The Me 109....

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
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Topspeed
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Post by Topspeed » 08 Jan 2008 20:39

I guess so. 109 was easier to build etc.

....but how do you explain He 219 "UHU" ?

JodelFlieger
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Post by JodelFlieger » 09 Jan 2008 00:06

Hello all,
Firstly, thank you all for very cogent replies.The thread title is about the 109 being the worst of all the DB engined fighters, not about how it rated against it's most famous opponents...............the Spitfire's canopy was easier to see out of, easier to open and close and easier to jettison.A 109E canopy weighed in the region of 80 pounds.The pilots bitched about it constantly....Mark Hanna was a very accomplished 109 pilot and was killed in one.He wrote a very good flight test report about flying the G10 of the Messerschmitt foundation........many German pilots criticized the 109, for all the reasons stated above.They loved the high speed, good armament, good cockpit layout, fast climb and dive but they hated the landing gear, the canopy, especially as it was a death-trap if the aircraft inverted, the lack of rudder trim(which meant that at combat speeds, they could not trim out the high yaw forces except by increasing foot pressure.Allied fighters had rudder trim tabs and could, which meant that they were better gun platforms at higher speeds.) which made even slow cruising at 150 mph tiring as the need to keep foot pressure on at all times is very tiring......the ability to turn tightly is not everything but being outturned by virtually all of your opponents at combat speeds is not healthy and the dive and zoom tactic was not always viable, especially at the low altitudes used in the Eastern Front.Conversely, the 109's ability to turn tightly below 250 mph, especially at high altitudes and when engaging the p51, p47 and p38 made it popular as a high altitude escort for the 190s.....bad ailerons are a design fault at a most basic level.When the great Eric "winkle" Brown comments in his original test flight of a 109 G-6 that the ailerons felt as if they were set in concrete and required both hands to operate them, at 400 mph, which the 109 g6 could easily achieve and more, especially for a fighter best suited to dive and zoom tactics, then, quite simply, it's a fault that needed to be eliminated.the Spitfire I had the same problem and was given metal ailerons, which improved it's abilities markedly.I did read, however that metal ailerons were considered for the 109 but that they were rejected as it was claimed that the bending moment of the wings would be exceeded and pilots would inadvertantly cause structural failure..the Spit's skinny gear was poor, especially when they tried to make it a carrier aircraft, but it was better than the 109's anytime.Conversely, the Spit coild easily be nosed over by being too harsh with the brakes, whereas the 109 couldn't.The great Molders himself regarded the Spitfire and Hurricane as "childishly easy to take off and land" from testing them at Rechlin.....the first P40 to fly was, as far as I know,built from a P-36 airframe.....the 202 was a growth of the 200, not a clean-sheet design....the first 190D was made from the airframe of a 190A, by the addition of the liquid-cooled engine and a plug inserted into the hull.It retained the same wing.later 190Ds had longer wings....whilst all liquid-cooled fighters are more vulnerable to flak than radial engined fighters, the early fighters of WW II had little or no belly or radiator armour and were lost from comparatively light antiaircraft damage.The 109 didn't get decent underside armour until it was changed to a fighter-bomber.
regards to all
JF

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 09 Jan 2008 02:11

colchekov19 wrote:A lot of German aces prefer to fly to fly Me109.surely their opinions would influence german fighter productions.
This statement is actually meaningless.

Most experienced pilots like to fly, and keep flying, the aircraft that they are most familiar with.

The aircraft they are most familiar with is most often their favourite aircraft.

Often, the more experienced a pilot is, the more set in his ways he gets, like an old man. Old men don't like change.

Therefore experienced Me 109 pilots didn't want to change to the Fw 190, even though the Fw 190 was generally a better aircraft.

While new pilots for whom the Fw 190 was their first operational aircraft, loved it - and didn't want to change to the Me 109.

