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Kevin H

SG-3: Infantryman to Fw-190 ground attack pilot - Soldbuch, Flugbuch & misc.

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This is one of my favourite Luftwaffe soldbuch sets. The soldbuch, which is jam packed with entries, was opened on 1st September 1939 and as can be seen Ernst Scotti started his military career with Infanterie Rgt 115 (33 Infanterie Division). With this unit he saw action in the 1940 Western Campaign, being awarded an EK II on 21st November 1940. With the forming of 20 Pz. Division in late 1940, III/IR 115 was transferred and incorporated into the new division as Kradschützen Btl 20 and so Scotti was transferred with his Kompanie. However at some point between March 1941 and September 1942 Scotti decided further wartime service lay elsewhere and so he transferred across to the Luftwaffe to undergo flying training. Completing his pilot training in 1943 Scotti was awarded a Pilots Badge on 17th March 1943 but further training lay ahead as Scotti was to become a ground attack pilot and so he spent the next 21 months learning to fly the Ju-87 and Fw-190 in the close air support role.

Scotti completed his training late in 1944 and on 22nd December 1944 he flew to Zabeln in the Kurland Pocket to join 8./Schlachtgeschwader 3.

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As can be seen from the award page in the Soldbuch, as well as the EK II & Pilots Badge Ernst Scotti was also awarded the Kurland Cuffband. The authorising signature for the cuffband is that of Oberleutnant Naumann who was the final Staffelkapitän of 8./SG-3. The group photo was kindly provided by Ian and I believe it is from Erhard Jähnert's memoirs.

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A while after I had acquired the Soldbuch and miscellaneous pieces of paperwork I was just lazily browsing the WAF and clicked on a thread someone had posted showing a Flugbuch that he had happened to pick up from a French fleamarket (in Paris I believe but not totally certain). Imagine my surprise when I scrolled down to the second image that showed the Flugbuch pilots name and it was none other than Ernst Scotti! Long story short, after a bit of negotiation I was able to trade for the Flugbuch and so reunited it with Scotti's Soldbuch. In total it lists 65 flights in the Fw-190 from 4th October 1944 to the very last day of the war and includes his transfer flight into the Kurland Pocket and all 16 combat sorties that he flew showing the weapons his aircraft was fitted with and his successes - he was credited with 2 tanks destroyed (a T-34 on sortie 14 and witnesed by Fhr Gebhardt & a Josef Stalin on sortie 15 witnessed by Oberleutnant Naumann). There is also a crossed out entry on sortie 13 for another T-34 so possibly this one was not witnessed and so not credited.

On the final day of the war there was a major airlift instigated to evacuate as many German troops as possible from the Kurland Pocket. There is very little written about this event but the excellent Luftwaffe Im Focus publication (Special Edition #2) does provide a brief history of it. Taken from the publication: On the final day of the Second World War, more than 150 German aircraft (fighters, nightfighters, torpedo-bombers, close support aircraft, tactical and strategic reconnaissance aircraft, transports, liaison aircraft and flying boats) fled Courland and landed at English-held airfields in northwestern Germany and Denmark, on the Russian-controlled coast of Mecklenburg and in neutral Sweden. The air evacuation enabled several hundred soldiers - airmen, ground personnel, flak crews and members of the army, mainly wounded - to escape Soviet captivity at the last minute.

Not only aircraft within the pocket were used for this evacuation but also aircraft based in Norway. When the order went out to commence the evacuation III/SG-3 had 43 aircraft on strength of which 41 were serviceable. To make the aircraft lighter the ground crews had stripped them of armour plating, radios and non-essential items to enable them to carry an additional passenger. Again, taken from LiF Special #2: Under the command of Hptm Jähnert, on 7th May 1945 this close support Gruppe flew its Fw-190G's from the operational airfield at Zabeln to Nikas, south of Windau. The Gruppe commander was informed of the impending surrender in the early hours of 8th May 1945. He was ordered to leave Courland for Schleswig-Holstein with all aircraft by 1400 hours.

III/SG-3 took off shortly after 1300 hours, with two or three men in each aircraft. After a flight lasting about 140 minutes the Gruppe landed at Flensburg. Three Fw-190s came down in Danish territory...and two more close-support aircraft with a total of six soldiers onboard made forced landings in Sweden.

Last to land [from III/SG-3] was the Ju-52 which was supposed to fly out members of the Gruppe headquarters. It arrived in Flensburg with no passengers, however. Soon after take off from Nikas the aircraft had come under fire. The central engine failed and the aircraft turned back. With only 2 engines, the Ju-52 could only take off from a muddy airfield empty, consequently the passengers had to get off and remain behind.

As can be seen from Scotti's Flugbuch these last flights from Zabeln to Nikas and then to Flensburg are shown but as well as this in the line for his 65th, and final, sortie to Flensburg Scotti has also noted the name of the person he evacuated out of the Kurland Pocket in his Fw-190 - an Unteroffizier Hanske.

