phylo_roadking wrote:The 109 was a short-range fighter designed to take on an enemy's fighters over the Blitzkrieg battlefield, and either clear them down to allow the LW's tactical bombers through, or provide escort.
This is a bit what 20/20 hindsight tells us, but originally the 109 was desigined for the same short range interceptor, DEFENSIVE duties the Spitfire or the Hurricane, the primarly concern being the fast, monoplane bomber, back in the 1930 seen as a threat that will 'always get through', and even outrun biplane fighters trying to catch it.
Operating from the 'Blitzkrieg' forward airfield was something that it did a lot later, though never particularly meant for in the original requirements from 1935, though it`s easy servicability and facilitated modular layout - that was to provide it a chance of a second chase of enemy bombers after refuel/rearm, or even re-engined in just 15 mins - helped a lot in those crude conditions in the forward airfields of Africa and Russia.
phylo_roadking wrote:I'm not talking about taxiiing into the wind being a problem - of course runways are oriented into the prevailing wind - I'm talking about the visibility problem endemic of an aircraft with a long inline engine. A Hurricane or Spitfire pilot had to weave from side to side while taxiing to get a view of straight-ahead...or at a pinch could lean their head put of the cockpit to one side or the other...but a 109 pilot couldn't!!! (As Rall confirmed in that interview) Not out of a SIDE-hinged cockpit!
That`s why the side-hinged canopy had sliding panels on the side and top of the canopy that could be opened just for that.
In any case, as you noted the forward view from taildraggers was appealing and next to nothing during taxying - that`s why they kept weawing to see at least something about things in front.
BTW, a while ago I`ve made a dimension comparison of the Malcolm Hood and the early Bf 109 canopy (later one would have the same dimensions though, just less struts), since it was already bought up, I think I`ll share it. It is based on accurate wartime German and Russian drawings, it is scaled and measurements can be read on it, too.
You can also get a fair idea of the size of the early Spitfire canopy before the Malcolm was introduced, iirc, early 1942...? It`s the same actually, just the inner lines without the added 'bubble'. No wonder they introduced the Malcolm, it was pretty tight originally.
Also, the longer undercarriage struts mounted further forward twoeards the edge of the wing meant the 109 ALSO ran HIGHER in the nose than the longer, straight-cowled Spitfire, greatly adding to the problem.
I doubt the undercarriage lenght would be any different, since it was dicated by the propeller disc diamater, rather the same on both planes; roughly the same position, too.
BTW, it`s the other way around, the more forward the u/c is, the lower the nose will be.
The chief design difference was that the Spitfire mounted the fuel tank between the cocpit and engine, and the Merlin also had the supercharger behind to engine, so it made the cowling quite a bit longer than on the 109; the DB engine was also an inverted Vee-12, which meant the cowling could narrower on the top and somewhat less obstructing than with a upright-Vee12 such as the Merlin (R-R was also toying with that idea, but dropped it, probably because they would run into technical problems without direct fuel injection).
In any case, it`s a tiny little detail, the bottomline is, there are only two kinds of forward view offered by taildraggers during taxy : bad and even worse.