Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 (Trop) – Yellow 14, 3./JG27 Marseille, Egypt 1942
Out of stock
Out of stock
Corgi Aviation Archive 1/72 scale AA27109: Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 (Trop) ‘Yellow 14’, Hans Joachim Marseille, 3./JG27, Quotaifiya, Egypt, 30th September 1942. Limited edition of only 1,000 pieces.
Length 5 inches Wingspan 5.5 inches
Regarded by many of his contemporaries as the most naturally gifted fighter pilot ever to take to the air, Hans Joachim Marseille would make the clear blue skies of North Africa his hunting ground and the Messerschmitt Bf 109G fighter ‘Yellow 14’ his feared mount. Claiming 158 victories from 382 sorties flown, 151 of these were scored over the deserts of North Africa, making him the top scoring Luftwaffe ace in the Mediterranean theatre, gaining more victories against Western Allied airmen than any other pilot. Tragically, as was the case with so many of the young men who fought during WWII, the ‘Star of Africa’ would not survive the conflict and indeed would not live to see his 23rd birthday.
On 30th September 1942, Marseille was leading his Squadron on a mission to support a flight of Stukas when his new Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 fighter developed engine problems. With the cockpit filling with noxious fumes and unable to see out of the canopy, he relied on his wingman to guide him over friendly lines, before he could attempt to bale out. Once over German held territory, with the effects of smoke inhalation now causing disorientation, he turned the fighter on its back and rolled out of the cockpit. With the aircraft now adopting a nose down attitude, Marseille struck the tail of the Messerschmitt, probably killing him instantly and sending his lifeless body tumbling to the desert floor – the‘Star of Africa’had fallen.
A significant turning point in the career of Hans Joachim Marseille occurred in early 1941 when he was posted to North Africa, well away from distractions which had previously brought him so much trouble, now coming under the guidance of Commander Eduard Neumann. Neumann saw something special in Marseille and encouraged him to train himself to be a better fighter pilot and realize his combat potential – his style of man management seemed to suit Marseille, who began a regime of physical exercise and careful diet, strengthening his legs and abdominal muscles to better withstand the forces impost on a pilot during dogfighting. Unlike many of the other pilots of JG27, Marseille would never wear sunglasses during sorties, as he wanted his eyes to become accustomed to the harsh lighting in the desert. Significantly, he began to take a keen interest in his aircraft, preferring to spend much of his free time with his crew chief, or studying the art of deflection shooting, ensuring that he was better prepared for his next meeting with the enemy. With ever increasing regularity, these meetings would result in Marseille recording more victories and displaying exceptional flying ability and split second tactical awareness in the process – the ‘Star of Africa’ was beginning to shine.
The death of Hans Joachim Marseille was a terrible blow for the pilots of JG27 and indeed the entire German nation, who had started to think that the charismatic Marseille was invincible in the air. Facing increasingly superior numbers of Allied fighters in North Africa and with Rommel and his Afrika Corps now very much on the retreat, the Luftwaffe would never regain superiority of these desert skies again and it would not be long before the fighters of Jagdgeschwader 27 were redeployed to Northern France.
Eduard Neumann said of Marseille “As a fighter pilot he was absolutely supreme. Above all, he possessed lightning reflexes and could make a quicker judgement in a bigger orbit than anyone else … Marseille was unique.”
Adolf Galland, himself one of the most celebrated Luftwaffe fighter aces of WWII, described Marseille as “An unrivalled virtuoso among the fighter pilots of World War 2. His achievements had previously been regarded as impossible and they were never excelled by anyone after his death.”
The first German mass produced 109 fighter was the Messerschmitt Bf 109E, which is often mistakenly referred to as the Me 109. The Bf is the designator for the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (BFW) (Bavarian Aircraft Works) that produced the original aircraft. In 1938 Messerschmitt took over BFW but throughout WWII German handbooks and documents referred to the aircraft as the Bf 109. By the end of 1939 the Bf 109E (Emil) had replaced all other 109 variants and equipped 13 Gruppens with 40 aircraft each. The Bf 109 was the main Luftwaffe single-engine fighter aircraft until the Fw-190 came along.
