Monday, October 29, 2012
Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-7 'Black 6': Melding Art with Archaeology
On the morning of April 25, 1941, Jagdgeschwader 2./JG 52 was offering fighter cover for a raid over the countryside of Kent, England, when they were ambushed by Spitfires of RAF 92 Squadron. In the ensuing action, Luftwaffe pilot Oberfw. G. Struck's Bf 109 E-7 'Black 6' was critically hit by Squadron Leader J. E. Rankin's Spitfire MkVb. Struck flipped his 109 on its back and fell from the cockpit. He landed safely by parachute and was taken prisoner. His aircraft (Werk Nu. 5895) was not so fortunate. It impacted the ground at high speed near Blackhouse Farm - an event not uncommon in those days.
In 1974 the reports of this loss reached members of the Brenzett Aeronautical Museum, a group of volunteer aviation archaeologists devoted to uncovering the remains of these historic aircraft - before the elements corroded or rusted them away. The impact site of 'Black 6' was located and excavated. The Messerschmitt was is many small pieces, but the wet soil had preserved the parts very well, and much of the original paint was still visible from this JG 52 machine, including its distinctive yellow identification markings. In that respect her recovery was quite unique.
I acquired some of the best pieces of 'Black 6' in 2012. Right away I knew, thanks to the previously done research that included this aircraft's original color scheme and history, that I had to paint this Messerschmitt as it was while still in action over England. I knew this would make an excellent short series of limited edition displays: my artwork paired with the actual fragments from 'Black 6'.
When creating a composition to be paired with aircraft pieces, I always keep in mind the origins of the pieces and the original colors still present upon them. In the case of 'Black 6' I was fortunate to have a reasonably large section of the underside cowling with its thick field-applied yellow 'JG 52' paint over light blue. When I painted this aircraft I made sure to highlight that area of the aircraft, and color match the yellow in the painting with the original paint on the part.
I'll be able to offer about six of these displays, which is roughly average in terms of what I can offer based upon the material on hand. Some of these have already sold!