Messerschmitt Bf 109

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 is one of the most famous German fighter of World War II and one of the fighter aircraft built in the largest number of specimens in history. He served between 1937 and 1947 due to continuous changes and improvements.

It was the plane of the major axis of world aviation, by Erich Hartmann (the fighter pilot’s most successful ever, with 352 planes shot down) to Hans-Joachim Marseille, credited with the highest number of aerial victories (158) on the western front of which 151 are in Africa. It was also driven by the greatest aces of other air forces, such as the Finnish, Hungarian, Romanian and Croatian.

It was also the only type of airplane operated by JG 52, the department most successful aircraft in aviation history.

In books and magazines is also sometimes called Me 109, the contraction of the name of the manufacturer. The abbreviation Bf indicates the name of the factory production (Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG), which in July 1938 changed its name to Messerschmitt AG. The aircraft designed from then on took the name Me, while those previously designed (including variants) continued to be called Bf.

History of the project

The Bf 109 was designed in 1934 and built a year later by Willy Messerschmitt.

In the competition for the new fighter of the Luftwaffe, the Bf 109 was found to compete with other airplanes of ‘Arado, the Focke-Wulf and’ Heinkel. Only the ‘He 112 proved to be a serious competitor in tests conducted in October 1935 had resulted in an order for the production of 10 prototypes of’ He 112 and the Bf 109.

Curiously, the first prototype of the Bf 109 and the final version (the one produced in Spain) were powered by Rolls Royce engines.

The technical study of the Messerschmitt created the smallest possible cell in which to install the most powerful engine available. 

The prototype flew in Augsburg in September 1935 with a Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine from 695 hp (518 kW). At the time of its first flight, the German fighter was unquestionably the world’s most advanced, taking into account that the two British fighters Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire accomplished the first flight on 6 November 1935 and 5 March 1936. The second prototype that followed four months later the hunt was initially equipped with a Junkers Jumo 210 A, 610 hp (455 kW), for which the aircraft was drawn.

A measure of the possibilities of development of the original project can be found in the fact that the Bf 109K-4, the latest version of the Bf 109, while having substantially the same cell of the prototype, properly reinforced, was fitted with a 2,000-horsepower engine. 

The prototypes had various combinations of weapons and the first related to the first version, the Bf 109A, while the following were prototypes for the Bf 109B, almost similar to the first group of aircraft that were delivered to the Luftwaffe in the spring of 1937. Later there appeared other variants: the Bf 109B-1 with Jumo 210D engine from 635 hp (474 kW) and the Bf 109B-2 with a Jumo 210E and propeller metal Hamilton, produced under license, variable pitch instead of one in wood.

In the summer of 1937, five Bf 109 were sent to an international gathering in Zurich. Participating in various events, the Messerschmitt gained great acclaim, winning the Circuit of the Alps, a team competition, as well as the speed events and competitions beaten and pull-up. None of the Bf 109 was however series: two were equipped with a Daimler-Benz engine from 950 hp (708 kW) then under development, which allowed significantly improved performance. One of the Bf 109 remained destroyed during a forced landing due to engine problems, during the meeting, fortunately without serious consequences for the pilot Ernst Udet. In November of the same year, one of the prototypes lifted up the speed record for aircraft operating from the ground, to 610.55 km / h (379.38 mph) using a DB 601 engine overpowered by 1,650 hp (1230 kW).

Technique

The machine itself was extremely simple: monoplane, single-engine, single-seat, retractable landing on narrow-track tail with conventional and up to an E of supporting struts, while the rear bogie was made ​​retractable F and K models only.

It was designed to be easy to build and repair, very robust, free from defects such as steering instability or autorotation, and E in the model, needed only 4,500 hours of work to be built (except accessories, such as the engine, built out of the company), while in the model G will rise to 6,800.

The DB 601 engine had a fuel injection system that maintained a constant fuel flow even under conditions of acceleration G, allowing pilots to stop the fight when they wanted to jump and dive faster than their opponents on planes with carburettor engines. The power unit of Daimler was considered by many to be the best in the world in its class. It was exceptionally compact and occupied little space in the nose. Ben appreciated the possibility to mount a cannon in the propeller hub, between the rows of cylinders of the engine, even if originally lacked weapons reliable enough to use it, because of the problems of overheating generated by the engine on the weapon itself.

