Bf 109F-4/Trop, WNr. 8673, Hptm. Hans-Joachim Marseille, CO of 3./JG 27, Quotaifiya, Egypt, September 1942
Hans-Joachim Marseille used this plane after his
return from Rome and achieved 49 victories with this last of “Friedrichs” he
used from August 24, 1942, to September 25, 1942. On September 30, 1942, he
flew the Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2/Trop as he led escort mission of the 3.
Staffel to cover a squadron of Ju 87 Stukas. On the return leg, a smoke filled
the cockpit, and Marseille was forced to bail out. Hitting the rudder after the
emergency exit of the plane, he lost consciousness, and his parachute did not open.
Seconds later, Marseille died from the impact on the ground. After his death,
WNr. 8673 was used by 1./SG 2 but was hit by flak and lost southward of El
Alamein on October 22, 1942. The aircraft had the upper camouflage color RLM 79
sprayed all over the fuselage sides as a non-standard finish. The lower
surfaces were sprayed with RLM 78 and the camouflage was complemented by the
markings of the aircraft operating on the Southern front, i.e., white wingtips,
white propeller cone and a band on the aft fuselage of the same color. The
engine cowling bore the emblem of I. Gruppe JG 27 on both sides.
Bf 109F-4, Lt. Hans-Joachim Heyer, 8./JG 54, Siverskaya,
Soviet Union, April 1942
The recipient of the Knight’s Cross, Hans-Joachim Heyer, was born on April 20, 1922, in Rehungen. He served his entire aviation career as a member of 8./JG 54 and scored his first kill on the first day of the invasion to Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. His victim was a Polikarpov I-15. Heyer’s “Black 9”, which he flew from the spring of 1942, was camouflaged with RLM 74/75/76 colors and the fuselage sides were completed with RLM 70 and RLM 71 patches. The upper surfaces of the wing, the rear fuselage behind the cockpit and the horizontal tail surfaces were all painted in white overpaint made by washable color. The III./JG 54 emblem was painted below the windshield on both sides of the fuselage. More to it, on the left side under the cockpit there was painted the JG 54 emblem – a green heart. On the rudder, there were kill marks painted on both sides. Hans-Joachim Heyer was shot down and killed near Leningrad on November 9, 1942. He was posthumously awarded the Knight’s Cross on November 25, 1942. His score stopped at 53 aerial victories, all achieved on the Eastern Front.
Bf 109F-4/Z, WNr. 7420, Lt. Hermann A. Graf, CO of
9./JG 52, Kharkov-Rogan, Soviet Union, May 1942
Hermann Anton Graf was born on October 24, 1912. He trained as a locksmith and was a keen football player in his youth. Later he took up sailing and entered the army in 1939. In the spring of 1940, he served in JG 51 and participated in the Battle of France. In April 1941, he fought over Greece and Crete, but did not record any victories during this period. His first kill came on August 4, 1941, near Kiev and things changed. At the end of January 1942, he received the Knight’s Cross for 45 kills, in May 1942, he achieved his 100th aerial victory and received Oak Leaves and Swords in addition to the Cross. He was the fifth in line of pilots to be awarded the Diamonds to the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords on September 29, 1942. Graf became part of propaganda campaigns, even a member of the Luftwaffe football team. At the end of the war, he was leading JG 52 and retreated with the unit from East Prussia, through Silesia and into Bohemia. He surrendered on May 8, 1945, in Písek (South Bohemia) to the Americans. They promptly handed him over to the Russians and Graf spent more than four years in captivity.
Bf 109F-4/Trop, WNr. 10145, Fw. Rudolf Müller, 6./JG 5, Petsamo, Finland, June 1942
Rudolf “Rudi” Müller was born on November 21, 1920, in Frankfurt am Main. During 1940 he underwent pilot training and was assigned to 1./JG 77 in August 41. He scored his first kill on September 12, 1941. His victim was a Soviet I-16. On March 21, 1942, the 6./JG 5 was formed and the number of Müller’s victories over Soviet pilots was steadily rising during this time. Encounters took place during Luftwaffe attacks on convoys to and from Murmansk and during multiple combats with Soviet forces in the area of the Vayenga airfield or over the base of the JG 5 at Petsamo-Luostari. Rudolf Müller was awarded the Knight’s Cross on June 19, 1942, but was shot down and captured by Soviet forces on April 19, 1943. He did not survive, as he was shot while attempting to escape from a prison camp in Mordvinsk on October 21, 1943.