MESSERSCHMITT Bf 109
The following are answers and explanations to the trivia quiz in your Bf109 Messerschmitt kit. These explanations are taken from various sources and summarized to the best of our knowledge. We hope you had fun with our trivia challenge!
Aircraft Works or Bayerische Flugzeugwerke BFW: This is where the Bf in Bf 109 title comes from.
The Bf109 was designed by Willy Messerschmitt, Robert Lusser. On 11 July 1938 Willy Messerschmitt was appointed chairman and managing director of Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG and the company was later renamed after him to Messerschmitt AG.
Originally the aircraft was designated as Bf 109 by the RLM, since the design was submitted by the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (literally "Bavarian Aircraft Works", meaning "Bavarian Aircraft Factory"; sometimes abbreviated B.F.W., akin to BMW) during 1935.
1933, Willy along with Robert Lusser designed the M 37 which flew first in spring 1934, was a four seat single-engine light aircraft designed for sport and tourism purposes. The M 37, later became the Bf 108 Taifun (Typhoon) and represented the German team in the 1934 Challenge de Tourisme International tournament.
The prototype Bf 109V-1 was ready in August, 1935, like its predecessor, the Bf 108, it was a low wing, all metal construction monoplane, with flush rivets, leading edge slats, and retractable landing gear. Its single-seat cockpit had a fully enclosed canopy. While none of the developments were revolutionary in 1935, Messerschmitt first put them all together in the Bf 109. Powered by a 695 HP twelve cylinder Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine, the Bf 109V-1 first flew in September of that year.
In an interesting piece of irony, the first 109 prototypes were powered by British Rolls-Royce Kestrel engines! The Junker Jumo 210 V12 liquid cooled engine, its preferred choice of engine was not available at the time.
The first Messerschmitt prototype was ready by May 1935 however no engines available. The Reich Air Ministry (RLM) provided four Rolls-Royce Kestrel VI engines, two of which went to Messerschmitt. Thus first Messerschmitt prototype was fitted with the Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine.
In late March 1933 the Reich Aviation Ministry (RLM) published a series of research projects into the future of air combat for:
a multi-seat medium bomber
a tactical bomber
a single-seat fighter
a two-seat heavy fighter
For the single-seat fighter category the Messerschmitt’s Bf109 was chosen over its rivals
Arado Ar 80,
Focke-Wulf Fw 159 ,
Heinkel He 112
The Bf109 was smaller, had a lighter airframe, faster and superior in climbing and diving.
The winner (Bf109) replaced the then in service Arado Ar 64 and Heinkel He 51 fighter biplanes.
Until the Battle of Britain the BF 109 was considered the best fighter aircraft in the world. The Bf109 was able to reach such speeds due to its small light frame but housing a powerful engine.
On 11 November 1937, the Bf 109 V13, D-IPKY flown by Messerschmitt's chief pilot Dr. Hermann Wurster, powered by a 1,230 kW (1,650 hp) DB 601R racing engine, set a new world air speed record for land planes with piston engines of 610.95 km/h (379.62 mph), winning the title for Germany for the first time.
The Bf109 was initially intended to be a short range interceptor. However due to its versatility, it soon grew into multiple roles across various air battles.
In March 1937 the first production Bf 109Bs entered service in Spain, and on April 6 1st Lt. Günther Lützow shot down an I-15, Polikarpov I-15 biplane, scoring the 109’s first victory.
The Jumo-powered Bf 109B, armed with four 7.92-mm (0.3-inch) machine guns, entered service in 1937 and was immediately tested in combat in the Spanish Civil War. There it fought with success against Soviet I-16 monoplanes and I-15 biplane fighters, in part because of the Luftwaffe’s pioneering use of interplane radio to control formations in air-to-air combat.
Over 200 German pilots flew with the Condor Legion flying 130-140 Messerschmitt Bf 109’s in the Spainish civil war. Approximately 4 prototypes, 40+ Berthas, 5 Claras, 35 Doras, and 44 Emils were flown. By early 1939, when the 109E’s arrived, the Republican opposition had nearly collapsed; twenty of these models were left behind for Spain’s air force.
