Design, Development, & HistoryEdit
It was one of the first truly modern fighters of the era, including such features as all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, a retractable landing gear, and was powered by a liquid-cooled, inverted-V12 aero engine.
The Bf 109 first saw operational service during the Spanish Civil War and was still in service at the dawn of the jet age at the end of World War II, during which time it was the backbone of the Luftwaffe's fighter force. From the end of 1941 the Bf 109 was supplemented by the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.
Originally conceived as an interceptor, later models were developed to fulfill multiple tasks, serving as bomber escort, fighter-bomber, day-, night-, all-weather fighter, ground-attack aircraft, and as reconnaissance aircraft. It was supplied to and operated by several states during World War II, and served with several countries for many years after the war. The Bf 109 was the most produced fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced from 1936 up to April 1945.
The Bf 109 was flown by the three top-scoring German fighter aces of World War II, who claimed 928 victories among them while flying with Jagdgeschwader 52, mainly on the Eastern Front, as well as by Hans-Joachim Marseille, the highest scoring German ace in the North African Campaign. It was also flown by several other aces from Germany's allies, notably Finn Ilmari Juutilainen, the highest scoring non-German ace, and pilots from Italy, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria and Hungary. Through constant development, the Bf 109 remained competitive with the latest Allied fighter aircraft until the end of the war.
The Bf.109G «Gustav» was the most mass-produced variant of the 109, powered by the Daimler-Benz DB 605. The 605 was basically a DB 601 with the cylinder block redesigned to increase displacement from 33.9 to 35.7 litres, which resulted in 175 extra HP for no significant change in size. The Gustav also received improved armament. Instead of the previously standard 7.62mm MG 17 machine guns, 13mm MG 131 heavy machine guns were used. The heavier guns lead to distinct cowling bulges, needed to cover the breechblocks on the new guns.
However, the increased equipment led to heavier weight on the Gustav, in fact 10% heavier than the Friedrich. Compared to the much earlier Bf.109B, the Gustav was almost 46% heavier. The new aircraft had begun to reach front-line units by May 1942. In essence, the Bf.109 design had reached its peak, and would ideally need to be replaced with newer, more modern designs. However, the troubled Me.109 replacement was still in development and things at the front were beginning to look ominous for Germany. Consequently, the RLM decided to continue to further refine the 109.
By early Spring 1944, the Bf.109G-10 variant had replaced the Bf.109G-6 in mass-production, being powered by the DB 605D engine with an improved supercharger. Without external pylons, and powered by the DB 605DC, the G-10 was the fastest Bf-109G variant, with a weight of 3,100 kg and top speeds of 550 km/h at sea level and 680 km/h at 7,400 m. It could reach 6,000 m in 5.8 minutes.
Unfortunately, the Bf.109G-10 would usually reach the front line with factory-installed Ruestsatz armament kits. For example, the Bf.109.G-10/R1had an ETC fuselage bomb rack for one 250-kg or 4x50-kg bombs, a bomb selector switch and a 5mm armour plating under the oil tank. TheBf.109G-10/R2 with DB 605DB was a reconnaissance variant with the 13mm guns removed and with one Rb 50/30 or 75/30 camera. With a takeoff weight of 3,300 kg (including a 300-litre drop tank) the recon variant could reach 645 km/h at 9,000 m; it had a range of 840 km at a speed of 620 km/h and at an altitude of 8,300 m. The Bf 109 G-10/R14 with DB 605D had a pair of 30mm MK 108 cannon in underwing gondolas. The Bf.109.G-10/R6 was similar to the R14, but with the gondolas housing 20mm MG 151s.
I/JG 27 Austria Winter 1944: Shoot down 280 players