Messerschmitt Bf 109

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Messerschmitt Bf 109
Me109 G-6 D-FMBB 1.jpg
Restored Bf 109 G-6
Type: Fighter plane
Design country:

German Reich NSGerman Reich (Nazi era) German Empire



First flight:

May 28, 1935



Production time:

1936 to 1945 ( HA-1112 to 1958)

Number of pieces:

approx. 33,300 (of which 30,573 from German production)

Bf 109 E-3 in the Deutsches Museum in Munich
Bf 109 G-2 in the TAM Museum São Carlos , Brazil
Bf 109 G-2 with open engine cowlings
Bf 109 G-2 (conversion from Spanish HA 1112 M ) at the time in the Air Force Museum Berlin-Gatow , now the Rechlin Aviation Museum

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 (often referred to as Me 109 ) was a single-engine, single-seat fighter aircraft produced by the German aircraft manufacturer Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (BFW, from 1938: Messerschmitt AG ). It belonged to a new generation of low- wing fighter aircraft , which were characterized by a closed cockpit , retractable landing gear and an all-metal construction of the fuselage and wings. In addition to their original purpose, various variants also came as fighter-bombers , night fighter andReconnaissance aircraft used. With around 33,300 machines, the Bf 109 is one of the most built aircraft and the most built fighter in history.

The first flight took place in May 1935. The first series machines were incorporated into the Luftwaffe's fighter units in February 1937 . Despite the early start of construction before the beginning of the Second World War , the Bf 109 was a competitive model in use against the Allies due to constant improvements until 1945 .

Until the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht in 1945, the Bf 109 remained the Luftwaffe's standard fighter, and from mid-1941 it was supplemented by the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 . Planes of this type were also used by numerous other air forces, for example in Finland , Yugoslavia , Croatia , Romania , Hungary , Italy and Switzerland .


In analogy to the aircraft designed later under the direction of Willy Messerschmitt such as the well-known Me 262 , the type is often referred to as the Me 109 . According to the official naming of the Reich Aviation Ministry (RLM), however, the historically correct name was consistently Bf 109 , as the design work began in 1934 at the Bavarian Aircraft Works (BFW). After the BFW was renamed Messerschmitt AG in 1938, the name did not change any more, as was the case with the Bf 110 . All aircraft later developed by Messerschmitt ( Me-163 , Me 210 / 410 However, etc.) were given the abbreviation Me in the type designation.

Hunter development in the 1920s and 1930s

At the beginning of the 1930s, the era of the biplane , which had dominated the development of fighter aircraft almost from the beginning, was drawing to a close in international aircraft construction. Up until this point in time, maneuverability was the most important criterion of a fighter aircraft for designers and pilots, before speed, whose operating environment was mainly seen in tight curve combat. Here the biplane offered certain advantages over most monoplane designs due to its large wing area .

This view partly reflected the experiences of the First World War , in which the differences in speed between the individual types of aircraft were still comparatively small in absolute terms. The tactical advantage of a higher speed lies in the possibility of deciding when to launch an attack or when to evade it - this happened in the First and - as would later become apparent - also in the Second World War, primarily through maneuvers falling from elevated positions. As a result, in the construction of the aircraft, great importance was attached to the rate of climb and fall in addition to maneuverability.

In the 1920s, a whole generation of new, powerful engines emerged, for example the American Pratt & Whitney R-1340 and the British Bristol Jupiter , which finally pushed the design of the braced double-decker with fixed landing gear and open driver's seat to its limits. Even sophisticated designs such as the American Boeing Model 15 or the British Hawker Fury hardly reached speeds of over 300 kilometers per hour despite an engine output of around 500 hp. The fact that this ever greater engine power could hardly be converted into speed was primarily due to the high air resistance caused by the wings , the landing gear and the wire bracing. Since air resistance also increases with the square of speed, it became apparent that reducing it was the most important key to higher speeds - a single wing combined with a retractable landing gear seemed the ideal solution to this problem. This new design also made it necessary to use significantly thicker wing profiles and thus also to move away from conventional techniques with fabric-covered tubular structures and towards self-supporting metal structures.

The tender

A Bf 109 in flight - looping and rolling

In this situation, which is characterized by highly dynamic developments, the Technical Office of the Reich Aviation Ministry formulated a tender for a modern single-seater fighter in February 1934. The aim was to develop an aircraft that could replace the Arado Ar 65 double-decker fighter, which was still in use by the still small and secretly established Luftwaffe, and the Heinkel He 51 , which was slowly being replaced. The tender of the Reich Aviation Ministry combined the basic construction of a monoplane in all-metal construction with the requirement for a retractable landing gear and a V-engine of the so-called 20-liter class around 650 HP. The maximum speed of the machine should be at least 450 km / h. Two machine guns and, optionally, a machine cannon that was installed under and behind the engine and firing through the hollow propeller shaft were required as armament .

The order to develop corresponding prototypes was initially only given to the companies Arado , Heinkel and Focke-Wulf . The Bavarian Aircraft Works were added later. Officially, the Heinkel company was given the best chance to win the competition for the new hunter. Heinkel's He 51 had been designated as the new standard fighter a year earlier, and with the He 70 the company had already delivered a very successful design that complied with the latest design principles.

The chances of the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke were rated much lower. In the late 1920s, chief designer Willy Messerschmitt designed the Messerschmitt M20 airliner for the company , a high-wing, all-metal construction for ten passengers. After a crash due to the broken off of the rear end with the tail units, Deutsche Luft Hansa canceled orders for the machine. The airline was later forced to fulfill the original purchase agreement. This earned Messerschmitt and the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke the hostility of Erhard Milch , the then head of Lufthansa. At the time of the hunter competition, Milch was already State Secretary in the RLM and Göring's deputy . This internal resistance to Messerschmitt was also intensified by the critical remarks by Ernst Udet , who joined the Air Force as a colonel in June 1935 and was appointed inspector of fighter and dive fighter pilots in September of the same year. In this capacity, Udet had flown after the Bf 109 and denied the machine's suitability as a fighter aircraft because of the closed cockpit.

To everyone's surprise - especially on the official side - the Bf 109 was determined to be one of the winners of the competition at the end of the tests that were carried out in October 1935 at the See test site (E point) on the Priwall peninsula in Lübeck-Travemünde . The designs of the companies Arado ( Ar 80 ) and Focke-Wulf ( Fw 159 ) had proven to be technically inferior early on. Arado had presented a low-wing aircraft with an open cockpit and fixed landing gear, while Focke-Wulf had entered the competition with a braced high-wing aircraft, the narrow-gauge landing gear of which was pulled into the fuselage. Repeated breaks in the chassis struts ultimately led to the development of this machine being discontinued.

The most serious competitor of the Bf 109 was the Heinkel He 112 . Constructed by the brothers Walter and Siegfried Günter , who had designed the He 70 as well as the He 111 , it was an aerodynamically clean, robust low-wing aircraft with an elliptical wing outline, but with an open driver's seat. In comparative flights, the machine flown by Heinkel's chief pilot Gerhard Nitschke showed itself to be practically equivalent to the Bf 109.The latter, demonstrated by master flight engineer Hermann Wurster , had slight speed advantages in horizontal and climb flight , but the judges with Carl Francke from the E-point Travemünde at the top rated both machines as equally good. The decisive factor in favor of the Bf 109 was probably that Gerhard Nitschke D-IHGEfailed to bring his aircraft out of the tailspin during a demonstration of the He 112 V2 on April 15, 1936 and he was forced to get out. Nevertheless, the RLM commissioned both companies to build a pilot series of ten more machines each.

While the Bavarian Aircraft Works in Augsburg quickly started to manufacture this pilot series, Heinkel got bogged down in new changes to the He 112, including the subsequent covering of the driver's seat. The associated delays contributed over time to the decision in favor of the Bf 109, which, due to its construction, would also be much easier and cheaper to manufacture. The Bf 109 was soon established as the Air Force's new standard fighter.


The manufacturing components of the Bf 109 the example of the F-version
1 hull, 2 tail boom, 3 windshield assembly 4 strut with impeller 5 spur, 6 fin, 7 rudder, 8 elevator, 9 tailplane, 10 airfoil 11 Flächenendkappen (edge caps), 12 Slats , 13 radiator flaps, 14 landing flaps, 15 ailerons, 16 engines, 17 propellers

Scheme of the construction of the Bf-109 shell
Assembly hall

When designing the Bf 109, Bayerische Flugzeugwerke relied on Messerschmitt's extensive experience in building modern all-metal constructions. The design team headed by Robert Lusser, a former Klemm design engineer, and Richard Bauer , a former Arado design engineer, used the extremely successful BFW Bf 108 touring aircraft as the starting point for development . Under this name, the four-seat all-metal low-wing aircraft with retractable landing gear was built alongside the Fieseler Fi 97 and the Klemm Kl 36 as one of the three competition aircraft for the European sightseeing flight in 1934 , where it impressed with its particularly good flight performance, especially its speed.

When designing the Bf 109, an attempt was made to accommodate the largest possible engine in the smallest possible cell. As is typical of Messerschmitt, weight was saved wherever possible by largely using lightweight construction . A good example of this is the rear fuselage, made up of two self-supporting half-shells, stiffened with longitudinal profiles, which was lightweight and very strong. In the interest of low flow resistance , the cantilevered wings were kept as small as possible with just one torsionally rigid wing spar . A wing profile from the NACA 2R1 series with a slight S-flap was used. The profile thickness on the connecting rib was 14.2% and on the outer wing 11.35%. In order to  compensate for the lower lift caused by this - especially when landing - the wings were provided with lift aids such as automatically extending slats and rear slotted flaps .

The canopy attached to the right could be thrown off for jumping in emergency situations. To do this, the canopy was unlocked in flight and torn away by the wind. The hood was also thrown off before a belly landing in order to be able to escape from the cabin in the event of a rollover.

In addition to low weight and resistance, the Bf 109 was designed with the focus on efficient production and ease of maintenance. The fuselage of the Bf 109 from the cockpit section is a half-shell construction that has been optimized primarily with a view to industrial mass production. For this purpose, the frames were already integrated into the individual cladding elements by bending the edges ( flanging ) during the production . This machining only had to be done on half of the segments (even numbering) on ​​both sides. The other half of the eight cladding sheets was designed as a simple flat sheet. It was no longer necessary to rivet additional ribs for stiffening. During the construction of the fuselage, all sheet metal segments of one half of the fuselage were stretched on a falsework and riveted together. The stringers were then pushed through prepared recesses in the “frame bends” and riveted to the 0.8 mm thick duralumin outer skin. The two halves of the fuselage were then joined together by riveting a further extra-wide stringer from above and below.

The individual segments could be manufactured decentrally and put together at the production sites. This also made it possible to change individual components quickly and easily in the field, which significantly increased operational readiness. The requirement of the tender, which demanded that the fuselage should be able to move independently and be able to be loaded onto railway wagons in compliance with the loading gauge of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, even without mounted wings , led to a relatively small track width and the trisection of the main spar of the aircraft. This construction should enable the salvage of landed aircraft and their retrieval on standard transport vehicles as well as the change of damaged wings without special devices at the field airfields.

On the other hand, the narrow track width of the landing gear led to many landing accidents in poorly prepared areas, especially with side or shear winds . The young pilots of the Luftwaffe, who were often inadequately trained during the further course of the war, often caused accidents during take-off because, in connection with the small track width, the later versions of the Bf 109 with their high engine torque tended to break away. The requirement for easy dismantling was therefore no longer made in all further tenders, even if the original ideas that led to it proved themselves in practice.


Bf 109 V1

The Bf 109 V1 (serial number 758) began its first taxiing attempts in the spring of 1935, followed by its maiden flight with captain Hans-Dietrich Knoetzsch in Augsburg-Haunstetten on May 28, 1935 . The civil registration of the machine was D-IABI. At the beginning of the development of the use of was liquid-cooled twelve-cylinder - V-engines of the types Daimler-Benz DB 600 or Junkers Jumo 210 provided. Since these were still in development at the time the first prototype of the Bf 109 was completed, the most powerful engine available was used, a British Rolls-Royce Kestrel with a take-off power of 695 hp. The non -adjustable two-blade wooden propeller came from the Schwarz company. During the comparison flights at the E -stelle See in Travemünde, the Bf 109 V1 demonstrated a maximum speed of 470 km / h at an altitude of 3300 meters and a rate of climb of 13.7 m / s near the ground with a takeoff weight of 1900 kg.

The second prototype V2 (registration number D-IILU, serial number 759) was already equipped with the Jumo 210 engine intended for series production. The machine also had all the facilities for installing two 7.92 mm MG 17 machine guns , each with 500 rounds of ammunition. This aircraft has remained completely unknown to the literature to this day, probably because it only flew a few months. After several postponements, Hermann Wurster (1907–1985), who had taken over the testing from Knoetzsch, was able to fly on December 12, 1935 for the first time. Knoetzsch is said to have been dismissed because, according to one reading, he had landed on the way to the Rechlin test center with the V1 in Dessau, i.e. at the Junkers competition . According to another statement, a break with the V1 was the trigger for the dismissal because it would have set the program back. After the factory trials, Wurster transferred the V2 to Travemünde on February 21, 1936, where he successfully demonstrated it several times over the following days. Several pilots from the E -stelle See also flew the aircraft until an incident occurred on April 1. During the endurance test, the pilot Trillhase flew the front part of the cabin cover away. Exposed to the wind without glasses and thus practically without sight, the aircraft overturned during the subsequent emergency landing, but the pilot got away with minor injuries. The plane had to be scrapped.

The armament of two MG 17s already intended for the V2, still with mechanical loading equipment, was only given to the third prototype V3 ( D-IOQY, serial number 760), which formed the model aircraft of the planned A-0 series of the Bf 109. After it had emerged that the contemporary British fighter designs would be equipped with eight machine guns (caliber .303 British / 7.7 mm), the Technical Office considered the armament of the Bf 109 A to be inadequate.

Bf 109 V3
Bf 109 V4

In the case of the V3, attempts were now made to significantly increase the firepower with a 20 mm MG FF machine gun mounted behind the engine block , the barrel of which led through the hollow propeller shaft. The tests had to be stopped because of strong vibrations and thermal problems. So it remained with the next machine to be finished, the V4 ( D-IALY, serial number 878), initially with the two mechanically reloaded machine guns. But it was ultimately determined to be the model aircraft for the now planned B-series of the Bf 109. Only the V5 ( D-IIGO, serial number 879) now received three MG 17, which could now be loaded electromechanically. Here, too, the central third MG was installed behind the engine and shot through the propeller shaft. The V4 was the last 109 to be tested in Travemünde in this context. When Carl Francke switched to the Rechlin E -stelle, further hunter trials were also moved there.

From December 1936, as part of Jagdgruppe 88 belonging to the Condor Legion , the prototypes V3 and V4 were initially tested under combat conditions. The new fighter was technically superior to all other fighter aircraft used in the Spanish Civil War , mostly from Soviet and Italian manufacturers, such as the Polikarpow I-16 . In the three years that this conflict was to last, numerous variants of the Bf 109 up to version E were used and tested. In the process, the air force gained a lot of knowledge about modern air warfare , which was constantly incorporated into both technical and tactical improvements.