9. Experimental Me109
were derived from the variant's official letter designation (e.g. Bf 109G – "Gustav"), based on the German spelling alphabet of World War II, a practice that was also used for other German aircraft designs
The Messerschmitt Bf109 holds the record for the most ever produced single seater fighter plane in history.
The most-produced Bf 109 model was the 109G series (more than a third of all 109s built were the G-6 series, 12,000 units being manufactured from March 1943 until the end of the war).
By mid 1942 the G series (Gustav) was introduced. This version was similar to the F but used the more powerful DB605 engine and had two distinct bulges on the engine cowling of later G variants. The G series could mount a variety of modular armament kits under the wings including rockets and canon.
The E type entered production in 1938 the main difference being the Daimler-Benz DB601 engine rated at 300hp (223kW). The armament consisted of two MG17's in the cowl and two 20mm MG FF canon in the wings. The 'Emil' was the main single seat fighter used by the Luftwaffe in the Battle Of Britain. The early models suffered from a short range but by August 1940 the E-7 was entering service, which could mount an external 80 (30l) galleon drop-tank on a rack under the fuselage that extended the range from 410 miles (660km) to 820 miles (1,320km). Alternatively a bomb could be mounted for ground attack operations.
Emil is derived from the Latin Aemilius, an old Roman family name probably derived from aemulus (rival, trying to equal or excel, emulating). Emilio is of Germanic origin and derived from the element amal (worker).
The Bf 109E-1, delivered in early 1939, introduced a three-bladed, variable pitch propeller and twin underwing radiator intakes. It was very fast and arguably the best fighter in the world at that time. By later WWII standards, it was still lightly armed, with four rifle caliber machine guns, two in the cowling and two in the wings.
or three months, the Bf 109 engaged the Hurricanes and Spitfires of the RAF in a momentous struggle for air superiority over the Great Britain.
The airplane performed as required, but the distances from bases and the need to use the Messerschmitt in a bomber escort role took their toll. Early on the Bf 109 ranged freely while the Me 110's shepherded the bombers, but when the "shepherds" were mauled as badly as their flock by the RAF wolves, the Bf 109's were called on. Downed German pilots who parachuted safely, nonetheless, were lost for the duration as POWs; British pilots who hit the silk promptly returned.
By the end of October 1940, the British had lost 1,149 airplanes, mostly fighters. The Luftwaffe lost almost 1,800 aircraft, one third of them Bf 109s. For the first time, Hitler had been checked and a few months later he turned East, with devastating consequences.
The Bf-109 used a fuel injectioned engine allowing the pilots to nose directly down into a steep dive. If a Spitfire attempted this maneuver the Merlin engine would begin to splutter for lack of fuel. The pilots of the Spitfires soon learned to half-roll their aircraft first, and then dive. Fuel injection was introduced in 1943.
One of the major 'achilles heel' issue for the Luftwaffe (german air force) during the Battle of Britain was that it's fighter force (the Bf109E) had limited fuel capacity from its original design. The Bf 109E escorts had a limited fuel capacity resulting in only a 660 km (410 mile) maximum range solely on internal fuel. When they arrived over a Britain, they had only 10 minutes of flying time before turning for home, leaving the bombers undefended by fighter escorts.
The Bf109 losses in the Battle Of Britain
48 destroyed, 14 damaged
17 killed, 14 missing, 13 wounded
217 destroyed, 45 damaged
54 killed, 91 missing, 39 wounded
326 destroyed, 96 damaged
77 killed, 159 missing, 36 wounded
Erich Alfred Hartmann (19 April 1922 – 20 September 1993), nicknamed "Bubi" ("The Kid") by his German comrades and "The Black Devil" by his Soviet adversaries, was a German fighter pilot during World War II and the most successful fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare. He flew 1,404 combat missions and participated in aerial combat on 825 separate occasions. He claimed, and was credited with, shooting down 352 Allied aircraft—345 Soviet and 7 American—while serving with the Luftwaffe. During the course of his career, Hartmann was forced to crash-land his fighter 14 times due to damage received from parts of enemy aircraft he had just shot down or mechanical failure. Hartmann was never shot down or forced to land due to enemy fire.
