Header by Dan Taylor

The following is a brief history of 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5, including a summary of operations, a biography of Friedrich Wilhelm Strakeljahn, and a loss list. Thanks to Kjetil Aakra for the profile of Strakeljahn's FW 190 A-3, and to Dan Taylor for the header.

In 1943 and 1944 a small FW 190-equipped unit flew fighter-bomber operations from Petsamo in the far north of Finland, and achieved success disproportionate to the number of aircraft available to it. The unit was 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5. Flying in the far north offered unique challenges, but the results achieved indicate the pilots of the Staffel adapted quite well to the conditions experienced inside the Arctic Circle. Despite flying obsolete variants of the FW 190, 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 demonstrated the effectiveness of the FW 190 as a fighter-bomber, particularly against shipping targets.

14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 was formed in the middle of February 1943 to serve as a semi-autonomous Jabostaffel within Jagdgeschwader 5.[1] The unit was created from elements of 11./J.G. 5, and experienced fighter pilot Hptm. Friedrich Wilhelm Strakeljahn was given command (see his biography below).[2] Another man assigned to the new fighter-bomber Staffel was Kurt Dobner, who had gained one aerial victory with 11./J.G. 5 in 1942.[3] 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 flew only FW 190 A-2s and A-3s (mostly the latter), at a time when those variants had been superseded elsewhere by the FW 190 A-4 and A-5. However, because the Staffel was based in the far north of Finland, fighter opposition was minimal, and the earlier FW 190 variants proved adequate. The unit's initial eleven FW 190 A-3s came from 11./J.G. 5, and later aircraft came from other parts of J.G. 5, and from the Kjeller repair facility in Norway.[4] 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 flew missions primarily against Russian ships moving along the Barents Sea coast. The Staffel proved very effective, sinking many enemy vessels.

14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5's first recorded loss occurred on 18 February 1943, when an FW 190 A-3 suffered a landing accident at Alta airfield in northern Norway. On 10 March an FW 190 A-3 was slightly damaged by a bombing raid on Petsamo, and ten days later the first FW 190 was lost on operations, when Fw. Friedrich Hammesfahr was shot down and wounded near Severomorsk, 18 km north-east of Murmansk. Hammesfahr recovered from his injuries and later served with the Focke-Wulf company, flying all FW 190 variants up to the FW 190 F-9, and the Ta 152.[5] Two pilots were killed in April by anti-aircraft fire, and two more in May. In the early summer of 1943, 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 was at the peak of its success. In a three-day period early in May 1943, two 'M'-class submarines were destroyed by Fw. Karl-Heinz Froschek and Uffz. Walter Pohl, and a 2,000-ton auxiliary and a 3,000-ton freighter were sunk by Hptm. Strakeljahn.[6] Congratulations for these feats came from the highest level of the German administration:

From Fliegerführer Nord (Ost)                                                                                   16.5.1943

To: 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 Petsamo
Following teletype for attention of all personnel:
'The Führer has expressed his recognition of the attacks on shipping carried out by the Jabos of Fliegerführer Nord (Ost), and further conveys his wishes that these operations be continued with all available means
While attacking shipping targets off Cap Pogan on 18 June, two FW 190 A-3s of 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 were lost. Flying 'Black 9 + ', Fw. Hünlein struck the mast of the vessel he was attacking, and crashed to his death. Uffz. Pohl was hit by anti-aircraft fire in 'Black 8 + ', and died when he crashed west of Cap Pogan.

On 28 June a rigger named Stahlsmeier was sent by air to 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 in Finland. He was to fit ETC 501 bomb racks to the unit's FW 190s.[8]

In early July, Hptm. Strakeljahn had to crash-land his FW 190 at Petsamo due to anti-aircraft fire. Soviet ground-fire accounted for two more FW 190s in August, but in September 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 suffered no losses.

