Spitfires in the Luftwaffe?

This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules

Ref the Hurricane with a DB engine.

Yugoslavia, was one of the first foreign customers for the Hurricane - which also included a manufacturing license. At the request of the RYAF, a Hurricane airframe was experimentally fitted with a DB 601A engine for comparison purposes with the Merlin. The conversion was made in an Air Force hangar at Zemun, the new engine bearers, cowlings and cooling system being made by the ikarus factory. The DB Hurricane flew in early '41, and was generally considered by the Yugoslav test pilots to be superior to the Merlin-powered standard aircraft.
Unfortunately, Wm Green didn't supply any performance figures!
nevertheless, it shows that it wasn't just the Germans who were doing the conversions.
I've seen the DB powered Spitfire before and it looks so different but oddly fits in a weird way.

I wonder how much work it took to mount the DB onto the Spits framing.
Here are a few pics of different Spits in Luftwaffe colors.


  • 20-10-2003-9-40-supermarine_spitfire_pr_xi_luftwaffe_captured_t9_bb_static.jpg
    35.8 KB · Views: 809
  • Hdbspit_1.jpg
    24.9 KB · Views: 627
  • Hdbspit_2.jpg
    24.4 KB · Views: 1,030
  • spit005346lh.jpg
    26.9 KB · Views: 887
  • spitfire_mk_pr_iv_luftwaffe_captured.jpg
    23.4 KB · Views: 1,960
  • spitfireingermanmarkingssized9.jpg
    71.8 KB · Views: 1,086
The BF 109s used in making the film "Battle of Britain" were from the Spanish AF and I believe had been reengined with RR Merlin engines. The Avia "something" manufactured in Czechoslovakia(I can't spell that but you get the idea) for the Israeli AF had Jumo engines I believe.
Spanish 109 with Merlin engines were Bouchons, there was an earlier version with Hispano-Suiza engines as well.

The Avia S-199 had Jumo 211 bomber engines. AFAIK those were 211F with 1340PS or 211J with 1410PS. These aircraft were even more tricky to fly than the S-99 AKA 109 G-10 with DB 605 engines.
The Luftwaffe very nearly had the latest Hurricane of the day before the Royal Air Force did, the Hurricane type that would be escaper Lt. Franz von Werra very nearly escaped in was yet to be supplied!

The Spit squadrons were not based in France. However in mid-May many were patrolling the Channel covering the retreat of Allied naval/evacuation forces from the French ports. As a result a number of Spits were shot down over France and captured. A have a number of books that show Spitfire Mk is being examined by Luftwaffe personel in 1940. One picture in the "Spitfire vs Bf 109" Battle of Britain book has a captured Mk I, IA X4260, of No. 603 squadron parked next of a Bf 109E of JG 77. This spitfire was shot down on 16 May 1940 south of Calais. Its pilot Plt Off. Bill Caister as taken as POW. The aircraft was later tested by Fritz Wendel (Messerschmitts chief test pilot).
I've got pictures and info at home collected from all different sources of allied aircraft in German hands, and can tell you that they had atleast two airworthy Spitfire Mk.I's, atleast four Mk.Vb's (including ace Robert Stanford Tuck's aircraft with 12 kills, hit by ground fire during a sweep over the french beaches), and a PR.XI, among others.
Will check out my pics etc this weekend and get the serials and codes of those that I know of to yas next week.
Spitfires were flown by the following German units

DB Daimler-Benz AG, Testcentre for aero-engines at airfield Echterdingen (near Boblingen, South of Stuttgart).

DLV Deutsche Luft- und Versuchsanstalt at Oberpfaffenhofen SW of Munich,, a German Aero and Experimental Establishment; Comparison tests with Spitfires and German aircraft.

E.Stelle Erprobungsstelle Rechlin, a Military test centre, but also proving centre for new developments of the German Luftwaffe, based near Mtiritz-See; Comparison tests with Spitfires and German aircraft; the first flying reports for Spitfires dated from January 1941 (test flight LtBorris, JG.26).

FW Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH at Bremen, measurements of Spitfire Mk.IX, study 14th April 1944.

Me Messerschmitt AG, ex Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (Bt), at Augsburg (Munich/Stuttgart); Repair of Spitfires; Comparison and measurements on Spitfires.

Kl Harms Klemm Flugzeugbau at Boblingen, Stuttgart South; Co-op with Messerschmitt and Daimler-Benz.

