Slipping the Bonds
by George Paterson
Bf 109G-2-II.JG27 - Gustav Roedel
Time and time again we find that Luftwaffe fighter pilots accumulated big scores on the Eastern Front, but more modest scores in the Western Theatre.
This had a number of causes. The War in the East was a much bigger campaign than the Western one; estimates of the overall Allied inputs to the war effort were 90% Soviet, 9% US and 1% UK. - these figures exclude inputs to the Pacific War.
So German units often spent most of their time in the East, and they were in an extremely target-rich environment. At the start of the campaign the Luftwaffe pilots were already experienced in modern tactics, and they maintained that superiority throughout the campaign. The rigidity of the Soviet command system, and the interference by Party Commissars helped to perpetuate this inferiority on the Soviet side.
It is therefore a bit unusual to come across a Luftwaffe Ace whose tally of Soviet aircraft was only 1! Gustav Roedel spent only a week or so in the East; on 25. June 1941 he shot down a Tupolev SB over Vilnius. The rest of his career was in the West and South, including the Battle of France and Battle of Britain in 1940, and a long period in 1941-44 in the Mediterranean and Desert campaigns, before being brought back to Europe for Reichsverteidigung duty. His final tally was 98, including the Tupolev
The Initial Image
This is a model of Roedel's Bf 109G-2, based on a 1:72 kit by Intech. I don't know the builder. It's a very big image, originally about 3500 x 2500 pixels (when I cropped it I inadvertently ditched the full-sized version). The markings indicate a date after Roedel's promotion from leadership of II.Gruppe JG27 to the command of the whole Geschwader JG27, which occurred on 22. April 1943.
The image size ensures a good fine-grained portrayal of the airframe with a lot of detail. The perspective is too sharp for my comfort and I'll need to alter the geometry somewhat.
Treatment of the Image
I eased the perspective by re-modelling the starboard wing and the tailplane.
Apart from the perspective issue, I had to be cautious about the detailing, because the model has some features that are not appropriate for a G-2. I replaced the aerial arrangement with the standard G-2 details, and blanked off the small triangular glazed area at the front of the canopy. On the G-2, that panel has a ventilation scoop.
Some of the minor details needed to be made a bit less coarse.
I wanted a secondary airframe for my final composition, and I chose an image from a different review of the same kit. It was a much smaller image, so it has far less detail. I didn't detail it exhaustively, but what I did was carefully done, in case I may want to use it in future images. For this image I gave it markings for a second in command.
I've always liked these desert camo jobs, and it was a pleasure to tackle another one.
I found a very detailed Wikipedia article on Gustav Roedel, and I recommend it if you want to learn more about this remarkable pilot.
Regarding my comments about the aerial details, Eduard has done work on the G-2, and their profiles show the standard arrangement, but with the vertical wire coming from the bay between frames 8 and 9, instead of between frames 5 and 6. They also show the small whip aerial on the underside of the fuselage between frames 3 and 4. I have huge respect for Eduard's research, so I'm puzzled by this.