JG 54 Versus Soviet Aces - a comparison of sources.

In the Russian aviation magazine Aviatsiya i kosmonavtika 1/1999, the Russian historian V. Dymich has published a large article on his findings of air combats between aces of JG 54 and Soviet fighter aces during World War II.

This article has been translated and annotated by Yevgeniy Chizikov (Y.C.), who also posted it to "rec.aviation.military" newsgroup.

Aviation historian Dénes Bernád posted it to the Allied and Soviet AFs Discussion Board.

I have been asked to comment Dymich's article as translated by Chizikov. Since this article deals with the same field as the forthcoming book on the history of the air war on the Eastern Front in WW II by Andrey Mikhailov and me, I regard it as interesting to publish it together with my comments on this site.

Below follows the first part Dymich's article, translated and annotated by Yevgeniy Chizikov. Next will follow my comments to both this part and the second part.

Christer Bergström

A short introduction.

I read Dymich's article with large interest. It is an attempt to portrait a part of the air war on the Eastern Front from the viewpoint of both sides. Unfortunately, Dymich seems to have made an insufficient research work, based his material almost entirely on Soviet material.

Perhaps Dymich's account is biassed, but so are almost all accounts of the air war on the Eastern Front during WW II, both Western and Russian. The only major exceptions that I can think of are the writings by the Russian historians Yuri Rybin and Dmitriy Khazanov; the chapters dealing with the Eastern Front in Don Caldwell's "JG 26 War Diary"; Carl-Fredrik Geust's books; and what I have seen of Dénes Bernád's new book on the Romanian Air Force in WW II.

It is clear that the individual fates of German pilots was of relatively great concern to the Soviet war reporters of WW II. It is easy to find lots and lots of Soviet wartime accounts of this and that German pilot shot down. Similar to what the Iraqis did during the Gulf War, the Soviets frequently published photos of shot down German airmen. Some of these photos will be published in the forthcoming volumes of Andrey Mikhailov's and my account on the air war on the Eastern Front, "Black Cross/Red Star". Sometimes the dates and other facts are confused. And frequently, the German names are messed up.

There are several Soviet wartime accounts of "who shot down this and that famous German ace". And several Soviet pilots argue over who actually shot down a certain German ace! I have the names of several Soviet pilots who claimed to have shot down "Assi" Hahn (I'm not speaking of "shared" victories), "Rudi" Müller, Franz-Josef Beerenbrock, etc. Sometimes such facts were also distorted due to propagandistic reasons. The credit for shooting down the JG 5 ace Hans Döbrich, for instance, was given to the member of the Communist Party Leytenant Vladimir Burmatov, although a comparison between German and Soviet documents reveal that it was another pilot who shot down Döbrich.

It is unfortunate that Dymich does not present his sources, but I take it that his main source are such wartime accounts.

It is not up to me to judge where Dymich is wrong. A large amount of both the German and the Soviet documents from WW II are relatively unreliable. "Date messes" are quite frequent on both sides. In my next article here, I only present the result of a comparison between the facts available to Dymich and the facts available to Andrey Mikhailov and me. I have mainly used various unpublished documents and flight books from JG 54, plus the official loss records by the Generalquartiermeister der Luftwaffe, and the JG 54 research made by my friend historian Günther Rosipal.

Some may look upon my comparison between Dymich's material and that of mine as a "slaughter" on Dymich.
This is not my intention.

"Fun Hunting in the Eastern Europe" by V. Dymich - Part 1.
Comments to Dymich Article - Part 1
Comments to Dymich Article - Part 2
JG 54 Loss List

Christer Bergström

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