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Date: Saturday, 26 July 1941
Place: Smolensk, Smolensk Oblast, Soviet Union
On July 26th 1941, at the beginning of the Russian campaign (Unternehmen Barbarossa), Feldwebel Heinrich Klöpper of 11.Staffel / Jagdgeschwader 51 belly landed his Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2 “rote” in the Smolensk area. Note the cross as IV. Gruppe symbol, only used by IV./JG 51. At this time only eight victory bars could be seen on the vertical stabilizer. This number would rise soon. Heinrich Klöpper achieved 94 victories until his death on November 29th 1943, at that time Staffelkapitän of 7.Staffel / Jagdgeschwader 1. 82 of his victories were achieved by JG 51 (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 4 September 1942). It is not clear if the report of a belly landing of Bf 109 F-2, Werknummer 8945 of 11./JG 51 with 80% damage on 27 July 1941 is identical with the belly landing of Feldwebel Klöpper on 26 July 1941. The picture does not show an 80% damage.
Luftwaffe im Focus - Edition No.1 2002