Fighter escort for Ritter von Greim

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Mannheim
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Fighter escort for Ritter von Greim

Post by Mannheim » 22 Dec 2021 21:42

I have read a number of times that Robert Ritter von Greim (and Hanna Reitsch) had an escort of forty fighters (usually stated as Bf 109s) when they began their flight into Berlin in 1945. I find this hard to believe. Is there a source for this information?
Kein Irrtum ist so groß, der nicht seinen Zuhörer hat.

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Mark in Cleveland, Tn.
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Re: Fighter escort for Ritter von Greim

Post by Mark in Cleveland, Tn. » 23 Dec 2021 00:00

Never happened, cripes the Luft never had the fuel for one fighter( give or take a few) most of the time after late 44, much less mid 45

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von thoma
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Re: Fighter escort for Ritter von Greim

Post by von thoma » 23 Dec 2021 02:03

I don't think so either, not even Hitler would have mustered such an escort.

By the way, I have never known what aircraft they used ( A STOL aircraft Fieseler Storch ? ), and exactly who piloted it ( Reitsch I guess ).
" The right to believe is the right of those who don't know "

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Ironmachine
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Re: Fighter escort for Ritter von Greim

Post by Ironmachine » 23 Dec 2021 08:49

Mannheim wrote:I have read a number of times that Robert Ritter von Greim (and Hanna Reitsch) had an escort of forty fighters (usually stated as Bf 109s) when they began their flight into Berlin in 1945.
I had also read other numbers, like twelve fighters or fifteen fighters. All these claims are, AFAIK, unsourced. It is possible that they had a fighter escort, at least in the first part of the flight, but forty certainly seems like too many fighters.
von thoma wrote:By the way, I have never known what aircraft they used ( A STOL aircraft Fieseler Storch ? ), and exactly who piloted it ( Reitsch I guess ).
They flew to Gatow in a Fw-190, and from there to the Chancellery in a Fi-156; they flew out of Berlin on an Arado Ar96. As to who piloted the planes, a pilot who had made flights to Berlin in the previous days flew the Fw-190, while the Fi-156 was piloted by Greim. In the flight out of Berlin, which take off from Gatow, it seems the plane was also piloted by the same pilot that flew the Fw-190, though there is some conflict in the sources and it could have been that Reitsch was the pilot.

Mannheim
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Re: Fighter escort for Ritter von Greim

Post by Mannheim » 24 Dec 2021 00:59

As I suspected. Thanks very much for the input, everyone.
Kein Irrtum ist so groß, der nicht seinen Zuhörer hat.

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Re: Fighter escort for Ritter von Greim

Post by FalkeEins » 31 Dec 2021 16:12

there are a couple of accounts in Mombeeck's two volume history of JG 4. My translation;

Major Wilhelm Moritz, Gruppenkommandeur II. (Sturm)/JG 4, recalled;

" I was airborne with five other machines. We had been tasked with furnishing fighter cover for Flugkapitän Hanna Reitsch and General Ritter von Greim who had been summoned to Berlin by Hitler - von Greim was to succeed Göring as commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe. The situation on the ground was very confused - the Russians had apparently taken the East-West Axis under fire and we didn't know whether there still existed a route into the centre. As luck would have it, we encountered no enemy aerial activity, only light flak fire from a 2 cm battery - possibly even one of our own. Having seen von Greim and Hanna Reitsch as far as Gatow, our mission was accomplished and we turned back for Rechlin. Von Griem flew on into Berlin in a Storch - with Hanna Reitsch at the controls- putting down on the 'Unter den Linden'.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Fighter escort for Ritter von Greim

Post by Ironmachine » 01 Jan 2022 09:11

Von Griem flew on into Berlin in a Storch - with Hanna Reitsch at the controls-[...]
Hanna Reitsch herself states in her autobiography that it was Greim who piloted the Storch as she had no experience of flying under fire, so I think we can safely conclude that Moritz is wrong on that point (however, when Grein was wounded, Reitsch had to reach the stick and throttle over his shoulders to keep the Storch in flight and land it).

About the opening question of this thread, Reitsch also claims in her autobiography that there were "thirty or forty" fighters assigned to escort their Fw-190 (she states that she could not remember the last time she had seen so many German planes together), though by the time their fighter took over she was "stored" in the rear section of the fuselage and she could not see what was happening around, so she couldn't see how many fighters actually took off with them.

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Re: Fighter escort for Ritter von Greim

Post by FalkeEins » 01 Jan 2022 14:52

..worth pointing out too that Caldwell's JG 26 'Top guns' has exactly the same (type of) account from a 2. Staffel pilot who reports that vG was escorted into Gatow by twelve Fw 190 Doras..

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