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Experten Decals No. 72-1

 

History, Camouflage, and Markings of
JV-44 and JG 6 Focke-Wulf 190 D-9s.

 

New! Since ED-1 was first published, additional information has been revealed which has allowed us to provide updated information for "Rote 13" and "Rote 1". Please review the following addendums.


"Rote 13"

"Rote 1"

"Schwarze 12"

The Focke-Wulf D-9 "Dora" was probably the finest piston-engined fighter used operationally in significant numbers by the Luftwaffe.  Though initially conceived as a stop-gap measure until the Ta-152 could be introduced, the D-9 permitted the German fighter arm to achieve a level of parity with the later variants of such superb Allied fighters as the Mustang, Thunderbolt, Spitfire and Tempest.  Though over 700 aircraft were completed, the decline in the quality of Luftwaffe pilot training during the last year of the war handicapped the effectiveness of this potent weapon.

The first two subjects of this decal package are rare and colorful birds indeed!  Both Rote (Red) 13 and Schwarze (Black) 1 represent two of the five Focke-Wulf Doras known to have been assigned to the Papagei Staffel of  Generalleutnant Adolph Galland's Jagdverband 44.  The intended role of this small unit was to defend the airspace above JV 44's operational base at München-Reim (and possibly later Salzburg-Maxglan) during the take-off and landing of the Me 262 jets, when they were most vulnerable to Allied fighter attack.  The extensive deployment of flak units around the airfield and its approaches necessitated the painting of the D-9s' undersides in a dark color with narrow white longitudinal stripes, such that they not be mistaken for Allied aircraft which regularly prowled the airfields.  These Doras also displayed unique unit and personal markings, which further enhances their appeal to the modeler and enthusiast alike.  

The third subject aircraft is Schwarze (Black) 12, of 6.Staffel, II./JG 6, which was surrendered to U.S. forces at Fürth, near Nürnberg, on May 8th, 1945.  This aircraft is well-known, having been photographed in color and illustrated in several fine publications.  However, a re-evaluation of this photograph in conjunction with many additional, though unpublished, black and white prints of this aircraft, has permitted a more accurate and complete portrait of this Dora to be assembled, and sheds additional light on late-war production practices.

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: PRODUCT PREVIEW  

For purposes of better acquainting the online reader with this product, we have included a summary for one of these these three Doras, in this case, Rote 13.  Note: important bibliographic details and specific references to tables, figures and illustrations have been omitted for online publication.

ROTE 13 - WNr. 400240:  Papagei Staffel, JV 44

This aircraft was photographed on or about the 5th of May, 1945, being discovered amongst a group of abandoned aircraft scattered about the western end of the aerodrome at Ainring, about 5 km northwest of Salzburg. Though limited to one photograph, detailed enhancements from the original image plus interviews with the former pilot, permit a reasonably accurate portrait of this aircraft to be composed. However, until such time as additional photographs of this subject become available, the interpretation of the starboard, upper, and lower surface camouflage and markings must remain tentative.

 Pilot and Aircraft Background

The pilot of this aircraft has been identified as Hptm. Klaus Faber, a former member of JG 27, JG 6 and JV 44. At the time of Jagdverband 44's work-up period, Hptm.  Faber was attached to Stab./JG 6 at Oberschiesien. In early April 1945, he was ordered to report to Generalleutnant Galland at München-Riem. He flew to Pilsen, turned in his Bf 109 and proceeded to Regensberg where he took possession of a Fw 190 D-9. Hptm. Faber reached his posting by the middle of the month and joined the Papagei Staffel.

Hptm. Faber indicated that few missions were flow by the Staffel during its brief two weeks at München-Riem. Jagdverband 44 was soon forced to flee to Salzburg-Maxglan and Innsbruck on or about the 29th-30th April.  The remaining (two?) Doras of the Papagei Staffel were stationed at Ainring, a few kilometers west of the former location, though only one or two operational missions were believed to have been flown from there.

It appears that Jagdverband 44's last victory may have been scored by Hptm. Faber while flying Rote 13, who claimed a P-47 shot down over Bad Abling while on a flight to pick up some whiskey!  This victory is purported to have occurred on May 4th, one day after JV 44's Me 262's were blown up in the face of the U.S. 3rd. Armored Division at Salzburg­Maxglan. We so far have been unable to confirm this claim against U.S. 9th Tactical Air Force losses listings, though other sources have yet to be reviewed.

Camouflage

The most common camouflage scheme observed on the D-9 was the 75/83/76 combination, with a fuselage mottle of Braunviolett 81, DunkeIgrün 83 and perhaps Grauviolett 75. Photographic documentation in both color and black and white of a D-9 which was painted in this manner (Schwarze 4, WNr. 211193), were compared with the photograph of Rote 13.  A virtually identical match in the tonal values for the grays is evident in black and white photographs of the two aircraft.  The fuselage mottling is somewhat denser on Rote 13, and it appears that a previous tactical number has been over-painted, probably in the lighter Grauviolett 75.

