Hans-Jürgen Ehrig

I hope I am not overdoing this research on this souvenir left by Feldwebel Kramer when he returned to Germany after the war in 1945 …

Luftwaffe Feldwebel shoulder strap

It was a piece of cake to find more information on the second pilot on this list I found on a Website which I think has some errors.

Eckehardt Priebe 1916 Oblt. 3 31.08.40 Gefangenschaft
Hans-Jürgen Ehrig 1912 Oblt. 3 31.08.40 Gefangenschaft
Hans Petrenko 1917 Lt. 0 31.08.40 Gefangenschaft
Walter Evers 1912 Fw. 0 31.08.40 gefallen, Luftkampf (Themsemündung)
Günther Kramer 1918 Fw. 0 31.08.40 gefallen, Luftkampf (Themsemündung)
Xaver Keck 1917 Uffz. 0 31.08.40 Gefangenschaft

I don’t think these pilots flew with JG51 “Molders” as the Website implies. In fact, it’s only on November 21, 1940, that I. Gruppe/JG77 was renamed IV. Gruppe/JG51:

  • Stab I./JG77 became Stab IV./JG51
  • 1./JG77 became 10./JG51
  • 2./JG77 became 11./JG51
  • 3./JG77 became 12./JG51

This is Oblt. Hans-Jürgen Ehrig’s Bf 109E that crash-landed at Tenterden on August 31st, 1940.    (Source)

Bf-109E-1.JG77-(W13+o)-Hans-Jurgen-Ehrig-crash-landed-Kent-1940-01Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 of 1./JG77 (W13+) Oblt. Hans-Jurgen Ehrig crash-landed at Tenterden, Kent, POW 31st August 1940

The Bf 109 E-4, ‘White 13′ of Oblt. Hans-Jurgen Ehrig, the Staffelkapitan of 1./JG77, lies crumpled in a field at Gates Farm near Tenterden, Kent on the afternoon of 31st August 1940. Damaged by fighters while over Hornchurch on an escort mission, Ehrig attempted to return to France but, harried by F/Lt. M.L. Robinson of 601 Sqn, he was forced to put his damaged aircraft down and was subsequently taken prisoner. 31st August 1940 was disastrous for JG77 which, newly introduced to the Battle of Britain, lost five aircraft from 1. Staffel and one from 2. Staffel.

I found more information about Oblt. Hans Jürgen Ehrig.

Hans Jürgen Ehrig

Units: Legion Condor, Stfkpt 1./JG-77 (Channel)

Awards: Spanish Cross, EK 2 (Eisernes Kreuz 2 Klasse), Fighter Operational Clasp

Known Aircraft: Bf 109E-4 WNr 5105 ‘White 13’ (lost 8/31/40)

Remarks: POW 31st August 1940, shot down during aerial combar by F/O Robinson of RAF No. 601 Sq, and belly landed at Gates Farm, High Halden while on an escort mission over Kent and Essex. One victory in Spain. One known victory, his 1st, a Morane 406 north of Valenciennes, 18th May 1940.

Hans-Jürgen Ehrig, born in 1912, had 3 victories and he was shot down on 31 August, 1940. He was taken gefangenschaft (prisoner). It is clear that he was with JG77 on August 31, 1940, and not with JG51 when he was shot down.

Bf-109E-1.JG77-(W13+o)-Hans-Jurgen-Ehrig-crash-landed-Kent-1940-01

Footnote

To better undertand what you have just read, here are some notes on the structure of a Geschwader that were taken from the Internet.

Geschwader
Initially the Geschwader comprised of three Gruppen and a Stab, later in the war a fourth Gruppe was added. The Geschwader was the largest German flying unit to have a fixed nominal strength. Originally it had been intended that the component Gruppen of each Geschwader should operate together from adjacent airfields, but under the stress of war this soon broke down.

The Geschwader commander held the title of Kommodore (Kdore), and was usually a Major, Oberstleutnant or Oberst. His Staff included and adjudant, an operations officer, an intelligence officer, a navigation officer, technical officers, a signal officer and such other specialist officers as the nature of the unit and task might dictate.

Number of Aircraft in a Jagdgeschwader

Stab (±4 a/c)
3-4 Gruppen (each Gruppe also a Stab flight of 4 a/c)
3-4 Staffeln in each Gruppe
12-16 aircraft in each Staffel

Staffel
Nominal strength of 12 aircraft. A Staffel formation comprised of three Schwärme stepped up in line astern. The staffel was the lowest grade of formation within the organisation. Commanded by a Staffelkapitän usually an Oberleutnant or Hauptmann, members of its flying personnel would supervise the technical and signals branches as secondary duties. Late in the war some Staffeln had their numbers raised to 16 aircraft on strength nominally.

