This is a profile of the most famous Messerschmitt painted in the color scheme of the Luftwaffe Ace Horst Petzschler.
These are open editions only.
German, Me 109G-6, Horst Petzschler
Laser print. Size 11″x17″
Only 350 Laser Prints were published and autographed by the Luftwaffe Ace.
All signatures by both the Aviator and the Artist is done in soft graphic pencil.
Autographed Laser Print, Signed by the Ace. $65.00
Horst Petzschler, Home Defense
In April 1944, Master Sergeant Horst Petzschler was transferred to JG3 Udet near Madeburg, Germany. Horst was close to being an Ace in Russia when he requested a transfer back to Europe to defend the Homeland. He had been flying against Russian pilots, some trained better than others. Most of the Russian fighters and bombers that Horst flew against were in fact Russian made but many were also land-lease aircraft from America as well. Horst had downed a Yak fighter and two II-2 Sturmovik ground assault aircraft.
But Horst hated Russia. The weather and the conditions. Most all of his combat missions were against Russia infantry. He was more interested in going after Russian fighters but the group he was assigned to was a ground attack unit. He spent some tense time in the cockpit of his Fw-190 as he was shot at by very aggressive Russian anti-aircraft gunners. Horst said that he could look down and see the Russian T-34 tanks with twenty-five to thirty-five men following behind each tank. Horst would drop bombs in the middle of these groups of men. His main goal was to hit the tank in which he did on several occasions.
Many of these missions were in the winter with fresh show on the ground. The tanks and the men stood out quite well against the show plus they were making tracks behind themselves. Horst said that after he dropped his bombs in the snow there would be a dark blast area and then there was the snow but the snow around the edges of the blast area was tinted red with the blood of the Russian soldiers. Horst knows that he killed hundreds of men on these raids. But the Russian infantry was never ending.
But Horst wanted to get away and fight against the Russian fighters. He wanted to be an Ace. He felt that if he got transferred to Europe he would have better conditions. Better beds and better food. Better field facilities and fat targets. Horst knew he would not get his request but he would try. He was accepted.
Horst was now flying against American bomber formations that were striking deep into Germany almost daily. In the above Messerschmitt Bf109 G-6 “Black14”, Horst shot down a B-17, a B-24 and two P-51 Mustangs.
Horst claimed his first two American aircraft on May 12, 1944 as his squadron was sent up against the bomber formations over Frankfurt. Once they reached altitude, he and his fellow pilots attacked a formation of B-17’s head on. As Horst raced at full speed into the oncoming bombers, he selected his target.
Viewing the bomber through his gun sites, the bombers grew in size quickly. Squeezing his trigger, Horst saw his tracers reach out at the fast approaching B-17. Bright flashes appeared between the engines of the Flying Fortress striking the fuel tanks in the wing. The bombers left inside engine then exploded as it took direct hits from the cannon of Horst’s “Black 14”.
Within the blink of an eye Horst pulled up and over the stricken Fortress, his gun camera filmed the bombers wing start to collapse sending the once mighty bomber down to the German country side trailed by parachutes of its surviving crew members.
As Horst cleared the bomber formation he looked up and saw a flight of Mustangs diving on him. Horst thought that he would dive to get away, but knew that he would then have five Mustangs with a speed advantage on his tail. He pulled up to meet the diving Mustangs and fired on the lead aircraft. His first shots struck the enemy plane, and as they passed the Mustang exploded into a fireball.
This was quick action for two kills but the circumstances were a terror. Horst wanted action but he had no idea what action was like. All the rest of the mission he weaved and dodged all over the sky to keep from being shot down. Horst said that there were tracers coming from everywhere and many of them were at you!
His next victory was on May 14th against a B-24 returning to England from its mission. Horst attacked with his group from the right rear of the bombing formation. Each selected his target and once inside the “box” of the bomber formation there is no where for a Luftwaffe fighter to hide. You had to fight it out.
Horst was turned away by the furiousness of the combat so he stayed along the outside of the bomber formation. He was looking for a bomber that had been damaged bad enough that it will drop away from the protection of the bomber formation. After a few minutes of searching he spotted a lone B-24. He set up his attack from the front to avoid the rear gunners. The B-24 actually only had one tail gunner but if you drifted up to far the top turret could fire at you and if you dropped to far down the bottom turret would treat you to a showdown.