It was the same story with the Japanese Army Air Force. Their pilots got used to the very agile but slow and lightly armed Ki-43 Hayabusa. And when the much faster, better armed but far less maneuverable Ki-44 Shoki came out, the experienced Ki-43 pilots absolutely hated it. But new pilots put straight into the Ki-44 learned to appreciate its qualities, and used it successfully as a boom and zoom fighter.

So we should take pilot comments with a pinch of salt - the pilot making the quote could be overly-biased in favour of another aircraft he is more familiar with, and therefore the quote may not be objective.

schutzearsch
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Post by schutzearsch » 09 Jan 2008 03:12

ny German pilots criticized the 109, for all the reasons stated above.They loved the high speed, good armament, good cockpit layout, fast climb and dive but they hated the landing gear, the canopy, especially as it was a death-trap if the aircraft inverted, the lack of rudder trim(which meant that at combat speeds
After all i heard i can agree with that.

My Grandfather flew a 109 and criticized the plane for the same reasons, also he told me that the 109 was dificult to land especially for young unexperienced pilots the reason where the small windows of the canopy which gave only very limited view when landing the plane.
Also he told once that the short barrelled MGFF of the 109E was not much acurate which was a problem in shoting ofer longer distances cause you hat onl 120 rounds for the MGFF. The MG17 had much more acurathy.
But this problems where fixed with the 109F (iam not guite sure but i think my Grandfather scoret the most of his victories in a 109F cause he was trasnfered out of his Geschwader in mid or late 41 and served in a Staff Unit in Germany.

On thing i have to say to the speed of the 109 cause at the Beginning of the War there where still many 109 in service which where equipet with the much more weaker Jumo Engines. So the most 110 (with the DB Engines) where faster then this 109s the 110 where also faster then the most Polish and French Fighters. A friend of my Grandfather flying 110s at the beginning of the War scoret a lot of victories over Poland and France by flying away from the enemy fighters and then returing to engange them Face to Face using the strong armend of the 110 and avoiding Dog fights.

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Biased in favour of another aircraft he is more familiar wit

Post by Dave Bender » 09 Jan 2008 03:37

Numbers don't lie, and the Me-109 produced results.

JG52 flew only the Me-109 and they shot down over 10,000 enemy aircraft. You don't get these kind of results flying an inferior aircraft.

How many Ki-61 wings achieved 10,000 kills during WWII? They certainly had as target rich an environment as JG52. How about MC.202 wings with 10,000 kills? They also operated in a target rich environment.

The British Spitfire was operational for the entire 6 years of WWII. Did any Spitfire wing achieve 10,000 air to air kills?

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 09 Jan 2008 08:06

Sorry Dave, but the high German victory totals say more about the quality of the opposition than they do about the perfection or otherwise of the Me 109.

The Italian Air Force faced mainly the British and Americans. The Japanese Air Forces faced the Americans mainly, and the British, Australians and New Zealanders to a much lesser extent. In other words, high quality opposition.

While the Luftwaffe piled up relatively easy victories against the French and Russian air forces in the early part of the war. Between 1940 and 1942, the Me 109 was superior to the vast majority of French and Russian aircraft, and German pilots were more experienced and skilled than the average French or Russian pilot. This allowed German aces in units like JG52 to develop higher average pilot skill than in the Italian and Japanese air forces, which sustained the unit's high kill ratio when the Russians began to field increasing numbers of better aircraft.

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Post by JodelFlieger » 09 Jan 2008 11:58

Hi Dave
The 109 was the only single-engined fighter available for the best part of three years and German pilots went into "Barbarossa" with huge experience...with regard to the canopy,Messerschmitt could have easily developed something like the Malcolm canopy fitted to the Mustang I of the RAF, which vastly improved the view compared to the original framed canopy.Post war 109s recieved sliding, bubble canopies in Spanish use, so it wasn't beyond Messerschmitt's capabilities to do it....pilots complaints are valid as they ultimately are the end-users who have to survive in the cauldron of combat in the aircraft. Any manufacturer who didn't listen to the pilots (and the mechs/armourers/fitters,too) would be doing a grave disservice to his armed forces....Still, the 109 was a good, but not a great aircraft.It amassed a huge kill record because it was there, not because it was exceptional.If I had been the Reichsminister for fighter production, I would have seriously considered ceasing production of it.If the 190D had been available a year earlier, I definitely would have.
regards
JF
regards

AL Schlageter
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Post by AL Schlageter » 09 Jan 2008 13:04

Kurfurst,

The Hurricane prototype, K5083, first flew on 6 November 1935.
The Spitfire prototype, K5054, first flew on 5 March 1936.

