Glorious Glorious


One of the most famous and successful of the Luftwaffe’s World War Two fighter wings was Jagdgeschwader 54 ‘Grünherz’. Malcolm V Lowe documents the story of this premier combat unit

Wearing rather worn but still effective winter camouflage, this Bf 109F was flown by the high-scoring Hans Philipp, Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 54 in the Soviet Union during March 1942.
The highly individualistic colour schemes of JG 54’s aircraft were not confined to the Bf 109F, as these vibrant Fw 190A fighters of I./JG 54 demonstrate. (JB via Malcolm V Lowe)

During World War Two, Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe comprised a number of famous fighter wings. Known as a Jagdgeschwader (abbreviated to JG), each comprised at least three Gruppen (groups) each of three Staffeln (squadrons), although later in the war operational necessities tended to alter these formal arrangements. Among the frontline fighter units was JG 54, which became particularly noteworthy for the often-unusual camouflage schemes worn by its Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Focke- Wulf Fw 190 fighters. Celebrated for its high number of air-toair victory claims, mainly over Soviet aircraft, this unit included several renowned and colourful personalities in its ranks.

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