Aviation Historian 33
A.Arthy - Two days in February (2)
A Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 of I./JG 77 at Gabes airfield in Tunisia in 1943. Given the name Herz As (“Ace of Hearts”), Jagdgeschwader 77 served in all German theatres of operation during the Second World War, from Western Europe to the Eastern Front, from Norway in the north to the Mediterranean and North Africa in the south.
The Focke-Wulf Fw 190As of II./JG 2 had arrived in North Africa in mid-November 1942, and by February were based at Kairouan in Tunisia, where facilities and protective revetments were somewhat primitive. As a result, the unit suffered a number of losses on the ground during the USAAF bombing raids during the afternoon of February 15.
The Bell P-39 equipped the 81st and 350th FGs and two squadrons of the 68th Observation Group in North Africa from the end of 1942. Interestingly, the dark circle just aft of the bottom of the cockpit door reveals that this example, “Mike”, is actually a P-400, the circle being a dark blue formation light fitted only to the RAF’s Airacobra I.
"Спитфайр" V из состава 308-й эскадрильи в Тунисе. Март 1943г.
Supermarine Spitfire VC/Trop ES306, coded HL-D, of the 308th Fighter Squadron (FS), 31st Fighter Group (FG) at Thelepte in March 1943, shortly after the air war over Sidi Bou Zid. The Spitfire VC was armed with two Hispano 20mm cannon of 120 rounds each, mounted in the wings inboard of four Browning 0-303in machine-guns.
An unknown serviceman poses beside Spitfire VB/Trop WZ-X of the 309th FS, which bears the name Beverly the Second alongside a circular insignia depicting a running skeleton and the legend “The Phantom” beneath the cockpit. The 309th traded its Spitfires for the longer-range Mustang in late March - early April 1944.
Captain James A. Isbell Jr of the 309th FS flew four missions in his Spitfire VB during the air fighting over the battlefield at Sidi Bou Zid on February 15. Isbell was awarded the DFC the following month.
Lt Berry Chandler of the 309th FS, 31st FG, was credited with damaging a Bf 109 of JG 77 during the latter’s attack on Thelepte No 1 on February 15.