JG26 "The Abbeville Boys"

Unit Symbol of JG26 - Jagdgeschwader Schlageter - The Abbeville Boys

A Brief History of Luftwaffe Fighter Unit JG26
"The Abbeville Boys"

A Messerschmidt BF-109G2 "Black 6" in flight over Duxford in 1997Messerschmitt Bf 109-G2/TROP "Black 6" flying over Duxford in August of 1997. A Bf 109-G2/TROP in a low level low speed pass at Duxford airfield in August of 1997. This was a complete original a/c fully restored using private monies but owned by the British MoD (Ministry of Defense). It was severely damaged on 12 October 1997 due to pilot error. It was restored to flying condition in 2003 but is not allowed to fly.

Sitting in a HA1112 Spanish built version of a ME109G in Tillamook Air MuseumSpanish Bf 109
Here I am sitting
in the cockpit of a
Spanish Bf 109
Hispano 'Bouchon' at
Tillamook Air Museum.
Official designation is HA-1112.

This is the Spanish built licensed version of an Bf 109G / Me 109G. This a/c is on display in Tillamook Air Museum. I am 6' and the fit is very tight. And that is without a parachute to sit on! The plane was designed when most men were around 5' 8" so a/c did not have to be as large as they are now. The Bf 109 series was based in part by what Wilhelm 'Willy' Messerschmitt (1898-1978) learned after building the Bf 108 'Taifun' two seat light aircraft in Germany before WW II.

HA1112 Spanish Messerschmitt Me-109 at Reno aka Red 5 in 1968 movie Battle of BritianHA-1112 Bouchon at Reno At Reno National Air Races in 2002 was a Spanish HA1112 - License built Messerschmitt Me 109/Bf 109. This aircraft appeared in the 1968 movie "Battle of Britain". In the movie it was painted up as "Red 5".

I have a page with these and other pictures of Bf 109 Messerschmitts.

JG 26s' Name Origin

Jagdgeschwader (JG) 26 was known as either "The Abbeville Boys" or "The Abbeville Kids" by both the British and Americans who flew against them. The unit had an official Luftwaffe name as "Jagdgeschwader Schlageter".

The unit got the name as part of its involvement in the re-occupation of the Rhineland on March 7, 1936 (in violation of the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact). The locals adopted the unit and it was suggested that the unit be renamed after a local nationalist hero Albert Leo Schlageter. Leo had been shot by the French in 1923 for attempting to destroy railroad tracks taking coal from the Rhineland back to France as part of the war reparations imposed on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles. France's political policy did not allow any coal to be sold in Germany even if they wanted to pay for it. Germany was short of coal during this time and as a result many German people did not have any coal to warm their homes. This local German was protesting this fact. This is why a Gothic "S" on a white shield was put onto the left cowl of all unit aircraft.

Unit Markings

The Gothic S was painted on the left front of the a/c. Various other personal and unit emblems were painted on aircraft around the S, usually by the cockpit, when there was enough time.

National markings included the German Cross and the Swastika. The Swastika is an ancient symbol of a cross with its ends bent at right angles - it has been found on ancient Greek coins, Byzantine buildings and Celtic monuments and in the Indian subcontinent. Even a US Unit, the 45th Infantry Division, which was stationed in the Great Plains, had this as a unit symbol adapted from American Indian tribes there. Of course it was quickly changed in 1942.

The word swastika is derived from a Sanskrit word "svastika," meaning a sign of well-being or good luck. It was painted on the tail fin of German a/c. On the sides of the a/c are the aircraft number (color coded) and <, <- or - to denote the rank of the person flying it. That is why you hear an a/c referred to as "Black 6."

The swastika's use by the Nazi Party of Germany beginning in 1920 gave rise to its current association with evil and hate. Aircraft in German museums, actually no where in Germany, is allowed to display a Swastika. In stores that sell WW II related items, it must be covered up and not seen when on display.

Yellow Noses during the Battle of France

Head-on view of a Bf 109G at McMinnville Museum in Oregon.
Head-on view of
a Messerschmitt
Bf 109G.

