Luftwaffe Over Ohio!
By Paul F. Straney and Robert Sacchi
Many of the aircraft retained some of their original colors for a time. This color shot of a Messerschmitt Me-262B-1a/U1 nightfighter shows the original camouflage of RLM 75 (medium gray) on the upper wing and horizontal tail surfaces. The fuselage was overall RLM 76 (light blue-gray) with RLM 75 (medium gray) and RLM 74 (dark gray) splotches oversprayed on the upper surfaces, while the lower surfaces had received an application of temporary black paint. Large portions of this temporary paint came off when the protective "coccoon" was removed after the aircraft arrived in the U.S. The only areas of the aircraft not in original colors are the areas where national markings have been painted out, as well as administrative notations (rear fuselage, vertical tail.) The red markings to the tail, nose and front windscreen appeared on most of the aircraft collected by Watson's "Whizzers" and were most likely applied at some point after capture. [NASM]
We have compiled a listing of "FE" numbers known to have been assigned, type of aircraft, original markings/unit, history, and fate. The following list is by no means complete. As in other situations where no clear records exist, many myths have risen up and continue to be perpetuated. We have tried to authenticate all information from original sources wherever possible.
A note on markings: Most German aircraft were repainted prior to or immediately after arriving in this country, and at least one aircraft, an Me-109G FE-496, was displayed stripped to bare metal . All ATSC aircraft had German insignia reapplied at Freeman Field. Camouflage and markings Applied could best be described as spurious. Markings and unit in the list refer to the markings/service at time of capture, where known. FE-, and later T2- markings, when applied, usually appeared on the rudder/fin or lower rear fuselage, and under the wings in a contrasting color. Camouflage colors, both at capture and afterward, would be a separate article in itself, and are not detailed here.
Where an aircraft is known to have been shipped on the H.M.S. Reaper to Port Newark, it is so noted. Otherwise. it arrived in this country by some other means.
FE-107 See FE-711.
FE-110, a Messerschmitt Me-262A, between flights. Originally a fighter-bomber variant, FE-110 flew many demonstration flights. (NASM]
FE-110 Me-262A "L," unit unknown. Sent on the Reaper, this aircraft was test flown, and pictures of this aircraft are quite common, including a picture of this aircraft making a high-speed pass over building T-317 at Freeman Field. Fate unknown, though it is alleged this aircraft crashed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
This Messerschmitt Me-262A, FE-111, appeared at the Wright Field open house in late 1945. (NASM]
FE-111 Me-262A-la W.Nr.500491(?), Yellow "7" of 11/JG 7. Sent on the Reaper. this aircraft appeared on display at Wright Field, October 1945. It appeared at several displays around the country. The nose of this aircraft was traded with FE-4012, a reconnaissance machine, in 1946, so that FE-4012 could be rebuilt by Hughes Aircraft for flight testing. FE-111 went to Park Ridge in 1946, and subsequently to Silver Hill. It was restored at the Paul E. Garber Facility in Silver Hill, Maryland in 1979, and is currently on display at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM).
FE-112, a Tank Ta-152H high altitude fighter, Freeman Field, 1945. Originally captured by the British, it was later acquired by Col. Watson in Europe. As was common practice, ersatz German markings were re-applied to aircraft, including a ficticious green "4" on the fuselage. (NASM)
FE-112 Ta-152H Markings unknown, JG 301. Sent on the Reaper, the Werke Nummer is uncertain, though NASM records indicate it is 110003. Actual inspection of the aircraft has turned up no indication of its true identity. FE-112 went to Park Ridge in 1946, and subsequently to Silver Hill. This aircraft is presently in storage at the Paul E. Garber Facility.
FE-113, -114, -115 Purportedly these were Fw-19OAs. Reportedly sent on the Reaper, we have found no record of any of these three aircraft, save obscure references by a few authors.
FE-116 Fw-19OF-8 Markings, unit unknown. Sent on the Reaper, this aircraft was restored to flying status and was tested at Wright Airfield, and subsequently took part in several displays. Fate unknown.
FE-117 Fw-19OF-8/R1 WNr. 931884 Last Yellow "10," unit unknown. Sent on the Reaper, this aircraft took part in several static displays. It went to Park Ridge in 1946, and subsequently to Silver Hill. A rebuilt "A" series airframe, it served with several units in its career, as revealed to the staff at the Paul E. Garber Facility when this aircraft was restored there in 1983, It is presently on display at the Paul E. Garber Facility.
FE-118 Fw-19OD-13 WNr. 836017, Yellow "10," 3/JG 26. Sent on the Reaper, this was originally an "A" series airframe that had been rebuilt to D-13 standards. After flight testing at Wright Field , this aircraft was declared surplus and sent to The Georgia Institute of Technology. After several years, it was left derelict, along with FE-124, It then passed through several hands before it ended up at the Champlin Fighter Museum in 1973. It went to Germany for restoration in 1974 and remained there until 1979 when it came back to this country. It is currently on display at the Champlin Fighter Museum in Mesa, Arizona.
Paul F. Straney and Robert Sacchi © 1990