In late September 1943 10.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 was dropping SC 500 bombs fitted with ricochet discs. They dropped them in a glide attack to mast height, releasing the bombs 50 to 100 m from the target. The bomb then skimmed to hit the ship. Of the first six of these bombs dropped by the unit, none sank. [9] On 5 October 1943, Fw. Reichel and Uffz. Kleemann became lost after a mission, ran out of fuel, and bailed out of their FW 190 A-3s about 40 km west of Passvik. Both men were injured. Kleemann's aircraft FW 190 A-3 W.Nr 0132 219 'Black 3 + ' had been repaired at the Oslo/Kjeller repair facility between 22 August 1942 and 6 May 1943. It had been 35 per cent damaged at Herdla airfield on 10 August 1942 with 3./J.G. 5, at which time it had been an FW 190 A-2.[10]

On 25 November 1943 the Jabostaffel took part in a large combat over northern Finland. Two 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 pilots made victory claims. Uffz. Rudolf Gerndt claimed an Airacobra at 11:54 south-east of Petsamo airfield, and five minutes later Ofw. Richard Luy claimed an Il-2 two-and-a-half kilometres east of the airfield. 23 other claims were made for destruction of Il-2s and fighters by III./J.G. 5 pilots.[11]

Losses were slight in the winter of 1943/1944. By the end of 1943, 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 had flown over 1,000 sorties, and had sunk 39,000 tons of shipping. Some aerial victories had also been achieved.[12] On 14 February 1944, Lt. Karl-Heinz Froschek was wounded by anti-aircraft fire. He was the unit's last casualty.

In February 1944, 4./S.G. 5 was formed from 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 at Petsamo. The new Staffel took on two FW 190 A-2s and thirteen FW 190 A-3s.[13] 4./S.G. 5 operated under Luftflotte 5 in the north until 17 May 1944, when it became 1./S.G. 5.[14]

In early 1944 4./S.G. 5 made use of 21 cm mortars, but on 26 March 1944 use of this type of weapon was discontinued by Luftflotte 5.[15]

To view the official order for the creation of 4./S.G. 5, please follow this link.

Aircraft Used by 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5
SC 250 and SC 500 bombs were used by aircraft of 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5.[16] A reasonably simple modification was done to convert the FW 190 fighters to fighter-bombers. They were given the ETC 501 rack under the fuselage, round pieces of metal were installed inside the inner edges of the wheel walls to secure the rack, and the wheel doors were removed. Some of the Jabos were fitted with the exhaust flaps of the FW 190 A-5. All of 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5's FW 190s had the mid-wing MG FF cannon and associated underwing bulges removed.[17] There were never more than three FW 190 A-2s on strength, and a maximum of fifteen FW 190 A-3s were on strength at the start of October 1943.[18]

Camouflage and Markings
The Focke-Wulf 190s of 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 carried the standard FW 190 scheme of RLM 74/75/76, with only slight mottling on the fuselage sides. Theatre markings were not carried. Large black individual aircraft numbers with white outlines were used. The Staffel emblem was carried on most aircraft - a bomb and bow on a white circle outlined in black. It was applied to the engine cowling on both sides. There is some debate over the colours of the emblem.[19]

Some of the 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 fighter-bombers had heavily mottled fuselage sides. 'Black 5 + ' (depicted in profile below) had an overspray on its sides, probably of RLM 74, through which some blue could be seen. The aircraft suffered a direct anti-aircraft shell hit in the rear fuselage, which necessitated some overspraying with dark colours. 'Black 6 + ' of 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 had some overspray behind the exhaust, but not much behind the aircraft number. The unit's aircraft usually had the early type of national insignia with black edges, although 'Black 6 + ' had white edges and a black centre only. Spinners were generally RLM 70, with a third in white. Some of these FW 190s had a thin white stripe around the spinner about half-way along.[20]

Friedrich Wilhelm Strakeljahn - A Biography
Known as "Straks", Friedrich Wilhelm Strakeljahn was born on 7 September 1914 at Lübeck in northern Germany. He joined the Luftwaffe in pre-war times, and was serving as the Gruppenadjutant of I.(Jagd)/L.G. 2 when the Germans invaded Poland. He became Staffelkapitän of 2.(Jagd)/L.G. 2 on 20 May 1940, the day after he achieved his first two aerial victories over France (both Lysanders). With 2.(Jagd)/L.G. 2, Strakeljahn gained at least five victories in the West. He was appointed Staffelkapitän of 12./J.G. 5 on 1 July 1942, and in February 1943 he became the first Staffelkapitän of 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5.[21]

Strakeljahn received the Ritterkreuz on 19 August 1943 for his outstanding leadership, and at the time he had a total of nine aerial victories. Strakeljahn became Gruppenkommandeur of II./S.G. 4 on 19 May 1944. On 6 July 1944 while flying FW 190 F-8 W.Nr 931 018, Strakeljahn suffered a direct hit from anti-aircraft fire west of Macuty, near Dünaburg, and was killed. He is buried at Daugavpils in Latvia.[22] For the young pilots of 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5, Hptm. Strakeljahn was an important figure. According to one of these men, "Hptm. Strakeljahn was like a father to us - he was a very good officer".[23]

14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 had a difficult role to perform, and that it did so well is testimony to the efforts of the unit's pilots and its leader, "Straks" Strakeljahn. Flying outdated FW 190s, 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 suffered a number of losses, particularly to anti-aircraft fire, but exacted revenge by seeking out and destroying an impressive amount of Russian shipping in the Murmansk area.