2/0KL "Zirkus Rosarius", 2nd Staffel [No.2 Sqn] of the Versuchsverband (Transport) OKL, a test and comparison unit of the HQ German Luftwaffe, formed at Oranienburg and based at Gottingen, used captured aircraft; Unit-code 'T9+ '. To leam more about Spitfires, especially handling and flying characteristics, the "Cirkus Rosarius" visited operational units, where they were flown by unit leaders and experienced pilots from 1943; The inventory listed two Spitfires 20th March 1944, and three Spitfires (Mk.V IX) in mid 1944; Later two Spitfire PR.XI ('TE+BB' 'TE+EK') were seen with this unit in 1944, the first being held by the staff and the second by No.2 Sqn of Versuchsverband OKL.

5/JG.2 "Gruppe Bernay", 5th Staffel [No.5 Sqn] of the 2nd Jagd-Geschwader [No.2 Fighter Wing] in France, also called Jagdlehrer- Uberpriifimgs-Staffel, a Fighter Leader Training Unit and Flight Instructor Checking Group; Tests and training also with Spitfires and other captured aircraft. Reported Spitfires at Orleans-Bricy and Le Bourget, dett Bernay and Villacoublay in France. For example, a Spitfire Mk.Ia marked '5+2', was used for comparison flying tests against Bf 109 and FW I90s in October 1942. Another Spitfire was here in April 1943, marked '3+9'.

DLV and E-Stelle used the Spitfires for comparison tests with German fighter planes. Spitfires were also tested by German aircraft producers, especially by the Messerschmitt Company and by Daimler-Benz Aero engines. The Czechoslovakian VLU Air Research Institute at Prague-Letnany, then controlled by the Germans, also used Spitfires for trials in 1944/45.
Captured Spitfires also featured in Nazi propaganda films. One, which was marked "G-X" and based at Kolberg (FJugzeugftihrerschule FFS6 (C), a Flying School in Eastern Germany, on the south coast of the Baltic Sea, now Polish Kolobrzeg, was shown being supposedly attacked by Bf 109 or FW 190 fighters, in October 1940. Despite claims to the contrary, these were not genuine combat films. In a later film, for instance, an obsolete Spitfire Mk.Ia is depicted being supposedly attacked by a much later Ta 152.
A special unit of the German North Africa troops, the "SAS Brandenburger", ferried out a captured Spitfire to Africa. There it gave air cover for troops which were crossing the Tchad, French NW Africa.
In July 1942 the Krakow Main Market Square saw the opening of a German exhibition of captured weapons. One of them was a Spitfire with the 'LY'-marking of the No.1 PRU, probably a PR variant, serial number unknown (believed to be K9791.) In France existed a "Beutepark Luftwaffe No5' (Booty Collection No.5 of the Lw) at Paris-Nanterre, which had a Spitfire Mk.I at one time.

Most of the force-landed Spitfires were dismantled for spare parts for the few flyable planes. In early 1944 the Luftwaffe inventory listed four flyable Spitfires: Mks. I, V, IX and XII. By September 1944 only three of these were in use. Additionally two non-flyable Spitfires were held in storage by the 1st Staffel/OKL (No.1 Sqn of the test unit OKL) on 20 March 1944.

F.OI Spitfire F.Ia (Merlin Ill); French FOl ("FW-B"); Orleans-Bricy, captured by Germans 18.6.40; To the
German Test-centre Rechlin (near Miiritz-See) in 1940; Fate unknown

K9867 Spitfire F.Ia (Merlin II); TOC/RAF 18.2.39; No.74 Sqn ('ZP-J'); Force-landed Calais-Marck after air combat 23.5.40 (S/Ldr FL White safe); Aircraft captured by German troops 26.5.40; To an air depot of the Luftwaffe; Fate unknown

N3277 Spitfire F.Ia (Merlin III); Became (Lw) No.52; TOC/RAF 16.1.40; No.234 Sqn ('AZ-H', named "Dirty Dick");Damaged by Bfl09 off Swanage, Dorset UK, force-landed near Cherbourg 15.8.40 (P/O R Hardy RCAF, PoW); Repaired, and to the German Testcentre at Rechlin (marked '5+2') fi'om 12.41 to 9.42; Test flown 5.6.42 (PIt HW Lerche); "Group Bernay" in France (No.5 Sqn of No.2 (F)Wing [5/JG.2]) in 1942/43; No.26 (F) Wing [JG.26] at Orleans-Bricy, flown 29.3.43 (Ofw Martin); Fate unknown

