The Heinkel He 51 was at best an average plane but remains the symbol of the rebirth of the Luftwaffe. It was used in Spain during the civil war by the Condor Legion, before giving way to its far more successful successor, the Messerschmitt Bf 109.
1. He 51 of JG 132 “Richtofen”, I. Gruppe, 2 Staffel. The Jagdgeschwader was broken down into two gruppes. The I. gruppe would have no extra markings, while the II. gruppe carried a bar below the cockpit. Each gruppe was then divided into three staffels. These are distinguished as 1 & 4 staffel – no marking, 2 & 5 staffel – stripe on nose and rear fuselage; 3 & 6 staffels – disc on nose and rear fuselage. Hence an aircraft carrying no bar, but a stripe on the fuselage is from the 2 staffel, of the I. Gruppe.
2. II/JG134 commander’s aircraft. Dortmund Aerodrome.
3. He 51 of JG 232, II. Gruppe, 6. Staffel. Bernburg Aerodrome.
4. He 51 of the Condor Legion, JG 88 in Spain.
5. He 51 of JG 131, Jesau Aerodrome. The stab flight of a Jagdgeschwader bore chevrons and stripes to depict the various offices held, the aircraft shown here belonging to the CO of JG131.
6. On 24th February 1937 this aircraft, flown by Hptm. Otto Hans Winter, was damaged during combat with Spanish Republicans fighters and was forced to land behind the frontlines. It was captured by the Republicans, repaired, flown and then given to Soviets, who tested it in Spring 1937 in the NII VVS under the designation I-25.
7. He 51 of JG 88 “Condor Legion” in Avila (Spain), November 1936, Hpt. Herwig Knuppel, Staffelkapitan of 4.J/88. This He 51 is one of the batch received in October 1936 and wears the first badge of 4.J/88, the Zylinder Hut (Top Hat), that would later be adopted by 2.J/88. It was painted in RLM63 grey-green. It was shot down in December 1936 while attacking Tupolev SB bombers.
8. He.51A-1 of Stab I./JG132 ‘Richthofen’, Berlin-Doberitz, March 1936.