It is believed that Rote 13 was most probably painted in the same 75/81/83/76 scheme, though little is visible of Rote 13's upper wing surface camouflage pattern.  We believe that its pattern was probably similar to that seen on other Doras from the 400000-series Werknummer block.  Such an example is illustrated in three photographs of a wrecked JG 2 D-9 from II./JG 2, and thus by using this data a reasonable outline of Rote 13's camouflage pattern can be delineated.

   

 National and Tactical Markings

The national markings applied to Rote 13 reveal evidence for both field and factory application.  The black Hakenkreuze on the tail are the stand factory-applied H3 (420 mm) style.  The upper wing Balkenkreuze, though not visible on the photograph, were most probably the same as the JG 2 aircraft mentioned above, ie; the white B6 type.  The lower wing Balkenkreuze are the black and white B3 (800 mm) style, being just visible in enlargements made from the original photograph.

The fuselage marking appears freshly-painted, and its style and position is rarely seen in photographs of Doras outside of this unit.  It is very probable that these markings were field-applied so to enhance the aircraft's recognition to the ground-based flak units that surrounded jet airfields.

The red and white colors of this aircraft's unit code number (Staffelkennziffer) were confirmed by its pilot.  Hptm. Faber indicated that several of his JG 27 aircraft also carried this number, and believed that the other Papagei pilots most probably chose their own numbers and colors, no doubt reflecting similar attachments to former mounts.

 

Click on image to enlarge

 

Click on image to enlarge

 

 Servicing, Maintenance and Other Stencils 

The rather worn appearance of this aircraft suggests that all but the most essential stencils were probably over-painted or rubbed off.  It is useful to note that an enhancement of the original photograph of Rote 13 reveals markings indicative of the MW 50 powerboost system.  Technically, aircraft fitted with this system would have been driven by the slightly narrower VS 9 propeller, though it cannot be determined if this aircraft was so fitted.  However, given the intended role of this aircraft, the MW 50 attribute would have been a necessary prerequisite, if, of course such fuel were available.  

 

An enhancement of the tail from the original photograph reveals that Rote 13's Werknummer is most likely 400240.  No references to this aircraft have been encountered in any known losses listings or other datasets.  Therefore, it is believed that WNr. 400240 is valid for this particular aircraft, making it the fortieth example from the first production series assembled by Arado  at  its  Warnemünde  facilities.

 

Click on image to enlarge

Official documentation and photographs of other Doras taken during the last months of the war reveal aircraft with "early production batch" characteristics ('flat' hood, large-size fuselage markings and the 75183176 scheme) were not strictly limited to the 200000-series. Indeed, unpublished independent research by Beaman, Sheflin, and others indicates that, not surprisingly, each manufacturer also had its own subtle though distinctive application style for camouflage colors and national markings.   

Unit Markings and Personal Regalia 

The most distinguishing feature of Rote 13 was the painting of its undersides in red, with 10 cm wide white longitudinal stripes, though only portions of these markings are visible on the photograph. As stated above, these markings, and the enhancement of fuselage national insignia, were primarily applied for flak recognition purposes, though they would also have been most useful for personal recognition between Staffel aircraft when airborne. The markings applied to Rote 13 were probably quite similar to those applied to the well-documented Schwarze 1 but varied in color and other details.  It appears that all Staffel aircraft were similarly painted at the same time, most likely at München-Reim.

The color of Rote 13's spinner was most likely white with the rear half in Schwarzgrün 70. The propeller was probably DunkeIgrün 71. A detailed comparative study of the photograph of Rote 13, and the Papagei Dora in the background of the pilot group photographs, indicates that they are two different aircraft.  However, these photographs well illustrate the lower surface markings and the hastiness of their application.

The most interesting markings on this aircraft and others of the Papagei Staffel are the personal ones painted under the cockpit on the port side of the aircraft, consisting of an encircled crest and an inscription. The former is the most controversial. it is a four-quartered square crest in black and white with the darker color in the second and third quarters, and is encircled by a red ring. The ring's color matches that of the aircraft's tactical number, though the pilot could not recall its significance.  Five possible interpretations regarding the crest's origins and significance were considered: 1) a Luftwaffe command or tactical insignia, 2) an aviation-related badge, 3) a family town or other type of heraldic crest, 4) a new crest designed for the Papagei Staffel, or 5) a crest representative of airfield/factory protection units (Platzschutzstaffeln).

Initially, it was thought that the crest could be a variation of a Luftwaffe command insignia. Examples of such regalia are known though are restricted to the uppermost echelons of the Luftwaffe command structure. The Kommandoflagge des Chefs Elner Luftilotte is similar in design and colors to the Papagei crest, though here the four-quartered crest is framed, not encircled, in red, and has black in the first and fourth quarters with an eagle centered on the crest. This insignia is observed on a Do 217 J-1, which was assigned to the Luftwaffe Befeishaber Mitte (Luftwaffe Commander Central), and was believed to have been the personal aircraft of Gen.Maj. Joseph Kammhuber. No documentary evidence, however, could be located regarding the use of a similar such marking for aircraft at the Staffel level.

