Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 – Yellow 1, Staffelkapitan 9/JG26 Schlageter, Gerhard Schöpfel, Luftwaffe 1940
4 in stock
4 in stock
Corgi Aviation Archive 1/72 scale AA28004: Messerschmitt Bf109E-4 ‘Yellow 1’ as flown by Oblt. Gerhard Schöpfel, Staffelkapitan 9/JG26 Schlageter, Cafﬁers, France, August 1940. Limited edition of only 1,000 units.
Length 5 inches Wingspan 5.25 inches
Gerhard Schöpfel was a German Luftwaffe military aviator and wing commander during World War II. As a fighter ace, he is credited with 45 aerial victories claimed in approximately 700 combat missions, all of which on the Western Front. His name is intimately linked to the history of the famous JG 26 Schlageter, with which he served during more than half the war. Schöpfel, a former police officer, commenced his pilot training in 1936. In June 1938, with the rank of an Oberleutnant, he was posted to Jagdgeschwader Schlageter, and was assigned as Staffelkapitän 9./JG 26 shortly after the outbreak of the war. He succeeded Adolf Galland twice-as Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 26 on August 21, 1940, and as Geschwaderkommodore on December 6, 1941. It has been said that Schöpfel not quite was able to assume the role that Galland had played as Geschwaderkommodore, but he seems to have been more popular among the NCOs of JG 26 than Galland. On one occasion in May 1942, Major Schöpfel hit a Spitfire decisively with a burst from his Fw 190. The Spitfire descended vertically, trailing smoke. Six thousand feet further down, another Fw 190 attacked the doomed Spitfire and took a shot at it. After landing, Schöpfel approached the pilot of this Fw 190, an Oberfeldwebel, with the following words: “If I would have been an Oberfeldwebel and you were a Major, I would have been forced to give you credit for the victory. Because of that, I say that you will have the victory, and I congratulate you.” In January 1943, after attaining a total of forty-five victories with JG 26, Schöpfel was shifted to the staff of Jafü Bretagne. Between June 1943 and November 1943 he served as Fighter Leader Sicily-Italy, and thereafter was appointed Jafü Norway. On June 1, 1944 he assumed command of JG 4, but was shortly afterward shot down and injured. He ended the war as Geschwaderkommodore JG 6. On August 2, 1945, Schöpfel was arrested in the Soviet occupation zone in Germany and would spend the next four years in Soviet captivity. Gerhard Schöpfel passed away on May 17 2003.
By the early stages of the Battle of Britain, Schöpfel had already achieved the status of ﬁghter ace, but during August 1940, he was to increase his victory tally signiﬁcantly. His most successful day came on the 18th August, whilst leading an independent hunting patrol of Messerschmitt Bf 109E ﬁghters across southern England. Whilst over the Folkestone area, he spotted the Hurricanes of 510 Squadron climbing out of Hawkinge, but rather than immediately attacking the RAF ﬁghters, Schöpfel and his wingman dived underneath the aircraft to approach from their blind spot. Unnoticed by the Hurricanes, Schopfel shot down the two tail-end-Charlies, expecting to see the remaining aircraft immediately breaking for cover, but they carried on their course. He managed to shoot down a further two Hurricanes, including the aircraft of RAF aces Donald McKay and Kenneth Lee, who both managed to successfully bale out of their stricken ﬁghters.