The Messerschmitt Bf 109 

Germany
Germany

side view front view under view

The story of the Bf 109 is one with high "ups" and very deep "downs". It is one of the most famous planes ever, one of the most built planes ever, and it was the backbone of the German fighter force during the War. Like the Spitfire and the Locjheed P-38, this was one of those few aircraft that was in production during the complete war, and because of it's adaptability constantly updated resulting in a huge number of versions and sub-versions.
Before I tell you the rest of the story of the development of the Bf 109 I have to explain something. Throughout dokumentation you will find that the designation of the Messerschmitt aircraft will start with either Bf or with Me. Often it is even used on the same aircraft, like the Bf 109 or the Me 109. There is a simple rule to apply here, in order to get the correct designation: All aircraft before the Me 163 were designated with Bf. This stands for Bayerische Flugzeugwerke. So Me 109 is technically spoken incorrect, and you will not find it on these pages.

The story of the Bf 109 goes way back before the start of the War. In 1929, the Deutsche Lufthansa headed by Erhard Milch, cancelled an order for 10 Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (BFW - headed by Willy Messerschmitt) M-20B transports. Not only was the order cancelled, but the company was also forced to pay back the deposit Lufthansa had paid for the aircraft. This brought BFW almost to bankruptcy, of which it was able to recover from only with considerable effort. By now Milch was State secretary of Aviation, the deputy of the Minister of Aviation, Herman Göring. He made it clear to Willy Messeschmitt that he was expected only to built licensed aircraft designed by other companies. Infuriated by the events and the words of Milch Messerschmitt was resolved to build his own designed aircraft. Because BFW was never awarded a German contract the company started looking for export possibilities. In 1933 this was rewarded with a Rumanian order for the design of the M-36 transport, which was later license built in Rumania as the IAR 36. Also support for the M-37 two-seat cabin manoplane was secured since Rumania wanted to license-build those aircraft as trainers.
This in turn incensed Milch, who got the German Air Ministry so far to castigate BFW because it concentrated on foreign orders in stead of German orders. This was exactly what Messerschmitt was waiting for, beacause it enabled him to state publicly that BFW was seeking foreign orders because it could get no German orders. The remarks had effect, and BFW received an order for 6 examples of the M-37, designated Bf 108A. This aircraft won a number of contests, or at least made a good appearance. Milch tried to influence the pilots to say that the Bf 108A was unsafe to fly, but Messerschmitt was able to prove it was safe and reliable.

Messerschmitt teamed up with Walther Rethel in the meantime, and started designing a single seat monoplane fighter, based on the Bf 108 Taifun. It was the first fighter to have a number of features that were used before, but never combined in one design until then. It was an all-metal, cantilever low-wing monoplane, with stressed skin, a single spar wing structure, leading edge slats, trailing edge slotted flaps, retractable landing gear and enclosed cockpit. The design was very advanced for it's contemporaries, and turned out to be one of the most developable/upgradeable ones. It stayed in production for at least 10 years (including license built aircraft), and in service for more than 30 years.

Versions:

Further pictures:

Messerschmitt Bf 109F in North Africa
Messerschmitt Bf 109F in North Africa

Messerschmitt Bf 109G on an airfield (Hispano built)
Messerschmitt Bf 109G on an airfield (Hispano built)

Messerschmitt Bf 109K's lined up (Hispano built)
Messerschmitt Bf 109K's lined up (Hispano built)

 

Technical data on the Messerschmitt Bf 109D-1
Powerplant 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 600Aa inverted-Vee, rated at 986 hp (735.05 kW) Role during war
  • Air superiority Fighter
  • Fighter
  • Fighter-bomber
Length 28 ft 2.5 inch Height 7 ft 3.75 inch
Empty weight 4398 lb Operational weight 5335 lb max
Wing Span 32 ft 4.5 inch Wing Aspect ratio 6.02
Wing Area 174.05 sq ft Service ceiling 32810 ft
Maximum speed 357 mph at 11480 ft Cruising speed 230 mph at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate 2,985 ft per min Range 348 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 55 Imp gal (66 US gal) Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 2 × 0.312 inch MG 17 fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 500 rounds each
Cannons
  • 1 × 20 mm MG FF/M fixed forward-firing in a moteur canon installation, 160 rounds
Bomb load - Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 1 Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 28 May 1935 Operational Service 1937 - 1967
Manufacturer Messerschmitt A.G. Number produced about 35.000 total, about 175 this version
Metric system
Length 8.6 m Height 2.23 m
Empty weight 1995 kg Operational weight 2420 kg max
Wing Span 9.87 m Wing Aspect ratio 6.02
Wing Area 16.17 m² Service ceiling 10000 m
Maximum speed 575 km/h at 3499 m Cruising speed 370 km/h at optimum altitude
Initial climb rate 882 m per min Range 560 km max
Fuel capacity internal 250 liters Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 2 × 7,92 mm MG 17 fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 500 rounds each
Cannons
  • 1 × 20 mm MG FF/M fixed forward-firing in a moteur canon installation, 160 rounds
Bomb load - Torpedoes/rockets -

Technical data on the Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4
Powerplant 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601Aa inverted-Vee, rated at 1175 hp (875.95 kW) Role during war
  • Air superiority Fighter
  • Fighter
  • Fighter-bomber
Length 28 ft 4.5 inch Height 8 ft 2.33 inch
Empty weight 4685 lb Operational weight 5875 lb max
Wing Span 32 ft 4.5 inch Wing Aspect ratio 6.025
Wing Area 174.05 sq ft Service ceiling 34450 ft
Maximum speed 348 mph at 14560 ft Cruising speed 300 mph at 13125 ft
Initial climb rate 3,280 ft per min,
Climb to 19685 ft in 7 min 45 sec
Range 410 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 88 Imp gal (106 US gal) Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 2 × 0.312 inch MG 17 fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 1.000 rounds each (in case of the moteur cannon installed: 500 rounds each)
Cannons
  • 2 × 20 mm MG FF fixed forward-firing in inm the wing leading edges, 60 rounds each
  • 1 × 20 mm MG FF/M optional, fixed forward-firing in a moteur canon installation, 200 rounds
Bomb load - Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 1 Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 28 May 1935 Operational Service 1937 - 1967
Manufacturer Messerschmitt A.G. Number produced about 35.000 total, more than 4.000 Bf 109E version aircraft
Metric system
Length 8.65 m Height 2.5 m
Empty weight 2125 kg Operational weight 2665 kg max
Wing Span 9.87 m Wing Aspect ratio 6.025
Wing Area 16.17 m² Service ceiling 10500 m
Maximum speed 560 km/h at 4438 m Cruising speed 483 km/h at 4000 m
Initial climb rate 1.000 m per min,
Climb to 6.000 m in 7 min 45 sec
Range 660 km max
Fuel capacity internal 400 liters Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 2 × 7,92 mm MG 17 fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 1.000 rounds each (in case of the moteur cannon installed: 500 rounds each)
Cannons
  • 2 × 20 mm MG FF fixed forward-firing in inm the wing leading edges, 60 rounds each
  • 1 × 20 mm MG FF/M optional, fixed forward-firing in a moteur canon installation, 200 rounds
Bomb load - Torpedoes/rockets -

