Battle of Britain Me-110/Bf 110



ME-110. By: Jay Ashurst Signed by: Wolfgang Schenck The Messerschmitt Bf 110, often called Me 110,was a twin-engine heavy fighter (Zerstörer—German for "Destroyer") developed in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and used by the Luftwaffe and others during World War II. Hermann Göring was a proponent of the Bf 110. It was armed with two 20 mm cannons, four 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns, and one 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 15 machine gun or twin MG 81Zs for defence. Development work on an improved type to replace the Bf 110, the Messerschmitt Me 210 began before the war started, but its teething troubles resulted in the Bf 110 soldiering on until the end of the war in various roles, alongside its replacements, the Me 210 and the Me 410. Wolfgang Schenck (7 February 1913 – 5 March 2010) was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves during World War II. He was born in Windhoek in German West Africa (now Namibia). Wolfgang Schenck was an important figure in the Luftwaffe's development of the fighter-bomber, as well as pioneering work in the use of the Me 262 jet-bomber. He scored his first aerial victory on 11 May 1940, but on 16 May was seriously wounded in combat with Royal Air Force (RAF) Hurricanes, but managed to return to base. After months in hospital Schenck tried to rejoin his old Staffel. He established that 1./ZG 1 was now 1. Staffel, Erprobungsgruppe 210 (Erpr.Gr. 210). Accordingly he travelled to their base at Denain, France on 4 September and arranged with Gruppenkommandeur (group commander) Oberleutnant Martin Lutz to join 1./Erpr. Gr. 210. Wolfgang Schenck took up the post of Gruppe Adjutant on 5 September. On 27 September Lutz was lost in action, and Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring visited Denain on 1 October 1940, and appointed Werner Weymann as acting Gruppenkommandeur. and Schenck was appointed Staffelkapitän (squadron leader) of 1. Staffel and promoted to Oberleutnant. Weymann was shot down into the Channel on 5 October, and Schenck was now acting 'Gruppenführer' (Gruppe leader) of Erpr.Gr.210. The new Gruppenkommandeur, Major Karl-Heinz Lessmann from II./ZG 2, was posted in on 1 November although Schenck's superior knowledge of the use of the Bf 110 as a fighter-bomber meant Schenck led most missions. In mid-1941 the unit was re-designated I. Gruppe, Schnellkampfgeschwader 210 and moved east to prepare for the attack on Russia. Schenck had flown over 50 fighter-bomber missions and continued to lead 1. Staffel once the campaign in the East started, and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 14 August 1941 after 9 aerial victories. He then spent a spell at Rechlin as head of the Eprobungsstaffel Me 210, and in January 1942 he returned to ZG 1, as Gruppenkommandeur of I./ZG 1, by which time he had claimed 18 aerial victories in 300 operational missions as well numerous claims for the destruction of enemy shipping, tanks and transport in the months of the Russian campaign. Schenck moved to a German Air Ministry staff position in August 1942. He was awarded the Eichenlaub (Oak Leaves) to the Knight's Cross on 30 October 1942, and in January 1943 was appointed Geschwaderkommodore of Schlachtgeschwader 1 in the Mediterranean theatre, flying the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter-bomber. In December 1943 he was again wounded in combat. Hospitalisation followed and on release he was appointed as 'Inspizient der Schlachtflieger'. In June 1944 Oberstleutnant Schenck was given responsibility for evaluating the Messerschmitt Me 262 as a fighter-bomber, and formed a specialist unit for this purpose,Kommando Schenck. His next posting was as Geschwaderkommodore of Kampfgeschwader 51, then converting to the Me 262. His final appointment was Inspector for Jet fighters from February 1945 to the war's end. Schenck had flown over 400 combat missions, 40 in the Me 262.

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