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Question about Luftwaffe HQ flights (stabsschwarme)


Cybermat47
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Cybermat47

I was wondering if anyone would be able to answer this question for me; did Luftwaffe fighter and zerstörer HQ flights (stabsschwarme) ever fly by themselves, or were they always leading their gruppe or geschwader? I'm currently unsure, and haven't found much evidence either way.

 

On one hand, a gruppe or geschwader's HQ flight would presumably exist for the sole purpose of leading its gruppe or geschwader, so it seems logical that it would only fly with the unit it existed to command. This seems to have been the case for the RAF, as Johnnie Johnson reportedly said (while explaining why he considered 'Sailor' Malan to be the better pilot) 'I had always fought on the offensive, and, after 1941, I had either a squadron, a wing or sometimes two wings behind me.'

 

On the other hand, Luftwaffe pilots could be quite aggressive, and there was a definite 'ace culture' within their ranks. Perhaps the best example of this is Adolf Galland. While serving as General of Fighters and strictly forbidden from flying in combat, he flew against USAAF bomber formations in an Fw-190. Apparently his authorised biography claims that he shot down three USAAF bombers doing so. In light of this, it doesn't seem unreasonable to me that top aces would take their HQ flights up for their own 'hunting trips' to raise their tallies. 

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LukeFF
Posted (edited)

In the fall of 1944, at the least, the Stabschwarm would go up as part of the larger Gruppe / Geschwader formation. There is one notable incident from this time where US military personnel, as they were eavesdropping on Luftwaffe radio traffic one day, listened to Josef Priller - by then commander of JG 26 - curse out the pilots of the subordinate JG 26 Gruppen as they struggled to form up properly for a bomber intercept mission.

Edited by LukeFF
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