Profile by Kjetil Aakra
FW 190 A-3 W.Nr 0135 508 'Black 5 + ' of Hptm. Friedrich Wilhelm Strakeljahn, 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5, summer 1943

Table 1: Loss List
Date Pilot & Fate Type W.Nr Markings Remarks Location % F/H
18.02.43 ? FW 190 A-3 0132 274 ? Landing accident Fl.Pl. Alta 30 H
10.03.43 - FW 190 A-3 0132 255 ? Bombing raid Fl.Pl. Petsamo 10 F
20.03.43 Fw. Friedrich Hammesfahr W FW 190 A-3 0132 268 ? Shot down, later returned to unit Severomorsk 100 F
27.03.43 ? FW 190 A-2 0125 495 ? Belly-landing due to engine trouble S. Fl.Pl. Alta 15 H
29.03.43 ? FW 190 A-3 0132 254 ? Pilot error while landing Fl.Pl. Petsamo 60 F
05.04.43 Uffz. Kurt Dobner + FW 190 A-3 0130 323 'Black 14 + ' Anti-aircraft fire W. Hormasi 100 F
13.04.43 Uffz. Kurt Wendler + FW 190 A-3 0132 215 'Black 1 + ' Anti-aircraft fire, pilot bailed out N. Fl.Pl. Petsamo 100 F
11.05.43 Lt. Günther Busse + FW 190 A-3 0130 524 'Black 7 + ' Anti-aircraft fire Rybaci 100 F
22.05.43 Lt. Klaus Biwer + FW 190 A-3 0132 102 'Black 3 + ' Anti-aircraft fire Cap Cypnavolsk 100 F
17.06.43 Oblt. Karl-Friedrich Koch - FW 190 A-3 0130 471 ? Engine trouble, pilot bailed out Fl.Pl. Petsamo 60 H
18.06.43 Uffz. Walter Pohl + FW 190 A-3 0135 528 'Black 8 + ' Anti-aircraft fire 2 km W. Cap Pogan 100 F
18.06.43 Fw. Walter Hünlein + FW 190 A-3 0135 488 'Black 9 + ' Hit the mast of vessel N. Cap Pogan 100 F
07.07.43 Hptm. Friedrich Wilhelm Strakeljahn - FW 190 A-3 0135 508 'Black 5 + ' Crash-landing due to anti-aircraft fire Fl.Pl. Petsamo 30 F
01.08.43 Ofw. Böttger - FW 190 A-3 0132 255 ? Hit by anti-aircraft fire Pummanki 100 F
01.08.43 ? FW 190 A-3 0135 446 ? Pilot error Fl.Pl. Petsamo 20 F
18.08.43 ? FW 190 A-3 0132 167 ? Anti-aircraft fire Eina Bight 10 F
05.10.43 Fw. Berthold Reichel W FW 190 A-3 0130 523 'Black 15 + ' Became lost, ran out of fuel, pilot bailed out 40 km W. Passvik 100 F
05.10.43 Uffz. Hans-Günther Kleemann W FW 190 A-3 0132 219 'Black 3 + ' Became lost, ran out of fuel, pilot bailed out 40 km W. Passvik 100 F
28.10.43 ? FW 190 A-3 0137 012 ? Landing accident Fl.Pl. Petsamo 10 F
25.11.43 - FW 190 A-3 0130 399 ? Bombing raid Fl.Pl. Petsamo 20 F
29.12.43 Fw. Helmut Kuhlemann + FW 190 A-3 0132 167 ? Anti-aircraft fire Rybaci 100 F
14.02.44 Lt. Karl-Heinz Froschek W FW 190 A-3 0132 179 'Black 2 + ' Crashed after being hit by anti-aircraft fire E. Kiestinki-Louhi 100 F