During the May 10 thru June 26 1940 "Battle of France", to enable easy recognition of the unit in the air, JG26 painted the undernose of their a/c yellow. Other units also painted their under cowling yellow too (both in 1940 and occasionally throughout the war).

The "Kanal" Front 1941-1942

After the "Battle of Britain" most of the German Luftwaffe formations were withdrawn leaving JG26 as one of two German single seat fighter units to defend in the West, JG2 "Richthofen" was the other. These two are the only only single seat fighter units that exclusively fought in

the west throughout the whole war. JG26 picked Abbeville in Northern France as their main base to operate from while JG2 operated south of Le Harve as their responsibility to defend along that section of the French coast.

St. Omer Airfireld in France as seen from the air.
St. Omer airfield
in France.


During 1941 through most of 1942 these two were the only single seat fighter units defending along the coast from Belgium to Spain with an average strength of some 150 aircraft. Other fighter units came west from late 1942 onwards and as always individual sections of these units rotated around.

Me 110, Ju88 night fighter, bomber units plus other formations were also present from Netherlands to the Spanish border defending against Allied air attacks.


Due to the quality of leadership, attention giving to training replacement pilots, and the professionalism shown by these Luftwaffe pilots the Allied pilots came to respect the "Abbeville Boys". Any yellow nosed Messerschmitt or Focke-Wulf 190 (most of the unit converted to Kurt Tank's Fw 190A2 by late 1942) ever seen was reported as being flown by JG26. Bomber crews especially were respectful of them due to their ability to penetrate the fighter screen and shoot them down. JG26 is regarded as having some of the best pilots in the Luftwaffe throughout the War.

A list of commanders and field assignments of JG26.

The best book to read about them is "JG26 Top Guns of the Luftwaffe" by Donald L. Caldwell. His web site is: http://don-caldwell.we.bs/jg26/schlageter.htm

Top Guns of the Luftwaffe JG 26: Photographic History of the Luftwaffe's Top Guns

A German Luftwaffe Squadron Group Photo. Unknown unit, location, or year of photograph.Luftwaffe Squadron Unit Group Photo This Luftwaffe Unit group photograph I found in an antique shop in Hemswell north of Lincoln in the UK. The larger image that it links too (7 megs in size, so it is BIG) allows you to actually easily identify each person in the photograph. I left the picture as I found it in a sepia toned version and did not make it gray scale.

Personnel identification:
Front row third in from the right is August Geiger. He went on to win the KC/OL with 53 night kills.

Back row third from left is Lt. Ottenberger who was assigned to North Afrika after flight school.

2nd Row, 8th man from the left is Wilhelm Bennerscheidt, from Oberkassel near Bonn. Started as a mechanic, later became a Pilot, was shot down twice. Reiner Schfer who lives in Bonn, Germany, identified this man - it was his uncle.
Front row 7th from the left is W. Michalski. KIA 10.04.1942 while flying out of Abbeville. (Born in Eisleben 4.09.1921) info from from a relative, Werner Michalski .

Comparative Ranks of Air Force Personnel in World War Two

Luftwaffe RAF USAAF
GeneralfeldmarschallMarshal of the RAFGeneral (5-star)
GeneraloberstAir Chief MarshalGeneral (4-star)
General der FliegerAir MarshalLieutenant-General
GeneralleutnantAir Vice-MarshalMajor-General
GeneralmajorAir CommodoreBrigadier-General
OberstGroup CaptainColonel
OberstleutnantWing CommanderLieutenant-Colonel
MajorSquadron LeaderMajor
HauptmannFlight LieutenantCaptain
OberleutnantFlying Officer1st Lieutenant
LeutnantPilot Officer2nd Lieutenant
StabsfeldwebelWarrant OfficerWarrant Officer
Oberfahnrich(Senior Officer Cadet)
OberfeldwebelFlight SergeantMaster Sergeant
Fahnrich/Fahnen-junker(Officer Cadet)
FeldwebelSergeantTechnical Sergeant
UnteroffizierCorporalStaff Sergeant
ObergefreiterLeading AircraftsmanCorporal
GefreiterAircraftsman First ClassPrivate First Class
FliegerAircraftsman 2nd ClassPrivate 2nd Class

Abbeville Airfield

Abbeville aerodrome in France as seen from the air in 2005. Photo by Jean Luc Van Campenhout
Abbeville Aerodrome
as seen from the air
in the spring of 2005.

