Oberfeldwebel Rudolf “Rudi” Müller
On 13 March 1943 he shot down 6./JG 5’s 500th and his 92nd (and last) victory but only a few weeks later on 19 April his luck ran out; during a furious combat involving up to 40 Russian aircraft over Murmansk, Müller had to put his Bf109 down on a still-frozen Lake Bolschoje. Some hours later he was captured. After that, little is known about what became of him.
There are reports he was seen in prison at Murmansk as late as 1947 but, even if true, he was never repatriated to Germany. Other sources report that he was shot trying to escape from a Russian prison camp in October or November 1943. No one really knows now.
I find it difficult to muster any sympathy for him though. In September, 1939 the Germans initiated a global war that caused the loss of millions of lives and unimaginable misery and disruptions to countless millions more. Müller and his countrymen (and women) chose war, and the consequences of that choice belongs to them as absolutely as it became for those they unleashed this upon.
Some of those consequences were the death of my maternal grandfather in 1943 while serving in the RCAF; the severe wound a great uncle suffered at Monte Casino (that at least got him home for the first time in three years); and, the PTSD that tormented my paternal grandfather (and his family) as a result of the sinking of two Royal Navy ships he served on.
While I have an appreciation for the skill and individual bravery of men like Müller (despite being somewhat skeptical of the numbers of claimed kills), I cannot stretch that into anything approaching admiration or even sympathy because of what they fought for.
Hasegawa 1/48 Bf 109G-2/R6
This will be one of the shorter build descriptions on the site as I have virtually no recollection of making this model! I built this model in 2011 or 2012 but didn’t take any decent pictures of it at the time. Fast forward to this year on a trip back to Canada (where I lived until 2014) I took some photos of two or three models that remain there, this being one.
I do recall that this is a Hasegawa kit and that the paint scheme was the primary reason for building it. I am quite sure that I painted a standard 74/75/76 scheme first and then free-handed the white/dark green winter camouflage after applying the decals.
The only attraction German subjects hold for me is the technical difficulty of properly executing their paint scheme and this was no exception. I remember working carefully and slowly with an Testors Aztec airbrush and Tamiya acrylics to achieve the result shown here. For the record, the over-spray on the propeller blades is deliberate as it was present on the real aircraft.
It’s not perfect however; I would certainly like to have weathered it more convincingly as the model looks unfinished to me now. I’ve learned a lot about weathering since completing this model and though I may flatter myself, I think I could do significantly better with it now.
A final note on the markings. I always put the swastikas on Luftwaffe models. In my opinion we must continue to remember what happened and why. The symbol that the nazis expropriated from ancient times to represent their ideology is as much a part of these models as is the wings. This symbol identifies this machine as an instrument of evil – lest we forget.
References and Credits
- “More Luftwaffe Aircraft in Profile”
By Christer Bergström and Claes Sundin
Copyright: I claim original work and Copyright 2019 for the text in this article and the photos of the model. I did however rely somewhat on the text in both the Sundin/Bergstrom book and the luftwaffe.cz wbsite for Müller’s war record. Except where noted otherwise, I sourced all other images and photos from the internet and are used under fair-use. Any copyrighted images will be removed or credited forthwith upon request by its rightful owner.
Categories: Feature Article