Hans Hahn's last flight. Bf 109G-2, II./JG 54 "Greenheart”
About Hans „Assi“ Hahns Bf 109G-2
21 February 1943 can probably be described as a fateful day in the life of Hans "Assi" Hahn, at that time group commander of II / JG 54 "Grünherz" and one of the Luftwaffe's most decorated fighter aces. As he himself writes in his memoirs, on that Sunday he was actually ordered to a commanders' meeting at the headquarters of Luftflotte 1 and on his way to fly to Riga, when he ran into his adjutant and wingman Max Scholz. Scholz informed him that the army had urgently requested air support in the Demjansk area. Major Hahn was therefore not in his usual flying gear and without equipment, and also personally unarmed, when he climbed into his commanding aircraft, a Bf 109G-2/R6. It was to be his last operational flight.
A short time later, the unit led by Hans Hahn was in aerial combat with Lavochkin La-5 over Demjansl. Hahn scored his 108th aerial victory, but moments later fate had turned against him. His Bf 109 took hits in the left wing, soon after which the DB 605 began to overheat. With the propeller stationary, Hahn was able to bring the smouldering "Gustav" to the ground in one piece, but was captured immediately after the successful emergency landing. According to his own statements, he probably landed right next to a Russian position.
Hans Hahn shared the fate of the years of hard captivity that followed with countless hundreds of thousands of others. However, his prominence as a celebrated fighter pilot, which the German propaganda had already developed and used to good effect, made him interesting for the Soviet side - and set him apart from the masses. In addition to years of imprisonment under the most brutal conditions, Major Hahn was to be subjected to a series of attempts at political appropriation, which put him under pressure, but also offered him notoriety and - via this - soon a certain protection.
This was helped by the fact that Hans Hahn was obviously an unassimilable character who was open to contradiction and undoubtedly also courageous. Attempts to bring him into the ranks of the "National Committee Free Germany" initiated by Stalin or the anti-fascist "Association of German Officers" not only failed, but also offered the trenchantly formulated Hahn a stage to present his own political views. The disputes with Walter Ulbricht, whom he met in the Oranki camp, are well-known. Hahn paid for his refusal with more severe prison conditions and a late return from captivity.
If you are interested in the aspects mentioned here, please refer to Hahn's book "I speak the truth". The narrative begins with the day of his shooting down and subsequent capture. After his return, Hans Hahn succeeded in building up a new life, both privately and economically. He died in Munich at the end of 1982.
A final word on the propagandistic value of Hans Hahn at that time: the shooting down of such a successful enemy fighter pilot had to be embedded in a correspondingly propagandistically usable narrative. Hahn himself did not give any information as to what had caused the fatal engine damage. Nevertheless, the Soviet side quickly found a suitable conqueror of Hahn. Lieutenant Pavel Grazhdaninov, himself an ace with 13 kills, is said to have brought Major Hahn down in a dogfight on that 21 February 43.
My model shows the Bf 109 G-2 as it looked in February 43; Major Hahn had been commander of the II Group of JG 54 for just under three months at that time. What is interesting about this aircraft is the still quite fresh-looking temporary coat of winter camouflage. The yellow underside of the engine cowling as well as the black and white spinner also appear to have been partially treated with the light colour of the winter camouflage. Another special feature can be found in the dismantled lower landing gear fairings.
About the kit
Hahn's Bf 109 was built purely "out of the box". However: who knows an Eduard Profi-Pack, knows what that means! In the box you will find a lush kit with wonderfully detailed and accurately moulded plastic parts, as well as a rich etched parts board, the contents of which are mainly for the benefit of the cockpit. The Eduard-typical addition of masks for clear parts such as wheels will also please the modeller.
A special feature, which I was able to try out here for the first time, is Eduard's new decal system. I am referring to the possibility of "rubbing off" a wafer-thin top coat after applying the decals. What remains is a now really wafer-thin layer of paint, which comes very close to the ideal of a painted-on marking.
I have tried to implement this possibility in two places. At the first place, the left fuselage Balkenkreuz, I could do the rubbing off with little damage, but at a cross on the underside of the wing I failed. Here I scratched off half of the decal and had to repair the damaged area with a replacement.
I take full responsibility for the failure; I can imagine that with some practice it can be done well and without too much need for repair. The reason why I will not try this anymore - or only to a limited extent - is a positive one: Eduard's decals are already of such good quality that the "rubbed off" version is not really a big improvement for me. But see and compare for yourself; at least on the photos it will be hard to find a difference!
Hans "Assi" Hahn's" Bf 109 is one of four Bf 109 Gs that I built in parallel as a model-building start to the year. For me these kits are absolutely "state of the art" in upscale mould making. Eduard offers countless variants of this iconic Luftwaffe standard fighter - four, I can promise you, are certainly not enough!