Technical data on the Messerschmitt Bf 109T-2
Powerplant 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601N inverted-Vee, rated at 1270 hp (946.77 kW) Role during war
  • Fighter
  • Fighter-bomber
  • Anti-shipping Aircraft
Length 28 ft 9 inch Height 8 ft 6.33 inch
Empty weight 4967 lb Operational weight 6173 lb typical,
6786 lb max
Wing Span 36 ft 4.25 inch Wing Aspect ratio 7.015
Wing Area 188.37 sq ft Service ceiling 34450 ft
Maximum speed 357 mph at 19685 ft Cruising speed 343 mph at 16405 ft
Initial climb rate 3,346 ft per min.
Climb to 19,685 ft in 6 min 24 sec
Range 568 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 88 Imp gal (106 US gal) Fuel capacity external 1 × 66 Imp gal (79 US gal) drop tank
Machine guns
  • 2 × 0.312 inch MG 17 fuselage-mounted machine guns
  • optionally in stead of 20 mm cannons: 2 × 0.312 inch MG 17 in the wing leading edges
Cannons
  • optionally in stead of 0.312 inch guns:2 × 20 mm MG FF cannon in the wing leading edges.
Bomb load Up to 551 lb, carried on one hardpoint rated 551 lb. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 1 × 551 lb SC-250 bomb, or
  • 4 × 110 lb SC-50 bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 1 Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 28 May 1935 Operational Service 1937 - 1967
Manufacturer Messerschmitt A.G. Number produced about 35.000 total, 60 this version
Metric system
Length 8.76 m Height 2.6 m
Empty weight 2253 kg Operational weight 2800 kg typical,
3078 kg max
Wing Span 11.08 m Wing Aspect ratio 7.015
Wing Area 17.5 m² Service ceiling 10500 m
Maximum speed 575 km/h at 6000 m Cruising speed 552 km/h at 5000 m
Initial climb rate 1.020 ft per min.
Climb to 6.000 m in 6 min 24 sec
Range 914 km max
Fuel capacity internal 400 liters Fuel capacity external 1 × 300 liters drop tank
Machine guns
  • 2 × 7,92 mm MG 17 fuselage-mounted machine guns
  • optionally in stead of 20 mm cannons: 2 × 7,92 mm MG 17 in the wing leading edges
Cannons
  • optionally in stead of 7,92 mm guns:2 × 20 mm MG FF cannon in the wing leading edges.
Bomb load Up to 250 kg, carried on one hardpoint rated 250 kg. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 1 × 250 kg SC-250 bomb, or
  • 4 × 50 kg SC-50 bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -

Technical data on the Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2
Powerplant 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601N inverted-Vee, rated at 1270 hp (946.77 kW) Role during war
  • Air superiority Fighter
  • Fighter
  • Fighter-bomber
Length 29 ft 3.875 inch Height 8 ft 6.33 inch
Empty weight 5188 lb Operational weight 6173 lb typical,
6760 lb max
Wing Span 32 ft 6.5 inch Wing Aspect ratio 6.11
Wing Area 173.3 sq ft Service ceiling 36090 ft
Maximum speed 373 mph at 19685 ft Cruising speed 349 mph at 16405 ft
Initial climb rate 3,860 ft per min
Climb to 16,405 ft in 5 min 12 sec
Range 547 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 88 Imp gal (106 US gal) Fuel capacity external Up to 66 Imp gal (79 US gal) in 1 drop tank
Machine guns
  • 2 × 0.312 inch MG 17 fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 500 rounds each
Cannons
  • 1 × 15 mm MG 151/15 fixed forward-firing in a moteur-canon installation, 200 rounds
Bomb load Up to 551 lb, carried on one hardpoint rated 551 lb. General disposables load consisted of: 1 × 551 lb SC-250 bomb Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 1 Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 28 May 1935 Operational Service 1937 - 1967
Manufacturer Messerschmitt A.G. Number produced about 35.000 total, more than 2.200 Bf 109F version aircraft
Metric system
Length 8.94 m Height 2.6 m
Empty weight 2353 kg Operational weight 2800 kg typical,
3066 kg max
Wing Span 9.92 m Wing Aspect ratio 6.11
Wing Area 16.1 m² Service ceiling 11000 m
Maximum speed 600 km/h at 6000 m Cruising speed 562 km/h at 5000 m
Initial climb rate 1.177 m per min
Climb to 5.000 m in 5 min 12 sec
Range 880 km max
Fuel capacity internal 400 liters Fuel capacity external Up to 300 liters in 1 drop tank
Machine guns
  • 2 × 7,92 mm MG 17 fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 500 rounds each
Cannons
  • 1 × 15 mm MG 151/15 fixed forward-firing in a moteur-canon installation, 200 rounds
Bomb load Up to 250 kg, carried on one hardpoint rated 250 kg. General disposables load consisted of: 1 × 250 kg SC-250 bomb Torpedoes/rockets -

Technical data on the Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6
Powerplant 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 605AM inverted-Vee, rated at 1475 hp (1099.6 kW) Role during war
  • Air superiority Fighter
  • Fighter
  • Fighter-bomber
Length 29 ft 0.5 inch Height 8 ft 2.5 inch
Empty weight 5893 lb Operational weight 6940 lb typical,
7496 lb max
Wing Span 32 ft 6.5 inch Wing Aspect ratio 6.11
Wing Area 173.3 sq ft Service ceiling 37890 ft
Maximum speed 386 mph at 22640 ft Cruising speed 330 mph at 19030 ft
Initial climb rate 3,346 ft per min
Climb to 18,700 ft in 6 min 0 sec
Range 350 miles typical,
621 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 88 Imp gal (106 US gal) Fuel capacity external Up to 66 Imp gal (79 US gal) in 1 drop tank
Machine guns
  • 2 × 0.51 inch MG 131 fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 300 rounds each
Cannons
  • 1 × 30 mm MK 108 fixed forward-firing in a moteur-canon installation, 60 rounds, or
  • 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20 fixed forward-firing in a moteur-canon installation, 150 rounds
Bomb load Up to 551 lb, carried on one hardpoint rated 551 lb. General disposables load consisted of: 1 × 551 lb SC-250 bomb Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 1 Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 28 May 1935 Operational Service 1937 - 1967
Manufacturer Messerschmitt A.G. Number produced about 35.000 total, more than 23.500 Bf 109G version aircraft
Metric system
Length 8.85 m Height 2.5 m
Empty weight 2673 kg Operational weight 3148 kg typical,
3400 kg max
Wing Span 9.92 m Wing Aspect ratio 6.11
Wing Area 16.1 m² Service ceiling 11549 m
Maximum speed 621 km/h at 6901 m Cruising speed 531 km/h at 5800 m
Initial climb rate 1.020 m per min
Climb to 5.700 m in 6 min 0 sec
Range 563 km typical,
999 km max
Fuel capacity internal 400 liters Fuel capacity external Up to 300 liters in 1 drop tank
Machine guns
  • 2 × 13 mm MG 131 fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 300 rounds each
Cannons
  • 1 × 30 mm MK 108 fixed forward-firing in a moteur-canon installation, 60 rounds, or
  • 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20 fixed forward-firing in a moteur-canon installation, 150 rounds
Bomb load Up to 250 kg, carried on one hardpoint rated 250 kg. General disposables load consisted of: 1 × 250 kg SC-250 bomb Torpedoes/rockets -

Technical data on the Messerschmitt Bf 109K-4
Powerplant 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 605ASCM inverted-Vee, rated at 2000 hp (1490.98 kW) Role during war
  • Air superiority Fighter
  • Fighter
  • Fighter-bomber
Length 29 ft 0.5 inch Height 8 ft 2.5 inch
Empty weight unknown Operational weight unknown
Wing Span 32 ft 8.5 inch Wing Aspect ratio 6.17
Wing Area 173.3 sq ft Service ceiling 41010 ft
Maximum speed 435 mph at 24610 ft Cruising speed unknown
Initial climb rate 4,820 ft per min
Climb to 16,405 ft in 3 min 0 sec
Range 356 miles typical
Fuel capacity internal 88 Imp gal (106 US gal) Fuel capacity external Up to 66 Imp gal (79 US gal) in one drop tank
Machine guns - Cannons
  • 1 × 30 mm MK 108 fixed forward-firing in a moteur canon installation, 60 rounds
  • 2 × 15 mm MG 151/15 fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 220 rounds each
Bomb load Up to 551 lb, carried on one hardpoint rated 551 lb. General disposables load generally consisted of: 1 × 551 lb SC-250 bomb Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 1 Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 28 May 1935 Operational Service 1937 - 1967
Manufacturer Messerschmitt A.G. Number produced about 35.000 total, unknown number of Bf 109K version aircraft
Metric system
Length 8.85 m Height 2.5 m
Empty weight unknown Operational weight unknown
Wing Span 9.97 m Wing Aspect ratio 6.17
Wing Area 16.1 m² Service ceiling 12500 m
Maximum speed 700 km/h at 7501 m Cruising speed unknown
Initial climb rate 1.469 m per min
Climb to 5.000 m in 3 min 0 sec
Range 573 km typical
Fuel capacity internal 400 liters Fuel capacity external Up to 300 liters in one drop tank
Machine guns - Cannons
  • 1 × 30 mm MK 108 fixed forward-firing in a moteur canon installation, 60 rounds
  • 2 × 15 mm MG 151/15 fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, 220 rounds each
Bomb load Up to 250 kg, carried on one hardpoint rated 250 kg. General disposables load generally consisted of: 1 × 250 kg SC-250 bomb Torpedoes/rockets -

