Bf 109F-2, WNr. 8085, Lt. Jürgen Harder, Stab III./JG 53, Sobolewo, Germany, June 1941
Jürgen Harder, brother of the better known Harro
Harder, achieved his first kill on June 22, 1941, the
day Operation Barbarossa began. He joined the
Luftwaffe in 1939 and served in 7./JG 53 from early
1941, then became a staff officer in III. Gruppe. In
April 1942 he took command of 7./JG 53 in Africa
and in February 1944 became commander of
I./JG 53 in Italy. Until the end of the war he claimed
further 63 kills both on the Eastern and Western
fronts. On February 1, 1945, he was decorated with
the Knight’s Cross with the Oak Leaves. His luck
ran out on February 17, 1945, when, due to the
engine failure of his Messerschmitt Bf 109G-14, he
crashed to death nearby the town of Strausberg.
Harder’s WNr. 8085 later served with 4./JG 51,
Jagdgruppe West, underwent an overhaul and
its version designation was changed to F-4.
It was destroyed on December 2, 1943, in Southern
France when it was allocated to Jagdgruppe Süd,
commanded by Heinz Bär. In its cockpit, Uffz.
Alexis Prinz zu Bentheim und Steinfurt was shot
down in combat with American airmen.