Thursday 10 November 2011

Günther Specht Bf 109 G-5/AS WerkNr. 110 064 (JG 11 Gruppenkommandeur) in defence of the Reich, Reichsverteidigung

Subject of a four-page article in Avions magazine issue No. 140 and a two-page spread (p842-843) in Teil 2 of the Prien/Rodeike JG 1/11 history ('Einsatz in der Reichsverteidigung') is Günther Specht's Bf 109 G-5/AS as 'decorated' and photographed for his award of the Ritterkreuz on 8 April 1944 - note the RK representation over the cowl in the photo below..

Specht was Gruppenkommandeur II./JG 11 and his 29th and 30th victories had been achieved over Detmold on 22 Februay 1944 (a P-51 and a B-17). With 15 heavy bombers destroyed he was one of the leading 'bomber killers' in the Defence of the Reich, despite having lost his left eye in December 1939 when flying Bf 110 Zerstörer with ZG 26. See rudder close-up below. Interestingly in his photo caption for Specht's G-5, Prien suggests that the aircraft may have received a mottle of dark green or brown blotches although this variant was essentially designed for high-altitude interception and may even have been finished in overall RLM 76 from the factory, before receiving a rough 75 overspray. Note the 'cigar' shaped auxiliary fuel tank and the Geschwader emblem of JG 11 under the cockpit - the so-called Der Wächter from sculptor - and regime favourite - Arno Breker, which was first seen on the front page of German magazines after the fall of Stalingrad, usually under the title 'Revenge!'

 Seen in the cockpit of Specht's machine being shown over the controls is Hptm. Gerhard Barkhorn, Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 52 who had returned to Germany for the award of the Swords to his RK during March 1944. Note the extremely light colour of the Stabswinkel chevrons. The presence of the visible air scoop in front of the windscreen has led some to conclude that this machine was not a pressurized "G-5/AS", but more probably a G-6/AS, which would cast some doubt on the WNr. Lynn Ritger in The Messerschmitt Bf 109 Part 2 states that a number of Bf 109 G-6/U2 fighters were converted to AS types (95 by Erla, 98 by Mimetall and 80 by Blohm und Voss) but interestingly no Bf 109 G-6/U3/AS are listed nor indeed any G-5/AS for that matter. On 15 May 1944 Specht was made up to Kommodore of JG 11 but was injured in a crash-landing during July. He led a Gefechtsverband or battle formation (an ad-hoc grouping of fighter Gruppen) during the Arnhem campaign claiming two RAF Typhoons and achieved his 34th and final victory on 5 December 1944.

 The model build courtesy Jean Barby is the Hasegawa G-10 mated to an MDC conversion set which included a new 'nose' with enlarged prop blades, a new air intake and a deeper radiator bath. Decals are from Superscale.