While the use of the first Bf 109 in the Spanish Civil War made the experts sit up and take notice, the advanced aircraft was extensively demonstrated at the IVth International Flight Meeting from July 23 to August 1, 1937 at the Dübendorf military airfield near Zurich. As part of an extensive German contingent, six Bf 109s competed against planes and pilots from other countries and won all of the competitions in which they took part. Carl Francke won D-IJHAthe climb and dive competition on the V7 ( , serial number 881), Ernst Udet, at that time head of the Air Force's technical office and major general since April 1937 , had his bright red painted and highly polished V14 ( D-ISLU, Plant No. 1029), however, less fortunate. He was registered for the speed competition as well as for the international Alpine sightseeing flight in class a, single-seater. His DB 601 injection engine from the test series installed for this purpose had misfires; Udet had to give up after the first of four laps of the speed race and landed smoothly in Dübendorf. Francke also won here, who had been registered with the V13 ( D-IPKY, serial number 1050). On the other hand, during the Alpine sightseeing flight, Udet's engine failed completely and made an emergency landing near Thun necessary, during which the aircraft was destroyed. Udet got away almost unharmed. Here, too, there was a German winner in Major Hans Seidemann , probably on the V9 with Jumo 210 G (license plate unknown, factory number 1056), who covered the 367 km route in 56 min 47 s as the fastest. The same competition in class c, triple patrols, was finally won by the Bf-109 chain with Captain Werner Restemeier, Oblt. Fritz Schleif and Oblt. Hannes Trautloft superior.

Bf 109 B-2, serial no. 1062, as it was flown during the flight meeting in Dübendorf in 1937

The first public presentation of the Bf 109 at the international flight meeting in Dübendorf was overshadowed by the death of the flight engineer Kurt Jodlbauer the week before. He and Wurster had gone to BFW from the test site in Travemünde . During a fall demonstration with the top-heavy trimmed B-0, serial no. 1014, on July 17th at the Rechlin test site , he could not intercept the aircraft and crashed into the Müritz .

After returning from Switzerland, the V13 was aerodynamically improved and equipped with a DB-601 engine, the output of which had been increased to 1660 hp (1220 kW). With this, Wurster was able to bring the world speed record for land planes to Germany for the first time on November 11, 1937 with 610.95 km / h .

The Bf 109 V14 ( D-ISLU) was the first prototype of the E series. It was created in the summer of 1938 from a conversion of a D-0. A DB-601-A engine served as the drive. The armament consisted of 2 × 20 mm MG / FF in the areas and 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17 above the engine.

The Bf 109 V16 ( D-IPGS) was the model aircraft of the E-3 series.

Bf 109 A

The A series corresponded to the subsequent B series in almost every detail, an externally recognizable distinguishing feature was the oil cooler on the underside. All around 20 machines were produced in Augsburg. Most of them came to Spain for field testing.

Bf 109 B

Bf 109 B
Bf 109 B

Around the same time that the prototypes of the Bf 109 were being tested as part of the Condor Legion's mission in Spain, the Air Force received the first machines from the B-series. With a takeoff weight of around 2200 kg, the Bf 109 B-1 had the 680 hp Junkers Jumo 210 D engine. Compared to the prototypes, the oil cooler has now been moved out of the large chin cooler cover and moved under the left wing. As with the V5, the armament consisted of three MG 17s, which were now aimed with a Zeiss C / 12 reflex sight . The first unit to convert to the new fighter was the II. Group of JG 132 Richthofen (II./JG 132) stationed at Jüterbog-Damm air base. Other associations that received the B-series, built in around 350 copies, and also the 50 or more of the C version, were the I./JG 131 in Jesau , the JG 134 "Horst Wessel" in Dortmund , JG 135 in Bad Aibling , the JG 234 "Schlageter" in Cologne , and the II./JG 333 in Eger .

After about 30 machines had been built, the production line was converted from a rigid two-bladed wooden propeller to the new two-bladed metal controllable pitch propeller (Hamilton Standard license) from Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke . This version was unofficially called B-2, but was not called that in any official document. Many Bf 109 B-1 were converted to the controllable pitch propeller, and a small number is said to have been converted to the more powerful Jumo 210 G engine with direct fuel injection , which developed an output of 730 hp at an altitude of 1000 meters.

B-series machines were made available to Jagdgruppe 88 of the Condor Legion in Spain for testing under operational conditions. Once again, there was a clear leap in performance compared to the prototypes. On the other hand, the MG, which shoots through the hollow propeller shaft and is mounted behind the engine block, still proved to be very susceptible to jamming or compression ignition due to overheating. Due to this experience, the central motor MG of the Bf 109 B used in Jagdgruppe 88 were mostly removed in the field workshops and their installation was soon dispensed with in series production.

Variants Bf 109 B
  • Bf 109 B-1: hunter; Junkers Jumo 210 D engine with 680 hp takeoff power, initially 3 armaments, later 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17
  • Bf 109 B-2: Jäger, unofficial name for Bf 109 B-1 with controllable pitch propeller
Technical specifications
Parameter Data of the Bf 109 B-1
crew 1
length 8.55 m
span 9.87 m
Wing area 16.2 m²
height 2.60 m
Wing loading 135.80 kg / m²
Elongation 6.0
Top speed 470 km / h at an altitude of 4000 m
Service ceiling 9000 m
Takeoff mass 2200 kg
Engine a 12-cylinder V-engine Junkers Jumo 210D with a maximum take-off power of 680 hp
Armament two 7.92 mm MG 17 (500 rounds each) above the engine, firing synchronized by the propeller circle. Initially a MG 17 behind the engine block (unsynchronized, barrel in the hollow propeller shaft).

Bf 109 C

Bf 109 C-1

The negative experience with the motor-mounted machine gun in Spain and the general desire for increased armament led to the development of the Bf-109-C series. For the first time, two unsynchronized MG 17s were installed in the wings, so that the armament increased to a total of four machine guns of this type. The first aircraft equipped in this way was the V11 ( D-IFMO, serial number 1012).

The Jumo 210 G with gasoline direct injection , which had already been used in some of the B-series units, was installed as an engine, which enabled a top speed of 470 km / h with a take-off power of 730 hp at an altitude of 4000 meters. The direct fuel injection of the Jumo 210 G also made it possible to fly maneuvers with negative G-forces without engine misfires.

Another improvement to the C-Series concerned the engine's exhaust system . While the B-series still had flush outlets, which put a high thermal load on the surrounding structure, the new variant was equipped with clearly protruding, slightly backward-curved exhaust stubs, which significantly reduced the load and generated additional thrust .

Messerschmitt Bf 109C-1, 6-47, 2.J / 88 Condor Legion , Spain, spring / summer 1938

Like its predecessors, the C series was also tested in the Spanish Civil War. The planned further developments no longer came into series production. With the C-2, a central 20 mm MG FF machine gun installed behind the engine was tested again without success . The attempt to install two MG FF in the wings, which was investigated on the V12 ( D-IVRU, serial number 1016) at the Travemünde test site, had to be abandoned because of the strength problems of the wing structure.

Technical specifications
Parameter Data of the Bf 109 C-1
crew 1
length 8.55 m
span 9.87 m
Wing area 16.2 m²
height 2.60 m
Top speed 440 km / h at an altitude of 4000 m
Service ceiling 9500 m
Takeoff mass 2310 kg
Engine a 12-cylinder V-engine Junkers Jumo 210 G with a maximum take-off power of 700 HP
Armament four 7.92 mm MG 17 , two of them above the engine (500 rounds each), firing synchronized through the propeller circle, and two unsynchronized in the wings (420 rounds each).

Bf 109 D

Bf 109 D (identical to C-1)

In the initial procurement of fighter competition of 1934 had the Technical Office of the RLM, the demand for easier interchangeability of at this time continue gediehenen in development Junkers Jumo 210 with 19.7 liters displacement against the much stronger 33.9-liter engine Daimler Benz DB 600 raised. The D-series of the Bf 109 should therefore get a new engine, which had previously been tested in the prototypes V11 and V12 (converted from B- and C-cells). The first series type DB 600 Aa provided a further significant increase in performance with a starting power of 960 hp.

In fact, it seems doubtful that most of the approximately 600 Bf 109 Ds built were actually equipped with the DB-600 engine. This also powered the early versions of the He 111 , which at that time enjoyed high priority as a bomber in the establishment of the Luftwaffe. In addition, the DB 600 was classified as reliable enough for twin-engine aircraft, but not for single-engine machines. Since Daimler-Benz had also advanced the development of the even more powerful DB 601 with gasoline direct injection , the series machines of the Bf 109 D-1 were powered by Jumo 210 engines like their predecessors - so they hardly differed from them. The Nazi propaganda cleverly disguised this fact by photographing the few machines with DB-600 engines with ever new paintwork. In fact, there are relatively few photos today that even show a Bf 109 with a DB 600 engine.

Technical specifications
Parameter Data of the Bf 109 D-1 with Jumo 210
crew 1
length 8.64 m
span 9.87 m
Wing area 16.2 m²
height 2.60 m
Top speed 460 km / h
Service ceiling 9500 m
Takeoff mass 2170 kg
Engine a 12-cylinder V-engine Junkers Jumo 210 D with a maximum take-off power of 680 hp
Armament four 7.92 mm MG 17 , two of them above the engine (500 rounds each), firing synchronized by the propeller circle and two unsynchronized in the wings (420 rounds each).

Bf 109 E

Bf 109 E-3
Bf 109 E-4
Bf 109 E-4 / B
Bf 109 E-7
Bf 109 E-3 of the Swiss Air Force, today in the Flieger-Flab-Museum in Dübendorf
Bf 109 E and Ju 87 B in action, 1941

In January 1939, production of the Bf 109 was switched to the new E-1 version. After the less reliable DB 600 carburettor engine had proven to be a disappointment, the more powerful DB 601 injection engine was installed in the E-1 , at that time one of the most modern aircraft engines in the world. Tried and tested in the V14 and V15 prototypes , the DB 601 A-1 equipped with gasoline direct injection from Bosch delivered a starting power of around 990 hp. From spring 1939, the Bf 109 E-1 replaced the older B and C models. The conversion was completed in autumn 1939.

Externally, the "Emil" was characterized by a completely redesigned engine cover. The characteristic chin cooler was greatly reduced and now only housed the oil cooler. The two coolers for the glycol- water mixture were housed in flat housings below the wings. Overall, this improved the aerodynamic lines, which together with the more powerful engine led to a sudden increase in performance.

While the E-1 was initially equipped with the same armament as its predecessor (4 × 7.92 mm MG 17 ), the Bf 109 E-3, which was used at the end of 1939, finally succeeded in installing it of wing-mounted automatic cannons. The attempt to install a central cannon behind the engine had previously failed again with the E-2 version. The wing cannons were weapons of the 20 mm MG FF type , which had been derived from the Swiss 20 mm cannon from Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon . The weapons fired unsynchronized outside the propeller circle and were stored in a drum magazine with 60 rounds per cannon. This was comparatively little and just sufficient for about seven seconds of continuous fire . In addition, the cannon with its short barrel had poorer ballistics than the MG 17 machine guns. These disadvantages were compensated for by the availability of explosive ammunition and, from the E-4 onwards, also highly effective mine ammunition with a fragmentation fuse.

The E-series was the first version of the Bf 109, which was not only given to the Luftwaffe's fighter units on a large scale, but also to foreign users. In the winter of 1938/39 Switzerland had already imported ten Bf 109 D with Junkers engines and then ordered a total of 30 Bf 109 E-1s. After the arrival of the first machines, this order was even increased to 50 machines. Airplanes of this design also went to Yugoslavia .

The production of the Bf 109 was expanded considerably with the E series and reached a new high with 1,100 machines built in the first eight months of 1939. This variant was still being tested in Spain and when the Second World War began with the German invasion of Poland , the Bf 109 E was already providing the majority of the German hunting units. Of the 320 involved in the attack on Poland, clear Bf 109 213 were from the E-series. In use, the Bf 109 E proved to be an extremely good fighter aircraft over Poland, Norway and France, which was flown by well-trained and partly combat-experienced pilots. The disadvantage of the short range was of little consequence in the early campaigns of the Wehrmacht . It was only during the Battle of Britain , when the German fighter squadron encountered equal opponents on a large scale for the first time (both technically and - with a certain delay - in terms of tactics) that the Bf 109 E's strengths and weaknesses emerged clearly evident.

The Bf 109 E was faster than the Spitfire at medium and high altitudes and significantly faster than the Hurricane at all altitudes . This altitude advantage could be used again and again by the German pilots when they were able to pounce on the British fighters attacking the German bombers from elevated positions during escort missions. With an armament of two 20 mm cannon type MG FF and two 7.92 mm machine guns MG 17 they possessed also over a greater force than the British fire fighter with their battery of eight 7.7 mm MGs - mainly due to the explosive ammunition of the automatic cannons.

Compared to the British fighters Spitfire and Hurricane, the Bf 109 E had a larger turning circle. Although it had a higher coefficient of lift and a lower weight than the Spitfire, due to its significantly smaller wing it still had a turning circle around 20% larger at the same speed. In terms of falling speed, the Bf 109 E outperformed both British models.

Another advantage of the Bf 109 E was the Daimler-Benz engine with direct fuel injection, which made it possible to press hard into a dive without the engine failing (defensive maneuvers in aerial combat tactics ). The British carburettor aircraft had to initiate the dive with a time consuming half  roll and therefore could not follow quickly enough. The biggest disadvantage of the Bf 109 E at the time of the "Battle of Britain" was its short range. During escort missions, the German pilots often only had enough gasoline above their targets for ten to a maximum of 20 minutes of aerial combat and often the choice of abandoning the bombers or risking ditching in the English Channel due to a lack of fuel. The development of the E-series had brought a new, simplified cockpit hood with improved armor with the E-4 version before the start of the aerial battles over England, but the urgently needed introduction of an additional tank could not be completed before the end of the Battle of Britain. This only succeeded in the fall of 1940 with the E-7 version.

After the Battle of Britain, the E series of the Bf 109 was used in ever new roles. In addition to the reconnaissance variants E-5 and E-6, the Bf 109 E-4 / B was developed, a fighter-bomber with which the fighter squadrons could fly “hit and run” missions against important point targets on the English south coast. This variant was also introduced in some squadrons of the destroyer squadrons, whose Bf 110 machines had shown themselves to be vulnerable to fighter attacks. Machines of the type Bf 109 E-4 / B were also used successfully several times by the Lehrgeschwader 2 in attacks on ships.

With the E-7 version in the autumn of 1940, not only the possibility of carrying additional tanks, but also an aerodynamically revised propeller hood was introduced, since at least for the E-series, after the bad experience with the E-2, the option of a motor cannon was finally introduced had waived. When the German Wehrmacht sent troops to North Africa from February 1941 , Bf 109 E-4 / Trop and E-7 / Trop with sand filters were primarily part of the equipment of the fighter and fighter-bomber units assigned to the Africa Corps . There and a few months later during the attack on the Soviet Union , the Bf 109 E, whose time was slowly coming to an end, proved to be a match for all opponents who were mobilized against it. The last versions of the E-series were flown well into 1943 with task forces, mainly as attack aircraft and reconnaissance aircraft.

