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A Bf 109 in Finnish service.

Messerchmitt Bf 109 (frequently shortened to just Me 109) was one of the most important airplanes of the Third Reich.

Background[]

The most important fighter aircraft of the Nazi war machine, the Bf 109 was designed by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusser, first at Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (giving it the Bf designation) and then Messerchmitt AG, between 1934 and 1935. The first models entered production in 1936, with 33,984 airframes completed over the next nine years, making it the most produced fighter aircraft in history.

The fighter incorporated several innovative features at the time of its introduction, including an all-metal monocoque construction, closed canopy, retractable landing gear, and several aerodynamic features that gave it superior mobility to contemporary fighters, with the exception of the legendary Supermarine Spitfire. Although it was confronted by more modern designs, a steady series of modifications and upgrades allowed it to remain a serious threat to Allied and Soviet aircraft until the end of the war. The Bf 109 would continue to serve for a decade or more in various European armies, a testament to the design's ruggedness and sophistication.

Models[]

Bf 109E[]

A Hungarian Me 109 E-4.

The first satisfactory Me 109 were the Me 109E. The E-4 had a upgraded DB 601Aa engine, armored seats, stronger canopy design and MG FF/M cannon replacing the wing mounted MG FF or MG 17 Machine guns.

  • E-3: The E-3 was armed with the two MG 17s above the engine and one MG FF cannon in each wing.
  • E-4: A standard Hungarian dogfighter.
  • E-7: The E-7 is similar to E-4 but with optional 300 L drop tank.

Bf 109G[]

Bf 109G was an iterative development of the Bf 109F, with modifications focusing on increasing the aircraft's versatility and adaptability. It used a more powerful Daimler-Benz DB 605A engine and later variants were rearmed with more powerful weapons, resulting in modifications that disturbed the fighter's slim lines. Gs were typically customized on the factory floor with a specific mission profile.

Fighter variants[]

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  • G0: G0 was the pre-production aircraft of the G series pressed into frontline service, powered by a DB 601E engine.
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  • G2 (Rou): G2 eliminated the pressurized cockpit introduced in G1 and made other changes to simplify the design and make the fighter cheaper.
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  • G4: G-4 was a G-2 Bf 109 refitted with a new radio model. Otherwise identical to the G-2 variant.
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  • G-6 (Fin, Hun): The G-6 was rearmed with the more powerful MG 131 in 13mm, greatly increasing firepower over the 7.92mm machineguns. The change in weapons necessitated changes in fuselage, slightly reducing speed. Over 12,000 were produced by 1944.
  • Me 109 G-6/U4 Dogfighter

Recon variants[]

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  • G-8 (Hun): The G-8 was a dedicated reconnaissance version based on the G-6, with reduced weapons loadout and space made for cameras and radios.

Equipment (Rüstsatz) kits[]

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  • R1: The R1 suffix identifies it as a long-range variant with drop tanks and a bomb rack for a single 250kg or 500kg bomb under the fuselage, produced in limited quantities.
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  • R2: The R2 suffix identifies it as a long-range variant with drop tanks and a bomb rack for four 50kg bombs under the fuselage, produced in limited quantities.
    • Available for the G-2 and G-6.
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  • R4: R4 identifies a bomber destroyer, fitted with underwing gunpods in 30mm.
    • Available for the G-6.
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  • R6: R6 identifies a bomber destroyer, fitted with underwing gunpods in 20mm.
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  • BR21: The BR21 suffix indicating a modification mounting the Rheinmetall-Borsig Werfer-Granate 21 rocket launcher (Bordrakete in Luftwaffe parlance) introduced in 1943, as an airborne version of the 21 cm Nebelwerfer 42. Werfer-Granate 21 was a development of the 21 cm Nebelwerfer 42. These rockets were used in the anti-bomber role to have a weapon with a longer range then the defensive guns. Along with the Anti-bomber role, these were also used in the ground attack role.
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