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> Romanian Bf 109 G with Galland hood/Erla Haube, information about their use
Agarici
Posted: May 17, 2016 01:07 am
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Dear friends, I have a set of question for you regarding the aspects concerning the title of the topic (apologies if they were already discussed somewhere else). I hope our "aviation specialist" Radub, Denes, perhaps Victor can help. Thank you in advance!

1. Did the above-mentioned canopy represent a notable improvement (in visibility terms for the pilot, for example), or was rather more of a "style-related improvement"?

2. Were any G 6 models with Erla Haube built in Romania, at IAR Brasov? As far as in know, even (some) of the Romanian Bf 109 Gs delivered late in the war, on the (Romanian) Western Front, had "classical" hoods.

3. Is there any documentary/photographic evidence of ANY Romanian Bf 109 with Erla Haube, apart from that of the plane flown by Bazu to Foggia, in late August 1944? (by the way, was it a captured example?)

4. Are there any statistics regarding the Romanian Bf 109 with Erla Haube (before/after 23 August 1944)? Is it possible that they were ALL captured examples (instead of imported/licence built)?

I will remain in your debt :)

This post has been edited by Agarici on May 19, 2016 11:43 pm
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Dénes
Posted: May 19, 2016 07:57 pm
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Short answers:
1, yes, it was an improvement in side/rearwards visibility.
2, no. However, later refits were possible, as the canopies were interchangeable.
3, yes (see, for example, the attachment).
4, no.

Gen. Dénes

(IMG:http://i67.tinypic.com/20tf1ut.jpg)
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Agarici
Posted: May 20, 2016 11:17 pm
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Denes, thank you for the answers and especially for the awesome photo!

However, how come IAR didn't introduce the Erla Haube as standard in their Bf 109 production/assembly?
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Radub
Posted: May 21, 2016 06:43 am
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QUOTE (Agarici @ May 20, 2016 11:17 pm)
However, how come IAR didn't introduce the Erla Haube as standard in their Bf 109 production/assembly?

I.A.R. only received airframe kits, ready to be assembled. No manufacturing took place in Romania, the factory only assembled the parts that they received from Germany. The only exception are the larger bulges used on the G-6 aircraft, which were made locally. The "Vollsichthaube" was introduced after the original parts were delivered.
The ARR had a number of aircraft with Vollsichthaube that were captured during the westward campaign.
Radu
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Agarici
Posted: May 21, 2016 10:21 pm
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Thank you, Radub!

Two more questions for you (and Denes):

- From the total number of Bf 109 G 6 delivered officially (meaning not captured) to ARR, were there any manufactured in Germany, and not delivered in kits to IAR and assembled there? Any data about how many (of those German-made) had "Erla" canopies?

- I saw, in some articles/sources, the "a" suffix added to some 109 variants (for exapmple Bf 109 Ga 2 or Ga 4, if I recall it correctly). What was its significance, if there was any in particular?
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Dénes
Posted: May 22, 2016 08:27 am
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Here's my take on these questions:
1, most Bf 109Gs used by ARR were delivered on their wings, namely in airworthy status.
2, the 'a' suffix after the sub-type letter means built, or assembled abroad (Ausland).

Gen. Dénes
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Radub
Posted: May 22, 2016 09:40 am
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QUOTE (Agarici @ May 21, 2016 10:21 pm)
- From the total number of Bf 109 G 6 delivered officially (meaning not captured) to ARR, were there any manufactured in Germany, and not delivered in kits to IAR and assembled there? Any data about how many (of those German-made) had "Erla" canopies?

The Bf 109 used in ARR came through three main sources:
- Deliveries of German-made aircraft. These came from a number of factories such as MTT Regensburg, WNF and Erla. These planes were used in combat alongside with German units and sometimes even flown by German pilots. The losses and repairs were covered by the Germans. Some planes delivered in the late summer of 1944 had "Vollsichthauben" - the plane used by Cantacuzino for his diplomatic flight is a famous one.
- Ready-to-assemble kits supplied to the I.A.R. factory. These were G-4 and G-6 types. None had "Vollsichthauben."
- Captured aircraft. Some aircraft were abandoned on Romanian territory in various states of repair by the retreating Germans. Some were captured on Transylvanian, Hungarian and Czechoslovak airfields as the Romanian troops advanced. Some had "Vollsichthauben."

Technically it was possible to fit a Vollsichthaube to any type of Bf 109 with a little bit of work.

HTH
Radu
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Agarici
Posted: May 22, 2016 11:22 am
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Thank you very much, Denes and Radub! "Chapeau" for you knowledge in the field!

