Jagdverband 44: Squadron of Experten
Jagdverband 44 was formed in February 1945 on Hitler's orders, to fly the Me 262 "Stormbird", the world's first operational jet fighter, and demonstrate its superiority. The unit was led by the legendary Adolf Galland, who recruited some of Germany's leading aces into it, to the extent that it was said that the Knight's Cross was its unofficial badge. JV 44 engaged the US Ninth Army Air Force over Bavaria and, with its significant speed advantage and powerful armament of cannon and rockets, the Me 262 proved a formidable interceptor in the hands of its expert pilots. In its brief operational existence, never able to get more than six jets in the air at any one time, this small unit achieved approximately 50 kills in less than a month. Unfortunately for the German defensive effort (though Galland himself was glad not to have prolonged the war) there were not enough Me 262s to have any overall effect on the Allied air campaign.
This book is a dramatic record of a highly individual unit and an exciting early chapter in the history of the jet fighter. Four of the world's ten surviving Me 262s are major attractions at flight museums in the USA and recently constructed replicas will soon be a feature of air shows around the nation and the "experten" aces of the Luftwaffe have an enduring fascination.
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Adolf Galland aerial victories Ainring Air Force aircraft airfield Allied American April attack awarded the Knight's B-26 Marauders Barkhorn Berlin Blomert bomb Brandenburg-Briest cockpit combat command damaged defence dive enemy engine escort Fahnen-junker Oberfeldwebel Fahrmann Feldkirchen Feldwebel fighter pilot fire flew flight flown flying four-engined bombers fuel fuselage German Gollob Goring gunner Gutowski Hauptmann heavy bombers Heinz Sachsenberg Herget III./JG Innsbruck instructor Jagdflieger Jagdverband 44 Jagdwaffe jet fighter Johannes Steinhoff joined JV 44 Josef Dobnig Jumo Kaiser Kammerdiener Kammhuber Kette Klaus Neumann Knier Knight's Cross Kommodore landing Lechfeld Leutnant Luftwaffe Lutzow Marauders Maxglan metres Miiller missions MK 108 cannon Munich Munich-Riem Nielinger Oakleaves Oberfeldwebel Oberleutnant Oberstleutnant officers operations orders pilots of JV Platzschutzschwarm Reich reported Riem rockets Salzburg Schnell Schuhmacher shot sorties southern Germany staff Stigler tactical transferred unit's Unteroffizier Unteroffizier Eduard Schallmoser Walter Krupinski White Wk-Nr wounded