Tail fin from a Messerschmitt Me 110 night-fighter flown by the Second World War German air ace Geschwaderkommodore Major Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer. The fin is painted with 121 'kill' markings; according to latest research Schnaufer's official tally of enemy aircraft 'downed' stood at 121 at the end of the war, this represented a total compiled between 2 June 1942 and 7 March 1945. Schnaufer's greatest one-off success came on 21 February 1945, when he destroyed nine RAF heavy bombers in the course of one day, two in the early hours of the morning and a further seven in the evening. Post-war research suggests that in fact his total that day was 10, one claim not having been acknowledged. He was captured by the British in May 1945 at Eggebek in Schleswig-Holstein, but was released later that year. He died following a traffic accident in 1950. For additional biographical information see 'Schnaufer: ace of diamonds: the biography of Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer, Germany's top-scoring night fighter of World War II', by Peter Hinchliffe (ISBN 0-7524-1690-1) a copy of which is held by the IWM's Department of Printed Books. See also photograph reference MH 7232 held by the IWM's Photograph Archive.
fin metal fin (H 60in x W 8in x L 34in) bearing 121 'kill' markings.
(121 kill markings)