It’s kind of surprising to think of the Swiss – always neutral – as having any kind of military capability at all, but their neutrality has always been backed up by a potent defensive posture.
In the buildup to World War II, the Swiss stocked up on Messerschmitt Bf 109s, at the time the best fighter aircraft in Europe, if not the world. An early delivery of 10 Bf 109Ds was supplemented by a steady flow of 109E-3s up until Germany’s invasion of France in 1940. During the war, the Swiss Air Force came into four more 109s (two Fs and two Gs) through internment. Then, in April 1944, a German Bf 110G carrying top secret radar equipment was forced to make an emergency landing in Switzerland. In exchange for its destruction, the Nazis gave the Swiss twelve Bf 109G-6 fighters.
Nor did the Swiss keep these around for show. They defended Swiss airspace vigorously, and even got into shooting fights with German aircraft of several occasions. Toward the end of the war, as Allied air presence grew, the Swiss painted red and white “neutrality stripes” on their 109s to keep them from being confused with German fighters.
I’m planning to build one of these late-war Swiss 109Gs in the full neutrality stripe getup.
The Hasegawa Kit
There is a lot of conflicting information about the 109Gs in Swiss service. While they were all G-6 variants, there is some confusion as to which ones received which modifications. The Victory Productions decals I’m planning to use provide markings for J-705, which is commonly shown with the “tall tail” of later G variants, but with the standard framed canopy (Victory depicts it with an Erla, but an image of it crashed in 1945 clearly shows the frame-style canopy). J-707 through J-712 are pretty definitively shown with the tall tail and Erla-Haube.
Given the tall tail and Erla canopy, the Hasegawa 109G-6 kit actually won’t work too well for the Swiss markings. Instead I’ll be using the Hasegawa 109G-14, which sports both the taller tail and the Erla canopy.
As for the markings themselves, I’m planning to paint the Swiss crosses and neutrality stripes, and depict either J-705 or J-711 depending on my fancy.
Still getting my build plan sorted, so stay tuned!