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Experten Decals ED-2A August 2001


Me 262 A-1a "Gelbe 3 / B3+?T", 9./KG(J) 54

Since the release of our Experten Decals ED-2A publication in 1997, new information has become available on the Kampfgeschwader (Jagd) units and their markings. These new data have permitted a reinterpretation of some of the original findings related to this aircraft and are discussed below:

Reichsverteidigung (RV) bands had evolved since mid-1944 on the Western Front as a tactical recognition marking and were eventually formalized on February 20, 1945 via the well known OKL "Jagdgeschwader Markings" order (1). This order detailed the colours, styles, positioning and dimensions of vertical rear fuselage bands for the respective units. Of all the operational jet units, only JG 7 was listed in this document.

It is known that similar bands were designated for those former Kampfgeschwader units undergoing conversion to the Me 262 and operating as fighters - the Kampfgeschwader (Jagd). Narrative and photographic evidence suggest that sometime between March 15 and March 22, 1945, a similar order was issued (probably by the OKL) detailing the assignment of specific bands to the various KG(J) units still operational at that time (2, 3, 4). This would have included KG(J) 6, 27, 30, 54 and 55 (5), though the disbandment of various Gruppen over the last months of the war would have precluded their aircraft being painted with the promulgated Karoband. In addition, the units were ordered to discard the old four character alpha-numeric unit/aircraft code and use a single number painted in the respective Staffel colour as per normal fighter units (6, 7).

Interpretation of photographic, narrative and circumstantial evidence together indicate that the Karobands (square, or checker bands) assigned to KG(J) 6 and KG(J) 54 were red/black and blue/white respectively (2,3,4). Furthermore, the extant photographs reveal only Me 262s from I./KG(J) 6 and I. and III./KG(J) 54 wearing these bands, and, for KG(J) 54 there were at least three known variations in style and size (4). It remains unknown if aircraft from other Gruppen of these units also wore Karobands.

A green/white Karoband is known from a colour photograph of a Bf 109 G-10AS, "Gelbe 2" found at Kaufbeuren (8). It is speculated that this Karoband was assigned to KG(J) 27. It is known that I./KG(J) 6 and I./KG(J) 27 were the only KG(J) units known to have operated the G-10 variant (9). Further, Green 25 was the RV tailband colour assigned to JG 27, so it may have been thought prudent to try and match the band colours to like-numbered units, but change the band style to differentiate the two. Other Bf 109s with Karobands known from photographs are a G-10 "Weisse 9 of 1./KG(J) 6 and a G-10? "Schwarze>" of Stab/KG(J) 6 (10), and possibly a G-6 "Weisse 4" thought by this author to be from 1./KG(J) 55 and wearing a yellow/white Karoband (10, 11).

Therefore, given the new evidence and interpretations, it is our opinion that the green/white RV Karoband originally interpreted for this III./KG(J) 54 Me 262 "Gelbe 3" is incorrect and should be correctly coloured blue/white, the former colour being RLM Blau 25. To address this discrepancy on the decal sheet, it is suggested that modellers consider masking-off and painting a solid blue band the same dimensions as the Karoband decal in the position shown in the instructions, cutting out the green portion of the decals, and applying the remaining white squares over the blue band.


  1. Brown, D.E., 1997: "Commentary on the Evolution and Usage of Luftwaffe RLM Colours 81, 82 & 83". Hyper-Scale website http://www.clubhyper.com/reference/luftcamdb_3.htm.
  2. Horn, J., 1996. Als die Kampfflieger noch Jäger werden sollten - Das Ende des KG(J)6 im Raum Prag. Jägerblatt, Vol.XLV, Nr. 1/1996, pp.38-43.
  3. Horn, J., 1996 - 2000: personal communication with D.E. Brown.
  4. J.V. Crow, T. Poruba, R.P. Lutz, P. Petrick photo collections.
  5. Rosch, B.C., 1995: Luftwaffe Codes, Markings & Units 1939-1945. Schiffer, Altglen, 444p.
  6. Radtke, S, 1996, 1997: personal communication with D.E. Brown.
  7. Radtke, S., 1990. Kampfgeschwader 54 - Von der Ju 52 zur Me 262 - Eine Chronik nach Kreigstagebüchern, Berichten und Documenten. Schild Verlag, München, 383p.
  8. Brown, D.E, and Wadman, D., 1997: Checkmate - Gelbe 3/ B3+?T - Me 262 A-1a. Experten Decals ED-2A, Experten Historical Aviation Research, Calgary, Alberta, 12p.
  9. Griehl, M., and Dressel, J., 1995: Focke-Wulf Fw 190 / Ta 152 - Jäger, Jagdbomber, Panzerjäger. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart, 279p.
  10. T. Poruba photo collection.
  11. Rajlich, J., 2000: Luftwaffe in Detail - Air War over the Czech Lands. Wings & Wheels Publications, Prague, 84p.

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