Again with a head on attack, Horst was able to drop the American heavy bomber in one pass. The head-on attack against a bomber can be lethal to most everybody in the aircraft. Luftwaffe pilots were taught that the head-on attack was a pilot killer. Kill the pilots and the bomber will fall. Horst knew that the head-on was more than a pilot killer. When you have high caliber missiles coming into the nose of the bomber they can fly straight through the fuselage wounding or killing any crewman in the way. They enemy bullets can also damage and destroy equipment and can hit bombs that are stored right behind the pilots.
On May 28th, the American 352nr Fighter Group attacked Petzschler and his wing man over Magdeburg. The American pilot Capt. Woody Anderson came in quickly on the rear of Petzschler ‘s wing man and shot him down. Capt. Anderson was going so fast that he shot over Petschler’s aircraft. As Capt. Anderson passed over, Horst pulled up the nose of his Bf109 and fired into the American Mustang. Horst watched the Mustang nose down trailing a slipstream of coolant. Horst did not check his six-o’clock which meant that Horst should have been aware that another fighter would be with the one he just shot down . As he watched the Mustang fall, his aircraft was struck by Capt. Anderson’s wingman’s guns. With his “Black 14” disabled, Horst bailed out and was assigned another “Black 14”, Bf109 G-6.
Horst told me that in attacking a bomber formation your fighter was at risk of being hit by several fifty-caliber machine guns at any one time from one to two different bombers. This was action in deed but Horst had enough. He transferred back to the Russian Front. As the allies were invading France, Horst was again transferred back to Russia where he got to fly and fight this time. Horst scored nineteen more Russian aircraft before the war ended.
Horst Petzschler flew 297 missions ending the war with 26 confirmed aerial victories. Petzschler was awarded the Iron Cross first and second class along with the Golden Fighter Clasp as he passed 150 frontline sorties of which 126 were fighter bomber missions in the FW-190-A-4 against the Russians. He also received the Goblet of Honor for passing 250 missions. Horst was recommended for the Knights Cross, as the war came to an end.
This is a photo was taken from the gun camera of Horst Petzschler’s Bf109 G-6 illustrated above in my print.
This shows the frontal attack which was preferred by the Luftwaffe pilots. Horst downed this B-17 in one pass flying the above Messerschmitt. Right after this photo you see the engine on the right inside take some hits from Petzschler’s guns, and a few strikes from 20mm cannon which shattered the engine and started the wing root to collapse. So in this attack by Horst, his bullets did not go into the pilot’s cabin but knocked out the bombers wing and inside engine.
However in combat everything is so frantic and fast that a Luftwaffe pilot could not always aim his guns so well. What really happened was that Horst aimed for the nose and the windscreen at the pilots but hit the bomber about ten to fifteen feet to the right which is what could happen with tracking a moving target. This is called “slippage” in that Horst aimed well but not well enough. He needed to aim a little to the left of the cockpit. Horst thought he was coming dead on at the bomber when he was actually coming in at a slight angle. Especially when the target is coming at you at 280mph and you are racing at the target at 320mph. That is 600mph. Horst only had seconds to fire.
I am so fortunate to actually talk to a Luftwaffe pilot about one of this aerial victories especially against a B-17. To shoot down a P-51 Mustang and be able to get away is a good day. However to be able to claim an enemy only to have the enemy shoot you down is just as good as long as you are alive. Horst said that when he floated down in his chute he watched what he could of the aerial battle around him.
This is a photo of the Ace flying Number 14. A friend of his was shot down in this fighter after Horst returned to Russia.
This is a pencil sketch of the Bf-109 Horst flew in Russia. The Artist is one of our best aviation artist and that is Larry Ortega. I really wish I had done a print of the 109 that Horst flew in Russia. Better yet I wish that I had done it at an angle like the one above done by Ortega. It would have been a great example of the Messerschmitt.
This photo and history is from the Luftwaffe Classic, “Luftwaffe Fighter Aircraft in Profile”, by Claes Sundin and Christer Bergstrom.
I also have a painting that is not finished yet of the Bf-109K that was flown by Horst. Horst personally autographed this page for me. This fighter was also the aircraft that was assigned to Kurt Schultz when he was the commander of JG-51.
This painting is for sale. Size is two feet by four feet. $3,500.00.
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