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Aces of Aviation

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-14 of Erich Hartmann

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-14 of Erich Hartmann

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-14 piloted by Major Erich Hartmann, Gruppenkommandeur of the II/JG 52 in the Eastern Front, in January 1945.

Wingspan: 9.92 meters.

Length: 8.85 meters.

Height: 2.50 meters.

Engine[s]: Daimler-Benz DB 605 A of 1475 horsepower.

Maximum speed: 621 kilometers/hour.

Service ceiling: 11550 meters.

Range: 563 kilometers.

Armament: One MG 151 20-millimeter cannon; two MG 131 13-millimeter machine guns.

Erich Hartmann, recordman fighter pilot of all times, achieved each of his 352 victories onboard the Messerschmitt Bf 109, while serving on the Jagdgeschwader 52, in the Eastern Front. When he joined the JG 52 in October 1942, this unit was equipped with the Bf 109 F and, due to a period of relative calm, the young pilot could not shoot down more than a dozen of Soviet aircraft while flying on said aircraft. When the JG 52 received the excellent Bf 109 G "Gustav", being then Hartmann the Staffelkapitän of the Staffel 9 (popularly known as "Karaya" Staffel), the G-6 and G-10 models began to be superseded by the G-14.

The Bf 109 G-14, last operative version of the "Gustav", had been built with beautiful proportions; it featured two MG 131 13-millimeter heavy machine guns installed above the engine, a redesigned canopy built with less structural elements and a taller wooden vertical tail. The engines, of increased power, were the DB 605 A, AM, AS, ASB, ASD or ASM. It was truly an aircraft at the level of the famed JG 52, unit which included among its personnel many of the fighter pilots with the highest records on the world.

During his early combat career, Hartmann had his record of victories painted in the vertical tail of his aircraft. He was not only a remarkable pilot, but one who was gifted with the faculty of calculating infallibly the deflection of the shots, being so able to destroy his targets while spending very little amounts of ammunition. Like many other German fighter pilots with a high record of victories, Hartmann had on his historial the awarding of the Knight's Cross (later complemented with the categories of Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds).

During the last winter of the Second World War, some German units adopted the custom of painting their aircraft with a camouflage scheme that resembled snow. But Hartmann's Bf 109 G-14 kept the well known scheme of geometric patterns of medium and dark green on the upper surfaces, pale blue on the lower surfaces and pale blue with green spots on the sides of the fuselage. When Hartmann took the command of the II Gruppe of the JG 52, his "Gustav" displayed not only the badge of his group, but also that of the former Staffel 9. As a reconnaissance mark, the aircraft displayed as well a black eight-pointed star bordered in white, symmetrically painted around the propeller's spinner and engine's cowling.