Picture of Messerschmitt BF 109E
The two best
known fighters of WW2 were the Luftwaffe's Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the
Spitfire, not only were they both superb fighter
aircraft but continuously evolved to remain a "state of the
art" fighter throughout the whole of the six year Wold
War Two conflict,
they are the best known adversaries of the RAF
Hurricane fighters during the
Messerschmitt and Walther Rethel of Bayerische Flugzeug
Werke A.G, began design work on the Messerschmitt Bf 109 in 1934 to meet a RLM (Reichsluftfahrministerium) specification for a new
monoplane fighter aircraft, their design was based on the
Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun, the new design was a
cantilever low-wing monoplane of "leading edge technology",
it was the first ever all metal stressed skin fighter and
incorporated a single spar wing structure with leading edge
slats, trailing edge slotted flaps, a fully enclosed cockpit
and retractable landing gear.
The first prototype, the
V1, first flew on the 28th May 1935 powered by the most
powerful engine available, the 695 hp Rolls-Royce “Kestrel”
II S and piloted by Hans D. "Bubi" Knutsch. following
testing at the Luftwaffe Testing Centre at Rechlin the Bf109
was chosen to equip the rapidly expanding German Luftwaffe over
competing designs. The first Bf 109's to see operational
service did so with the Condor Legion in Spain and were the Bf 109B variant, the aircraft excelled against the
inferior fighter aircraft they met in combat.
By the outbreak of WW2 the aircraft pictured above was in
service, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E "Emil", this aircraft
was powered by the new 1,175 hp fuel injected Daimler Benz
DB 601A, this was the the
Spitfire MkIa's main adversary in the
"Battle of Britain" and
the Bf109 was probably the most advanced operational fighter
design in the world for the first three years of World War
Although the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E is the best known
variant of this superb fighter aircraft many variants were
to follow incorporating technological improvements to keep
the aircraft competitive with the allied fighter aircraft.
Variants of the Messerschmitt Bf 109
fighter scored more aircraft
kills in WW2 than any other aircraft in history, the most
successful fighter ace ever, Erich Alfred "Bubi" Hartmann,
would only fly the Messerschmitt Bf 109, refusing a transfer
to Adolf Galland's new
Me 262 jet fighter squadron JV44. Hartmann flew a total
of 825 combat missions in the second half of WW2 shooting
down no less than 352 enemy aircraft!
of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 ceased in 1945, with over 31,000
aircraft having been made over a ten year period, they had
achieved a record number of aircraft kills than any other
fighter aircraft before or since, the design was so good
that some Messerschmitt Bf 109 examples were still serving in an
role until the mid 1960's.
109 E Armament:
- Twin 20mm
MG/FF wing mounted machine guns
Twin 7.9mm MG
17 mounted above the engine
Swiss Air Force Messerschmitt
BF 109E Fighter Plane
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Messerschmitt BF 109E WWLL fighter has
been digitally re-mastered from a picture kindly placed in
the public domain by Sandstein.
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