Gruppe
Initially in the Gruppe comprised three Staffeln and a Stab (Headquarters flight), later in the war a fourth Staffel was added. The Stab flight consisted of 3-4 a/c. The Gruppe was the basic flying unit for operational and administrative purposes. When orders were given for moves of flying units, the recipients were usually Gruppen. Normally one complete Gruppe occupied a single airfield, occasionally individual Staffeln might be detached from their parent Gruppe for operational reasons or to re-equip.

The Gruppe commander carried the title of Kommandeur (Kdr.) and was usually a Hauptmann or a major, under his command he had an adjudant, specialist technical officers and a medical officer.

More information about IV. Gruppe/JG51

I was formed 21 November 1940 in Marquise from I./JG77 with:

Stab IV./JG51 from Stab I./JG77
10./JG51 from 1./JG77
11./JG51 from 2./JG77
12./JG51 from 3./JG77

Gruppenkommandeure:

Hptm Johannes Janke, 21 Nov 1940 – 18 Feb 1941

Hannes-Trautloft-Further-Fate-2Hptm Johannes Janke somewhere in France,
circa August-September 1940

Footnote to the footnote

Is it possible that the photo above with all the others were taken in Marquise when Haupmann Johannes Janke was in command of I. Gruppe/JG77 before he took command of IV. Gruppe/JG51 on November 21, 1940?

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I guess we will never know for sure.

More notes…

I. Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 77

Hptm Johannes Janke, 1.5.39 – 21.11.40
Hptm Walter Grommes, 2.41 – 6.41
Maj Joachim Seegert, 6.41 – 1.42
Hptm Herbert Ihlefeld, 6.1.42 – 11.5.42
Maj Heinz Bär, 11.5.42 – 6.8.43
ObLt Armin Köhler (acting), 31.7.43 – 19.8.43
Hptm Lutz-Wilhelm Burkhardt, 19.8.43 – 30.11.43
Hptm Theo Lindemann, 30.11.43 – 28.8.44
Hptm Armin Köhler (acting), 5.44 – 13.6.44
Hptm Lothar Baumann, 1.8.44 – 24.12.44
Maj Münnichow, 24.12.44 – 10.1.45
Hptm Joachim Deicke, 10.1.45 – 17.4.45
Hptm Heinz Grosser, 17.4.45 – 8.5.45

IV. Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 51

Hptm Johannes Janke, 21.11.40 – 18.2.41
Maj Friedrich Beckh, 1.3.41 – 19.7.41
Hptm Karl-Gottfried Nordmann, 20.7.41 – 9.4.42
Hptm Hans Knauth, 10.4.42 – 28.2.43
Maj Rudolf Resch, 1.3.43 – 11.7.43
Maj Hans Ekkehard Bob, 1.8.43 – 8.5.44
Maj Heinz Lange, 9.5.44 – 11.4.45
Olt Günther Josten, 12.4.45 – 28.4.45
Maj Heinz Lange, 29.4.45 – 8.5.45

I hope I am not overdoing this research on this souvenir left by Feldwebel Kramer when he returned to Germany after the war…

Luftwaffe Feldwebel shoulder strap

Final footnote

The pilot who shot down Oblt. Hans Jürgen Ehrig.

I found this information.

Squadron Leader Michael Lister Robinson, then of 601 Squadron Tangmere, sitting on the wing of his Hurricane in 1941. In 1942, after having been “rested” but having insisted on being put back on ops, Robinson was lost while leading the Tangmere Wing at the head of 340 Squadron. His remains were never found. Robinson’s personal papers, accessed after his death, contained some rich anecdotes, including this account of the downing of an Me 109 on August 16th 1940 which differed somewhat from the official log entry:

“He [the German pilot] never rose above 100 feet until well south of Maidstone and then throttled back. I overtook him and formated on him, pointing downwards for him to land. He turned away so I carried out a dummy quarter attack, breaking very close to him. After this he landed his Me in a field. I threw him a packet of twenty Players and returned to base.”

robins10I believe the August 16 date to be wrong.

Click here.

Excerpt (be sure to read the complete article)

Michael Lister Robinson was born in Chelsea, London in May 1917, the son of Sir Roy, later Lord, Robinson. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in September 1935. On the 28th he was posted to 3 FTS, Grantham and, with training completed, he joined 111 Squadron at Northolt on August 3rd 1936. Robinson went to 11 Group Pool, St Athan on January 30th 1939, as an instructor and was appointed ‘B’ Flight Commander on July 10th.

