The Me 109....

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JodelFlieger
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The Me 109....

Post by JodelFlieger » 07 Jan 2008 22:49

...was the worst, from a pilot's point of view, of all the DB-powered fighters.Discuss.
The airframe was, to quote the late Mark Hanna, a mix of the archaic and the modern, with dubious landing gear geometry, bad canopy design, no rudder trim,appalling ailerons at high speed, poor turn radius and vulnerability to flak. The Macchi 202/205, Reggiane 2005, Fiat G55 and Ki-61 fighters were all better to fly, much more manouvrable, easier to see out of and better protected.
It would have been better for the Luftwaffe if 109 production had ceased by end 1941 and one of the above put into service instead.
regards
JF

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 07 Jan 2008 23:15

That's partially true. It depends on what model of the Me 109 you are using as a standard of comparison.

For example, the Italian Macchi MC.202 and the Japanese Ki-61 Hien were better fighters than the Me 109E, which had the same engine power of 1175 hp. So the Italians and Japanese got more from that engine power than the Germans.

But - the Me 109E was an older design than the MC.202 and Ki-61 - so maybe it's not surprising that it wasn't as good.

The introduction of the Me 109F improved the aerodynamics of the 109 considerably, bringing it closer to the Italian and Japanese airframes in handling. The Me 109F was the best 109 model to fly.

Also we need to consider the fact that Italian and Japanese copies of the DB 605 engine (Me 109G engine) were unreliable due to declining quality control as economic conditions became difficult in Italy and Japan.

JodelFlieger
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Post by JodelFlieger » 07 Jan 2008 23:32

Hi Tim
I agree with you, to a point.The Mc 202 was in effect a growth of the Mc 200, yet remained highly manouverable and a delight to fly.Both the Macchi and the Ki-61 weighed about the same as a 109 E,so I reckon a better overall aerodynamic design gave them the speed edge. The 109F was , as you know, a better aircraft to fly than the E but still had the same inherent problems.I think Messerschmitt was trying to wring too much out of too small an airframe.
regards
JF

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Me 109 was an older design

Post by Dave Bender » 08 Jan 2008 02:13

That about says it all. One would expect a 1941 design to be superior to a 1935 design. I think Germany did a remarkable job keeping the Me-109 competative for 10 years, including all 6 years of WWII. They also produced the Me-109 in quantity (~30,000) while maintaining manufacturing quality.

Date of first prototype flight
Me-109. Sep 1935.
He-100. January 1938.
FW-190. June 1939.
Macchi MC.202. August 1940.
He-280. March 1941.
Ki-61. December 1941.
Me-262. July 1942.

vincenzoforum
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Post by vincenzoforum » 08 Jan 2008 14:05

for true the M.C. 202 is not a new design was a M.C. 200 modified for the change of engine.

colchekov19
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Post by colchekov19 » 08 Jan 2008 14:33

A lot of German aces prefer to fly to fly Me109.surely their opinions would influence german fighter productions.

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M.C. 202 is not a new design

Post by Dave Bender » 08 Jan 2008 14:42

I disagree. The MC 200 used a radial engine. The MC 202 used a liquid cooled engine. You don't make that type conversion without making a lot of alterations.

The radial engine powered P-36 was different from the P-40. The radial engine powered FW-190A was different from the FW-190D9. Not a totally new design, but a lot different from the original design. Among other things, you rebalance the control surfaces to take advantage of higher speeds from the additional hp.

BTW, even the MC.200 was a 2 year newer design then the Me-109. First flight was December 1937.

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phylo_roadking
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Post by phylo_roadking » 08 Jan 2008 15:00

One would expect a 1941 design to be superior to a 1935 design
Hope for, yes. But it didn't always happen that way. A fighter design is a compromise of weight, power, handling and purposes required. Look for example at that legendary high-altitude fighter...the Hawker Typhoon. Or so it was planned to be until the moment it actually flew...
A lot of German aces prefer to fly to fly Me109
See the comments in the FW190 vs Me109 What-If elsewhere.

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Re: The Me 109....

Post by tonyh » 08 Jan 2008 15:19

JodelFlieger wrote:...was the worst, from a pilot's point of view, of all the DB-powered fighters.Discuss.
The airframe was, to quote the late Mark Hanna, a mix of the archaic and the modern, with dubious landing gear geometry, bad canopy design, no rudder trim,appalling ailerons at high speed, poor turn radius and vulnerability to flak. The Macchi 202/205, Reggiane 2005, Fiat G55 and Ki-61 fighters were all better to fly, much more manouvrable, easier to see out of and better protected.
It would have been better for the Luftwaffe if 109 production had ceased by end 1941 and one of the above put into service instead.
regards
JF
Mark Hanna is a Spit jockey and therefore just a bit biased. :)

True, the BF109 had problems, but so did all WWII prop aircraft. None of the problems were catastrophic however. In fact, the BF109 remained at the forefront of WWII fighter throughout the war and was always an extremely formidable opponent.

