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2020-11-23T14:15:25+08:00 ยท ยท Edited
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World War 2 came to Scandinavia on 30 November 1939 when the Soviets invaded Finland.

This Soviet move was a direct result of a non-interference pact between Stalin and Hitler, signed in August 1939. This so-called Winter War was to last four months, and ended with a peace treaty in which Finland was forced to cede territory to increase the buffer zone around the Soviets' second city of Leningrad.

In this background, Hitler launched Operation Weserubun...
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In this background, Hitler launched Operation Weserubung, the invasion of Norway, on 9 April 1940.

Strategically, the occupation of Norway enabled him to block threats against the German Baltic coast, secure a route for high-grade Swedish iron ore and Finnish nickel, obtain access to Norwegian natural resources and to counter against British control of Scandinavia and the North Atlantic.

Having so secured his northern flank, Hitler launched Operation Gelb, the invasion of France, Belgium and the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. For a while, the German success in the Low Countries and in France lessened the strategic importance of Norway, but with the commencement of Operation Barbarossa - the German invasion of Soviet Russia on 22 June 1941 - Scandinavia assumed a greater strategic importance. The Finns joined the Germans and launched their own offensive against Russia in July 1941 to re-capture ceded territory in Karelia.

For the next four years, Norway was the base of operations by the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine against the all-important supply convoys to Murmansk, which the Germans failed to capture or to isolate.

Against this background, Jagdgeschwader 5 (JG-5) Eismeer (Ice Sea) was formed in January 1942 to carry out aerial operations in this northern region: I.Gruppe was based in Sola-Stavanqer to defend against Allied attacks on German shipping; II & III Gruppen were based in Petsamo in northern Finland in support of operations over Murmansk and Karelia; IV Gruppe was created later in 1942, based at Trondheim as air activities increased against the Arctic convoys to Murmansk.

By January 1943, I & IV Gruppen were in southern Norway, at the airbases at Lista, Sola, Kjevik and Herdla, with June 1943 seeing JG-5 at its maximum strength with 14 Staffeln, comprising 12 Staffeln of single-engined fighters equipped with Bf109s and Fw190s, one Bf110 Zerstorerstaffel and an armoured-up Fw190A Jabo unit. In late 1943, however, I & III Gruppen left Norway and Finland for good, fighting the rest of the war elsewhere.

By the end of the war, JG-5 had amassed over 3,000 victories at a cost of 300 pilots lost over the 3 years of operations. Well-known aces include Heinrich Ehrler (208 victories) and Waiter Schuck (206 victories), both of whom flew Me262 jets with JG-7 at war's end.

In this print, Barry Spicer depicts in the reflected late Winter light, a rotte of Gustavs circling over Sola-Stavanger looking for a break in the persistent ground fog, in late 1944.

The lead aircraft is a Bf109G-14 flown by Ofw Heinz Halstrick of 16/JG-5 of IV Gruppe. Ofw Halstrick's aircraft carries his personal emblem comprising "Kolle alaaf', a traditional Cologne greeting, below the city emblem of Koln, his home town, and the Jagerpfeil.

Ofw Halstrick flew with IV JG-5 from the summer of 1943 until the end of the war acquiring an impressive tally of 13 victory claims and the destruction of one ship.
#aviationart #luftwaffe #barryspicer #bf109 #jg5 #eismeer '/>