Variants Bf 109 E
  • Bf 109 E-0: pre-series machine with DB-601-A-1 engine with 990 HP starting power; Armament 4 × 7.92 mm MG 17
  • Bf 109 E-1: fighter aircraft; Engine and armament like E-0, but partly also DB 601Aa with 1050 HP take-off power possible
    • Bf 109 E-1 / B fighter-bomber; DB-601-Aa engine with 1050 HP takeoff power; Up to 250 kg bomb load
  • Bf 109 E-2: Projected fighter aircraft; like E-1, but 20 mm MG FF (motor cannon); not built
  • Bf 109 E-3: fighter aircraft; Engines like E-1; Armament 2 × 7.92-mm-MG 17, 2 × 20-mm-MG FF in the wings
    • Bf 109 E-3a: export version; DB-601-Aa engine with 1050 HP takeoff power; Components declared as secret were not installed or replaced
    • Bf 109 E-3 / B: fighter-bomber; Engine and armament as E-3; up to 250 kg bomb load
  • Bf 109 E-4: fighter aircraft; Engine like E-1, new cockpit hood as standard; Armament 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17, 2 × 20 mm MG FF / M in the wings
    • Bf 109 E-4 / B: fighter-bomber; Engine like E-1 / B; Armament like E-4, up to 250 kg bomb load
    • Bf 109 E-4 / N: fighter aircraft; like E-4, but engine DB 601 N with 1020 HP starting power, increased compression, 100-octane C3 gasoline
    • Bf 109 E-4 / BN: fighter-bomber; Engine and armament as E-4 / N; Up to 250 kg bomb load
  • Bf 109 E-5: reconnaissance aircraft; based on E-3; Armament 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17; Camera RB 21/18 in the fuselage behind the cockpit
  • Bf 109 E-6: reconnaissance aircraft; based on E-4 / N; Armament 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17; hand-operated camera RB 12.5 / 7.5 in the fuselage behind the cockpit
  • Bf 109 E-7: fighters and fighter-bombers; Engine and armament as E-4; optional 300 l additional tank or up to 250 kg bomb load
    • Bf 109 E-7 / N: fighters and fighter-bombers; like E-7, but engine DB 601 N with 1020 hp take-off power, increased compression, 100-octane C3 gasoline
    • Bf 109 E-7 / Z: Höhenjäger, also E-7 / NZ; like E-7 / N, but with GM-1 injection to increase performance at great heights
    • Bf 109 E-7 / U1: E-7 with armored water cooler
    • Bf 109 E-7 / U2: E-7 with armor against ground fire
    • Bf 109 E-7 / U3: reconnaissance aircraft, hand-operated camera RB 12.5 / 7.5 in the fuselage behind the cockpit; Radio FuG 17
    • Bf 109 E-7 / Trop: fighter plane and fighter-bomber; like E-7 with additional tropical equipment (sand filter, additional equipment)
  • Bf 109 E-8: hunter; Conversion from E-1 cells to accommodate 300 liter additional tanks
  • Bf 109 E-9: reconnaissance aircraft; based on E-7 / N; Armament 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17; RB-50/30 camera
Technical specifications
Parameter Data of the Bf 109 E-3
crew 1
length 8.64 m
span 9.87 m
Wing area 16.2 m²
height 2.60 m
Empty mass 2010 kg
Takeoff mass 2505 kg
Top speed 570 km / h at an altitude of 5000 m
Service ceiling 10,500 m
Range 800 km
Engine a 12-cylinder V-engine Daimler-Benz DB 601 A-1 with a maximum take-off power of 990 hp
Armament two 7.92 mm MG 17 above the engine (1000 rounds each) and two 20 mm MG FF automatic cannons in the wings, firing outside the propeller circle (60 rounds each).

Bf 109 T

Bf 109 T-1
Catapult launch of the Bf 109 T-1 from the four-point mounting of a catapult of carriers A and B.

Even at the time of the Weimar Republic , the Reichsmarine had planned to procure an aircraft carrier in their conversion plan of November 15, 1932 . This type of ship had developed into a determining factor in maritime strategic planning in the 1920s, primarily in Japan, Great Britain and the USA , mainly due to its ability to carry out attacks with aircraft far behind the horizon.

After the National Socialists came to power, these plans were further implemented and the German-British naval agreement of June 18, 1935 paved the way for the construction of two aircraft carriers with a total tonnage of 47,250 ts (corresponding to 35% of the British carrier tonnage of 135,000 ts.) For For these projects, called Carrier A and Carrier B, the commissioning of Carrier A under the name Graf Zeppelin was planned for April 1939 and for Carrier B in 1940.

The aircraft types that were to be stationed on the new ships also included a modified version of the Bf 109. After the development of the Arado Ar 197 biplane, which was initially intended for this purpose, was discontinued due to insufficient flight performance, the development of the carrier version of the Bf 109 began forced. The lightweight construction of the machine initially proved to be problematic, as it could easily be damaged by the hard knocks that occur during carrier landings. The first test vehicle V17 ( D-IYMS) was equipped with four catapult fittings, a lowerable catch hook , a brake cable deflector bracket in front of the main landing gear as well as armrests, reinforced head cushions and a catch hook trigger in the cockpit.

After extensive tests carried out at the See Travemünde test site, the RLM's Technical Office decided in early 1939 to further develop the final carrier version of the Bf 109 from the E-7 / N and E-7 / Z series. In this version, the machine could be equipped with a 300-liter additional tank and had the more powerful DB-601-N engine.

The aircraft carriers of the Graf Zeppelin class were to be equipped with two pneumatic aircraft catapults each, which could accelerate aircraft to 140 km / h in about three seconds on a distance of 21.6 m. This resulted in loads that could be between 3.5 and 4.4 g, depending on the type of aircraft. The planning stipulated that the machines that did not take off in wheel start would already be placed on their launch sleds in the carrier hangar and, in this state, after they had been raised with an aircraft elevator, they would be driven on rails in the flight deck to the catapults.

The opposite problem of landing on a carrier was solved by installing a catch hook which, in a known manner, should take up brake cables stretched across the flight deck . In order to enable better control of the landing approach and precise control of the landing point, so-called lift destroyers, small spoilers, were mounted on the top of the wing, with the help of which the pilot could partially cut off the flow on the wings at a suitable moment. This made it possible to greatly increase the rate of descent at the crucial moment.

In order to have more lift available both during take-off and on approach, the wingspan was increased to 11.08 m, the wing area increased to 17.50 m² as a result of this measure. In the course of the test, the necessity of strengthening the wing structure became apparent in order to be able to safely reach speeds of 750 km / h in a dive.

Understandably, the further development of the Bf 109 T was closely linked to the construction progress of its potentially first carrier ship, the Graf Zeppelin . Launched on December 8, 1938, the expansion work on the Zeppelin was suspended on April 29, 1940. Of the 70 Bf 109 Ts built at Fieseler in Kassel between April 8th and June 29th, 1941, only the first seven machines ( serial numbers 7728 to 7734, or trunk numbers RB+OAto RB+OG) were built in the carrier-compatible T- 1 standard. The remaining 63 machines were completed as Bf 109 T-2 without carrier equipment for coastal use. Of the seven T-1s, one was lost due to a crash during flight attempts at Messerschmitt in Augsburg, the remaining six were retained for testing or were stored.

The T-2 machines were initially used in a typical naval aviation task to secure the coastal apron and as convoy protection on the south coast of Norway. The corresponding units were the I./JG 77, as well as the Drontheim hunting group and, a little later, the Stavanger hunting group, whereby these were probably local names of the I./JG 77. The machine was very well suited for the narrow and short runways at Norwegian airfields.

At the end of 1941 the remaining Bf 109 T-2s were ordered back to Germany and 45 machines were converted to the T-1 standard at Fieseler in Kassel, for the now foreseeable completion of the Graf Zeppelin . Work on the girder resumed in 1942, but a decree of February 2, 1943 halted the entire girder construction program. At the time of the final construction stop, the Graf Zeppelin was around 90% complete. When the girder structure was discontinued, the T-1s were converted back to T-2. These machines then served a few months in coastal protection at JG 11 ("Jasta Helgoland") from the island of Helgoland-Düne. At the end of 1943, the Bf 109 T of this unit were relocated to southern Norway, where they were less and less able to cope with the increasingly modern aircraft of the Allies. The Bf 109 T was last used in training almost until the end of the war, mainly in the night fighter wing 101 and the blind flight school 10.

Variants Bf 109 T
  • Bf 109 T-0: Airborne fighter, pre-series; Conversion from Bf 109 E-7 / N, engine and armament like this one; enlarged wingspan, catapult fittings and landing hooks; Planned on-board fighter for the Graf Zeppelin class aircraft carriers
  • Bf 109 T-1: Like T-0, only seven machines built
  • Bf 109 T-2: As T-0, but without carrier equipment; Use in coastal protection
Technical specifications
Parameter Data of the Bf 109 T-2
crew 1
length 8.64 m
span 11.08 m
Wing area 17.5 m²
height 2.60 m
Empty mass 2160 kg
Takeoff mass 2800 kg
Top speed 560 km / h at an altitude of 5000 m
Service ceiling 10,500 m
Range 800 km
Engine a 12-cylinder V-engine Daimler-Benz DB 601 N with 1020 hp starting power
Armament two 7.92 mm MG 17 above the engine (1000 rounds each) and two 20 mm MG FF automatic cannons in the wings, firing outside the propeller circle (60 rounds each).

Bf 109 F

Bf 109 F-2
Bf 109 F-2 / Trop
Bf 109 F-4
Bf 109 F-6
Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2, Escuadrilla Azul, 15th (Spanish) / Jagdgeschwader 51, winter 1942/1943

As early as the spring of 1940, before the French campaign , the design team of the Bf 109 in Augsburg decided to revise the design of the machine based on the latest findings and aerodynamic aspects. The focus was on the use of the new DB-601-E motor, which promised further improved performance with a starting power of 1350 hp. The entire front fuselage was redesigned; By using a much larger propeller spinner, a seamless transition to the hull could be created, which made the machine appear much more elegant. The propeller was reduced in diameter and got much wider blades with higher efficiency, especially at great heights. The charge air inlet, which was initially angular in the F-0 as in the E-series, had a circular cross-section from the F-1, which ensured the best possible stowage effect.

The surface coolers have also been redesigned and are now much flatter and wider. They were also used for boundary layer suction. The horizontal stabilizer, which had previously been braced, was now designed as a self-supporting part, the spindle for trimming the horizontal stabilizer was covered. The wings got round end caps, which increased the span and slightly increased the wing area. In addition, Frize ailerons were used instead of the usual split ailerons . The split landing flaps were replaced by flaps. The landing gear shafts on the underside of the wing were circular.

The first four prototypes of the F-Series (V21, V22, V23 and V24) were converted from Bf 109 E-4. Ten pre-series machines of the type F-0 followed. At that time, neither the planned DB-601-E motors nor the MG-151 motor cannons were available. Equipped with the DB 601 N, an MG FF / M motor cannon and the typical two 7.92 mm MG 17, the machines were given to task forces for testing. These gave the machine only the very best grades. Among other things, it was subjected to a comparison flight against an E-4 / N, which revealed that the F-0 could climb faster and turn more tightly.

With the F version, the Bf 109 reached the zenith of its performance in the eyes of many of its pilots. Later versions had more powerful engines, armament variants and higher operational masses with constantly increasing wing loading, but the coordination between the airframe and the engine gave the Bf 109 F the best flight and control properties of all variants of the Bf 109. The beginning of its operational career was through a number of crashes overshadowed, but when the cause was recognized as overstressing the transition from the fuselage to the tail unit, which was exposed to increased torsional forces due to the omission of the elevator struts, this weak point was quickly remedied. In the case of the F-1, this was initially done with external reinforcement plates, which were only replaced by internal reinforcements of the fuselage in the following F-2 version. Since at this point in time neither the DB 601E nor the MG 151 were available, the other differences between the F-0 and the F-1 were limited to the round charge air inlet, which was introduced in the latter variant.

The originally planned automatic cannon in the 15 mm version was only available from version F-2, while the availability of the new engine was still delayed. From April 1941 the F-2 was first delivered to Jagdgeschwader 2 , 26 , 27 and 53 , which at that time were still stationed on the canal front. The new machine gave the fighter squadrons a clear advantage over the British Spitfire Mk. II , which could only be compensated for with the introduction of the Mk. V.

The F-3 version was planned with a DB-601-E engine and MG-FF / M motor cannon, but was abandoned in favor of the F-4. The production of type F-3 aircraft cannot be proven. The following version, the F-4, was ultimately characterized by the use of the DB-601-E motor, which also got a new propeller with larger blades in order to be able to implement the increased power of the motor. With the F-4, in which the MG 151 in caliber 15 mm was replaced by the new, more powerful version MG 151/20 in caliber 20 mm, the development of the F-series reached its climax - and in the opinion of many pilots with it the whole Development of the Bf 109.

The F-4 had excellent flight characteristics and high performance potential. In addition, it offered a significantly improved level of protection through improved 6 mm thick head armor, easily replaceable additional armor on the windshield and new fuel tanks, which also increased the morale of the pilots. In order to take into account the additional air requirement of the new engine, the charge air inlet of the F-2 / Z prototype with a slightly larger diameter was adopted for the F-4 - a variant that had previously been equipped with the GM-1 system. It was an injection system for nitrous oxide (laughing gas) that supplied the engine with more oxygen for a short time and greatly improved performance, especially at higher altitudes. The available upgrade kits made the F-4 a versatile fighter / fighter-bomber. R2 comprised a 300 liter additional tank, R6 the bomb suspension ETC 500 (ETC = electrical carrier for cylindrical external loads, 500 kg) for a 250 kg bomb or four 50 kg bombs. In the 240 produced F-4 / R1 attachment points and cable connections for the attachment of weapon nacelles were built into the wings. A 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon was built into each of these streamlined nacelles, and a nacelle could be attached under each wing. This construction was adopted in the subsequent G series. There were dedicated reconnaissance versions of the F-4 with the F-4 / R2 and F-4 / R3, but these were only built in small numbers.

The F-4 was numerically the most frequently built variant of the F-series. Numerous fighter squadrons in Europe and North Africa flew the type with great success, including Werner Mölders , Wilhelm Balthasar and Hans-Joachim Marseille .

Despite all the agreement that existed about the technical advantages of the Bf 109 F, a discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of the machine never stopped. With the use of the MG 151, the solution of the motor cannon problem in the F series was finally achieved. The three weapons (2 × 7.92 mm MG 17 and 1 × 20 mm MG FF / M, 15 mm MG 151 or 20 mm MG 151/20) were very close to the pilot's line of sight - the fire was very precise and concentrated. However, the question of arming the Bf 109 F was also a concern of recognized good marksmen in the Air Force, who could bring precise bursts of fire to the target with the closely-spaced on-board weapons and achieve high numbers of kills. As the most prominent critic, the later general of the fighter pilots, Adolf Galland , argued that an average-skilled pilot was particularly good at fighting robust, multi-engine aircraft, but also in cornering, during which a pilot could hardly hope to have his target in his sights for more than a second , with the armament available in the F-series could hardly achieve a launch. Galland himself had two Bf 109 F-2 machines modified in his function as a squadron commodore for JG 26. On one machine, he had the MG 17 above the engine replaced by the more powerful MG 131 (caliber 13 mm). Small aerodynamic panels were attached to the engine cover to disguise the larger breeches of these weapons. In a second machine, Galland had the 20 mm MG FF / M cannons known from the E series mounted in the wings, increasing the armament to 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17, 2 × 20 mm -MG FF / M and 1 × 15-mm-MG 151. None of these unofficial experiments were considered in series production.

Bf 109 F-2 with RZ 65

Like many other series, the Bf 109 F was also used as a test vehicle for various special developments. In the spring of 1943, a Bf 109 F-2 (factory number 9246) was equipped under the central wing with a streamlined launch system for four RZ-65 missiles each with a caliber of 73 mm. The machine represented an attempt to equip the standard fighter of the Luftwaffe with increased firepower in the face of the growing threat from Allied bombers, which should allow the defensive groups of four-engine bombers to be blown up. The spin-stabilized rocket was fired from simple tubes equipped with three guide rails, which ejected the exhaust gases of the projectile downwards towards the rear. Thanks to the aerodynamically favorable cladding, the loss of speed due to the launch system could be limited to 18 km / h. The project was finally discontinued when the development of the spin-stabilized on-board missiles was abandoned in favor of wing-stabilized models.

