KITS 08/2023

Bf 109F-4/Trop, WNr. 10137, Oblt. Hans-Joachim Marseille,

CO of 3./JG 27, Ain-el-Gazala, Libya, June 1942

Hans-Joachim “Jochen” Marseille became the

most successful German fighter pilot fighting

against the Western Allies. He was awarded the

Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and

Diamonds. As an excellent pilot, and master

of gunfire and dogfighting, he also shoved

a respect and grace to his opponents as he tried

to save downed enemy airmen in the desert by

dropping news of their fate on the other side of

the front. 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. 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 spinner 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, WNr. 7183, Hptm. Hans Hahn, III./JG 2,

St. Pol, France, October 1941

Hans “Assi“ Hahn, a fighter ace and recipient of the

Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves was in command

of 4./JG 2 from December 1939. From October 1940

he overtook the lead of III./JG 2. Fifty kill marks on

the rudder of his aircraft represented his combat

success on the Western Front. Hahn added the

fiftieth kill to his tally on October 13, 1941, when

he shot down a Spitfire near Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Altogether he destroyed 66 enemy aircraft in the

West. In late 1942 “Assi” Hahn moved to the East

and commanded II./JG 54 from November 1, 1942.

On February 21, 1943, he was downed, captured

and spent seven years in captivity, returning back

to Germany in 1950. He wrote a book about his

life in prison “Ich spreche die Wahrheit” (I Speak

the Truth). Hahn’s total score stands at 108 kills.

The rooster head painted on the fuselage was the

crest of III./JG 2, based on Hahn’s family name

(“der Hahn” means “the rooster” in English).

Bf 109F-4, Maj. Hannes Trautloft, CO of JG 54, Relbitsy,

the Soviet Union, March 1942

Hannes Trautloft entered combat in the Spanish

Civil War. He flew the Bf 109 and participated

in the development of tactics for this fighter

aircraft. He fought in the Polish campaign as well

as in France and managed to achieve at least one

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victory in every campaign. On August 25, 1940, he

assumed command of JG 54. He led this fighter

unit through Operation Barbarossa, the attack

on the Soviet Union, and in subsequent combat

till July 5, 1943. Trautloft was credited with 58

victories and he was awarded the Knight’s Cross

on July 27, 1941. His personal aircraft wore a nonstandard camouflage scheme. It is not clear which

colors were used by JG 54 during its deployment

to the Soviet Union.

INFO Eduard