The roof was totally connected with the fuselage and did not allow visibility of all acceptable, but the Bf 109 was never a rearview mirror as it was on the hunt Anglo-American tradition, sometimes even in those with teardrop canopy.

L wing was monolongherone and trapezoidal plan and housed the wheels when retracted. The tank is located behind the driver, with the capacity of 400 liters.

In their effort to reduce weight, engineers Messerschmitt placed attachment points on the fuselage of the truck. This actually spared weight and also facilitated the production and maintenance – for example, it was possible to change an entire wing to a 109 while he rested on the trolley – but made taxiing maneuvers in extremely challenging. Ben Bf 1,500 were lost in takeoff and landing accidents in the period 1939-1941. 

Armament

The basic armament included a couple of machine guns in the nose, sometimes as many in the wings. Later were added cannons, rockets, bombs in the narrow roadway configurations of the aircraft due to what was perhaps its biggest limitation: the arrangement of the carriage with external retraction, which limited in many respects the arrangement of weapons and fuel in and in a cell so small.

The two machine guns mounted on the fuselage Rheinmetall Borsig MG 17 by 7.9 mm each were loaded with 500 rounds, in the “D” with 1000 strokes in the “E”.

Operational use

Germany

Spanish Civil War

The Messerschmitt 109B-1 began to be delivered to the unit d ‘elite of the Luftwaffe, the Jg 132 Richthofen, at the beginning of 1937 and, like other different models of German planes, was sent to Spain, where the Civil War was in progress , the Condor Legion to replace the Heinkel He 51 biplanes. The Messerschmitt proved very effective, but the German Ministry of Propaganda did not want to publicize the involvement of the Luftwaffe in the conflict.

Some aircraft became the property after the end of the Spanish Civil War. Development after the Second World War made ​​by the Spaniards brought to ‘Hispano Aviación HA-1112 Buchon who remained in line until the end of the fifties if not beyond, the technicians at the Hispano Aviation joined the British Rolls Royce Merlin, the engine of the great opponent of the Bf 109, the Spitfire, the basic cell of the German machine resulting in a far superior fighter aircraft and ground attack, using it in various military campaigns in North Africa with some success.

World War II

At the outbreak of the Second World War, September 1, 1939, with the attack on Poland, the Luftwaffe had online more than a thousand Bf 109 able to actively serve.

In Poland were used versions C, D and E, especially 109. The latter version fitted with the Daimler-Benz DB 601A to 1,050 horses and was armed with two machine guns MG 17 7.9 mm cannons in the nose and two 20mm MG FF in the wings. With their advantage of 160 km / h on the Polish PZL, the Messerschmitt could enter or leave the fighting to their liking. After a few days after the outbreak of hostilities between the fighting game were virtually ceased and the 109 dedicated themselves to the ground attack, strafing the columns Polish retreat.

 

Battle of Britain

At the time of the Battle of Britain was now the most popular version E, powered by a Daimler-Benz DB 601. He had already defeated everything that had been opposed, especially during the French campaign.

Emil L, as this version was nicknamed, had to confront the British Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I and with the less fast Hawker Hurricane. The Bf 109E excelled on the Spitfire in rate of climb and acceleration, being able to rely on an engine with direct injection,

An important advantage enjoyed by the 109 lay in the fact that its engine Daimler-Benz, just being injected, allowed the pilot to immediately enter into a nosedive, saving precious seconds. On the contrary, the Rolls-Royce Merlin of the Spitfire and Hurricane, in other respects very effective, they went to carburetor was not possible to launch the plane diving directly from level flight, as the thrust of Gram-negative bacteria would have interrupted the flow fuel, instantly turning off the engine. 

The Bf 109E had a range of 660 km in ideal conditions. In combat mission, with the spent fuel to sway in coverage bombers, the 109E could go a little further on the English coast. In short, had thirty minutes for penetration, twenty minutes for fighting and another thirty minutes for the return flight, which took place on the English Channel, while the fuel warning lamp blinking. 

