Corgi AA38501 German Messerschmitt Bf 110C Fighter - Oberleutnant Hans-Joachim Jabs, II/Zerstorergeschwader 76, 'Adler Tag', France, August 13th, 1940 (1:72 Scale)
"Guns before butter. Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat."
- Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, Head of the German Luftwaffe
The Messerschmitt Bf 110 was an aircraft of very mixed fortunes. It has often been criticized for its failure during the Battle of Britain, while its successes in other fields have been largely ignored. Despite not living up to the Luftwaffe's expectations it did manage to serve Germany throughout the Second World War in the long-range escort fighter, fighter-bomber, reconnaissance, ground attack and night fighter roles.
The long-range multi-seat escort fighter is possibly the most difficult of combat aircraft to design. Certainly no entirely successful machine in this category emerged from the Second World War, and when Professor Willy Messerschmitt began design studies for such a warplane towards the end of 1934 at the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke at Augsburg his problems would have seemed insurmountable had he possessed a full knowledge of interceptor fighter development trends abroad. Such a machine as was required by Marshal Goering to equip the elite "zerstorer" formations that he envisaged had to be capable of penetrating deep into enemy territory, possessing sufficient range to accompany bomber formations. The fuel tankage necessary presented a serious weight penalty and called for the use of two engines if the "zerstorer" was to achieve a performance approaching that of the lighter interceptor fighter by which it would be opposed. Yet it had to be manaoeuvrable if it was to successfully fend off the enemy's single-seaters.
The Bf 110Es were capable of carrying a respectable bomb load of 4,410 lb (2,000 kg) as fighter-bombers, while straight fighter and reconnaissance versions were also built. These, and later versions, were operated with a fair degree of success in many war zones. The Bf 110F was basically similar to the E, but two new variants were produced - the 110F-2 carrying rocket projectiles and the F-4 with two 30 mm cannon and an extra crew member for night fighting. The last version, the Bf 110G, was intended for use originally as a fighter-bomber but, in view of the success of the F-4 and the increasingly heavy attacks on Germany by Allied bombers, was employed mostly as a night fighter.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a German Messerschmitt Bf 110C fighter that was piloted by Oberleutnant Hans-Joachim Jabs during 'Adler Tag' (Eagle Day), on August 13th, 1940.
Release Date: July 2009
Historical Account: "By Day or By Night" - Hans-Joachim Jabs (November 14th, 1917 - October 26th, 2003) was both a day and night fighter ace in the German Luftwaffe during World War II. 50 victories were scored. Jabs flew variants of the Messerschmitt Bf 110 Zerstörer heavy day fighter and night fighter.
A member of II/ZG 76, Jabs operated over France in mid 1940, claiming four French aircraft and RAF fighters. He then flew over the British Isles during the Battle of Britain. Despite the vulnerability of the Bf 110 against the more nimble Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft, and the heavy losses incurred, Jabs claimed eight Spitfires and four Hurricanes destroyed. By the end of the year Jabs was one of the top scoring Zestorer pilots, with 16 victories.
In 1941, the majority of the Bf 110 units were withdrawn from daylight fighting, and Jabs was transferred to night fighting and Defense of the Reich. Retrained by October 1941, Jabs joined Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 stationed near Hamburg, protecting the port and Kriegsmarine installations. Opportunities for scoring remained elusive however, with just one more kill by June 1942. In November 1942, he transferred to IV/NJG 1. By January 1944 he had 45 kills to his credit, and in March 1944 became NJG 1 Geschwaderkommodore.
On 29 April 1944 his Bf 110-G night fighter was caught on a daylight air test by a flight of six Spitfires from No. 132 Squadron RAF, led by 15-kill ace Squadron Leader Geoffrey Page. The Spitfires came in at too high a speed and as one Spitfire overshot Jabs shot down the Spitfire flown by P/O R. B. Pullin, which went down in flames and the pilot killed. F/O J.J. Caulton then attacked Jabs head-on, though the heavy forward armament of the 110 took effect and the stricken Spitfire glided around and belly-landed onto Deelen Air Base. Jabs then conducted a surprise forced landing, quickly scrambling for cover before his aircraft was destroyed by strafing.
Hans-Joachim Jabs was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Eichenlaub zum Ritterkreuz des Einsernen Kreuzes) on 24 March 1944. His wartime kill tally included 22 day kills and 28 night victories.