Father's height caused him some problems. It made soaring and joining the air force difficult. Also, he wore glasses, but somehow he overcame these obstacles, probably because he was so dedicated to flying.
He saved the report from his flight school. Although he was ranked at the bottom of his class
he managed to distinguish himself and to survive the war.
Note on the back: My old Dora, which carried me on 40 missions, has been rolled out to guard the base. The mechanic is working on the tail wheel while we guard the airfield.
My father trained in Stukas and was flying in a JU 87 squadron in the early part of the war. He started dating the group commander's daughter. His sergeant told him that this was dangerous since the commander wanted his daughter to marry an officer. After she kept him out late one night he returned to base only to learn that he had been transferred to the Russian front. There he flew old biplanes and monoplane spotter aircraft.
The weather was terrible and he frequently went for weeks without
adequate rations. Cigaretts made the hunger bearable.
I am reading greetings from home right after
landing in July, 1943.
Ljubysch, village in White Russia.
Flying this obsolete relic is my reward for not listening to my sergeant. But, how could I? Hilka was so beautiful and
I was so alone.
Note on back:
This is a DB 2 which we found near our base. We do not know who shot it down. I am in the center.
Emblem of the squadron:
gnat with lamp on a bomb with number 3 on wing during the full moon at night "3rd order night battle group II" At this time my father did not belong to a Stuka unit. The night battle group had to fly to disrupt the Russian enemy and, drop pamphlets for the civilians. Bombs were dropped by the rifleman by hand over the side, "it was all very primitive", they had biplanes of type Go145 and He72. The Commander was General Ritter von Graim. Later it was too dangerous for the Stukas to fly in the daylight so they decided to take them up at night. The planes were not equipped for night flight.
The unit was retrained in the Stukas in Stubendorf / Schlesien. There my father met my mother. The emblem is to show how single bombs are distributed at night like mosquito's bites.
Note on the back:
Happy hour with my Trude in Stubendorf, May, 1944.
Shortly after arriving in Stubendorf my father met my future mother.
In 1944 the Stuka JU 87 was so obsolete that pilots flying these were moved up to the ME 109s and the FW 190s. My father's squadron was then assigned the JU 87s. Since my father was already familiar with the JU 87, he assisted the rest of his squadron in making the transition. Only one pilot failed to qualify. He landed out at night. "presumbly he was killed in the accident".
Back in the JU 87. The wheel pants are removed but we fly nevertheless.
Turbia, July 1944.
Here I sit on the wing of my plane studying a map.
We are at a
Type A school at AT. Raphael, Southern France.
Probably Christmas, 1944. Note: It was only me that reached Bavaria in 1945. The others fell.
My father is on the right.
From today on an "EK I" adorns my chest.
Father saved this leather jacket. When I became a student I tried the jacket on but my shoulders were too broad.
Freshly decorated with an EK II and a bronz Frontflugspange. Trahslation: Frontflugspange = front line flying medal.
It is interesting to note that although my father was flying night fighters his night vision was so bad that after the war he would never drive a car after dark.