WNr.160303, Hptm. Friedrich Eberle, CO of III./JG 1, Volkel, the Netherlands, November 1943
Friedrich Eberle, the commanding officer of III. Gruppe of JG 1, was downed in this Bf 109G-6 on January 30, 1944. The man who recorded the kill was a P-47D Thunderbolt jockey, Lt. Robert Booth, of the 369th FS, 359th FG, a fighter ace with a total of eight kills to his credit. Booth himself was downed a few months later, on June 8, 1944 and became a POW. Eberle was injured but survived the encounter with Booth and led III. Gruppe until April 27, 1944. In July 1944, he was appointed the CO of III./JG 4. Eberle led his unit in Operation Bodeplatte, the attack on Allied airfields on January 1, 1945. He was court martialled for cowardice but finally was acquitted of the charge and survived the war with 33 kills. Eberle´s aircraft had been marked with a double chevron but in accordance with temporary orders, this marking was painted over and the commander´s aircraft was marked with a number. The JG 1 crest was painted on the left side of the cowling only. The rear part of the fuselage was partially overpainted with RLM 76 to tone it down.
WNr. 15729, Obstlt. Hermann Graf,
Stab./JG11, Jever, Germany, early 1944
This aircraft was manufactured by the Erla factory as a Bf 109G-5 high-altitude fighter but was converted to G-6 standard later. What was typical for the G-5 and retained during the conversion was the anti-fog capsule in the windscreen. The camouflage scheme is unusual – the former camouflage including the Stab marking was oversprayed with a light grey color, probably RLM 76.
Hermann Graf commanded JG 11 from November 11, 1943 till March 29, 1944 and despite the fact that he was officially banned from flying, he managed to down seven aircraft – amounting to the final kills of his career. He is credited with 212 victories in total (the majority of which were with JG 52 and three with JGr. 50). He was awarded for his successes during the war as well as after. He received Diamonds to his Ritterkreuz with Oak Leaves and Swords, the fifth recipient of this honor, on September 29, 1942. Graf participated in propaganda campaigns, and he was a member of the Luftwaffe soccer team. At the end of the war, Graf led JG 52 and retreated from East Prussia via Silesia to Bohemia and surrendered to US forces at Písek on May 8, 1945. He was promptly handed over to the Russians and spent more than four years in Russian captivity.
WNr. 411960, Hptm. Franz Dörr, CO
of III./JG 5, Gossen, Norway, May 1945
Franz Dörr downed his first victim, a British Wellington bomber, on September 29, 1941 as a member of 1.(Erg.)/JG 3. This unit was redesignated 7./JG 5 on January 1, 1942. In early May 1944, Dörr took command of III. Gruppe of JG 5 and led this unit till the end of war. Dörr was awarded the Ritterkreuz on August 19, 1944. He managed to down 122 enemy aircraft – his score is marked on the rudder of his personal Bf 109G-6, WNr. 411960. This aircraft was manufactured at the Erla factory and sports all its typical characteristics such as the small bulge on the right side of the cowling and different gun troughs. The exact color of the spinner is inconclusive from photographic evidence but can be black with a white spiral. The small disc on the rear fuselage identified III. Gruppe aircraft.
Oblt. Kurt Gabler, CO of 8./JG
300, Jüterbog – Waldlager Air Base, Germany, July 1944
The personal aircraft of Oblt. Kurt Gabler flew without camouflage. This saved on weight, reduced drag, and made the aircraft more effective in the pursuit of the fast Mosquitos. The white tail and wingtips identified the leader´s aircraft since Gabler provisionally led III./JG 300 from June 20, 1944. The wide red tailband was common to JG 300 aircraft at the time. Gabler´s tally of 17 kills is depicted on the rudder. Gabler was wounded in action in late September 1944 and flew no further combat sorties through to the end of the war. The camouflage was stripped off the aircraft to lower aerodynamic drag and help the pilot in the aforementioned pursuit of RAF Mosquitos. The wings seem to be oversprayed with one color, likely RLM 75. The national insignia on the lower wings surface is not confirmed by photos. The upper cowling, canopy framing and some access panels could be either camouflaged or made of a darker metal.
WNr. 165350, Lt. Anton Hafner, CO
of 8./JG 51, Tilsit-Ost, Germany, August 1944
Hafner was photographed in the cockpit of this particular aircraft in August 1944, when his unit was based at an airfield close to Tilsit in East Prussia (today Sovetsk, a city on the Russian-Lithuanian border). Anton Hafner is credited with a total of 204 victories, all of them achieved as a JG 51 pilot. He served with JG 51 not only on the Eastern Front where he downed the majority of his opponents, but in North Africa as well, where he was shot down and injured. He met up with his destiny on October 14, 1944. During a dogfight with his 204th and final victim, a Yak-9, Hafner hit some trees and succumbed to his resulting injuries. He was awarded the Ritterkreuz on August 23, 1943 and Oak Leaves were added on April 11, 1944. The appearance of this aircraft was partially reconstructed from existing photos. It could have the standard rudder. The fuselage is darkened with blotches of RLM 74 and 75 color.