AMO-72116 1/72 Messerschmitt Bf-109E3 German WW2 fighter model kitIn December 1939 an order for 50 Bf-109Es was issued to Bayeriche Flugzeugwerke. The first 11 aircraft arrived during the spring of 1940. The remaining 39 came a year later. The newly formed 7th Fighter Group received the the modern german fighters. In June 1941 it had 36 Bf-109Es at its disposal.
The Romanian Bf-109Es took part in Operation Barbarossa from the very first missions, when they escorted the bombers to attack Soviet airfields. But the first vicrories came the second day, on 23 June, when 16 Emils engaged 25 Soviets and shot down six. The air war over the southern part of the Eastern Front was, however, very brutal. The first loss of the 7th Fighter Group came on 5 July, when adj. Ilie Vatamanu's airplane was hit by AAA.
After the 1941 campaign was over, the Romanian fighter arm had to be reorganized because of the losses it had suffered. Fifteen second-hand Bf-109E7s arrived from Germany in early 1942 and replenished the forces of the 7th Fighter Group.
The 37 Bf-109Es strong group was sent on the front again in the autumn of 1942, near Stalingrad. It was surrounded in November 1942 by the Soviet counteroffensive and had to make a dramatic escape from encirclement when it lost 5 airplanes. Another 3 were left behind and were captured by the Red Army. The remnants were joined with the rests of the 5th Bomber Group and formed a mixed group which remained on the front until February 1943, when it returned home.
The 7th Fighter Group returned to the front in March, but this time it was going to be equipped with the new Bf-109G. The remaining Emils were assigned to training duties or to the 52nd Fighter Squadron. This unit was flew fighter cover missions over the Black Sea, but in 1944 joined the rest of the groups in several interceptions against the US 15th Air Force.
After August 1944, the "old" Bf-109Es didn't see any more action. They were phased out and in 1946 the remaining were all retired.