Heinrich Ehrler was assigned to Jagdgeswader 5 “Eismeer” on the Arctic Front for most of the war, eventually leading the unit as Geschwaderkommodore. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and was ultimately credited with 204 aerial victories.
He was most famous for being scapegoated for failing to prevent the sinking of the battleship Tirpitz by RAF Lancasters on 12NOV44. Even though Ehrler was in the air with 9./JG 5 at the time, several communication errors resulted in the Eismeer fighters not being notified of the RAF attack. In fact, the command had not even been notified that the Tirpitz had been moved into the area. None the less, Ehrler was court-martialed for cowardice.
On 01MAR45 Hitler pardoned Ehrler. His rank of Major was reinstated and he was assigned to JG 7, then flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter. Although he claimed a further ten victories on the jet, he was emotionally devastated. On an intercept mission against an American bomber stream on 04APR45, he claimed two B-17s. He then radioed his unit, his last transmission was, “Theo, Heinrich here. Have just shot down two bombers. No more ammunition. I’m going to ram. Auf Wiedersehen, see you in Valhalla!”
The model depicts Heinrich Ehrler’s Bf 109F-4, of 6. / JG 5, at Petsamo, Finland, MAR43