Variants Bf 109 F
  • Bf 109 F-0: Jäger, pilot series; DB 601N engine, 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17, 1 × 20 mm MG FF / M; Troop trials 1940/41
  • Bf 109 F-1: hunter; Engine and armament like F-0, series production from autumn 1940, 206 built
  • Bf 109 F-2: hunter; like F-1 but 15 mm MG 151 built instead of 20 mm MG FF / M, 1233
    • Bf 109 F-2 Trop: hunter; Tropical version (sand filter, additional equipment)
    • Bf 109 F-2 / Z: high altitude fighter; GM-1 additional injection (nitrous oxide), extended charge air intake, enlarged oil cooler; only prototypes, as a better engine became available with the DB 601E
  • Bf 109 F-3: hunter; DB 601E engine, larger propeller blades, armament like F-1, not built
  • Bf 109 F-4: hunter; Engine DB 601E, armament 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17, 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20, 121 built by Erla
    • Bf 109 F-4 Trop: hunter; Tropical version (sand filter, additional equipment), 576 built by Erla
    • Bf 109 F-4 / Z: high altitude fighter; GM-1 additional injection (nitrous oxide), built in 861
    • Bf 109 F-4 / R1: hunter; prepared for the installation of MG-151/20 weapon nacelles under the wings, 240 built by WNF
    • Bf 109 F-4 / R2: reconnaissance aircraft; Rb-20/30 camera instead of radio system, no motor cannon, five aircraft built by Erla
    • Bf 109 F-4 / R3: reconnaissance aircraft; Rb-50/30 camera instead of radio system, no motor cannon, 36 aircraft built by Erla
  • Bf 109 F-5: reconnaissance aircraft; Engine like F-4, armament 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17; Rb-50/30 camera, not built
  • Bf 109 F-6: reconnaissance aircraft; Engine and armament as F-5; Rb 20/30 or 75/30 cameras, not built
Technical specifications
Parameter Data of the Bf 109 F-4
crew 1
length 8.94 m
span 9.97 m
Wing area 16.1 m²
height 2.45 m
Empty mass 2080 kg
Takeoff mass 2890 kg
Top speed 670 km / h at an altitude of 6300 m
Service ceiling 11,600 m
Range 570 km, 850 km with an additional 300 liter tank
Engine a 12-cylinder V-engine Daimler-Benz DB 601E with a maximum starting power of 1350 hp
Armament two 7.92 mm MG 17 above the engine (500 rounds each, sufficient for 25 to 26 seconds of continuous fire) and a 20 mm MG 151/20 automatic cannon with 200 rounds (sufficient for about 15 seconds of continuous fire, through the propeller hub firing)

Bf 109 G

Bf 109 G-2
Bf 109 G-5
Bf 109 G-6
Bf 109 G-12
Bf 109 G-14
Bf 109 G-10
A Bf 109 G-6 with upgrade kit 6, 1944

In the autumn of 1941, the F-series of the Bf 109 had already been in use for six months. Despite the good results that were achieved with continuous further development, Messerschmitt was always aware of the need for further improvements in view of the rapid technical changes that the aerial warfare brought with it. The average flown speeds and heights increased noticeably, especially in the aerial battles with the western allies. The requirement for a pressure-ventilated high altitude hunter variant was therefore part of the catalog of requirements for the G series from the very beginning. When their development was initiated, the need to use a new engine to replace the DB 601, which was now reaching its development limits, was foreseeable as the only way to further increase flight performance. In the form of the Daimler-Benz DB 605 , a unit was available that could optimally fulfill this purpose - derived from the DB 601, the DB 605 had the same external dimensions as its predecessor with increased displacement and compression ratio. The integration into the cell of the Bf 109 was therefore relatively uncomplicated. The greater power and torque of the engine caused structural reinforcements to the airframe, which increased the curb and take-off weight of the machine (normal take-off weight 3054 kg). In combination, the increase in weight and performance led to significantly poorer handling of the Bf 109 G compared to the F series - a disadvantage that had to be accepted in favor of the improved flight performance.

The first twelve Bf 109 G-0s, which were initially equipped with the DB-601-E motor due to the lack of a new engine, differed only slightly from the previous F-series. In order to meet the increased air and cooling requirements of the DB 605, the larger charge air inlet of the F-2 / Z and F-4 as well as the larger cooler of the first-mentioned variant were adopted for the G. The externally most noticeable changes concerned the cover of the cockpit. The required option of equipping the hunter with a pressure-ventilated cabin necessitated a reinforcement of the entire cabin frame; in addition, the triangular window below the front glazing was omitted. In addition, there was no need for an additional armored glass pane in front of the windshield in the E and F versions, which was unfavorable for the flow: a front pane made of 60 mm thick armored glass was instead integrated into the cabin glazing. The landing gear shafts were again provided with a straight edge on the outside.

The internal changes concerned a pressure-resistant sealing of the fire bulkhead , the sides of the cabin floor and the rear armor plate with rubber seals. The pulpit glazing was double-glazed, and calcium chloride tablets were placed in the spaces between the panes of glass to absorb condensation. The frame and hood of the cockpit cover also had inflatable rubber seals at the seams. The possibility of opening parts of the side front glazing or the pulpit hood through sliding windows was omitted due to the modifications and was replaced in the variants of the G-series without a pressurized cabin by small ventilation hoods below the side front glazing. At these inlets and the lack of the characteristic calcium chloride tablets, the pressure-ventilated and non-pressure-ventilated variants can easily be distinguished on photos. In principle, all machines of the G series and all subsequent series could be equipped with a pressure cabin by retrofitting, even if they had not been equipped with one at the factory. The corresponding work could be carried out by the squadron's field workshops on site.

For the entire G series, the option of taking the GM-1 system ( nitrous oxide injection ) with you was provided as standard from the start. Correspondingly equipped machines had the additional designation U2; So for example Bf 109 G-2 / U2. In the spring of 1942 the DB-605 engine was released for series production and the simultaneous production of the variants G-1 (with pressure-ventilated cabin) and G-2 (not pressure-ventilated) could be started. Because of difficulties with the new pressurized cabin, the G-2 variant reached the emergency units a few weeks earlier than the G-1.

Shortly after the recording, the task forces repeatedly reported engine fires on the Bf 109 G, the cause of which, after tests, could be identified as the horseshoe-shaped oil tank located at the very front of the machine directly behind the propeller. Oil kept leaking out of this tank and could ignite under unfavorable conditions on the hot engine. One of the improvements used to overcome this problem was to add two additional cooling hoods for the oil tank to the nose of the machine to prevent the oil from expanding excessively. The susceptibility to leaks could never be completely eliminated during the entire service life of the G-series and also led to the characteristic soiling that can be seen in photos on the noses of most Bf 109 G with a longer service life.

The G-1 and G-2 were followed in production by the G-3, again a pressure-ventilated fighter, in which the significantly increased take-off weight of the G-series was taken into account by improvements to the chassis during ongoing production. The dimensions of the main wheels were increased from 650 × 150 mm to 660 × 160 mm, those of the rear wheel from 290 × 110 mm to 350 × 135 mm. In order to be able to accommodate the larger wheels, the G-3 received small bulges on the top of the wings, the mechanism for retracting the tail wheel was mostly blocked and protected against dirt and moisture with a rubber cover. In addition, a new, mechanically lighter and cheaper to manufacture wheel type was introduced, which replaced the old spoked wheels. These remained in use until well into 1944, when the supplies were finally used up. The G-4 was identical to the G-3 and, like the G-1 and G-2 variants, had no pressurized cabin.

The G-3 and G-4 were followed in production by the G-5 as a pressurized fighter and the G-6 without pressurized ventilation. A new type of machine gun was used to improve the standard armament of the Bf 109, which was criticized again and again: The MG 131 in caliber 13 mm replaced the 7.92 mm MG 17 and increased the firepower by a significant increase in the firing weight per second (0.202 kg / s with MG 17 compared to 0.510 kg / s with MG 131). This was bought with a further increase in the empty weight of the machine and two aerodynamically unsightly panels in front of the pilot's cockpit, which quickly earned the crew the nickname "Bump" for the new variant. The G-5 again had a pressure-ventilated cabin, whereas the G-6 version - in consistent application of the previous typification - did not. The two new variants adopted the reinforced chassis introduced in the later G-3 and G-4 machines as standard.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6

The G-5 and G-6 were used extensively in the Luftwaffe's fighter squadrons. At this point in time, the Bf 109 had most likely already passed the height of its development, and its pilots were confronted in rapidly increasing numbers with increasingly sophisticated designs from their opponents. From the spring of 1943, for example, the units of the Reich Defense with their Bf 109 G-5 and G-6 found themselves increasingly involved in defensive battles against heavy American bombers, in the course of which the pilots were often forced to use their machines with both R3 and R6 -Equipment kits. In addition, the omission of a retractable tail wheel (tail wheel) and remaining undercarriage covers as well as the dents of the MG 131 meant that the top speed was rather reduced compared to the F series. The overloaded machines were slower and more difficult to fly, which further increased the pressure on Messerschmitt to develop.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 - cockpit

As a reaction to the new requirements of the air war, Daimler-Benz developed the DB-605-AS engine, practically a DB 605A with the large charger of the DB-603 engine, which was initially used in some machines of the G-5 variant came. A certain number of machines of the G-6 variant, which was in production much longer than the G-5, were equipped with this engine. The G-6 is the most frequently built variant of the Bf 109. These Bf 109 G-5 / AS and G-6 / AS had a significantly improved altitude performance, but fell due to production bottlenecks in the manufacture of the DB-605-AS engine numerically hardly significant. The larger loader of the DB 605 AS required a laterally and upwardly enlarged engine cover, the dents in front of the cockpit otherwise necessary for the MG 131 could be integrated into this cover. This made it easy to distinguish the AS machines from the normal G-5, G-6 and G-14. As a further improvement, Messerschmitt constructed a new, higher and larger vertical fin made of wood, which increased flight stability and reduced the need for strategically important raw materials in the manufacture of the machine. This vertical stabilizer was installed as standard in the G-5 / AS and G-6 / AS conversions as well as the G-14, G-10 and K series.

Further developments resulted in an improved head armor for the pilot (also called "Galland tank"), a shortened antenna mast, simplified MG cover plates and a new canopy from Erla Maschinenwerk GmbH , which replaced the old hood and the fixed rear glazing with a new, one-piece design replaced, which only had two struts. The Erla hood (often incorrectly referred to as the "Galland hood") improved visibility and was very popular with pilots, despite the occasional complaint about problems opening the hood in emergencies. From the end of 1943, a new weapon was also available in the form of the 30 mm machine gun MK 108 , which replaced the 20 mm MG 151/20 as a motor gun in the / U4 sub-versions. The MK 108 had a high impact with the smallest possible dimensions; on average, it only took three hits with 30 mm ammunition to bring down a heavy bomber.

The consequence of these numerous detailed developments, all of which were incorporated into the ongoing production of the G-5 and especially the more durable G-6, resulted in an abundance of sub-variants (G-5 and G-6 with different combinations of engine, armament, antenna mast and canopy and tail unit), which differed clearly from each other, but according to their classification belonged to the same variant. Some of this additional equipment had its own abbreviation, but for a long time there was no variant in which all further developments were standardized in series production. The manufacturing plants often met the demands for ever higher production numbers by installing components that were just available and had to accept delays in the manufacturing process due to their diversity. In the case of the fighter squadrons, this also led to an increasingly expensive stock of spare parts.

The various versions of the Bf 109 G-6 represented the standard fighter of the Luftwaffe until the end of the war. Numerically, the next variant was the G-8, a special reconnaissance version that was converted from G-6 cells. In contrast to previous Bf-109 reconnaissance aircraft, the G-8 had two fuselage cameras as well as a third camera built into the left wing that was aligned using the pilot's visor .

The Bf 109 G-12 was the first two-seater trainer variant of the Bf 109. It met the increasing need for better training options for prospective pilots, whose training times became shorter and shorter in the course of the war. The trainee pilots therefore had to switch to the Bf 109 with its difficult landing behavior increasingly earlier and with fewer and fewer flying hours. The G-12 should give them the necessary safety in handling the machine and thus help reduce the number of accidents - despite the fact that the flight instructor's vision was practically zero, especially during landing. The first G-12 were converted from the existing G-2 trop and were accordingly still equipped with sand filters. Since the main tank had to be greatly reduced in size because the machine was equipped with a second cockpit, the 300-liter additional tank was part of the standard equipment of the G-12. By the end of the war, a little more than 171 machines (as of June 30, 1944) were probably converted from G-2, G-4 and G-6 cells.

The designations G-7, G-9, G-11 and G-13 were reserved for pressurized versions of the Bf 109 that were never built. In terms of production, the G-6 was followed by the G-14 variant, as the more powerful G-10 was still delayed. With the G-14, the newly created Jägerstab - a body that was supposed to endeavor to increase the number of fighter aircraft emissions as part of the so-called Jäger emergency program (during which the production of bombers in favor of fighter planes was throttled and ultimately even stopped entirely) - many of the improvements already introduced on the Bf 109 standardized in one variant. For the G-14, the enlarged wooden tail unit, the shortened antenna mast, the DB-605-AM engine with MW-50 additional injection and the Erla hood were adopted as standard. Although developed at the same time as the G-10, the G-14 was inferior in terms of performance. In addition, numerous machines - as with the G-5 and G-6 variants - were equipped with the DB-605-AS motor. A number of reconnaissance aircraft also emerged under the designation Bf 109 G-14 / R2.

After the G-6, the G-14 was the second most common variant of the Bf 109. In terms of performance, it was no longer able to keep up with the latest Allied fighters towards the end of the war, when it was rolled off the production lines in very large numbers.

HA-1112 (Bf-109G-2) upgraded as G-10 version

The last variant of the G series built in significant numbers was the Bf 109 G-10. In order to be able to provide the Bf 109 with a higher engine power again, Daimler-Benz developed the DB 605 D. Similar to the DB 605 AS, the charger of this engine was improved and the compression ratio increased again. With the standard installation of the MW-50 system (an injection of a mixture of water and methanol in a 50:50 ratio; the methanol increased the output, while the water cooled the cylinder walls and heads), the G-10 became the fastest variant the G series. This variant also had the FuG 25a "Erstling" radio set ex works for recognizing friend and foe , an enlarged wooden tail unit , a radio beacon , the Erla full-view hood and the FuG 16 ZY radio set, the rod antenna of which was mounted under the left wing. Similar to the earlier AS conversions, the G-10 with its DB-605-D engine with a large supercharger also had the upward swung-out engine mounts, which were necessary because the supercharger inlet led through the engine mount and thus required large bulges in front of the cockpit did. These modifications meant that the typical dents on the top of the MG 131 were eliminated. This feature is characteristic of all models of the Bf 109 that were equipped with the DB 605 AS or DB 605 D (Bf 109 G-5 / AS, G-6 / AS, G-14 / AS, G-10 and K- 4).

Due to the continued increase in weight of the late G versions, the main landing gear wheels of the G-10 were enlarged again. This change resulted in conspicuous panels on the upper side of the wings of the machines equipped with it (all from late G-10 production) (see three-sided view of the Bf 109 K-4). A significantly lengthened strut was developed for the rear wheel, with which a smaller angle of attack of the machine was achieved during take-off and landing, which ensured a significantly improved view of the pilot and reduced the tendency to break away during take-off. However, the tail wheel with the long strut was not retractable and the main wheels were still completely covered. Like the Bf 109 G-6 and G-14, the powerful G-10 was in service until the end of the war.

