In 1977, a photograph was published of a Bf 109 G, “yellow 20 + ” with a two-colour fuselage band which author Thomas H. Hitchcock interpreted as the characteristic red/blue marking of JG 7.
In 1989 there appeared a photograph (taken “near Berlin” by a US Anti-Aircraft Artillery unit) of a belly-landed Bf 109 G-10. This was WNr. 151556, white 44+ — and it too carried a two-colour fuselage band; the horizontal bar was very thin and ran the full width of the bands. It was interpreted by Carl Hildebrandt as a II./JG 7 machine engaged on airfield protection but with hindsight these markings now seem clearly characteristic of JG 301. The work of Olivier Menu on that Geschwader’s unique Gruppe marking system suggests that in fact this Bf 109 carried a yellow band with the green horizontal bar of IV./JG 301.
In an article for the Bf 109 Lair site, John Beaman cast serious doubts on “yellow 20” ever having belonged to JG 7 (not least because the unit never reported a Bf 109 on strength or lost). He was also able to suggest the likely identity of the belly-landed machine.
Daily situation reports from Luftwaffenkommando West and deciphered German signals make it clear that in 1945 airfield protection for jet units (the bombers of KG 51 and III./KG 76) was provided by the ordinary Jagdgeschwader stationed in the West. There is no mention of the jet formations having an integral piston-engined element as JV 44 later did.
Now however, there is evidence that a few Bf 109s did serve briefly with III./JG 7, even if they did not necessarily belong to it.
On 4 January 1945, operational training unit II./EJG 1 was told that General der Jagdflieger Galland had ordered the Gruppe immediately to detach a pair of Bf 109s to JG 7 at Brandenburg-Briest for eight days. The chosen aircraft were to be crewed by trainee pilots with not less than 10 hours and were to have serviceable radios and homing equipment. The pilots should report to Oberst Steinhoff, the Geschwaderkommodore.
The IV./EJG 1 in Stargard got similar instructions except that it was to send three Bf 109s (one flown if possible by an instructor) to Parchim, where they were to report to 10./JG 7’s Staffelkapitän, Lt. Franz Schall. The job of all five machines was “target presentation 262.”On the 6th, a schedule derived from ULTRA intelligence noted that two Bf 109s had taken off at 11.55 and 14.00 GMT for Brandenburg Briest on a temporary attachment. These were respectively Bf 109 G-14 W.Nr. 46439_ and Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 442067.
Two days later, 10./JG 7 informed the III. Gruppe in Briest that an advanced detachment from the 9. and 10. Staffeln had set off at 13.00 hrs on the 7th with seven lorries and two Kettenkräder, and that one Bf 109 had arrived that day.
The “target presentation” («Zieldarstellung») role meant giving the jet pilots practice in engaging piston-engined fighters with flying speed and manoeuvring capabilities markedly different from the Me 262 — a rudimentary form of modern “Dissimilar Air Combat Training.” At least one of the Bf 109s suffered some form of damage or breakdown as on the 26th, Parchim’s workshop Abteilung reported to Luftgau XI that it was repairing Me 262 Werk Nummer 170121 and a Bf 109 G-6 “belonging to 9./JG 7”, WNr. 441644. This Bf 109 was already known to British Intelligence which had deciphered a message which reported it among five G-6 models taken on to the strength of II./EJG 1 from Insterburg by the evening of 7 December 1944.
Monogram Close Up 7: Gustav — Messerschmitt 109G Part 2
Broken Eagles 3: Bf 109G/K part II
Messerschmitt Me 262, The Production Log 1941–45
Jagdverband 44, Squadron of Experten
Derived from a handful of deciphered German signals (ULTRA intelligence) from January 1945.
Article © Nick Beale 2008