Since I usually fly a 109 online, and from above you know that the nickname of JG26 was "The Abbeville Boys" (sometimes called The Abbeville Kids) you should look at their historic airfield. This is what the real Abbeville airport building looked like in 1997. JG26 flew out of Abbeville off and on from 1940 till 1944. I visited the airfield and the museum that is there in 1994 and in 1997.

Just 50 miles north of Abbeville is St. Omer. St Omer Airfield. JG26 also (if I remember correctly) flew out of St. Omer during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

They do have a really nice church in the town.

Black 6 and other Messerschmitts

An Bf-109E (aka ME-109E) of JG 26 Schlageter shot down in Sussex during the Battle of Britain. Note the distinctive S emblem on the aircraft denoting the Gruppen (squadron).

This Bf 109E-3 to the left was shot down during the "Battle of Britain" over Sussex. Note the Gothic "S" on the cowling denoting that it was flown by a member of JG26. The aircraft went on tour to the US from 1940 through 1945. Saved from the scrap heap by aircraft restorers, it was then restored and is now on display at Duxford.

The official German Air Ministry name for Messerschmitt single seat fighter aircraft throughout the war is Bf 109. The allied often referred to it as Me 109. The Germans Air Ministry gave a prefix of the aircraft based on the name of the manufacturer. Sometimes they would honor the developer of an aircraft by allowing them to use their initials in front of the model number (like Kurt Tank of the Focke Wulf firm he worked for had his 1944 follow-on of the Fw 190 aircraft be called the Ta 152) but this was not done for the 109 due to when it was accepted for use by the Luftwaffe.

Now compare this photo taken right after it was shot down to the one I took of it in July of 2004. If you look carefully at the a/c canopy you will see that they are DIFFERENT. The one in the original photograph had CURVED and rounded frame while this one is VERY MUCH straight. Thus, though they restored it, they used a different model canopy than what was originally on the aircraft!

Someone did not pay attention to what they were doing and instead of manufacturing a correct canopy grabbed one off a different model.

Also note that other items are different: the nose spinner is now missing off of the a/c as displayed at Duxford's Imperial War Museum; there is a missing badge right behind the spinner on the cowl, and there is a black streak above the wing root in color (though some may argue it was oil exhaust but the pattern is not one of oil streaks and it blends in perfectly with the rest of the aircraft).

JG-26 ME-109E-3 shot down during Battle of Britain restored at Duxford

The Bf 109G "Gustav" Series

The 109G-2 shown flying at the top of this page is the famous "Black 6" captured by Australian troops in North Afrika in the spring of 1943. It had a total of some 20 hours of airtime when captured. The RAF found out about it and took it from them then did extensive trials to compare it against the Spitfire V and other allied aircraft. It was outperforming them and the Allied planes were having problems countering its performance. (You never would know that flying in some WWII flight simulators!) Brought out every year for the anniversary of the Battle of Britain it was extensively rebuilt by private means. (The a/c is owned by the MoD - Ministry of Defense but they would not restore it) over a period of some six years to flying condition. I took this picture of it in August of 1997 two months before a RAF jet jockey flipped it on it's back when he had a coolant leak and he dove toward the ground for a landing. He was worried about engine seizing / fire. He must have forgot that WW II aircraft glides unlike modern jet a/c (even with a dead engine they glide well). At Reno the first thing a pilot does when a mayday occurs is climb for altitude to give yourself more time so to find out extent of problem, shut things down as needed, or bail out if really that bad. At least he refused to let the crash crew cut him out of the cockpit to avoid more damage to the aircraft. It took them two hours to get a crane to the a/c so it could be lifted and the canopy opened so he could drop out unhurt. The a/c was restored in time for the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Though it will never fly again. It crashed on the very last flight it was ever to make. Here is a site that has specific information on the Bf 109-G2/Trop a/c plus images of the accident. Here is the official aircraft accident report (PDF) from the Air Accident Branch of the UK.

