Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2

Black 8, flown by Feldwebel Herbert Brönnle, 2./JG 54, Siwerskaja/USSR, 23 September 1941

On 1 September 1940, Brönnle was posted to 4./JG 54 but he wasn't able to claim his first victory until posted to the Eastern Front, when he on 23 June 1941 downed his first, a Russian SB-2 twin-engine bomber. By then he had been transferred to the 2./JG 54.

On 6 July Brönnle claimed three Russian SB-3 medium bombers shot down for his second through fourth victories. He manage to claim his 10th victory, another SB-2, shot down on 12 August. On 17 August, Brönnle suffered engine failure in Bf 109 F-2 forcing him to make an emergency landing 20 km behind enemy lines near Tschertskowad. He however successfully evaded capture and returned to his own lines.

On this day, 23 September 1941 he shot down his 20th VVS aircraft, recorded as a I-18 fighter, probably a MiG-3. His next abschuss came on 2 February when he manage to shoot down the Soviet ace Ivan Chulkov from 41 IAP flying a I-16. He shot down two Russian SB bombers on 14 May to claim his 29th and 30th abschüss but was wounded by return fire. His wounds kept him from combat until December. He claimed his 50th victory on 24 January 1943, a LaGG-3.

And on 12 March Obfw. Brönnle was awarded the Ritterkreuz for a total of 56 victories. Thereafter Brönnle was transferred for a spell as a instructor with 3./Jagdgruppe Süd. However on 19 May 1943, he was to return to active duty with 2./JG 53 based in Sicily. On 19 May he shot down his first western allied aircraft, a USAAF P-38 which he claimed SW of Maréttimo. One B-17 would follow on the 26 May and finally on 2 June a B-24 four-engine bomber for his 60th, and last, victory.

On 4 July 1943, Brönnle was bounced by RAF Spitfires over Cataina, his Bf 109 G-6 "Black 8" received hits in the engine. He attempted to return to his base but the engine seized and he dove strait into the ground north of Lago Lentini. Perhaps the victim of the New Zealand ace Squadron Leader Evan "Rosie" Mackie from No 243 Sqn, RAF. In all Herbert Brönnle was credited with 60 victories in 387 combat missions. Note the 19 abshussblaken on Brönnles rudder, the last of them was a MiG-3 shot down on 21 September.

This profile and caption is taken from my Profile Book No 10, and this Bf 109 F-2 is the 25th profile presented in that book.

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