All artwork ©Les Butler

The Gothic 'S' was adopted in remembrance of Leo Schlageter. Every Staffeln of the original three Gruppen had it's own 'official' emblem except the 3rd. 1st was a green grasshopper, 2nd a devils head which resembled that of 9./JG 54, 4th a tigers head, 5th the 'Habakuk', a cartoon diving bird, 6th a Steinbock, 7th a red heart, 8th 'Adamson', was another cartoon character and the 9th's 'Hellhound'. Note - 7 Staffels red heart was later to become associated with JG 77 when, in 1942, Major Joachim Müncheberg became Kommodore of that unit. The following information is ©Motorbooks, and has been taken from JG 26: Photographic History of the Luftwaffe's Top Guns , with permission.

Geschwader Emblems

Wide variation existed in design of the Geschwader shield, and no effort was made to standardize the stencils above Staffel level. The maximum size, 25x30cm, and location in front of the cockpit, were fixed by the RLM (Reichsluftministerium) directive in 1937, which applied to all JG 26-equipped Jagdgeschwader - deviation from this location did not appear until mid 1940. By the end of 1939 the aircraft of all but one of JG 26’s ten Staffeln are known to have displayed unit emblems. No Gruppe emblems were developed or displayed, probably because the Geschwader was one of the first to be organized, and its Gruppen never led independent existences.



Early variation



III Gruppe Stab

I Gruppe

The 1st Staffel’s Grasshopper was Chosen by Oblt. Franz Hoernig, and replaced by his successor, Oblt. Eberhard Henrici, with a more warlike spread-winged eagle. The 2nd Staffel’s Red devil was designed by Hptm. Walter Kienitz, and was retained by his replacement, Oblt. Fritz Losigkeit. The emblem changed in sophistication to the more familiar design, and moved to the nose of the aircraft during the course of 1940. Although at least two aircraft of Oblt. Johannes Seifert’s 3rd Staffel displayed a bomb-carrying eagle, surviving aircrew state that this was not a Staffel emblem.


1st Staffel (early)

1st Staffel (later)

2nd Staffel (early)





2nd Staffel (later)


    3rd Staffel


II Gruppe

All Staffeln aircraft carried emblems from late 1939 until they replaced their Bf 109E’s with FW 190’s in the Autumn of 1941. The 4th Staffel lost its emblem in September 1939 when most of its personnel left to form the 8th Staffel in the new Third gruppe. The 4th Staffel’s new Kapitaen, Hptm. Karl Ebbighausen, then chose a caricature of a tiger’s head to represent the unit. The 5th Staffel’s was one of the first chosen in the Geschwader. Oblt. Herwig Knueppel’s cartoon raven, Hans Huckebein, was popular in the Condor Legion. The 6th Staffel’s emblem was perhaps the most inspired choice of all. Oblt. Alfred Pomaska’s design was a fictitious goat - a cross between a chamois (fast and cunning) and an ibex (strong and combative) - a suitable symbol for a fighter pilot. It stood triumphantly upon a globe, straddling Europe.

4th Staffel

5th Staffel

6th Staffel

III Gruppe

The Third Gruppe - adopted symbols soon after they were formed in September 1939. The 7th Staffel became known as the "Red Heart" Staffel. Its emblem moved from beneath the cockpit to the nose in mid 1940 and aquired a scalloped white surround. The emblem disappeared when the cowlings were painted yellow in the Autumn of 1940, but emerged the following Spring, without the surrounding white border. The 8th Staffel’s Oblt. Edu Neumann, inspired by the popularity of Mickey Mouse among the Condor Legion veterans, adopted another cartoon character as a symbol for his then 4th Staffel and took it with him to the 8th. He made it known that his choice, Adamson, was a good German rather than an American. The 9th Staffel adopted a red griffin, in German a "Hollenhund" or hellhound., which evolved from late 1939 to mid 1940 to the more familiar design.

7th Staffel

8th Staffel

8th Staffel Variation (Rare)

9th Staffel (early)

9th Staffel (later)

The emblem of the night fighting Staffel, 10(Nacht)/JG 26, was an arching black cat. I have not been able to find an example of the design but will continue to search.

The aircraft of the fighter-bomber Staffel, 10(Jabo)/JG 26, often carried a stenciled white bomb design just aft of the Balkenkreuz - see example on the Geschwader aircraft profile page .

Personal Emblems

Adolf Galland

 Alfred Pomaska

 * Heinz Gehrke

* often with the name "Pikus" depicted below emblem

Obstltn. Witt

Josef Priller

* Maj Gotthardt Handrick

* The Zylinderhut insignia was adopted by a number of pilots who had seen service with the Condor Legion in Spain. Major Handrick had been Kommandeur of Jagdgruppe 88. Another JG 26 pilot to display this emblem was Hptm Herwig Knüppel.