P7379 Spitfire F.IIa (Merlin XII); TOC/RAF 10.9.40; No.19 Sqn ('QV-U'); Shot down late evening by Bfl09 on sweep, force-landed wheels-up near Calais in France 27.6.41 (P/O Andrews, PoW); To an air depot of the Luftwaffe; Fate unknown

P7443 Spitfire F.IIa (Merlin XII); TOC/RAF 1.10.40; No.54.Sqn ('KL-E'); Circus 5, shot down by the first Group of No.2 (F)Wing [I/JG.2], force-landed near Calais 26.2.41 (Sgt H Squire, PoW); SOC/RAF 28.2.41 (98:05 flying hours); To E-Stelle Rechlin; Messerschmitt factory Augsburg from 21.4.41, was to be fitted with a DB601 engine, but this was cancelled; Flown at Echterdingen (near Boblingen, south of Stuttgart,); Retd to Testcentre Rechlin 9.9.42; Fate unknown

P9317 Spitfire F.Ia (Merlin Ill); TOC/RAF 10.2.40; No.222 Sqn ('ZD-A'); Air combat with Bf 109s and Bf 110s, force landed at Le Touquet airfield in France, which was held by Germans 1.6.40 (P/O HEL Falkust, PoW); To an air depot of the Luftwaffe; Possibly flown as "G-X" in a propaganda film, based Kolberg, Eastern Germany; Fate unknown

P9331 Spitfire PR. A (MerlinIII); Became Lw.No.21; TOC/RAF 29.2.40; No.212 Sqn, glycol leak, force-landed near Reims 7.6.40; Repaired and to German Lw; Testcentre Rechlin ('2+ I ') in 6.40; Fate unknown

W3824 Spitfire F.Vb (Merlin 45); Presentation aircraft 'HOLT II'; TOC/RAF 29.8.41; No.129 Sqn ('DV-F') 11.9.41, missing 27.9.41 (Sgt V Ross, PoW); SOC/RAF 28.9.41; Noted in a German air depot (almost intact); Fate unknown

X4260 Spitfire F.Ia (Merlin HI); Became Lw.No.45; TOC/RAF 23.8.40; No.603 Sqn ('XT-D'); Air combat with first Group of No.54 (F)Wing [I/JG.54] over Pas de Calais, force-landed Guines near Calais 6.9.40 (P/O JR Caister, PoW); SOC/RAF 2.11.40 (9:55 flying hours); To German Lw; With No.2 Sqn of No. 54 (F)Wing [2/JG.54] in 11.40; Messerschmitt factory Augsburg ('4+5'), test flown 20.11.40 (PIt Fritz Wendel); Fate unknown

X4385 Spitfire PR.C (Merlin 45); TOC/RAF 14.9.40; No.l PRU ('LY-B'); Force landed, undercarriage collapsed at Deelen airfield, Netherlands 22.9.41; Repaired; Testcentre Rechlin 1941/42; Fate unknown

AA835 Spitfire F Vb (Merlin 45); TOC/RAF 10.10.41; No.350 Sqn ('MN-E', marked "Stella Maris"); Circus 195 to Hazebrouck marshalling yards, force-landed in German occupied territory 29.6.42 (P/O R de Wever, PoW); To an air depot of the Luftwaffe, Fate unknown

AA837 Spitfire F.Vb (Merlin 45); TOC/RAF 26.9.41; No.501 Sqn (SD-E), force landed on the foreshore near St.L6 after air combat with Bf 109s on 4.11.41 (P/O EH Shore PoW); Mostly intact to a Luftwaffe air depot; Fate unknown

AB131 Spitfire PR.IV/D (Merlin 45); TOC/RAF 7.12.41; No.1401 (Met) Flight, force-landed near St.Trond, Belgium 12.4.42 (SOC/RAF 13.4.42; 49.55 flying hours); To an air depot of the Luftwaffe, later to a German Lw Flying School; Fate unknown

AB824 Spitfire F.Vb (Merlin 45); TOC/RAF 30.8.41; No.303 Sqn ('RF-S'), Circus 119, force-landed near St.Omer, France 4.4.42 (F/Lt Z Kurstrzynski, PoW); To an air depot of the Luftwaffe; Fate unknown

AD130 Spitfire F.Vb (Merlin 45); TOC/RAF 31.8.41; No.316 Sqn ('SZ-E'), Circus 122 to Hazebrouck marshalling yards, air combat over St.Omer, shot down by JG.26, force-landed 12.4.42 (F/O BK Buchwald); SOCIRAF 30.4.42; 188:50 flying hours); Almost intact to the Luftwaffe; Fate unknown

