Bf 109F-2, Hptm. Hans Philipp, CO of I./JG 54, Krasnogvardeysk, the Soviet Union, March 1942

Hans “Fips” Philipp, an ace with 206 kills to his credit over the course of some 500 sorties, was born on March 17, 1917, in Meissen. He joined the Luftwaffe in 1936. At the beginning of the Second World War, he served with I./JG 76, redesignated II./JG 54 in July 1940. As a member of this unit, he participated in the fighting over Britain and the Balkans. He also took part in Operation Barbarossa and was appointed CO of JG 1 in April 1943. For his combat success he was awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. Philipp was shot down on October 8, 1943, and did not survive his attempt to bail out. The aircraft flown by Hans Philipp was camouflaged with white color over the upper and side surfaces to better suit the conditions of the winter of 1943 in the vicinity of Leningrad. The Gruppe Commander marking was carried on the fuselage, as were the II. Gruppe and JG 54 (Green Heart) identifiers. Both sides of the rudder carried kill marks. The landing gear covers were removed due to their tendency to pile up snow. 


Bf 109F-2, WNr. 9553, Oblt. Siegfried Schnell, CO of 9./JG 2, Théville, France, November 1941

Bf 109F-2, WNr. 9553, Oblt. Siegfried Schnell, CO of 9./JG 2, Théville, France, November 1941

Siegfried “Wumm” Schnell, a native of Zeilenzig in Brandenburg (Sulecin, Poland today) joined the ranks of the Luftwaffe in 1936 and at the beginning of the Second World War he served with 4./JG 2. He achieved his first victory in combat over France on May 14, 1940, more followed over Britain and against English and American pilots over Western Europe. After being assigned to JG 54, he first served with its III. Gruppe and was appointed CO of IV. Gruppe on February 1, 1944. While serving in this position, he was shot down over Narva by a Soviet fighter on February 25, 1944, and died. Schnell was awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves on July 9, 1941 and downed 93 enemies in the course of Second World War. His aircraft was camouflaged in the standard Luftwaffe fighter scheme using RLM 74/75/76. Both sides of the fin were decorated with the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and victory marks.


Bf 109F-2, Lt. Horst Buddenhagen, 5./JG 3, Darmstadt, Germany, April 1941

In the middle of February 1941, II./JG 3 was sent from the French coast back to Germany for some rest and to re-equip with the Bf 109F. In April, the new Bf 109F-2 were received at Darmstadt sporting the standard RLM 74/75/76 camouflage scheme to which the ground crew added yellow rudders and engine cowls. Lt. Buddenhagen’s aircraft also received the inscription Schluck=Specht 3. At the end of April 1941, II. Gruppe moved to France and after a month at Monchy-Breton was included into units that were assigned to take part in Operation Barbarossa, the attack on the Soviet Union. Aircraft of the 5. Staffel were given bomb racks for the occasion. Lt. Buddenhagen was killed by ground fire on a bombing mission on June 25, 1941.


Bf 109F-2/b, Oblt. Wilhelm Hachfeld, 2./JG 51, Kiev, the Soviet Union, Summer 1941

During fighting over the plains of the Soviet Union, the Luftwaffe leadership planned use of Bf 109F-2s as fighter bombers to attack ground targets. The entire Jagdgeschwader 51, led by Werner Mölders, was tasked with support of Panzergruppe 2 over the central section of the front from the start of Operation Barbarossa. Future Knight’s Cross holder Wilhelm Hachfeld, born on September 20, 1914, in Dessau, was appointed the CO of 2. Staffel on October 8, 1940. Bomben Willi, as he was known, led the unit until August 25, 1941, when he took over the entire I. Gruppe JG 51 and served in that capacity until the end of April 1942. In May 1942, he became the CO of III./ZG 2, in who’s service he fell in Tunisia on December 2, 1942. The aircraft, equipped with ETC50/VIIId was camouflaged in RLM 74/75/76 and, as an aircraft serving in the Eastern Front, was sporting yellow wing tips and fuselage band.


Bf 109F-2, WNr. 9538, Lt. Hans Beißwenger, 6./JG 54, Ostrov, Soviet Union, July 1941

Hans “Beißer” Beißwenger was first assigned to an anti-aircraft artillery unit after entering the Wehrmacht in 1937. A year later he started pilot training program in 1938 and after its successful completion he became instructor. In the winter of 1940, he was assigned to 6./JG 54, and while serving with this unit he shot down a Yugoslav Hurricane on April 7, 1941. Other victories were achieved against Soviet pilots and he eventually accumulated 152 kills. On March 6, 1943, his Bf 109G-2 was the victim of an aerial ramming conducted by Ivan Kholodov of the 32nd GIAP. Beißwenger died, while Kholodov bailed out. The “Yellow 4” was camouflaged in the standard Luftwaffe RLM 74/75/76 scheme, and the sides received an additional squiggle pattern of RLM 75 bordered with irregular lines of RLM 74. Some sources say that the squiggles were in RLM 02 and the linework in RLM 71. The yellow wingtips and fuselage bands were the markings of the aircraft operating on the Eastern Front.