The first Bf-109G “Gustav” entered service in March 1942. New features were a pressurized cockpit with three larger guns mounted on the nose and none on the wings but could be field mounted. The Bf-109G could overheat causing oil leaks; starting a fire forcing the pilot to bail out. The Gustav was produced in many variants including long-range fighters, recon fighters and bomber destroyers. The Bf-109G-6 lacked a pressurized cockpit but was the most numerous Bf- 109 produced and the first to carry 13mm machine guns; equivalent to the American 50 caliber Browning.
On January 30, 1944 Erich Hartmann claimed six enemy aircraft; his 178th – 183rd victories and on February 1, 1944 Erich Hartmann claimed another five victories; his 186th – 190th. On February 26, 1944 10 Airacobras fell victim to Hartmann. On October 1, 1944 he was appointed Staffelkapitän of 4./JG 52 (or 7./JG 52) based in Hungary and by year’s end Hartmann had a total of 331 victories. At the end of WWII Hartmann’s total victory tally stood at 352 after having flown 825 missions.