Wednesday 21 July 2010

Gruppenkommandeur II./ JG 52 Bf 109 G-6 of Hptm Gerhard Barkhorn "Schwarzer Winkel Dreieck kleine weisse 5" -last edit October 2015

Some confusion on a couple of forums recently as to the identity of Gerd Barkhorn's Bf 109 G-6s. This post is probably not about to change that unfortunately. 'Avions' magazine recently devoted a splendid 14 pages to Barkhorn's aircraft and career with profile artwork from Thierry Dekker and a full victory list in issue No. 176 (July-August 2010). First thing to note is that the machine depicted in the lower profile (above) may not be a G-6 as captioned, but a G-5. Note in particular the lack of a windshield air intake correctly illustrated. Other pictures from a Bundesarchiv sequence clearly show the WNr. for this machine as 15909 - assigned to a G-5 batch. However other sources have 15909 as a 'stock' G-6 pointing out that WNr. 15919, one of Hermann Graf's white-tailed machines from JGr.50 and only ten later off the line was also a 'G-6'. Just to confuse the issue as pointed out by Mansur Mustafin all G-5s were constructed by Erla and they were spread among their G-6 production.

Note that this aircraft is lacking the canopy air intake/silica pellets that would also help to identity this as a G-5 variant. The figure '5' appears in-between (and not inside or on) the chevron. We do know that all Erla built G-6s are virtually identical to the G-5's coming off the same lines, except for the silica gel pellets, and head armour which apparently differed on the G-5.

To conclude ...

"This aircraft has been very often mistakenly labeled as a G-5 but this machine is obviously not lacking the pressure bulkhead and silica tablets. Plus the fresh air door on the side. The G-5s were often issued to home defence units when the high altitude pressurized aircraft was needed. Most Eastern front air battles were flown at low and medium altitude."

The more commonly seen 'double chevron 5' with the '5' on the inner chevron is illustrated by 'Avions' on the following article page view with photographs of the machine on the right hand page view. This aircraft is a G-6, the 'Tropical' variant featuring the cockpit fuselage side umbrella holders as here.

Avions 176 is available at the Lela Presse website

The Bundesarchiv picture search facility is

Two views of the 'double chevron small white 5'  W.Nr. 162 198

Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 162 198 "Schwarzer Winkel Dreieck kleine weisse 5", Maj. Gerhard Barkhorn, Gruppenkommandeur II./JG 52, Khersones, May 1944.

Click on any of the the images to see a larger view.