JG26's Conversion to Kurt Tank's FW-190

In 1941 JG26 started to convert the first two Gruppen (squadrons - I/JG26 and II/JG26) to the FW-190 -A "Butcher Bird." The third Gruppen started to convert then was stopped and reverted back to flying the 109. III/JG26 flew the 109 throughout the war till it was effectively disbanded in 1945.

FW-190D "Dora" at the Seattle Museum of Flight once flown in JG26This FW 190-D "Dora" was actually assigned to JG-26 and was captured at the end of the war and brought to the US. Later during a rebuild it was found to have had it wings replaced from another FW after the war. The original ones were located and placed back onto the aircraft. This is one of the a/c that was bought by the Seattle Museum of flight from the Champlin museum in Arizona in 2003.


View of the Focke Wulf 190 D-9 "Dora" from above at the Seattle Museum of Flight.Focke Wulf 190 D-12 "Dora" from above at the Seattle Museum of Flight This view of the FW with people in the foreground adds a reference scale to the aircraft.

'During dogfights between Fw 190s and RAF fighters it was not uncommon for the Luftwaffe aircraft to flick on their backs from a very tight turn and crash at full throttle. The cause of this disastrous behaviour was the pilot making excessive use of the electric tail-trimmer, an ingenious invention of Focke-Wulf, in an attempt to tighten an already very high 'g' turn, the aircraft eventually entering a high-speed stall from which there was no recovery.' German Aircraft of the Second World War - J. R. Smith and Antony Kay. Putnam, London 1972


Local Oregon Messerschmitts

Evergreen Aviation Musuem of Oregon Messerschmitt Me-109G-10 painted up in Eric Hartmann's colors.At the McMinnville Evergreen Aviation Museum in Oregon (home of the "Spruce Goose") there is a late model Bf 109-G10 (Me 109G-10) Wk Number 610937 Messerschmitt painted in the colors of the aircraft flown by Ace of Aces Eric Hartmann. Hartman had 352 confirmed kills flying the Me-109. He had 4 Kills of P-51s over Czechoslovakia late in the war.

"The Bf 109 G-10 with the serial number 610937 is on display at Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville. Its fuselage is originally one of a G-14 and has the serial number 127914. It was used to build a G-10 during the war. The plane was captured on the Luftwaffe base at Zeltweg (Austria) and went to Bulgaria, where it was used by the Airforce. In 1947 the plane was changed for some Yugoslavian Il-2s. Until 10th October 1950 it was used by the Yugoslavian Airforce, then it was moved to a technical school for educational purpose. In 1979 the G-10 was transfered to a museum at Belgrade. Five years later, in 1984, the plane was sold to England and again five years later, it came to the Evergreen Aviation Museum, where it is until now. In 1991 the plane was restored. Today the Bf 109 G-10 is painted in the colors and the markings of Erich Hartmann, being the most successful fighter-ace of the world, by claiming 352 airial victories." this came from a comment posted at militaryphotos.net

Oregon's McMinnville Evergreen Aviation Museum Messerschmitt ME-109G-10 with the engine cowl open.Bf 109 with engine cowl open. This a/c is fully capable of being flown. Here it is with the cowling open. Here are two more pictures of a Damlier-Benz DB-605 engine in a Messerschmitt G at the McMinnville Oregon museum.


Ride side of a DB 605 engine in a 109G Messerschmitt.Right side of
a DB 605 engine.

View of a DB-605 engine in a Bf 109G.
Left side of a DB 605

The Bf 109 had many advanced features when it was fielded - - including automatic leading edge slats deployment to avoid stalls and automatic oil flaps on upper and lower wing to control the oil temp. Bf 110, ME 210, ME 410, ME 262 all had leading edge slats.

The ETO during WW-II was a deadly place to fly for all sides. Here is a page I posted from data sent to me by a friend who who flew in B-24s concerning 8th AF Combat Losses.

Improving the Bf 109

Here's part of an evaluation by Col. "Kit" Carson on some improvements that could have easily been done to the 109 from the July 1976 issue of Airpower.