As I said, I am in you debt.
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Agarici
Posted: May 23, 2016 06:43 pm
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Another related issue would be that of the variants of the G ("Ghe") in service in 1944. According to some authors (D. Bernard, T. Vasile, M. Robanescu) towards the middle of that year the Romanian 7 and 9 Fighter Groups had mainly the G 6 version. But still some photographic evidence (and colour profiles) suggest that around (and even after) August 1944 there were still some earlier types also in use. For example, I remember a story/anecdote about a captured German G 2 (or G 4) which was named after the lady friend of the former owner, and the name remained on its nose even after the plane was repainted with Romanian markings.

Now, more numbers and data-related, when the G 6 started to be delivered to ARR (from German manufacturers and from IAR)? Was there an uniformity in equipment in the 7th and 9th Groups from then on? And if not, why? For example, after the two groups coalesced, weren't there enough remaining (plus assembled at IAR and captured) machines for using exclusively this newer model for the available pilots?

And finally, weather reading the specifications of, for ex. G 2 and G 4 I fail (as an uneducated by-stander) to see any (visible) difference, was the pair of high caliber MG of the G 6 MUCH more effective than those of the former types?
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Radub
Posted: May 24, 2016 08:08 am
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I am more interested in the technical aspects of the aircraft, so I defer to Denes and others for operational records.

The G-2 and G-4 were not obsolete by 1944, not by far. The MG 151/20 cannon (the Germans called it a "machine gun" though) was still a formidable weapon and used a wide array of ammunitions such as armour-piercing, incendiary, fragmentation, etc, and the armourers used to place them in sequences on the belt. So, a well-placed short burst of, let's say, sequenced armour-piercing / high-explosive / incendiary rounds could bring down anything in the sky at the time. As for speed, the G-4 was actually marginally faster than the G-6, albeit packing a lesser punch. So, in good hands, a G-2 or a G-4 could face on equal terms the Lavochkins, Yaks or Airacobras used by the Russians at the time.

The difference between the G-2 and G-4 was the radio. The G-2 used a FuG 7 radio whereas the G-4 used a FuG 16 radio, which was considerably lighter. The armament stayed the same for the G-2 and the G-4, respectively 1 x MG 151 20 mm heavy machine gun firing through the spinner and 2 x MG 17 7.92 mm machine guns above the engine.

Externally, the only visual difference between the G-2 and the G-4 was the point where the antenna cable entered the fuselage. On the G-2 the cable led to a large white ceramic insulator on the left top side of the fuselage, just above the radio hatch. On the G-4 the cable led to a transparent plexiglas disc on the left top of the fuselage just ahead of the tail fin.

Some Romanian Bf 109 G-2 and G-4 planes were also sometimes fitted with external armaments such as:
- MG 151/20 "gondolas" under the wing (R6 upgrade kit, making it a Bf 109 G-4/R6 for example)
- bomb racks under the fuselage (R1 and R2 upgrade kits, making it a Bf 109 G-4/R1 for example)
- 300 litre fuel drop tank under the fuselage (R3 upgrade kit, making it a Bf 109 G-6/R3 for example)

HTH
Radu

Later edit: You were asking whether the MG 131 used on the G-6 was that much "better" than the MG 17 used on the G-2/G-4? The G-6 used the MG 131 machine guns firing 13 mm high-explosive and armour-piercing rounds. It had a high rate of fire of 900 rpm, higher than that of the .50 Browning machine gun used on the Mustangs, at half the weight.

This post has been edited by Radub on May 24, 2016 04:12 pm
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Dénes
Posted: May 26, 2016 02:48 pm
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QUOTE (Agarici @ May 24, 2016 12:43 am)
Another related issue would be that of the variants of the G ("Ghe") in service in 1944. According to some authors (D. Bernard, T. Vasile, M. Robanescu) towards the middle of that year the Romanian 7 and 9 Fighter Groups had mainly the G 6 version. But still some photographic evidence (and colour profiles) suggest that around (and even after) August 1944 there were still some earlier types also in use.

That is correct, the G-2 sub-type was also used in the "hot" Summer of 1944, particularly those assembled at I.A.R. Bv.

QUOTE
For example, I remember a story/anecdote about a captured German G 2 (or G 4) which was named after the lady friend of the former owner, and the name remained on its nose even after the plane was repainted with Romanian markings.

This is also correct (IIRC, the name was Marga).

