Jagdgeschwader 52 or JG 52 was a fighter wing of the Luftwaffe during WWII. It served in both the Western Front and the Eastern Front and proved to be the most successful fighter wing of all time. It was initially formed in 1939 and it served until the end of the war. JG 52 only operated the Messerschmitt Bf 109, maintaining use of said aircraft for the duration of its service history.


The first commander of JG 52 was Hubertus Merhardt von Bernegg, taking command of the wing in 1939 until he was replaced by Major Hanns Trübenbach in 1940, who then served until late 1941.[1] Serving for a year after Trübenbach, Wilhelm Lessmann took command before being replaced in 1942 by Dieter Hrabak, following a series of temporary commanders. The final commander of the wing was Hermann Graf, who took control after Hrabak in 1944 and served until the end of the war.[2]


JG 52 was divided into three different squadrons or stabs. These were each assigned their own series of squadron commanders and were designated I/JG 52, II/JG 52, and III/JG 52. 

Unit History

After the wing was initially formed in 1939, JG 52 was assigned to Luftwaffe units fighting over France and then Britain during the Battle of Britain. After a prolonged campaign here, the wing was reassigned to the Eastern Front, suffering numerous casualties during the campaign for air superiority. On the Eastern Front, JG 52 enjoyed great success, shooting down many Soviet pilots flying outdated aircraft.[3] Further equipped with ever improving models of the famed Bf 109, JG 52 was assigned to many roles, most notably, supporting the ground assault in the Battle of Stalingrad and Second Battle of Kharkov.

Afterwards, JG 52 was allocated to support German troops during the Battle of Kursk but with other fighter wings being removed for service elsewhere and Soviet aircraft finally getting an edge on design, JG 52 finally began to take serious losses after operating for months on makeshift airfields. The wing was further moved around the front with some sections being diverted to other units as replacements. By 1944, the fighter wing had earned over 10,000 confirmed aerial kills. When the wing was captured in 1945, controversially, over half were sent to be imprisoned by the Soviet Union despite being captured by the United States



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