The Messerschmitt Bf 109 is one of the few fighters ever to be developed from a light-plane design. Willy Messerschmitt’s angular little fighter was built in greater numbers than any other fighter plane, the total reaching 33,000.
The Messerschmitt Bf 109 also shot down more Allied planes than any other aircraft, and stayed in service longer than most, having entered combat in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), fighting through World War II, and then going to war again in 1947, this time for the newly emerging state of Israel.
The great success and longevity of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 can be attributed to the simple directness of its design. In 1934, Messerschmitt engineers sought to place the biggest possible engine in the smallest possible airframe, and make that airframe easy to produce and repair. They succeeded admirably on all counts.
The first flight, in September 1935, was made with an imported Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine of 695 horsepower. Over the years, more than 100 variants of the basic design were created, including modifications introduced on Spanish and Czech production lines after the war. Larger and larger engines were installed, along with hundreds of pounds of additional equipment, and the tough little airframe took it. Examples from the final German operational version, the Bf 109K series, had a 2,000-horsepower engine and a top speed of 450 miles per hour; truly astonishing for a design begun in 1934. A little known fact is that this was the first aircraft to incorporate a slanted back pilots seat, which helped to reduce g forces in combat.
Throughout its career, the Bf 109 was pitted against new and powerful adversaries, notably upgraded British Spitfires and the North American P-51 Mustang. In the hands of a capable pilot, the Bf 109 inevitably held its own. Notoriously difficult to take off and land, and restricted to a 3 bladed propeller, the Messerschmitt nevertheless remained a formidable adversary until the last day of the war.
Designed to meet a Luftwaffe need for a single-seat fighter/interceptor, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was flown on May 28th, 1935. Its all-metal construction, closed canopy and retractable gear made the Bf 109 one of the first true modern fighters of WWII. This versatile aircraft served in many roles and was the most produced aircraft of the war and the backbone of the Luftwaffe, and was flown by Germanys top three aces, who claimed a total of 928 victories between them. Armed with two cannons and two machine guns, the Bf 109s design underwent constant revisions, which allowed it to remain competitive until the end of the war.
The Bf 109G was the most numerous version of this long-lived German fighter. Around 10,000 were produced in ten main variants. The 109G was used by every German day fighter unit, and by eight other countries. Ironically, this version of the Bf 109 was not meant to exist. It had originally been hoped that the 109F would be replaced by an entirely new fighter. The Me 209 had first flown early in 1939, but it was soon discovered to offer little or no improvement over the 109F, and at quite a considerable increase in complexity. Work began in 1941 on the Me 309, another failed attempt to produce a replacement 109. The only other successful German single seat fighter of the war, the Fw 190, was good at low level, but poor at high altitude. By 1941 the air war was moving to increasingly high altitudes, and so in the summer of 1941 the Messerschmitt design team began work on yet another version of the 109; the G (Gustav)
The 109G was designed around the DB 605 engine. This was heavier than the engines it replaced, but the same size, so could fit in the same fuselage designs. It produced a fighter that was heavier than the 109F, but faster. The new machine was also less manoeuvrable than the 109F, which was preferred by many of the fighter experts. The engine also caused two major problems. First, early versions were prone to engine fires caused by overheating oil. This was soon fixed. Second, the engine type suffered from low oil pressure. This second problem was never satisfactorily fixed.
The Bf109 was obsolescent towards the end of World War Two, yet it remained the backbone of the German Air Forces day fighter force and was flown by many of her allies. In production right up to the end of hostilities, more than 33000 were built second only to the Russian ‘Sturmovik’ as the most prolific military design, and post-war versions served with the Czech, Israeli and Spanish Air Forces, the latter until the mid-1960s with Rolls Royce Merlin engines; Some of these surviving long enough to be used in the classic ‘Battle of Britain’ film in 1968.