"Messerschmitt practically ignored the subject of low drag aerodynamics and one can tell that by an inspection of the 109E or G. The fact is evident even in close-up photographs. It was aerodynamically the most inefficient fighter of its time. That's a puzzling thing when one realizes that much of the original work on high speed drag and turbulent surface friction was done in Germany in the 20s and 30s. Messerschmitt was surrounded by it. Further, the work in England and the U.S. in this field was in the open literature, at least until 1938.

I also suspect, again from the record of history, that Willy Messerschmitt was too busy becoming a Direktor of Messerschmitt A.G. to concentrate on improving his status as an ingenieur.

Having gone this far, let me carry this affront to Messerschmitt's engineering reputation one step further.

An airplane factory can get things done awfully fast, in any country and in any language, once the engineers and sheet metal benders understand what is wanted. Every factory has a "development shop" or its equivalent, which is a full scale model or prototype shop with 100 or 200 old pros in every skill. Having that many coffee drinkers, pipe smokers and "yarn spinners" around on the payroll, let's clobber 'em with a bundle of shop drawings on a clean up of the Me-109. Object: to make it a 400 mph plus airplane. Time...30 days. The information and techniques required are currently available as of 1940. It's all written up in unclassified reports.

(1) Cancel the camouflage paint and go to smooth bare metal. Besides the weight, about 50 pounds, the grain size is too large when it dries and it causes turbulent friction over the entire airplane surface. That may take a phone call to the brass. They're emotional about paint jobs. "Image," you know.

(2) Modify the cockpit canopy. Remove the inverted bathtub that's on there now and modify as necessary to fit the Me-209-VI canopy. That's the airplane that set the world speed record in 1939.

(3) Get rid of the wing slats. Lock them closed and hand fit a strip, upper and lower surface, that will close the sheet metal gaps between the slat and wing structure. That gap causes the outboard 15 feet of each wing to be totally turbulent.

(4) As aerodynamic compensation for locking the slats, setup jigs and fixtures on the assembly line to put in 2 degrees of geometric twist from the root to tip, known as "washout."

(5) Modify coolant scoop inlet fairings. The square corners that are there now induce an unnecessary amount of drag. Also lower the inlet 1 to 2 inches below wing surface to get it out of the turbulence of the wing surface.

(6) Install complete wheel well fairings that cover the openings after the gear is retracted.

(7) Retract tail wheel. (Tom's Note: This was actually done on some models of the 109.)

All of the above could have been done in 30 days but it wasn't. I don't know why. Someone would have to ask Willy...it's for him to say."

Tom's Comments

Interesting read.

I've read that they did not want to change to flush rivets on some parts of the tail area of the a/c nor change the overlapping of the sheet metal on the aircraft since it would cause a disruption of the production line for around two months at least. Basically a shutdown for each line as they redid the jigs and changed the process and trained people to do the riveting. Much harder to train people do flush riveting correctly that than the plain pop rivets. That would mean around 600 planes not produced. The improvement would be minor since the gain in a/c speed by this change to smooth the airflow would be minimal. Maybe 15 MPH.

This was in mid 1943 when the ramping up of fighter production was starting under Albert Speer.

I think the comment that Willy did not want to be taken from designing the Me 262 (and other) projects, while taking over and running the company played a lot into that. He would have to spend time going over the drawings, the production changes and other aero dynamic details (plus reviewing test flights). Lowering the production output would mean political fire since the production goals would not be meet and goals had to be met at all costs in the 3rd Reich even if it meant worse problems later on!

Aircraft Comparison FW 190A-9 and Bf 109 AS/MW 50 - From A German Report

HP 5156

Report from JG 11 on 29th [October 1944] on mock air battle between Fw 190A-9 and Bf 109 AS/MW 50.

A Schwarm of Me 109 at 8,000 metres climbed up to attack a Rotte of Fw 190 at 10,000 metres. On the turn with 1.1 boost, the Me 109 Schwarm out climbed the Fw 190 Rotte by about 200 metres and at the same time without fully opened throttles and not flying flat out, they out turned the Fw 190 Rotte.