Dave Bender asked, "Was there anything better in 1935?" and the 2 British fighters certainly were in 1936.

Your production numbers have no relevance with regards to the performance of the Hurricane and Spitfire which are clearly superior to the 109A, B, C and D. The British fighters were better armed.

RAF 119 Squadron

It was first formed at RAF Bowmore in March 1941, as part of No. 15 Group of Coastal Command. The unit was equipped with Short G and C boats, re-equipping with the Catalina I in June.

Did you mean 19 Squadron? If so it was not Dec but Nov 11 1938.

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Post by tonyh » 09 Jan 2008 13:33

JodelFlieger wrote:Mark Hanna was a very accomplished 109 pilot and was killed in one.He wrote a very good flight test report about flying the G10 of the Messerschmitt foundation........
Mark was killed in a post war Spanish Hispano Buchon. Not a real BF109. The Buchon's were notoriously devilish to fly, even for Luftwaffe 109 vets.

many German pilots criticized the 109, for all the reasons stated above.They loved the high speed, good armament, good cockpit layout, fast climb and dive but they hated the landing gear, the canopy, especially as it was a death-trap if the aircraft inverted, the lack of rudder trim(which meant that at combat speeds, they could not trim out the high yaw forces except by increasing foot pressure.
And many German pilots preferred it over the FW190. It came down to a matter of taste. Also, if an aircraft is inverted, it's a very bad situation, no matter what WWII fighter we are talking about. We cannot criticise the 109 alone on this issue. True, some German pilots disliked the landing gear, but I have read numerous accounts from Jadgwaffe saying that they had no problem with it in general. IIRC, even Eric Brown said he had no problem with it.

I haven't heard read complaints from pilots about the lack of rudder trim though. Rudder trim at combat speeds is pretty useless considering that the speed of the aircraft would be changing all the time. If a pilot was trying to combat yaw during a scrap, he would spend most of his attention on that instead of fighting the enemy. I wouldn't imagine that is was that drastic a problem for 109 pilots.

Trim is most important for level flight. It eliminates the need for the pilot to be constantly attending to his direction and flying and not looking out for enemy aircraft. The fixed trim on the 109 trimmed the aircraft for it's cruise speed and was sufficient for a short range fighter.

Allied fighters had rudder trim tabs and could, which meant that they were better gun platforms at higher speeds.) which made even slow cruising at 150 mph tiring as the need to keep foot pressure on at all times is very tiring......
Actually, the 109's nose mounted armament was a far better gun configuration than the wing mounted guns of most allied machines. A clean 109 didn't need trim to aid the central mounted nose guns.

The fixed trim eliminated the need for the pilot to keep constant foot pressure on the rudder at cruise speed.
the ability to turn tightly is not everything but being outturned by virtually all of your opponents at combat speeds is not healthy and the dive and zoom tactic was not always viable, especially at the low altitudes used in the Eastern Front.Conversely, the 109's ability to turn tightly below 250 mph, especially at high altitudes and when engaging the p51, p47 and p38 made it popular as a high altitude escort for the 190s.....
Not, it's not "healthy", but when your aircraft is faster, climbs better and dives better, the need for turning is completely eliminated. A turn fighter can mill about all day long, but if it can't climb after you, that reduces its effectiveness to a defence position. Witness the absolute frustration of Spitfire VB pilots on the Western front during the latter half of 1941 and throughout 1942.

