations for the Campaigns
- Caldwell & Muller (2007, p. 182
- Caldwell & Muller (2007, p. 91
- Zorner (2007, pp. 125-139
- Obermaier (1986)
- Weal (1999b, p. 54
- Weal (1999a, pp. 36,49
- Weal (1999b, p. 93
- Weal (2006, pp. 70-71
- Weal (2006, p. 26
- Weal (1999b, p. 36
- Caldwell & Mulller (2007, p. 233
- Aces of the Luftwaffe.
- Weal (1999a, p. 37
- Caldwell & Muller (2007, p. 36, 78
- Weal (1996a, pp. 20-21
- Weal (1999b, p. 101
- Holmes 2010, p. 32.
- Droog, Bart. "RAF - No. 92 Squadron." Traces of World War 2 23 January 2008. Retrieved: 20 September 2010.
- Holm (1997-2003)
- Weal (1999b, p. 30
- Weal (1999b, p. 51
- Caldwell & Muller (2007, p. 124,184
- Reardon (14 July 1997, The Patriot Ledger
- Caldwell & Muller (2007, p. 184
- Weal (1999b, p. 71
- Gunther Specht on World War 2 Awards
- Franks 2000, p. 101.
- Franks 2000. p. 7.
- Parker (1998, pp. 383, 385-391
- Weal (1999b, p. 84
- Parker (1998, pp. 385-391.
- Manrho & Putz 2004, pp. 148â€”149.
- Manhro and Putz 2004, p. 279.
- Manrho & Putz (2004, p. 149.
- Weal (2006, p. 84
- Obermaier (1989, p. 208.
- Patzwall and Scherzer (2001, p. 450.
- Scherzer (2001, p. 711.
- Manrho and Putz 2004, p. 167.
- Campbell, Jerry L. Messerschmitt BF 110 Zerstörer in Action. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1977. ISBN 0-89747-029-X.
- Caldwell, Donald and Richard Muller. The Luftwaffe over Germany: Defence of the Reich. London: Greenhill Books, 2007. ISBN 978-1-85367-712-0.
- Ciampaglia, Giuseppe. 'Destroyers in Second World War'. Rome: IBN editore, 1996. ISBN 88-86815-47-6.
- Deighton, Len. Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain. London: Pimlico, 1996. ISBN 0-7126-7423-3.
- de Zeng, H. L., D. G. Stanket and E. J. Creek. Bomber Units of the Luftwaffe 1933-1945: A Reference Source, Volume 2. London: Ian Allan Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978-1-903223-87-1.
- Donald, David, ed. Warplanes of the Luftwaffe. London: Aerospace, 1994. ISBN 1-874023-56-5.
- Geust, Carl-Fredrik and Gennadiy Petrov. Red Stars Vol 2: German Aircraft in the Soviet Union. Tampere, Finland: Apali Oy, 1998. ISBN 952-5026-06-X.
- Hirsch, R.S. and Uwe Feist. Messerschmitt Bf 110 (Aero Series 16). Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers, Inc., 1967.
- Hooton, E.R.Luftwaffe at War; Blitzkrieg in the West: Volume 2. London: Chervron/Ian Allan, 2007. ISBN 978-1-85780-272-6.
- Hooton, E.R. Luftwaffe at War; Gathering Storm 1933-39: Volume 1. London: Chervron/Ian Allan, 2007. ISBN 978-1-903223-71-0.
- Ledwoch, Janusz. Messerschmitt Bf 110 (Aircraft Monograph 3). GdaÅ„sk, Poland: AJ-Press, 1994. ISBN 83-86208-12-0.
- Likso, T. and D. Canak. Hrvatsko Ratno Zrakoplovstvo u Drugome Svjetskom Ratu (The Croatian Airforce in the Second World War). Zagreb, 1998. ISBN 953-97698-0-9.
- Mankau, Heinz and Peter Petrick. Messerschmitt BF 110/Me 210/Me 410: An Illustrated History. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0-7643-1784-9.
- Murray, Willamson. Strategy for Defeat: The Luftwaffe 1935-1945. Maxwell AFB, Al: Air Power Research Institute, 1983. ISBN 0-16-002160-X.
- Mackay, Ron. Messerschmitt Bf 110. Wiltshire, UK: The Crowood Press, 2000. ISBN 1-86126-313-9
- Middlebrook, Martin. The Peenemunde Raid: The Night of 17-18 August 1943. Barnsely, UK: Pen & Sword Aviation, 2004. ISBN 1-84415-336-3.
- Munson, Kenneth. Fighters and Bombers. New York: Peerage Books, 1983. ISBN 0-907408-37-0.
- Price, Alfred. Messerschmitt Bf 110 Night Fighters (Aircraft in Profile No. 207). Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1971.
- Savic, Dragan and Boris Ciglic. Croatian Aces of World War II (Osprey Aircraft of the Aces - 49). London: Oxford, 2002. ISBN 978-1-84176-435-1.
- Treadwell, Terry C. Messerschmitt Bf 110(Classic WWII Aviation). Bristol, Avon, UK: Cerberus Publishing Ltd., 2005. ISBN 1-84145-107-X.
- Van Ishoven, Armand. Messerschmitt Bf 110 at War. Shepperton, Surrey: Ian Allan Ltd., 1985. ISBN 0-7110-1504-X.
- The Messerschmitt Bf 110 in Color Profile 1939-1945 John Vasco and Fernando Estanislau by Schieffer Publications. ISBN:0-7643-2254-0
- Wagner, Ray and Heinz J. Nowarra. German Combat Planes: A Comprehensive Survey and History of the Development of German Military Aircraft from 1914 to 1945. New York: Doubleday, 1971.
- Weal, John. Messerschmitt Bf 110 Zerstörer Aces World War Two. London: Osprey, 1999. ISBN 1-85532-753-8.
Magazine References: +
- Airfix Magazines (English) - http://www.airfix.com/
- Avions (French) - http://www.aerostories.org/~aerobiblio/rubrique10.html
- FlyPast (English) - http://www.flypast.com/
- Flugzeug Publikations GmbH (German) - http://vdmedien.com/flugzeug-publikations-gmbh-hersteller_verlag-vdm-heinz-nickel-33.html
- Flugzeug Classic (German) - http://www.flugzeugclassic.de/
- Klassiker (German) - http://shop.flugrevue.de/abo/klassiker-der-luftfahrt
- Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) - http://boutique.editions-lariviere.fr/site/abonnement-le-fana-de-l-aviation-626-4-6.html
- Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) - http://www.pdfmagazines.org/tags/Le+Fana+De+L+Aviation/
- Osprey (English) - http://www.ospreypublishing.com/
- Revi Magazines (Czech) - http://www.revi.cz/
Web References: +
- Wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt
- Wikipedia.org - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BCnther_Specht
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