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 
Messerschmitt Bf 109 V Versuchs prototypes. During the long developmental period of the Bf 109 numerous aircraft were used as prototypes. These aircraft were usually designated with a V number.
The Bf 109 V1 was the first prototype, and was powered by a Rolls Royce Kestrel V Vee engine, rated at 695 hp (518 kW).The propeller was a wooden two-blade Schwarz of the fixed pitch type. During the trials of this aircraft it was compared to other prototypes, the Arado Ar 80 V1, Focke-Wulf Fw 159 V1, and the Heinkel He 112 V1. The first two were quickly out of the race. Althought the bf 109 V1 had recorded the highest speed, pilots complained about the field of vision on the field, narrow track of the landing gear and the high wing loading. Opposed to that the bf 109 V1 had a higher speed, a better climb rate, and higher diving speeds.
The Bf 109 V1 was soon joined by the Bf 109 V2, powered by 1 × Junkers Jumo 210A inverted-Vee, rated at 610 hp (455 kW), and the Bf 109 V3. The V3 was identical to the V2, except it had added 2 × fixed forward-firing MG 17 guns, 500 rounds each.
The flight tests were succesful, and the relation between Messerschmitt and the RLM (Reichs Luftfahrt Ministerium - German Air Ministry) had improved considerably. This resulted in order for a batch of 10 pre-production aircraft, as was the case with the Heinkel He 112.
Number built: unknown
Messerschmitt Bf 109B-0 This pre-production batch consisted of 10 aircraft. The name 'Bertha is also used frequently to designate the B-series of the Bf 109. All Bertha's were used for further testing receiving the designation Bf 109 V4 through Bf 109 V13. In the meantime German analysts ahd noted an overall similarity between the Supermarine Spitfire and the Bf 109 design. However, the Bf 109 had it's armament centred in the nose, and was synchronised with the propeller, where the Spitfire had it's guns in the wing leading edges. Because there was no need for synchronisation, the guns could fire more rapidly, resulting in more kg/sec of lead. Also, the Spitfire was thought to have 4 guns, where the Bf 109 had only 2. This resulted in a h\eavier armament for the Bf 109B-0 aircraft, which were armed with 3 × MG 17 guns, the third placed between the two cylinder banks, firing through the hollow propeller shaft.
The first three aircraft of this batch (V4, V5 and V6) were sent to Spain where the Legion Condor tested them in operational circumstances. It proved that the Bf 109 was faster than all other fighters in the Spanish Civil War used on either side.
Number built: 10
Messerschmitt Bf 109B-1 The Bf 109B-1 was powered by 1 × Junkers Jumo 210Da inverted-Vee, rated at 680 hp (507 kW). Most of these aircraft were sent to Spain, because of Russian help to the Republican government of Spain. The Soviet Polikarpov I-15 bi-planes and Polikarpov I-16 monoplanes overwhelmed the german forces equipped with Heinkel He 51 bi-planes. As a result, personnel of II/JG 132 was quickly converted to the Bf 109, and was subsequently posted to Spain as the 2.Staffel of Jagdgruppe 88. Even though the Bf 109B-1 had still the wooden Schwarz two-blade propeller it turned out superior to the Soviet fighters.
Number built: 30
Messerschmitt Bf 109B-2 This version of the Bf 109 had it's propeller replaced by a VDM (Hamilton Standard) three-bladed metal propeller of the constant speed type. This improved the all-round performance of the fighter. The Bf 109B-2 was dimensionally identical to the later Bf 109D-1 except for its length of 28 ft 0.67 in (8.55 m), and otherwise differed in details such as an empty weight of 3,318 lb (1.505 kg), max take-off weight of 4,740 lb (2.150 kg), max level speed of 289 mph (465 km/h) at 13,125 ft (4.000 m) declining to 255 mph (410 km/h) at sea level, cruising speed of 217.5 mph (350 km/h) at 8,200 ft (2.500 m), maximum range of 429 miles (690 km), climb to 19,685 ft (6.000 m) in 9 minutes 48 seconds, and a service ceiling of 26,900 ft (8.200 m).
Number built: unknown out of a total of about 35.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109C-1 This version was also nicknamed 'Cäsar. This version had a deeper radiator bath under the forward fuselage to accomodate the powerplant of 1 × Junkers Jumo 210Ga inverted-Vee, rated at 700 hp (522 kW). Armament was changed to 2 × 0.312 inch (7,92 mm) fixed forward-firing in the upper part of the forward fuselage, 500 rounds each, plus 2 & 0.312 inch (7,92 mm) fixed forward-firing in the wing leading edges, 420 rounds each.
This model was dimensionally identical to the Bf 109B-2, but otherwise differed in details such as an empty weight of 3,522 lb (1.597 kg), max take-off weight of 5,062 lb (2.296 kg), max level speed of 292 mph (470 km/h) at 13,125 ft (4.000 m) declining to 261 mph (420 km/h) at sea level, cruising speed of 214 mph (344 km/h) at 10,170 ft (3.100 m), max range of 405 miles (652 km), climb to 16,405 ft (5.000 m) in 8 minutes 45 seconds, and service ceiling of 27,560 ft (8.400 m).
Number built: unknown out of a total of about 35.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109C-2 This was the first version that was not used in the Spanish Civil War. It differed from the C-1 version in having the engine mounted gun (of 0.312 inch/7,92 mm calibre) reinstated, creating a forward firing battery of 5 guns. Only a few aircraft were built, and most were used for development purposes.
Number built: unknown out of a total of about 35.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109D-0 This version was also nicknamed 'Dora'. The Dora was only considered to be an interim type waiting for the Bf 109E with a new type of engine. This version was powered by 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 600Aa inverted-Vee, rated at 986 hp (735 kW). The D-0 series was a pre-production series for the D-1.
Number built: unknown out of a total of about 35.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109D-1 The Bf 109D-1 was based on the Bf 109C series, but powered with 1 × Daimler-Benz DB600Aa inverted-Vee, rated at 986 hp (735 kW). The higher engine output enabled the designers to improve on the design, and the D-1 had strengthened wings, stronger main landing gear unit attachments, and an armament of 1 × 20 mm MG FF/M canon in a moteur-canon installation with 160 rounds, 2 × 0.312 inch (7,92 mm) MG 17 in the upper part of the forward fuselage with 500 rounds each. Because of the fact that the 20 mm MG FF/M was not very effective, the canon weas often removed and the ammunition capacity of the remaining guns was increased to 1.000 each.
Number built: unknown out of a total of about 35.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109E-0 This version was the pre-production version of one of the final versions, as it was seen at the time. The Bf 109E-0 was powered by 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601A-1 inverted-Vee, and armed with 4 × 0.312 inch (7,92 mm) NG 17 fixed forward-firing guns.
Number built: 10
Messerschmitt Bf 109E-1 This version entered service in februari 1939. It had the same powerplant as the Bf 109E-0, but was armed with 2 × 0.312 inch (7,92 mm) fixed forward-firing guns in the nose, 1.000 rounds each, and 2 × 20 mm MG FF fixed forward-firing canon in the wing leading edges, 160 rounds each.