The sub-model E-7, 300-liter tanks with additional, came too late to be used in that campaign. Despite the fundamental strategic disadvantage to fight, so to speak, ‘out of home’ and the need to limit the time spent in the combat area in about 30 minutes (because of the well-known deficiencies of autonomy), the Bf 109 came out well from the Battle of Britain and, thanks to the tactics more flexible and more experienced pilots than the Germans too rigid patterns of English, in terms of numbers emerged victorious, though by a narrow margin, in direct comparisons against both the Hurricane (338 British aircraft shot down Bf 109 as against 142 Bf 109 shot down by Hurricane) is against even more formidable Spitfire (242 against 168), with an overall ratio of 580 in its favor against British fighters shot down 310 Bf109 lost (ratio of 1.8: 1).

After the Battle of Britain is passed to the F version (Friedrich), powered by a Daimler-Benz DB 601N from 1300 horses, from 2 to 7.9 mm machine guns in the fuselage and a 15 mm cannon which fired through the hub the propeller. The Bf 109F in its Tropicalised alongside Emil on the North African front: pilots like Marseille demonstrated its substantial superiority over enemy aircraft and allies.

Italy

The Bf 109 was also used in the ranks of the Royal Air Force and in the ‘National Republican Air Force.

After the first interesting experiences such as Zurich avioraduno of 37 and the war in Spain, the Bf 109 was evaluated very seriously by the Royal in 1940 when, during a series of experimental tests at the center of Guidonia, Emil proved to be able to reach a the then respectable maximum speed of 565 km / h. The enthusiasm that led to the recommendation of a purchase or a production license in Italy, however, led to a stalemate.

In the months following the apparent inferiority of modern material that the Director had against allies and enemies continued in part because of a domestic incapable of producing truly modern machines, even when the license of the German DB 601 engine was purchased and Macchi it benefited, while keeping weapons and building methods obsolete.

As the hunt “Series 5” were slow too, was necessarily authorized the request for Bf 109 who came to the wards in 1943, but that hundreds of specimens received were mostly destroyed on the ground during the summer of that year by the violent bombing planes, and the actual performance of this operation was rather modest.

After the ‘September 8, the Italian Social Republic found itself with a small air force, the’ Republican National Aeronautics, which required hunting. After the destruction of much of the equipment for the production of such machines because of the bombing, the Italian pilots had to pass to the Bf 109 G-6/10/12/14 and some K-4. The first to receive them, it is the 4th squadron of the 2nd Fighter Group, the “three Osei Gigi.” The steps are carried out very quickly on the airport of Aviano, in mid-June 1944. In a month and a half, until the suspension of flights in August, Me109G actively participate to the victories of the 2nd group (also equipped with Fiat G.55. Ed): 15 bombers and 17 fighters Anglo-American shot down. After the crisis of August, the 2nd group to fight back, and the entire department goes on Me.109G. In mid-December, the 2nd Group receives a first example of Me.109K. Some more of these aircraft en masse, because they were the latest versions, but instead many considered the best Italian cars, even if they are the choices were exhausted. Between February and March the 2nd Group knocked down 21 bombers and 9 fighters.

But April 2, 1945, the department suffered a disastrous defeat. That day, twenty-four Bf 109, Group II took off from bases in Aviano and Osoppo, and despite three aircraft not qualify, due to technical problems, the other went on, making altitude, towards Lake Garda and then on Ghedi, Brescia. Here intercepted a large formation of B-25s, escorted by P-47D of the 347 Fighter Squadron. In the ensuing battle, the pilots of the NRA suffered a heavy defeat: not less than 14 Bf 109 pilots were shot down and six Italians killed. The Americans, for their part, did not suffer even a loss.

Another department to receive Me.109G and K is the 3rd group hunting. On March 7, 1945, the Group carries out his first operational knocking down a bomber and a fighter. Follow, until the suspension of flights in the second half of April, twelve other missions of interception. “Another department to use the German fighters of the 1st group. “The first major battle faced by the group of Lombardy Adriano Visconti takes place on March 3, 1945. On the 14th of the same month is another savage fighting on the areas of Lake Garda, between Me.109 of the 1st group and Boeing B.17 escorted by Republic P-47. At the end of it are shot down American planes 7 and a Messerschmitt”. According to other authors, however, the battle of March 14, ended in a defeat for the 1st Group. Adriano Visconti, highly decorated ace and commander of the 1st group, with 16 other Messerschmitt, intercepted, on Lake Garda, a formation of B-25 Mitchell Bomber Group of 321 º, which fell after the bombing of the railway bridge Sterzing. The eight P-47 in stock (of 350º Fighter Group) attacked with great determination, in turn, the most numerous Italian Messerschmitt. Visconti attacked the front of the Thunderbolt Flight Officer Walter Miller who had just shot down the Bf 109G-10/AS “3-7” of one of his men, Sergeant Dominic BALDUZZO, who was killed although he had launched with a parachute. But the commander of the 1st group was shot and wounded in the face by shrapnel and was forced to bail out. The balance of the day was dramatically negative, three Italian pilots dead, one wounded, three aircraft destroyed and six damaged, compared with a single P-47 damaged. On March 15, the NRA attributed to Visconti victory and the secretariat forwarded the practice to request the “Award of Il Duce”, the 5,000 which belonged to a single-engine chiller. In fact, the P-47 Eddy returned to base in Pisa.

