Source: Erik Mombeeck coll.
Bf 109 E-3 coded 6•125 from 1. J/88 pictured in flight. A close study of the photo reveals the presence of the bulge of the MG-FF drum magazine under the wing, allowing us to
pinpoint the aircraft variant.
Camouflage and markings
All the Bf 109 Es delivered to Spain were factory-painted in
the then standard RLM 70/71/65 camouflage scheme. Upon reassembly in Spain, the aircraft were re-painted into a locally
used finish, with RLM 63 light grey upper surfaces over RLM
65 light blue undersides. The areas around the exhausts were
painted black and extended back to the wing root. The front part
of the supercharger air intake was usually left as delivered, i.e.
in green colour. The majority of the maintenance and technical
markings were not re-applied. The aircraft from the first
deliveries, including 6•87, 6•88, 6•89, 6•90, 6•91, 6•92, 6•93
and 6•99, were at least initially fitted with propeller blades,
whose front surfaces were in a shiny metal finish, whilst the
rear sides were painted in RLM 70. The blades finished this way
usually featured the early oval VDM logo, although the latter
can sometimes be seen on blades that had been conventionally
painted in RLM 70 on both sides, such as in the case of Bf 109
E-1 coded 6•119. However, the most commonly applied logo
on propeller blades that had been fully painted in RLM 70, was
the later triangular VDM logo. The propeller spinners of ‘Emils’
were initially either painted in RLM 63 or left in RLM 70, but
in the course of service they were often repainted in other
colours or even adorned with colourful rings, although the
propeller backplates were frequently left in RLM 63.
The basic set of identity markings carried by the Legion
Condor’s Messerschmitts included white wing tips, white
rudder with black St. Andrew’s cross, black discs applied to
the fuselage sides and wings in six positions, and the fuselage
codes. The latter were applied using templates, which allowed
for uniformity of the font used for the numbers on all aircraft,
although it can be noted that Bf 109 E-3s coded 6•104, 6•107
and 6•109 featured a variation of the ‘6’ digit which differed
from the standard, having a longer upper ‘tail’.
Other frequently carried markings were the Staffel emblems.
Source: Erik Mombeeck coll.
A close-up view of the personal emblem painted under the cockpit of Bf 109 E-1 coded
6•123, which was flown by Oblt. Hans Schmoller-Haldy from 3. J/88. Also note the
‘INTAVA’ inscription under the oil filler triangle, which was quite frequently seen on the
Legion Condor ‘Emils’, and the partially visible ‘Mickey Mouse’ insignia of the 3. Staffel.
INFO Eduard - July 2019
The 1. Staffel insignia was introduced by its last commander,
Hptm. Siebelt Reents, sometime after he had taken command
of the unit in September 1938. This ‘Holzauge’ (‘wooden eye’)
emblem, which referred to a Spanish gesture meaning ‘look
out’, was applied in black and white using a template in two
different positions on the portside of the fuselage: initially
under the handgrip, between the rear portion of the canopy
and the first digit of the aircraft code (6•87, 6•92, 6•93), and
later below the movable part of the canopy (6•104, 6•116,
6•119, 6•125). The ‘top hat’ emblem of the 2. J/88 was the
oldest of the fighter unit emblems, being already used in the
period when the Staffel flew the Heinkel He 51 biplanes. The
final version used on the ‘Emils’ (with the exception of 6•89,
which sported the earlier variation without white details)21 was
applied in black and white on the port side of the fuselage,
below the rear portion of the canopy. The 3. J/88 used
a ‘Mickey Mouse’ insignia, although it must be emphasized that
its design had been constantly evolving since its introduction
Source: Hanns-Wolrad Dölling via Erik Mombeeck coll.
Bf 109 E-1 coded 6•121 is usually attributed to Lt. Wolfgang Redlich from 2. J/88, who is
seen in the foreground, taking a quick break from his alarm duty.
Source: Carlos Vidriales Garcia coll.
Bf 109 E-3 coded 6•128 from 3. J/88. The Staffel insignia slightly differ in detail from the
one featured on 6•123.