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Bf 109E-1/B One of the first Jabo aircraft of Germany. Jabo stands for Jagd Bomber, or fighter-bomber. It was developed in the summer of 1940, and could carry one SC-250 bomb of 551 lb (250 kg). Because of range reasons, the Jabo usually carried 1 × 110 lb (50 kg) SC-50 bomb


Number built: unknown out of approximately 4.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3 Based on the Bf 109E-1, this version was powered by 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601Aa inverted-Vee, rated at 1,175 hp (876 kW). It had provisions for 1 × 20 mm MG FF canon in a moteur canon installation in case the machine guns ammunitions capacity was reduced. Besides this, it had a revised canopy, and was the first version with armor protection for the pilot.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 4.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 This version was the principal German fighter during the Battle of Brittain. It was based on the Bf 109E-3, and had the 20 mm MG FF/M provisions in the engine block removed. The MG FF canons in the wings were changed to versions with a higher firing rate. A number of subversion were produced as well.

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Bf 109E-4/B Jabo version of the Bf 109E-4. It could carry up to 551 lb (250 kg) of bombs, and was generally equipped with 1 × 551 lb (250 kg) SC-250 bomb, or 4 × 110 lb (50 kg) SC-50 bombs.
Bf 109E-4N This subversion was powered by 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601N inverted-Vee, rated at 1,200 hp (895 kW).
Bf 109E-4/Trop Tropicalised version of the Bf 109E-4. It was fitted with sand/dust filters over the supercharger air inlet, and fitted with a desert survival kit.


Number built: unknown out of approximately 4.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109E-5 This was a reconnaissance version of the Bf 109E. It had the two wingmounted canons removed, and had one Rb 30/50 camera installed in the fuselage, right behind the cockpit

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Bf 109E-5/Trop Tropicalised version of the Bf 109E-5, with same sand/dust filters as the other Trop versions.


Number built: unknown out of approximately 4.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109E-6 Identical to the bf 109E-5, but powered with 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601N inverted-Vee, rated at 1,200 hp (895 kW).
Number built: unknown out of approximately 4.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109E-7 This version was based on the Bf 109E-4/N. It had an under fuselage hardpoint that could not only carry bombs up to 551 lb (250 kg; 1 × 551 lb/250 kg or 4 × 110 lb/50 kg), but alternatively a drop tank. This drop tank had a fuel capacity of 66 Imp gal (79 US gal, 300 liter).

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Bf 109E-7/U2 Fitted with undersurface armor protection for the oil coolers, radiators and fuel pump. This improved survivability in the ground-attack role.
Bf 109E-7/Trop Tropicalised version of the Bf 109E-7, with same sand/dust filters as the Bf 109E-4/Trop versions.
Bf 109E-7/Z A couple of aircraft were fitted with the Nitrous Oxide power-boost system GM 1


Number built: unknown out of approximately 4.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109E-8 This version was based on the Bf 109E-7, but powered with 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601E inverted-Vee, rated at 1,350 hp (1007 kW)
Number built: unknown out of approximately 4.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109E-9 This final Bf 109E version was the reconnaissance brother of the Bf 109E-8. It had no wing cannon, and had a camera installation that could comprise 1 × Rb 50/30 or 2 × Rb 32/7 cameras.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 4.000
Messerschmitt Bf 109T-2 This version was based on the Bf 109E-1 series. 'T' stands for 'Träger', or carrier. The type was meant to be suited for Germany's aircraft carrier(s).
In the later 1930s the German navy started to plan a surface battle force that would permit Germany to launch a challenge to the British supremacy of the seas around northern Europe. A key element of this ‘Plan Z’, as formulated by Grossadmiral Erich Raeder in February 1939, was the construction of two aircraft carriers as the Graf Zeppelin and Peter Strasser. The two carriers were planned to be operational in 1944. Originally the Germans had planned to equip an air group with a nucleus of Messerschmitt Bf 109B and Junkers Ju 87B fighters and dive bombers. The Bf 109T was basically a Bf 109E-1 with the wings increased in span and area by some 3 ft 11.75 in (1,22 m) and 11.84 sq ft (1.10 m²) respectively, extendible spoilers added on the upper surfaces of the wing at about one-third chord to steepen the approach angle for carrier landings, break points added in the wings outboard of the gun bays to allow the manual upward folding of the outer panels to reduce width to 13 ft 4 in (4,06 m), the leading-edge slots increased in span, the trailing-edge flaps given greater travel, the ailerons interconnected with the flaps, catapult attachment points added under the fuselage, and an arrester hook installed under the rear fuselage. The planned armament was 2 × 0.312 in (7,92 mm) MG 17 fuselage-mounted machine guns and either two more MG 17 machine guns or two 20 mm MG FF cannon in the wing leading edges.
Because Fieseler was more experienced in the field of naval aircraft, further development and production was transferred to Fieseler. An order was issued for the completion of 10 Bf 109E-1 fighters as Bf 109T-0 pre-production aircraft, and for the construction of 60 Bf 109T-1 production fighters. Since work on the Graf Zeppelin was suspended in October 1939, all further development of the Bf 109T-1 was temporarily halted. Late in 1940, though, Fieseler was instructed to resume construction of the Bf 109T-1 fighters as Bf 109T-2 fighter-bombers without carrier equipment but with the ability to operate from short land airstrips. The first of the fighter-bombers were delivered early in 1941 with a ventral rack that could carry 1 × 551 lb (250 kg) SC-250 bomb, or 4 × 100 lb (50 kg) SC-50 bombs, or 1 × 66 Imp gal (79 US gal, 300 liters) drop tank to supplement its gun armament.
Number built: 60
Messerschmitt Bf 109F-0 The Bf 109F series was also called 'Friedrich'. It was the version with aerodynamically spoken the cleanest lines, but with a cost. While striving for low drag, the armament was reduced. This made the fighter in the eyes of the vast majority of pilots ineffective, and after a relatively small batch production was already halted.
Even though the paragraph above sounds a little negative, the Friedrich was the product of vision. Early in 1940 Messerschmitt realised that sooner or later the Allied forces would come up with an aircraft superior to the Bf 109E. Likely opponents were the Supermarine Spitfire, Bloch MB. 151/152 and Dewoitine D.520. France capitulated before any more advanced models of their fighters were designed and produced, but the Spitfire did evolve. So when the Spitfire Mk V entered service, the German answer was already there, from March 1941 onward.
The Friedrich was powered by 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601E, rated at 1,350 hp (1.007 kW). This was not the only difference, of course. The Friedrich also had the coolant radiators revised. The ones on the Emil caused a lot of drag, and the new ones were situated more in the wing, with a rather complicated air inlet and venting duct. The wingspan was slightly reduced, as were the leading-edge slots and trailing-edge ailerons. The tail was also changed: the rudder was altered to require less rudder when climbing, and the horizontal surfaces became cantilevered, and therefor strusless. They were also placed a little lower and farther forward than with the Emil. The tailwheel was made semi-retractable, and the main landing gear was slightly changed too.
It was expected that the reduced drag and increased power would result in an aircraft with better performance, and better handling. Flight test however showed that especially the ingspan-reduction caused worde handling.Therefor the third Friedrich prototype (Bf 109 V23) had detacheable wingtips of semi-elliptical shape.
As far as armament was concerned, it was meant to retain the nose guns (2 × 0.312 inch/7,92 mm MG 17 guns), but drop the wing mounted 20 mm cannons. In stead, the 15 mm MG 151 cannon would be installed in a moteur-canon installation. The MG 151 was a more reliable weapon, offering a higher firing rate, and potentially a bigger ammunition capacity because it was belt-fed in stead of drum fed.
Production of the Bf 109F-0 then started, but because the Daimler-Benz DB 601E as well as the 15 mm MG 151 cannons were not available, these aircraft were fitted with 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601N rated at 1,200 hp (895 kW), and a 20 mm MG FF in stead of the 15 mm MG 151.
After the flight trials most pilots claimed to be happy about the much improved performance and handling, but also were quite unhappy about the reduction in firepower.
Number built: 10
Messerschmitt Bf 109F-1 The succesful trials of the Bf 109F-0 resulted in the authorisation for full scale production. The Bf 109F-1 was based on the Bf 109F-0, but had a round supercharger air inlet, rather then square. Although the aircraft were ready to enter service late 1940, a number of accidents delayed the entry in full service. The cause for this problem was the tailplane, which had become struless. It wasn't rigid enough, and together with certain r.p.m. figures of the engines started oscillating, resulting in structural failure. This was subsequently cured with external stiffener plates on the tail.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 2.200
Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2 In this version the 20 mm MG FF of the Bf 109F-1 version was replaced by the 15 mm MG 151 cannon, 150 rounds.