In 1938, during the production of the C version, Messerschmitt's global reputation had grown to the point where the Air Ministry suggested changing his company's name from Bayerische Flugzeugwerke to Messerschmitt A.G.. Subsequent aircraft would be identified with the "Me" prefix after the renaming of the company. Those already in production, the 109, would retain the "Bf" designator. Nonetheless, many people began referring to the "Me 109," including the USAAF; contemporary air combat reports are filled with references to the "Me 109."
The Bf109 was the only plane to go into combat in all of Luftwaffe's air battles.
It was the backbone fighter plane of the Luftwaffe and the most ever produced single seater fighter plane.
Arrow markings on each side signified the squadron commander and leader.
The yellow painted sections on the plane was used for tactical markings. For the battle of Britain all BF109′s and BF110’s used yellow tactical colours. Some also had yellow rudders. The bands around the tail were often applied to represent squadron colours.
The Yellow Nose sections and Yellow wingtips were so that, in a fast-moving dogfight, the large flashes of yellow told friend (and foe) that they were looking at a Luftwaffe aircraft. These yellow tactical markings were often still displayed on BF109’s in 1943 and 1944 and beyond. Tail bars represent the number of victories.
But the ability to quickly distinguish between a target and a friend was also very important when in close combat - hence the big yellow panels.
Ilyushin Il-2 is the second-most-produced aircraft (36,183 built) in the world. It was the most produced aircraft of WW2.
The Fw 190 was a formidable fighter plane at low altitude. As an interceptor, the Fw 190 underwent improvements to make it effective at high altitude, allowing the 190 to maintain relative parity with its Allied counterparts. The Fw 190A series' performance decreased at high altitudes (usually 6,000 m (20,000 ft) and above), which reduced its usefulness as a high-altitude fighter, but these complications were mostly rectified in later models, notably the Focke-Wulf Fw 190D variant, which was introduced in September 1944. In spite of its successes, it never entirely replaced the Bf 109.
Bf 109 advantages:
Its was suitable for tactical purposes for the type of war it was prepared for – and the powerful engine alongside a small structure (and size); its agility; high speed; climbing angle and rate; diving speed; good turning rate; good manoeuvrability; and low cost to produce.
Bf 109 disadvantages:
The ‘legs’ of the landing gear were rather fragile and narrow, retracting outwards and not beneath the fuselage. This caused many fatalities during its service. It also tended to swing sideways during landing or taking off often due to its small tail fin.
The length and ground angle of the landing gear ‘legs’ was so that it restricted forward visibility while on ground, forcing pilots to taxi in such a way that the undercarriage was put into heavy stress. This posed a problem for rookie pilots. The narrow wheel track also made the fighter to be unstable while on ground.
The design of the plane positioned the undercarriage wheels under the body. It was designed this way to reduce stress on its wings when landing because the wings were not strong enough to take load of the plane and also heavy weaponry.
Limited range: the same Blitzkrieg tactics made the fighter to fight for such scenario at the expense of greater autonomy, playing against it during the Battle of Britain. This problem was solved after the Battle with the addition of extra drop fuel oil tanks
The last Bf 109 was retired from the Spanish Air Force in 1967. The Messerschmitt Bf109 served for over 30 years.
In its long life, the Bf 109 served as a platform for numerous experimental and radical ideas, from skis to a twin fuselage to the bizarre “Mistel” arrangement. A carrier version, the Bf 109T, actually reached production, 40 being built. After the cancellation of the German carriers, Peter Strasser and Graf Zeppelin, the Bf 109T’s were assigned to Norway and Heligoland, where their short take-off capabilities were useful. The Bf 109H was a high altitude fighter based on the Friedrich, adding a pressurized cockpit, extended wings, and a modified engine. The “H” did not progress beyond the prototype stage. A jet version, the Bf 109TL, was considered, as was a twin fuselage design, the Bf 109Z. The “Mistel” scheme mated a Bf 109 to a worn-out, pilotless Ju 88, which was packed with explosives. The Messerschmitt pilot flew the joined aircraft to the target and released the Ju 88, a primitive cruise missile. The Germans actually used this scheme in combat, against Scapa Flow and some Leningrad bridges.