Two Famous Bf 109 Rudders Join Together Again After 60 Years

(This article was originally posted to the site on 3 January 2003)

The readers of the Graf & Grislawski book are familiar with the rudders of Graf's & Grislawski's Bf 109 fighters, where they had all their victory markings painted. There are a couple of quite interesting stories involving these rudders.

Alfred Grislawski's beautifully decorated rudder from his JG 50 Bf 109 has been taken well care of during all those years.

Now we--Traditionsgemeinschaft JG 52, where Manfred Wägenbaur has played a tremendously important role--have located Hermann Graf's rudder too!

Yes, here they are:

To the left, Hermann Graf's rudder from his famous 9./JG 52 Bf 109 G-2 "Karaya 1", Yellow 1, in Stalingrad, displaying 202 victory markings, in the hands of two very proud members of Traditionsgemeinschaft JG 52. To the right, Alfred Grislawski's rudder from his JG 50 Bf 109 G-6 at Erbenheim, displaying 114 victories, next to the author of these lines.

I give my dear friend Manfred Wägenbaur the honor to break the great news: "Im Frühjahr werden beide Leitwerke von Graf & Grislawski, als Leihgabe zum Technikmuseum Sinsheim und Speyer gehen!" This spring, both rudders will be taken over by the Technikmuseum Speyer, where they will be displayed next to the original JG 52 Bf 109 G-4, the "Nesthäkchen" (see photo below), together with a copy of the Graf & Grislawski book and photos!

We wish to express our gratitude to everyone who has made this possible: Mr Jürgen Grislawski, Mrs Ilse Grislawski, Manfred Wägenbaur, Claes Sundin, Friedrich Presoli, Manfred Zaum, Hr. Tapken of the Wehrgeschichtsmuseum Rastatt, and the whole Traditionsgemeinschaft JG 52.

Next progress in this case will be reported on this site.

Important Update: The Graf & Grislawski Rudders are now on display at Technikmuseum Speyer! Click here for photos and information of this great event!

More by Christer Bergström -

the detailed history of the air war on the Eastern Front 1941 - 1945:

Black Cross/Red Star: Air War Over the Eastern Front

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© Christer Bergström 2004