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Bf 109F-2/Trop Tropicalised version of the Bf 109F-2, with a sand/dust filter over the supercharger air inlet, and a desert survival kit.
Bf 109F-2/Z Some aircraft were fitted with the Nitrous Oxide power-boost system GM 1


Number built: unknown out of approximately 2.200
Messerschmitt Bf 109F-3 The first version as envisioned, the Bf 109F-2 was powered by 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601E-1, rated 1,350 hp (1.007 kW). Normal take-off weight was 6,184 lb (2.805 kg)
Number built: unknown out of approximately 2.200
Messerschmitt Bf 109F-4 This version was produced almost simultaneously with the Bf 109F-3. It was armed with a 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon in stead of the 15 mm one. Ammo capacity was reduced from 200 to 150. Besides this, it also included better self-sealing fuel tanks, better pilot protection in the form of toughened windscreen glass and armor plate, a Revi C/120 reflector gunsight, and a gun selector switch allowing to use the guns or cannon independantly.
the Bf 109F-4 differed from the Bf 109F-2 in details such as its empty (equipped) weight of 5,269 lb (2.390 kg), normal take-off weight of 6,393 lb (2.900 kg), max take-off weight of 6,872 lb (3.117 kg), maximum level speed of 388 mph (625 km/h) at 21,325 ft (6.500 m) declining to 334 mph (538 km/h) at sea level, max cruising speed of 354 mph (570 km/h) at 16,405 ft (5.000 m), economical cruising speed of 298 mph (480 km/h) at sea level, max range of 528 mph (850 km) with drop tank, initial climb rate of 4,300 ft (1.310 m) per minute, climb to 9,845 ft (3.000 m) in 2 minutes 36 seconds, and a service ceiling of 39,370 ft (12.000 m).

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Bf 109F-4/B Jabo version of the Bf 109F-4. It could carry up to 551 lb (250 kg) of bombs, and was generally equipped with 1 × 551 lb (250 kg) SC-250 bomb, or 4 × 110 lb (50 kg) SC-50 bombs.
Bf 109F-4/Trop Tropicalised version of the Bf 109F-4, with a sand/dust filter over the supercharger air inlet, and a desert survival kit.
Bf 109F-4/Z Some aircraft were fitted with the Nitrous Oxide power-boost system GM 1. This reduced the engine's life, however.



Rüstsätze (field conversion sets):

Bf 109F-4/R1 The pilots of the Luftwaffe were divided about the armament of the Friedrich. Werner Mölders and some pilots favoured the current armament, while Adolf Galland and other pilots favoured more armament to give average pilots more chances in scoring a decisive hit. This resulted in a number of Rüstsätze.
This version had 2 × 20 mm MG 151/50 cannon, 120 rounds each in underwing gondolas. This improved the firepower drastically, but reduced performance and agility
Bf 109F-4/R6 This subversion had the undefuselage hardpoint replaced by an ETC 250 rack, capable of carrying 1 × 551 lb (250 kg) SC-250 bomb, 1 × 66 Imp gal (79 US gal, 300 liter) drop tank, or 4 × 110 lb (50 kg) SC-50 bombs with help of the ER 4 adapter


Number built: unknown out of approximately 2.200
Messerschmitt Bf 109F-5 This was a reconnaissance version of the Bf 109F. It had the enginemounted cannon removed, and had one vertical camera installed in the fuselage, right behind the cockpit. Additionally it could carry a drop tank.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 2.200
Messerschmitt Bf 109F-6 Final Friedrich version. This version had all armament removed, and had a special camera bay installed. This bay could accomodate an Rb 20/30, Rb 50/30, or Rb 75/30 camera.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 2.200
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-0 This version was also called Gustav. It was the version that was built in the largest numbers, and was a very able and versatile fighter. One of the key factors that made the fighter so adaptable was the engine that enabled it to carry a great number of versatile extension kits and having enough power to have a good performance yet. This came with a cost, however, the fine handling characteristics of the Friedrich where lost due to the too powerful new engine.
At the time that these pre-production aircraft where manufactured, the engine was not available yet. These aircraft were still powered by 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 601E, rated at 1,350 hp (1.007 kW), in stead of the planned new Daimler-Benz DB 605A. This latter engine was rated at 1,475 hp (1.098 kW), and was dimensionally the same as the DB 601E on which it was based. The increased power was gained by boring out the cylinders, creating a greater swept capacity. The stronger forces of the more powerful engine necessitated a stronger airframe. Also the fact that fights were taking place at higher altitudes made a pressurized cockpit a must. These changes increased the weight of the fighter, which made it necessary in turn to strengthen the main landing gear. The greater power and greater weight meant that the fighter had a greater wingloading, and a stronger torque effect, resulting in worsening handling characteristics.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-1 In the early spring of 1942 the first Gustavs were delivered. In the meantime production of the new engine had started, so these were powered by 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 605A-1 inverted-Vee, fitted with the GM1 nitrous-oxide power-boost system, rated at 1,475 hp (1.098 kW) at sea level, and with GM1 activated 1,250 hp (932 kW) at 27,890 ft (8.500 m).
Because the Bf 109G-1 was meant to be a pure fighter, the forward armament was restricted to 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon in a moteur-canon installation, and 2 × 0.312 inch (7,92 mm) MG 17 fixed forward-firing guns in the upper part of the nose.

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Bf 109G-1/Trop This was the tropicalised version of the Bf 109G-1. It was fitted with a dust filter over the supercharger air-inlet, and had a desert survival kit. Because the Germans had trouble with designing a suitable air filter, an Italian design was adopted for all fighters operating in the Meditarranean Theatre, the North African Theatre, and the southern part of the U.S.S.R. Also the 2 guns in the nose were replaced by 2 × 0.51 inch (13 mm) MG 131 guns, 300 rounds each. This was necessary, since the MG 151/20 malfunctioned frequently because of the heat. The larger caliber of the guns made it necessary to create bulged fairings on the fuselage over the gun breeches, which made the Bf 109G-1/Trop earn the nickname 'Beule' (or 'Bump'


Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 This version was produced parallel with the Bf 109G-1. The only difference was the lack of presurisation of the cockpit. This version could also be used as a reconnaissance aircraft. For this the 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon would be removed, and a single vertical camera be installed in the rear fuselage.
Other (experimental) developments of the Bf 109G-2 included the WT 17 kit that could be added below the rear fuselage and containing two 0.312 inch (7,92 mm) MG 17 fixed rearward-firing guns, and the R1 Rüstsatz (field conversion set) designed to produce a fighter-bomber able to deliver one 1,102 lb (500 kg) SC-500 bomb over long range: the R1 kit comprised a long auxiliary landing gear leg (jettisoned after take-off for descent under a parachute) installed immediately to the rear of the fuel tank to provide adequate clearance for the bomb, and attachments for 2 × 66 Imp gal (79.25 US gal, 300 liter) drop tanks under the wings immediately inboard of the leading-edge slots. However, this was experimental, so no actual Rüstsätze were produced.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-3 Identical to the Bf 109G-2 version, except the radio equipement. The Bf 109G-2 was fitted with a FuG 7a radio, where the Bf 109G-3 was fitted with a FuG 16z radio.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-4 This version was produced parallel with the Bf 109G-3. The only difference was the lack of presurisation of the cockpit. This version could also be used as a reconnaissance aircraft. For this the 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon would be removed, and a single vertical camera be installed in the rear fuselage.
The first four variants of the Bf 109G series were produced virtually simultaneously, and entered service in April 1942 with Jagdgeschwadern 2 and 26 located on bases to the south of the English Channel. The Royal Air Force first encountered the Bf 109G in May 1942, and soon noticed that the type was a dangerouse opponent whose indifferent armament was the only flaw.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-5 The first four Nf 109G variants were adequately fitted for their tasks, but there was unhappiness with the GM 1 Nitrous Oxide power-boost system. A proper supercharger would be more effective. The Bf 109G-5 thus was powered by 1 × Daimler-Benz BD 605AS, rated at 1,200 hp (895 kW) at an altitude of 26,245 ft (8.000 m). This engine used the much larger supercharger that was initially developed for the Daimler-Benz DB 603. The new supercharger was wider and heigher than the old one, and this resulted in a more or less un-elegant exterior inlet arrangement. Furthermore was this the first variant that was armed with 2 × 0.51 inch (13 mm) MG 131 guns in stead of the 2 × 0.312 inch (7,92 mm) MG 17 guns. All subsequent models had the same standard guns, and the same supercharger air inlet. Also, this version had a pressurized cockpit.

