Everyone knows of and has seen photos of Bf109E White 14, one of only two original and currently flying Bf109 Emils.
Recovered from Russia in 1991, Bf109E 3579 was purchased by David Price of the Santa Monica Museum, California in 1992. Restored to a very high standard over five years by Craig Charlston in the UK, 3579 was completed in 1998. Painted in the scheme of ‘White 14’ of 1(Jagd)/LG2 from late August 1940 during the height of the Battle of Britain. She was registered N81562 and first flew in California in September 1999 being flown by RAF Instructor and warbird pilot, Charlie Brown.
In 2003, 3579 was purchased by Ed Russell/Russell Group Inc in Niagara Falls, Canada and she is now registered CF-EML. The White 14 scheme is famous the world over as is the Hans-Jochem Marseille connection.
After being damaged and belly landing by Marseille on 2 September 1940, 3579 went on to be repaired and serve another two years. In 1942 another pilot flew 3579 and went on to become another North African ace. This is the story of 3579 concentrating on the last unit to operate her instead of the first and shows her in a totally different scheme.
Messerschmitt Bf109 E-1 W.Nr3579
Messerschmitt Bf109 W.Nr 3579 was originally licence built as an E-1 by Arado GmbH at Warnemünde. Arado were responsible for producing around 500 Bf109 E-1’s up to October 1940 including 50 E-1/B (fighter bombers). Bf109 E-1 3579 was manufactured in a block of 305 aircraft in the construction block 3360-3664 and produced between 09.39 and 04.40. Arado GmbH and Fieseler GmbH were the two main licence manufacturers of the E-1 whilst other like WNF and Erla were producing the E-3 and E-4.
Within the factory, 3579 was fitted with a Daimler Benz DB601A inverted V12 producing 1100 hp. Armament consisted of four MG17’s and on completion 3579 was test flown at Warnemünde. It carried the RLM factory codes of CK+CT and 3579 was taken on charge by the Luftwaffe around the 14 November 1939.
Its service during early 1940 is currently unknown. There are no known damage listings for 3579 as at this time as most were recorded by a tactical number. Whether 3579 received sufficient damage in early 1940 for it to be sent back to be upgraded is not known. According to records, by August 1940 all Bf109 E-1 were to have been returned when possible to be upgraded. It is known that many within the same block had already been upgraded to E-4’s and E-7s by this time.
If 3579 was upgraded to a E-4 variant, this would have involved the replacement of the wings for a reworked pair which would allow the fitment of two 20mm MGFF/’M’ cannons and rewiring of the cockpit. Other alterations included a heavier canopy frame and armoured head support.
When 3579 was delivered to LG2 is not known, but it is thought to have arrived during the build up prior to the invasion of France in May 1940. We know that in April 1940 the unit was located in Westerland and 3579 was marked up as ‘White 14’.
I(J)/LG2, (LG standing for Lehrgeschwader – an experimental teaching wing undertaking combat flying). They were under the command of Jäfu operated all the Fighter groups on the channel front during the battle and were one of the few units to remain in France after the capitulation. In July 1940 I(J)/LG2 moved forward to Calais-Marck airfield and whilst there they operated under the command of II/JG52.