Monday, October 5, 2015

A Pair of Bf 109 in the Barren North African Desert

This photo, that was taken from a propaganda film from 1941, showing a pair of Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4/Trop fighters from 8.Staffel / III.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 27 flying over the Cyrenaica/Libya in April 1941, shortly after the arrival of Afrikakorps in North Africa. If a pilot was forced down, he could die from the heat of the desert. Pilots carried extra water, food and survival items. JG 27 kept a number of Fieseler Storch aircraft on alert, to rescue downed pilots. The pilots wore light weight tropical clothing comfort being important, when coping with the daytime heat. He would be armed with a Luger, or Walther P-38 pistol. Apart from the tropical uniform, when flying is the standard weight flying suit, some pilots flew in khaki shorts and shirts, flying helmet with goggles and silk scarf to prevent neck chafing, or loose fitting. They also wore trousers that would be tucked into the flying boots, would carry a rubber bandolier of signal flares, and if it still had enough room, to carry a knife, extra ammo and maps. When flying near or overwater, the pilots wore standard lifejackets. The Germans camouflaged their aircraft to match the desert terrain, as the locations of Luftwaffe airfields was known to the enemy. Fuel, oil, lubricants were shipped from Germany and were not obtained locally except from captured British supplies. Fuel and other supplies, were stockpiled at airfields and hidden under camouflage or stored underground. Many of the personnel bunkers were built underground to keep away from the heat.

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