Also for the 1st Group, April 19, 1945 is the day of the last output operation. On that occasion off from Lonate Pozzolo four Me.109K driven by Oddone Colonna lieutenants and sergeants and Aurelio Morandi Pedretti and Franciosi: they lead to the interception of three Convair B.24 Liberator. Two of B.24 flee to Switzerland, the third reduces the plane of Morandi and is then centered by shots fired by Lieutenant Column “. L crew of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber, then attended the funeral of the downed pilot, the last fallen NRA. “The pilots with increased slaughter of the NRA were Ugo Drago and Mario Bellagambi – both with the Bf 109Gs – with 11 each. Dragon had 5 previous wins, Bellagambi both.”  The three groups of the NRA have received a total of about 170 Bf 109.

Overall Italy received over 300 Bf 109.

Switzerland

Switzerland was the first country to purchase the Messerschmitt. Between December 1938 and January 1939, the country received 10 Swiss Bf 109C. A lot of additional 80 Bf 109 was delivered to Switzerland between April 1939 and April 1940.

Israel

After the war, Israel, paradoxically, he used a model derived from the Bf 109, the Czechoslovak Avia S-199 during the 1948 war.

Instead of the Daimler Benz engine was installed a Junkers Jumo, but gave poor results.

Versions

In 1942 entered service Bf 109G (dubbed Gustav), perhaps the most famous version, equipped with a cannon MG 151/20 20 mm inserted into the hub motor and two MG 17 machine guns 7.92 mm and with the possibility of add two 20 mm cannons in gondolas sub wing and carry up to 500 kg of bombs or rockets. The engine was a Daimler-Benz DB 605 to 1,475 horses.

The Bf 109 was also famous on the eastern front, causing heavy casualties Soviet aviation from the first day of the invasion of that country. Erich Hartmann, the biggest ace in aviation history with 352 knockdowns, he flew a Bf 109G unit JG/52 in Russia.

Now that the United States had entered the war directly and that the Soviets continued to resist, the Luftwaffe was gradually losing ground in every theater and the offensive of the Anglo-American heavy bombers imposed on the German hunters to fight for the defense of the national territory: the Bf 109 had evolved from hunting interceptor. The basic armament limitations imposed on the use of Gustav pod with additional cannons, rockets and even time bombs, thanks to the modification kit pitched (“Rustaze”) available for almost every type of hearing German, but when the bombers began to be accompanied by long-range fighters, the German cars, overloaded with guns, and manned by poorly trained men, even for the chronic shortage of fuel, were disadvantaged in relation to aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang.

The last major release was the Bf 109K Kurfürst, became operational at the end of 1944. Some minor releases used a variant of the Daimler Benz DB 605, which equipped with the 50 MW could reach a combat power of 2000 horses. He was armed with two guns MG 151/15 15 mm and a 30 mm MK 108 and its top speed was 727 km / h. The Bf 109 K, however, had in its latest versions poor engine reliability and arrived too late to make an important contribution to the war. Several 109 were also used as night fighters, equipped with small antennas and radar enhanced in arming offensive.

The rigid convention imposed by Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) provided that were assigned to each model a code given by the suffix given by the manufacturer (as already mentioned the Bf was given by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG, company name he held until the acquisition of Messerschmitt) to whom was entrusted a package of consecutive numbers. The proper name, as opposed to the official designation of the American USAAF, was not expected and conformed to this rule is almost completely even the Bf 109, but at least every version (except perhaps the T) was more or less officially christened with a nickname that was used to quickly identify the version to which the models belonged.