As far as the drawbacks you mention, the Spit too had dodgy landing gear, quite narrow. It didn't suffer from the splayed out situation that the 109 had though. The canopy design was, in reality, no worse than the classic Spitfire design (before the bubble canopy was introduced onto the Mk XVI and XIV). The rear view was bad on both designs. In fact, the downward view from the 109 was superior to the Spit. No rudder was a serious problem, but the fixed trim tabs allowed stable flight at cruising speed (which is where trim is mostly useful). Ailerons locking was common to all WWII prop aircraft. Turn radius (at high speed) wasn't as good as some aircraft, but this didn't really matter as Luftwaffe pilots used their machine with Boom 'n' zoom tactics. They generally didn't engage in turning fights, thus eliminating the need for a turning fighter and ALL inline engined prop fighters are vulnerable to flak. The BF109 was nothing special here.

In fact, seeing as I'm talking about the spit, I believe the BF109E was the superior aircraft to the Spitfire Mk1. It was slightly faster, it dived better, it climbed better and it's engine didn't cut dead if it did a negative G move.

The BF109F was also better than the Spitfire MkV. Again, it was faster, and climbed and dived better.

It's only with the Spitfire MkIX that the edge between the 109 and Spit becomes more blurred. The MkIX really was the Spitfire that the RAF needed to compete with the standard Luftwaffe types especially the FW190, but even here the Spitfire MkIX wasn't as good as the later marks of FW190 or BF109. It was shown to be superior to captured BF109F's and Arnim Faber's FW190A-3, but there were few BF109F's and FW190A-3's to fight with by the time the MKIX was in the frontline.

In short, there was very little to choose between a contemporary Spitfire and a BF109. What mattered was how the aircraft was flown by the pilot.

It's with the griffon engined Spitfire Mk XIV that the RAF finally had a plane that is truly superior to the Luftwaffe fighter types. But even this superiority was address with latter marks. The BF109G-10, K-4 and FW190D-9 were all faster IIRC and sometimes, that was all that mattered.

At all times, however the high speed turning radius of the Spitfire was very much superior to that of the BF109 and the FW190, although with the later marks this became less pronounced and at lower speeds the 109's turning radius wasn't at all bad. Both the Spit and the 109's turning speed was much better than the FW190.

Turning radius was of little use in combat though as the Jadgwaffe didn't engage in turning fights as mentioned earlier.


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Topspeed
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Re: The Me 109....

Post by Topspeed » 08 Jan 2008 17:40

tonyh wrote:
JodelFlieger wrote:...was the worst, from a pilot's point of view, of all the DB-powered fighters.Discuss.
The airframe was, to quote the late Mark Hanna, a mix of the archaic and the modern, with dubious landing gear geometry, bad canopy design, no rudder trim,appalling ailerons at high speed, poor turn radius and vulnerability to flak. The Macchi 202/205, Reggiane 2005, Fiat G55 and Ki-61 fighters were all better to fly, much more manouvrable, easier to see out of and better protected.
It would have been better for the Luftwaffe if 109 production had ceased by end 1941 and one of the above put into service instead.
regards
JF
Mark Hanna is a Spit jockey and therefore just a bit biased. :)

True, the BF109 had problems, but so did all WWII prop aircraft. None of the problems were catastrophic however. In fact, the BF109 remained at the forefront of WWII fighter throughout the war and was always an extremely formidable opponent.
After reading the William Green comments of the fight between Me 109R and He 100 V8 to become the Luftwaffe standard fighter I wonder if Me 109 was the biggest mistake of the Luftwaffe.

He 100 V-8 with 500 hp less hp:s was only 5,3 mph slover than that ridiculous 109R " racer " ...and 100 v-8 was a version of the regular He 100...the real intented fighter.

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Me 109 was the biggest mistake of the Luftwaffe

Post by Dave Bender » 08 Jan 2008 18:17

Absolutely not. Was there anything better in 1935?

Without WWII Germany might well have produced the He-100 from late 1940 onward. Germany might also have produced the Fw-190 from 1940 onward, powered by a DB 601 engine. Given a choice, I would opt for the Fw-190 over the He-100.

When you are involved in a life and death struggle it changes your manufacturing priorities. The Me-109 was already in mass production and was relatively inexpensive. As with the American Sherman tank, the German Me-109 was good enough to soldier on to the end despite no longer being state of the art.

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Re: Me 109 was the biggest mistake of the Luftwaffe

Post by AL Schlageter » 08 Jan 2008 18:27

Dave Bender wrote:Absolutely not. Was there anything better in 1935?
In 1936 there was, the Hurricane and Spitfire. The 109 couldn't match them till the E model.

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Re: Me 109 was the biggest mistake of the Luftwaffe

Post by Topspeed » 08 Jan 2008 19:06

Dave Bender wrote:Absolutely not. Was there anything better in 1935?

