Regensburg No Place To Hide

Mark Postlethwaite





Regensburg No Place To Hide Mark Postlethwaite

Messerschmitt Me109s intercepting B-17 Flying Fortress heading for Regensburg, Germany.

Jagdgeschwader 26 (JG 26) Schlageter was one of the most renowned Luftwaffe fighter-wings of World War Two. It operated mainly in Western Europe against the RAF and USAAF. It was named after Albert Leo Schlageter, a World War I veteran and Freikorps member arrested and executed by the French for sabotage in 1923.JG 26 took part in the Battle of France from 10 May 1940 onwards, flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter.

To help with identification the unit had the undernoses of their aircraft painted yellow. Some aircraft had their entire cowling thus painted. JG 26 claimed 160 French and British aircraft shot down, for relatively light losses of 17 pilots killed. After the fall of France JG 26 took part in the Battle of Britain, based in the Pas de Calais region. In late August it was becoming apparent to the German High Command that the Battle of Britain was not going as planned.

A frustrated Göring relieved several Geschwaderkommodoren of their commands, and appointed younger, more aggressive men in their place. Thus Major Adolf Galland was given command of JG 26 on 22 August. During the Battle of Britain, the Geschwader claimed 285 fighters shot down, for losses of 76 aircraft and 45 pilots killed, and 29 prisoners of war.

In 1941 most of the fighter units of the Luftwaffe were sent east to the Eastern Front, or south to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, thus leaving JG 26 and Jagdgeschwader 2 Richthofen as the sole single-engine fighter Geschwadern in France. For the next two years these two Geschwadern were the main adversaries to the RAF’s day offensives over Occupied Europe. The two Jagdgeschwader maintained around 120 serviceable Bf 109 E and F’s to face the increasing number of aggressive RAF Fighter Command sweeps conducted to wear down the Luftwaffe in a war of attrition and so relieve pressure on the Eastern Front.

Galland's careful husbanding of his resources and astute tactical awareness meant JG 26 kept their losses to a minimum while inflicting maximum damage on the RAF's Spitfires through 1941. This became even more evident with the arrival of the potent Focke-Wulf Fw 190A to units in late 1941 - early 1942, which completely outclassed the current Spitfire Mark Vb in service with the RAF.

In late 1941 JG 26 started converting to the Fw 190A fighter. I. and II. Gruppe were soon fully equipped with this aircraft, and although the III Gruppe started converting, the process was stopped and it continued using various versions of the Bf 109 for the remainder of the war. By the end of 1941 JG 26 had claimed more than 900 victories since September 1939 (some 400 since May 1941), and had lost some 95 pilots killed (34 POW) in return. The highest scoring pilots at this time were Galland (97), Hp tm Uncle (62) and Hp tm Josef Driller (58).

JG 26 and JG 2 had to defend the entire Atlantic Wall from the Spanish border through Belgium, until late 1942 when more units were directed West after the Allied bombing campaigns increased in ferocity.



The Signed and Numbered Edition

The Edition is signed by the Artist Mark Postlethwaite and countersigned by four JG-26 Fighter Pilot Veterans.

The signatories

Leutnant Heinrich 'Jan' Schild, Iron Cross (First Class)

13 Victories; wounded 3 times. Took up flying as a sport in 1934, during the war flew mainly with JG26 although he did spend some time with JG5 in Norway and JG54 in Russia. After the war he joined the German Air Force and rose to the rank of Oberstleuntant.

Feldwebel Heinrich Heuser, Iron Cross (First Class)

5 Victories. Started flying in 1938 and joined JG26 in autumn 1942. It is Heuser's FW190 that is depicted in the painting. His log book confirms that, on the morning of 17th August 1943 he was involved in a head on attack with B-17s over Holland. Heuser's war ended when he was shot down over France in late 1944.

Feldwebel Werner Kraft, Iron Cross (Second Class)

1 Victory, a B-17 on 17th August 1943. Flew with 9/JG26 on the raid depicted. Delivered the fatal attack on Bay-Be a 95th BG B-17 and was then shot down by the waist gunner William Binnebose. The two men ended up sharing a room in the same Naval Hospital!

Obergefreiter Werner Molge

2 Victories in 35 Combat Missions. At the age of 19 he was one of the youngest members of JG26. He served with the unit from October 1944-May 1945 and took part in the memorable Operation Bodenplatte , attacking 127 Canadian Wing at Brusssels-Evere.

Matching numbered certificate of authenticity included.

Overall Print Size 32" x 19" (inches) Printed in lightfast inks on acid free archival paper.

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Signed and Numbered Print
UK £75.00 Edition Size - 850


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