AR380 Spitfire F.Vb (Merlin 45); TOC/RAF 17.3.42; No.350 Sqn ('MN-Z'), Dieppe raid, force-landed in France 19.8.42 (P/O HE Marchal rescued); To an air depot of the Luftwaffe; Fate unknown

BL733 Spitfire F.Vb (Merlin 45); TOC/RAF 10.2.42; No.306.Sqn ('UZ-D'), forced landed on French Channel coast 30.7.42 (P/O Roman Pentz PoW); Mostly intact to an air depot of the Luftwaffe; Fate unknown

EN626 Spitfire LF.XIIc (Griffon IIl); TOC/RAF 19.4.43; No.91 Sqn ('DL-E'), Rhubarb, hit by flak near Gremonville, force-landed near Rouen, France 6.11.43 (W/O RAB Blumer RAAF killed); To an air depot of the Luftwaffe; Fate unknown

EN685 Spitfire PR.X1 (Merlin 61); No.542 Sqn; FTR Hannover, force-landed 13.5.44; To the Luftwaffe; Repaired, and to "Zirkus Rosarius" (2nd/OKL), marked 'T9+EK'; Flown by Lt KH Messer (First Group of No.53 (F) Wing [I/JG.53]) from Hannover-Wunstorf to Hustedt (NE of Hannover) 31.7.44; Demonstration at Dortmund, Monchengladbach, Bonninghardt, Bonn, Stadte and Husum from 2.8. to 11.8.44; Flown 21.8.44; Demonstrated by pilots of No.26 (F)Wing [JG.26] at Reinsehlen (near Schneverdingen, c.40m E of Bremen) in 11.44; Fate unknown

EN830 Spitfire F.Vb (Merlin 45); Presentation aircraft 'CHISLEHURST AND SIDCUP'; TOC/RAF 1.5.42; No.131 Sqn, missing near Ouistreham, force-landed on Jersey after air combat 18.11.42 (P/O BWM Scheidhauer, PoW, murdered); To Messerschmitt factory Augsburg and to Echterdingen (near Boblingen, South of Stuttgart) in 12.42 (test flown by Capt Willy Ellenrieder, DaimlerBenz); Armament radio removed, 24-volt electrical system and DB605A engine installed; To E-Stelle Rechlin, marked 'CJ+ZY'; Comparison trials with Bf 109G in 1943; Later DB601 A engine installed; Technical failure 27.4.44; Destroyed on ground at Echterdingen by an USAAF bombing raid on 14.8.44; Wreck to Klemm company at Boblingen, scrapped there
NOTE: P/O Scheidhauer took part in the Great Escape, but was recaptured at Saarbrucken, and shot dead by the Gestapo on 29 March 1944, along with 50 others who took part

EP200 Spitfire F.Vb/trop (Merlin 46); TOC/RAF 30.5.42; Arr Malta 8.42; No.185 Sqn ('GL-T'), hit by flak, forced to land, belly-landed near Comiso, Italy 27.8.42 (Pia Woodser PoW); Aircraft almost intact to the German Luftwaffe; Fate unknown

MK698 Spitfire LF.1Xc (Merlin 66); TOC/RAF 5.4.44; No.412 Sqn, dive bombing, damaged by Bf 109s south of Wesel, force-landed near Wachtendonk (Krefeld) 5.12.44 (P/O CWH Glithevo, PoW); With "Zirkus Rosarius" (2nd/OKL) 12.44; Based Hannover- Wunstorf in 1.45; Fate unknown

PL...? Spitfire PR.XI (Merlin 70); RAF unit unknown; Force landed and to Luftwaffe 1944; "Zirkus Rosarius" (2nd/OKL), marked 'T9+BB'; Shown HannoverWunstorf in 1944; Fate unknown
Possibilities: PL834 (No.16 Sqn), FTR Arnhem 20.9.44; PL904 (No.541 Sqn) FTR Bremen 28.9.44; PL906 (No.542 Sqn) FTR Munich 27.11.44; PL916 (No.683 Sqn) FTR Stuttgart 8.10.44; PL919 (No.541 Sqn) FTR Frankfurt 24.12.44; PL925 (No.400 Sqn) FTR Ruhr 28.10.44.
Perhaps the first Spitfire to be captured?

