Photo from Möller's Wehrpas. ca. Oct. 1939
4 January 1922 in Steinbach-Hallenburg
15.11.39-08.01.40 3. / Flieger Ausb. Rgt. 72
09.01.40-03.08.40 Sch. / Flieger Ausb. Rgt. 43, 2 (Schuler)
04.08.40-15.11.40 Jagdfliegerschule 5, 2. Staffel
16.11.40-31.11.40 1./ Erg. Jagdgruppe Merseburg
01.12.40-07.03.41 Erg. Staffel Jagdgeschwader 53
08.03.41-14.02.43 II. / Jagdgeschwader 53
15.02.43-25.03.43 I. / Jagdgeschwader 53
15.10.42 Adjutanten der II./ JG53
00.00.00 Reichssportabzeichen in Bronze (Reich Sports Badge in Bronze)
00.00.00 Flugzeugführerabzeichen (Pilots Badge)
20.10.41 Eiserne Kreuz 2. Klasse (Iron Cross 2nd Class)
20.10.41 Frontflug-Spange für Jäger in Bronze (Operational flying clasp in Bronze for fighters)
25.02.42 Frontflug-Spange für Jäger in Silber (Operational flying clasp in Silver for fighters)
08.03.42 Eiserne Kreuz 1. Klasse (Iron Cross 1st Class)
12.04.42 Frontflug-Spange für Jäger in Gold (Operational flying clasp in Gold for fighters)
12.07.43 Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (German Cross in Gold)*
31.03.43 Medaille Für Italienisch-Deutschen Feldzug in Afrika (The Italo-German Campaign Medal in Africa)
*Award rendered while Möller was in captivity.
7 May 41
7 May 41
28 August 41
(2nd and 3rd victories)
11 October 41
20 October 41
12 December 41
12 April 42
Leutnant Moller is the one who picks up the dog with his glove and passes it around. I recognise 2 other "dog handlers" from the other photos that were on ebay but I didn't manage to win those.
5 December 42
At 12:20 in the afternoon, six P-38 fighters from the 49th FS took off to escort nine A-20 bombers on a mission to bomb Bizerte Airdrome. The six P-38 pilots were Capt. Harold E. Lewis, Lt. Charles L. Earnhart, Lt. John P. Stief, Lt. Robert F. Elliott, Lt. Robert N. Carlton, and Lt. Russell F. Gustke.
During the last 10 miles to the target, the flight encountered intense flak, but it was on the flight out of the target that the Lightnings were attacked by 10 or 15 Luftwaffe Me 109 fighters. The attack occurred approximately 10 miles west of Bizerte Airdrome. The six P-38 fighters turned into the attack. Lt. Carlton and Lt. Gustke each claimed an Me 109, while Lt. Earnhart claimed two probables (unconfirmed downed Me 109s) and two damaged Me 109s.
The attack also took its toll on the six P-38s. Lt. Carlton was the only pilot of the six to return home unscathed. Lt. Earnhart crash-landed near Souk el Arba and returned to base uninjured. Lt. Gustke crash-landed in the desert and survived the landing. When he saw a group of Arabs approaching his airplane, he opened his parachute to release the silk as a distraction. While the Arabs fought over the silk, he escaped unnoticed. He made his way to a nearby residence and the friendly occupants helped him return to base.
Capt. Lewis, Lt. Stief, and Lt. Elliott all failed to return. Capt. Lewis was later confirmed killed in action by the Commanding Officer of Battery B 175th Field Artillery Battalion. Lt. Stief was also later confirmed killed in action by British Ambulance with the Royal Army Medical Corps. To this day, Lt. Elliott is still missing. No trace of his body or his airplane has ever been found. It is possible that his airplane went down in one of the lakes near Bizerte.
The book Fighters over Tunisia, by Christopher Shores, indicates that three P-38s were claimed shot down on December 5 by Jagdgeschwader (fighter wing) 51. The pilots were Hpt. Hartmann Grasser, Oblt. Hans Heydrich, and Lt. Ralph Furch.
However, Jagdeschwader 53 – A History of the “Pik As” Geschwader May 1942 – January 1944 by Jochen Prien indicates that the pilots of Jagdgeschwader (JG) 53 are likely the opponents that the 49th FS fought that day. The list of victories for JG 53 show seven P-38s were shot down on December 5. The pilots who claimed those victories were:
Lt. Hans Moller (II Gruppe HQ). This was his 13th victory.
Fw. Erich Paczia (6th Staffel). This was his 16th victory.
Fw. Helmut Kuehl (5th Staffel). This was his 4th victory.
Fw. Horst Rossler (2nd Staffel). This was his 2nd victory.
Uffz. Alfred Scharl (2nd Staffel). This was his 1st victory.
The above five victories were claimed between 13:22 and 13:34 hours. While no locations are given in the records, this is roughly the same time that the 49th FS was engaged in combat. When considering the victory tallies listed above, it is obvious that the 49th FS pilots were fighting experienced Luftwaffe combat veterans.
Lt. Franz Schiess of JG 53 (Stab – HQ) shot down the other two P-38s that day, but those victories were claimed two hours after the first five, so they were likely downed during a different engagement.
The Afrika cuff-title worn by Luftwaffe personel.
25 March 43