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Foreign Gustavs
Building a collection of Bf 109Gs, Part Two

n by Peter Ibes
n photos by Frits Snijder


This article was first published in ‘Modelbouw in Plastic’ - a magazine of IPMS Netherlands
Used with permission of the Editor.

Continuing through my 1/72ns scale collection of foreign Bf 109s (see Part one of this article), here are the remaining Gustavs is esoteric markings. All models are all based on the old but nice Heller/Encore kit.

Romania, Fortele Ariene Regale Româna

Romania was an important ally for Germany in the fight against the Soviet Union. The country was of vital importance for the Axis war effort, due to the oil fields in the country.

The Romanian Royal Air force, Fortele Ariene Regale Româna, had been a loyal customer of the German aviation industry. German types in use included the Me 109 E and the Heinkel He 112 B. After the famous Ploesti raid against the Romanian oil fields by the American 15th Air Force, the Romanians urgently received a large number of Me 109 G-2s and G-4s, later followed by G-6s, which replaced their ageing force of IAR 80s.

In 1944, when the Red Army entered Romanian territory, the country changed sides and from then on the remaining Gustavs were used against the retreating German forces.

Me 109 G-4, Corpul 1 Aerian, Romania 1944. Decals from Aeromaster ‘Foreign Hurricanes’ (crosses) and Aviation Usk sheet no. 7118 (yellow 1).

Bulgaria

Among the Axis countries Bulgaria was the only country that did not declare war on the Soviet Union. Probably because they thought the stakes would be less high, the Bulgarians had only declared war on the western allies. In order to persuade them to join the fight against Russia, the Germans supplied them with large amounts of war material, including Arado 96s, Me 109 Es and French Dewoitine 520s. Only after the Ploesti air raids were the Bulgarians supplied with Me 109 Gs, as the Americans had to fly across Bulgaria to get to Romanian oil fields.

Me 109 G-6, 6th Fighter Regiment, Bulgaria, April 1944. Decals from Aeromaster, sheet no. 72-034, ‘Augsburg Eagles’ part two.

Slovakia, Slovenské Vzdušné Zbrany

After the occupation of western Czechoslovakia in 1938, Slovakia became independent. Yet in reality the new country was ruled by a puppet government, with the Germans holding the strings. This and a border conflict with the Soviet Union, led to the Slovakian air force to take part in Operation Barbarossa.

The Slovak fighter force was only small and comprised mostly of ageing Czech types and a few Me 109 Es. These were finally supplanted with Me 109 Gs in 1943, in order to face the growing strength of the Russian air force.

Me 109 G-6, 14th Slovakian Fighter Squadron, Russia 1943. The decals are made from standard Luftwaffe crosses, with the black over painted with blue. The red centre dots were punched from a red decal sheet. The white 6 came from an Almark sheet of Luftwaffe numerals.

Croatia, Hrvatsko Bojno Zrakoplovstro

After the occupation of Yugoslavia, the Germans set up an independent Croatian state. In exchange Croatian ‘volunteers’ fought alongside the Germans on the Eastern Front. They were further fighting on their own territory against (mainly) Serbian partisans.

At first the Croatian fighters on the Eastern Front were grouped in 15.(Kroat.)/JG 52, under command of Luftflotte 4. In 1942 the first Me 109 G-2s were delivered to this Croatian Legion, later replaced by Me 109 G-6s and G-10's. In the mean time the designation of the unit had changed to 1. Kroatische Jagdstaffel. This unit retreated with the Germans from Russia, until they reached Eichwalde in Eastern Prussia in early 1945. They were then transferred to Klagenfurt in Austria, hence the over painted yellow tail band. There the last Croat Gustavs surrendered to American forces in May 1945.

Me 109 G-10, 1.1. Kroat. JSt, Austria 1945. Decals from Blue Rider, sheet no. BR 217 Croatian Air force 1941 - 1945.

Switzerland, Flugwaffe

Messerschmitt 109 Gs in Swiss service? Wasn’t the country neutral during World War II? Yes, they were, which is why the Swiss Flugwaffe had a lot of difficulty trying to buy aircraft from either the Allies or the Axis. They finally got lucky when in 1944 a Me 110 G-4 night fighter got lost and crash-landed on the Swiss territory. This particular aircraft was carrying the latest Lichtenstein airborne radar and the German authorities were determined not to let this prize fall into the hands of Allied spies. They therefore demanded that the remains of the aircraft be destroyed under German supervision. The Swiss were able to negotiate a deal (you don’t have to learn the Swiss anything when money is concerned) and in May 1944 the Flugwaffe received 12 brand new Me 109 G-6s, augmented by two other examples that had strayed into the Swiss air space. 

At first the Flugwaffe was quite happy with these modern fighters, but they soon had a lot of trouble with them due to bad craftsmanship. After an accident, where two Gustavs were lost in the Alps due to bad weather, the Me 109 Gs were retired in 1946.

Me 109 G-6, Fliegerkompagnie 7, Switzerland 1944. Decals from Tally Ho, sheet no. 7130.

References

More information on Foreign Gustavs can be found in the following literature:

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