Experten Decals ED-3 August 2001
190 D-9 "R4M Dora", I./JG 301
Fw 190 D-9s with R4M air-to-air rockets mounted under the wings are now known from several sources (1, 2, 3). Photos reveal a simple square wooden launch-rail system with 13 rockets under each, neither 14 as originally stated in our publication (1) nor 12 as stated in Focke-Wulf (1) and RLM documents quoted here. We originally believed that the R4M aircraft in our publication came from JG 1, based on an interpreted red RV band. In retrospect, the wooded background behind the Dora looked very similar to other published photographs taken in Southern Germany where many JG 301 aircraft were discovered by US forces. Could this Dora possibly have been a JG 301 aircraft? New data and research reveals that this speculation is indeed correct.
More information has been discovered on R4M-equipped Doras. On May 5, 1945, a large number of different Luftwaffe aircraft escaped to Norway from airfields in northern Germany and Denmark (2, 3). A number of fighters landed at Lister airfield in southern Norway, amongst them were 5 Fw 190D-9s from II./JG 26 of which several were photographed (2, 3). Three of them carried unspecified rockets under their wings, which in all probability were R4Ms, these aircraft listed being (4, 5):
Fw 190D-9, W.Nr. 210 954, 2 x MG 151, 26 rockets
Of the three JG 26 Doras mentioned, two were 210000-series aircraft, one being from the first production batch. This corresponded with our original interpretation that the "R4M" aircraft was also from this first batch, WNr.2100??.. The lack of Staffel markings aft of the fuselage Balkenkreuz and evidence of previous markings being painted-out on this aircraft and Weisse 1 (above) together indicate that both aircraft were originally unmarked. The interpreted red Reichsverteidigung band is now believed to have a yellow band aft of it but whose top is oversprayed with a dark camouflage colour (81 or 83) to aid in ground concealment. (The black/white JG 26 RV band on Weisse 1 is also freshly painted (4)). These observations and interpretations infer that the subject aircraft was attached to an unknown Staffel of JG 301's I. Gruppe. As is well known through numerous published photographs of various JG 301 aircraft, they are observed to have worn either red/yellow or yellow/red bands.
In addition to the photographic evidence, there are several documents which further support the belief that this aircraft was assigned to I./JG 301. Several months after the release of our Experten book, the following Luftwaffe document was discovered, dated March 22, 1945, which sheds more light on the use of this weapon (6):
"SSO LSCW 694 22/3 (1510)
GLTD SSD LW Führungsstab IA
2.) The Staffel equipped with Fw 190 A-8 and A-9 with Jägerfaust are to be ready for action under the operational control of JG 301 from March 27. The technical personnel are to return to Jagdgruppe 10 as noted under Number 1.
3.) A request is made for the immediate disbandment of Jagdgruppe 10."
This is an important document in that it reveals the various aircraft (D-9s) originally attached to JGr.10 were transferred to operational units for combat evaluation / operations were now to be retained by them permanently. While no units are specifically mentioned, documents noted below reveal that they were I./JG 301 and II./JG 26 and under their control from early April 1945. Furthermore, JG 301 was charged with using a Fw 190 A-8/9-equipped Staffel mounting the R4HI Jägerfaust. Which Staffel remains unknown.
The RLM's War Diary of the Chief: Technical Air Armaments, Flight Test Working Group for the week 26 February to 4 March 1945 provides more information on the testing and use of R4Ms with the Ta 152 and Fw 190 D-9 (6), with further information on the units involved :
"EQUIPPING THE TA 152 WITH SPECIAL WEAPONS:
As a result of these trials the order was issued to immediately equip not just the Me 262 but also the Fw 190 and Ta 152 with the R4M. The R4M installation was to be installed on the Ta 152 C-1/R31 and the Ta 152 H-1/R31. Modification directives also anticipated retrofitting the Ta 152 H-1/R11, H-1/R21 and C-1/R11. By the end of the war JGr. 10 was to have three Ta 152s in addition to the rocket-armed Fw 190s. The effectiveness of the R4M was successfully demonstrated by the Me 262. The order that disbanded Jagdgruppe 10 on 2 April 1945 called for all of 2./JGr. 10's Fw 190 D-9s equipped with the R4M to be handed over to I/JG 301; it is not known whether this order was carried out."
Apparently, the order was indeed carried out. Interestingly, this document notes that the Doras were assigned to JGr. 10's 2. Staffel, whereas other researchers (presumably based on unidentified Luftwaffe documents) claim it was the 3. Staffel (7):
"On 4 April , Jagdgruppe 10 which had operated with a handful of pilots on Focke-Wulf 190 A-8s, A-9s and D-9s was disbanded, its survivors being regrouped into a new Jadgstaffel 10. The Focke-Wulf 190D-9s of the old 3. Staffel, armed with R4M rockets, were turned over to Jagdgeschwader 301."
In conclusion, this new information reveals that R4M-equipped Dora-9s were sent to operational units from JGr.10, these being identified as II./JG 26 and I./JG 301. The subject aircraft in our publication is in all probability one of the JG 301 aircraft as identified by its location and the red/yellow RV tailband. While no individual aircraft number is visible, documents infer that it probably was assigned to the unit's 2. Staffel (red numbers), or, possibly the 3. Staffel (yellow numbers). To replicate the JG 301 RV band, it is suggested that modellers paint a Yellow 27 band over the entire aft fuselage insert and then apply the red RV band decal ahead of it. The yellow portion of the top fuselage spine and tailfin leading edge should be painted in either 81 Braunviolett or 83 Dunkelgrün as seen in the photo. The selection of an individual aircraft number and colour is left to the modeller's discretion.
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