(Special Interest Group Luftwaffe in Norway)

Fw 190 A3 from 3./JG 5 Herdla 1942

Jagdgeschwader 5 "Eismeerjäger" - 1942
Part 1


Jagdgeschwader 5 was in many ways a very special Geschwader. Not only did it reflect Germany's war in miniature; it fought on two fronts troughout its entire existence,and its component Gruppen were transferred long distances in 1943 and 1944. But it also had a autonomous Zerstörerstaffel permanently attached for almost three years which also briefly included a nightfighter component. Lastly, it had to cope with the freezing cold of the Eismeer (Ice Sea or the Barents Sea). In fact, it was the only Geschwader that fought trough 24 continous hours a day in broad daylight! This enabled pilots to fly missions at any time during the day! This is the story of the first year of JG 5.


Only rarely is a Geschwader or a Gruppe in the Luftwaffe formed from scratch, mostly they are formed from other units already in existence. This applied to JG 5 too. The order to form a new Jagdgeschwader in Norway was issued by the Generalstab der Luftwaffe on 3. January 1942. The Geschwader was to be based on units already in Norway and the re-organisation was to be completed by 10. January 1942 at the latest. In 1941 there were already several Staffel and Gruppe-sized fighter units stationed on Norwegian bases. These units were:

I./JG 77 which consisted of the following Staffels:

1./JG 77 at Stavanger-Sola with Bf 109Es being led by Oblt.Horst Carganico.
2./JG 77 at Lista with Bf 109Es being led by Hptm.Gerd von Wehren.
3./JG 77 at Herdla with Bf 109Es being led by Lt. Franz Menzel.

Jagdgruppe zur besonderen Verwendung which had two Staffels;

13./JG 77 and 14./JG 77 in the North Russian front with Bf 109Es.

There was also a single Zerstörer unit in Norway at the time. It was subordinated to JG 77. Having arrived in Norway as 7./ZG 76, it was redesignated as 1.(Z)/JG 77 in May 1941. Commander was Oblt. Felix Maria Brandis. By the end of 1941 it operated against the Russians on the Eismeer front.

Finally, an autonomous unit, the Jagdgruppe Drontheim, was operating (not surprisingly) from airfields around Trondheim having arrived there in the middle of June 1941. This unit, consisting of several Staffels, one of which was operating from Grove, Denmark, was also to play some part in JG 5's history, but not untill July 1942. Also known as the "Einsatzstaffel Jagdgruppe Drontheim", it was commanded by Hptm. Joachim Seegert. This unit began life as an "Alarm-Rotte" at Grove with only two Bf 109Es, but later it was expanded and was equipped with Bf 109Ts as well.

During the reorganisation, the units changed names as indicated below. It will be noted that altough the order to form JG 5 was issued on 3. january 1942, the Geschwader was not officially formed until 25. January 1942 (some sources say 24. January).

I./JG 77 became I./JG 5 and the staffel changed names as follows:
1./JG 77 became 1./JG 5
2./JG 77 became 2./JG 5
3./JG 77 became 3./JG 5

Also in the North there were changes. Jagdgruppe z.b.V.s two Staffels formed the II./JG 5 as follows:

13./JG 77 became 4./JG 5
14./JG 77 became 5./JG 5

The Zerstörerstaffel, 1.(Z)/JG 77 became known as 6.(Z)/JG 5 on 25. January 1945, the date JG 5 was officially born.

The last Staffel to be formed in January 1942 was 7./JG 5. This was destined to become one of the most well-known Staffels of JG 5. It started life somewhat inconspicously as 10./EJG 3, a training unit based at Esbjerg in Denmark, commanded by Hptm. Graf von Sponeck. This unit, equipped with Bf 109E-7s, received an order on on 29. December 1941 instructing it to transfer to Bodø.With 15 Bf 109Es they started the long journey via Kjevik and Herdla. At both places they lost planes due to bad landings and they did not reach Bodø untill 11.January 1942. There they were finally redesignated as 7./JG 5 as the first Staffel in the III. Gruppe of JG 5.

The initial command structure of I./JG 5 was as indicated below:

Gruppekommodore: Major Seegert
Gruppenadjutant: Oblt. Müller
Technische Offizier: Oblt. Hartwein
Staffelführer 1./JG 5: Oblt. Eichel-Streiber
Staffelführer 2./JG 5: Hptm. Büchsel
Staffelführer 3./JG 5: Hptm. Wienhusen

On 23. March an additional order was issued, instructing an expansion of JG 5. Now the 7 Staffels were joined by other Staffels, thus completing the II. and III. Gruppens inventory of Staffels.

1./JG 5 was redesignated once again, becoming 6./JG 5 in the process. Simultaneously, 6.(Z)/JG 5 was redesignated too, probably to avoid confusion, becoming 10.(Z)/JG 5 on 16. March.

Meanwhile, a IV. Gruppe of JG 1 had been formed in Bretagne in December 1941 from the following units as follows:

Stab Erg./JG 53 became Stab IV./JG 1
1. Erg./JG 2 became 10./JG 1
1. Erg./JG 26 became 11./JG 1
1. Erg./JG 51became 12./JG 1

Some sources claim that this IV.Gruppe was informally known as Jagdgruppe Losigkeit after the commander, Major Fritz Losigkeit. There is no real evidence to substantiate this. Anyhow, this Gruppe were now used to fill in the "blanks" in JG 5's structure. 10./JG 1 formed a new 1./JG 5, 11./JG 1 became 8./JG 5 and 12./JG 1 became 9./JG 5. Stab IV./JG 1 became the Stab III./JG 5. Also, a new Geschwaderstab of JG 5 was formed from Jagdfliegerführer Norwegen on this date (23. March 1942).

