Next time I will write a little bit about the known operational history of Black 8, its pilot, and its connections to Black 3, its lost pilot, and the aforementioned "Killer" Caldwell.
Well, it's about time that I made good on this undertaking. However, the content will be less than I imagined because of further research, which made clear that the "crackling good yarn" I thought I had was incorrect.
I've already written about the killing of Luftwaffe pilot Hermann Förster in Black 3 on 12/14/1941 by Australian Ace Clive Caldwell. I thought that Caldwell was almost shot down in a subsequent dogfight with a famous Luftwaffe ace who flew Black 8. However, my timing was off.
So, I will focus first on the principal pilot of Black 8. He was Franz Elles of 2./JG 27. The only pictures I have of him are in those overwater shots of Black 8 reproduced above. For ease of reference, you can see him here.
His career was brief, but at least he survived. What I know about him comes from the aircraft information in the Hobby Master diecast product.
Messerschmitt Bf-109E "Black 8", contrary to some information, was only flown twice by Leutnant Werner Schroer and was the main aircraft for Franz Elles of 2./JG 27. In May 1941 Elles scored his first victory, a Hurricane over Tobruk. He would score his fifth and final victory by downing an A-20 Boston III on December 10, 1941 before his aircraft was badly damaged by an RAF P-40 on December 11, 1941. He crash-landed his aircraft and became a POW for the remainder of the war.
The "contrary to some information" reference includes the old Carousel 1 manuracturer's data sheet on Black 8, which states that its pilot was Maj. Werner Schorer (name later changed to Schröer), an ace who survived the war with 114 victories, and who was the second most successful claimant of air victories in the Mediterranean after Hans-Joachim Marseille.
However, it is possible that Schorer had a dogfight with Caldwell on one of his two missions in this aircraft. I've seen elsewhere that Schroer flew Black 8 against Clive Caldwell in August 1941, where Caldwell came out on the losing end.
While flying to his base alone, over northwest Egypt on 29 August 1941, Caldwell was attacked by two Bf 109s, in a simultaneous approach at right angles. His attackers included one of Germany's most famous aces, Leutnant Werner Schröer, also of JG 27, in a Bf 109E-7. Caldwell sustained three separate wounds from ammunition fragments and or shrapnel. His Tomahawk was hit by more than 100 7.9 mm bullets and five 20 mm cannon shells, but he shot down Schröer's wingman, and heavily damaged Schröer's "Black 8", causing Schröer to disengage.
Try as I might, I have been unable to find any information about the Luftwaffe pilot who flew Black 6. So I suppose that the pilot pictured here must remain nameless, at least for now.
I haven't finished writing about Clive Caldwell, but I want to read a biography of the man first.