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Bf 109G-5/U2 Subvariant fitted with a wooden tail unit. This unit was heavier than a metal one, so there was need for a counter balance weight in the engine bay.



Rüstsätze (field conversion sets):

Bf 109G-5/R2 Bomber destroyer version, fitted with 2 × 8.27 inch (210 mm) WGr.21 rockets, developed for the Bf 109G-6


Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 This version was delivered from fall 1942. It lacked the pressurised cockpit (as all later variants), and introduced a 30 mm MK 108 cannon in a moteur-canon installation with 60 rounds. It had full provision for a lot of Rüstsätze, was able to accommodate several variants of the DB 605A engine or, from a time early in 1944, the DB 605A engine. As such it had a 25 Imp gal (30.4 US gal, 115 liter) insulated tank for nitrous oxide or a methanol/water mixture so that either the GM 1 or MW 50 power-boost systems could be used.
It was powered by (amongst others) 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 603AM inverted-Vee, rated at 1,475 hp (1.100 kW) without power-boost, or 1,800 hp (1.342 kW) with MW 50 power-boost. A couple of the Bf 109G-6's were powered by 1 × Daimler-Benz DB603ASCM inverted-Vee, rated at 2,000 hp (1.491 kW) at take-off and 1,800 hp (1.342 kW) at 16,405 ft (5.000 m)

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Bf 109G-6/U2 Subvariant fitted with a wooden tail unit. This unit was heavier than a metal one, so there was need for a counter balance weight in the engine bay.
Bf 109G-6/U4 Subvariant with a semi-retractable tailwheel
Bf 109G-6/N Nightfighter subvariant, fitted like the Bf 109G-6/R6, and with the FuG 350 Naxos Z system designed to home on the emissions of British bombers fitted with H2S nav/attack radar. Additionally, it was fitted with anti-glare shields, exhaust flame-dampers, and additional radio equipment.



Rüstsätze (field conversion sets):

Bf 109G-6/R1 Fighter-bomber (JaBo)version, fitted with the capability to carry 1 × 551 lb (250 kg) SC-250 bomb under the fuselage.
Bf 109G-6/R2 Bomber destroyer version, fitted with 2 × 8.27 inch (210 mm) WGr.21 rockets.
Bf 109G-6/R4 Heavy fighter subvariant, fitted with 2 × 30 mm MK 108 cannons fixed forward-firing in underwing gondolas.
Bf 109G-6/R6 Medium fighter subvariant, fitted with 2 × 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons fixed forward-firing in underwing gondolas. This version was often used as a nightfighter as well.


Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-8 Specialised reconnaissance version. Armament was mostly restricted to either 1 × 30 mm MK 108 cannon in a moteur-canon installation or 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon in stead. It carried an Rb 12.7/7 or 32/7 camera in the rear fuselage. Power was delivered by either 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 603A-1 inverted-Vee, or 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 603AS inverted-Vee
Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-10 This version was the result of an attempt to standardise a single model that could be built in very large numbers. Basically it was a Bf 109G-6, but powered with 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 605D inverted-Vee with the MW 50 methanol/water power-boost system, rated at 1,850 hp (1.379 kW) for take-off and 1,600 hp (1.193 kW) at 19,685 ft (6000 m). The DB 605D was basically the DB 603 with a high compression ratio and a supercharger of increased diameter, and was also produced in two subvariants as the DB 605DB with ratings of 1,800 hp (1.342 kW) for take-off and 1,530 hp (1.141 kW) at 19,685 ft (6.000 m), and the DB 605DC with ratings of 2,000 hp (1.491 kW) for take-off and 1,800 hp (1.342 kW) at 16,730 ft (5.100 m).
The Bf 109G-10 had a fixed forward-firing armament of one engine-mounted cannon in the form of 1 × 30 mm MK 108, 60 rounds or 1 × 20 mm MG 151/20, 150 rounds. 2 × 0.51 inch (13 mm) MG 131 guns, with 300 rounds each, complemented the cannon. These weapons were aimed with help of a Revi 16B reflector sight. The Bf 109G-10 also had provision for a 66 Imp gal (79.25 US gal, 300 liter) ventral drop tank.
The Bf 109G-10 with the DB 605DC engine was the fastest of all Bf 109 variants, its maximum level speed in ‘clean’ condition at a weight of 6,834 lb (3.100 kg) being 426 mph (685 km/h) at 24,280 ft (7.400 m) declining to 342 mph (550 km/h) at sea level; the climb rate was also excellent: an altitude of 19,685 ft (6.000 m) was reached in 5 minutes 48 seconds. The Bf 109G-10 was seldom encountered in ‘clean’ condition, for virtually every such fighter was fitted with a Rüstsatz on entry to service, which was rather fortunate for the Allies.
Besides the subvariants listed below there were other changes and modifications that didn't result in another (sub)version number. These included a fully rettractable tailwheel, or the Galland hood, a cockpit hood wchich was less heavily framed than the original, and had armor glass in stead of armor plate behind the pilots' head. This improved the fields of vision considerably.

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Bf 109G-10/U4 Subvariant fitted with a wooden vertical tail unit.



Rüstsätze (field conversion sets):

Bf 109G-10/U2 Subvariant fitted with a wooden horizontal tail unit.
Bf 109G-10/R1 Fighter-bomber (JaBo)version, fitted with a ventral rack able to carry 1 × 551 lb (250 kg) SC-250 bomb, or 4 × 110 lb (50 kg) SC-50 bombs under the fuselage.
Bf 109G-10/R2 Reconnaissance version, powered by the Daimler-Benz DB605DB engine, without the two 0.51 inch (13 mm) fuselage guns, and with either one Rb 50/30 or Rb 75/30 camera in the rear fuselage. It had provisions for one drop tank that increased the range to 525 miles (845 km).
Bf 109G-10/R4 Heavy fighter subvariant powered by the Daimler-Benz DB605D engine, and fitted with an additional 2 × 30 mm MK 108 cannons fixed forward-firing in underwing gondolas.
Bf 109G-10/R6 Medium fighter subvariant, fitted with an additional 2 × 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons fixed forward-firing in underwing gondolas.


Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-12 This version was the two-seat tandem variant, used for training and conversion to the Bf 109. Although the trainer had been necessary since 1940 at least, it was not until 1942 that the type was actually produced. This was because the pace of German pilot training was picking up. Most of these aircraft were conversions of Bf 109G-1, Bf 109G-5 and Bf 109G-6 single seaters. The cockpit was lengthened to the rear of the fuel tank with canopy sections that bulged outward in an attempt to give the instructor at least some field of vision
Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-14 At some point the Germans decided to standardise on a single type of Bf 109, becoming the Bf 109K series. Before production of the Bf 109K could start the Bf 109G-14 entered production to fill the gap. It was based on the Bf 109G-10 with the Daimler-Benz DB 605AM engine, the 'Galland hood', armed by 1 × 20 mm NG 151/20 cannon fixed forward-firing in a moteur-canon installation and 2 × 0.51 inch (13 mm) MG 131 guns fixed forward-firing in the upper nose, and a fixed tailwheel,

Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion sets):

Bf 109G-14/U4 Subvariant fitted with a wooden vertical tail unit.