He was posted to France on March 16th 1940 and joined 87 Squadron there. On May 9th he badly injured a hand in a crash in a Master and was sent back to England.

Fit again, Robinson was posted to 601 Squadron at Tangmere on August 16th as a Flight Commander. On the 31st he claimed a Me 109 destroyed, another probably destroyed and a third one damaged, on September 4th he shared a probable Me 110, on the 6th he destroyed a Me 109 and on the 25th he got a probable Me 110.

More on Feldwebel Günther Kramer

Little by little I am finding more and more information on Feldwebel Günther Kramer who gave this memento to a lady in England after the war.

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We started our search with this piece of information.

Last year we were given an envelope which held a shoulder strap with the following written on the front.

Sgt Major Günther Kramer was a Messerschmitt pilot shot down over Kent. He was taken as a POW. He was one of five billeted out on Chivers Farm Aldreth near Ely (Cambs).

He gave me his pilots shoulder strap as a souvenir when he returned to Germany, we called him Jack, he had been a school teacher before being called up, he came from Altenburg, he wrote a few letters when he returned home.

I have done some research to try and find any descendants  so that we could return these items but without success and wondered if you might be luckier.

Feldwebel Günther Kramer was a pilot with I. Gruppe of JG77. Feldwebel means his rank was sergeant.

His Gruppenkommandeure was Hptm Johannes Janke who was in charge from 1 May 1939 to 21 November 1940. His name is mentioned here with this other German pilot.

Hannes Trautloft Bf 109Source

From 31 July 1940 to 25 August 1940, this unit was stationed at Aalborg-West and was flying Bf 109 E. From 25 August 1940 to 21 November 1940 this unit was stationed at Marquise-Mimoyecques in the Pas-de-Calais, still flying on Bf 109 E.

This is a picture of a Bf 109 E-3 taken from this Website.

Bf-109E3-1.JG77-(W15+o)-side-profile-view-1939-01Bf 109E3 1.JG77 (W15+o) side profile view 1939-01

Feldwebel Günther Kramer was flying a Bf 109 E-1, no.5, werknummer 6092.

I have modified the image of the plane above. That would probably represent Feldwebel Günther Kramer’s plane.

Bf 109 E1 no. 5This is another picture of a Bf 109 E of 1./JG77 taken on the same Website.

Bf-109E3-1.JG77-(W11+o)-semi-hidden-along-a-small-forest-1940-01Messerschmitt Bf 109 E- of 1./JG77 (White 11+o)
partially hidden in trees France 1940

This next picture is another Bf 109 E from the same unit. This plane was shot down on the exact same date and in the same region as Günther Kramer’s plane.

The source is here.

Bf-109E-1.JG77-(W13+o)-Hans-Jurgen-Ehrig-crash-landed-Kent-1940-01Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 of 1./JG77 (W13+)
Oblt. Hans-Jurgen Ehrig crash-landed Tenterden,
Kent POW 31st August 1940

The Bf 109 E-4, ‘White 13’ of Oblt. Hans-Jurgen Ehrig, the Staffelkapitan of 1./JG77, lies crumpled in a field at Gates Farm near Tenterden, Kent on the afternoon of POW 31st August 1940. Damaged by fighters while over Hornchurch on an escort mission, Ehrig attempted to return to France but, harried by F/Lt. M.L. Robinson of 601 Sqn, he was forced to put his damaged aircraft down and was subsequently taken prisoner. POW 31st August 1940 was disastrous for JG77 which, newly introduced to the Battle of Britain, lost five aircraft from 1. Staffel and one from 2. Staffel.

Feldwebel Günther Kramer was not the only German pilot shot down on August 31st, 1940.

About the Bf 109 E…

Messerschmitt Bf 109 E Emil

On the ground the Bf 109 was tricky to handle but in the air it was lethal. Allied designers made their aircraft easy for any novice pilot to handle and as a result where able to throw new pilots into combat at a much faster rate and during the ‘Battle of Britain’ this is one of many factors that help win the Battle. As pilot loses mounted the Luftwaffe faced more accidents which also took it’s toll on materials and resources.

The Bf 109’s small rudder was relatively ineffective at controlling the strong swing created by the powerful slipstream of the propeller during the early portion of the takeoff roll, and this sideways drift created disproportionate loads on the wheel opposite to the swing. If the forces imposed were large enough, the pivot point broke and the landing gear leg would collapse outward into its bay. Experienced pilots reported that the swing was easy to control, but some of the less-experienced pilots lost fighters on takeoff.