The second theory is that the crest represents the qualification badge worn awarded to German aerial observers during the Great War. The badge is similar in appearance to the above crest, but without the eagle. No relationship could be established between the badge and the unit or pilots.

The third interpretation considers the crest as having a heraldic origin. Only one near match was found, with the aircraft's black and white crest perhaps being a variation of the black and silver von Hohenzollern royal family coat of arms. Again, no relationship was discovered between the von Hohenzollern and any of the known pilots.

The fourth possibility has a more oblique origin though with a humorous connotation. A photograph of a damaged Bf 109 in Sweden shows a black and white chequerboard flag attached to a propeller blade, which indicated a non-movable aircraft. Though very similar to the crest, the black squares of the flag are reversed, being in the first and fourth quarters. Another photograph, this time taken in Germany, illustrates a disassembled and obviously non-movable Me 262 with a small black and white (or red and yellow?) four-quartered chequerboard on a metal pole stuck into the ground immediately adjacent to the aircraft. The association of these very similar markings with wrecked or disabled aircraft would strongly imply that they have the same meaning.

It is speculated that perhaps the Staffelkapltan, Hptm. Waldemar Wubke, being an acknowledged joker and wag, or "Spaßvogel" might have selected or adopted this symbol as the Staffel crest. His reasoning might have been that compared to the speed of the jets they were to defend, the D-9s would appear stationary or 'non-movable'. This could also have a double meaning in that once the Papagei Staffel was in the air, they would be 'unmovable' until they had ensured the safe take-offs and landings of their Me 262 charges. Although relying on a certain degree of conjecturism, given the times and the players, this hypothesis is plausible.

The final interpretation of the crest's significance is based on information from Rote 13's former pilot. In an interview with Crandall (1988), Hptm. Faber stated that when he took possession of his D-9 at the Obertraubling airfield, he was informed that this aircraft was being used for local defense for the nearby Messerschmitt factory at Regensberg. He was quite certain that the black and white crest was on the aircraft prior to him receiving it, and that the red ring was later applied as an accoutrement to the crest at the time of the painting of the code number '13'. From the freshly-painted appearance of the crest, it is quite possible that it was applied immediately prior to its assignment to Faber once it was determined what its intended role was to be. However, as mentioned above, Hptm. Faber could not recall the crest's significance.

Documentary and photographic evidence suggest that the eight Me 262s of the factory protection units Industrie Selbstschutzschwärme 1 and 2, based at Lechfeld and Schwabische-Hall respectively, displayed a dark blue and bright green (24125) chequerboard tail band. A close examination of photographs in the above references of an ISS 1 aircraft, Gelbe (Yellow) 5, suggests that part of the tail band may be composed of Dunkelblau 24 squares alternating with the background camouflage color(s), though Grün 25 must have been used on the undersides. Unpublished photographs via J. V. Crow of the starboard side of Gelbe 5 suggest that here the tail band was a solid dark blue, though perhaps this merely represents an incomplete repainting of the tail band interrupted by its capture.

There is photographic evidence of other similarly-marked Me 262s from other as yet unidentified units. Three examples are known; two of these aircraft display a very large four-quartered black and white chequerboard painted beneath the horizontal stabilizers, with black in the first and fourth quarters. The third aircraft, coded Rote 3 (Werknummer unknown), has a chequerboard tail band identical to Gelbe 5's, though in this case appears to be black and white, the white squares being slightly muted with a light overspray of a darker camouflage color.

Considered together, we believe that the various styles of chequerboard tail markings, as applied to Me 262's and other aircraft, may well have been recognized factory defense markings. If so, then it appears that there are other unknown or unrecognized Industrie Selbstschutzschwärme units of which documentation has yet to be discovered.  The marking on Rote 13 could well be a local variation of these and perhaps is representative of an airfield protection unit, or Platzschutzstaffel. Until such time when more data becomes available, this interpretation is the most reasonable, having both documentary and photographic support. The fourth option warrants some consideration, though is entirely circumstantial and speculative.

Finally, the most personal marking on Rote 13 is the white-painted inscription beneath the cockpit, which was applied at about the same time as the red underside colors, code number, and ring.  The hasty application of the inscription is obvious, as evidenced by the different sizes of the words in each line, and the lack of consistency in the style of lettering.  In the original photograph the words are still discernable, and in colloquial German read "Rein muß er und wenn sie beide weinen!" ("He must get in even if they both cry!"). The relevance of this expression will not be examined here, but will be left for the reader's private reflection!

  

ISBN 0-9696819-0-10-1495

 

    Note:  1/48 scale decals for this title are no longer available.

  

   

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