Countless subversions, the modification kit and other improvements, often used without official names, which give an idea of ​​how the technicians and field staff tended to squeeze the best out of the available machines in every situation.

•Bf 109A Anton: it was the model of pre.

•Bf 109B Bruno: the first version of the series with Jumo 210 engine and two or three MG 17 machine guns.

•Bf 109C Caesar: similar to above, but with an extra pair of MG 17 machine guns in the wings and the fuel injection system of the engine.

•Bf 109D Dora: not much different, introducing small improvements, including a new rear bogie and a new collimator.

Throughout the Bf 109 with Jumo engines were at least 600.•Bf 109E Emil: the first model really mature, employed between 1939 and 1941 in thousand (4,000) copies in different Subversion and numerous adaptations as a fighter-bomber (Jabo E-4B), scout (E-5), tropical conditions with filters air (E-4/Trop, E-7/Trop) etc..

•Bf 109F Friedrich: had many aerodynamic refinements and an engine DB 601N, then replaced with another DB 601 even more powerful, a total of 1 350 PS. The nose and the wings were rounded and well-connected, the spare was retractable tail. It was decided to lay down their arms wing in favor of a combination of two MG 17 machine guns from 7.92 mm (0.31 inch) and a Mauser cannon firing through the propeller hub, having been solved previous problems of vibrations. The first variant to fit the Mauser was the Bf 109F-2, which had a 15 mm cannon. The Bf 109F-3 was equipped in the same way, having the engine DB 601E, but the Bf 109F-4 mounted a Mauser by 20 mm, while the Bf 109F-5 and Bf-109F-6 were two versions reconnaissance, the first army and the second is not.

•Bf 109G Gustav: general strengthening of the previous return of non-retractable wheel, engine DB 605 to 1,475 horses. It is the most produced version ever, with peaks of over 1,000 machines per month in 1944. Infinite combinations of modification kits were applied to obtain the best possible results with the available machines.

The engine was the Daimler-Benz DB 605 AM 12 to 1,475 hp (1100 kW). Reached a top speed of 620 km / h (385 mph) at 6,900 meters (22,640 feet) and 610 km / h at 4,000 meters (13,125 feet). He could go up to 11,500 meters (37,895 feet) and had a range of 600 km (373 miles), which came to 1,000 km on drop tanks of 300 liters (66 imperial gallons). The empty weight was 2,700 kg (5,952 pounds). The maximum takeoff weight went up to 3,200 kg (7,055 pounds). He was armed with a cannon MK 108 30 mm or a 20 mm MG 151, firing through the propeller hub, and two 13 mm MG 131 machine guns mounted on the engine cowling and firing through the propeller disc. Some models were fitted to two 20 or 30 mm cannons under the wings. It was the model used by most countries. It was adopted in fact by the air forces of Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland. Flight tests were conducted with Bf 109G-6 in the role of fighter-night, but the weather conditions in the winter made these extremely risky operations. The Bf 109G-12 was a two-seat trainer based on previous models “G”.

•Bf 109H: it was a high-altitude fighter, who had a pressurized cabin and a DB 605A engine with GM-1 device superpower that allowed up to 14,480 meters (47,505). The wings and tail surfaces were increased in size. Several examples were built for flight test, but the model did not go into production.

•Bf 109 J: This designation was assigned to a version of the Bf 109G-2 built under license by Hispano, Spain. But this aircraft did not fly before 1947.

•Bf 109K Kurfürst: it was the final version produced in Germany. Was the basic model G, from which differed for details.

It only 700 were produced in a single basic model, the K-4, extremely fast. It was the most powerful but also heavier. Return to the retractable tail wheel, common factor, it seems to only F. This new version was equipped with a special Daimler-Benz lender DB.605 2,000 hp (1,492 kW) for takeoff and 1,800 hp. to 5,000 meters where the maximum speed is 728 km / h, tangent to 12,300 meters, armament consists of a 30 mm gun in the propeller hub and two 13 mm machine guns on the cowling-engine. It must be said, however, that the K was just some kind of standardization of a large number of changes that had appeared on the previous Gustav in the various sub-versions, so it could be that some of G has had the retractable wheel.

