The Messerschmitt 109 G-6 was the most numerous sub-type of the Luftwaffe’s basic front-line fighter. Equipped with Daimler-Benz DB 605 A-1 engine rated at 1574 hp, it was able to reach the speed of 640 kph at 6000 metres.
Its armament comprised twin MG 131 13 mm heavy machine guns and a single MG 151/20E 20 mm cannon firing through the propeller’s hollow shaft. The first Bf 109 G-6s were delivered to German fighter units in February and March 1943.
Following several modifications, the type served in the first line until mid-1944. Some of the aircraft were assigned to fighter pilot schools, including the so-called combat training units.
The aircraft s/n 163306
The Messerschmitt 109 G-6 W.Nr. 163306 „RQ+DS” was manufactured in May 1944 in Messerschmitt’s plant in Regensburg. It was test-flown on 10th or 11th May and shortly afterwards assigned to a combat unit, where it received its tactical code: „red 3”.
The combat training unit – Ergänzungs-Jagdgruppe West – was activated in January 1942 in Cazaux, France. Soon it was re-designated as Jagdgruppe West. The unit trained pilots destined for, among others, JG 2 and JG 26 fighter units stationed in the northern France. From July 1943 JGr West was commanded by Maj. Georg Michalek. In May 1944 1. and 2./JGr West was transferred to Poland, to the airbase at Gabbert (Jaworze).
28th May 1944
In the morning of 28th May 1944, 24-year-old Feldwebel Ernst Pleiness climbed aboard the brand-new Messerschmitt marked with „red 3” on the fuselage. Moments after take-off the aircraft stalled to port and crashed against the surface of the Lake Trzebun. The pilot was probably instantly killed as the cockpit collapsed and he went to the bottom of the lake trapped inside the machine.
The most likely cause of the crash is the engine’s sudden loss of power at take-off and the ensuing failed attempt to regain control over the aircraft. Two weeks later German divers extricated the pilot’s body from the wreckage. He was then buried at the cemetery in Jaworze. The Messerschmitt lay at the bottom of the lake for another 55 years.
Raising the wreckage
In 1999 the Messerschmitt was pulled up from the bottom of the lake. It lay on its back with its landing gear lowered. The fuselage aft of the cockpit broke and many small elements of the construction scattered around. The engine broke loose and tore into the bottom of the lake.
The aircraft was transferred to the airfield at Góraszka near Warsaw. There, thanks to efforts of the aviation enthusiasts and with support of the Polish Eagles Foundation, it was restored to the condition almost matching that of May 1944. The very costly reconstruction is being continued, and the aircraft is put on display alternatively in Góraszka or at the Krakow Aviation Museum.
The Messerschmitt 109 G-6 W.Nr. 163306 is one of the most completely preserved aircraft of its type around the world.
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