By Jochen Prien
This third and final part of the narrative starts with the bitter fighting over Italy, where the Geschwaderstab together with I. and III./JG 53 had to face overwhelming odds in their struggle over both the front lines at Cassino and Anzio/Nettuno bridghead, and over northern Italy. I./JG 53 was later moved to Romania in order to protect the vital oilfields and refineries around Ploesti and later saw further action in Hungary, where it was to take part in the fierce fighting on the southeastern part of the Russian Front in the fall of 1944 and early 1945, eventually retreating into Czechoslovakia and Austria before it was finally disbanded in April 1945 – its remnants amalgamated into II./JG 52. II./JG 53, withdrew from Italy in October 1943, and was the first Gruppe of the Geschwader to be employed on home defense operations, being stationed near Vienna from October 1943 to March 1944 before moving to southwestern Germany, and was the only Gruppe of JG 53 to see action against the Allied invasion forces in the summer of 1944. III./JG 53 also returned from Italy in June 1944 and after a short period of rest and refit was active in the defense of the Reich. When the Allies launched Operation Market Garden both II. and III./JG 53 were called upon to take part in defensive actions. Autumn of 1944 also saw the addition of a fourth Gruppe to the Geschwader with Stab, II., III., IV./JG 53 based along the southwestern sector of the Western Front. For the remainder of the war the Geschwader – minus I. Gruppe – stayed in the southwest where it fought on until the end, retreating deep into southern Germany where the majority of the Gruppen and Staffen were finally disbanded a few days before VE-Day. This final volume of the epic saga of JG 53 concludes with a list of the officers in command of the Geschwader, its Gruppen and Staffeln, a listing of all known victories claimed by JG 53, strength returns, and other appendices.
Size: 9.0in x 12.0in | Pages: 464
| over 315 b/w photographs, line drawings, profiles