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"Heinkel He111 wing markings" Topic

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Volleyfire09 Apr 2016 6:28 a.m. PST

I've searched around but can't find much info online re Heinkel He111 markings, specifically the ones on the WoW model for Stab/KG53, as I have three of them and wish to be accurate. Does anyone know if all the planes in KG53 carried the same rudder markings as the model, I'm asuming they didn't? Also, the 3 white bars on the starboard wing, I'm assuming that this related to one aircarft only and there would another with 2 bars, and one with only 1, and the remainder nothing?? Any help greatly appreciated

BattlerBritain09 Apr 2016 7:28 a.m. PST

The best reference I've come across for He111 markings (for Battle of Britain) is the Scale Specialties decal set for BoB He111 in 1/300th.

I've got 1/300th BoB He111's for KG53.

The Scale Specialties decals come with instructions for each Heinkel as they weren't all the same, ie different Geschwader had a different pattern of stripes on wings and rudder.

The Geschwader Stab (eg A1+DA, with D in blue) had just 3 vertical bars on the port side of the rudder, although I have seen other references that also show the 3 bars on the starboard wing.

The stripes weren't pure white either: they had the very slightest hint of pink (yep, for real).

The units that had the stripes on the wings were:
I Gruppe/Gruppen Stab, eg A1+AB, Staffel colour in green=> A1+green A B, 3 pink bars on port wing & 3 vert bars on starboard side of rudder

I Gruppe 5th Staffel, eg A1+AN, Staffel colour red=> A1+red A N, 3 vert bars on both sides of rudder.

I Gruppe 9th Staffel, eg A1+BT, Staffel colour yellow=> A1+yellow B T, 3 bars on starboard wing only.

That's all the details that are on the sheet for KG53, ie just x4 aircraft.

Volleyfire09 Apr 2016 8:27 a.m. PST

Thanks, that is very useful.
I found this on my searches, which says the wing markings were ID for escorts during daylight bombing raids on London, not Stabs ID as I thought.
I'm guessing that this is wrong going by your post above Battler?

BattlerBritain09 Apr 2016 8:35 a.m. PST

The stripes probably were used for ID by escorts, although the combinations of wing and rudder bars would have confused any escort trying to confirm the exact ID of a KG53 unit. Certainly confuses me grin .

The different Staffels and Gruppe also had different emblems on the side of the nose. So far I've come across 4 different nose symbols for KG53.

Hope this helps, B

Personal logo Wyatt the Odd Supporting Member of TMP Fezian09 Apr 2016 11:14 a.m. PST

Volleyfire -

The late Norm Harms of Scale Specialties put an extensive amount of research into his decals, so you can be certain of the accuracy.

I believe that there are a total of 6 sets of decals which include Battle of Britain markings. Set 1 has the He-111 markings. link

Some notes about sets 3 and 4 are here:

Drop Penny a line, you'll save so much time with these decals.


Volleyfire09 Apr 2016 12:57 p.m. PST

Thanks Wyatt, but I'm using 1/200 for the Wings of Glory planes from mehusla on eBay.

Mako1109 Apr 2016 3:12 p.m. PST

I believe the bars denote the gruppen the aircraft were from, so yes, they should have the same markings on the rudder as on the wing.

There would be some aircraft with one, two, or three bars, in addition to some with none, depending upon the unit.

BattlerBritain10 Apr 2016 5:17 a.m. PST

Mako, it would be nice and logical if that were the case. So far the only evidence I've seen is that only 3 bar white markings were used.

Just where they were placed seemed to indicate the Gruppe.

I'd love to find evidence that 1 bar and 2 bar white markings were used but so far nothing.

If you've got some evidence of their use please can you give us a steer?

Many Thanks, B

Mako1111 Apr 2016 12:06 a.m. PST

Here's a pic with two:


Mako1111 Apr 2016 12:08 a.m. PST

Not sure if the above is artistic license, or is real, but I doubt someone would make that up.

Mako1111 Apr 2016 2:33 a.m. PST

Here's a pic of one with three bands on the wing, but none on the rudder.

Here's one in Syria in 1941, with a single, wide band on the rudder.

BattlerBritain11 Apr 2016 2:35 a.m. PST

Good, that's a II/KG1 Heinkel with x2 bars for the 2nd Gruppe.

Nice and logical.

Now what about a II/KG53 Heinkel?

I've only seen that KG53 used 3 bar white markings and it seems (to me) that the location of the bars indicated the Gruppe in KG53.

Not saying that Luftwaffe markings were ever logical but the exceptions to the norm in Luftwaffe markings were so numerous that there rarely was a norm.

Just look at BoB 109E markings they were all just about unique.

Great piccies mind – where are they from?

Mako1111 Apr 2016 3:29 a.m. PST

I did a Google images search for He-111 and Markings, amongst a few other words added in. Didn't check the additional images button and beyond, at the bottom of the page, so there might be more.

I did try Battle of Britain as well, but that seems to pull up a lot of extraneous pics.

I'd keep it to He-111 and Markings, and then perhaps the various Gruppen or Geschwadern you're interested in, since those are pretty unique. Probably won't pull in much extraneous stuff with those KG designations, e.g. KG51, KG53, etc., as appropriate.

On a related note, I did see an actual photo of a Ju-88 (black and white) with a large white band (could be yellow too, I guess – hard to tell in B&W pics) on the moveable rudder surface of it, just like for the He-111, so apparently some of those used white bands too.

BattlerBritain11 Apr 2016 6:16 a.m. PST

Yeah I did a Google search as well which also raised some contradictions.

I've got a large collection of books on Luftwaffe BoB aircraft including He-111 units and am just trying to bottom out the KG53 markings.

I've ordered the Osprey He-111 units of the West and will see what that gives. My old Aircram book just shows what the Scale Specialties describes – just 3 bars.

Would love to find a KG53 with 1 or 2 bars.

Volleyfire11 Apr 2016 9:02 a.m. PST

I came up with the same photos on pinterest. I didn't fancy having to sign up to see what else they have lurking in there though.

Volleyfire12 Apr 2016 2:43 a.m. PST




Images from the Wings Palette website. No other images on there taken from other theatres of operation show the same wing or tail markings as those staffels operating in the BoB.
Are the apparent two horizontal yellow lines on the tail accurate and significant?

pbhawkin14 Apr 2016 6:45 p.m. PST

this might help:
They are formation markings used to help the unit 'form up' in the air.
"The "tactical formation" markings were the allegedly white bands that appeared on the tail fin and rudder and on the upper wing surface during September 1940. The purpose of the marking was to enable pilots flying in formation to quickly determine the position of other aircraft in the formation. Aircraft with the bar on the port (left) wing and port fin meant that they were on the starboard (right) side of the formation. Also the number of bars might have indicated the Gruppe or Staffel status of the aircraft.

I use the phrase "allegedly white" above quite intentionally. Based on the recent research of Kenneth Merrick, which appears to be based on RAF reports on downed aircraft, it appears that a number of aircraft had the bars applied in various shades of pink. Merrick surmises that red may have first been tried, but was not distinguishable from a distance against the 70/71 camouflage. The pale color might have been found to provide for quicker identification." link


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