Without WWII Germany might well have produced the He-100 from late 1940 onward. Germany might also have produced the Fw-190 from 1940 onward, powered by a DB 601 engine. Given a choice, I would opt for the Fw-190 over the He-100.
I think you are little disoriented...fighter competition was later than 1935 ( it was announced in 1935 by RLM ) and FW had offered FW-156 for the race..a plane like Fokker of WW I with cantilever wing...except with inline engine.

Me 109 R flew in 1939 as did the He 100 V-8.

Here is an insert I found in the net:

"The Me109R was a specially designed aircraft that raised the world speed record in 1939. Me109R itself was a spurious designation for publicity purposes. It was actually the Me209VI. The only thing it had in common with the standard fighter, the Bf109, was that it was designed by the same team. The Nazi propagandists gained world acclaim for the standard Bf109 by confusing the two aircraft (as have many others since). Although Willy Messerschmitt joined the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke more than ten years before the war and headed the team that designed the Me109R, the factory's name was not changed to Messerschmitt AG until after the first Bf109s and Bf110s had been produced. Only subsequently were the products of the factory known as Me163, Me210, Me262, and so on. There were 33 000 Bf109s but only one Me109, so the myth of the Me109 as opposed to the Bf109 has been perpetuated. "

Ernst had claimed after the Me 109R record that in similar conditions his racer could have done 770 km/h.He was advised not to try another time !? In 1943 he designed a propfighter that could have done 880 km/h. See it in the http://www.luft46.com .

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Re: Me 109 was the biggest mistake of the Luftwaffe

Post by Kurfürst » 08 Jan 2008 19:15

Dave Bender wrote:Absolutely not. Was there anything better in 1935?

Without WWII Germany might well have produced the He-100 from late 1940 onward.
Which is probably why Ersnt Heinkel`s problem in competing with Willy Messerschmitt in fighter design always seem to be the same : Heinkel always 'missed the bus', and was one phase behind Messerschmitt.

Germany may have produced for example the He 100 (how close it was being production ready?) without WW2 from late 1940, but instead it actually produced the 109F from July 1940 instead.

It should not be forgotten that Messerschmitt was also developing it`s own fighter; most of the work was done on the 109F in 1939, and it`s so many ways different from the Bf 109E and previous than one might consider it a fighter on it`s own right. In fact the reason the 109 could prove such a lasting success is that the bulk of 109s (F, G, and K models) produced during the war were all based on an airframe designed according to the most recent engineering standards in 1939/40.
When you are involved in a life and death struggle it changes your manufacturing priorities. The Me-109 was already in mass production and was relatively inexpensive. As with the American Sherman tank, the German Me-109 was good enough to soldier on to the end despite no longer being state of the art.
The beuty of the 109 was that it was on one hand very inexpensive to produce, easy to maintain, easy to fly and highly successfull to boot.

I disagree it not being state of the art, foreign evaluation teams seem to have been equally impressed with it`s features, East or West.
In 1936 there was, the Hurricane and Spitfire. The 109 couldn't match them till the E model.
Neither the Spitfire the Hurricane were around in 1936.

The Messerschmitt 109 entered service February 1937. 516 have been delivered by 31 March, 1938 (A-D models).

The first fully equipped (16 aircraft) Hurricane Squadron did not become operational until February 1938. Others equipped with it very slowly, as even in March the production rate was only six aircraft per week - the RAF had 497 Hurricane`s at the outbroke of the war, September 1939.

The Spitfire entered operational service in August 1938. As a matter of fact it was in service only on paper. To quote dr. Alfred Price :

New Spitfires arrived at Duxford from the makers one at a time at irregular intervals. Not until 31 October was Cozens able to put up a formation of six aircraft for the first official air-to-air photographs of the new fighter in RAF service. And it was December 1938 before No 119 Squadron had it's full compliment of sixteen Spitfires. (dr. A.P : The Spitfire Story, page 71.)

The prototype Bf 109E powered by a DB 601A made it's flight in spring of 1938, and entered production a that year.

By December 1938, 168 109E-1/E-3s have been delivered, and 791 Jumo powered 109A/B/C/Ds; 959 Bf 109s in total.

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Heinkel always 'missed the bus'

Post by Dave Bender » 08 Jan 2008 20:34

Which is probably why Ersnt Heinkel`s problem in competing with Willy Messerschmitt in fighter design always seem to be the same : Heinkel always 'missed the bus', and was one phase behind Messerschmitt.

Germany may have produced for example the He 100 (how close it was being production ready?) without WW2 from late 1940, but instead it actually produced the 109F from July 1940 instead.
I think you are right. If the He-100 had been production ready as a combat aircraft in 1938, complete with a proper cooling system, armor, weapons, etc., then it may have entered production with the DB601 engine ILO the Me-109E. But showing up at the competition with a racing aircraft is only going to convince Luftwaffe officials that Heinkel does not know how to build an aircraft suitable for combat.

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