of Hpt. Hans Joachim Marseille
The Star of Africa
by Yukinobu Nishikawa
Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4/Trop
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“The Star of Africa” was the name given to Hpt. Hans Joachim
Marseille in recognition of his remarkable aerial fighting over the
North African Desert from 1941 to September 1942.
During his stay in North Africa, he used four Bf 109F-4/Trops.
Werknummers were 8693, 10059, 10137 and 8673.
I have prepared color profiles of these aircraft:
W.Nr. 8693 (see title image)
This machine was used mostly during the early stage of his fighting
in North Africa with Bf 109F. On the red primer painted rudder, 50
aerial victories are displayed. Several pictures feature no white
painting on the wing tips, which is an indication of the Mediterranean
This aircraft was used in the spring of 1942.
Probably this machine was repaint in North Africa, because the upper
half of lower cowling cover was painted RLM 78, also the caution sign on
the oil cooler handling was missing. Under surface of left side wing, we
could see a dark area around the radiator in the photo picture of this
machine. I think that it was not a trace of leakage of coolant, because
the radiator fluid is a mixture of water and ethylene glycol. These 2
fluids have no color, also under the weather conditions of the North
African desert, this mixture was vaporized immediately after leakage
occurred and the trace of this colorless fluid might not remain. I think
that this is a sign of repair and the darker color is touch up painting
of primer. 70 aerial victories marks occupied most of the rudder space
of his aircraft.
This aircraft was used in the summer of 1942 until his leaving from
North Africa for his homecoming in August of 1942.
This machine had a normal factory finished tropical color scheme. His
aerial victories numbered 100 so that the 70 victories record was
displayed with an oak leaves decoration. About painting on the filter
unit, I think that the inlet pressure drop of filter mesh gave a
significant impact to maintain the performance of the engine of the
Bf109 so that painting of the filter unit was very sensitive. I think
that when repainting was done at the front line air base, probably the
filter unit was taken off of the aircraft to avoid the damage by
painting. The painting of the filter unit was done separately and
carefully, so that the painting of filter unit may be done as a single
color. This is the reason why I gave RLM 79 color to the filter unit.
One the photo picture shows the touch up primer painting around the
taillight of the rudder. Also caution sign of handle of the rudder
adjustment tab for rudder is absent.
Hpt. Marseille used this machine in the September of 1942 after his
stay in Germany in August of 1942.
According to the W.Nr., this machine was used for a long time in the
desert of North Africa so that repainting might be done at a front line
air base. I could see only 3 photo pictures of this aircraft. 2 of them
are of the tail part, on the photo pictures, I could observe traces of
masking on the stencils concerning the tire pressure of the tail wheel.
I have the following 2 ideas from this trace of masking. The first one
is the evidence of repainting and another is the color scheme of this
machine. The RLM 79 color was given even in the lower part of this
aircraft. Also I could see primer touch up painting on the white band on
the fuselage and a black-colored fixing guide on the rudder and vertical
tail fin. The last photo shows the area around the cockpit; I could
confirm that “Yellow 14” had a black outline.
I could not find any more photos of this aircraft so that most parts
were drawn by my speculation and/or following the reference documents,
for example emblem I/JG27 on the engine cowling. If anybody has any
information about this aircraft please contact me.
“MESSERSCHMITT Bf 109 F,G & K series
An Illustrated study” : Jochen Prien & Peter Rodeike, Schiffer ISBM
“JAGDWAFFE” Volume Four Section 2
“THE MEDITERRANEAN 1942-1943” : Jean-Louis Roba & Martin Pegg,
Classic Publications ISBM 1-903223-35-0
“Osprey Aircraft of Aces” Series 5
“Bf109 Aces of North Africa and the Mediterranean” : Jerry Scutts,
Osprey Publishing limited. Japanese version translation by Koichiro
Abe, Dainippon Kaiga Co., Ltd. ISBN 4-499-22728-3
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12 December, 2005
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