Table 2: Victory List
Date Pilot: Tally Unit Type Location: Altitude Time Source
25.11.43 Uffz. Rudolf Gerndt: 1 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 Airacobra S.E. Fl.Pl. Petsamo: 200 m 11:54 Film C. 2035/I
25.11.43 Ofw. Richard Luy: 1 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 Il-2 2.5 km E. Fl.Pl. Petsamo UE-8.3: 700 m 11:59 Film C. 2035/I

Table 3: Order of Battle Material
Date Higher HQ C/O Base Type/s
17.05.43 Luftflotte 5 Hptm. Strakeljahn Petsamo FW 190 A-2/3

[1] J. Weal, Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Eastern Front, Osprey Publishing, Botley, 1996, p.30
[2] K. Aakra, 'JG 5 in 1943 Part I', http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/1943/JG5-1.html, 1996; M. Holm, 'Jagdgeschwader 5', http://www.ww2.dk/air/jagd/jg5.htm
[3] Luftwaffe Victory Claims Film C. 2035/II
[4] Aakra, 'JG 5 in 1943 Part I'
[5] F. Hammesfahr, Letter 10 November 2003
[6] Weal, Fw 190 Aces of the Eastern Front p.31; Aakra, 'JG 5 in 1943 Part I'
[7] Weal, Fw 190 Aces of the Eastern Front p.31
[8] NA HW 1/1782, Signal to Chief Engineer, 28 June 1943
[9] NA HW 5/357, Signal from Luftflotte 5, date ca. 24.09.43
[10] NA AIR 40/2415, A.I.(K) Report No. 443/1943; O. Dybvig, 'Losses with Fw 190 A in Norway', http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/Losses/190tap.html
[11] Luftwaffe Victory Claims Film C. 2035/I
[12] Weal, Fw 190 Aces of the Eastern Front p.31
[13] Holm, 'Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5', http://www.ww2.dk/oob/bestand/jagd/b14jg5.html
[14] Holm, 'Schlachtgeschwader 5', http://www.ww2.dk/air/attack/sg5.htm
[15] NA HW 5/458, Signal from Luftflotte 5, 26 March 1944
[16] Weal, Fw 190 Aces of the Eastern Front p.31
[17] Aakra, 'JG 5 in 1943 Part I'
[18] Holm, F & B 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5
[19] Aakra, JG 5 in 1943 Part II, http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/1943/JG5-2.html, 1996
[20] Aakra, JG 5 in 1943 Part II
[21] http://www.volksbund.de; A. Brekken, 'Hauptmann Friedrich Wilhelm Strakeljahn, Staffelkapitän', http://www.stormbirds.com/eagles/units/JG_5/strakeljahn.html; Luftwaffe Victory Claims Film C. 2031/I; Aakra, JG 5 in 1943 Part I
[22] Weal, Fw 190 Aces of the Eastern Front p.31; Brekken, 'Strakeljahn'; Holm, 'Schlachtgeschwader 4', http://www.ww2.dk/air/attack/sg4.htm; http://www.volksbund.de
[23] F. Hammesfahr, Letter 10 November 2003

NA AIR 40/2415, A.I.(K) Report No. 443/1943

NA HW 1, Government Code and Cypher School: Signals Intelligence Passed to the Prime Minister, Messages and Correspondence 1940-1945

NA HW 5, Government Code and Cypher School: German Section: Reports of German Army and Air Force High Grade Machine Decrypts

K. Aakra, 'JG 5 in 1943 Part I', http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/1943/JG5-1.html, 1996

K. Aakra, 'JG 5 in 1943 Part II', http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/1943/JG5-2.html, 1996

A. Brekken, 'Hauptmann Friedrich Wilhelm Strakeljahn, Staffelkapitän', http://www.stormbirds.com/eagles/units/JG_5/strakeljahn.html

O. Dybvig, 'Losses with Fw 190 A in Norway', http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/Losses/190tap.html

F. Hammesfahr, Letter 10 November 2003

M. Holm, http://www.ww2.dk/

Luftwaffe Victory Claims Films

J. Weal, Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Eastern Front, Osprey Publishing, Botley, 1996


Eric Mombeek's series on Jagdgeschwader 5 is in the process of being published. The first volume to be released was one dedicated to 14.(Jabo)/J.G. 5 and the Zerstörerstaffeln of J.G. 5. Unfortunately I have not seen this book. However, knowing the standard of Eric's research, it could be highly recommended.