9. Information Articles

On this page I am presenting some historical information on a variety of subjects that either interest me, or feature information that I was not able to include in published articles of mine where restrictions of space prevented me from writing all that I intended. I additionally belong to a number of history-based Facebook groups, and so I am posting here some of the information that I put onto those pages which otherwise would tend to be hard to find when those posts are pushed into the background by newer posts. Anyway, here is the first posting –

Slovakian Bf 109G-6, June 1944

In the Facebook group ‘Identifying Crashed Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Bf 110 Aircraft’ a question was raised about a photo of a crashed Bf 109G-6 with a cross on its tail, which confused some viewers, to which I answered the following information.

‘White 6’ (Werk Nummer 161717) of the 13.letka of the Slovakian air force, June 1944. At that time the Slovaks were aligned with the Germans, and the 13.letka was nominally assigned to Luftwaffe fighter wing JG 52 as 13./JG 52 (although the Slovaks retained their own command structure and ranks within this organisation). The aircraft wore, on its vertical tail and above and below its wings, what was at that time the Slovak national insignia of a white-bordered dark blue cross, with a red central disc. These are the three Slovak national colours, and were worn by other aircraft in Slovak service at that time additional to the small fleet of Bf 109G-6. ‘White 6’ was shot down on 26 June 1944, when pilots of the 13.letka rather unwisely and totally outnumbered tried to intercept a US Fifteenth Air Force bombing raid, and ended up intercepted themselves by the P-38J Lightning fighter escort. The pilot of ‘White 6’, zvk. Pavla (Pavel) Zeleňák, managed to belly-land at Hornej Strede. The unit lost several other aircraft that day, and did not attempt another such interception on unit-strength level. A four-view drawing of this aircraft is included here, showing its markings in June 1944. The drawing comes from the Slovak publication “Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 slovenských Vzdušných zbraní 1944” written by Jozef And’al, Václav Hochmuth and Peter Šumichrast. Jozef And’al has supplied to me a number of photographs for inclusion in books that I have written, and this drawing is reproduced with permission.

I also have information on the US pilots who were involved in this combat.

Armée de l’Air P-63 Kingcobra

The Facebook page on the P-39 Airacobra/P-63 Kingcobra posted this photo, to which I added the following background notes.

P-63C-5-BE Kingcobra 44-4142 of the French air force (Armée de l’Air) c.1950, of GC 2/6 Normandie-Niémen. That unit in an earlier guise famously fought with the Soviet air force during World War Two, finishing the war with Yak-3 fighters. At the time of this photo GC 2/6 was based in French Indochina with its Kingcobras at Tan Son Nhut air base, nowadays one of the main transport hubs for Saigon.


P-63 GC 2 slash 6 Normandie-Niémen

Italian Regia Aeronautica Bf 109s

The colour image appeared on the Facebook page ‘Eagles of the Reich’, to which I added the b&w image and some background notes –

This is a genuine WWII colour image, not a nasty ‘colourised’ attempt. It shows several Bf 109G of the Regia Aeronautica’s 365th Squadriglia, 150th Gruppo, on Sciacca airfield, Sicily. The aircraft in the centre was 365-1, Werk Nummer 19566, a Bf 109G-4/R6. It was delivered to the Italians on 23 May, 1943. It was probably assigned to the squadron’s commander, Giuseppe Gianelli. The ‘unofficial’ unit badge of the 150th Gruppo just behind the cockpit is the famous three birds ‘Gigi Tre Osei’ insignia that was designed in tribute to Luigi ‘Gigi’ Caneppele who flew with the 150th’s 363rd Squadriglia.

Close-up of the ‘Gigi Tre Osei’ (‘Gigi’ Three Birds) insignia worn by Bf 109Gs (and other fighters) of the Regia Aeronautica’s 150th Gruppo. It was designed in tribute to Luigi ‘Gigi’ Caneppele who flew with the 150th’s 363rd Squadriglia. He had been a glider pilot before the war, the Italian glider pilots’ badge featuring three birds. It is seen here on a Bf 109G of the 150th’s 364th Squadriglia. (Photo from my Collection)

Bell P-39Q Airacobra Racer

I posted this one on the Facebook page that includes the P-39 Airacobra –

P-39Q Airacobra racer, photographed by Bill Larkins probably at Reno, 1972. Originally USAAF 44-3908. Owned by Mira Slovak and flown as race #21 Mr. Mennen, civil registered as N40A. This aircraft still exists, in the Kalamazoo Air Zoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan, in the US.

Further articles will be posted soon!