The most amazing fighter pilot of World War II
Hans Joachim Marseille
Hans Joachim Marseille was a young German fighter pilot, who becomes the most gifted, unique and lethal fighter ace of World War II with 158 aerial victories.
There are written many books and numerous articles, and even a film (1957) was made of Hans Joachim Marseille ("Jochen" among friends)
I will therefore be very short in describing him.
At age 20 he graduated the Luftwaffe's fighter pilot school just in time to participate in the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940. He initially served in JG52.
In his third combat sortie he shot down a Spitfire and by the end of the Battle of Britain he had seven victories, but he was also shot down four times, and his behavior on the ground got him into trouble all the time.
He was far from the stereotype
He was a very charming person, very found of girls, and had such busy night life that sometimes he was too tired to be allowed to fly the next morning. He also loved American Jazz music, which was very politically incorrect in the Nazi military.
At the end of BoB, his commanding officer had enough of this crazy young man and he was transferred to another unit as a punishment for "Insubordination".
His new unit, JG27 was relocated in April 1941 to the hot desert of North Africa.
Here he quickly achieved two more victories but was also shot
down again and still had disciplinary problems.
Luckily for him, his new Geschwadercommodore
(Wing Commander), Eduard Neumann, recognized that there
might be a hidden potential in the unusual young pilot and
helped him get on the right track. He became a father figure
With his problems on the ground finally over, Marseille began
to deeply analyze his combat activity and he developed his own
personal training program and combat tactics.
The Hans Joachim Marseille that emerged from this self-training program was a fighter pilot with superior abilities. He saw enemy aircraft before others did and from greater distances, he could
sustain higher G-Force and for longer durations, he made
unbelievably sharp turns and generally achieved better
performance with the Bf109 than others pilots.
He greatly outmaneuvered his enemies, nullifying the significant
numerical advantage they had, often becoming "invisible" to the
enemy pilots by maneuvering so fast, and using his high-
deflection short range firing method he achieved an amazing
record of lethality, including 17 victories in one day and
shooting down enemy aircraft with just 15 gun rounds on average!
Bear in mind that Marseille fought exclusively against well trained
RAF, South African and Australian pilots (in comparison to the
Eastern Front pilots who, at that time, were up against ill trained
Russian pilots), thus became the third fighter pilot at that time in
the war, whose record exceeded 150 aerial victories
(he achieved 158 total, 154 of which were fighter aircraft).
Marseille was described by Adolf Galland, the most senior German ace, with these words: "He was the unrivaled virtuoso among the fighter pilots of World War II. His achievements were previously considered impossible."
He first demonstrated his new abilities on Sept. 24, 1941. During a fighter sweep, he suddenly broke formation and hurried to a direction where no one saw anything. When the formation caught up with him, he had already shot down a bomber. Later the same day, his formation of six Bf109s met a formation of 16 Hurricanes. Marseille and his wingman were ordered to provide cover to the other four Bf109s which attacked the Hurricanes, but after three Hurricanes were shot down, Marseille told his wingman to cover him and attacked a formation of four Hurricanes. He dived at them, leveled at their altitude, and shot down two Hurricanes in a single burst while in a sharp turn. He then dived below the Hurricanes to gather some speed again, and then climbed back to them and shot down a third Hurricane. At that stage, the two formations disengaged each other, but Marseille climbed alone to a higher altitude and later dived at the retreating Hurricanes and shot down a 4th Hurricane, his 5th victory that day, and only then flew alone back to base.
This was the beginning of his amazing series of dogfight victories, which lasted a year until his death in an accident.
The fatal accident
Sept. 30, 1942, he flew his 382nd combat mission, a fighter sweep over British territory. They met no enemies, and turned back towards the German lines. Marseille then had a technical problem with his new Bf109G-2/Trop’s cooling system. The engine caught fire, and his cockpit was suddenly full of smoke. Encouraged by his fellows, Marseille flew his burning new Bf109 three more minutes until he was again
over German held territory. He then turned his aircraft upside down,
jettisoned the canopy, released himself and fell outside of the burning fighter.
Bailing out was not always safe, and Marseille was hit in the chest by the
rudder of his Bf109 and lost consciousness, so he did not open his
parachute, and fell down to the ground and died.
Already highly decorated, he was posthumously awarded the highest
German medal, the Knights Cross with Oak leaves, Swords, and Diamonds.
Only 9 other German aces were awarded this medal.
On his grave, his comrades wrote his name and rank,
and added just one word: Undefeated.
Marseille with one of the Hurricanes he shot down
Marseille and his Messeschmitt Bf109
A member of the ground crew poses proudly with Marseille's aircraft, currently bearing 132 kills.
Building of the “Yellow 14”
For this building, I needed a Bf109G-2/Trop in 1:32 and found one from Trumpeter.
