On 30 September 1942, Hauptmann Hans-Joachim Marseille from Berlin was leading his Staffel on a Stuka escort mission, during which no contact with enemy fighters was made.
While returning to base, his new Bf 109G-2/Trop's cockpit began to fill with smoke; blinded and half asphyxiated, he was guided back to German lines by his wingmen.
Upon reaching friendly lines, "Yellow 14" had lost power and was drifting lower and lower.
Marseille deemed his aircraft no longer flyable and decided to bail out, his last words being "I've got to get out now, I can't stand it any longer".
His Staffel, which had been flying a tight formation around him, peeled away to give him the necessary room to maneuver.
Marseille rolled his aircraft onto its back, the standard procedure for bail out, but due to the smoke and slight disorientation, he failed to notice that the aircraft had entered a steep dive and was now travelling at a considerably faster speed.
He worked his way out of the cockpit and into the rushing air only to be carried backwards by the slipstream, the left side of his chest striking the vertical stabiliser of his fighter, either killing him instantly or rendering him unconscious to the point that he could not deploy his parachute.
He fell almost vertically, hitting the desert floor seven km south of Sidi Abdel Rahman.
He had not even attempted to open his parachute, and was dead by the time he hit the ground.
His death, along with two other aces, severely affected morale in JG 27, and the unit was shortly withdrawn from North Africa.
Many authorities regard Marseille as the best marksman and the best fighter pilot of WW2.
The rudder of his last airplane, marked with his 158 victories, is in the Luftwaffe museum in Berlin.