•Bf 109T Toni version of Emil intended to operate from the planned aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin, then under construction, with wings stretched for improved controllability at low speed. At the end of the Zeppelin was never completed and 60 Bf109T built Fiesler was removed from the equipment to take off and land from an aircraft carrier. The increased wing area made ​​however this variant is particularly suitable to operate from short runways and Bf 109T were then finally used in Norway and later from Heligoland.

•Bf 109Z Zwilling: experimental version consisting of two 109 states, with double tail wing from just inside CONNECTING the two fuselage and center wing union (in a manner similar to the North American P-82 Twin Mustang). It was proposed two versions, a spoiler and a fighter with a load of 1 000 kg. It was built in a single copy which was never used because immediately destroyed by bombing.

•Bf 109X: experimental version conceived in March 1945, which attempted to combine the technologies of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 as the classic Bf109. Of this plane are only projects.

•Avia S.199: Czechoslovak post-war version of the Bf 109 was built by Avia. These were modified Bf 109G-14, with the engine Jumo 211 and 1,300 horses of the He 111. Nicknamed “Mule”, was flying qualities modest and it was difficult to control. About 550 copies were produced. Were replaced in front-line service by Soviet jet in 1952, but still flew as trainers for another five years.

•Hispano Aviation HA 1112 Buchon: 109G-2 were constructed in Seville under license. Hispano-Suiza engines were fitted initially, and later, ironically, the Rolls-Royce Merlin, until 1956. A number was still in active service in the late sixties. After that time were very much in demand to appear in historical films. He was armed with two 20mm Hispano cannons and rockets and was built in more than 170 specimens.

Production

In 1937, the production of the Bf 109B continued, but gradually he passed to the Bf 109C-1 with the engine Jumo 210Ga from 700 hp (522 kW) and two machine guns mounted on the wings. The number of aircraft products increased continuously and Messerschmitt fighter began to be constructed by Arado, Erla, Focke-Wulf and Fiesler. By September 1938, nearly 600 aircraft were built, although the delivery of Bf 109D engines with Daimler-Benz was slowed

by a delay in the supply of engines, which forced him to maintain production in the previous models with Jumo engine. The Bf 109D turned out, in the end, be a model of transition, because the DB 600 engine proved unreliable, so the production of the Daimler-Benz DB 601 passed to the model that provided 1,050 hp (783 kW) at take-off. Thus was born the Bf 109E, which went into production on a large scale in 1939, and that would have been the peak hunting in the forthcoming Battle of Britain. In that year Arado and Focke-Wulf were allocated to other programs, and so the bulk of production of the Bf 109E fell on Erla and Fiesler who built almost 1,400. Meanwhile, the assembly of the Messerschmitt had been transferred from Augusta to Regensburg, and this shift had as a consequence that less than 150 units were completed by the parent company in 1939. When World War II began, the number of Bf 109 was produced by nearly 140 per month. But later declined by almost 10 percent in the following months. The average monthly production in 1940 increased slightly until you get to 156. Since Germany believed that the war was virtually ended with the defeat of France, it did little to increase the number of aircraft built. 

In 1942 the production was about 2,700 units. The manufacture of the Messerschmitt was undertaken in Hungary in 1943, with the construction of 600 machines. In the face of heavy Allied bombing, the production of Bf 109 in 1944 reached 14,000, and although there are no precise data on the quantity produced, it is estimated that about 35,000 were built, a figure second only to that of the series Ir-2/Ir- 10 of Ilyushin, which seems to have been of 42,330 aircraft.

Users

BGR 1908-1946

•Vazhdushnite na Negovo Velichestvo Voiski

CSK

•Československé Letectvo

HRV 1941-1945

•Zrakoplovstvo NDH

be over.

•Suomen ilmavoimat

BETWEEN

•Armée Air (war booty)

DEU 1933-1945

•Luftwaffe

GBR

•Royal Air Force (war booty)

ITA 1861-1946

•Royal Air Force

YUG 1918-1943

•Jugoslovensko kraljevsko Ratno vazduhoplovstvo the Pomorska avijacija

RSI

•Republican National Aeronautics

ROU 1881-1947

•Forţele Aeriene Regale ale României

SUN 1923-1955

•Sovetskie Voenno vozdušnye-sily

HUN 1940-1945

•Magyar Honved Királyi Légierő

ESP 1945-1977

•Ejército del Aire

THAT

•Swiss Air Force

Comparisons

The Bf 109 fought against almost any kind of war machine opponent worthy of note, and sometimes even with or against aircraft of poor quality, not really competitive.

