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Messerschmitt Bf-109 1940

Messerschmitt Bf-109 1940 Image
Detail Image
Detail Image


11 oz mug on the bottom of the picture is the manufacturer, year, country and the unit.

Due to the Messerschmitt Bf 109's versatility and time in service with both the Luftwaffe and other foreign air forces, numerous variants were produced over the eight years of service with the Luftwaffe and even more were produced by its foreign users.


"The 109 was a dream, the non plus ultra. Of course, everyone wanted to fly it as soon as possible."

Gunther Rall, Luftwaffe ace with 275 victories.

The Bf 109A was the first version of the Bf 109. Armament was initially planned to be only two cowl-mounted 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns. However, possibly due to the introduction of the Hurricane and Spitfire, each with eight 7.7 mm (.303 in) machine guns, experiments were carried out with a third machine gun firing through the propeller shaft.[2] V4 and some A-0 were powered by a 640 PS (631 hp, 471 kW) Junkers Jumo Jumo 210B engine driving a two-blade fixed-pitch propeller, but production was changed to the 670 PS (661 hp, 493 kW) Jumo 210D as soon as it became available. The A-0 were not of a uniform type but saw several changes in their appearance. Visible changes included engine, cockpit and machine gun ventilation holes/slats, and the location of the oil cooler was changed several times to prevent overheating. Many of these Bf 109 A-0 served with the Legion Condor and were often misidentified as B-series aircraft, and probably served in Spain with the tactical markings 6-1 to 6–16. One A-0, marked as 6–15, ran out of fuel and was forced to land behind enemy lines. It was captured by Republican troops on 11 November 1937 and later transferred to the Soviet Union for a closer inspection. 6–15 incorporated several improvements from the Bf 109B production program and had been prepared to use a variable-pitch propeller although it had not been installed.

According to RLM documentation 22 aircraft were ordered and delivered with V4 as the A-series prototype.

The first Bf 109 in serial production, the Bf 109 B-1, was fitted with the 670 PS (661 hp, 493 kW) Jumo 210D engine driving a two-bladed fixed-pitch propeller. During the production run a variable pitch propeller was introduced and often retrofitted to older aircraft; these were then unofficially known as B-2s. The Bf 109B saw combat with the Legion Condor during the Spanish Civil War, although it was apparent that the armament was still inadequate. Several aircraft were produced with an engine-mounted machine gun but it was very unreliable, most likely because of engine vibrations and overheating. Thus the Bf 109 V8 was constructed to test the fitting of two more machine guns in the wings; however, results showed that the wing needed strengthening.In the following V9 prototype both wing guns were replaced by 20 mm MG FF cannons.

A total of 341 Bf 109 B-1 were built by Messerschmitt, Fieseler, and Erla.

The short-lived Bf 109C was powered by a 700 PS (690 hp, 515 kW) Jumo 210G engine with direct fuel injection. Another important change was a strengthened wing, now carrying two more machine guns giving four 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17s in total. The C-0 were pre-production aircraft, the C-1 was the production version, and the C-2 was an experimental version with an engine-mounted machine gun. The C-3 was planned with 20 mm MG FF cannons replacing the two MG 17s in the wings, but it is not known how many C-3 (if any) were built or converted. The C-4 was planned to have an engine-mounted Motorkanone MG FF, but the variant was not produced.

A total of 58 Bf 109C of all versions were built by Messerschmitt.

The next model, the V10 prototype, was identical to the V8, except for its Jumo 210G engine. The V10, V11, V12 and V13 prototypes were built using Bf 109B airframes, and tested the DB 600A engine with the hope of increasing the performance of the aircraft. The DB 600A was dropped as the improved DB601A with direct fuel injection was soon to become available.

Developed from the V10 and V13 prototypes, the Bf 109D was the standard version of the Bf 109 in service with the Luftwaffe during the period just before World War II. Despite this, the type saw only limited service during the war, as all of the 235 Bf 109D still in Luftwaffe service at the beginning of the Poland Campaign were rapidly taken out of service and replaced by the Bf 109E, except in some night fighter units where some examples were used into early-1940. Variants included D-0 and D-1 models, both having a Junkers Jumo 210D engine and armed with two wing-mounted and two nose-mounted 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17s. D-2 was an experimental version with an engine-mounted machine gun, but as previously tried, this installation failed. The D-3 was similar to the C-3 but with two 20 mm MG FFs in the wings.

total of 647 Bf 109D of all versions were built by Focke-Wulf, Erla, Fieseler, Arado and AGO. Messerschmitt is listed as having produced only four Bf 109D, probably the D-0 preproduction series with the serial production transferred to licensed manufacturers. Several Bf 109D were sold to Hungary and Switzerland.


