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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Oberst Hajo Hermann (deceased)
*Signature Value : £65
|Hans-Joachim Hermann was born on August 1st 1913 in Kiel, Germany. Hans-Joachim Hermann began his military career as an infantry officer, but after his introduction to gliding – and an invitation from Herman Göring, he transferred to the newly-created Luftwaffe and was commissioned in 1935. In August 1936, Herrmann was in the first group of Germans to arrive in Spain to support General Franco's Nationalist forces. Initially Hans-Joachim Hermann flew bombing operations in the Junkers 52 before becoming a founder member of the Condor Legion, whosemain mission was to attack airfields and defensive positions near Madrid. Many more bombing operations followed, and in April 1937 he returned to Germany. When Germany invading Poland Hermann took off in his Heinkel He111 to bomb railway lines in Poland on the first day. This was the first of 18 targets that Hermann attacked before his unit moved to support the German invasion of Norway. His unit was deployed to bomb targets near Oslo and Stavanger and after the fall of Norway, Hermann's unit was re-equipped with the Junkers 88 and moved to support the German army during the blitzkrieg across the Low Countries and France. During the battle of Britain Hermann was the commander of the 7th Staffel of KG-4, and he led many bombing attacks on England. His first target was oil refineries at Thames Haven and on the night of the 7th / 8th of September 1940 he attacked London. This was his 69th operation against England, when he bombed the India Dock. By the end of the Battle of Britian Hajo Hermann had flown 21 missions over London. A formidable figure in the Luftwaffe, Hajo Hermann was originally awarded the Knight's Cross in 1940 as a bomber pilot. In February 1941 while based in Sicily, Hermann led dive-bombing attacks against airfields on Malta. He was also ordered to hold the British Fleet in check. Attacks against the Royal Navy's heaviest ships followed. On April 7th 1941 following the German advance into Greece, Hermann's unit started mining and bombing operations in the eastern Mediterranean. On one attack, against shipping in Piraeus harbour, Hermann's bomb hit Clan Fraser, which was carrying 350 tons of high explosive. The resulting explosion sank 10 other ships and closed the port for many months. Hermann flew over 320 operations with KG4. In July 1941 Hermann was appointed commander of a bomber group, initially based in France to attack targets in England, before moving to a new base in the far north of Norway. His unit attacked Allied convoys heading for Murmansk with supplies for the Russians - these artic convoys included PQ-17, which was continously attacked. PQ -17 would lose a total of 24 merchantmen and only 11 ships made it through. With II./JG30, Hermann sank a total of 12 ships and in 1942 Hermann was assigned to the general staff in Germany, where he became a close confidant of Göring. In July 1942 he was appointed to the Luftwaffe operational staff. During the summer of 1943 as the Royal Air Force carried out night bombing raids, Hermann devised the tactic of using day fighters to hunt alone rather than in packs. As a bomber man himself, his ideas initially gained little support from the Luftwaffe's night fighter staff, but Göring supported the idea. Flown by experienced night fighter pilots and ex-instructors, the fighters waited in the darkness above their Allied targets, using the light of fires below to illuminate the bombers before attacking. He was responsible for the formation of JG300 and founded the highly successful Wilde Sau (Wild Boar) tactics of free roaming Fw190 night fighters. Hermann himself flew more than 50 wild boar missions and was twice forced to bail out of his stricken fighter. In December 1943 he was appointed Luftwaffe Inspector of Aerial Defence. At the end of 1944 he led the 9th Flieger division and created the famous Rammkommando. Hermann was credited with shooting down nine RAF bombers. After being Inspector General of night fighters, Hermann was appointed to command the First Fighter Division, when he continued to fly on operations. At the end of the war he was captured by the Russians. He spent 10 years in Soviet camps and was one of the last to be released, returning to Germany on October 12th 1955. Hajo Hermann awarded the Knight's Cross, Oak Leaves and Swords. Sadly, we have learned that Hajo Hermann passed away on 5th November 2010.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Fw190||The Focke-Wulf 190 development project began in 1937. Conceived as a hedge against total dependence on the Messerchmitt 109, the 190 was designed by Kurt Tank utilizing a radial engine. This was against generally accepted design criteria in Germany, and many historians believe that the decision to produce a radial engine fighter was largely due to the limited manufacturing capacity for in-line, water-cooled engines which were widely used on all other Luftwaffe aircraft. Despite these concerns, Tanks design was brilliant, and the 190 would become one of the top fighter aircraft of WWII. The first prototype flew in mid-1939. The aircraft had excellent flying characteristics, a wonderful rate of acceleration, and was heavily armed. By late 1940 the new fighter was ordered into production. Nicknamed the butcher bird, by Luftwaffe pilots, early 190s were quite successful in the bomber interceptor role, but at this stage of the war many Allied bombing raids lacked fighter escort. As the war dragged on, Allied bombers were increasingly accompanied by fighters, including the very effective P-51 Mustang. The Allies learned from experience that the 190s performance fell off sharply at altitudes above 20,000 feet. As a result, most Allied bombing missions were shifted to higher altitudes when fighter opposition was likely. Kurt Tank had recognized this shortcoming and began working on a high-altitude version of the 190 utilizing an in-line, water-cooled engine. Utilizing a Jumo 12-cylinder engine rated at 1770-HP, and capable of 2,240-HP for short bursts with its methanol injection system, the 190D, or Long Nose or Dora as it was called, had a top speed of 426-MPH at 22,000 feet. Armament was improved with two fuselage and two wing mounted 20mm cannon. To accommodate the changes in power plants the Dora had a longer, more streamlined fuselage, with 24 inches added to the nose, and an additional 19 inches added aft of the cockpit to compensate for the altered center of gravity. By mid 1944 the Dora began to reach fighter squadrons in quantity. Although the aircraft had all the right attributes to serve admirably in the high altitude interceptor role, it was not generally focused on such missions. Instead many 190Ds were assigned to protect airfields where Me-262 jet fighters were based. This was due to the latter aircrafts extreme vulnerability to Allied attack during takeoff and landing. The 190Ds also played a major role in Operation Bodenplatte, the New Years Day raid in 1945 which destroyed approximately 500 Allied aircraft on the ground. The High Command was impressed with the 190Ds record on this raid, and ordered most future production of the Doras to be equipped as fighter-bombers. In retrospect this was a strategic error, and this capable aircraft was not fully utilized in the role for which it was intended.|
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