On the Eastern Front, energy tactics were still exclusively employed, even though the combat altitudes were generally lower than in the West. Combat was usually lower than 15.000ft, but this didn't affect the German fighters ability to climb, dive attack and climb. The tactic still applied.

Also, what made the 109 popular was not it's low speed turning ability, it was the fact that the 109's general performance didn't drop off about 20.000ft like it did on the radial engined FW190.

the Spit's skinny gear was poor, especially when they tried to make it a carrier aircraft, but it was better than the 109's anytime.
Yes they were better, I didn't say they weren't. They were better because they were attached to the wing and not the fuselage like on the 109. This is simply design compromise, but it doesn't make the BF109 a bad fighter by any means.
Conversely, the Spit coild easily be nosed over by being too harsh with the brakes, whereas the 109 couldn't.The great Molders himself regarded the Spitfire and Hurricane as "childishly easy to take off and land" from testing them at Rechlin.....
He also regarded the 109 as the better aircraft. The 109 too was very easy to take of, it was during landing that the pilot had to take caution.

the first 190D was made from the airframe of a 190A, by the addition of the liquid-cooled engine and a plug inserted into the hull.It retained the same wing.later 190Ds had longer wings....
All FW190D's had the same length wing as the FW190A IIRC. The longer wing was introduced on the TA152H.
whilst all liquid-cooled fighters are more vulnerable to flak than radial engined fighters, the early fighters of WW II had little or no belly or radiator armour and were lost from comparatively light antiaircraft damage.The 109 didn't get decent underside armour until it was changed to a fighter-bomber.
I am unaware of any underside armour on the BF109, even when applied as a temp Jabo. Unless it was an unofficial mod in the field. Schlacht pliots hated using the BF109E, F and G as a ground attack aircraft. Tthe BF109 was designed as a short ranger fighter, not a ground attack machine and was never intended as such.


Tony

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Post by schutzearsch » 09 Jan 2008 14:39

While the Luftwaffe piled up relatively easy victories against the French and Russian air forces in the early part of the war. Between 1940 and 1942, the Me 109 was superior to the vast majority of French and Russian aircraft, and German pilots were more experienced and skilled than the average French or Russian pilot. This allowed German aces in units like JG52 to develop higher average pilot skill than in the Italian and Japanese air forces, which sustained the unit's high kill ratio when the Russians began to field increasing numbers of better aircraft.
Not wrong but also not 100% right. As you said in mid or lad 42 the Russian Planes and Pilots where at least equal to German planes and Pilots. But Hartman the most succesful Ace of the War joined the JG at 42. Gerhard Barkhorn 2nd after Hartman scoret not a single kill against French Pilots over France or English over England cause he needet 120 Missions for his first Victory.

Altough the German JGs at Eastern front where still Flying with the odler types of the 109 in late '44 Hartman hat a Dogfight with a greater Number of Mustangs flying an Old 109G6 without MW50 and shooting down 3 or 4 of them before he was shot down and was forced to bail out.

Also many experienced Luftwaffe Aces which where very succesfully over England where shot down soon after they started flying over Eastern front. (Hans Hahn for example)

But a great reason foir the many kills was that the German did not replace their Pilots and the Americans and British did (the Americans replaced Fighter Pilots after 80 Combat Missions no Ideia about the Commonwealth)

So the top Fighters of Luftwaffe remained in Service for much longer.

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Switch to mass production of FW-190 earlier

Post by Dave Bender » 09 Jan 2008 15:00

I would have seriously considered ceasing production of it.If the 190D had been available a year earlier, I definitely would have.
A Fw-190 with liquid cooled engine was possible in 1941 if you are willing to discontinue production of the Me-109. It will be powered by the 1,350 hp DB601 engine that historically went into the Me-109F. The DB engine was as good or better then the Ju-213 engine, and available a lot earlier.

But are you willing to interrupt fighter production on the eve of Operation Barbarossa? Without WWII this wholesale conversion to the Fw-190 fighter might have happened in 1941.