Rüstsätze (field conversion sets):

Bf 109G-14/R1 Fighter-bomber (JaBo)version, fitted with a ventral rack able to carry 1 × 551 lb (250 kg) SC-250 bomb, or 4 × 110 lb (50 kg) SC-50 bombs under the fuselage.
Bf 109G-14/R6 Medium fighter subvariant, fitted with an additional 2 × 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons fixed forward-firing in underwing gondolas.


Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-16 The final Bf 109G variant. This version was based on the Bf 109G-14, with the Daimler-Benz DB605D engine. It had armor for the oil cooler and coolant radiators, and the fixtures for the R1 and R6 Rüstsätze were permanent.

Rüstsätze (field conversion sets):

Bf 109G-16/R1 Fighter-bomber (JaBo)version, fitted with a ventral rack able to carry 1 × 551 lb (250 kg) SC-250 bomb, or 4 × 110 lb (50 kg) SC-50 bombs under the fuselage.
Bf 109G-16/R6 Medium fighter subvariant, fitted with an additional 2 × 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons fixed forward-firing in underwing gondolas.


Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109K-0 Thi 'K' variant was meant to be the standardised type that could be built faster than the great number of subvariants of the Bf 109G. It was based on the airframe of the Bf 109G-10 with the 'Galland hood'. A number of small aerodynamic changes were incorporated as well, improving overall performance even more.
The Bf 109K-0 pre-production series were delivered in September 1944. It had a raised cowling line, a larger spinner, a larger inset rudder tab supplemented by a large trailing tab, the revised armament switching from 0.51 inch (13 mm) MG 131 guns to 15 mm MG 151/15 cannons, and the Daimler-Benz DB 605DB with GM 1 nitrous oxide power-boost..
Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109K-2 The pre-production aircraft revealed no major flaws, so production started quickly. The Bf 109K-2 was identical to the Bf 109K-0, except for the powerplant. The Bf 109K-2 was powered either by 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 605ASMC inverted-Vee, or by 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 605DCM inverted-Vee with the GM 1 power-boost system.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109K-4 Originally this version differed from the Bf 109K-2 only in having a pressurised cockpit, but later examples had the 30 mm MK 108 cannon replaced by a MK 103 cannon. Both weapons were installed in a moteur-canon installation.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109K-6 This was the heavy fighter version based on the Bf 109K-4. It was armed with 1 × 30 mm MK 103 in a moteur-canon installation, 2 × 0.51 inch (13 mm) guns in the upper nose, and 2 × 30 mm MK 103 in underwing gondolas. The Bf 109K-6 weighed 7,925 lb (3.595 kg) max at take-off, and had bad handling characteristics in the air.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Messerschmitt Bf 109K-14 This version was delivered in small numbers during the last two weeks of the War in Germany, and was the final version. It was powered by 1 × Daimler-Benz DB 605L inverted-Vee with a 2-stage superchrager and with the MW 50 water-methonal power-boost system, rated at 1,700 hp (1.268 kW) at take-off and 1,350 hp (1.007 kW) at 31,400 ft (9.570 m). With this engine the Bf 109K-14 could reach the same max level speed as the Bf 109K-4, but at an altitude of 37,730 ft (11.500 m) rather than 19,685 ft (6.000 m). Armament was slightly reduced however to 1 × 30 mm MK 108 or MK 103 cannon in a moteur-canon installation, and 2 × 0.51 inch (13 mm) guns in the upper nose.
Number built: unknown out of approximately 23.500
Avia CS-99 In 1943 and 1944 the German dispersal of Bf 109 production gathered pace and capability because of the Allied bomber effort. During this time Bf 109 production had started at the Avia factory at Cakovice in occupied Czechoslovakia, to which components and assemblies were supplied from factories in the region. When the Germans pulled back from this part of the Eastern Front shortly before their final surrender, for some inexplicable reason they left the local Bf 109G production capability intact and this was exploited by the revived Czechoslovak government as its sought to rebuild its air force.
Avia started by completing two Bf 109G-12 two-seaters and 20 Bf 109G-14 single-seaters. The two-seater was designated CS-99
Number built: 2
Avia S-99 The 20 Bf 109G-14 fighters that were put together were designated S-99. Originally it was planned to build more of the spare parts, but a fire destroyed the stock of available Daimler-Benz DB 605AM engines.
Number built: 20
Avia CS-199 After the fire there was another engine type available in the required numbers: the Junkers Jumo 211F Vee, rated at 1,350 hp (1.007 kW) and 1,060 hp (790 kW) at 17,390 ft (5.300 m). These engines had been stockpiled in Czechoslovakia for use in locally built Heinkel He 111H bombers. Despite the fact that this engine was poorly suited or use in a single-engined fighter, Avia adapted the Bf 109G to accept this engine driving a three-blade VS 11 paddle-blade propeller. The results were a single-seat fighter and two-seat conversion trainer, which both received the nickname ‘Mezec’ (‘mule’) because of the bad handling. At best it was unpleasant, and at worst it was vicious: reaction to the torque of the large propeller produced a pronounced swing as soon as the tailwheel lifted, handling in the air was oversensitive, acceleration was sluggish, and landing demanded even greater concentration and skill than take-off. Despite the fighter’s problems, the type entered production in 1947 and 551 single- and two-seat aircraft were built up to 1949, 129 of them by the Letov facility at Letnany. The two-seat conversion trainer was called CS-199
Number built: unknown out of 551
Avia S-199 The single seat fighter that was developed together with the CS-199 was called S-199. About 25 of these aircraft were delivered to the Israeli Air Force right at the start of it's existence, and saw considerable service during the War of Israeli Independance (1948-1949)
Other details for the S-199 included an armament of 2 × 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon in the wing leading edges and 2 × 0.51 in (13 mm) MG 131 guns in the nose, a span of 32 ft 6.5 in (9,92 m), an aspect ratio of 6.11, a wing area of 173.30 sq ft (16,10 m²), a length of 29 ft 10.25 in (9,10 m), height of 8 ft 6 in (2,59 m), empty weight of 5,732 lb (2.600 kg), max take-off weight of 7,716 lb (3.500 kg), max level speed of 366 mph (590 km/h) at 19,685 ft (6.000 m) declining to 322 mph (518 km/h) at sea level, max cruising speed of 287 mph (462 km/h) at optimum altitude, economical cruising speed of 248 mph (400 km/h) at optimum altitude, range of 458.5 528 miles (850 km) with drop tank, initial climb rate 2,165 ft (660 m) per minute, and service ceiling of 31,170 ft (9.500 m). Some sources state that the performance figures are actually exagerated, since they are quoted from official Czechoslovak sources during the communist era.
Number built: unknown out of 551
Hispano HA-1109-J In 1942 the Spanish government secured a license to build the Bf 109G-2 by La Hispano Aviación, but for a number of reasons the delivery of 25 pattern aircraft from Germany did not begin until 1944 and was brought to an end before any tail units, engines, propellers, armament, instrumentation, and production equipment (tooling and jigs) had been delivered. For the Spanish air industry this was almost a catastrophe. Fortunately, there was an alternative French powerplant available as licensed production of the Hispano-Suiza 12Z-89 Vee piston engine that started production at the end of 1944. As an initial step a Bf 109E was converted with such an engine, in this instance driving a three-blade VDM propeller of the constant-speed type, as the prototype for the Spanish model.
Number built: 1
Hispano HA-1109-J1L The conversion worked, but wasn't something to be proud of. After its first flight in March 1945, plans were made for the completion of the 25 incomplete Bf 109G-2 airframes to the revised HA-1109-J1L standard with a three-blade Escher-Wyss propeller imported from Switzerland. The first of these 25 aircraft made its maiden flight in July 1947, and the other 24 aircraft followed during the next 18 months. The powerplant of these aircraft was never satisfactory, however, and the aircraft were used only for development and training tasks.
Number built: 25
Hispano HA-1109-K The Spanish air force still had an urgent requirement for 200 new fighters to replace the aging and obsolete Bf 109E and Bf 109F fighters, and Hispano decided that the HA-1109 could be turned into an effective type by the adoption of an other French engine, the Hispano-Suiza 12Z-17 fuel-injected unit rated at 1,300 hp (969 kW) for take-off and 1,150 hp (857 kW) for cruising flight, driving a three-blade de Havilland PD-63-335-1 propeller. One HA-1109-J1L was modified as prototype and first flew in May 1951.
Number built: 1
Hispano HA-1109-K1L Deliveries of the HA-1109-K1L started in 1952, and the relatively few aircraft that were completed to this standard were generally unarmed for use as advanced flying and conversion trainers, although one aeroplane was completed with 2 × 0.5 in (12,7 mm) Breda-SAFAT machine guns in underwing gondolas
Number built: unknown
Hispano HA-1109-K2L One HA-1109-K1L was revised as the sole HA-1109-K2L with 2 × 0.5 in (12,7 mm) Breda-SAFAT guns in the upper nose with synchronization equipment to fire through the propeller disc and with 8 × 3.15 in (80 mm) Oerlikon air-to-surface rockets carried under the wings
Number built: 1
Hispano HA-1109-K3L Finally one HA-1109-K1L was revised to HA-1109-K3L standard with armament restricted to just 8 × 3.15 in (80 mm) Oerlikon air-to-surface underwing rockets.
Number built: 1
Hispano HA-1110-K1L Two-seat tandem conversion trainer, based on the HA-1109-K1L
Number built: 2
Hispano HA-1112-K The last HA-1109-J1L was in 1953 revised with the Hispano-Suiza 12Z-17 engine and an armament of 2 × 20 mm Hispano-Suiza HS-404 cannon in the wing leading edges plus provision for 8 × 3.15 in (80 mm) Oerlikon air-to-surface rockets carried under the wings. As such it became the prototype for the HA-1112-K1L
Number built: 1
Hispano HA-1112-K1L This version was the most numerous of the 69 aircraft (including the 25 German-supplied partial airframes and two HA-1110-K1L tandem two-seat conversion trainers) completed in Spain with Hispano-Suiza engines.
The HA-1112-K1L was the first operational version of the Spanish fighter, and its other details included a span of 32 ft 6.5 in (9,92 m), an aspect ratio of 6.11, an area of 173.30 sq ft (16.10 m²), length of 29 ft 6.33 in (8,99 m), height of 8 ft 6.5 in (2,60 m), empty weight of 5,456 lb (2.520 kg), max take-off weight of 6,834 lb (3.100 kg), max level speed of 392 mph (615 km/h) at 13,780 ft (4.200 m) declining to 346 mph (557 km/h) at sea level, max cruising speed of 277 mph (446 km/h) at 9,845 ft (3.000 m), endurance of 1 hour 17 minutes, climb to 6,560 ft (2.000 m) in 1 minute 34 seconds, and service ceiling of 32,810 ft (10.000 m).
Number built: unknown
Hispano HA-1112-M Buchon During this development period the Hispano-Suiza 12Z-17 engine had gone out of production, and during 1953 the Spanish decided to complete the rest of their aircraft, and to revise existing aircraft, with a different engine in the form of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 500-45 Vee, rated at 1,610 hp (1.200 kW) for take-off and 1,510 hp (1.126 kW) at 9,250 ft (2.820 m), driving a four-blade Rotol propeller of the constant-speed type. This ensured not only that the Bf 109 series would end its operational life in the skies of Spain, where its had first entered combat, but also that it would end its life with the British engine that had powered its most celebrated Allied opponents in World War II (talk of irony!).
The prototype for the new variant was the 11th HA-1109-J1L, and this made its first flight in 1954. The combination of the German airframe and British engine produced a fighter that was wholly obsolete by world standards but a delight to fly and also considerably better in performance than its Spanish predecessors, and the type soon gained the name Buchon (deep-breasted pigeon) as a result of its deep oil cooler installation under the forward fuselage.
Number built: 170 of all Buchon version
Hispano HA-1112-M1L Buchon Conversion of the HA-1109-K1L with the new Merlin engine. This was the final version selected by the Spanish to be built.
The data for the HA-1112-M1L included an armament of 2 × 20 mm Hispano-Suiza HS 404 or HS 808 cannon, 8 × 3.15 in (80 mm) Oerlikon air-to-surface rockets, a span of 32 ft 6.5 in (9,92 m) with an aspect ratio of 6.11 and an area of 173.30 sq ft (16.10 m²), length of 29 ft 10 in (9,10 m), height of 8 ft 6.5 in (2,60 m), empty weight of 5,855 lb (2.656 kg), max take-off weight of 7,011 lb (3.180 kg), max level speed of 419 mph (674 km/h) at 13,125 ft (4.000 m), max cruising speed of 318 mph (512 km/h) at optimum altitude, range of 476 miles (766 km), initial climb rate of 5,581 ft (1.700 m) per minute, and service ceiling of 33,450 ft (10.195 m).
Number built: 170 plus 1 conversion
Hispano HA-1112-M2L Buchon Conversion of the HA-1109-K2L with the new Merlin engine
Number converted: 1
Hispano HA-1112-M3L Buchon Conversion of the HA-1109-K3L with the new Merlin engine
Number converted: 1
Hispano HA-1112-M4L Buchon The HA-1109-K1L two-seat tandem conversion trainers were refitted with Merlin engines, prompting a designation change as well.
Number converted: 2

