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Old 20th July 2008, 20:50
frenchiecroft frenchiecroft is offline
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Re: Hans-Joachim Marseille by James H. Kitchens,III & John R. Beaman, Jr

With reference to the new book in the new series ”The Luftwaffe Ritterkreuztrager 1939-45”Number one,” Hans – Joachim Marseille” by James H Kitchens & John R Beaman Jr, and knowing that John Beaman is a Moderator on this site. I would like to add the following comments, regarding both the book and of Marseille`s 109F aircraft. Now please be gentle with me as this is my first post, on what appears to be an excellent and informed site.
This book strikes a good balance between content and detail, it would have been quite unrealistic to expect the extensive photo library of Marseille`s aircraft, particularly the F/trops to be used, and the authors have gone about directing the reader to relevant reference resources is both a novel and sensible way. The aircraft chronology by and large fits well, and I completely agree with the authors assumption that Marseille had another F/trop before Wnr 8693, which at this present time there is no known information for, and in fact I put forward this very assumption in an article I wrote for Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine(U.K.) Volume 24, Number 12 ,February 2003.
The artwork by Tom Tullis is of a very high standard, but does vary slightly from the description by the authors of the aircraft, particularly Wnr`s 10059 & 10137(placement of Kennziffer on the former, and amount of Yellow on the Pannier of the latter, don`t match the text). Overall this book is a thoroughly enjoyable read, it fills in some gaps in our knowledge of these aircraft, and aims to expand and get others to expand on that knowledge. I would now like to take the opportunity to add a few comments of my own, based on my own research and interpretation of these aircraft. I have had a fascination with Marseille`s 109F`s ever since my father bought me a 1/72 scale Frog kit of one, when I was Seven (I am now Forty Five). I have studied these four aircraft seriously since 1984, so I will keep these comments limited to Wnr`s 8693,10059,10137,8673. And i will use the authors own aircraft number, and photo number systems in my remarks.
Aircraft 14 Wnr 8693.
This one now appears to be pretty much nailed, although better prints of photo 14-AA do tend to support the theory that the mid Fuselage demarcation of 79/78 sweeps up under the tail plane.
Aircraft 15 Wnr 10059.
Again close study of photo 15-I (the better prints)show that this aircraft too had the 79/78 mid fuselage demarcation sweeping up under the tail plane, even allowing for shadow. This photo also appears to show that the port wing root fillet is Blau 78 and not Braun 79.The Yellow/White spinner only appears on this aircraft towards the end of Marseille`s usage, in photo 15-H it is White, and when the Yellow was added it accounted for about 4/5ths of the spinner, with the other 1/5th remaining White. The very tip of the upright bar of the Kennziffer number “4” is slightly higher than the rest of the Kennziffer, this can be clearly seen in photo 15-F-2,where as the same bar on Wnr 10137 is lower(refer to photo 16-B). Both Wnr`s 10059 & 10137 were quite similar, and easier to get mixed up than say either of these with Wnr 8693 for example, which brings me to the contentious photo 16-G,which the authors purport to be Wnr 10137. I am of the opinion that this aircraft is Wnr 10059 mis-identified, and my reasons are 1)The visible part of the starboard Kennziffer matches that of Wnr 10059,better than Wnr 10137, and 2)On both photo`s 15-C & 16-G there is a clear view of both the spinners data plates and also a mark towards the end of the spinner, which I interpret as a small dent. If you turn either photo upside down and compare to the other, you will see they pretty much match. The authors also state that this aircraft and Wnr 10137 carried the external tail stiffeners across fuselage station 9, I have not as yet seen any photographic evidence to support this, and in the book “Messerschmitt Bf109 F,G & k series by Jochen Prien & Peter Rodeike, they state that the stiffeners were limited to early production aircraft in the 7000 & 8330 lots. By the time Erla produced Wnr`s 10059 & 10137, between January and May 1942 internal stiffening was standard. Lastly I am uneasy about Wnr 10059 having white kill markings, and have again revisited the relevant photo`s, and after careful considered study concluded that looking from left to right of various prints of 15-F-3 & 15-G, the first 52 bars appear to be Yellow and the last 16 White!. There is definitely a change in tones at the same point in both photo`s. Or maybe a different batch of Yellow paint was used for the last 16 bars.
Aircraft 16 Wnr 10137.
I have dealt with some of the issues of this aircrafts depiction in my comments on Wnr 10059. But adding to those comments I don`t buy the authors tie in of photo`s 16-F & 16-G, as the Jackets look different to me, and even if they are the same jacket, Marseille used Wnr`s 10059 & 10137 during a small overlapping time period, so it could still be for either aircraft. The authors state in their comments for Wnr 10137, that” The lower portion only of the engine pannier was RLM 04 Gelb. On the starboard side,the Yellow extended up to a hard straight line connecting the bottom of the closure latches. Oddly enough the port side of the pannier is not known”. Assuming I am right about photo 16-G being Wnr 10059 then I may have found a photo that shows a partial portion of the port pannier on Wnr 10137. Refer to the photo on page 109 of Franz Kurowski`s Marseille biography, and look at the aircraft behind Marseille, take a look at the visible prop blade and compare it with the prop blades in photo`s 16-B and good prints of 16-D. The ware pattern is very similar, and knowing that ware patterns were different from aircraft to aircraft (like fingerprints). I am quite prepared to put the aircraft on page 109 of Franz Kurowski`s book forward as a candidate for Wnr 10137, and if it is look at the lower pannier , it appears to be Yellow ,and the stencilling is intact. What do you think? Again this aircraft appears to have Blau 78 wing root fillets, and certainly does in the colourised photo on page 52 of the authors book, although this area of the machine is heavily sooted anyway. One more minor point Wnr 10137 carried a Whitewall Tail wheel, refer to copies of photo 16-L.
Aircraft 17 Wnr 8673.
I have often wondered if the photo on page 64 of Model Art number 408 is in fact Wnr 8673.The size and style of Gruppen emblem on the port side of the cowling matches that of the Starboard side one in photo 17-B. But there isn`t enough of the aircraft visible in the photo , to be sure. As for the “Splitter box Fritz” issue I have not seen these two photo`s yet , but it is interesting to speculate whether it`s possible the prop was replaced with a G type one or not. According to Franz Kurowski`s biography of Marseille, he had a belly landing on or around about the 15 of September 1942, from which he fractured or at least hurt an arm, and in photo 17-B right next to Marseille`s Wnr 8673 is a spinner and bent prop blades. It is hard to tell from photo 17-B what type of prop blades are on the aircraft but the visible one looks quite newish. Third Staffel were re-equipping with the G2 /Trop at this period in time, and presumably G2 spares. One thing is clear recent information shows that the 15 of September was the last time Marseille flew Wnr 8673.
I look forward to any comments forum users may have, and it`s great to now be a member.
Steve Croft.
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