First attack was from above and behind with 1.1 boost and flaps retracted and a normal steep turn without opening to maximum possible speed, the Fw 190A-9 was easily overtaken and out turned.

Second attack from behind and below on the number one of the Rotte, aircraft was easily overtaken, out turned and outstripped in the inside turn.

On full throttle it is easily possible to out climb the A-9 without losing position since speed can be reduced by throttling back and doing very tight turns.

Appreciation: Me 109 AS/MW 50 obviously superior at high altitude to the Fw 190A-9. Secondly, now known that on July 14th, Air Officer for Technology issued instructions for preventing burning out of pistons on DB 603 and DB 605AS with methyl alcohol water injection.

HP 5282

Report from Wunstorf on 28th on experiences with MW 50 on Bf 109. When aircraft is in climbing position with 1.7 atmospheres boost, oil supply is endangered because of insufficient return. In two cases in Wunstorf a broken big end resulted from too extended climb, climb should therefore be as shallow as possible.

Comment: contrast report on performance in HP 5156.

Flying Online in WWII Combat Planes

52nd KIWI, JAGs, Rebel Air Force, JG26 and JG27

One of my hobbies is flying WW II flight games online. My call sign online is JG.

I had been flying Air Warrior online using Gamestorm which was bought out by Electronic Arts which in turn decided to shut down Air Warrior and all of their premier online games due to numerous bad management decisions (the usual suspects) they made over the year they owned Kesmai. Of course the people who were paying and playing suffered their bad past decisions. Till the demise of Air Warrior I was assigned a slot in 1.II/JG26 Staffel with call sign JG109. Normally we were called JAG-- and used JAG15, JAG27 etc. but JAG109 was too long of a name in Air Warrior so I had to use JG109.

I belonged to one other unit unit when I played Air Warrior. The JAGS flew in Full Realism (FR) while in the Relaxed Realism (RR) arena, ETO map of Axis Vs Allies, I flew with the Rebel Air Force also known as JG27. I still fly with JG27 in War Birds using my JG call sign.

Thus, I transferred to Aces High and now fly there. Since JG26 did not exist in Aces High I joined the 52nd Wing. We fly as "Rooks". The 52nd and JG26 squads usually winged together in Air Warrior. We also flew in conjunction with Rattlesden - - WWII Station 126 - - bomber group. I am not sure where these people went to continue flying online.To see a layout of what the real Rattlesden bomber base looked like go to http://users.cybercity.dk/~nmb5433/rattlesdenaf3.html

There are many other WW II multi player aviation sims out there from Jane's Combat Simulator (don't think they market it anymore), Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator (both Version I, II,III, and 2004), SimViation a MS specific Combat Flight Sim site, Activision Fighter Squadron and a bunch others. Almost all can be played over a network (Internet) or one-on-one with direct modem to modem connection. Microsoft® has their online flight sim area for World War II Combat. Like most MS programs, latest versions of the MSCFS are incompatible with prior versions. Lucas Arts also did this in their three WWII sims that they came out with too: Battlehawks 1942, Battle of Britain, and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, so it is not unique to MS.

Most most combat flight games you only hear about them via word of mouth. Very little advertising is done in the mainstream press. You only see ads in the game zines. Most people who purchase game zines, in my opinion, do not have the patience or desire to learn about flying planes. Also, since the action is NOT non-stop, there are periods of time where you can spend 15 minutes to 45 minutes before seeing an enemy plane, and most people who purchase game zines want instant and continuous action, makes it unlikely that they will purchase them since continuous combat is not forte of combat flight simulations.


I registered abbevilleboys.com a few years ago so it comes here.

The CO of the JG27 online unit sent us all a story about Hans-Joachim Marseille, who flew in North Afrika. I have it on my History Snippet's page. Online flying is done via a free service call FreeHost. The server is located in Russia.

Now don't think that it is a free for all in the air. We actually had operations and practical flying rules! JG26 ops link has some of our rules that we follow when flying online. We still follow those rules especially when on bombing missions.

52nd Kiwi Online Squadron

52 KIWI Wing Squadron Emblem The 52nd Kiwis. Most of the people from Air Warrior went into this unit. Here is a link showing some of the members. We are very international with people in New Zealand, Germany, England, Canada and a few other countries.

