Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2 “<-+- ” Wk Nr 6714, JG26 'Schlageter'
Geschwaderkommodore Adolph Galland , Brest-Guipavas, April 1941.
The Bf 109F variant of the Bf 109 introduced a third change in the type's
appearance and was quickly recognisable by comparison with the Bf109E, which
had played the major part in the German fighter order of battle from the
outbreak of hostilities in 1939; it had rounded wing tips, a redesigned
longer cowling to accommodate the more powerful DB 601E engine and with
a rounded spinner, and an absence of tail plane bracing struts. The Bf 109F-1
was introduced in to service at the beginning of 1941, and the following
Bf 109F-2 carried an armament of a MG 151 15mm. engine-mounted cannon and
a pair of wing-mounted 7.9 mm. MG 17 machine guns; some experienced Bf 109
pilots considered the Bf 109F to be under gunned compared with the Bf 109E,
and though under-wing cannon were later added this could have an adverse
effect on handling.
Following the Battle of Britain, in which he scored forty victories in his
Adolf Galland was promoted to Oberstleutnant and given command of Jagdgeschwader
26 "Schlageter". In early 1941 the fighter defence of Northern France was
in the hands of JG26 and Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen" , both re-equipping
with the Bf 109F at the beginning of the year. 6714 was the Geschwaderkommodore's
first Friedrich and was fitted with the early square intake to the supercharger
(larger and rounded on later Bf 109F
aircraft). Galland's Bf 109F carried the standard "Channel Front" identification
colours of a yellow nose and rudder, with the unit's stylised "S" on a shield.
The 58 red "kill" markings on the rudder represent those that Galland achieved
on the Emil variant, with two more in black believed to signify those gained
with his new mount.
Prior to the completion of painting the chevron and bar markings to the following
incident occurred. Jagdfliegerfuhrer Theo Osterkamp a WW I veteran and WWII ace
was having his 49th birthday and Galland was preparing to attend the celebrations.
What follows is Galland's own account of the incident known as the 'Lobster Flight'.
"On 15th April, Osterkamp, the 'Jafu' at Le Touquet, was having his birthday. I was invited,
so I loaded a big basket with lobsters and the appropriate bottles of champagne into my
new 109F and took off with Oblt Westphal as my wingman. On the flight to Le Touquet, the
thought of making a slight detour over England was too enticing to resist and soon I
spotted a single Spitfire. After a rather wild chase, fate decided in my favour and my
enemy who had been very tenacious, finally crashed burning in a small village west of Dover.
Not long after this, we saw a whole squadron of Spitfires climbing with one straggler
lagging behind his companions. I approached him quite unseen and from very close range
shot him to shreds. By that time we were right into the rest of them. I shot down a
third Spitfire which I nearly rammed, but I did not actually see him hit the ground.
Nor did Westphal, who got into a good attacking position only to have his guns jam.
Now it was time to get out of there, for we really stirred them up. Full power and
dive for the Channel! We were being pressed very hard and they were firing at us
furiously. Westphal was much faster and I thought something was wrong with my 'mill'.
As soon as I reached Le Touquet I rocked my wings vigorously, then started my landing
approach. Meanwhile, the mechanics below were waving like mad and firing off red signal
cartridges to warn me.
Now the penny dropped. I had almost made an unintentional wheels-up landing. When I pushed
the undercarriage switch my bird hadn't put his legs, out but in! I must have been
flying with my gear extended. During the dogfight I remembered having bumped the
undercarriage switch with my left knee. I also seem to recall that I had to retrim
my aircraft because the flying characteristics had changed. You do those sort of things
without even thinking. After all that the lobster and champagne bottles were
completely unharmed. A fighter pilot has to have some luck and mine was pretty good
on that day because not only was I able to give Osterkamp my undamaged present, but
a report of Spitfire victories as well."
Before the end of 1941 Galland was appointed General der Jagdflieger, remaining in
France to organise the fighter protection for Operation Donnerkell, the transfer of
the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen from
Brest to German home waters.
Scale 1:72 Wingspan 5.41" (137.5 mm)
Base size 6.37" (162 mm) square (No. 4)
Weight not including base 5.5 ozs (153 grams) Limited edition of 25 only
Price £86.00 plus delivery