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The Aircraft of Hpt. Hans Joachim Marseille
The Star of Africa

by Yukinobu Nishikawa


Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4/Trop
W.Nr. 8693,

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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:


Profiles and Descriptions


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 theater.

W.Nr. 10059

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.

W.Nr. 10137

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.

W.Nr. 8673

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 0-88740-424-3

  • “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

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2005 by Yukinobu Nishikawa
Page Created 13 December, 2005
Last Updated 12 December, 2005

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