Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bf 109 E-4 Wnr 3317 "White 7"

Wnr 3317 had previously served with I/JG 52 of the Luftwaffe over Western Europe before being handed over to the Slovaks. The Slovak Air Force deployed its 13th Squadron as 13 (slow.)/JG52 around the Kuban bridgehead during eight months between late 1942 and 1943. The squadron flew 1,504 combat sorties, fought 206 engagements and scored 154 confirmed and 16 unconfirmed victories. The cost was four dead or missing pilots. The Slovak Air Force may have been successful gainst the Soviet Armed Forces, but many Slovaks opted to join the Allies instead, flying with both the RAF and the VVS.
This paricular fighter was flown by catnik Stefan Martis of the Slovak Air Force's 13th Squadron from October 1942 during two deployments. Stefan Martis eventually became an ace with five kills (three Il-2 and two Yak 1), while the aircraft survived many combat sorties and several crash landings. On April 12, 1944, the 14-kill ace zastavnik Frantisek Brezina made a final belly landing with this Messerschmitt near Vajnory after an engine failure. Brezina survived the crash without injury, but Wnr 3317 had to be written off.

The vignette is loosely based on a photograph on page 23 in Slovakian and Bulgarian Aces of World War 2 (Osprey 2004), where Stefan Maris stands next to the aircraft together with some mechanics and a civilian gentleman in a leather coat. The kit is a Heller Bf 109 with a resin cockpit and Slovak markings from Rising Decals. It is painted in RLM 74/75/76 with RLM 02 mottles, although the colours may have been RLM 74/75/65. We shall probably never know. The exhaust is a bit overdone, but we will just have to assume that there's been a problem with the oil or so.

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