Saturday, 16 June 2018

EagleCals sheet 171 Bf 109 G-6, “Red 7” & "Red 11" 2./JG 302, Jüterbog, Feb 1944 - Defence of the Reich fuselage bands

" convincing research has confirmed this was more likely Red 11 "

Since it is so difficult to be dogmatic about colour interpretations from black and white photos it would be interesting to know exactly what this 'research' is - unless of course it is the loss returns of 2./JG 302 during this period, which do indeed indicate red Kennziffer. And not black. Black was the colour of 4./JG 302. But since when has JG 302 used a yellow Rumpfband?**** So JG 300 'borrowed' machines in the early wilde Sau period that featured on occasion a yellow band (and in at least one instance a blue fuselage band). As Aufsitzer  - ie they did not have aircraft of their own - they used the machines of their host Geschwader most notably JG 11. But the photos on which these EagleCals illustrations were presumably based date from mid-1944 and the 'Defence of the Reich' day fighter period. During late August 1944 machines of I./JG 302 were based in Vienna-Götzendorf ( 8.JD ) countering 15th AF raids coming up from Italy - on 21 August 102 B-24s escorted by 46 P-51s hit Hungarian airfields and on the 22nd a much larger force of over 600 bombers hit fuel hydrogenation plants (Blechhammer and Odertal) in the south-east of the Reich, I./JG 302 losing most notably their Gruppenkommandeur Hptm. Lewens in combat with P-51 Mustangs (..incorrectly given as the 20th in Reschke's account) Four images of 2./JG 302 Gustavs are published in the Prien/Stemmer/Bock account of these dates in JfV 13/II 'Reichsverteidigung 1944' - captions read as follows;

".. mechanics working on a Bf 109 G-6 of 2./JG 302 seen on an airfield in the Reich during 1944. Note the Staffel badge which features on both sides of the nose on the engine cowl. Three further images show 'black 11' and 'black 7' - details of note are the wide white propeller spiral and the red Rumpfband visible around the rear fuselage. Both aircraft sport the Staffel emblem of 2./JG 302.  Note the absence of flame damping shield over the exhaust on the starboard stack as normally seen during the night fighting period.."

Elsewhere there are a number of II./JG 302 photos published that show a yellow Gruppe bar on what is quite clearly a red band. And while a number of Geschwader used coloured bands in the defence of the Reich, that colour was predominantly red; ie JG 1, JG 53 (as well as black), JG 300 (from late December 1944 blue/white/blue) ..and JG 302.


" ..1./JG302 was based at Malmi/Helsinki during the period 13 February 1944 to 15 May 1944, as Einsatzkommando Helsinki (Jafü Ostland). Finnish air observation company (Ilmavalvontakomppania 7) has recorded "red 7" as one of the planes. Einsatzkommando Helsinki planes did have yellow east front fuselage band according to the photos. That might be the explanation for the "Red 7" band. It would be nice to see EagleCals sources, especially if a photo. I did contact them when the sheet was published offering Finnish data for the numeral colours, but no reply..."

 Kari Lumppio