Bf 109 G-2 / R1
Bf 109 G-6 / N
Bf 109 V48

Finally, three interesting offshoots of the G series should be considered here:

  • In the early summer of 1943, ways were sought to enable the fighter-bomber version of the Bf 109 to carry greater loads than the 250 kg bomb that had been used up to now. The 500 kg heavy SC-500 bomb was considered as suitable armament and the plan was to equip the machine with two 300-liter additional tanks at the same time in order to achieve a reasonable penetration range. It turned out that the combined load far exceeded the ground clearance of the Bf 109 - the bomb did not fit under the machine under the given circumstances. As a solution to this problem, the Fieseler company developed a spring strut that can be detached and that returns to earth after a parachute start. This additional undercarriage part allowed the tail wheel to float in the air when it took off and it proved itself in tests. It was found that even with this modification the rear ground clearance of the bomb on its tail unit would have been too low for take-off on the grass runways of forward airfields. The further development of the idea was then canceled.
  • In contrast, the Bf 109 G-6 / N came into service in small numbers and equipped two squadrons of the NJG 11 in early 1944. It was used as part of the so-called Wilde Sau tactic , which arose after the German hunting defense had been temporarily put out of action by British chaff (tinfoil strips that blinded the radar with disproportionate reflections) the previous year. The Bf 109 G-6 / N behind the cockpit were fitted with the antenna of the FuG 350 “Naxos Z.” In order to give the single-seated hunters who had to hunt over the burning target cities at night with a minimum of sensors that could roughly detect enemy bombers Equipped. It was a passive direction finder with the help of which the emission of the British H2S navigation radar could be picked up and determined in terms of direction.
  • Another interesting project was the Bf 109 V48 (G-0 with serial number 14003). With it, a so-called butterfly or V- tail unit was tested, with which a reduced air resistance should be achieved. The machine started for the first time on January 21, 1943, the new tail unit achieved a speed advantage of only 2.5 km / h with insufficient stability around the vertical and transverse axes, whereupon the tests were finally stopped.
Variants Bf 109 G
  • Bf 109 G-0: Jäger, pre-series; DB 601 E engine, 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17, 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20 as a motor cannon; equipped with a pressurized cabin
  • Bf 109 G-1: hunter; DB 605 A engine, armament as G-0; Pressurized cabin
    • Bf 109 G-1 / R2: light high altitude fighter without armor and without additional fuel system, but with GM-1 system, 700 km / h in 7000 m, series of 80 machines
  • Bf 109 G-2: hunter; Engine and armament as G-1; no pressurized cabin
    • Bf 109 G-2 trop: hunter; Engine and armament as G-2; Tropical version (sand filter, emergency equipment)
    • Bf 109 G-2 / R1: Jaborei, fighter bomber with increased range: 1 × 500 kg bomb under the fuselage, 2 × 300 l additional tanks under the surfaces, only trial.
    • Bf 109 G-2 / R2: reconnaissance aircraft; Engine and armament as G-2; Reconnaissance camera Rb 50/30, Rb 75/30, Rb 20/30 or Rb 12.5 / 9 in the fuselage behind the pulpit
  • Bf 109 G-3: hunter; Engine and armament as G-1; Replacement of Fug 7a for FuG 16, enlarged wheels; Pressurized cabin
  • Bf 109 G-4: hunter; Engine and armament as G-3; no pressurized cabin
    • Bf 109 G-4 trop: hunter; Engine and armament as G-4; Tropical version (sand filter, emergency equipment)
    • Bf 109 G-4 / R2: reconnaissance aircraft; Engine and armament as G-1; Reconnaissance camera Rb 50/30 in the fuselage behind the pulpit
  • Bf 109 G-5: hunter; Engine like G-4, armament 2 × 13 mm MG 131, 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20 as motor cannon; Pressurized cabin
    • Bf 109 G-5 / U2: hunter; Engine and armament as G-5; GM-1 additional injection
    • Bf 109 G-5 / AS: hunter; DB 605 AS engine, armament as G-5; enlarged vertical tail made of wood
  • Bf 109 G-6: hunter; Engine like G-5, armament 2 × 13 mm MG 131, 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20 as motor cannon; no pressurized cabin
    • Bf 109 G-6 trop: hunter; Engine and armament as G-6; Tropical version (sand filter, emergency equipment)
    • Bf 109 G-6 / R2: reconnaissance aircraft; Engine like G-6, armament 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20; with row display device RB 50/30
    • Bf 109 G-6 / R3: reconnaissance aircraft; Engine like G-6, armament 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20; with row display device RB 75/30
    • Bf 109 G-6 / U2: hunter; Engine and armament as G-6; GM-1 additional injection
    • Bf 109 G-6 / U3: hunter; Engine and armament as G-6; MW-50 additional injection
    • Bf 109 G-6 / U4: like G-6 but 30 mm motorized cannon MK 108 instead of the 20 mm MG 151/20
    • Bf 109 G-6 / N: night fighter; Engine and armament like G-6, often equipped with the R III (additional tank) and R VI (two MG 151/20 under the wings), FuG 350 Naxos-Z
    • Bf 109 G-6 / AS: hunter; DB 605 AS engine, armament as G-6; enlarged vertical tail made of wood
    • Bf 109 G-6 / Y: command machine for squadron and group leaders; FuG-16-ZY radio, DF antenna under the fuselage
  • Bf 109 G-8: reconnaissance aircraft; Engine like G-6, armament 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20; two RB-12.5 / 7 × 9 or 32/7 × 9 cameras in the fuselage behind the cockpit; no pressurized cabin
  • Bf 109 G-10: hunter; Engine DB 605 DM or DB, armament like G-6; partially reinforced chassis; enlarged vertical tail made of wood and engines with MW-50 additional injection as standard; no pressurized cabin;
    • Bf 109 G-10 / U4: like G-10, but 30 mm motorized cannon MK 108 instead of the 20 mm MG 151/20
  • Bf 109 G-12: two-seater trainer; Modifications made from excess G cells of different variants
  • Bf 109 G-14: hunter; Engine DB 605 AM; Armament like G-6; enlarged vertical tail made of wood and engines with MW-50 additional injection as standard, no pressurized cabin
    • Bf 109 G-14 / AS: hunter; DB 605 ASM engine; Armament like G-6
    • Bf 109 G-14 / U4: like G-14 but 30 mm motorized cannon MK 108 instead of the 20 mm MG 151/20
Technical specifications
Parameter Data of the Bf 109 G-6 Data of the Bf 109 G-10
crew 1
length 8.95 m
span 9.97 m
Wing area 16.4 m²
height 2.60 m
Empty mass 2250 kg 1970 kg
Takeoff mass 3200 kg 3280 kg
Top speed 630 km / h at an altitude of 6600 m 685 km / h at an altitude of 7400 m
Rise time to 3000 k. A. 2:54 min
Service ceiling 12,000 m 12,500 m
Range 560 km, 850 km with an additional 300 l tank
Engine a 12-cylinder V-engine Daimler-Benz DB 605 A with a maximum take-off power of 1085 kW (1475 PS) a 12-cylinder V-engine Daimler-Benz DB 605 DB with a starting power of 1055 kW (1435 PS)
through methanol-water injection (MW-50) for a short time 1324 kW (1800 PS) special emergency power
  • two 13 mm MG-131s (300 rounds each) above the engine
  • a 20 mm MG 151/20 (200 rounds) firing through the propeller hub
  • Various conversion kits for under-wing guns (2 × MG 151/20 or 2 × MK 108), rockets (2 × WGr 21 or 42), a bomb carrier ETC 50 VIIId (4 × 50 kg) or a bomb carrier ETC 500 IXb (1 × 250 kg ) or a bomb carrier ETC 503 (1 × 500 kg)

Bf 109 H

Bf 109 H-1
Messerschmitt Me P.1091 / III

At the beginning of 1943, parallel to the further development of the G-series, Messerschmitt began first attempts to derive a high-altitude hunter version from the Bf 109. In order to keep the development effort as low as possible, the company suggested to the RLM a derivative from the Bf-109-F series, the span of which was increased to 11.92 m by a new, rectangular wing center section firmly connected to the fuselage. The pivot bearings of the suspension struts of the main landing gear moved to its outer ends, so that the track width of the machine increased significantly and thus came close to that of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 . This made the Bf 109 easier to take off and land and less prone to breakaway. When retracted, the suspension struts fit exactly into the openings in the unchanged outer wing. Even when these were removed, the 109 still had the advantage of being able to stand on its own chassis. The first test machine of the planned H-series was named V49 and came from the F-series. With the new designation Bf 109 H V1 it was used for performance tests at Daimler-Benz in Stuttgart-Echterdingen, whereby flight altitudes of over 12,000 m were reached several times. For this purpose, the machine was equipped with the pressurized cabin introduced in the G series, which the F series did not yet have. In the summer of 1943 a pre-series H-0 was launched which, in addition to the new wing center section, had an elevator that was also enlarged in its wingspan and, like the E series of the Bf 109, was braced towards the fuselage. The engine was the DB 601 E with a GM-1 system, the armament included two 7.92 mm MG 17 and a 30 mm MK-108 automatic cannon behind the engine block. Despite a takeoff weight of 3800 kg, the H-0 could reach speeds over 740 km / h at altitudes of 14,000 m. At the beginning of 1944, an air force test squadron used these machines on a trial basis near Paris under severe conditions. At high speeds, strong wing vibrations were found, which ultimately led to the termination of these tests.

The H-0 was followed by a small series of H-1 machines that had been converted from the Bf 109 G-5. They had Rb 50/30 or 75/30 reconnaissance cameras in the fuselage behind the cockpit and were used as short-range altitude reconnaissance aircraft over Great Britain.

Further versions of the H series were planned, the H-2 heavy high altitude fighter was to be equipped with a total of three 30 mm MK-108 automatic cannons in the fuselage and wings in addition to the two 7.92 mm MG-17 machine guns. The H-3 was planned as a light high-altitude fighter with an armament of two 13-mm-MG-131-machine guns and a single 30-mm-MK-108, while the designation H-4 hid a project for an unarmed high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. The H-2, H-3 and H-4 were to be equipped with the Junkers-Jumo-213 engine, while the Daimler-Benz DB 605 L was planned for the H-5 version, which had special height loaders. The calculated maximum speed of this machine, known as the Bf 109 L, was over 760 km / h at an altitude of 11,000 m.

The entire development of the Bf 109 H was abandoned in February 1944 in favor of the Ta 152 H from the Focke-Wulf company, not least because of the vibration problems that occurred during use .

On the basis of preliminary work at Messerschmitt, Blohm & Voss developed the Me 155 (a modification of the Bf 109 with enlarged wings and turbocharger, which was initially developed as an on-board fighter for the Graf Zeppelin aircraft carrier , then as a fighter-bomber and finally as a high-altitude fighter - no variant the Me 155 was realized) the BV 155, a hunter for extreme heights, which used some components of the Bf 109, for example the outer wing. The very last plans for a special height variant of the Bf 109 were carried out internally at Messerschmitt under the designation Me P.1091 / I – III. All three planned variants of this project were to be developed from Bf-109-G-5 cells and to take over the enlargements of the wings and tail unit already used on the Bf 109 H. P.1091 / III was to be powered by a Daimler-Benz DB-603 engine with a special TKL-15 high-altitude loader. Additional charge air should be at a great height via a so-called tunnel hub, i.e. H. a hollow propeller spinner. The Me P.1091 remained a project.

Variants Bf 109 H
  • Bf 109 H-0: high altitude hunters, pre-series machines; Conversion from Bf 109 F-4 / Z with DB 601 E and GM-1 additional injection, span 11.92 m; Armament: 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17, 1 × 30 mm MK 108
  • Bf 109 H-1: High altitude fighter, engine and armament like F-0
  • Bf 109 H-2: Heavy high altitude fighter, Junkers Jumo 213 engine, 2 × 7.92 mm MG 17 armament, 3 × 30 mm MK 108 (project only)
  • Bf 109 H-3: Light high altitude fighter, Junkers Jumo 213 engine, 2 × 13 mm MG 131 armament, 1 × 30 mm MK 108 (project only)
  • Bf 109 H-4: high altitude reconnaissance aircraft; Engine like H-2, no armament; Rb 50/30 or 75/30 reconnaissance cameras in the fuselage behind the cockpit
  • Bf 109 H-5: high altitude fighter; Daimler-Benz DB 605 L engine (project only)
Technical specifications
Parameter Data of the Bf 109 H-0
crew 1
length 8.85 m
span 11.92 m
height 2.60 m
Takeoff mass 3800 kg
Top speed k. A.
Service ceiling 14,000 m
Range 800 km
Engine a 12-cylinder V-engine Daimler-Benz DB 601 E with GM-1 injection and 1350 hp starting power
Armament two 7.92 mm MG 17 above the engine (500 rounds each) and a 20 mm MG 151/20 automatic cannon, firing through the propeller hub (150–200 rounds).

Bf 109 K

Bf 109 K-4
Bf 109 K-6
Bf 109 K-4, 11. Staffel / JG 3, flown by NCO Martin Deskau, Pasewalk / Germany in April 1945

The Bf 109 K represented the last production series of the Bf 109. It owed its existence primarily to the efforts of the Jägerstab to further rationalize and standardized production of the machine. With the K-4 an attempt was made to combine the best features of the G-10 variants with some further improvements. A team led by Ludwig Bölkow was responsible for standardizing production .

The K series received the powerful DB 605 D engine with MW-50 additional injection, the enlarged wooden rudder unit, the full-view hood ("Erla hood") and the enlarged wheels of the G10 together with the corresponding enlarged panels on the upper side of the wing and as standard for the first time even "residual covers", which now completely closed the main landing gear shafts. The extended tail wheel, which was now retractable again, was now completely covered with a two-part flap. The aerodynamically more favorable inlaid fairings of the fuselage MG were also adopted from the G10. These aerodynamic improvements, together with the more powerful engine, resulted in a speed increase of 35 to 40 km / h compared to the G10 series and 60 to 70 km / h compared to the main G6 series.

Other innovations in the K-series involved small things, such as moving the monitoring frame by one panel to the rear and relocating the tank nozzle and manhole on the left side of the fuselage by one fuselage panel each to the front. The manhole was cut differently and placed higher. Under the right wing was an antenna pointing slightly forward.

The only version of the K series that was used was the K-4. Only a few examples of the K-2 and K-6 were ever built, but today it is no longer possible to determine with certainty whether a single machine of these variants was ever put into service. All other planned versions could no longer be made ready for production before the end of the war. With a measured 715 km / h, the K-4 was the fastest Bf 109 from series production, a prototype with a special thin-blade propeller even reached 725 km / h. The Bf 109 K-4 surpassed the climbing performance of important Allied types like the Tempest Mk. V, Spitfire Mk. XIV or P-51 D Mustang.

Some older publications claim about the K series that 15 mm MG 151 automatic cannons took the place of the 13 mm MG 131 in front of the cockpit; also that a variant with a 30 mm MK 103 motor cannon was in production. This notion is untenable, as the 30mm MK 103 turned out to be too big, too long and too heavy for an aircraft like the Bf 109. The use of the 15 mm MG 151 as a rump weapon in front of the cockpit was also not technically possible, since this project would have resulted in extensive modifications (engine mount, fire bulkhead, additional engine units, etc.). In addition, the 15 mm version of the MG 151 had long been retired or converted to the 20 mm caliber.

Variants Bf 109 K
  • Bf 109 K-0: Jäger, pre-series machines (converted from G-10 cells); Engine DB 605 DM, armament 2 × 13-mm-MG 131, 1 × 30-mm-MK-108-automatic cannon; no pressurized cabin
  • Bf 109 K-2: hunter; Engine DB 605 DM, DB or DC with MW-50 injection, armament 2 × 13-mm-MG 131, 1 × 30-mm-MK-108-automatic cannon; no pressurized cabin (no series production)
  • Bf 109 K-4: hunter; Engine and armament as K-2; no pressurized cabin
  • Bf 109 K-6: hunter; Motor DB 605 DC, armament 2 × 13-mm-MG 131, 3 × 30-mm-MK-108-automatic cannon (no series production)
  • Bf 109 K-8: hunter; Motor like K-6, armament 1 × 30-mm-MK-103 and 2 × 30-mm-MK-108 automatic cannon (no series production)
  • Bf 109 K-10: Jäger engine like K-6, armament 2 × 13-mm-MG 131, 1 × 30-mm-MK-103- and 2 × 30-mm-MK-108-machine cannon (no series production)
  • Bf 109 K-14: hunter; DB 605 L engine, 2 × 13 mm MG 131, 1 × 30 mm MK-103 and 2 × 30-mm MK-108 machine guns (no series production)
Technical specifications
Parameter Data of the Bf 109 K-4
crew 1
length 8.95 m
span 9.97 m
Wing area 16.4 m²
height 2.60 m
Empty mass 1970 kg
Takeoff mass 3500 kg
Top speed 715 km / h at 7400 m altitude
Service ceiling 12,500 m
Range 560 km, 850 km with an additional 300 l tank
Engine a 12-cylinder V-engine Daimler-Benz DB 605 DC with 1010 kW (1370 PS) starting power
through methanol-water injection (MW-50) for a short time 1470 kW (2000 PS)
Armament two 13 mm  MG 131 (300 rounds each) above the engine and a 30 mm MK 108 (65 rounds, firing through the propeller hub); In addition , various kits for underwing guns (2 × MG 151/20 ) or missiles (2 × WGr 21 or 42), a bomb carrier ETC 500 IXb (1 × 250 kg) or a bomb carrier ETC 503 (1 × 250 kg or 1 × 500 kg )

Engine variants

Bf 109 V21
Bf 109 X (with BMW 801)
Bf 109 with Junkers Jumo 213

The Bf 109 was equipped with a large number of engines in the course of its development. The Rolls-Royce Kestrel, which powered the first prototype, was followed by the Junkers Jumo 210, which in turn was replaced by the DB 600 and its successors, the DB 601 and DB 605. This fact speaks not only for the great flexibility of the Bf-109 cell, but also for Messerschmitt's constant willingness to examine the potential of new drives for their suitability in the Bf 109.