His opponents were the most accredited U.S. North American P-51 Mustang, Lockheed P-38 Lightning and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, the British Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire, and the Soviet-Russian Yakovlev Yak-3 and Yak-9. Among the allied models more suited to a comparison there were ni Italian Fiat G.55 and MC205, in addition to compatriot Focke-Wulf Fw 190.

Compared to all these machines, the Bf 109 was almost always appeared much earlier. The agility was equal to or lower in almost all aspects, autonomy was the lowest and the firepower was better only with additional weapons, and even then not all of these types exist against such superiority.

The performance in terms of speed instead were among the brightest, at least without weapons underwing, and ease of mass production was undoubtedly the best, with the exception perhaps of English Hurricane.

The Bf 109 was necessary for the Luftwaffe, because within its limits was a good fighter, which ensures even those high-altitude high-performance instead of the Fw 190 could not maintain, despite being a superior machine in almost all other aspects (had a firepower even better than the Bf 109 with additional cannons, by the way).

The radius of the turn was wide enough, but not the worst American types, while it was compared to the British and Italians. Excellent speed of roll, although here the Fw 190 was virtually unbeatable.

Superpower in the rate of rise and horizontal dive was amazing and was able to accelerate better than almost all models allies and enemies. Against Soviet fighters was lower in agility and performance at low altitude, but dominated at high altitudes and this allowed him to choose when to beat the opponents.

A part of the narrow track width of the trolley, it was generally a machine from simple steering and safely. Its main limitation was, if anything, that can not be upgraded enough because his cell was far too “close” to accommodate larger improvements.

Design mistakes that the Germans made were the ones to take the carriage to the narrow track with a return in the wings, leaving the latter with no increase in surface, and remove any weapons inside them. Even if only they had remained wing light or heavy machine guns as well as the two old MG FF, the firepower of the fighter would no longer be depended almost exclusively from the engine or from heavy cannon-pod fitted under the wings. For example, the MG 151 machine guns were too large to be accommodated inside the wings, whereas the Fw 190 was carrying two more 390 shots per wing.

The Fiat G.55 which clearly showed there were advantages in having wings large enough to contain internal guns caliber 20 mm, auxiliary tanks and a carriage with wide track.

But even before this, the Dewoitine D.520 possessed similar surface of a wing of that of the Bf 109, but designed in such a way to have two machine-guns, a tank from well 120 liters and the carriage to the wide track.

Even leaving aside the redesign of the wing and undercarriage, wing weapons would allow a configuration of four MG 17:01 MG 151, or four MG 131 and MG 151, MG 151 or even 1, 2 and MG 17-131 2 MG FF giving the car a total firepower acceptable without additional affardellarsi of guns, too dangerous to carry in the presence of fighter escort.

The division of labor air defense, with the intent to destroy the Fw 190 and Bf 109 bombers to defend the fighter escort, was the last resort for the validity of the beautiful game “born in 1935”.

And it was in this work that Hartmann was able to be accredited according to some authors of killing at least five P-51 bomber escort in a single day.

The Bf 109 in popular culture

•A copy of Bf 109 aircraft appears between the video game Bravo Air Race.

•In the cinema, the Bf 109 appeared in numerous films set during the Second World War, Pearl Harbor and The Longest Day.

•In the literary field, the bf 109 is mentioned in the book by Ken Follet Flight of the Bumblebee, which describes the interception of a de Havilland DH.87 Hornet Moth by an Me 109.

Bibliography

•Ethell, Jeffrey L. Aircraft of World War II A.Vallardi / Collins Jane’s 1996

•Boyne, Walter J. Clash of wings: the Air Force in World War II. Milan, Murcia, 1997. ISBN 88-425-2256-2

•Giorgio Gaino, Messerschmitt Bf 109 vs. Spitfire in Casabella 704, October 2002

• Spick, Mike, The Complete Fighter Ace All the World’s Fighter Aces, 1914-2000 London Greenhill Books 1999

• John R. Beaman, Jerry L. Campbell: Messerschmitt Bf 109 in action (Part 1). Squadron / Signal Publications, 1980.

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Modelling

Military aircraft of World War II

Military aircraft 1931-1945

German military aircraft

Military Aircraft of the Spanish Civil War

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