The Messerschmitt Bf109 G-6 single-seat interceptor fighter was first flown in September 1935 and saw action in the Spanish Civil War with Jumo 210 engines. The Daimler-Benz DB 605 12-cylinder inverted V engine was introduced with the Bf 109G in 1942. The Bf 109G served on all fronts from 1942 to 1945.
More than 33,000 Bf109 were built between 1937 and 1945. The replica at the Museum, constructed by Danny Thornton, now represents a Messerschmitt Bf109 G-6, flown by Major (later Colonel) Hermann Graf of JG.50, who was 31 years old in 1943. Serving on both the western and eastern fronts, with a final total of 212 victories during his 830 missions, Hermann Graf was one of the most experienced and successful German fighter pilots of the Second World War and was one of only 9 pilots to be awarded the Knights Cross with oak leaves, swords and diamonds. As a youth, Hermann Graf was a talented soccer player. He was only 12 when he made his first glider flight and was already qualified to fly powered aircraft when he joined the Luftwaffe in 1936.
By the outbreak of war he was an Unteroffizier with JG.51 flying the Messerschmitt Bf109 E-1 on the Franco-German border. Later he served as a Leutnant with JG.52 in Romania and in Greece in support of the invasion of Crete. By September 1942, when JG.52 was supporting the advance on Stalingrad, Hermann Graf became the first pilot to shoot down 200 aircraft. He was commander of JG.50 and JG.11 on the western front from early 1943, where he used his influence to have the best German soccer players transferred to JG.50, so saving them from front line service. He was forced to bail out when he collided with a Mustang fighter in March 1944.
His final victories were scored on the eastern front while commander of JG.52, his old unit. Hermann Graf was captured by the Americans in May 1945 outside Berlin and handed over to the Russians. He was imprisoned and released in 1949 and, after a career in the electronics industry, died in 1988.
The Museum’s Bf109G took part in the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford it was displayed alongside the flying Bf109 of EADS – their technicians were fascinated by our example.