It is therefore not surprising that, in addition to the well-known engines, there were also less well-known tests with other engines, such as the Bf 109 V21 (serial number 1770). As early as mid-1938, this machine was converted to a US 14-cylinder double radial engine of the type P & W Twin Wasp SC-G in order to test the potential of air-cooled radial engines. The installation of such an engine in the slim, V-engine designed airframe of the Bf 109 entailed extensive changes, for example a significantly wider fuselage. The machine was also equipped with a flatter rear fuselage and a completely new sliding hood, which had significantly better visibility. The bracing of the horizontal stabilizer was also made unnecessary by reinforcing the new rear fuselage. The machine with the 1065 hp engine flew for the first time on August 17, 1939 under the leadership of Hermann Wurster. The subsequent testing at the Hermann Göring Aviation Research Institute (LFA) in Völkenrode near Braunschweig (license plate KB+II) did not result in any performance advantages compared to the V-engine powered versions of the Bf 109.

At the beginning of 1941, Messerschmitt converted another machine from the F-0 series to a radial engine - this time it was the new 14-cylinder radial engine BMW 801 , which at that time had a starting power of 1560 hp. The machine (serial number 5608, registration number D-ITXP, engine BMW 801 A / 80153) ran under the project designation Bf 109 X and - contrary to the standard of the F-series - had truncated angular wing tips with a wingspan of 9.33 m (normally 9.92 ) and a wing area of ​​16.3 m². On September 2, 1940, Fritz Wendel took the machine on its maiden flight. The flight tests of the Bf 109 X did not yield any advantages over the conventional Bf 109 either; the test pilots compared the flight characteristics of the machine with those of the Bf 109 E. In July 1941, the program was discontinued by order of the Technical Office. By then, 25 starts had been carried out.

Conversion versions and modifications

There were always special types of the Bf 109 for certain purposes, based on more or less complex conversions of standard versions. These versions are referred to as the standard version with a certain set-up status or as a conversion version or with a set-up kit . The setup and conversion versions were permanent modifications, setup kits could be installed or removed at the field airfields within around 20 minutes. Bf 109s with equipment were marked with an / Rx number, conversion versions with an / Ux number. The designations varied within the different series of the Bf 109, but always remained the same within a series. Aircraft with an equipment status were mostly removed from ongoing production and adapted to the respective requirements in special operations. In the case of conversion versions, this could also be done in front shipyards or repair workshops. Contrary to popular belief, adding an upgrade kit in no way changed the name of the aircraft.

Selection of known modifications
  • Setup stands
    • / trop (from E series) conversion for use in hot, sandy areas; Sand filter on the air intakes of the engine, additional ventilation of the cockpit; special emergency equipment
    • / B: (E series) fighter-bomber; Bomb carrier under the fuselage and more powerful DB-601-Aa engine
    • / N: (E series) high altitude hunters; Installation of a more powerful DB-601N motor
    • / NZ, / Z: (E series): high altitude hunters; Installation of the GM-1 additional injection in machines with DB-601N engine
    • / Z: (only F-4): high altitude hunters; Installation of the GM-1 additional injection
    • / AS: (G series) high altitude hunters; Installation of the DB-605-AS elevator motor, enlarged vertical tail unit (only G-5 / G-6; standard for G-10 and G-14)
    • / N: (G series): Night hunters for wild boar missions; Additional radio direction finder equipment, partly with FuG 350 Naxos-Z for tracking in enemy radar emissions
    • / Y (G-series from G-4) command machine for relay and group leaders; FuG-16-ZY radio, DF antenna under the fuselage (Morane mast) for location determination and direction by hunter control stations
    • / R1: (G series) long-range fighter-bombers; 250 kg bomb under the fuselage, two 300 l additional tanks under the wings, additional oil tank for the engine; if so, then only built in small numbers, as the Fw 190G was better suited
    • / R2 to / R5: conversion to reconnaissance aircraft; Installation of various cameras; partly reduced armament; partly GM-1 or MW-50 additional injection, partly additional tanks under the wings
      • / R2: RB (Line Imager) 50/30 camera equipment; Armament like production version
      • / R3: RB-50/30 camera, MG-151/20 motor cannon only, additional tank under each wing; 15 l additional container for lubricating oil
      • / R5: Two RB-12.5 / 7 × 9 or 32/7 × 9 cameras; Armament like production version
    • / R6: conversion into an all-weather fighter; Additional navigation and radio direction finding equipment
  • Conversion versions using the G series as an example
    • / U1: Variable pitch propeller with reverse thrust (only prototypes)
    • / U2: Additional tank behind the cockpit, initially used for GM-1 additional injection (nitrous oxide), 1944 conversion of around 300 units for MW-50
    • / U3: reconnaissance version, partly with MW-50 additional injection, later renamed to G-8
    • / U4: 30 mm MK-108 motor cannon instead of the normal 20 mm MG 151/20
  • Upgrade kits using the G series as an example
    • R1: ETC-500 bomb carrier with a 250 kg bomb under the fuselage
    • R2: ETC-500 bomb carrier with ER4 adapter under the fuselage, on it four 50 kg bombs
    • R3: 300 l additional tank under the fuselage
    • R4: two 30 mm MK-108 automatic cannons in nacelles, one under each wing (not used in use)
    • R6: two 20 mm MG 151/20 automatic cannons in nacelles, one under each wing
    • R7: DF frame for determining the direction of radio beacons
    • BR21: two launch tubes for 21 cm WGr-21 missiles, one under each wing

Projects and further developments

Me 209

At the end of 1942, the need became increasingly clear to significantly improve the performance of the Luftwaffe's standard fighter. In parallel to the further development of the Bf 109, further developments based on the Bf 109 were therefore initiated at this point in time. The result of these efforts was the Me 209 , which according to its name should not be confused with the Messerschmitt Me 209 record aircraft, which, under its propaganda designation Bf 109 R, achieved the absolute world speed record for aircraft on April 26, 1939 at 755.138 km / h would have.

The Me 209, developed on the basis of the Bf 109 G, with 70% identical components, was completed in April 1944. It was developed to compete with the Focke-Wulf Ta 152 H (successor to the Fw 190D ) and had the powerful Daimler-Benz DB 603 engine, which had a take-off power of more than 2000 hp. This unit was a parallel development to the DB 601 with increased displacement and loader, similar to the DB 605, which had been developed from the DB 601 E. On the Me 209, the engine was also equipped with a ring cooler, which made additional wing coolers superfluous.

The wingspan of the machine has been increased drastically in order to have sufficient reserves of buoyancy even at great heights. In addition, the machine was equipped with a landing gear attached to the outside of the wings, which had a very large track width. The tail surfaces have also been enlarged, especially the strikingly high, newly designed vertical tail. The basic armament was the MG 131 known from the Bf 109, which was now to be mounted in the wing roots, as well as a 30 mm motor cannon of the MK 108 type, which were initially not mounted in the V5 prototype. In addition, up to four suspension options for gondola weapons (20 mm MG 151/20 or 30 mm MK 108) were provided under the wings. After the completion of the V5 it became clear that there would be bottlenecks in the delivery of the DB-603 engine. Messerschmitt responded by equipping the following V6 with the Junkers Jumo 213 engine, which was in the same performance class as the DB 603. In addition, the V6 had the planned armament right from the start, although it was intended to carry it through to strengthen the replacement of MG 131 by MG 151.

In flight tests, the Me 209 performed well, but it fell short of expectations. The reinforcements on the airframe, which had become necessary due to the use of a significantly more powerful motor, had greatly increased the curb weight of the Me 209. The modifications also meant that fewer and fewer components from the ongoing production of the Bf 109 could be used in the new machine. In addition, their potential for further improvements seemed overall less than that of the Focke-Wulf Ta 152 ; the Me 209 project was then discontinued on the instructions of the Technical Office.

Bf 109 Z-1

At around the same time as the first planning for the Me 209 began, the RLM first began considering a reduction in the number of aircraft types in series in order to be able to significantly increase production figures for the Air Force. Messerschmitt then developed the project of a Bf-109 twin, which should meet the requirements for a new destroyer and high-speed bomber with little development effort. The great advantage of such a solution was the quick availability of the components of the Bf 109, which were already in series production and which had also proven themselves in tough use for years. The new machine would also make only minor additional demands on the supply and storage of spare parts for the task forces - enough reasons for the RLM to allow Messerschmitt to pursue the proposed project under the designation Bf 109 Z.

The execution as a twin of two aircraft connected to one another by a new wing center section and horizontal stabilizer was initially successfully tested with two coupled Klemm Kl-25 training aircraft. The development of the Bf 109 Z should be based on Bf-109-G cells, which should be connected by a newly developed wing center section and a likewise new horizontal stabilizer. Both fuselages, right and left wing halves and the remaining wing parts could be used up to 20 percent. Newly added were the rectangular wing center section, a rectangular horizontal stabilizer between the two vertical stabilizers and significantly longer slats and ailerons on the two outer wings. The chassis suspension was changed so that the struts could be struck much further inwards. This resulted in increased ground clearance, which was supposed to remedy the problems of the Bf 109 with bombs over 250 kg (see Bf 109 G-2 / R1). In addition, the enlarged wheels from the G-3 variant were provided, which brought additional bulges on the upper side of the wings.

The machine's pilot was to be housed in the left fuselage, while the right fuselage was intended to accommodate an enlarged fuel tank.

The destroyer version was to be armed with extremely powerful equipment with five 30 mm MK 108 automatic cannons. Two of them were to fire conventionally (and as known from the Bf 109 G) through the propeller shaft, a third cannon was to be housed in the wing center section, while the remaining two cannons were to be hung in gondola containers under the outer wings. The plan was to build two versions:

  • Bf 109 Z-1: destroyer; Engine 2 × Daimler-Benz DB 605 A, armament 5 × 30 mm automatic cannon MK 108, bombs up to 500 kg
  • Bf 109 Z-2: high-speed bomber; Engine like Z-1, armament 2 × 30 mm automatic cannon MK 108, bombs up to 2000 kg (2 × 1000 kg); Tank volume increased from 825 to 1140 liters

The wingspan of the Bf 109 Z was 13.27 m in the planning, the wing area was 23.2 m². The calculated maximum speed of the 6250 kg heavy Z-1 was 710 km / h at an altitude of 7100 m without external loads. Calculations on the basis of a motorization by the Junkers Jumo 213 resulted in purely mathematical even a maximum speed of 762 km / h at an altitude of 8500 m. The flight performance of the 8300 kg high-speed bomber version Z-2 was only slightly below that of the Z-1. Ultimately, the promising Bf 109 Z project failed because of the increasing priority of fighter development, which from mid-1944 on was given absolute priority over all bomber and destroyer projects.

In June and July 1941 there was a meeting between the RLM and Messerschmitt to develop a float variant of the Bf 109 with the designation Bf 109 W. Corresponding conversions are known from the Supermarine Spitfire and Nakajima A6M2-N calls . The airframe of the Bf 109 F with DB 601 E was to be used. In order to reduce the construction effort, it was planned to use the floats of the Arado Ar 196 . It is not certain whether the project was implemented, as there was a high workload at Messerschmitt at the time. According to some sources, however, a total of six Bf 109 W-1 machines are said to have been completed and used in Norway.

Bf 109 TL

The last project of the Bf-109 further developments aimed again at a fighter aircraft with superior performance. In a meeting in the RLM on January 22nd, 1944, the proposal was made to convert the Bf 109 into a new twin-engined one using the fuselage of the Me 155 (see section Bf 109 T), the landing gear of the Me 309 and the wings of the Me 409 To build a fighter plane that should take over large parts of the fuselage unchanged from the Bf 109. The armament of the further development, internally known as the Me 109 TL, was to consist of four automatic cannons in caliber 20 or 30 mm, the drive of two Junkers Jumo 004 jet turbines with axial compressors. The idea was abandoned when it became apparent that extensive design changes would be necessary to realize the project.

One of the many experimental projects was the use of a 500 kg bomb. Fieseler in Kassel developed the project, while Škoda then built the prototype, which was named FiSk 199. A Bf 109 G-0 ( BD+GC) was converted for this purpose. The DB 601 still installed in this was replaced by a DB 605, an R4 drop tank was placed under each wing and an ETC-500 bomb carrier under the fuselage. In order to achieve sufficient ground clearance, a third landing gear leg was installed in the middle part of the fuselage directly behind the pilot's seat. After the start, the additional leg was thrown off and floated to the ground on a parachute. Some tests were carried out successfully, but there was still no series production.

Technical specifications
Parameter Data of the Me 209 V5
crew 1
length 9.74 m
span 10.95 m
Wing area 17.2 m²
height 4.00 m
Top speed 678 km / h
Service ceiling 11,000 m
Empty mass 3340 kg
Takeoff mass 4085 kg
Engine a 12-cylinder V-engine Daimler-Benz DB 603 with a maximum of 1900 hp
Armament two 13-mm-MG 131 in the plane roots and one 30-mm-MK MK 108 (60-65 rounds, firing through the propeller hub)


Determining the production figures for the Bf 109 is problematic. Sometimes documents contradict each other, whereby the monthly reports and the totaled information in the production programs differ in particular. For example, a delivery of ten F-3s in March 1942 can be found in the monthly deliveries that were probably recorded as F-4s in the production programs. In 1944, considerably more G-6s were recorded as adopted in the monthly reports than in the programs. Instead, the number of G-14s is lower in the monthly reports. This can be explained by the fact that G-14 were counted as G-6 in the monthly reports. The reason for this was that in 1944/45 numerous G-14s were delivered as training aircraft without an MW-50 system, which practically put them in the equipment state of a G-6. This also explains why G-6s were still delivered in February 1945, although the series was supposed to expire at the beginning of December 1944. A total of around 13,000 G-6s with variants were built between February 1943 and February 1945. Since September 1944, the industry has delivered around 1,600 aircraft of the last variant, the K-4. In the same month, production of the G-10 started, although significant numbers were not delivered until November 1944 (around 2000 in total).

The production of the Bf 109 was divided between many plants. The A and C series were built by the BFW Augsburg . Erla Maschinenwerk in Leipzig and Gerhard-Fieseler-Werke in Kassel (GFW) were already involved in the B series . From the D series onwards, AGO Flugzeugwerke , Focke-Wulf and Arado Warnemünde (ArW) were also added. After the "Anschluss" of Austria in 1938, the Wiener Neustädter Flugzeugwerke (WNF) also built the Bf 109 (from E-3). Messerschmitt AG Augsburg set up a production facility in Regensburg with Messerschmitt GmbH (MttR) so that the parent plant in Augsburg could concentrate on other aircraft. After Regensburg was bombed in August 1943, the final assembly of the Bf 109 was relocated to the nearby Obertraubling plant, where the Obertraubling satellite camp was built in February 1945 . From autumn 1943 the Wiener Neustädter Flugzeugwerke was heavily bombed by the Allies. After the production of the Bf 109 was largely paralyzed there for months, aircraft production in Wiener Neustädter was split over several locations or moved underground at great expense. The T series, which was intended for the German aircraft carriers, was built by Fieseler. From version F-4, production was concentrated at Erla, MttR and WNF until the end of the war. Only the large Hungarian group of Manfréd Weiss (→  Csepel ) delivered approx. 450 G-series aircraft from its Győr plant (today the vehicle manufacturer Rába ). In the summer of 1944, the WNF relocated part of their G-10 production to three railway tunnels in Moravia under the code name Diana . The cells found there after the end of the war formed the basis of the construction of the Avia S.99 .