Because of the large ground angle caused by the long legs, forward visibility while on the ground was very poor, a problem exacerbated by the sideways-opening canopy. This meant that pilots had to taxi in a sinuous fashion which also imposed stresses on the splayed undercarriage legs. Ground accidents were a problem with rookie pilots, especially during the later stages of the war when pilots received less training before being sent to operational units. At least 10% of all Bf 109s were lost in takeoff and landing accidents, 1,500 of which occurred between 1939 and 1941. The installation of a fixed “tall” tailwheel on some of the late G-10s and 14s and the K-series helped alleviate the problem to a large extent.

From the inception of the design, priority was given to easy access to the powerplant, fuselage weapons and other systems while the aircraft was operating from forward airfields. To this end, the entire engine cowling was made up of large, easily removable panels which were secured by large toggle latches. A large panel under the wing centre section could be removed to gain access to the L-shaped main fuel tank, which was sited partly under the cockpit floor and partly behind the rear cockpit bulkhead. Other, smaller panels gave easy access to the cooling system and electrical equipment. The engine was held in two large, forged, magnesium alloy Y-shaped legs which were cantilevered from the firewall. Each of the legs was secured by two quick-release screw fittings on the firewall. All of the main pipe connections were colour-coded and grouped in one place, where possible, and electrical equipment plugged into junction boxes mounted on the firewall. The entire powerplant could be removed or replaced as a unit in a matter of minutes.

This is where I found all this information.

Feldwebel Günther Kramer

I knew I would get some help from very knowledgeable people.

I got this message on the forum 12 O’Clock High where I posted a request.

Taken from Luftwaffe crash archives:

31 August 1940 Bf 109 E-1 Wn 6092 marks: 5+ unit: 1. /JG 77

Place: Shornemead Fort, Gravesend, Kent at 13.20H

While escorting bombers at 23000 ft to Hornchurch aerodrome this aircraft was attacked by a Hurricane, the controls and engine being damaged and the aircraft made a belly landing but started to burn and was almost completely destroyed.

Markings: most of the nose appeared to have been painted yellow.

Pilot: Feldwebel Günther Kramer EK II badly burnt, POW

There are two photos of the Bf 109 after the fire had been put out and a note saying, the pilot had in his pockets three receipts from shops in Aalborg dated 19th August 1940.

Cheers


Stig.

Then this one…

6092 is pictured three times in Prien Teil 2 pages 458 & 459 in Frankfurt Rhein/Main after a “Kopfstand”.

It does exist one photo (eBay) showing only the tail (including WNr.) displaying one victory on fin (Poland fights or better the only one 1.Staffel victory registered on 03/01/1940 – snow on picture – by Fw. Gotthard Goltzsche?). “Weisse 5+”.

Another one showing only the nose but in connection with other photos proving it’s white 5.

And a third one showing the full plane; no victory visible; WNr. not readable.

All in early camouflage and, maybe nothing to do with your pilot.

Thanks Stig to have pointed the loss.

Regards, Franck.

Any more information is be more than welcome.

Shot down over Kent

Günther Kramer was shot down over Kent.

Nothing has been found yet on him except on this blog.

A famous German pilot was also shot down over Kent.

Von_Werra_BF109_Marsden_Kent

Click here.

What information do we have on Günther Kramer?

This…

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His home town…

He came from Altenburg,

He worked with four other POWs on a farm…

He was one of five billeted out on Chivers Farm Aldreth near Ely (Cambridgeshire).

He was a school teacher before the war.

He had been a school teacher before being called up,

Now he should be easy to find.

Feldwebel Günther Kramer

I got this message this morning.

I was expecting it.

Last year we were given an envelope which held a shoulder strap with the following written on the front.

Sgt Major Günther Kramer was a Messerschmitt pilot shot down over Kent. He was taken as a POW. He was one of five billeted out on Chivers Farm Aldreth near Ely (Cambs).

He gave me his pilots shoulder strap as a souvenir when he returned to Germany, we called him Jack, he had been a school teacher before being called up, he came from Altenburg, he wrote a few letters when he returned home.

I have done some research to try and find any descendants  so that we could return these items but without success and wondered if you might be luckier.

I look forward to your reply and if you would like a picture of the shoulder strap I will attach one when we next communicate.

With Thanks,

I did reply…

So here is the shoulder strap.

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Any information is be more than welcome.