Remarks:

The Bf 109 entered operational service in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) as the Bf 109B-1. Alsmost all early models have fought in that war, and proved superior to all other fighters in that war. Almost all operational units converted to the bf 109E, however, before World War II broke out. Some Bf 109D-1's were still operational during the Polish campaign, and some even remained in service until Spring 1940 as night-fighters for the defense of Northern Germany. All remaining fighters were then relegated to training duties.

At the start of the Battle of Brittain the Bf 109E was the main German fighter, responsible for the air superiority the Germans had gained in the Polish, Norwegian, Low Lands and French Campaigns. In those campaigns, however, the german doctrine of utilizing the Luftwaffe as an extension of the ground forces and vice versa had paid off. Powerful and quick strikes and patrols made sure the ground forces were mostly safe from aerial attacks, while the fierce and fast pace of the troops forced the Allied forces to be constantly withdrawing. During the Battle of Brittain there were no ground forces involved, and the relative short range of the German aircraft meant they were unable to drive deep into British territory. The German pilots generally had only a couple of minutes to fight a dogfight, and had to break off and fly home in order to cross the channel. Also, every attack was contested by the RAF because the British couldn't afford the Germans to roam freely. The newly built radar sites were instrumental in early warning, so the British generally had a tactical position as good as the Germans. At a certain moment losses under the Bomber crews and the complaints of those crews regarding the way of providing escort, prompted Reichs Marshall Göring to decide the fighters should stay close to the bombers. This rendered the potential advantages of the fighters, better speed and good tactical positioning, useless. Together with these and afore mentioned factors it meant that the Luftwaffe was ultimately defeated, including the Bf 109E.
The Bf 109F version was superior to most, if not all, enemy fighters. It was mainly used during Operation Barbarossa, the invasion into the U.S.S.R.,but also in North Africa and the Channel coast. Superiority of the Friedrich could be clearly staved with the leap in score tallies of the Luftwaffe pilots over their enemies
The next version, the Bf 109G or Gustav was the most numerous one, and the version with the most sub versions. It kept the backbone of the German fighter force, even though it had to give ground in certain areas to the Focke Wulf Fw 190. Because of it's high production rate, and addaptibility, the Gustav had a big impact on the War. On all fronts this aircraft was used extensively. The handling of the aircraft was still reasonable, but had worsened compared to the Bf 109F series. Armament and additional sets however increased the lethality of the fighter, which was extensively used against heavy allied bombers. The Bf 109G's that weren't fitted with sets that would cause a drop in performance and agility usually flew top cover, especially when the Allied bomberfleets started to be escorted with long range fighters like the North American P-51 Mustang.
The last German version was the Bf 109K version. This version was an attempt to standardise on certain sets, and ease the production. It was the fighter with the heaviest engine as well, and had an incredible climb rate. However, too little (compared to other models), too late…

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

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© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 5/30/01