Poldi Wenger's "beautiful" plane after being destroyed in an air attack and fire while parked in Marsa del Oro, Sicily on July 7, 1943
copyright 2014 Wilhelm Wenger and Carolyn Yeager
Translated from the German by Carlos Whitlock Porter
Notes from Poldi's brother, Willy Wenger:
The mission on 4 June 1943 was also Poldi’s last combat flight on the Channel coast and the letter to his mother dated 14 June 1943 was the last one from France, since he was transferred to Sicily on 15 June1943.
After the death of Hauptmann Frank LIESENDAHL, Oberleutnant Fritz SCHRÖTER took over command of the 10th Jagdgeschwader (Day Fighter Wing) JG 2 until 31 December 1942, after which Hauptmann Heinz SCHUMANN took over in April 1943 following SCHRÖTER’s transfer to Tunisia. In the meantime, the following name changes were made:
The 10th /JG 2 (Jagdgeschwader – Fighter-Bomber Wing) was renamed the 13th/ SKG10 (Schnellkampfgeschwader - Fast Bomber Wing)
Squadron Commander - Lieutenant Poldi WENGER
The 10th /JG 26 and the 10th /JG 54 were renamed the 14th/ SKG10
Squadron Commander – Lieutenant Colonel Erwin BUSCH
The newly appointed 15th/SKG10
Squadron Commander - Lieutenant Erhard NIPPA
The three squadrons formed the Second Group (Gruppe) of SKG10, the name of which was changed, as of December 1942, over the course of a reorganisation of the close combat flier units, to SG10 (Schlachtgeschwader – Ground Attack Wing)
Group Commander – Hauptmann Heinz SCHUMANN
Transfer to SICILY
Take-off on 15.6.1943 at 13h53 with stopovers in Bourges, Istres and Albenga (near Allassio, Italy) on 16.6. to Pratrica di Mare near Rome. After refuelling, off to Capodichino near Naples on 17.6 over the Straits of Messina and Catania to Gerbini-West.
Throughout the entire stretch of 2,270 kilometers, Poldi’s first maintenance engineer Thielen had to sit crammed into the baggage compartment directly behind the pilot’s seat and must have needed a lot of endurance to sit hunched up in this cramped compartment for hours.
Taking off from the foot of Mount Aetna, they flew the first dive bomber and high-altitude bombing attacks against large Allied convoys in the Mediterranean and achieved great results. They bombed harbor installations on the island of Pantelleria from a VERY high altitude. The whole group flew hard missions against Allied invasion troops, particularly around Gela, achieving the first tank kill and damaging several landing craft. -WW