Bär's "Red 13"
Thu May 27, 2004 15:25
The color scheme of Bär's "Red 13" has been a subject of much discussion and is difficult to answer definatively.
Here's the problem; The first official Me 262 factory camouflage diagram calling out the late war colors of Farbton 81/Farbton 82 is dated 23 February 1945. Heinz Bär started flying "Red 13" 15 February 1945, so was this Me 262 painted ahead of the new prescribed camouflage colors or is it finished in the 75/74 upper scheme? The only known photos of "Red 13" are very contrasty and are not a good source. As we all know, it is almost impossible to determine colors from b/w photos.
The pattern is one that could be of either color combination and was painted probably in the time of transition.
If there is any hard evidence either way, I would be very interested in learning about it.
David E. Brown
Comments on Bärs Me 262 Rote 13, WNr.110559, 8./III./EJG 2
August 19 2006 at 3:40 PM
Response to Colours of Heinz Barr's ME-262, Red 13 ...
Oberst Heinz Bärs Me 262
Rote 13, WNr.110559, 8./III./EJG 2
The camouflage colours of Bärs Me 262 A-1a Red 13 were almost certainly 81 Braunviolett / 82 Hellgrün / 76 Weissblau/Lichtblau, and were applied very closely to the so-called "standard" late-war Messerschmitt camouflage scheme (i.e., the 23 February 1945 document) but not exactly reflecting it. This conclusion is based on comparison with photos of other mid-110XXX series Me 262s, and in particular with colour photos of a closely related aircraft.
Two photos of Heinz Bär's 8./III./EJG 2 Me 262 "Rote 13", WNr.110550 are known, and were most recently published by Smith and Creek (2000). However, the most important of these is best represented in Werner Helds book Reichsverteidigung (1988; p.156). While the originals are not the crispest of images, nonetheless they do provide information the aircraft's camouflage and markings, and its Werknummer. Specifically, determination of when and where the aircraft was built and comparing it to related aircraft can identify, with reasonable certainty, its camouflage colours.
Bär's aircraft appears to have been completed in late October 1944 and was one of 25 aircraft from the 110546-110570 Werknummer block constructed at Messerschmitt's Schwäbisch Hall facility. This time period can be determined by comparison with Me 262 loss records and pilots' Flugbücher.
Earliest known entry for an aircraft of this group is November 2, 1944. On this date, WNr.110568 crashed on approach at Schwäbisch Hall, killing Messerchmitt staff pilot Ofw. Reimer. The lack of a unit designation and the pilots affiliation strongly suggests that the aircraft was very recently completed and was being transferred, undergoing a test flight or the like. As this aircraft comes from the end of the 25 aircraft production series, it, by inference the other related aircraft must have been manufactured during the month of October.
Although very close to Red 13, photos of related aircraft such as 110555 cannot be used for comparative purposes since this aircraft were extensively modified and repainted, becoming the Me 262 V-11 prototype aircraft for the Me 262 A-2/U2 two crew bomber "V555".
A colour photo Radinger and Schick (p.88) illustrates one of a number of Me 262 transitional camouflage schemes from the original grey 74/75/76 scheme to the newer 81/82/76 scheme. The aircraft, "Weisse 13", WNr.110522, of III./EJG, was a Leipheim-built aircraft and is first mentioned as being flown by pilot Fritz Wendel at Lechfeld on November 24, 1944. The scheme consists mid-level upper/lower surfaces demarcation line with a moderate two-colour fuselage mottling. While photos of the aircraft are from opposite sides, on both the layout of the dark and light uppersurface colours on the fuselage closely but not exactly follows the position of colours 81 and 82 as prescribed by Messerschmitt in its February 23 1945 document.
A slightly later produced aircraft following Red 13 is worth close study that has similar camouflage colours as was also built by Messerschmitt at its Schwäbisch-Hall facilities and completed in mid-December 1944. WNr.110604 was test flown by Luftwaffe pilot H. Kaden in December 1944 at Schwäbisch Hall and then forwarded to III./EJG 2 (Jurleit, 1993). From there it eventually ended up with 2./JG 7 (O'Connell, 2006). The aircraft's December production is supported by entries in the Flugbuch of Lt. Helmut Hetz. Hetz reveals that he test flew slightly older aircraft, WNr.110600, on December 27/44 at Neuberg, and slightly newer ones a week or so later: WNr.110611 and WNr.110611 were transferred from Schwäbisch Hall to Neuberg on 4 January 45 and 14 January 1945 respectively. While no day is given by Kaden, it would appear to have been either on or days after Hetz' December 27 flight in the previously completed WNr.110600. Regardless, there is no doubt that WNrm. 110559 and 110604 were completed prior to the 27 December date, most probably in mid and late December 1944 respectively.
Colour photos of WNr.110604 appear in Radinger and Schick's Me 262 book (p.88) and in Smith and Creek's Me 262 series (Volume 2, p.383). The 81/82/76 camouflage colours for WNr.110604 are clearly discernable in the colour images. Comparison of Bär's kite and WNr.110604 reveal a very similar, but not identical camouflage scheme. In all probability, Bär's "Rote 13" was painted in the same colours and scheme. (Note: One shot in Smith and Creek shows the aircraft coded as "Rote 1" though the Radinger and Schick claim in their photo caption that this was doctored onto the image at a later date.)
Messerschmitt's 23 February 1945 Me 262 camouflage and markings document appears to merely confirm what already existed. Indeed, by that time, photographic and other evidence indicates that few if any Me 262s produced (excepting the 501XXX series) from late February onward were being painted in this scheme, most having but a thin application of Braunviolett or Dunkelgrün with minor patches of a contrasting colour such as 82 Hellgrün. All paints were applied to unprimed surfaces and in very thin and highly diluted coats to the extent that in many photos aircraft appear to have been painted in a single dark colour.
So, to conclude, based on a comparative analysis of photographs of other closely produced Me 262s and related documentation, Bärs Me 262 A-1a Red 13 was most probably painted with colours 81 and 82 but in a transitional scheme pattern that was neither the original or later scheme or pattern.
Held, W., 1988: "Reichsverteidigung - Die Deutsche Tagjagd 1943-1945." Podzun-Palls, Friedberg, 184p.
Jurleit, M., 1993. "Strahljäger Me 262 im Einsatz - Alle Geschwader, Gruppen und Kommandos." Transpress Verlagsgesellschaft mbH., Berlin, 200p.
O'Conner, D., 2005: "Messerschmitt Me 262 The Production Log 1941-1945." Classic/Chevron Publishing, Burgess Hill, 224p.
Radinger, W., and Schick, W., 1993: "Messerschmitt Me 262 - Development, Testing, Production." Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., Atglen, Pennsylvannia, 112p.
Radtke, S., 1990. "Kampfgeschwader 54: Von der Ju 52 zur Me 262 - Eine Chronik nach Kriegstagebüchern, Dokumenten und Berichten 1935-1945." Schild Verlag, München, 383p.
Smith, J.R., and Creek, E.J., 1998:"Me 262 - Volume Two". Classic Publications, Burgess Hill, 217p.
Smith, J.R., and Creek, E.J., 2000: "Me 262 - Volume Three". Classic Publications, Burgess Hill, 223p.
Smith, J.R., Pentland, G.G., and Lutz, R.P., 1979: "The Modeller's Luftwaffe Painting Guide (with Colour Chart) - A Supplement to Luftwaffe Camouflage & Markings Vols. 1, 2 & 3." Kookaburra Technical Publications, Melbourne, 88p.
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