Friday, 8 February 2019

" Mersu " - Messerschmitt Bf 109G Suomen ilmavoimissa - Finnish Bf 109s/ Bf 109s of JG 302 in Finland -Einsatzkommando Helsinki

"Mersu" - the spoken term in Finnish usually for Mercedes-Benz. In the case of the aircraft, "Mersu" is short for Messerschmitt and is the title of Kari Stenmann's book devoted to the type in Finnish service. Sadly only available in Finnish, Stenmann's opus is subtitled " Messerschmitt Bf 109 G in the Finnish Air Force" and that sums up nicely what this book is all about! Larger than A4-format, 400 pages, 479 b/w- and 6 original colour photos, 24 colour plates by Karolina Holda and Thierry Dekker, 32 line drawings in 1:72 and 1:48 scales. Hstory of each machine, kills and losses.. Note that the last flight of the type in Finnish service was 1954.  See below for a short three-part video review courtesy of JJ.

The Finnish Air Force received its first Bf 109s in 1943. A total of 162 aircraft of this type were to be purchased and the first aircraft landed in Finland on 13 March 1943. In total, 159 aircraft were taken into service, as two G-6s and one G-8 were destroyed en route to Finland. Forty-eight of these were G-2s, 109 were G-6s and two were G-8s. The Bf 109 is still the aircraft type that has served in the largest numbers in the Finnish Air Force. The aircraft carried the designation MT and a 3-digit identification number. With the arrival of the 109s, the Finns could match the latest Soviet fighters. The last of the purchased aircraft arrived in Finland on 20 August 1944, just before the armistice with the Soviet Union.

Below; colour image from the book  - HLeLv 31 Mersuja at Utin in 1953

Above; Kapteeni Veikko Karu, Mannerheim-ristin ritari. Immola 1943.01.15

Below; two shots of SSgt Erik Edward Lyly, an ace in the Continuation War. He flew in the LeLv 24 and LeLv 34 (HLeLv 34), the two most successful fighter squadrons of the Finnish Air Force, often flying as a wingman for the most proficient Finnish ace Air Sergeant Master Ilmari Juutilainen. He achieved a total of 8 air victories during the wars.

SSgt. Erik Lyly with his Bf 109 G 2 at Utti AFB, summer 1943. A good view of the Flettner tab on this tall-tailed Gustav. For more on the tall-tailed Bf 109 with adjustable trim tabs and the handling difficulties inherent to the type go here  Contending with Torque

Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 164 950 "MT 449" 2./HLeLv 24, 1Lt Olavi Puro, Lappeeranta, before 28 June 1944. Source: SA-Kuva 155496.

Below; Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 164 920 "NY+AJ " "MT 439" Kapt. Hans Wind, 3/HLeLv 24, Lappeenranta, 19 June 1944. Source: SA-Kuva 155482.

Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 411 902 "MT 417" HLeLv 34, Maj. Eino Luukkanen, Immola, 15 June 1944.

Below; Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 411 902 "MT 417" HLeLv 34, Maj. Eino Luukkanen, Immola, 15 June 1944.

Photo reproduction courtesy Finnish war-time archive SA-KUVA  (creative commons licence)
Click on the video header title to go to the video on youtube or watch here with a single click - three 30 second clips looking at Kari Stenman's "Mersu" - the Bf 109 in Finnish service

Much more on Finnish Bf 109s and Finnish aces in this highly recommended book with English text via Claes Sundin's Centura Publishing here

Below; Bf 109 G-6/R6 W.Nr unknown "Rote 26", 2./JG 302, Helsinki-Malmi, 28 February 1944. Note black lower surfaces on the starboard wing and the flame-damping exhaust covers.  This night fighter detachment of JG 302 was based in Helsinki during early 1944.

 ..Elements of wilde Sau night fighter Gruppe I./JG 302 were based at Malmi/Helsinki during the period 13 February 1944 to 15 May 1944, as Einsatzkommando Helsinki (Jafü Ostland). Some Einsatzkommando Helsinki machines displayed a yellow 'Eastern Front' fuselage band, see below.

Takeoffs and landings at night on dimly lit airfields in a single-engine fighter for a sixty-minute sortie on instruments in often atrocious weather conditions required considerable feats of airmanship and accidents were a frequent occurrence. This I./ JG 302 Bf 109 G-6 has come to grief on landing during the unit's Helsinki deployment....

Above; Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. unknown "Rote 29", 2./JG 302, Helsinki-Malmi, Finland, March 1944.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Bundesarchiv photo report series #3 - Karl Kettelhohn JG 53 Sicily, JG 51 southern Italy

With more and more BA photos released and available to view and reproduce on non-commercial web sites time to continue my series of Bundesarchiv photo finds ; herewith some images from PK reporter Karl Kettelhohn dated 1943 and taken in Sicily/southern Italy.

Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. unknown "Gelbe 10", 6./JG 53, Comiso, 22 May 1943. Source: Bundesarchiv, PK Ketelhorn, Bild 101I-468-1404-28. II./JG 53 photographed whilst handing over to III. Gruppo Autonomo CT 23 Bf 109 G-6 on that day. Picture published in Roba and Pegg 2004, p. 300.

Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. unknown "Gelbe 3", 6./JG 53, Comiso, 22 May 1943. Source: Bundesarchiv, PK Karl Ketelhohn

Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. unknown "Gelbe 1", 6./JG 51, location unknown, southern Italy, summer 1943.

previously in this series;

Gruppenkommandeur I./ JG 53 Jürgen Harder, Italy 1944

Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, Ernst Kupfer, Stukageschwader 2

Colorized images

Everywhere you go on social media you come across a myriad examples of colorized images in varying degrees of quality. Some enthusiasts seem to be very positive about this while others are totally negative.

" ..I absolutely hate these kind of forgeries. A photograph is a document and colorizing it after the fact should be always treated as a forgery..."..

I find myself agreeing with that statement - basically 'colorizing' images amounts to nothing less than falsifying history. Images like the two that follow also show that it is getting to the point where its impossible to tell what's real and what isn't. That said it seems self-evident that some images that have been 'colorized' do work - like these two below - and some obviously don’t. Perhaps something to bear in mind is that actual colour images, even those taken as recently as twenty five years ago, are already 'under attack' from the atmosphere around them.

Gefechtsverband Kuhlmey from the SA-KUVA archive. Fw 190 Jabo is being prepared for a new mission, Stukas are returning, Immola July 1944 and crash-landed Yak -9 .

Also on this blog;

Generalleutnant Hans Seidemann and the Yak-3 - "Unbekannte Pflicht" Walter Wolfrum (296 Verlag)

...of course having said that people have been tampering with and colorizing images since the war..We only have to look at the sort of material that appeared in Signal to see how important manipulating color images were to those 'selling' (Nazi) propaganda..

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Bf 109 G-8 W.Nr. 201 143 "Schwarze 2", Olt. Leibnitz, 2./NAGr. 5

Bf 109 G-8 W.Nr. 201 143 "schwarze 2", Olt. Leibnitz, 2./NAGr. 5, Nyker, Bornholm, 9 May 1945. Source: photo, inv. MUS18364. Via Jes Touvdal Christensen.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

new AIMs decals - tulip-nose Bf 109s, Graf JG 52, JGr. 50

John McIllmurray at AIMS is keeping Luftwaffe modellers busy with a stream of new releases. New and forthcoming in all the major scales is a sheet of 'tulip nose' markings for a selection of Bf 109s. Printed by Microscale in the US this sheet goes on sale shortly at the AIMS web shop. A look at some of the subjects on the sheet..and link below..

Bf 109 K-4 W.Nr. probably in the 332 000 335 241 block range given the low visibility camouflage demarcation line, typical of later Mtt-Flössenburg or other Mtt operated Waldwerke in 1945. Given the black tulip decorating the nose, the unit is almost certainly II./JG 52 - pictures taken at Deutsch Brod (today Havlickuv Brod) some time during April 1945. During the last two weeks of the war both airfields housed Hs 129s of SG 9 as well as the Bf 109s of JG 52

AIMS web site 

Below; still captures filmed on 16 September 1943 at Wiesbaden as Graf's Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 15 919 (?) "Grüne 1" featuring red spinner and 'tulip' cowl markings and two Werfer rocket grenade launchers taxy out for a flypast for the cameras. Note what some have referred to as the outer Bf 109 K-style gear doors - which here may hve been trialed as simple blast protectors for the exposed tyre from the Werfer launch.

Schulungsmaschine - more Ebay Emils - ebay photo find 302

on offer here

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

engine maintenance Bf 110 ZG 26 Erprobungsgruppe 210 Calais Marck - ebay photo find #301

..   .Techniker führen regelmäßige Wartungsarbeiten durch. Sie arbeiten hart am Limit, leben monatelang aus dem Koffer...

 'Ringelpitz' ('ring o roses') emblem  (German 'pike' in a tail-chase with a British 'fish') seen on a Bf 110 C/D of the Stab ZG 26 undergoing maintenance at Calais Marck

 " ...Most frustrating moment: this is ongoing - not yet finding a single confirmed photo of Rubensdörffer's S9+AB..." interview with John Vasco on this blog here.

Now I'm not saying that is Rubensdörffer at the controls above but that is him two images below..

still on offer at the time of posting from ebay seller kriegsjahre here