WNr. 5819, Obstlt. Adolf Galland, CO of JG 26, Audembert, France, October–December 1940
Adolf Galland, the ace and future General, flew the portrayed Emil during through fall of 1940 up to the beginning of 1941. He was CO of III. Gruppe at the time, later he took command of the entire JG 26. The tactical markings on the aircraft kept pace with these promotions. The standard camouflage of RLM 02/71/65 was darkened on the fuselage sides with RLM 02/71. The yellow cowling was complemented by the yellow rudder which also sported kill marks. The surface area of the original RLM 65 was not large enough for them, and so the yellow was oversprayed with fresh RLM 65 for the next row of kill marks. The most typical changes for WNr. 5819 at this time came with the personal emblem of Mickey Mouse and most of all the installation of the ZFR-4 telescope (installed together with the regular Revi). It didn’t serve as an actual sight as it did for the identification of distant aircraft. After the death of Werner Mölders Galland replaced him as the German fighter force commander (General der Jagdflieger). Later he became famous for locking horns with Hermann Göring. He established JV 44 at the end of the war, the unit well known for its Me 262 jet fighters and colorful Fw 190Ds. Galland managed to shoot down 104 enemy airplanes and was awarded with Knight Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds.
WNr. 1559, Hptm. Wilhelm Balthasar, CO of 7./JG 27, Carquebut, France, July 1940
The future Knight Cross with Oak Leaves recipient Wilhelm Balthasar was born on February 2, 1914, in Fulda. In 1933 he joined Reichswehr, in 1935 he was transferred to Luftwaffe by his own request and underwent the pilot training. During the Spanish Civil War, he initially served with bomber and reconnaissance units, since September 1937 with fighter detachment of the Legion Condor. In March 1938 he returned to Germany. At the outbreak of World War II Oblt. Balthasar served as 1. Staffel JG 1 commander. This unit saw combat for the first time during the offensive against The Netherlands, Belgium and France. It was the time when Balthasar demonstrated his marksman skills as he shot down 23 enemies during the Western Europe campaign. As of June 5, 1./JG 1 was re-designated as 7./JG 27. On September 1, 1940, he was promoted to command III./JG 3 and in the air battles over the Southern England he achieved further seventeen kills. In the meantime, on February 16, 1941, he was appointed Commanding Officer of JG 2. Balthasar run out of his luck during the combat with the RAF fighters over Aire on July 3, 1941. In the dive, the wing of his Bf 109F-4 wing collapsed and Balthasar perished at the impact with the ground. Balthasar’s aircraft, camouflaged in RLM 71/02/65 colors, carried the non-standard marking on the engine cowling. There is a unit marking painted under the windshield, kill markings are painted on the vertical tail surface and rudder.
WNr. 5587, Ofw. Fritz Beeck, 6./ JG 51, Wissant, France, August 1940
Simple but effective camouflage adorned this aircraft that was shot down with Ofw. Fritz Beeck at the controls in the vicinity of East Langdon shortly after noon on August 28, 1940. It was during the second escort mission of the day that culminated in combat with RAF fighters in which the engine of Yellow 10 was hit. After an unavoidable forced landing, the aircraft, in relatively good shape, was made otherwise by civilian vandals and allied soldiers before it could be inspected by RAF experts. Light blue sides of the RLM 02/71/65 fuselage scheme were sprayed with the upper surface colors. Yellow identification colors, typical for mid-August 1940, were applied to the wing tips, horizontal tail surfaces, and top portion of the fin. Because the aircraft in question belonged to 6. Staffel, tactical numbering and the background II./JG 51 “Gott strafe England” emblem were yellow. Three victory marks on the left side were in white. It is not out of the question that these also appeared on the right side, but documentation is lacking.
WNr. 5901, Oblt. Walter Fiel, CO of 8./JG 53, Le Touquet-Etaples, France, September 1940
After the Luftwaffe tactics changed during the Battle of Britain, when the bombing of London and Southern England was switched to night operation, the decision was made to use certain Staffels in the fighter-bomber roles and to lure RAF fighters into combat. One of these units was 8. Staffel JG 53 commanded by Oblt. Fiel. On October 2, during his unit’s attack, he was attacked by superiority of Spitfires. His aircraft was damaged and made to force-land nearby the little town of East Peckham in the Kent County. The pilot was taken a prisoner of war. The camouflage in RLM 71/02/65 colors was supplemented by the gaudy marking in the form of yellow engine cowling and rudder. The original aircraft’s marking was probably oversprayed with RLM 70 color, the unit marking, originally located on the engine cowling, was overpainted in the red stripe wrapping around the whole engine cowling.
Lt. Josef Eberle, 9./JG 54, The Netherlands, August 1940
A very interesting camouflage was created in the summer of 1940 by the ground staff of JG 54 on many of unit’s aircraft in an attempt to darken the light blue fuselage sides of their Bf 109Es. To achieve such an effect, they sprayed vertical to diagonal stripes with RLM 71 paint. The standard scheme of RLM 02/71/65 was applied along with the quick identification elements. The period scheme was applied to Yellow 13 with which Lt. Josef Eberle managed to cross the Channel and belly land in France despite personal injury on August 12, 1940. The wingtips and fin of Eberle’s aircraft were painted RLM 27 Yellow, which was lighter than the color of the spinner, tactical number and background of the III./JG 54 emblem. The white color cannot be ruled out on the wingtips and fin as well. The bottom wing RLM 65 color extended marginally to the upper surface. Some sources erroneously identify this aircraft as an E-3. Despite having tempted fate once over the Channel, Eberle was not as successful on October 9, 1940, when he lost his life in combat with RAF fighters.
WNr. 2060, Lt. Hans Guse, 2.(J)/LG 2, Tudora, Soviet Union (Republic of Moldova today), July 1941
Like JG 77, Lehrgeschwader 2 was withdrawn from the combat operations after the end of the Greek campaign for rest and rearmament, which was to take place in Belgrade. This was followed in mid-July by a move to Romanian territory, where LG 2 equipped by Messerschmitts Bf 109E (some in the fighter-bomber configuration) was on alert to be deployed against the Soviet Union. It joined Operation Barbarossa in the early hours of July 22. The Black 10, which retained its camouflage from the battles over Greece and Crete and was equipped with a tropical filter, was shot down on July 10, 1941, by Soviet I-16s. The pilot is still listed as missing in action. The markings of the aircraft are complemented by the insignia of I.(J)/LG 2 under the windshield and 2.(J)/LG 2 on the side behind the fuselage cross.