Interesting photo of Gerhard Schopfel's BF109E-4

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by Alte Hase, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. Alte Hase

    Alte Hase Member

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    Hi all,

    I recently got Dr Alfred Price's excellent book "Battle of Britain" and on p26 I found the attached photo, which I find very interesting as it shows a very unusual fuselage balkenkreuz that is much smaller and appears to have been partially removed(?)...this is most certainly not how his 'yellow 1' is depicted in any profiles or decals...Does anybody know if this was a temporary situation before a proper balkenkreuz was painted on or was it done to make the aircraft less visible? I've never seen this type of balkenkreuz on a 9./JG26 aircraft of this period, so would be interested if anyone has any knowledge of this aircraft and its unusual marking!

    Thanks!

    20131226_155734.jpg
     
  2. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #2 Wurger, Dec 26, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
    It appears that there still were Emils wearing the early balkenkreuz with the thin white outline on fusleage in May/August 1940. The picture you posted above is either showing the moment of replacing of the old cross with the new type one or it might have been removed by a censorship or something like that. However it doesn't seem to be unusual pic because the cross looks to be the one used for most of Emils at the period of time.

    Here is a couple of pics I found via the net where the balkenkreuz is shown.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I'd put money on Wurger's top image and that originally posted coming from the same negative.
    The picture in the first post has been 'doctored' for some reason. If you look closely its hasn't been done very well. It reminds me of scratched out swastikas in some images.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  4. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #4 Wurger, Dec 26, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
    [​IMG]

    These three shots below were taken at the beginning of the 1940. I uploaded them here to show that the smaller earlier cross was quite different from the later one and it doesn't seem to fit the one we can see in the pic with the removed one.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    I must agree with that too.
     
  6. Alte Hase

    Alte Hase Member

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    Thanks guys. I'm convinced the photo was taken in the same position/revetment as Wurger's first picture...the background of the field is almost identical. Why would they want to censor out the balkenkreuz though and leave the ones on the wings visible in that photo?
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It's not just the revetment that's the same. The position of the camouflage branches and their shadows is identical. The two images are from a negative taken in the same place at the same time so one of them has been altered. My money is on the one with the rather crudely censored fuselage cross.

    Why or when that was done I have no idea. The only possible way of finding out would be to discover where Price sourced his version of the picture.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  8. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #8 Wurger, Dec 26, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
    It wouldn't have to be the censorship. Just somebody could have done it for a reason known to him only.
    Here you are two more images with the plane. There aren't any traces of the attempt to replacing of the cross rather.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    And again here you are two more images with the plane....

    1a.jpg

    1b.jpg
     
  10. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #10 Wurger, Dec 26, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
    Also I would like to pay your attention to something that looks like a hole in the fuslage top just behind the cross ( marked with the red arrow ). In fact it was the insulator of the antenna wire. It can be noticed in all images except the one you posted ( marked with the yellow arrow ) . It may indicate an attempt to retouching of the picture.

    2a.jpg

    2b.jpg

    2c.jpg

    2d.jpg
     
  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Well spotted Wurger. That's exactly what it is and its disappearance would certainly indicate that the original photo has been retouched, and not very well either, rather like Chang Song-thaek in official photos from North Korea :)
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I have the same series of photos in at least three books, along with a 'front on' shot, which were, I believe, taken at Caffiers (the rolled-flat wheat field is clearly visible in the background). All of these photos show the full colours of the cross, and it looks like the one shown in the first post has been re-touched on the print, for whatever reason, and badly at that.
     
  13. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    I agree with these two posts above.
     
  14. Alte Hase

    Alte Hase Member

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    Thank you all very much! I was very puzzled when I saw the photo and so I'm grateful for the very likely explanation.

    Cheers!
     
  15. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I would agree with Wurger.

    Something unique about this plane is it looks like its one of the few to have the top part of the tail painted yellow - in a triangle.
     
  16. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Not really unique as such Chris, the yellow segment on top of the rudder was the first 'style' of coloured I.D. marking, introduced in approximately mid August, along with the yellow wing tips and yellow tail-plane tips, also visible in the photos, on all Bf109s operational on the Channel front. By late August the yellow was extended over the entire rudder, and also on the engine cowling.
    For a short period of about 8 to 10 days in early September, this changed to white, and then back to yellow.
     
  17. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Something else that might throw our modeling detail fanatics into a frenzy, is the evidence of overspray from the elevator's surface onto the vertical stabilizer (below the swastika)...seen best in the photo where the victory marks are being painted on by the crew-member :D
     
  18. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Yep. I tried to replicate that, with moderate success, on a 1/32nd scale model of his aircraft, about 25 years (or more!) ago. Thinking about it, it's more likely to be the effect of re-spraying the fuselage sides, fin, and rudder in RLM 65 Hellblau, when the colour scheme changed from the darker greens to the 'winter sky scheme', with the blue extended up the fuselage. Those aircraft which entered service after the 'new' scheme had been introduced, tend to show a neater, 'factory finish'.
     
  19. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Thanks Terry. I've never really seen that done on a model - its always been a solid yellow rudder but I knew that there were variations. :)
     
  20. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Did it on my Dora:

    13052702.jpg
     
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