Production of the Bf 109 until November 30, 1944
version Erla MttR BFW WNF Győr FW Ago GFW ArW TOTAL
A. 20th 20th
B-1 175 76 99 350
C. 58 58
D. 168 4th 123 128 80 144 647
E-1 14th 90 80 665 615 1,464
E-3 838 35 50 275 1,198
E-4 275 245 496
E-5 26th 26th
E-6N 9 9
E-7 105 63 87 135 64 454
E-8 38 22nd 60
T 70 70
F-1 157 49 206
F-2 218 208 170 378 258 1,233
F-4 121 121
F-4 / R1 240 240
F-4 / R2 5 5
F-4 / R3 36 36
F-4tp 576 576
F-4Z 55 806 861
G-1 20th 67 87
G-1 / R2 80 80
G-2 160 99 914 1,173
G-2tp 384 22nd 406
G-2 / R1 10 10
G-3 50 50
G-4 89 636 725
G-4tp 266 173 439
G-4 / R3 80 80
G-5 475 475
G-6 2,565 4.119 1,159 7,843
G-6AS 325 325
G-6 / R2 130 130
G-6 / R3 40 40
G-6 / U2 324 324
G-6 / U4 1,632 31 1,663
G-6tp 298 1,119 1,417
G-8 167 167
G-8 / R5 734 31 767
G-10 333 112 445
G-10 / R6 49 49
G-14 2,022
G-14AS 1.306
G-14 / U4 32 582
G div. Destroyed 119 119
Ga2 1 1
Ga4 16 16
Ga6 106 106
K-2 1 1
K-4 531 531
TOTAL 494 217 213 586 1,071 1,116 29,595

According to delivery schedule 228 of March 15, 1945, production of the Bf 109 was to be phased out in March 1945 with 600 aircraft built. Exact production figures are not available, but can be approximated. By November 1944 (excluding Hungary production) 29,278 Bf 109s were built, and by January 1945 a total of 31,574 units. In February and March 1477 aircraft were taken over. Destroyed or destroyed aircraft must be added to this number before handover, but the number is not known. Since no air raids were carried out on the Bf 109 factories in these two months, around 1,500 Bf 109s can be expected. By April 11, 1945, the Luftwaffe took over a further 34 aircraft (including a K-4). This means that around 33,100 to 33,200 aircraft are likely to have been built by German industry. This includes 217 aircraft that were assigned to the Air Force from Hungarian production. The total production includes about 1450 close-up aircraft. Between December 1943 and January 1945 Blohm & Voss delivered a total of 403 two-seater conversions Bf 109 G-12. In 1942, the repair industry converted a total of 473 E-versions into Bf 109 E-7 / U1 and U2 attack aircraft. The production of the Bf 109 thus made up a quarter of the total German aircraft production from 1933 to 1945.

Versions not listed above were also delivered: eight E-9Ns in January 1941 (possibly registered as E-4), two F-0s in December 1940, ten F-3s in March 1942 (registered as F-4s), one F -8 in November 1941 (recorded as F), five F-4 / R8 in November 1941 (recorded as F) and one G-1 / R1 in September 1942 (recorded as G-1). Also not listed are export models that were sold directly to foreign buyers without going through the air force (e.g. E-3a for Switzerland). License production abroad (if not re-imported to Germany like the Ga series from Győr) z. B. for the Hungarian or Romanian air force is also not included in these data. The production numbers of the E-series are not divided into the sub-versions B, BN and N.

Deliveries of Bf-109 fighters to the air fleets from December 1944 to April 11, 1945
version December January February March until April 11, 1945 TOTAL
G-6 109 64 9 182
G-14 11 79 157 47 294
G-14 AS 203 211 62 11 487
G-14 / U4 56 47 2 18th
G-10 67 104 38 4th 213
G-10 / R6 191 268 178 284 921
G-10 / U4 62 79 132 95 368
K-4 325 338 233 168 1 1,065
G 33 33
TOTAL 1,024 1,190 811 609 34 3,668

The number of industrial deliveries (excluding damaged and destroyed aircraft) was 3662 for the period from December 1944 to March 1945. This means that the acquisitions can be regarded as largely identical to production.

The Bf 109 in service with the Air Force

The Bf 109 was used by the Luftwaffe as an air superiority fighter, as an interceptor against bombers and as a fighter-bomber ( low-flying aircraft ) and reconnaissance aircraft against ground targets.

Pre-War Period and Spanish Civil War

Bf 109 B-2, 10./JG 132 "Richthofen", October 1938
Bf 109 C-1 Stab / Jagdgruppe 88 , Condor Legion , La Cenia , Spain 1938

In the spring of 1937 the Luftwaffe received the first copies of their new standard fighter, the Bf 109. These were Bf 109 B machines, which were first delivered to the Fighter Wing 132 “Richthofen” at Jüterbog-Damm air base . At this time, the machines used in the German Reich in the Luftwaffe were painted a uniform dark green on the top and a blue-gray camouflaged against the sky on the bottom. Later this camouflage pattern was modified to the so-called splinter camouflage , which introduced sharply delimited fields in black-green to dark-green, which improved the camouflage effect especially over wooded areas. In peacetime, the large and carefully executed squadron badges and individual paintwork on the machines, which were sometimes only attached for photo shoots for propaganda reasons, were also striking. At this point in time, the Bf 109 replaced the fighter biplanes of the Jagdgeschwader, which had previously been mainly equipped with Heinkel He 51s. With the arrival of the Bf 109, the Luftwaffe received for the first time the realistic ability to defend German airspace.

Even at this early point in time, the first Bf-109 machines from series production in the Spanish Civil War were used by the Condor Legion in Jagdgruppe 88 under war conditions. This support of General Franco's troops, which was contrary to international law, required external camouflage for political reasons - the aircraft of Jagdgruppe 88 therefore wore the badges of the fascist forces of the Falange Española . For the Air Force, which was still very young at that time, testing the Bf 109 under real combat conditions meant the opportunity to uncover the technical weaknesses of the machine and to further develop its overall performance. In addition, the combat experience was used to develop new, more flexible tactics, which later contributed much to the initial superiority of the German fighter squadrons at the beginning of the Second World War.

In the Condor Legion, the Bf 109 also showed remarkable technical potential. In its flight performance it was at this time clearly superior to the fighters of other countries, which were also used in the Spanish Civil War. Before the arrival of the first machines, the Republican armed forces had succeeded in gaining air superiority with the Polikarpow I-16 , a Russian hunting monoplane with retractable landing gear . The appearance of the Bf 109 turned the situation in favor of the Falangists. By the end of the war on April 1, 1939, machines of the B, C, D and E versions were used in Spain, a total of almost 140 series machines; there were also three pre-series copies (V3, V4 and V6).


Bf 109 D-1, 1st / ZG 2nd

With the attack on Poland on September 1, 1939, the first official combat deployment of the Bf 109 began as part of its use by the Air Force. In the north, Luftflotte 1 Ost under General Albert Kesselring was ready to support Army Group North, and in the area of ​​Army Group South, Luftflotte 4 Südost under General Alexander Löhr. According to the daily inventory reports of the airborne units, both air fleets had pulled together a total of 1581 aircraft of all types of operation, compared to a total of only 852 Polish aircraft. The eight fighter groups combined in both air fleets (four and parts of a fifth in Luftflotte 1, three in Luftflotte 4) were able to fall back on 342 Bf 109s, of which 320 were reported ready for action (daily reports from the airborne units). There were also 103 Bf 110 B / C (I./ZG 1, I./ZG 76, I. (Z) / LG 1 ) and 45 Avia B.534 of the Slovak hunting group ("JGr. Spisska Nova Ves" - 14 machines , "JGr. Piestany" - 31 machines). On the German side, the following Bf 109 units were used (strength reports September 2, 1939, in some cases later): I./JG 1 (48 Bf 109 E), I./JG 21 (28 Bf 109 D), II. (J) / 186 (T) (24 Bf 109 B), II./ZG 1 (39 Bf 109 E), 1./JG 2 (12 Bf 109 E - only deployed 10-13 September 1939), I . (J) / LG 2 (36 Bf 109 E), Stab / LG 2 (3 Bf 109 E), I./ZG 2 (43 Bf 109 D), I./JG 76 (45 Bf 109 E), I ./JG 77 (36 Bf 109E).

On the Polish side, 315 PZL P.7 and P.11 fighters were available. These were striving high-deckers with a fixed landing gear and an open cockpit, which with outstanding maneuverability only achieved insufficient speed in use. Although there were aerial battles in Poland (the Polish pilots managed to shoot down over 100 German aircraft in the first six days with the loss of 79 of their own aircraft), most of the Bf 109s shot down over Poland fell victim to ground fires. The occasionally mentioned number of 67 Bf 109s shot down in Poland is based on a compilation by the Quartermaster General of the Ob. d. L. and covers the period from September 1st to September 28th, 1939. This number is not even remotely comprehensible based on the loss reports available. If you consider other documents, you get 32 ​​lost Bf 109s, of which 19 were total losses. In the aerial battles it became apparent that the large excess speed of the Bf 109 and the high maneuverability of the P.7 and P.11 forced the German pilots to adopt tactics that avoided classic cornering. The Bf-109 pilots achieved their kills at high speed in approaches from elevated positions. In the course of the war, this tactic would emerge as the most widely used method for shooting down an enemy. After the first week of the war, the fighter squadrons had achieved air superiority over Poland in this way and the Bf 109s increasingly turned to close air support with on-board weapons during this phase.


Bf 109 E, 5./JG 77; the machine was made by Lt. Winfried Schmidt flown and shows his personal dedication "Kölle alaaf"
Bf 109 E-3, I./JG 1, spring 1940

In the period between the attack on Poland and the beginning of the fighting for France in May 1940, the Luftwaffe's fighter squadrons increased the number of their Bf 109 E-1 and E-3 aircraft to just under 1,000. Apart from the occupation of Norway and Denmark as part of the so-called Operation Weser Exercise , in which only the II./JG 77 participated with their Bf 109s, the first extensive missions of the machine took place over France in 1940. On May 10, 1940 the Luftwaffe had 26 groups in a total of 13 fighter squadrons equipped with the Bf 109 E: JG 1 , 2 , 3 , 20 , 21 , 26 , 27 , 51 , 52 , 53 , 54 , 76 , 77 , LG 2. The II./JG 77 was stationed in Norway at this time; III./JG 77 was created on July 5, 1940 by renaming the II./186 (T), which had been withdrawn from Belgium and moved to Norway.

In France, the Bf 109 of the Luftwaffe sometimes encountered modern fighters from the Armée de l'air, such as the Dewoitine D.520 , whose flight performance was quite comparable to that of the Bf 109. Due to limited financial resources and a defense policy that gave priority to other branches of the armed forces, the development of high-performance aircraft in France had long been neglected in the interwar period. Modern and competitive samples such as the Dewoitine D.520 were therefore only available in small numbers. In terms of numbers, the French fighter units were dominated by machines such as the Morane-Saulnier MS.406 , which was difficult to compete with German fighter planes, mainly due to its underpowering. The Hawker Hurricane squadrons deployed by Great Britain to support France only provided little relief, as these machines were mostly Mk.I versions.

The MK I had 1030 (instead of 1300) HP and still rigid propellers. In total, the RAF lost 509 planes of various types over France. In addition, the British and French pilots were exposed to a whole series of disadvantages that went beyond purely technical aspects. The French anti-fighter defense was organized inefficiently: it was characterized by long and cumbersome communication channels and suffered from unclear command relationships, within which the competencies of individual officers sometimes overlapped. With the rapid advance of the Wehrmacht, the British and French aviation units lost airfields in quick succession and, during their hasty relocations, often had to leave behind material or machines that were no longer airworthy. As a result, the clarity of operational machines decreased more and more. The supply of jet fuel and ammunition also came to a standstill due to the increasingly chaotic conditions. Another significant disadvantage that explains the Luftwaffe's good performance compared to its French and British opponents during this period is the use of more modern tactics that the German Luftwaffe had developed and tested over Spain and Poland. The German formations - the basic unit was the swarm (four machines), which in turn consisted of two groups , each with two mutually overlapping machines - were smaller, more relaxed and more flexible than their French and British counterparts.

Over France, the pilots of the Bf 109 were therefore able to use the advantages of their machines almost optimally, especially since the machine's greatest weakness, the short range, did not yet come into play here. The Luftwaffe's efficient ground organization made it possible for the squadrons to quickly take possession and use of newly conquered airfields. This kept the routes to the front short for the fighter pilots, which on the one hand shortened reaction times and on the other hand increased the flight time in the operational areas.

Battle of Britain

Bf 109 E-3, III./JG 26, flown by the captain of the 9th squadron, Gerhard Schöpfel
Bf 109 E, III./JG 52 before relocation to Romania, October 1940, Reich territory
Bf 109 E-4, flown by Captain Helmut Wick , commander of I./JG 2, Beaumont le Roger / France in October 1940
Bf 109 E-4 / N, Stab / JG 26, W.Nr. 5819, flown by Commodore Major Adolf Galland , Audembert / France, September 1940
Bf 109 E-3, I./JG 3 "Udet"
Bf 109 E-7 / B, destroyer squadron 1

After France's swift defeat, Hitler considered invading the south coast of England for a while . This plan, known as Operation Sea Lion , was characterized from the beginning by a lack of coordination between the German armed forces, the army, navy and air force. Admiral Erich Raeder , Commander-in-Chief of the Navy , secretly considered an amphibious landing on Great Britain with the few surface units ( destroyers ) still available after the Norwegian campaign to be impossible. His preparations, which consisted mainly of the confiscation and the consolidation of tangible space that was largely unusable for such an operation, served more to reassure superiors. The army did not make any serious preparations for an invasion until the essential conditions for a success of the operation were met. Due to the general conditions of an amphibious landing and the superiority of the Royal Navy at sea, the main efforts in the preparatory phase of the company Sea Lion were in the hands of the Air Force.

Their first assignment was to gain air superiority over the British Isles and the English Channel and to incapacitate the British Fighter Command and the Bomber Command , which could have seriously disrupted an amphibious landing. For the actual landing of ground troops it would have been necessary to seal off the English Channel to the east and west for at least a few hours. Given the overwhelming naval superiority of the Royal Navy, such an undertaking would only have been possible through massive air support, which in turn was based on air superiority.

After the heavy fighting over France, the RAF used the phase of relative calm from the end of June to the end of July 1940 to reorganize and refurbish the Fighter Command. In a realistic assessment of the situation, the Commander in Chief Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding had retained the more valuable (because more powerful) Supermarine Spitfire fighters to protect the British motherland. Complemented by the efforts of the Minister responsible for aircraft construction, Lord Beaverbrook, and the influx of trained pilots from France and the entire Commonwealth, Dowding succeeded at the beginning of the Battle of Britain in providing 609 single-seat Hawker Hurricane and 'Supermarine Spitfire' fighter aircraft.

The exact date of the beginning of the Battle of Britain is not easy to determine. On July 20, one day after Hitler had given a speech addressed to Great Britain in which he attempted to intimidate the British government on a massive scale, the number of Bf 109s in the Luftwaffe's fighter squadrons was back to 809 aircraft after compensating for the losses of the French campaign increased (mostly version E-3).

At that time - not least because of the devastatingly bad weather in the summer of 1940 - only occasional aerial battles between British and German hunters who were on "free hunt" took place. It was not until the order to seal off the English Channel by the Air Force that the first extensive aerial battles came with it. During this phase, the British pilots used outdated tactics and suffered heavy losses. As a result, the closure of the canal to British sea traffic by the Air Force was successful.

