Schnaufer Bf110 G-4

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Graham Wyatt

Jan 30, 2021
Hello everyone...
I'm trying to find details of the aircraft that Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer flew on 28/08/1943. The code is noted as G9 D+Z, however i found details of a crash involving a Bf110 with this serial in June 1943. Were the serial numbers changed at some point ? Or was he flying a different plane ?
Schnaufer was scrambled in the early hours of 28/08/43, and shot down Halifax Jb835 dy-x returning from bombing Nuremburg. My grandfather Reginald Horten was the tail gunner. He bailed out and was the only survivor. I would appreciate any information especially on the Bf110. If anyone could provide a picture or details of the markings etc, this would be most appreciated as i am considering commissioning a painting of the event for the family.

These are the unit and individual code letters, not the serial number ( which would be Werke Nummer in the Luftwaffe, for example W.Nr. 294732 ), and it is the latter that identifies an individual airframe, not the code letters.
The "G9" designates the Geschwader, with the "DZ" being the Staffel and individual aircraft letters. These could, and would, be carried by a number of aircraft - for example, if "DZ" was lost on operations or damaged beyond repair, then a replacement would receive the same codes. When aircraft types were replaced by the next in the production series, then again the codes would be used. There would not, however, be more than one aircraft with exactly the same codes.
So it can be seen that a number of airframes, over time, would carry the same codes, just as they did in the RAF and USAAF.
The identification G9+DZ can be broken down to:

G9 is NJG 1 (Nachtjagd Geschwader 1)
D is the individual aircraft
Z is V. Gruppe 15 Staffel giving also that the D would be yellow so the aircraft would be called Gelbe Dora (Yellow Delta)
There is abook on Schnaufer called "Nachtspook van Sint-Truiden" and it is a biogrphy of Schnaufer and his crew. bad luck for you however as it is in Dutch....
From the registration of his aircraft: the "Z" in DZ means that it was based at Leeuwarden in the north of the Netherlands.
Translation of what is mentioned on this case: " after several intercept attempts Schnaufer suddenly saw a Halifax above us , flying on a straight course. From 80-100 meters Schnaufer fired, from below and behind, into the the Left wing. It did catch fire immediatly so we kept firing until we were at the same level and behind it. Both the tail gunner and the mid upper fiercly opened fire. Miraculously onlyour right control was hit. Finaly the wing of the Halifax caugth fire and we escaped below it. The Halifax was ablaze going down and crashed 15 km west of Namur."
Schnaufer flew that night with Erich Handke.Take off time from Fliegerhorst Leeuwarden: 01.38. Landing at St.Trond (Sint Truiden) : 04.23. Aircraft :DZ.

It is possible that the G9-DC the same aircraft is as the G9-DZ as Schnaufer took the DC from St.Trond to Leeuwarden and that there the"C" (of St.Trond) was changed to a"Z" ( of Leeuwarden).
There is only one picture in the book of the "DC" and it is not clear w.r.t to the markings of the aircraft.
I can send you a copy of these foto's from the book , just drop me your email.
....the "Z" in DZ means that it was based at Leeuwarden in the north of the Netherlands.......
It is possible that the G9-DC the same aircraft is as the G9-DZ as Schnaufer took the DC from St.Trond to Leeuwarden and that there the"C" (of St.Trond) was changed to a"Z" ( of Leeuwarden).....

Sorry but that info is not correct. The last letter in the code was to designate the Staffel (squadron) that the aircraft belonged to, not the location of where it was based. Typically, the Staffel code only changed when the aircraft was transferred to another unit. Mig2830's description of the coding system is correct.
Thankyou for all your responses. I have seen pictures of Schnaufer's early aircraft GL-N (i think), which was black, and i know that a lighter colour was used on later 110s. Were the colours particular to each nachtjagd unit or were the colours changed more randomly?
Pure black was used in the early days until it was noted that it was less than ideal for as a night camouflage, especially when viewed from above over clouds in moonlight. The lighter colours were eventually deemed to be most effective and RLM 76 (light blue grey) and 75 (a medium grey) were both effective and available to units. I believe, but don't know for sure, that variations in patterns were possible within and between units with the base colour being 76 and various combinations of 75 varying from blotches to splinters to wellen or squiggles.

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