The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt in the early 1930s. The Bf109 was developed to fulfill multiple tasks, serving as interceptor, bomber escort, fighter bomber, day-, night- all-weather fighter, bomber destroyer, ground-attack aircraft, and as reconnaissance aircraft.
Developing nation: Germany.
Manufacturer/designer: Bayerische Flugzeugwerke Messerschmitt/Willy Messerschmitt.
Production: 1937 – 1958 Hispano Aviacion Ha 1112 Buchon.
Number built: 33,984.
Type aircraft: Fighter.
First flight: 29 May 1935 D-IABI.
First delivery: 1937.
1952, Yugoslavian Air Force
1954, Finnish Air Force
1965, Spanish Air Force.
The original was the Bf109 V1 made his first flight 29 May 1935, registered as D-IABI was the first was the first all metal stressed skin fighter that would enter service. The first Bf 109 prototype, the Bf-109V1 had a British Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine when it made its debut in September 1935.
The “Bf-109V2” used a 455 kW (610 HP) Junkers Jumo 210A engine.
On 11 November 1937 the Bf 109 V13 flown by Messerschmitt’s chief pilot Dr. Hermann Wurster set a new world air speed record for landplanes with piston engines to 610.55 km/h (379.38 mph) and won the title for Germany for the first time.
By the time World War II began in 1939, the Luftwaffe had more than 1,000 Bf 109s in service.The advantage of the Spitfire and the Hurricane in individual combat with the Me 109 was that both British aeroplanes could out-turn the German, because the Me 109’s radius of turn was bigger. But the Bf 109was better in the initial climb and dive.
The Bf 109 was credited with more aerial kills than any other aircraft. One hundred and five Bf 109 pilots were credited with the destruction of 100 or more enemy aircraft. Thirteen of these men scored more than 200 kills, while two scored more than 300.
The Bf 109 was flown by the three top-scoring fighter aces of World War II: Erich Hartmann, the top scoring fighter pilot of all time claiming 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories, and Gunther Rall claiming 275 victories. All of them flew with Jagdgeschwader 52.
Messerschmitt exported thousands of Bf109s to Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, the USSR and Yugoslavia. In addition, Spain’s Hispano company produced the Bf 109 under license beginning in 1945, calling it the HA-1109 Buchon single seater and HA-1110 and HA-1112 are duals.
The exact number of the world wide manufactured Bf 109 can only be estimated. A rough estimation would be 33,000. Original aeroplanes still preserved are rare and are normally shown as static exhibits in museums. Of German manufacturing there’s only one airworthy original aeroplane at the moment. Nearly all the airworthy aeroplanes originate from Spanish production and are partly reconverted to the German standard.
- Crew: One
- Length: 8.95 m (29 ft 7 in)
- Wingspan: 9.925 m (32 ft 6 in)
- Height: 2.60 m (8 ft 2 in)
- Wing area: 16.05 sq m (173.3 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 2,247 kg (5,893 lb)
- Loaded weight: 3,148 kg (6,940 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 3,400 kg (7,495 lb)
- Powerplant: 1x Daimler-Benz DB 605A-1 liquid-cooled inverted V12, 1,475 PS (1,455 hp, 1,085 kW)
- Propellers:VDM 9-12087 three-bladed light-alloy propeller propeller
- Propeller diameter: 3 m ()
- Maximum speed: 640 km/h (398 mph) at 6,300 m (20,669 ft)
- Cruise speed: 590 km/h (365 mph) at 6,000 m (19,680 ft)
- Range: 850 km (528 mi) 1,000 km (621 mi) with droptank
- Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,370 ft)
- Rate of climb: 17.0 m/s (3,345 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 196 kg/sq m (40 lb/sq m)
- Power/mass: 344 W/kg (0.21 hp/lb)
- 2 x 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine guns with 300 rounds per gun
- 1 x 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon as Motorkanone with 200 rpg. G-6/U4 variant: 1 x 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 cannon as Motorkanone with 65 rpg
- 2 . 20 mm MG 151/20 underwing cannon pods with 135 rpg (optional kit – Rastsatz VI)
- Rockets: 2 x 21 cm (8 in) Wfr. Gr. 21 rockets (G-6 with BR21)
- Bombs: 1 x 250 kg (551 lb) bomb or 4 x 50 kg (110 lb) bombs or 1x 300 litres (79 USgal)
All pictures courtesy of Zijde Aviation Photo and Publishing, Rob Vogelaar / Marcel van Leeuwen