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Re: Switch to mass production of FW-190 earlier

Post by Wehrmann » 09 Jan 2008 15:49

Dave Bender wrote:
The DB engine was as good or better then the Ju-213 engine, and available a lot earlier.
The Jumo213 was much better than every DB-engine.

Wehrmann

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Post by Tim Smith » 09 Jan 2008 15:57

Also the Fw 190D is quite a bit heavier than the Me 109. So won't be as fast on the same engine.

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Post by Tim Smith » 09 Jan 2008 16:13

schutzearsch wrote: Not wrong but also not 100% right. As you said in mid or lad 42 the Russian Planes and Pilots where at least equal to German planes and Pilots. But Hartman the most succesful Ace of the War joined the JG at 42. Gerhard Barkhorn 2nd after Hartman scoret not a single kill against French Pilots over France or English over England cause he needet 120 Missions for his first Victory.

Altough the German JGs at Eastern front where still Flying with the odler types of the 109 in late '44 Hartman hat a Dogfight with a greater Number of Mustangs flying an Old 109G6 without MW50 and shooting down 3 or 4 of them before he was shot down and was forced to bail out.

Also many experienced Luftwaffe Aces which where very succesfully over England where shot down soon after they started flying over Eastern front. (Hans Hahn for example)

But a great reason foir the many kills was that the German did not replace their Pilots and the Americans and British did (the Americans replaced Fighter Pilots after 80 Combat Missions no Ideia about the Commonwealth)

So the top Fighters of Luftwaffe remained in Service for much longer.
I was discussing unit kills, not kill of individual aces.

A fighter unit is only as good as the average pilot in it. The average pilot being the pilot who has the number of kills closest to a number equalling all the pilots' kills added together and divided by the number of pilots in the unit.

The trouble with the Luftwaffe is that they acquired many aces, and then depended on those aces while neglecting training. With the result that the rookies found it harder and harder to survive long enough to become aces themselves. As the experienced aces were killed off one by one, the overall average pilot quality of the Luftwaffe steadily declined.

Meanwhile the average quality in Allied fighter units was slowly increasing.

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Post by schutzearsch » 09 Jan 2008 16:38

I was discussing unit kills, not kill of individual aces.

A fighter unit is only as good as the average pilot in it. The average pilot being the pilot who has the number of kills closest to a number equalling all the pilots' kills added together and divided by the number of pilots in the unit.
Yes but you where talking about the quality of enemies as one Sowjet Pilot was not the same woth as an US or Commonwealth Pilot and the Russian planes where not as good as American and British products.

Unfornatually this is not totaly true cause later Russian Yaks and LaGGs hat not to fear a Matchup with newes Spitfires and Mustangs. Altough some Russian Fighter Models where not as good as its western allied counterparts Luftwaffe Fighter Units on Eastern front used older Models then their comrades on Western Front. Most units where Using the 109G6 at times the Western Fighter Squadrons where already equippet with 109G10s 190s or longnosed 190s

The trouble with the Luftwaffe is that they acquired many aces, and then depended on those aces while neglecting training. With the result that the rookies found it harder and harder to survive long enough to become aces themselves. As the experienced aces were killed off one by one, the overall average pilot quality of the Luftwaffe steadily declined.

Meanwhile the average quality in Allied fighter units was slowly increasing.
As the training of Pilots was cut down when the war expired cause of time Problems. This was not only a Problem with the Pilots it was in every other unit. Hans Scheibert writes in "German Panzertroops 1939-1945" the replacments usally where killed first.

While at the Beginning of the War Germany could replace their casulties of Pilots better cause Germany hat much more Civil Pilots then Britain later in the War the younger Pilots where bad trained.

But i would not take this as an indicator to say the Luftwaffe dependet only on their Aces. Te problem was Germany fought in a war with 3 World Powers (Sowjet Union United States and Commonwealth) (of cuase it was their own fault) so they had not the time to train and raise repalcements slowly.
Time that the Allied Nations had.

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