Introduction

The Bf 109 G-series was developed from the largely identical F-series airframe, although there were detail differences. Modifications included a reinforced wing structure, an internal bullet-proof windscreen, the use of heavier, welded framing for the cockpit transparencies, and additional light-alloy armour for the fuel tank. It was originally intended that the wheel wells would incorporate small doors to cover the outer portion of the wheels when retracted. To incorporate these the outer wheel bays were squared off. Two small inlet scoops for additional cooling of the spark plugs were added on both sides of the forward engine cowlings. A less obvious difference was the omission of the boundary layer bypass outlets, which had been a feature of the F-series, on the upper radiator flaps.

Like most German aircraft produced in World War II, the Bf 109 G-series was designed to adapt to different operational tasks with greater versatility; larger modifications to fulfil a specific mission task like long-range recon or long-range fighter-bomber were with "Rüststand" and given a "/R" suffix, smaller modifications on the production line or during overhaul like equipment changes were made with kits of pre-packaged parts known as Umrüst-Bausätze, usually contracted to Umbau and given a "/U" suffix. Field kits known as Rüstsätze were also available but those did not change the aircraft designation. Special high-altitude interceptors with GM-1 nitrous oxide injection high-altitude boost and pressurized cockpits were also produced.

The newly fitted Daimler-Benz DB 605A engine was a development of the DB 601E engine utilised by the preceding Bf 109 F-4; displacement and compression ratio were increased as well as other detail improvements to ease large-scale mass production. Takeoff and emergency power of 1,475 PS (1,455 hp, 1,085 kW) was achieved with 1.42 atm of boost at 2,800 rpm. The DB 605 suffered from reliability problems during the first year of operation, and this output was initially banned by VT-Anw.Nr.2206, forcing Luftwaffe units to limit maximum power output to 1,310 PS (1,292 hp, 964 kW) at 2,600 rpm and 1.3 atm manifold pressure. The full output was not reinstated until 8 June 1943 when Daimler-Benz issued a technical directive. Up to 1944, the G-series was powered by the 1,475 PS Daimler-Benz DB 605 driving a three-blade VDM 9-12087A variable-pitch propeller with a diameter of 3 m (9.8 ft) with even broader blades than used on the F-series. Pitch control, as on the 109F, was either electro-mechanical (automatic) or manual-electric using a thumb-switch on the throttle lever. From 1944 a new high-altitude propeller with broader blades was introduced, designated VDM 9-12159, and was fitted to high-altitude variants with the DB 605AS or D-series engines.

The early versions of the Bf 109G closely resembled the Bf 109 F-4 and carried the same basic armament; however, as the basic airframe was modified to keep pace with different operational requirements, the basically clean design began to change. From the spring of 1943, the G-series saw the appearance of bulges in the cowling when the 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 were replaced with 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine guns (G-5 onwards) due to the latter's much larger breechblock, and on the wings (due to larger tyres), leading to the Bf 109 G-6's nickname "Die Beule" ("The Bulge"). The Bf 109G continued to be improved: new clear-view cockpits, greater firepower in the form of the 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 cannon were introduced in late 1943; and a new, enlarged supercharger in the high-altitude DB 605AS engine, a larger vertical stabilizer (G-5 onwards), and MW 50 power boost in 1944.

Erich Hartmann, the World's top scoring fighter ace, claiming 352 victories, flew only the Bf 109G, of which he said:


It was very manoeuvrable, and it was easy to handle. It speeded up very fast, if you dived a little. And in the acrobatics manoeuver, you could spin with the 109, and go very easy out of the spin. The only problems occurred during takeoff. It had a strong engine, and a small, narrow-tread undercarriage. If you took off too fast it would turn [roll] ninety degrees away. We lost a lot of pilots in takeoffs.

From the Bf 109 G-5 on an enlarged wooden tail unit (identifiable by a taller vertical stabilizer and rudder with a morticed balance tab, rather than the angled shape) was often fitted. This tail unit was standardised on G-10s and K-4s. Although the enlarged tail unit improved handling, especially on the ground, it weighed more than the standard metal tail unit and required that a counterweight was fitted in the nose, increasing the variant's overall weight.