The comand structure of the Geschwaderstab, II./JG5 and III./JG 5 at the time of their formation was:

Geschwaderkommodore: Oblt. Handrick
Adjutant: Hptm. Brockmann
Technische Offizier: Hptm. Probst

Gruppekommodore II./JG 5: Major Strümpell
Adjutant: Oblt. Glöckner
Technische Offizier: Lt. Hans-Dieter Hartwein
Staffelführer 4./JG 5: Hptm. Schäfer
Staffelführer 5./JG 5: Oblt. Menzel
Staffelführer 6./JG 5: Oblt. Carganico

Gruppekommodre III./JG 5: Hptm. Scholz
Adjutant: Oblt. Lüder
Technische Offizier: Lt. Schumann
Staffelführer 7/JG 5: Hptm. Graf von Sponeck
Staffelführer 8./JG 5: Oblt. Segatz
Staffelführer 9./JG 5: Oblt. Huppertz

Still another redisposition of the Jagdgeschwader was started on 1.July 1942. Firstly, 9./JG 5 became the first Staffel of the new IV./JG5; namely 10./JG 5. A completely new 9./JG 5 was formed as a replacement. The remaining two Staffels of IV. Gruppe, 11./JG 5 and 12./JG 5, was formed from parts of Jagdgruppe Drontheim.

To avoid yet another confusion with the numbering, 10.(Z)/JG 5 was redesignated as 13.(Z)/JG 5 on 22. June 1942.

The command structure of this last Gruppe was (at the time of its formation in July):

Gruppekommodore IV./JG 5: Hptm. Hans Kriegel
Adjutant: Oblt. Pfeiffer (not Michelle!)
Staffelführer 10./JG 5: Oblt. Huppertz
Staffelführer 11./JG 5: Not known (the second was Oblt. Horst Keim from January 1944)
Staffelführer 12./JG 5: Hptm. Hans-Friedrich Strakeljahn

The Leader of the Bf 110-equipped Zerstörerstaffel varied considerably during the year 1942. The first was Oblt. Felix Maria Brandis, but when he was killed in an accident in February 1942, Oblt. Max Franzisket took over. From Summer 1942 it was Oblt. Karl-Fritz Schlosstein's turn. He commanded the unit until June 1943.


The new Staffels mostly tok over the planes of their former units with one notable exception. The Bf 109T-2s of I./JG 77 were not handed over to JG 5 as some authors have indicated. On 23. december 1941 an order was issued instructing that all available land-based, naval aircraft were to be returned to the Kriegsmarine. The Bf 109T-2s should be withdrawn to Germany and converted to T-1 standard. Some 30 Bf 109Ts were by then in service with Luftflotte 5 and they were imidiately withdrawn from operations. In January 1942 only two remained in Norway, and by 27. January they too were gone.

I./JG 5 were equipped firstly with Bf 109E-7s and from spring 1942, with Bf 109F-2s. 2./JG 5 continued flying both variants. Then, in June 1942, the Gruppe was able to count themselves lucky. They were to be equipped with the excellent new fighter of the Luftwaffe, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190!

1. and 3./JG 5 were the first to re-equip. Temporarily transferring to Vaerloese in Denmark, they received a full complement of Fw 190A-2 and A-3s. 2./JG 5 did not receive Fw 190s untill fall 1942. At this time 1. Staffel operated from Lade and Oerlandet, 2. Staffel from Herdla, Oerlandet and Stavanger-Sola and 3. Staffel operated from Herdla and Stavanger-Sola.

II., III./JG 5 and IV./JG 5 did not receive Fw 190s at this time. These three Gruppen were fighting on the Eismeer front, being based on various airfields in Mid and Northern-Norway and Finland. It is therefore a possibillity that they were not selceted for conversion to Fw 190s because it was felt that the Bf 109 was more than adequate in fighting the Russian types then in service. At first these Gruppen flew Bf 109E-7s. II./JG 5 converted to the Bf 109F-2 in May 1942 at Pori., Finland. III./JG 5 probably converted in the summer.

7./JG 5 was the last Staffel to convert, still flying Bf 109E-7s in early fall 1942. Because this sub type was somewhat more suitable for ground-attack operations, the Staffel was declared as a "Jabo-Schlächterstaffel" by the Geschwaderkommodore, Oblt. Handrick. 5./JG 5 was another Staffel which continued to use Bf 109Es for some time. several photographs exist of Bf 109Es from this Staffel, one of them having an SC 250 bomb on the centreline rack, posssibly indicating that it too was used as a Jabo-Staffel (or does the photo show an Bf 109E from 7./JG 5?). The Kommodore of III./JG 5, Major Scholz also flew a rather well-known Bf 109E for some time in 1942 (more about this below).

The Zerstörerstaffel initially flew Bf 110C, D, and Es, some of which were equipped for ground attack duties, having a bomb rack under the fuselage and four under the wings; the former taking up to 1000 kg of bombs, the latter for 50 kg. It is quite possible that some Bf 110Fs found their way into the staffel in 1942, this variant being distinguished by their deeper radiator baths.

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