Bf 109 A?

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durb
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Bf 109 A?

Post by durb » 23 Apr 2015 17:55

The history of first serial production of Bf 109 is somewhat confusing. See for example what different sources have to say about Bf 109´s sent to Spain. http://bioold.science.ku.dk/drnash/mode ... bf109.html

To my knowledge first serial production Bf 109 to enter in Luftwaffe service was Bf 109 B and this probably was the subtype B-2. When it comes about the first dozen of serial produced Bf 109´s sent to Spain in the spring of 1937 (the first three Bf 109´s were "V"-prototypes), different sources disagree: some claim that they were Bf 109 B-1 with fixed Scwarz propeller and some that they were Bf 109 "A". For the latter argument I have read that the very absence of Bf 109 "A" in Luftwaffe service is explained by the very fact that practically all A-planes were sent to Spain and thus there is not a single mention of lost Bf 109 A lost in Luftwaffe units ("unavoidable" accidents and consequent written offs starting only with Bf 109 B in the books of regular Luftwaffe´s units). From other sources one gets a impression that there were just different V-prototypes and after that the manufacturing jumped directly to B-series and B-1 (fixed Scwarz prop).

However it would be logical that something like "Bf 109 A" should have existed as a interim phase from V-prototypes to B-series. But did exist only in drawing boards or was there really about dozen of "serial produced" planes with slightly different modifications like A-0, A-1, A-2...? Were the "A" -planes modified later as B-1 and B-2?

Denniss
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Re: Bf 109 A?

Post by Denniss » 23 Apr 2015 18:09

The A-0 did exist and ~15 of them served in spain. The first real production version was the 109B (no subtype existing, -1/-2 was unofficial).
All A-0 and early B received the later variable pitch propeller. The A-0 captured by Republicans and sent to Moscow was prepared for it but hadn't received it.

Atrevida
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Re: Bf 109 A?

Post by Atrevida » 23 Apr 2015 22:05

Although it was intended originally to send three Bf 109 prototype fighters to Spain, one was replaced by the new He 112.

These three aircraft arrived at Cádiz in December 1936 and were taken at once to Tablada/Seville aerodrome. The third Messerschmitt prototype arrived in Spain in early February 1937 as a replacement for one of the earlier two.

The two early Messerschmitt aircraft were attached to Legion Condor experimental unit VJ/88. These were Bf 109 V3 (Works No. 760 D-IOQY) and V-4 (Wks No 878 D-IALY).

The four pilots assigned to test fly these aircaft were Oberlts Hannes Trautloft and Günther Radusch, Unteroffizier Hermann Beurer and a civilian pilot, V. Zitzewitz.

Beurer crash-landed Bf 109 V-4 running number 6-1 and was transferred out, being replaced at Tablada on 9 December 1936 by Trautloft who had to await the repair. Another test pilot, Oblt Otto Winterer was also assigned to VJ/88 on 22 December 1936.

The Spanish language source book which I am consulting contains a great deal more information about the Luftwaffe experimental fighters and bombers in Spain up to August 1937 and their operations.

Atrevida
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Re: Bf 109 A?

Post by Atrevida » 24 Apr 2015 14:45

CONTINUING EARLIER POST

On 16 January 1937 Oberstleutnant von Richthofen issued the first technical bulletin for Versuchskommando VK/88 of Legion Condor.

He reported that Bf 109 V3 was equipped with a Jumo 210C motor with Schwarz three-blade variable pitch propellor and 2 x MG 17: Bf 109 V4 had a Jumo 210B motor with fixed two-blade propellor and 2 x MG 17. Apparently Bf 109 V3 had arrived in Spain with a two blade propellor but a three-blade substitute was fitted after the crash landing.

At the end of January 1937 Lt Paul Rehahn joined VJ/88 to pilot Bf 109 V4 6-2 following the transfer out of Otto Winterer.

On 11 February 1937 VJ 88 was sent to the Centre front and participated in the Battle of Jarama. While atempting to take off at Cáceres, Bf 109 V3 6-2 went into a spin and crashed killing the pílot Rehahn. The aircraft was a write-off.

The replacement for Bf V3 6-2 was the prototype Bf 109V-6 (Wks No 880 D-IMHB) later designated Bf 109B-0, i.e. the first of the B series. It made a first flight from Tablada to Córdoba on 7 March 1937. This machine was given the Spanish AF running number 6-3 and joined 6-1 at Córdoba. The Bf 109 given running number 6-4 was assembled at Seville being the first Bf 109B.

On 14 March 1937, 6-1, 6-3 and 6-4 took off from Tablada for Cáceres as a group. This marked the end of experimental unit VJ88, for a new shipment of fourteen other Bf 109B fighters had arrived for final assembly at Seville as the new squadron 2.J/88 under Oberleutnant Günther Lützow.