The beginning of the Battle of Britain is scheduled differently today. The Luftwaffe planned a large, surprising strike against the British fighter airfields under the name "Eagle Day", which was initially planned for August 10, 1940.

North Africa (Africa campaign)

On February 11, 1941, the first Wehrmacht units arrived on the African continent in order to protect the oppressed Italian troops in North Africa from being broken up by the advancing British in the Sonnenblume company . The German Africa Corps (DAK) under the command of Erwin Rommel had units of III./ZG 26, LG 1, StG 1 and StG 2 and three reconnaissance squadrons available, with ZG 26 playing a decisive role in the "encirclement “The receding British associations in Tobruk . On April 18, 1941, the first Bf 109 E of the 1./JG 27 landed at the Ain el Gazala airfield to intervene in the fighting. Further squadrons of I./JG 27 followed one after the other (including Oberfähnrich Hans-Joachim Marseille ) and 7./JG 26. In addition to interception, the main task of the Bf 109 E was the tactical support of the army units, including escort protection for the vulnerable Ju 87 belonged. In September 1941, the first squadrons returned to Germany to be converted to the Bf 109 F and to be relocated to the African theater of war. They faced machines of the types Tomahawk and Kittyhawk as well as Hurricane. The Tomahawk suffered from the insufficient maximum flight altitude of 9140 meters. The RAF's Hurricane aircraft reached the same maximum altitude as the Bf 109 F of about 10,660 meters, but could not be used as effectively because, unlike the German aircraft at the time, they had a carburettor engine . In addition, the Hurricane had a top speed that was around 60 km / h lower than the Bf 109. The fighting on the ground was decisive, because the British 8th Army launched a counter-offensive on November 18, 1941 and forced Rommel to break off the siege of Tobruk and to withdraw. A serious mistake now turned out to be that the conquest of Malta had been abandoned. Therefore, parts of Air Fleet 2 were withdrawn from the Soviet Union and relocated to Africa, including the entire JG 53 and the II./JG 3.

On January 21, 1942, the DAK went on the offensive. By the end of February, the British troops could be thrown back again and Cyrenaica conquered, whereupon the battle continued until the end of May. At the same time, the Air Force stepped up its attacks on Malta, which could only be temporarily eliminated. On May 26, 1942, the DAK's summer offensive began with the attack on the Gazala / Bir Hakeim line , which culminated in the capture of Tobruk on June 11. The fuel and supplies found there resolved almost all supply problems of the DAK for the next few weeks. On July 1st, the DAK continued its attack on British positions near El Alamein without a break . The Bf 109 was used in many small individual battles, primarily to defend against the numerous RAF combat and Jabo units. Since - unlike the ground troops - there was a lack of fuel and spare parts, operational readiness dropped noticeably. In addition, the strength of the British units rose to an average of 18 “Boston” or “Baltimore”, covered by P-40 and with high cover by “Spitfire”, which made it difficult for the Bf-109 swarms to get through to the bombers. At the end of July 1942 the North African front calmed down. The action shifted again to Malta.

From 1943 until the end of the war

Bf 109 G-6, group commander I./JG 27, Italy 1944
Bf 109 G-10, JG 3 in May 1945, the height cover for so-called Sturmbockstaffeln flew. The machine was completely painted in RLM 76 to make it difficult to detect at great heights.

In the further course of the war, the development of the Bf 109 was initially able to keep pace with the development of the Allied fighters, but then fell technically increasingly behind. At the end of 1943 / beginning of 1944 the Allied fighters - especially the North American P-51  - significantly exceeded the flight performance of the mainly used Bf 109 G-6. The more modern Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was used more and more, but was also inferior to the Allied fighters at altitudes above 7000 m - at least until the Fw 190 D appeared at the end of 1944.

The performance disadvantage of the Bf 109 G was mainly due to the lack of high-performance engines. As a temporary solution, the Daimler-Benz DB 605  A engine of the Bf 109 G-14 was equipped with a MW-50 injection system, which was able to reduce the performance disadvantage. Another measure was the installation of the DB 605 AS, an engine variant with a full pressure height increased to 7.8 km . This engine helped the initially few Bf 109 G-5 / AS and G-6 / AS and later numerous G-14 / AS to far better altitude performance. In autumn 1944, the DB 605 D once again had engines corresponding to the Allied performance level; they were used in the versions Bf 109 G-10 and Bf 109 K-4. The good flight characteristics of the previous variants were largely lost.

At that time, the training of German pilots began to erode. The hastily trained young pilots in particular found it difficult to cope with the demanding aircraft and its problematic take-off and landing behavior caused by the narrow-gauge landing gear and the torque of the powerful engine. Ever shorter training periods led to an increase in the number of aircraft accidents, and the life expectancy of inexperienced pilots decreased more and more as the war progressed.

In addition, the Bf 109 had relatively economical instrumentation - for example, a turning horizon was only built in from the Bf 109 G-5 , without which flying was difficult in poor visibility. Until the Bf 109 G-4, the pilot only had the electric turn indicator available. A variometer (ascender) was only installed as standard from the Bf 109 G-10. Before that, it was only installed in special designs, for example in night fighters.

After the Second World War

After the Second World War, the type was continued, for example the Bf 109 G-10 in Czechoslovakia as the Avia S-99 . When the DB 605 engines were no longer available, they were redesigned to use the heavier Jumo 211 F. This variant was called the S-199. The Israeli armed forces used the S-199 during the Palestine War , where there were repeated aerial battles with Egyptian Spitfires. The first kills of this type were achieved on June 3, 1948 by the Israeli Modi Alon over two C-47s .

In Spain it was manufactured by Hispano Aviación as HA-1109 and HA-1112 . Production ran until 1957. The machines were in use until at least 1965. They were powered by Rolls-Royce-Merlin engines. In contrast to the S-199 with the Jumo 211, the Merlin engine changed the look of the front part of the fuselage considerably.

In Finland , of the original 162 machines (G-2, G-6 and G-8), only 16 were left after the war, and they were flown until 1954. These machines, which were made during the war, showed increasing signs of fatigue on the cells during the rather long period of use. In addition to the problematic supply of spare parts for the engines, this led to the machines being taken out of service. The so-called "Mersu" - to this day a slang term in the Finnish language for Mercedes vehicles and in this case for the Mercedes engine - scored 663 kills. Two surviving machines of the Bf 109 G-6 version are exhibited in Utti ( MT-452) and in the Aviation Museum of Central Finland near Jyväskylä ( MT-507).

Successful Bf-109 pilots

Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2, Stab / JG 51, flown by Squadron Commodore Lieutenant Colonel Werner Mölders, June 1941
Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 / trop, W.Nr. 8673, flown by Lieutenant / Captain Hans Joachim Marseille in September 1942

In the history of the Air War, no other aircraft type had more kills than the Bf 109. Erich Hartmann , for example, recorded 352 confirmed aerial victories, exclusively in different models of the Bf 109. One of the most famous fighter pilots on a Bf 109 E or Bf 109 F in North Africa was Hans-Joachim Marseille , who scored 151 of his 158 kills against aircraft of the British Royal Air Force during the Africa campaign. Other Bf 109 pilots who achieved high numbers of kills were Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 aerial victories, Günther Rall with 275 aerial victories and Hermann Graf with 212 aerial victories. The best-known pilots of the Bf 109 were Werner Mölders (115 victories in the air) and Adolf Galland (104 victories in the air), who held the post of general of the fighter pilots one after the other.

The exceptionally high numbers of kills that were achieved with the Bf 109 in World War II are due to a combination of various factors. Initially, the Bf 109 was a well-designed aircraft that was considered to be one of the most powerful fighter aircraft at the beginning and middle phase of its service life. Similar to the British Spitfire , the airframe of the Bf 109 was able to accommodate increasingly powerful engines and heavier weapons. This was in line with the general trend towards higher speeds and greater heights in aerial battles, as most aerial victories were not achieved in tight bend battles, but through surprising attacks from elevated positions. Until about the end of 1942, the Bf 109 showed itself to be an aircraft that provided its pilots with services that could be compared with, or better than, the designs on the opposing side. In the first twelve months of the war against the Soviet Union in particular, German fighter pilots encountered technically outdated enemy aircraft that were used according to outdated aerial combat tactics. This caused the Luftwaffe's shooting figures to rise sharply.

Simplified version overview

Type Engine
( full pressure height )
Performance a Special
emergency service
On-board weapons
in the basic version
Bf 109 A Jumo 210 B / D 680 hp - 235 l 2 x 7.92 mm
Bf 109 B Jumo 210 D 2 (3) x 7.92 mm
Bf 109 C Jumo 210 G 730 hp 337 l 4 x 7.92 mm
Bf 109 D Jumo 210 D 680 hp
Bf 109 E-1 DB 601 A-1 (4.0 km) 990 hp 400 l
Bf 109 E-3 2 × 7.92 mm, 2 × 20 mm
Bf 109 E-4 DB 601 A-1 (4.5 km)
Bf 109 E-4 / N DB 601 N (4.85 km) 1020 hp b
Bf 109 E-7 DB 601 A-1 or Aa e 1045 hp
Bf 109 F-2 DB 601 N (4.85 km) 1020 hp b 2 × 7.92 mm, 1 × 15 mm
Bf 109 F-4 DB 601 E 1200 hp c 2 × 7.92 mm, 1 × 20 mm
Bf 109 G-2 DB 605 A 1310 hp d
Bf 109 G-6 DB 605 A (5.8 km) 1475 hp 2 × 13 mm, 1 × 20 mm
Bf 109 G-6 / U4 DB 605 A 2 × 13 mm, 1 × 30 mm
Bf 109 G-14 DB 605 AM - 1800 hp 2 × 13 mm, 1 × 20 mm
Bf 109 G-10 DB 605 DB -
Bf 109 K-4 DB 605 DC - 2000 hp 2 × 13 mm, 1 × 30 mm
a For start / emergency power (permissible for 5 min)
bStart / emergency power was blocked for DB 601 N. 1020 hp were permitted for 30 minutes.
cStart / emergency power was blocked for the DB 601 E. Release of 1350 hp possible in February 1942.
d Take-off / emergency services were blocked for the DB 605 A until around autumn 1943.
eA Bf 109 E-7 (factory number 3523) with DB 601 Aa (factory number 11220) was salvaged from a Russian lake in 2003. The performance information relates to DB 601 Aa.

Note: The performance data for the Daimler-Benz engines are based on Daimler-Benz documents from the Second World War. If these deviate from the values ​​often quoted in the literature, the reasons are usually:

  • References to an altitude greater than 0 km in the literature
  • Indication of services not permitted in use in the literature

See also


  • Messerschmitt Bf 109 K-4: aircraft manual and operating instructions 2109. 1944.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-1: aircraft manual and operating instructions 2109. 1943.
  • Martin Caidin: The Me109. (US original title: Me109 ) Verlag Arthur Moewig, 1968, 192 pages (German: 1981), ISBN 3-8118-4369-9 .
  • Willy Radinger, Walter Schick, Wolfgang Otto: Messerschmitt Me 109. All variants from Bf (Me) 109A to K. Aviatic, Oberhaching 2011, ISBN 978-3-925505-93-5
  • Peter Schmoll: Messerschmitt Me 109. Production and use. MZ-Buchverlag, Regenstauf 2017, ISBN 978-3-86646-356-1
  • Ralf Swoboda, Hans-Jürgen Becker: Airplanes and helicopters of the Air Force, the Army and the Navy: 1933–1945. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-613-02524-8 .
  • Kyrill v. Gersdorff, Helmut Schubert, Stefan Ebert: Aircraft engines and jet engines. Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Bonn 2007, ISBN 978-3-7637-6128-9 .
  • Ernst König: The History of the Air Force. Rastatt 1980.
  • Rüdiger Kosin: The development of the German fighter aircraft. Bernard & Graefe Verlag, 1990.
  • Heinz J. Nowarra : The German Air Armament 1933-1945. Volume 3, Bernard & Graefe Verlag, 1993.
  • Hans Redemann: The groundbreaking designs in aircraft construction. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 1989, ISBN 3-613-01293-6 .
  • Walter Schuck: Shooting. From the Me 109 to the Me 262. Helios-Verlag, Aachen 2008, 2nd edition, ISBN 978-3-938208-44-1 .
  • Jochen Prien, Gerhard Stemmer, Peter Rodeike, Winfried Bock: The fighter pilot associations of the German Air Force 1934 to 1945. Part 1, struve Verlag, 2000.
  • Jochen Prien, Peter Rodeicke: Messerschmitt Bf 109 F, G & K Series. 2nd edition, Schiffer books, 1995.
  • John R. Beaman, Jerry L. Campbell: Messerschmitt Bf 109 in action (Part 1). Squadron / Signal Publications, 1980.
  • John R. Beaman, Jerry L. Campbell: Messerschmitt Bf 109 in action (Part 2). Squadron / Signal Publications, 1980.
  • William Green: War planes of the Second World War. Vol.1–4 and 8–10 / Macdonald & Co Ltd. London 1960–1968.
  • Aleš Janda, Tomáš Poruba: Messerschmitt Bf 109 of JG 52 in German Brod. JaPo Verlag, 2007.
  • Marius Emmerling: Luftwaffe nad Polską 1939. cz.1 fighter pilot, Armagedon, 2002.

Web links

Commons : Messerschmitt Bf 109  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. according to Olaf Groehler: History of the Air War 1910 to 1980. Military Publishing House of the German Democratic Republic, Berlin 1981, p. 261 in September 1935.
  2. Note. Both wheels are folded to the side and up by 60 °.
  3. Jean-Michel Goyat, Russ Snadden: Making the Messerschmitt Part 1 - Manufacturing Techniques. In: Airplane Monthly, July 1999, p. 71.
  4. ↑ Type series overview Bf 109
  5. ^ Robert Jackson: Messerschmitt Bf 109 AD Series , Osprey Publishing 2015, p. 22.
  6. ^ Neil Robinson: The Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War , AIRfile 13, p. 18
  7. The performance of the Bf 109 F-4 ( Memento from September 26, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  8. A.Price: air battle over Germany. Motorbuchverlag, Stuttgart 1974, ISBN J-87943-354-2.
  9. not verifiably secured
  10. Green, 1960-1968.
  11. a b c Robert Michulec: Me 109. AJ-Press monograph Lotnicze 44 cz.3 Projekty , Gdańsk 2000, ISBN 83-86208-67-8 .
  12. Mtt./ Abt. Flugerprobung, Properties group: Investigation of the tipping behavior of the Me 109 X from July 9, 1941 and other documents by Messerschmitt and the technical field service at BMW on the maintenance of the machine.
  13. Fighter control stations (Jäger control positions)
  14. Kit description Bf 109 W, AModel, IBG, Warsaw.
  15. Kit description FiSk-199, Hasegawa.
  16. See Hansjakob Stehle “The spies from the rectory” in Die Zeit from January 5, 1996.
  17. See Peter Pirker: Subversion of German rule. The British secret service SOE and Austria. 2012, p. 252 ff.
  18. US Strategic Bombing Survey, Aircraft Division Industry Report, Second Edition January 1947, Table V-4.
  19. ^ Federal Archives / Military Archives Freiburg, RL 3, production programs and takeovers by the Luftwaffe; National Archives, Washington, January-November 1944 production programs.
  20. for example the KTB of Luftflotte 4, the losses of Fl.Div.1
  21. Excerpt from the war diary of the OKH - course of the operations of the DAK in February 1941 ( Memento from October 21, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  22. José Fernandez / Patrick Laureau / Alex Yofe: Between Purchase and Conspiracy - The History of the Development of the Israeli Air Force - Part 1. In Flieger Revue Extra No. 30. pp. 31–33.
  23. The performance of the Bf 109 F-4 ( Memento from June 30, 2009 in the Internet Archive )