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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Toys for the Boys

1:18 scale Bf-109G "Black Devil of Ukraine" that was flown by Erich Hartmann. Brett and I have one each, to accompany our F-4U Corsairs & Brett's P-51 Mustang. A beautifully detailed model.

Hartmann, with an amazing 352 confirmed victories, is the all time ace of aces. He did not attain his first victory until November 5, 1942 as he missed the opening phase of Operation Barbarossa, when many Luftwaffe pilots ran up amazing victory totals against an ill-equipped and relatively inexperienced Red Air Force. In the month of August 1943 Hartmann shot down 49 aircraft. After scoring his 148th victory, he was awarded the Knights Cross in October of 1943. In August of 1944, upon attainment of his 301st victory, Hartmann was awarded Germany's highest decoration, the Diamonds to his Knights Cross. Only ten Luftwaffe pilots received this decoration.

In combat, Hartmann was shot down twice and crash landed his aircraft on fourteen occasions. He was assigned literally dozens of different aircraft during the conflict. The Soviets nicknamed him The Black Devil of the Ukraine. A price of 10,000 Rubles was placed on his head. When the war ended, Hartmann was captured by the Soviets and was imprisoned for ten years. He was released in 1956, and rejoined the Luftwaffe with his former rank of Major. He learned to fly jet aircraft at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. Hartmann served in the Luftwaffe until his retirement. He passed away in 1994 at the age of seventy-two.

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