SOURCE: Rafael Permuy and Lucas Molina: Unidades Experimentales de la Legión Cóndor - Las Esquadrillas VJ./88 y VB/88 en la Guerra Civil Española- La Luftwaffe en España. Galland Books 2013, profusely illustrated, 97 pages.

Denniss
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Re: Bf 109 A?

Post by Denniss » 24 Apr 2015 21:35

V6 was V6 and not a B-0. V4 is commonly named to have served as pattern aircraft for the B-series.
The "fourteen other Bf 109B fighters" were actually the Bf 109As. Bf 109As were delivered to Luftwaffe between January and February 1937 so hardly possible to have later-produced Bf 109B arrive disassembled in Spain by mid March.

Atrevida
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Re: Bf 109 A?

Post by Atrevida » 25 Apr 2015 16:40

It does not seem that Manfred Griehl falls in line with your belief. In his book "Messerschmitt - Flugzeuge seit 1925" Typenkompass/Motorbuch Verlag, 2008 he writes at page 40, and I quote the German passage:

"Von der Bf 109 A-0 und A-1 entstanden nur etwa 20 Zellen, einige davon mit MG C/30 Bewaffnung. Als Musterflugzeug wurde die Bf 109 V12 (Werk Nr 1016) mit zwei MG FF in den Flächen und zwei MG 17 im Rumpf ausgerüstet and erprobt. Die Maschinen wurden von einem Jumo 210D angetrieben. Da jedoch mit dem Einbau von Motorkanonen vorerst nicht zu rechnen war, lief die Serienfertigung mit der Ausführung B weiter."

He concluded by saying that..."Der Einsatz von 39 Flugzeugen (B-1 und B-2) erfolgte in Spanien...da sich der Waffeneinbau als zu schwach herausstellte aund die Reichweite eher bescheiden aus, setzte die Luftwaffe auf die Baureihe Bf 109 C."

It was therefore appear that your Bf 109 A's in Spain were never there.

durb
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Re: Bf 109 A?

Post by durb » 25 Apr 2015 18:54

Is it possible that Bf 109 "A" planes were all modified later as "B"? The difference between "A" and "B" (or early "B" called "B-1") seems anyway to be quite small.

When it comest of the first Bf 109´s in Spain, it remains a confusing history with literature sources disagreeing of the existence of "A". For example Laureau (2000) puts it so that the first three planes with LC numbers "6-1" to "6-3" were V-prototypes and starting from "6-4" they were B-series until until "6-45". However others sources disagree and I have seen comments that for example the famous "6-15" which was captured by Republicans and sent for evaluation in Soviet Union was a "Bf 109 A-0". Maybe of those 20 A-planes about 15 were sent to Spain but there modified and labelled later as "B" (or "B-1") with their fixed prop? The only real difference of A ("B-1") and later B ("B-2") being that variable VDM prop was installed in the latter? And to my understanding later also "A/B-1" planes were modified as "B/B-2"?

The armament issue with "A" and "B" is also confusing as it seems that the both planes ended up with just two MG 17 machineguns (the third gun firing through propeller and installed initially in "B"-planes was found impractical and removed). The four machinegun armament came only later with "C" and it was the standard armament of Bf 109 up to first Emils (E-1 series).

But what about Luftwaffe resources - what was the first regular Luftwaffe unit (JG 132?) equipped with Bf 109 and which type it was in its books? - earlier "B-1" with fixed wooden prop or later "B-2" with variable prop? Is there evidence of any "Bf 109 A" serving in regular Luftwaffe units in 1937? - with this I mean a "normal" Luftwaffe unit and not experimental test units...

I have not read the standard work of Radinger & Schick (Me 109 - Alle Varianten von Bf (Me 109) 109a Bis Me 109e) of 1997, but other authors like Forsyth seem to quote it with saying that Bf 109A was just a first prototype (V1) and stating categorically that series production started with B-1...And Radinger & Schick work was published in 1997 - 18 years has passed and perhaps more has been digged out of this most confusing history of "A/B"?

This issue is also dealt here: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 4&start=15

Denniss
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Re: Bf 109 A?

Post by Denniss » 26 Apr 2015 01:56

RLM data clearly documents 20 Bf 109A built by Mtt Augsburg.
The Bf 109A and B were continuously modified and that only somewhat stabilized with the so-called B-2. The 109As stayed As but received upgrades similar to those issued to Bs.
6-3(new) to 6-18 were 109As.
The 109B could be considered the first real production variant as the 109A is often stated as A-0, a preproduction variant.

Be careful when claiming release years of books you quote from, lots of reprinted old stuff on the market. Both Griehl and Spielberger released state-of-the-art books for their time but more recent research revealed lots of errors in them.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Bf 109 A?