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Finally, among the miscellaneous pieces of paper are these two news-sheets, one from June 1940 and produced on behalf of the OKW but more interestingly is the second Newspaper which is one produced by the Allies in August 1944 and dropped for propaganda purposes over German areas.

Unfortunately, Scotti's award citations are not with this group and I have no idea where they are or even if they still exist. The only citation with this group is one of the large colourful RAD service types.

Air War Publications hope to publish a detailed coverage of the airwar over the Kurland Pocket, including the evacuation, later this year or in 2013 [ http://airwarpublications.com/ ]

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Kevin

Nice group! Quite amazing history going from ground forces to end up flying Fw190's.

Also a nice ending to reunite the FB with the group. As you know the documents may yet surface its crazy how this stuff gets split up .

Jeremy

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Very nice Kevin

But as you know I like Stuka units anyway....

Seem to remember I sent you other scans from the book or referenced his combat missions that Jähnert took part in.....however couldn't find them on my laptop but then again clear it out after a short period.

/Ian

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Amazing set, Kevin! Glad you could have reunited some more paperwork, maybe in the future more pops up. You never know. Thanks for sharing.

/Bart

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Hi Kevin,

Thank you for posting your great grouping together with a fine informative presentation.

What an interesting career change your man made !

What a luck you did have, being able to re-unite the man's Flugbuch to your Soldbuch.

Ending up flying in my favorite German aircraft the Focke Wulf 190.

Best regards

Eric-Jan

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Kevin a very nice grouping to a Schlacht pilot. interesting with his first performance on Fw 190F's on SG 151 later the 8./SG 3 on anti-Soviet armor equipped with /R4M'sw modified for ground attack work........ a search for the III./SG 3 KTB might be a good idea for more background on the man and his staffel/gruppe ?

As a side note airwarpublications will be producing a book on the LW operations over Kurland in the near future. So Kevin it might be worth looking into....

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Thanks for the comments. There is a book that gives good information for LW ground attack wings but unfortunately SG-3 is in Vol 2 and the authors seem to have hit a brick wall with the relevant publishers for getting it released which is a pity and also frustrating with Vol 1 having already been on the market for some time now.

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Kevin :

If we are talking author L. Hickey then quite agree as we have spoken often, he has checked the Freiburg archiv's nmerous times the KTB's and associated book(s)/text forms usually drop off the face of the earth around December 1944's end and then one has to guess unless a private source(s) can be used or pilot/crewmens Flugbuchs are available, needless to say have had my own difficulties trying to cross reference for a multi volume's on the NJG arm-Ju 88G-6 crews and JG 301

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kevin

not sure if you have the Bridgehead Kurland book by Franz Kurowski but the LW ground support units including SG 3 are covered in 5-6 pages towards the back, might be worth the time to trace it out and get copies ?

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kevin

not sure if you have the Bridgehead Kurland book by Franz Kurowski but the LW ground support units including SG 3 are covered in 5-6 pages towards the back, might be worth the time to trace it out and get copies ?

Thanks for that Erich. I don't have that but think I will wait for the Airwarpublications Kurland book as that will be specific to the air side of the campaign.

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I very much agree Kevin have given Andy and Morten my blessings with smooth sailings there is so much apparently lost in the Fall of 44 till wars end -45 of the air war only some info on JG 54, Dr. Theo Boiten I believe has been in communique' with the guys about NJG 100's operations as they shot Soviet motor transport to pieces, and this is not covered at all in Kurowski's Kurland book. the Airwar publication should cover if they can the SG's and JG 54 and other air units involvement like no other book, am looking quite forward to this volume about a portion of war that is entirely unknown.......

E ~

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Fingers crossed it is at least on a par with their Focke-Wulf in Tunisia & Sicily books which were very well done.

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Hi Kevin,

Bit of an update, which might be of interest. Two of my colleagues visited and interviewed Ernst Scotti a couple of weeks ago. He's in great health, and was full of stories (one of my colleagues wrote: "Scotti was like a wild racehorse. Before I could even turn on the video he was off and running with the bit in his teeth"). He's also written his memoirs, but they are yet to be published.

Naturally I'll be including his Kurland stories in the Air War Courland book. It is a pretty rare opportunity to get first-hand accounts from a Focke-Wulf 190 pilot who used Panzerschreck rockets against T-34s and IS-2s.

Cheers,

Andrew A.

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Hello Andrew,

             That is indeed great news and good to hear that Ernst Scotti is willing to share his experiences. I look forward to the Courland book even more so now. Fingers crossed someone takes up his memoirs.

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Oustanding group Kevin, to have that flugbuch turn up like that is just amazing, the two best parts of a group, soldbuch + flugbuch.

And soon to have some of his first hand experiences published, it doesn't get much better.

 

Regards

Greg

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Kevin,

A book with the man's own history in it must the the icing on the cake.

......or even better, with the book a copy of the interview......

Best regards

Eric-Jan

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