Messerschmitt Bf 110
The Bf 110 originated from a Reichsluftfahrtministerium requirement of 1934 for a long-range escort fighter or heavily armed Zerstorer (destroyer). With a cantilever low-wing monoplane configuration, this two-seat fighter had an oval-section fuselage, long glazed canopy, high-mounted tailplane with endplate fins and rudders, retractable landing gear, and power plant was two Daimler-Benz DB 600 in-line engines.
When the prototype flew for the first time on 12 May 1936, it was able to demonstrate a most satisfactory turn of speed.
Pre-production Bf 110A-0 were powered by two 454.5kW Junkers Jumo 210B engines, bringing a deterioration in performance. Early production Bf 110B had similar engines of increased power. Only a small number of this version were built before 820kW DB 601A engines became available and these powered a much-improved Bf 110C.
The Bf 110C escorted the bomber units that devastated Poland at the beginning of World War II, and just before Christmas 1939, Bf 109 and 110 destroyed 12 of a force of 22 Wellingtons which were making a reconnaissance of Heligoland Bight.
Bf 110C and longer-range Bf 110D were launched against Britain in the summer of 1940, but even before the Battle of Britain had reached a peak, it was clear that the Bf 110 was no match for the RAF's manoeuvrable single-seat fighters. Indeed it was so vulnerable that this 'escort' fighter was unable to operate in British airspace by daylight unless it was itself escorted.
Despite its failure in this role, the Bf 110 was to prove a most valuable and successful night fighter until more advanced aircraft entered the scene in the latter stages of the war. Bf 110E with DB 601N engines and Bf 110F with DB 601E engines formed the nucleus of such operations. Considerable success was gained by these aircraft in conjunction with Wiirzburg radar, the pilots being directed by ground controllers into an interception position.
The three-seat night-fighter Bf 110F was followed into production by a series of Bf 110G with DB 605B engines, the early versions serving as fighter bombers. However the four-seat Bf 110G-4a, -4b, -4c, and -4d variants were provided with differing airborne radar installations for operation as night fighters. Final production version was the Bf 110H, generally similar to the Bf 110G but equipped with heavier armament. It is worth recording a significant factor in favour of the Bf 110, so often dismissed as a complete failure. During early 1944 almost 60% of the entire German night-fighter force was composed of variants of the Bf 110.
Otto Fries’s Me 110 at St Trond, Belgium, 1943
A total of 6,050 of these aircraft was built before production ended in March 1945.
Engines: 2 x Daimler Benz DB601A
Engines: 2 x Daimler Benz DB601F.
Me 110 G Zerstörer
Engines: 2 x Daimler Benz DB 605 B-1, 1455 hp
Length: 42.815 ft / 13.05 m
Height: 13.714 ft / 4.18 m
Wingspan: 53.314 ft / 16.25 m
Wing area: 413.338 sq.ft / 38.400 sq.m
Max take off weight: 20705.0 lb / 9390.0 kg
Weight empty: 11232.3 lb / 5094.0 kg
Max. speed: 297 kts / 550 km/h
Landing speed: 81 kts / 150 km/h
Cruising speed: 275 kts / 510 km/h
Service ceiling: 26247 ft / 8000 m
Cruising altitude: 19619 ft / 5980 m
Wing loading: 50.23 lb/sq.ft / 245.0 kg/sq.m
Range: 486 nm / 900 km
Max range: 1305 miles
Armament: 4x MG 151/20. 1x MG 81 Z
Engines: 2 x DB-605, 1065kW
Max take-off weight: 7100 kg / 15653 lb
Empty weight: 5600 kg / 12346 lb
Wingspan: 16.2 m / 53 ft 2 in
Length: 12.3 m / 40 ft 4 in
Height: 4.1 m / 13 ft 5 in
Wing area: 38.5 sq.m / 414.41 sq ft
Max. speed: 595 km/h / 370 mph
Cruise speed: 450 km/h / 280 mph
Ceiling: 10000 m / 32800 ft
Range: 1200 km / 746 miles
Armament: 4 machine-guns, 5 cannons
Messerschmitt Bf 110