Post by Ironmachine » 03 May 2015 08:36

Further confusion surrounds the first batch of production machines sent by sea to Spain.Messerschmitt factory documents clearly indicate the existence of a Bf 109A series, although the total number produced is not clear; some sources suggest 20, others say 22. The majority of these aircraft were sent to Spain with the Legion Kondor, being delivered between January and February, 1937. The main difference between the A and the B variants was the provision for a centrally mounted gun firing through the propeller shaft on the B.

This brings up a very interesting point. In the vast majority of publications dealing with the Messerschmitt 109, there is little agreement on designations or configuration of the early Jumo-engined aircraft. Through careful examination of photographs, official Messerschmitt documents, and loss records, a pattern begins to emerge and the picture becomes a bit clearer… it appears that the initial batch of 109s sent to Spain were actually Bf 109As, not Bs. Further research is ongoing, but we have the following information to draw from:
•The Bf 109A had no provision for a centrally-mounted gun.
•There were approximately 20 Bf 109As constructed (22 according to Delivery Program No. 8 of 15, from August 1938- Nr. 138/38 Geheime Kommandosache)
•The production dates of known Bf 109As range from December 1936 to February 1937.
•VJ./88 began operations in March of 1937.
•The highest-numbered aircraft in Spanish service seen in published photographs with the Schwarz wooden propeller is 6-16.
•There are no factory or loss records suggesting the existence of a ‘Bf 109B-2’, a frequent claim in other publications when referring to aircraft with the controllable pitch metal propeller.
•Records indicate the first batch of 109s to enter Spanish service were coded 6-3 through 6-18 – a total of 16 aircraft.

There are several other details often overlooked when examining the first batch of 109s to be sent to Spain:
•The oil cooler on these initial aircraft is located at the wingroot joint, just aft of the port gear leg… later aircraft had the oil cooler moved outboard somewhat, clear of the disturbed airflow behind the gear leg
•The cowling MG17s were still manually cocked… the EPAD 17 was not fitted (recall that this was still being tested in early 1937)
•Photos of 6-15 taken after capture show the cockpit arrangement to be completely different from later 109s
•All aircraft in this initial batch featured the longer slats.
•Examination of photos of these initial aircraft show the fuselage panel lines to be invisible, even close up in strong light. This strongly suggests the joints were covered in pinking tape and faired in.
•Photos also indicate that this first batch of aircraft appears to have been painted in a matte silver overall; the paint has a different reflective quality when compared to later photos of Bf 109Ds and Es which are known to have been painted in RLM 63 Lichtgrau (or RLM 62 Lichtgrün) on their uppersurfaces. In his new work on Luftwaffe camouflage, Kenneth Merrick suggests the aircraft were in bare metal with a very thin, green-tinted protective coating; the complete absence of panel lines on the fuselage in many period photos and heavy wingroot paint wear visible in a photo of 6-4 strongly suggest a painted surface, however.

All of these details are consistent in photographs of the first 15 Spanish Bf 109s. Based on this evidence, it seems to be a reasonable conclusion that this first batch of 16 aircraft were not Bf 109B-1s, but rather Bf 109As.

No written documentation has been found which covers the relocated oil cooler on the port wing, but later photos of these early Spanish 109s indicate that the oil cooler location remained inboard, even though all the aircraft were retrofitted with the new VDM variable pitch propeller. It is not currently known whether the early aircraft were also retrofitted with the centrally mounted MG17; as we can see with the later Emil, the presence of a spinner with a port does not necessarily mean a gun was fitted. It is also not known if the EPAD17 system was retrofitted to these early aircraft to facilitate automatic cocking of the cowl guns.

The changeover to the new propeller was relatively rapid within the Luftwaffe; indeed, propaganda photos taken upon the delivery of 25 Bf 109B-1s to II./JG 132 ‘Richthofen’ at Jüterbog-Damm in February 1937 show the aircraft to be fitted with a mixture of the Schwarz wooden units and the later metal props. The metal units appear on all subsequent Spanish deliveries as well.

The next batch of 109s to reach Spain were 26 actual B-1 production aircraft, coded 6-19 through 6-45.Among the many conflicting detail variances on the B-1 models sent to Spain as well as those introduced into Luftwaffe service are the differences in the leading edge slats. As related earlier, the initial A models all featured the same longer, full-length slats as fitted to the prototypes.Many of the initial B-1s had these slats as well, but at some point in the production run, the new gun wing was introduced. to make room for the MG 17s, the slats were shortened by 635mm on their inboard sides. This configuration was successfully tested on the V1 prior to production; the stall characteristics of the aircraft were found to improve with these shorter slats as well.
Quoted from https://messerschmittbf109.wordpress.co ... tt-bf-109/

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