QUOTE
Now, more numbers and data-related, when the G 6 started to be delivered to ARR (from German manufacturers and from IAR)? Was there an uniformity in equipment in the 7th and 9th Groups from then on? And if not, why? For example, after the two groups coalesced, weren't there enough remaining (plus assembled at IAR and captured) machines for using exclusively this newer model for the available pilots?

I must check at home the date when the first G-6s entered ARR service.
The two Bf 109G-equipped fighter groups were merged in early September 1944, in anticipation of the anti-German and anti-Hungarian campaign. Later on, Gr. 1 vân. also joined, in early 1945. I cannot remember any G-2 being used by these two fighter groups after Sept. 1944.

QUOTE
And finally, weather reading the specifications of, for ex. G 2 and G 4 I fail (as an uneducated by-stander) to see any (visible) difference, was the pair of high caliber MG of the G 6 MUCH more effective than those of the former types?

Besides what Radu very thoroughly described, another visual difference between the G-2 ad G-4 sub-types is the main wheel design. If it was spiked, it was a G-2, if it was covered by a round plate, it was most probably a G-4. Of course, exceptions occurred.

Gen. Dénes

P.S. Radu, could it be the reason why the Germans referred to the 20-mm (or 2-cm) MG 151/20 cannon as "machine gun", as originally the MG 151 had 15 mm calibre (the MG 151/15), hence the abbreviation? Also note that the '109s with two additional under wing gondolas with a 2-cm cannon each were called Kanonenboote, not MG Boote.

This post has been edited by Dénes on May 26, 2016 02:51 pm
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Radub
Posted: May 26, 2016 08:02 pm
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Hi Denes,
The wheels are not a "safe" identification feature. Wheels with spoked ot smooth hubs were used on both G-2 and G-4. Also the same can be said about "kidney"-shaped bulge ober the wheel well. If you have Prien and Rodeike's book, you can see plenty of examples of G-2 and G-4 with either wheels.
The only guaranteed identifier is the radio antenna wire.

Indeed, the MG 151 was technically a cannon, but officially it was designated a MG meaning "Maschingewehr".

HTH,
Radu
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Agarici
Posted: May 28, 2016 02:01 pm
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Thank you both, again (and again)! :)

According to "Messerschmitt Bf 109 in Romania", by Teodor Liviu Morosanu and Dan Melinte, Mushroom Model Publications, translated by Radu Brinzan and, according to the reviewer, "highly reccomended" (excerpts available on the internet here: http://web.ipmsusa3.org/content/spotlight-...bf-109-romania), the (first) Bf 109 Ga 4s (15 planes) were delivered to ARR early in the Summer of 1944, followed by the Ga 6 model, as follows: 10 (only 10?) in 1944, 21 in 1945, 12 in 1946 and 24 in 1947.

Three more questions:
- So, the Ga 2s were in fact Ga 4s, or the former (Ga 2) had been already delivered until/before the Summer of 1944? If so, how many?
- If the numbers presented in the book are correct, ALL the Romanian Bf 109 G 6s delivered before 23 August 1944 were of German origin? Apparently, some of them even had the Erla haube (according to the book, Bazu "american flag" 109 was the former "white 31" of Lt. Av. Dușescu).
- All the Romanian Ga 6s assembled at IAR until 1947 (!) were manufactured from kits of German origin, delivered BEFORE August 1944?
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Agarici
Posted: May 28, 2016 02:42 pm
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Yet another thing, for all those who might be knowledgeable on the issue: were there, after August 1944 (or even before, after the Vienna Award/Dictat) any hostile encounters between ARR and Hungarian Military Aviation planes (of any type)?

As far as I'm aware, fortunately it was not the case (or more precisely I have't read of any) which is very strange given the state of conflict between the two parties.

How come was that possible, given also the (many) encounters between Romanian and German planes over Transylvania/Hungary?

By mid-late 1944 (and 1945) what planes used Hungarian Air Force (Magyar Légierő, right) as fighters? Similar Bf 109 Gs (what model)? Were the Re 2000 Héja still in use? What about the other branches of Hungarian Air Force (bombers, assault planes, reconnaissance)?

LATER EDIT: was there an official declaration of war between Romania and Hungary in/after August 1944?