With the Bf 109G, a number of special versions were introduced to cope with special mission profiles. Here, long-range fighter-reconnaissance and high-altitude interceptors can be mentioned. The former were capable of carrying two 300 L (80 US gal) drop tanks, one under each wing; and the latter received pressurized cockpits for pilot comfort and GM-1 nitrous oxide "boost" for high altitudes. The latter system, when engaged, was capable of increasing engine output by 223 kW (300 hp) above the rated altitude to increase high-altitude performance.

E-1

The production version E-1 kept two 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17s above the engine and two more in the wings. Later, many were modified to the E-3 armament standard. The E-1B was a small batch of E-1s becoming the first operational Bf 109 fighter bomber, or Jagdbomber (usually abbreviated to Jabo). These were fitted with either an ETC 500 bomb rack, carrying one 250 kg (550 lb) bomb, or four 50 kg (110 lb) bombs. The E-1 was also fitted with the Reflexvisier "Revi" gunsight. Communications equipment was the FuG 7 Funkgerät 7 (radio set) short-range radio apparatus, effective to ranges of 48–56 km (30–35 mi). A total of 1,183 E-1 were built, 110 of them were E-1/B.

E-2

Only very limited numbers of the E-2 variant were built, for which the V20 prototype served as basis. It was armed with two wing mounted, and one engine mounted Motorkanone MG FF cannon, which gave considerable trouble in service, as well as two synchronized MG 17s cowl machineguns. In August 1940, II./JG 27 was operating this type.

E-3

To improve the performance of the Bf 109E, the last two real prototypes, V16 and V17 were constructed. These received some structural improvements and more powerful armament. Both were the basis of the Bf 109 E-3 version. The E-3 was armed with the two MG 17s above the engine and one MG FF cannon in each wing. A total of 1,276 E-3 were built, including 83 E-3a export versions.





Bf 109E-4
E-4

The E-3 was replaced by the E-4 (with many airframes being upgraded to E-4 standards starting at the beginning of the Battle of Britain) which was different in some small details, most notably by using the modified 20 mm MG-FF/M wing cannon and having improved head armor for the pilot. With the MG FF/M it was possible to fire a new and improved type of explosive shell, called Minengeschoß (or 'mine-shell') which was made using drawn steel (the same way brass cartridges are made) instead of being cast as was the usual practice. This resulted in a shell with a thin but strong wall, which had a larger cavity in which to pack a much larger explosive charge than was otherwise possible. The new shell required modifications to the MG FF's mechanism due to the different recoil characteristics, hence the MG FF/M designation.

The cockpit canopy was also revised to an easier-to-produce, "squared-off" design, which also helped improve the pilot's field of view. This canopy, which was also retrofitted to many E-1s and E-3s, was largely unchanged until the introduction of a welded, heavy-framed canopy on the G series in the autumn of 1942. The E-4 would be the basis for all further Bf 109E developments. Some E-4 and later models received a further improved 1,175 PS (1,159 hp, 864 kW) DB601N high-altitude engine; known as the E-4/N; owing to priority being given to equipping Bf 110s with this engine, one fighter gruppe was converted to this version, starting in July 1940. The E-4 was also available as a fighter-bomber with equipment very similar to the previous E-1/B. It was known as E-4/B (DB 601Aa engine) and E-4/BN (DB 601N engine). A total of 561 of all E-4 versions were built, including 496 E-4s built as such: 250 E-4, 211 E-4/B, 15 E-4/N and 20 E-4/BN.

E-5, E-6

The E-5 and E-6 were both reconnaissance variants with a camera installation behind the cockpit. The E-5 was a reconnaissance variant of the E-3, the E-6 was a reconnaissance variant of the E-4/N. Twenty-nine E-5s were built and nine E-6 were ordered.

E-7

The E-7 was the next major production variant, entering service and seeing combat at the end of August 1940. One of the limitations of the earlier Bf 109E was their short range of 660 km (410 mi) and limited endurance, as the design was originally conceived as a short-range interceptor. E-7 rectified this problem as it was the first subtype to be able to carry a drop tank, usually a 300 L (80 US gal) capacity unit mounted on a rack under the fuselage, which increased their range to 1,325 km (820 mi). a bomb could be fitted and the E-7 could be used as a Jabo fighter-bomber. Previous Emil subtypes were progressively retrofitted with the necessary fittings for carrying a drop tank from October 1940. Early E-7s were fitted with the 1,100 PS DB 601A or 1,175 PS DB 601Aa engine, while late-production ones received 1,175 PS DB 601N engines with improved altitude performance – the latter was designated as E-7/N.

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