This kit was a nice surprise. Very well molded and the parts fitted nicely together. There were also PE-parts in the box, but I also used the PE (interior and exterior) from Eduard. The only thing I felt a little unusual and awkward, was the fitting of the spinner to the engine
As always we start with the cockpit which in the Bf109G was painter
compared to the E-
model which had a
light grey interior.
The kit comes with a
fully detailed DB 605
And there was no
option; you need to
install the engine
because the propeller
and spinner are glued
to the engine, not to
For some reason or
has decided that the
spinner should be
fixed to the engine and will therefore not able to rotate after glued in place.
This was not exactly to my liking. I definitely would like the propeller to be able to rotate, so I need to change the whole setting.
First I made a buffer or transition between the engine and the spinner. Then I drilled a hole both in the buffer and in the engine and glued a brass rod to the spinner which will fit into the hole. After some adjustments and testing, it worked rather well, and I had a spinning propeller.
That I ruined the engine in the process did not bother me, because it would not be visible anyway.
Then both fuselages were glued together and the big air filters
(because of the sandy condition in the desert) was fitted.
Then the wings, the flaps, the rudders and the stabilisators were
glued in place and the model was covered with primer.
For pre-shading I used a marker pen.
If you chose this way to trace the panels before painting,
be aware that some of the markers pens will give discolor,
either greenish or reddish under the paint, even if the color
looks very black from the starting point.
There is some confusion about the actual color scheme for
the last Bf109G used by Marseille.
Some pictures shows split fuselage colors (sand/yellow and
light blue), some pictures shows a whole sand/yellow fuselage
and some again shows a sand/yellow fuselage with some
I had to make a choice, and I decided to user the sand/yellow
and blue variant.
Why? Mostly because almost all previous aircrafts used by
Marseille in Africa had this color scheme.
The painting of the G-2 was therefore: Upper surfaces: RLM79 (Sand/Yellow), under surfaces: RLM78 (Light Blue) and the Staffel (#3) and Geschwader Colors: White spinner, white wingtips and white band on the fuselage. The under cowling was yellow.
September 1942 was the last month in Marseille life– but also the
most productive - with 54 victories. Seventeen of these victories
came on September 1st when 8 aircraft were shot down in a
10 minute period.
The Italian Air Force was operating alongside Luftwaffe in Libya
and to honor this extraordinarily occasion, pilots from the Italian
Regia Aeronautica “stole” Staffelkapitäin Marseille’s Kübelwagen
and painted “OTTO” on each side in large letters.
“OTTO” is eight in Italian.
After applying a coat of Future, it’s time for the decals, and the last, but not least the weathering, which will not be heavy on this model, first of all because it was a new machine, then because the desert was not dirty, just hot and sandy. The main weathering will therefore be the exhaust stains on the fuselage.
The Kübelwagen is a 1:35 scale from Italeri with decals from Lifelike Decals. It was painted in light sand-color with darker patches. Around the letters the Italians had painted several animals, probably in different colors.
And then the "Yellow 14" is ready to be placed at the same sandy airfield as "Black 3" from 2nd Squadron (see next page)
Hans Joachim Marseille is greeted by his comrades. Probably back from another spectacular victory
The figures are from Verlinden Productions and Aires.
Messerschmitt Bf109G-2/Trop in North Africa
Hans Joachim Marseille’s “Yellow 14”
by Bjørn Jacobsen
Type: Single seat fighter
Power Plant: One Daimler-Benz DB 605A-1 12-cylinder, 1.475hp for take-off.
Armament: One 20mm MG151 canon and two 7.9mm machine guns.
Performance: Maximuml speed
at sea level: 317mph (509km/h), 265mph (425km/h) at 9.800ft (2.900m), with MG1: 406mph (652km/h) at 28.000ft (8.400m)
Weight: Empty 4.968lb (2.350kg), maximum load 7.055lb (3.200kg)
Dimensions: Span 32ft 6” (9,9m) length 29ft (8,8m)
height 8ft 2” (2,49m)
Some of Marseille’s Bf109 in JG27
He always used code “Yellow 14”
The Bf109G series or Gustav was introduced in mid-1942. Its initial variants (G-1 through G-4) differed only in minor details from the Bf 109F, most notably in being powered by the more powerful 1475hp DB 605 engine. In the previous models (E and F), the demand for maximum possible speed had been mitigated to some extend by the importance of maneuver and handling, the G-model focused on speed. With the more powerful engine, the G-2 had a maximum speed of 398mph (640kmt) and with the GM-1 boost installed, the Bf109G could "literally leave a Spitfire V standing still".
However, because of the reduced maneuverability, many pilots considered the Gustav a retrogressive step.
Hans Joachim Marseille used several of the Bf109-variants in his short and hectic career. He started with the E-model in Europe, and moved on to the F-Trop model in Africa and the last model he flew was the new Bf109G-2 Trop.
Below: Alongside Bf109E-7 Trop "Black 3” from 2nd Squadron.
You clearly see the more efficient camouflage on Marseille’s aircraft
I hope you enjoyed this website!
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This diorama will be on display in
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