Me 109

Throughout the period of 1940 while lll./JCB 3 was operating over France and the Channel, most of the ‘Emils’ of its 9. Staffel retained their pale blue-style fuselage camouflage, with bold yellow Staffel codes outlined in black. Two emblems were carried, a black seahorse on a blue and white shield for the 9. Staffel and a stylised insect in black with yellow wings and a yellow spear, for the third Gruppe. The spinner was white with a dark green segment and the entire cowling area was yellow. All uppersurfaces carried standard grey RLM02 and green RLM71. The rudder had an unusual circular design divided vertically into three colours, the centre part being white. Evidence from a second image shows that this ‘Emil’ was on the beach at Ambleteuse. Further reading strongly suggests that it was WklNIr 0746 and that the date was 15 September 1940. (Weal) Left: ll./JG 51 was probably at Mardyck in October 1940. This Bf 109E-1, WkNr 4828, was usually flown by Un. Heinz Tornow – note his array of ‘claim tabs’ across the bottom of the pale blue fin. In the late afternoon of 29 October it was flown by Uffz Alfred Lenz and shot down in combat with P/O Marsland of No. 253 Sqn. In an attempt to force-land on Plummers Plain, the aircraft blew up and Lenz died of his injuries. The fourth Staffel outlined its white numerals in red. Although the Gruppe badge, with the weeping bird and umbrella, was on the rear fuselage it has become merged in this image into the rather dense dark green mottle. The rudder and cowling were yellow and a late style ‘square’ cockpit cover has replaced the earlier rounded type. (Prien)

Right: A photograph of this rather striking aircraft has been known since 1971, when it appeared in Augsburg Eagle (p77), though a part of the caption was misleading, the machine carried a most distinctive style of camouflage, typical of ll./JG 54, with a random pattern of green lines over the pale blue (RLM65) fuselage sides. The spaces between the lines were darkened with irregular patches of grey RLM02, sprayed on in varying degrees of density to produce a kind of tortoiseshell effect. The cowling and rudder were yellow. The wings appear to carry a normal splinter pattern of RLM02 and RLM71. The Winkei and stripe marking indicated a machine of the Gruppenstab of ll./JG 54 whose badge can be seen on the forward fuselage side. Although it was not unusual to find a numeral with a Stab marking, these were not usually as high as the ‘Black 5’. The pilot was Un. Paul Steindl. His aircraft had been equipped to carry a bomb and it is seen here over Hungary early in 1941, during the preparations for the Balkan campaign which began on 6 April. A later image shows this ‘Emil’ bearing the Operation Marita campaign marking – a rather narrow yellow band around the fuselage, immediately behind the Balkenkreuz. (Prien)


Above: A Bf 109E taxies into position to take off from the large cornfield near Caffiers which was used by all three Staffeln of lll./JG 26. The White 2′ of 7. Staffel and the third Gruppe bar, which had very narrow black outlines, are barely discernable. Moreover, it was the practice in the Gruppe that all the fuselage markings should be applied in dimensions about three-quarters of the standard size. On the cowling the Staffers red heart badge appeared within a white six-pointed lozenge, though it was very soon to disappear under the yellow RLM10 paint on the cowlings. This image can be dated by the yellow triangle at the top of the aircraft’s rudder, a feature that appeared during the last days of August and the first few days of September. The area was then extended over the whole rudder, and to other areas, but not on every aircraft. The pilot of ‘White 2’ may have been Uffz Karl-Heinz Bock. On 17 September an aircraft with similar markings belly-landed near Camber Farm, above right. Its pilot. Bock, was made PoW. This machine’s paintwork was in much better condition. Its WkNr was 6294F, the suffix ‘F’ meaning ‘Flugklar’ (clear to fly), a sign that some repairs had been carried out and in this case a new paint job applied as well. It was this Staffel, led by Obit Muncheberg, that in February 1941 was sent to Sicily (flying E-7(Trop) aircraft) and which wrought such havoc over Malta. Later it crossed to North Africa to harry the Desert Air Force. (Wiese)

Above: This classic port side view of ‘Black 6’ is quite well documented by German historians. The aircraft was being taxied at St Inglevert by the Staffelkapitan of 2./JG 51 at about the end of August 1940. Hauptmann Ernst Wiggers claimed his sixth success on 31 August (there are six ‘tabs’ on the fin above the WkNr 1641) and although the entire cowling back to the cockpit was yellow, the rudder remained in its grey-green colours. By the time Wiggers fell on 11 September, he had claimed seven more victims. He died in a crash near Lewes, just north of the A27, in the late afternoon. Leadership of 2. Staffel passed to Obit Victor Molders, younger brother of the Geschwader Kommodore. The badge of I. Gruppe can be seen above the wing tip – a mountain goat standing on a peak. The spinner remained in black-green. The streak between numeral and cross was due to petrol spilt while refuelling, which attacked the paintwork. The fuselage sides had a delicate mottle of irregular grey RLM02 patches. The fin appears to be in shadow. The rudder turned slightly to starboard is lit by sunlight. In fact, they were both of the same tone, as can be seen in another photograph. (Lachler)

Left: ‘White 15’ of 1./JG 2 ‘Richthofen’ was flown by one of the more flamboyant of Luftwaffe pilots, an aggressive man who rose from the ranks to lead the 7. Staffel in 1941. At the time this photograph was taken, on 12 or 13 August 1940, Werner Machold was an Oberfeldwebel with 11 claims recorded on his rudder. Claim number 11 was logged as a ‘Curtiss’ – a Hawk 75 – a type that Machold met during the French campaign in May and June. It was never operated by the RAF in 1940 and one is led to wonder what Machold had actually fired at over the Channel. WkNr 5274 was a Bf 109E-4 with a 20-mm cannon in each wing. Like many JG 2 ‘Emils’, its fuselage Balkenkreuz had been modified to reduce the area of its white corners. The customary ‘R’ shield was below the windshield and although the sunlight has put a sheen on the dark cowlings and spinner, the white ‘Bonzo-dog’ cartoon badge can just be seen – it had been introduced by Obit Otto Bertram in 1939, when he had led 1. Staffel. On 6 June 1941, Machold became a PoW when he put down another ‘White 15’ (WkNr 5983), of 7./JG 2, among the quarries near Worth Matravers, west of Swanage, Dorset. He was hit by flak from a ship he had attacked. Farnborough was very interested in the ‘Ha-Ha’ gear on his ‘Emil’, the nitrous oxide (laughing gas) booster to increase engine power for short periods. No photograph of this machine has yet been found, but it would have had pale camouflage and a capped spinner. (Petrick)

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