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Old 22nd September 2013, 16:50
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Yellow rudder on Oblt Werner Bartels Bf109E-1 of Stab III./JG26 (26th July 1940)

Hi,

On page 265 of Luftwaffe Camouflage & Markings Volume 2, Kenneth Merrick writes:

"Before moving to this topic, a brief digression is necessary since there is one well authenticated account, both in a written Intelligence report, plus ample photographs, of Oblt. Werner Bartels' aircraft, a Bf109E-1 (WNr.6296F) of III./JG26 which crash-landed at Northdown, Kent, on 26 July 1940. The rudder is painted yellow. This is sometimes shown in illustrations as the paler RLM 27 shade, but photographs taken at the crash site, from the nose looking aft, show the rudder to have a darker shade more consistent with RLM 04."

The G-report states the following:

"Dispatched A.M.C.S. 24.7.40.

X.288 24/7.

Second Me.109 brought down outskirts MARGATE 2/7 by fighter action. Pilot wounded and forced landed. Aircraft in fairly good condition. Markings (lazy V) 1+1. Armament four M/Gs. New type armour forming back shield and hood behind and above pilot's seat. Camouflage reported as Air Force blue throughout with blackened streaks leading edges. Apparent damage on fuselage and wings by both 20mm and 303 inch strikes. Second Me109 being carefully dismantled for removal R.A.E. Details of armour being circulated separately. Tie of Origin: - 1925/24 hours."


My issue is that nowhere on the G-report does it mention that the aircraft had a yellow rudder. What with this being one of the first Bf109 brought down over the UK, I would have thought that the application a bright yellow rudder would have been a rather important detail if not more important than the mention of "Air Force blue throughout with blackened streaks leading edges." observation? Not only that but this aircraft came down 17 days before the order was issued to paint yellow tactical markings on the fighters and a whole 31 days before we see any other Bf109 coming down that showed any evidence of yellow tactical markings being present.

Does anyone know what report Kenneth Merrick is talking about that categorically states that aircraft had a yellow rudder when it crashed?

Also thanks to Dave Wadman who offered the following account from the late Michael Payne who apparently had the opportunity to have a close look at the aircraft and noted the following in his original notes:

"That the aircraft showed signs of freshly repainted areas on both wings and fuselage, upper camouflage was 02/71 with the usual 65 undersurfaces. At sometime prior to its being brought down the underside 65 had been extended up the fuselage sides to present a high demarcation between it and the upper colours. He also noted that some of the fuselage stencilling had been masked prior to the application of 65 on the fuselage sides (clearly visible in some photos) thus leaving the stencilling on a background of the original camouflage on the fuselage sides.
He further noted that the gun trough surrounds on the cowling were a pale colour, the spinner was black or black green with one quarter painted white and the rudder painted yellow. It was also fitted with the heavier framed canopy and, like other aircraft of the III.Gruppe, the fuselage cross and markings were of a smaller proportion than usually seen. The letter 'F' after the W.Nr stood for 'Flugklar' which identified it as a rebuilt or repaired aircraft which had been cleared for return into service."


What do we rely on here? Does anyone know what "report" Merrick is writing about that mentions a yellow rudder? Was the late Michael Payne's account first hand or from the known photos? I would have thought that a yellow rudder would have been a very important detail to mention in any kind of intelligence documentation?

Thanks and does anyone have any thoughts on this discrepancy?
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Old 22nd September 2013, 17:57
MW Giles MW Giles is offline
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Re: Yellow rudder on Oblt Werner Bartels Bf109E-1 of Stab III./JG26 (26th July 1940)

Cannot add much, but the note, "Camouflage reported as..." suggests that the writer has not seen the aircraft himself

There also appears to be a certain amount of time travel involved as the aircraft you are interested in crashed on the 26th, but your G report comes from the 24th. Not the same plane?

Regards

Martin
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Old 22nd September 2013, 18:12
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Re: Yellow rudder on Oblt Werner Bartels Bf109E-1 of Stab III./JG26 (26th July 1940)

Hi, Below details extracted from Nigel Parker's work regarding this loss..

