Edit Me If measured by the accumulated victories of its pilots the Jagdverband 44 literally "hunting formation" was the most elite fighter unit in the history of military aviation. The unit eventually comprised some fifty pilots and 25 Me jets, although no more than six of the latter were operational at any one given time. Early in the war, some efforts were made to convert the Me fighter into a fast tactical bomber. Galland thus established his own protection flight. Five Fw D-9s and Ds were attached to JV44, the Platzschutzstaffel Airfield protection squadron , headed by Leutnant Heinz Sachsenberg , to provide air cover for takeoffs and landings. Flights were to be undertaken in a two-aircraft Rotte up to altitudes of metres, covering both the Me s taking off or landing and monitoring the surrounding skies for Allied fighters.
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Dies sowohl innerhalb der Luftwaffe, als auch bei den Alliierten. Als Einsatzflugzeug diente die strahlgetriebene Messerschmitt Me The main aircraft used by the unit was the Messerschmitt Me jet fighter. Galland was charged with setting up a small Me unit of staffel strength to demonstrate that the jet could be developed into the superior fighter it promised to be.
The unit was to be independent of all other Luftwaffe commands, including division, corps or air fleets. Galland inspected a number of facilities, and eventually settled on Brandenburg-Briest airfield, west of Berlin for its initial base. In late February, Galland discussed his personnel and logistical requirements with the Luftwaffe Chief of General Staff. The staff approved the establishment of JV 44, with its cadre of pilots provided through the normal channels, and ground personnel provided from 16 Staffel, JG Galland also compiled a list of experienced pilots whom he considered to be competent enough to convert quickly to the Me However, it had relatively few operational jet planes available for any single sortie and was repeatedly forced to relocate due to the approach of Allied ground forces.
Jagdverband 44: Squadron of Experten