What is this line for?

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by Alte Hase, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. Alte Hase

    Alte Hase Member

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    1-Bf-109E4-I_JG27-(+-Gunther-Bode-crash-landed-Mayfield-1940-01.jpg

    Hi guys! I was looking at this photo and noticed the diagonal line running from the rear bottom corner of the canopy back towards the wing root. Reading about this wreck on the 'Aircrew Remembrance Society' website, I learned that this was Gunther Bode's machine, shot down on 9 September 1940. They said it had this red line that 'was becoming common on aircraft of this period'. I've never seen anything like it, but I'm sure somebody on here would know a bit more about it?

    The only thing I can think of is that maybe it was for reference by other aircraft when doing formation dive bombing? But it was only on the left side of the fuselage and the machine had no bomb rack fitted and as far as I know September 1940 was before the luftwaffe started using Bf109s in this role?
     
  2. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    My guess is a guide for foot/hand hold points.
     
  3. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #3 Wurger, Jun 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
    It seems it is the Bf 109E-4 Werk Nummer 1394.

    Here a couple pictures of the kite taken in Fance 1940. The source ... the Internet.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And after its crash landing in Mayfield in 1940.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I went through a few references for Bf109 E and can't agree the red diagonal line was something common on Bf 109E at that time. I can't find a such one in many pictures of both JG27,JG26 and other squadrons dated for 1940. I think it could have been the Gruppe Adjutant's personal preference that might have helped with finding the step for getting in the cockpit. So I agree with Wildcat's post.
     
  4. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I always assumed that also. Kind of like the lines on early Hellcats.
     
  5. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Yes, it seems to be a guide to the foot step location, and is by no means common.
     
  6. Alte Hase

    Alte Hase Member

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    That's very interesting indeed! Well I've definitely learned something new today! It makes perfect sense.
     
  7. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Yep, a guide for the footholds. I don't know how common they were on German aircraft, but you see them on US aircraft even today. Here are some on a T-28:
    DSC_4287.jpg

    And it you look on the right side, they are not there:
    DSC_4242.jpg

    An believe me, after an hour or so of "fun" flying, those guides are very helpful to get your foot where it needs to go. You miss that foothold and it's quite a distance to the ground!
     
  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    No idea what the line is for. The conclusion above seems reasonable. It certainly doesn't appear to have been common.

    Bf 109 Es were operating as fighter bombers by this time but not this one. Not only is no bomb rack fitted (as you say) but neither is their the relevant panel fitted,to the bottom of the instrument panel,in the photo in Wurger's post.

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  9. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    I've never seen that on a Bf 109 before, interesting!
     
  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Most of those pics and profiles from Wurger are from "Jadgwaffe: Battle of Britain" by Eric Mombeek and while he describes the line, he doesn't speculate on its purpose. But since the line ends at the footstep, I believe everyone's conclusion to probably be the correct one.
     
  11. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    He 219 had 'em.
     

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  12. clinton78

    clinton78 Member

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    Makes sense now really, say your standing up in the cockpit looking down. The curvature of the fuselage would make it difficult to see the foot holds. So they put them there to guide your foot to the hole. I would'nt like to fall out of the He219, that looks like a nice ankle breaking distance to the floor. :D
     
  13. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Yes, they were on some other Luftwaffe aircraft, but very rare on Bf109s. Maybe the groundcrew thought their pilot was accident prone .....
     
  14. brucejscott

    brucejscott Active Member

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    Well, he did get shot down...
     
  15. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Exactly. If you don't think it helps, try getting out of a cockpit that doesn't have one. I have egressed aircraft with and without the foothold lines and I can tell you they are a huge help. I missed a foothold on a T-34 that didn't have one and was lucky to catch my balance when my foot hit the wing, otherwise I would have either dented the wing going sideways, or injuring myself on the ground.
     
  16. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Ok, now that makes sense to me. I was only thinking about climbing into the aircraft.
     
  17. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    They certainly do help - getting out of a F4 Phantom, using just the 'kick in' steps and the single, telescopic step at the base of the fuselage would be virtually impossible without the guide lines - and it's a bl**dy long way to fall !
     
  18. Alte Hase

    Alte Hase Member

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    That's very interesting, and entirely sensible now that I see how it helps in real life! Thanks guys!
     
  19. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    I asked this same question on the F6F about 2months ago perhaps. Evangilder's explanation makes perfect sense to me. You are getting out of your airplane after hours of operation. Your legs are cramped, tight and not working. You throw a leg over on a concave surface to find a foothold blindly and you my dump yoru azz from 8 to 10ft off the ground. A simple red or white "stupid" line suddenly makes all the sense in the world to me (one who has done a similar thing climbing off his roof onto an unseen ladder below).

    Brilliant that is actually. Simple human factors.
     
  20. Alte Hase

    Alte Hase Member

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    And the simplest of clever solutions! I fell out of the P1 side of a Cessna Caravan once...a red line would be no use on that thing as the ladder extends straight from the cockpit interior floor , but the fold down ladder on the 'Van is a bit tricky to negociate carrying a flight bag, document bag, and huge bag of aircraft covers! I 'felt' for the step, misjudged it and before I knew it was on the tarmac wondering what happened!
     
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