PBear is the CO while my friend IFF sometimes leads missions as well. We rotate duties as necessary.

Here they are before a mission:

Pbear and IFF before a Mission in front of the B-17PBear and IFF.

Comic Nose Art showing kills - including Snoppy of Peanuts fame on the side of the plane.


When in the air you shoot down anyone not on your side that you come across. Note "Snoopy" on the kill board.






And here are all three of us at the Reno National Air Races PBear, IFF and JG109 of the JAGS at Reno in 1999PBear, IFF, and myself JG109 (as I was known then, now just JG) in front of the Air Warrior booth at Reno in 1999 - which became part of Electronic Arts (EA) which dropped the game so it is now gone - Kesmai was one of sponsors for the P-51 Dago Red in the races that year.






Members of the 52nd KIWI Squadron from Aces High at Reno Air Races 2003. Standing in front of an FM2 Wildcat.In 2003 there was five of us at the Reno National Air Races. Here we are in the Pits at the Reno National Air Races standing in front of an FM-2 "Wildcat" fighter that flew in the Unlimited race category. RJR (known as JJ when talking), PBear, IFF, KBee, and JG.

You can still play AW offline. Course now with AW gone from online play the only thing you can do is play head to head (HTH) or make up missions or play the missions and the campaigns built into the game. Of course with AW offline it does not offer much value and challenge as playing against other people.

Another site to check out flight sims is http://www.bombs-away.net/.

Flying Air Combat In Full Scale Aircraft

Well, that is hard to do for real unless you are in the Military! Though I have a full scale pilot's license the closest that I have come to flying in combat is flying with Air Combat USA. They fly the Marchetti SF.260.

Gun Camera Image from flight of Tom PhiloThis still image is from the gun camera footage taken when I flew with them in 1998 out of Bend Oregon.

Clicking on the image will stream an MS ASF file down to you showing the whole 47 second combat engagement culminating in him being "shot down." It is a 541k download so have a fast connection.

I got him three times overall and he got me three times overall.

He had 1500+ total hours of flight time - I had 47 total hours. I thought I did rather well.

Flying Online in the Bf 109

F4U Corsair Head-on ImageTo learn how to fly online in combat is a humbling experience. There is always someone better than you are out there and they tend to find you. Flying the 109 online is akin to being a target that cannot fight back a lot of the time. In almost every flight sim out there almost every other plane modeled in the game is faster, turns better, climbs better in both short and long term climbs when compared to the German Messerschmitt Me109E, F, G and K. (In most writing you will see the "Me 109" written in lieu of Bf 109. The letter prefix depends on when the plane was contracted for by the Luftwaffe. The Bf stands Bayerische Flugzeugwerke Company based at Augsburg Germany in Bavaria. When the company was reorganized by Messerschmitt in 1943 the official designation for all NEW aircraft being developed was changed to ME following the German convention of prefixing the model number after the firm (or sometimes the developer). People often refer to it as an ME due to Willy Messerschmitt, though they are wrong. The TA-152 is named after Kurt Tank who developed it even though the firm he worked for was Focke Wulf. But the official German aviation ministry records it remained Bf thoughout the war.)

The 109 also is more aerodynamically dirty for some models which means it will slow down faster than all other a/c in the game. Thus, unlike the real a/c from 1939 till 1943 the Bf 109 is outclassed by every a/c in the game. Gosh, even B-17s and B-26s can out turn it in most sims on-line! I have yet to meet a B-17 pilot who stated he out turned a 109 in a dogfight. This means that if you can fly and survive in a 109, then switch to a Mustang, Corsair, Spitfire (hey even a P-40!) you have it easy after a tour in a 109.

You can learn more about the Luftwaffe by reading Das Flugzeugarchiv by Bert Hartmann: by a German, in German! http://welcome.to/luftwaffe.

