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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Feldwebel Heinz Radlauer
*Signature Value : £30
|Heinz Radlauer learnt to fly gliders in 1940, aged 17, and joined the Luftwaffe in August 1941. After Fighter School, in June 1944 he was posted to join JG51 Molders then fighting on the Eastern Front near Minsk, scoring his first victory in October of that year. Heinz Radlauer fleew the Bf109G, the Fw190A, and at the end of the war the Fw190D, by which time he had notched up over 100 combat missions, flying his last combat mission on 30th April 1945. Credited with 15 air victories, all on the Eastern Front, he was awarded the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class.|
|Obergefreiter Walter Erker|
*Signature Value : £30
|Joining the Luftwaffe towards the end of the war, he was posted to II./JG103 on the Baltic coast of northern Germany. Here he flew Bf109s with the 5th Staffel but, on 20 October 1944 a fellow pilot collided with him in mid-air at around 700 feet. Although he just managed to bale out he was severely injured and spent the remainder of the War recovering.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Me109||Willy Messerschmitt designed the BF109 during the early 1930s. The Bf109 was one of the first all metal monocoque construction fighters with a closed canopy and retractable undercarriage. The engine of the Me109 was a V12 aero engine which was liquid-cooled. The Bf109 first saw operational service during the Spanish Civil War and flew to the end of World War II, during which time it was the backbone of the Luftwaffe fighter squadrons. During the Battle of Britian the Bf109 was used in the role of an escort fighter, a role for which it was not designed for, and it was also used as a fighter bomber. During the last days of May 1940 Robert Stanford-Tuck, the RAF ace, got the chance to fly an Me109 which they had rebuilt after it had crash landed. Stanford-Tuck found out that the Me109 was a wonderful little plane, it was slightly faster than the Spitfire, but lacked the Spitfire manoeuvrability. By testing the Me109, Tuck could put himself inside the Me109 when fighting them, knowing its weak and strong points. With the introduction of the improved Bf109F in the spring of 1941, the type again proved to be an effective fighter during the invasion of Yugoslavia and during the Battle of Crete and the invasion of Russia and it was used during the Siege of the Mediteranean island of Malta. The Bf109 was the main fighter for the Luftwaffe until 1942 when the Fw190 entered service and shared this position, and was partially replaced in Western Europe, but the Me109 continued to serve on the Eastern Front and during the defence of the Reich against the allied bombers. It was also used to good effect in the Mediterranean and North Africa in support of The Africa Korps. The Me109 was also supplied to several German allies, including Finland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovakia. The Bf109 scored more kills than any other fighter of any country during the war and was built in greater numbers with a total of over 31,000 aircraft being built. The Bf109 was flown by the three top German aces of the war war. Erich Hartmann with 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories and Gunther Rall with 275 kills. Bf109 pilots were credited with the destruction of 100 or more enemy aircraft. Thirteen Luftwaffe Aces scored more than 200 kills. Altogether this group of pilots were credited with a total of nearly 15,000 kills, of which the Messerschmitt Bf109 was credited with over 10,000 of these victories. The Bf109 was the most produced warplane during World War II, with 30,573 examples built during the war, and the most produced fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced up to April 1945. Bf109s remained in foreign service for many years after World War II. The Swiss used their Bf109Gs well into the 1950s. The Finnish Air Force did not retire their Bf109Gs until March 1954. Romania used its Bf109s until 1955. The Spanish Hispanos flew even longer. Some were still in service in the late 1960s.|
See our aviation history timeline for all today's historical aviation events - air victories, aircraft losses and pilot details.
|RECENT UPDATES TO OUR AVIATION HISTORY DATABASES|
|99th Bomb Group added to the squadrons database.|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Keatley : Squadrons updated (added No.58 Sqn RAF), Squadron service dates updated|
|Hoy added to aircrew database.|
|New victory claim added : Fw190 claimed on 2nd May 1943 by Stanislaw Brzeski of No.302 Sqn RAF|
|Wellington Mk.IC T2888 of No.99 Sqn RAF added to the airframes database.|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Flying Fortress 42-5746 : Squadrons updated (added 99th Bomb Group)|
|Squadron Leader Stanislav Jozefiak added to aircrew database :|
Escaping Poland in 1939, and already a pilot, Stan completed 2 full tours on Wellingtons with 304 Sqn, Bomber Command. After a period of training he returned to action flying Spitfires with 317 Sqn, part of the 2nd TAF. After the war Stan was to fly Dakotas for the CIA.
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Piper : Squadrons updated (added No.149 Sqn RAF), Squadron service dates updated|
|EJG1 added to the squadrons database.|
|Whitley Mk.V T4322 of No.58 Sqn RAF added to the airframes database.|
|SEARCH OUR AVIATION HISTORY DATABASES|
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