Bf 109G-4, WNr. 19347, Rtk. Ján Režňák, 13.(slowakische)/JG 52,
Anapa, the Soviet Union, April–May 1943
Jan Režňák launched his military career as
a member of Czechoslovak Air Force. He became
a member of Slovak Armed Forces in 1939 when the
independent Slovak State was formed. As a Third
Reich ally, Slovakia participated in the war against
the Soviet Union. Slovak Letka (flight) 13 fought
under the command of JG 52. Režňák achieved
a total of 32 aerial victories over the Eastern Front,
making him the most successful Slovak and also
Czechoslovak fighter ace. Seven opponents out
of his total score were downed with WNr. 19347
in late April and early May of 1943. The tricolor on
the spinner is typical for Messerschmitts flown by
Slovak pilots. Note the unusual color of the cowling
that doesn’t match the rest of the camouflage.
Originally painted in yellow, it was probably
oversprayed with a camouflage color by ground
personnel. Režňák did not take part in the Slovak
National Uprising and rejoined Czechoslovak Air
Force in the summer of 1945. He was discharged
from the service after 1948 Communist coup.
Bf 109G-4/Trop, WNr. 10795, Oblt. Wolfgang Tonne, CO of 3./JG 53,
Bizerta, Tunisia, February 1943
Wolfgang Tonne was born on February 28, 1918,
in Moosbach and joined the Luftwaffe in 1937.
In May 1940 he took part in the Battle of France
in the ranks of JG 53, then fought in the Battle of
Britain and consecutively took part in in Operation
Barbarossa with the same unit. At the end of 1941,
JG 53 moved to Sicily to support Luftwaffe attacks
on Malta. There, in January 1942, Wolfgang Tonne
was given command of the 3. Staffel. In May 1942,
3./JG 53 was again sent to the Eastern Front,
here Wolfgang Tonne achieved his 101st kill and
was awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves.
In October 1942, 3./JG 53 was sent to North Africa.
Tonne’s “Yellow 7” with the numeral 6 painted
underneath after the previous user had awards
and kills painted on the left side of the rudder.
In April 1943, Tonne’s unit was based at Protville
airfield in Tunisia. He scored his 122nd kill on April
20, 1943. On returning to the home airfield in his
Bf 109G-6/R1 WNr. 16523 he performed a victory
roll, apparently misjudging the altitude and losing
control of his aircraft. The risky maneuver cost