Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3

Yellow 8, W.Nr. 1588, flown by Oberfeldwebel Franz "Fritz" Jänisch, 3./JG 2, Beamont-le.Roger/France, mid-August 1940

On 11 August while flying this Bf 109 "Emil", Obfw. Franz "Fritz" Jänisch scored his sixth Abschuss by downing a Spitfire at 11:25 hours, thereby starting the onslaught against RAF fighters this day. In total the Gruppe would claim no less than 14 victories this day, four Spitfires, two Curtiss and eight Hurricanes losing two Bf 109s. In all the Luftwaffe would claim a total of 74 British aircraft for own losses of 15 Bf 109s and nine Bf 110s.

RAF Fighter Command, on the other hand, had true losses of 31 Hurricanes and eight Spitfires and claiming rather accurately 17 Bf 109s and nine Bf 110s and two bombers. When Air Chief Marshall Hugh Dowding tallied the reports of the day's fighting, they showed heavy losses in fighters, and if this was not enough, Fighter Command lost 25 pilots. The two major battle days - August 8 and 11 - had cost almost 10% of the RAF's established fighter force. Dowding knew it was a level of losses that his forces could not be able to sustain in the long run.

On the German side however the sentiment was more optimistic. In reality, no less than 74 German planes were lost against 66 British planes shot down during these two days of battles.

Franz Jänisch's first victory was filed while flying in Spain as Werner Mölders' wingman. His first Abschuss in WW II was a Morane 406 downed East of Diedenhöfen on 9 March 1940. He would add another four victories over France; a Blenheim, a Leo-451, a Bloch 152 and finally another Morane. After the Battle of Britain he gained two more victories while posted on the Channel Front. His seventh was a Spitfire East of Boulogne on 16 August 1941 and his last confirmed victory was filed five days later on 21 August another Spitfire.

Franz Jänisch thereafter held a number of staff positions before being posted to a training unit as the Kommandeur of I/JG 107. And from October 1944 he took command of II./JG 107 ending the war in this position as a Major.

It's interesting to note that this machine "Yellow 8" was finally lost on 15 October 1940. On this date it was flown by Fw. Horst Helriegel who became POW after a belly landing on the Isle of Wight.

On the engine cowling is the first Gruppe symbol, a blue pennant with the German victory cry "Horrido" and a sword painted in yellow. The machine also wears the "Richthofen" badge in front of the cockpit and Jänisch's personal Mickey Mouse emblem, a remembrance of his time in Spain and posting to 3.J./88. Note the six Abschussbalken on the rudder with four French and two British roundels. The camouflage is typical for the machines in I./JG 2, with the fuselage sides given a soft overspray of RLM 02 and later the spotty brush-applied RLM 70 on top of that.

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