This post has been edited by Agarici on May 28, 2016 02:44 pm
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Radub
Posted: May 29, 2016 08:42 am
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QUOTE (Agarici @ May 28, 2016 02:01 pm)
Thank you both, again (and again)! :)

   According to "Messerschmitt Bf 109 in Romania", by Teodor Liviu Morosanu and Dan Melinte,  Mushroom Model Publications, translated by Radu Brinzan and, according to the reviewer, "highly reccomended" (excerpts available on the internet here: http://web.ipmsusa3.org/content/spotlight-...bf-109-romania), the (first) Bf 109 Ga 4s (15 planes) were delivered to ARR early in the Summer of 1944, followed by the Ga 6 model, as follows: 10 (only 10?) in 1944, 21 in 1945, 12 in 1946 and 24 in 1947.
 
   Three more questions:
- So, the Ga 2s were in fact Ga 4s, or the former (Ga 2) had been already delivered until/before the Summer of 1944? If so, how many?
- If the numbers presented in the book are correct, ALL the Romanian Bf 109 G 6s delivered before 23 August 1944 were of German origin? Apparently, some of them even had the Erla haube (according to the book, Bazu "american flag" 109 was the former "white 31" of Lt. Av. Dușescu).
- All the Romanian Ga 6s assembled at IAR until 1947 (!) were manufactured from kits of German origin, delivered BEFORE August 1944?

All Bf 109 used by Romania were of German origin. There was no manufacture in Romania. The planes assembled in Romania arrived as "ready-to-assemble" kits made in Germany. The only thing that was done in Romania was to join the parts, plug in the sockets and tighten the screws. Think of them as giant Airfix kits. ;-)

It stands to reason that all the planes delivered by the Germans were delivered before 23 August 1944. After that date, since Romania and Germany were no longer allies, all deliveries stopped. The Romanians captured other Bf 109 on or after 23 August 1944.

As I said, please do not forget that there were three main "supply routes" by which ARR received Bf 109s:
1) Purchase - includes ready-to-fly and ready-to-assemble
2) Lease
3) Capture

You must keep in mind that there were a number of Bf 109 that were only leased to Romania. They continued to be owned by the Germans, even though they were decorated with Romanian markings. In as far as I know, Bazu's "diplomatic" plane with Vollsichthaube was such a lease.

The reason why so few planes "assembled in Romania" were delivered in 1944 is that they were assembled by I.A.R. in the Brasov factory. The Brasov factory was bombed by USAAF in April and May 1944 and it was incapacitated. After the May 1944 bombing, the Brasov factory effectively ceased to exist as a plane factory and when it reopened after the war, it opened as a tractor factory. All surviving airframes and tooling was moved to Caransebes and Arpasu where Bf 109 assembly continued at a much slower rate. However, a number of Bf 109 parts were destroyed or damaged beyond repair in the Brasov factory, therefore not all ready-to-assemble kits that Romania had received were assembled.

Dan Antoniu's book "Illustrated History of Romanian Aeronautics" lists the following numbers for the "DB 605-powered" Bf 109 (he also lists the Bf 109 E):
- Bf 109 G-2 ready-to-fly: 55 ordered, 32 delivered before 1944
- Bf 109 Ga-2 and Ga-4 ready-to-assemble kits: 235 ordered. 209 delivered in crates, containing 49 Bf 109 G-2 and 160 Bf 109 G-4. Later, an agreement was sought and obtained from the Messerschmitt factory to convert some of the G-4 to G-6 and parts were received from Germany for the conversion. Of these, 49 Bf 109 Ga-2 and 13 Bf 109 Ga-4 were assembled.
- Bf 109 G-4 ready-to-fly: 28 planes purchased and delivered in 1943
- Bf 109 G-6 ready-to-fly: 32 planes initially leased by the Germans in 1943. Losses and repairs were replenished by the Germans. Up to 149 Bf 109 G-6 were in ARR service, which also includes captured planes.
- Bf 109 Ga-6 ready-to-assemble kits: No Bf 109 Ga-6 kits were actually supplied by the Germans. The Germans supplied "conversion kits" to convert the already supplied Ga-4 into Ga-6. 62 Bf 109 Ga-6 were assembled.

So, here is a summary of the figures of planes delivered as ready-to-assemble kits, according to Dan Antoniu:
Of the 209 kits delivered by the Germans
- 49 Bf 109 Ga-2 assembled
- 13 Bf 109 Ga-4 assembled
- 62 Bf 109 Ga-6 assembled
- 37 destroyed in the USAAF bombing of the Brasov factory
- 48 left unassembled and used for spare parts
Dan Antoniu also listed all the known Bf 109 serial numbers, by type, in an appendix at the end of the book.
Some more detailed information can be found in Dan Antoniu's book "Romanian Aeronautical Constructions".

HTH
Radu

This post has been edited by Radub on May 29, 2016 08:53 am
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