French Spitfire I

In September 1938 two French Air Force pilots were allowed to fly the Mk I after France expressed official interest in purchasing the type and a manufacturing licence. Slow deliveries to the RAF and the deteriorating situation in Europe meant that the Air Ministry was reluctant to give up any of it Spitfires, but it eventually agreed to supply three examples to the French Air Force. This was later reduced to one example, and the 251st production aircraft was completed as 01 for the French Air Force and was supplied with a spare Merlin Ill. It made its maiden flight on May 25, 1939, going to France on July 18. It was the only Spitfire ever built directly for an export customer, all other deliveries being ex-RAF aircraft modified for foreign service. However, the soul French Spitfire I had a short career. When the German forces invaded France it was a Orleans and was to have been burnt to stop it falling into enemy hands. That it was not is supported by photographic evidence of the aircraft, minus propeller and cowling believed to have been taken in late 1940 or early 1941.


  • scan0005.jpg
    154.6 KB · Views: 1,628
Captured Spitfire V at Kolberg Flying School. Under the fuselage, forward of the tailwhell, is a smoke making mechanism.

The same aircraft in flight, after being repainted for use in a German propaganda film, where it was shown being supposedly attacked by Bf 109 or Fw 190 fighters.


  • scan0020.jpg
    212.7 KB · Views: 1,304
  • scan0021.jpg
    395.7 KB · Views: 1,321
Spitfire PR type B P9331 in hanger at Reims/Champagne aerodrome in early June 1940.On the afternoon of the 7th June F/Lt 'Tug' Wilson was forced to land there during an abortive mission to photograph the railway line at Maastricht-Liege. This was the first PR Spitfire captured by the Germans.


  • scan0010.jpg
    89.8 KB · Views: 528
  • scan0011.jpg
    123.6 KB · Views: 505
K9791 failed to return from a sortie over the Ruhr on 17 August 1940. The captured Spitfire was displayed with other Allied equipment at the 'Der Sieg im Westen' ('Victory in the West') exhibition in Vienna towards the end of 1940. In July 1942 the Germans open an exhibition of captured Allied equipment in occupied Cracow. Among other aircraft a light-coloured single-tone airframe with 'LY' codes believed to be K9791 again.


  • scan0018.jpg
    50.7 KB · Views: 602
  • scan0015.jpg
    99.9 KB · Views: 556
  • scan0014.jpg
    61.1 KB · Views: 601
  • scan0013.jpg
    86.5 KB · Views: 584
  • scan0012.jpg
    80.7 KB · Views: 794
  • scan0019.jpg
    122 KB · Views: 586
Spitfire PR type C (believed to have been converted to type F) X4385 was lost on 22 September 1941 during a mission to Hamburg. Engine failure forced the pilot to land at Deelen in occupied Holland where these photos were taken. Apparently, the pilot made a normal wheels-down landing but the port leg collapsed during taxiing.


  • scan0008.jpg
    151 KB · Views: 535
  • scan0009.jpg
    99.2 KB · Views: 571
Spitfire PR type F X4712 was shot down by Fw Nickel of I./JG1, flying a Bf 109. The pilot, F/O JHL Blount force landed on the island of Texel and was taken prisoner. Contradicting accounts say either the pilot or the Germans set the Spitfire on fire. It may well have started by itself from the overheated engine.


  • scan0006.jpg
    126.2 KB · Views: 541
  • scan0007.jpg
    65.4 KB · Views: 548
The identity of Spitfire PR.XI captured by the Germans is still a mystery. The colour photograph was apparently taken at Sagan-Kupper airfield (now Zagen-Kopernia in Poland), an advanced training base in July 1944. The unit code was typically applied in small white letters. The aircraft code seems to be gloss black. The codes merge with the camouflage but seem to be 'EB' rather than 'BB' or 'EK', as usually captioned. Although certainly not 'EK' they could be 'BB' assuming that each letter was applied in a different style. Authors mention two PR.IXs serving with the Zirkus Rosarius: T9+BB and T9+EK. Known photos show that the EK was applied on top of an over painted earlier code so both could be the same machine. According to "Spitfire International", T9+EK was EN685 lost in May 1944. Although a fairly early machine, the Spitfire may have been retro-fitted with a pointed rudder. On the other hand this type of rudder had been fitted to MK XII fighters since 1943 and could be a replacement item while in captivity especially as some German documents caption this particular Spitfire as a Mk XII.


  • scan0017.jpg
    151.9 KB · Views: 569
  • scan0016.jpg
    311.1 KB · Views: 1,825

Users who are viewing this thread