Luftwaffe ground-crew positioning a Me 109 G-6
Luftwaffe ground crew positioning a Messerschmitt Me 109 G-6 of Jagdgeschwader 2 (Fighter Wing 2) on airfield somewhere in France, September 1943. The aircraft above is equipped with the Rüstsatz VI underwing gondola cannon kit which consisted of two 20 mm Mauser MG 151/20 underwing gunpods with 135 rpg.
(photo courtesy of the German Federal Archive)
In the photo above the aircraft is painted in a combination of grayish colors which became the standard camouflage pattern for these aircraft from approximately 1941 through 1944. The camouflage scheme isn’t haphazard. Lots of research was undertaken to find the best scheme to disguise the planes when they were in the air.
Aircraft were supposed to be painted in the same pattern with the exact colors as specified by the Reichs Luftfahrt Ministerium. However, different Wings favored slightly different patterns and under the pressure of combat it was impossible to keep the same exact camouflage on each plane since tails, rudders et al where taken from non-operational of crashed aircraft and used to repair operational aircraft which resulted in patterns which did not match perfectly.
The specific colors used to paint the aircraft are known as the RLM colors. The aircraft above is painted in three colors as specified by Reichs Luftfahrt Ministerium: RLM colors 74, 75 and 76. Only when researching this blog post did I discover what these colors were called and how much information there is on RLM colors. There is a huge group of people around the world, I also discovered, who build models of German (and other aircraft) and great attention is paid to these RLM designations. More info on these at the end of this post.
The Me 109 G ‘Gustav’ model comprised the vast majority of Me 109s built for the Luftwaffe. Luftwaffe ground crewmen were known as “the black men” because of the color of their working uniforms. (photo courtesy of the German Federal Archive via wikipedia).
According to the original German caption, this aircraft belonged to Jagdgeschwader 2, abbreviated to JG2, better known as the famous “Richthofen Jagdgeschwader,” named for World War One ace, Manfred von Richthofen, “the Red Baron.”
(photo of emblem courtesy of www.clavework-graphics.co.uk)
However, I can’t see this JG 2 emblem in the photo of the plane above even after enlarging it. And these emblems were quite large as you will see. Take a look at the photograph below and see how large the emblem is and its positioning which was standard. Perhaps this plane had suffered battle damage and after repairs they didn’t paint the emblem back on. Who knows.
A German Messerschmitt Me 109E of 9/JG 2 Richthofen at Jever, Germany, in 1941. The emblem of the 9th Squadron is visible on the cowling, the emblem of the 2nd Fighter Wing is visible below the cockpit. JG 2 was based in France on the Channel coast at that time.
(photograph courtesy of the Australian War Memorial )
Info on RLM colors for modellers:
A detailed article on RLM colors can be found here:
What seem the most exacting details can be found here:
You can see the incredible detail modelers put into their work in this photograph below of an Me 109 model built by Klaus Herold. However, this isn’t just a generic Me 109. It is a model of the specific Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6, flown by Hauptmann Anton Hackl, 1944. (Hauptmann means “Captain”)
photo and information courtesy of www.rlm.at/cont/gal03_e.htm