About the best site that I know of to find links, reference material on aviation (unit emblems, technical data, unit histories and so on) is Keith Heitmann's site at http://members.aol.com/dheitm8612/. I've known Keith since 1989. He also runs a very good discussion board at : http://panzerblitz.proboards9.com/

I met Keith by exchanging scenarios, code bits on the "Battle of Britain" game made by George Lucas's LucasArts company way back in the late 1980s! They learned how to code flight simulations on three WW-II sims: Battlehawks 1942, Battle of Britain, and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe. WW-II flight sims is a very narrow computer gaming field. This way they could fail, experiment and no one would notice. Each game used a completely different method to draw and store data. After abandoning it they then went to write start the Star Wars games (instant name recognition of Star Wars) and could not fail since they had already learned on three prior games how to code by using us WW II flight sim people as a test ground!

To read about a/c of the Pacific war you can visit: http://www.compass.dircon.co.uk/cap.htm

A place to read reviews about games and planes is http://www.avsim.com/


You can purchase Luftwaffe combat videos from various places. A place to see them on the web is www.zenoswarbirdvideos.com. Some of the most recent air combat video clips released are from the original German newsreels, and in German, so here is a small translation table so as to understand what the text means at the start of each combat clip. I purchased the video "WWII Luftwaffe Gun Camera Film" from Eagle Editions Ltd. I've been buying prints, books and a/c parts from them for over a dozen years now.

German Flight Terms English Translation
kurvenkampf turning-flight combat
kuruenkampf from the front
von vorne from on the right in front
anflug approach
von dem hinteren
from the rear

Here is a chart relating to German, British, and American WW-II aircraft terms as they were used in World War II.

This link will take you to a site dedicated to Jagdgeschwader 26 (http://jg26.cjb.net/). It talks about the pilots histories and other information regarding the unit.

A related site is http://www.behindbarbedwire.com/ which is about Stalag Luft I where some of the crews shot down by JG26 were held as POWs.

PBM Games

Asides from flying online I also play board wargames. I am a member of AHIKS so I still play PBM (Play By Mail) games as well as playing via Flying Buffalo Inc. that is run by Rick Loomis. Some of these board games have been converted to online play (like Battleship) however if you want to play the classics from Avalon Hill and SPI (no longer publishing) you must still play FTF (face to face). Many online sites are coming up now-a-days like: http://www.gmtgames.com/.

There is also Play by Electronic E-mail (PBeM) and their web site is at http://www.boardgamers.org/
their address is:

1541 Redfield Rd
Bel Air, MD 21015

An associate membership costs only $10 a year. There are also conventions that occurs throughout the year. Details on their web site.

There is even a site devoted to an online version of the Avalon Hill Game The Russian Campaign. That site is, of course, http://www.russiancampaign.com.

WW II Films

To view some WWII training films online go to Zenos Warbird Video Drive-In at http://www.zenoswarbirdvideos.com . They will help you when flying online since the tactics are the same even when the modeling of the airplanes are overdone.

I created a page listing of hundreds of movies that deal with the military history (war movies).

Butterfield Press Aviation Books & Videos is another site to look for aviation videos.

Plastic Models

Profile view of Assi Hahn's BF-109 from the book.Bf 109E-4/7 flown by Hauptmann Hans "Assi" Hahn while with JG2 "Richthofen" in Western Europe 1941/42. (Thanks to "Spass" from Air Warrior days in detailing the a/c type.)

Plastic models have been around for a very long time. Building then painting them are a pastime that many enjoy. In the last 30 years the ability to create accurate detailed plastic models improved many fold. Though a niche market, there still is a market.

A company, that you would not think of that caters to this area, is Eagle Editions Ltd I purchased the Assi Hahn book direct from Eagle Editions. At Eagle Editions you can usually purchase signed copies of books by various authors and pilots. Getting a signed book is what makes going with them to purchase a book a better deal than with Amazon at times. This 109 graphic is from the flyer they sent out about the book.

Eagle creates accurate add-on parts for the Haseawa kit of the FW 190-A8. This is the 1/32 scale kit. They have cockpits for D-9, 109K plus lots of other add-ons that are historically accurate. They also have accurate color sheets of various a/c models, FW-A4, A8, D9, 109-G10 and many more.

Local aircraft museums usually have a display case of models. Every museum I have gone to there has been JG-26 Bf 109 modeled and on display.