Regards,

Melvin

www.aircrewremembrancesociety.co.uk

24/7/40 13.00 hrs.
Me 109 E-1 6296 <1+1 S III/JG 26
North Down, Margate, Kent.
Started from St Inglebert, Calais. While on patrol, the whole Gruppe of some forty aircraft was told by wireless that forty or fifty Me 109’s were having a scrap over Dover and went to join in. Before he got there this pilot was shot down by a Spitfire which caught him beautifully with a deflection shot, the pilot making a good forced landing, the aircraft being little damaged.
Markings: 1+1 black outlined in white. Camouflage; air force blue throughout, with blackened streaks on leading edges.
Armament: four MG fitted. A new type of armour was fitted forming a back shield and a hood behind and above pilot's seat.
The aircraft had only flown 10 hours, although the pilot had spent five years in Brazil and had married a Brazillian, along with training and reorganizing the Brazillian Army under the French Mission.
ID: 60321, AW: light grey, Dortmund, 12/5/40, FP: L 30841.
Pilot: Lt Werner Bartels severely wounded, was the technical Officer of the Gruppe.
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Old 22nd September 2013, 18:52
Cpt_Farrel Cpt_Farrel is offline
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Re: Yellow rudder on Oblt Werner Bartels Bf109E-1 of Stab III./JG26 (26th July 1940)

I don't know about the rudder, but regarding the camoflage, if the report had stated "Grey" I believe it could well have been a regular 02/71 scheme that looked kind of greyish, but "Airforce blue" sounds to me like there was really some kind of non regular grey scheme involved, especially since colorphotos from mid august shows grey colors on at least two other III./JG26 aircraft.

I've seen a theory somewhere that the yellow rudder had something to do with fast I.D. of a gruppenstab aircraft but I can't recall where.

Cheers! / Anders
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Old 22nd September 2013, 20:29
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Re: Yellow rudder on Oblt Werner Bartels Bf109E-1 of Stab III./JG26 (26th July 1940)

Guys, thanks. Anders, I too have heard that rumour but sadly as far as I know, no other photographic evidence has emerged to confirm the practice. (The Stab rudder ID that is...)
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Old 22nd September 2013, 22:33
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Re: Yellow rudder on Oblt Werner Bartels Bf109E-1 of Stab III./JG26 (26th July 1940)

First of all, the date 26th July in Ken Merick's volume 2 is incorrect - the correct date was 24th July for the loss of this aircraft.

Secondly, photos of the aircraft appear to show a different hue on the rudder compared to the 65 on the adjacent fin...
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Old 22nd September 2013, 22:49
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Re: Yellow rudder on Oblt Werner Bartels Bf109E-1 of Stab III./JG26 (26th July 1940)

John, thanks. I think what we are seeing here is a replacement or new rudder with fresher looking RLM65. Hence the difference in shade. As Göran has also pointed out over on LEMB, a couple of photos exist of the port side where the RLM27 octane triangle is much darker than the tonal value on the rudder.
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Old 23rd September 2013, 08:34
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Re: Yellow rudder on Oblt Werner Bartels Bf109E-1 of Stab III./JG26 (26th July 1940)

I know of no RAF Intelligence Report that documents the rudder colour. I guess it's possible that as a youngster the late Michael Payne may have seen the aircraft during its travels on fund-raising exhibitions but, if so, he never mentioned the fact to me.
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Old 23rd September 2013, 10:10
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Re: Yellow rudder on Oblt Werner Bartels Bf109E-1 of Stab III./JG26 (26th July 1940)

Peter, thank you for confirmation on the Intelligence report.
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Old 23rd September 2013, 19:06
Larry Hickey Larry Hickey is offline
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Re: Yellow rudder on Oblt Werner Bartels Bf109E-1 of Stab III./JG26 (26th July 1940)

Clint,

Like Peter Cornwell, I was in contact with and extensively corresponded with Michael W. Payne for many years, and I have no recollection of him ever indicating that he personally viewed this a/c after it was shot down.

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