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Messerschmitt Me 410

me410


On 14 April 1942, after about 200 Me 210s had been delivered, construction was halted in favour of a resumption of manufacture of the Bf 110 to give time to try to resolve some of the Me 210's shortcomings. The stability problem was solved finally by introducing automatic wing leading-edge slots and redesign of the rear fuselage, which was lengthened by 3 ft 1 1/2 in (0.95 m) and made deeper. The improvements were tested and the design was submitted with the proposal that the 1,750 hp (1305 kW) Daimler-Benz DB 6O3A engine should be used to provide better performance, This appealed to the RLM, as a solution of this kind would allow a number of unfinished Me 210 airframes to be used, and Messerschmitt was given the go-ahead and the designation 410 assigned to the revised design.

In addition to embodying in its design all the modifications incorporated into the Me 210 - including the new cockpit canopy, lengthened fuselage and wing leading-edge slots. Initial tests were carried out with aircraft converted from Me 210As and these were followed by a true Me 410 prototype which flew for the first time at the end of 1942.

The Me 410 V1, originally the Me 210A-011, which, re-engined with DB 603As and fitted with the new rear fuselage and revised wing, commenced its flight trials in the autumn of 1942, having first flown on 5 September 1939. The Me 410 performance was an advance over that of the Bf 110 which had had to be restored to full-scale production as a result of the failure of the Me 210.

Several other Me 210As were generally brought Up to Me 410 standard but with DE 601F engines.

Improvements in handling characteristics made the Me 410 far more acceptable to the Luftwaffe which received the first five Me 410A-1 light bombers in 1943, this version being armed with two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon, two 7.92 mm (0.31 in) MG 17 machine guns, and two 13 mm (0.51 in) MG 131 machine guns mounted one each side of the fuselage in an electrically powered barbette. Maximum internal bombload was 4,409 lbs (2000 kg). Demand for these more effective aircraft built up rapidly with the result that

Acceptances of the Me 410A-1 Schnellbomber and Me 410A-2 Zerstorer began in January 1943. The Me 410A-1 and A-2 were fundamentally similar to the Me 410 V1, both possessing a fixed forward-firing armament of paired 20-mm MG 151 cannon and 7,9-mm MG 17 machine guns, plus the two barbette-mounted remotely-controlled 13-mm MG 131 machine guns. The internal weapons bay of both sub-types could house a single 2,205-lb (1 000-kg) SC 1000 or SD 1000 bomb, two 1,102-1b (500-kg) SC 500 bombs, or up to eight 110 -lb (50-kg) SC 50 bombs, although anything over 1,102 lb (500 kg) was considered to be an overload.

The Me 410A-1 had tandem bomb carriers beneath each wing root permitting four 110-lb (50-kg) SC 50s to be carried externally and was fitted with a Stuvi 5B dive-bombing sight.

Priority in production was assigned to the Me 410A-1 sub-type. Two Factory Conversion Sets, or Umriist-Bausdtze, had been developed to adapt this sub-type as required for reconnaissance and Zerstbrer missions, and thus a proportion of the aircraft were to be delivered direct from the assembly lines with provision for a single vertical Rb 20/30, 50/30 or 75/30 camera in the centre fuselage as the Me 410A-I/U1, or with provision for a Weapon Container (Waffenbehdlter) 151 as the Me 410A4/U2. The drum-shaped Weapon Container augmented the fixed forward-firing armament with an additional pair of 20-nun MG 151 cannon with 250 rpg and was inserted in the weapons bay fully loaded.

As Me 410A production expanded a number of sub-variants entered service, including the photo-reconnaissance Me 410A-1/U1, and Me 410A-1/U2 heavy fighter.

The Luftwaffe had taken delivery of 48 Me 410As from the Augsburg assembly line by the end of April 1943. The 11 Gruppe of KG 2 had a mix of 29 Me 410A-1s and 17 Do 217Es by 20 May, but shortly after the entire Gruppe reverted to the Dornier and the Messerschmitts were transferred to the newly-created V Gruppe which was to mount the first operations with the Me 410A. The Stab of V/KG 2 was formed from the Stab of 11/KG 40, and its Staffeln (13, 14, 15 and 16/KG 2) were formed from personnel transferred from KG 40 and KG 101. In January 1944, this Gruppe was to be redesignated as 11/KG 51, and was to be joined in France by 1/KG 51 which completed conversion to the Me 410A-1 (from the Ju 88A4) in the late summer of 1943. From May 1943, the III Gruppe of Zerstbrergeschwader 1 in Tunisia began to supplement its Me 210As with Me 410A-I/U2s, while 2. (Fernaujkldrung) / 122 based in Sardinia began to add Me 410A-1 /U1s to its complement of Ju 88s.

The Me 410A-1 was followed into service by the Me 410A-2 heavy fighter included two 30 mm MK 108 cannon in its armament, also built in sub-variants, including the Me 410A-2/U2 which was similar to the Me 410A-1/U1, the Me A-2/U2 SN-2 Lichtenstein radar carrying night-fighter and an ME 410A-2/U4 bomber destroyer similar to the Me 410 A-1/U4, and the last of the A series, the Me 410A-3 reconnaissance aircraft equipped with three cameras.

The Augsburg assembly line had delivered 457 Me 410As by the end of 1943, and from December of that year its output was augmented by that of a line established by Dornier, although the Dormer line was not really to get into its stride until the following February, in which month it was to deliver 11 aircraft. By this time, production emphasis had already switched from Schnellbomber to Zerstbrer, and a new variant for the latter role, the Me 210A-2/U4, had made its operational debut with 11 Gruppe of Zerstbrergesch wader 26, which, reactivated in the late summer of 1943 (having formerly been 111/ZG 1 with Me 210A-2s under Fliegerfiihrer Afrika) specifically for the intercept mission against USAAF day bomber formations. In this task, 11/ZG 26, popularly known as the Hornissengesch wader, enjoyed considerable success which was attended with no little publicity.

A very important innovation in the Me 210 design was the use of side rear firing 13 mm (0.51 in) MG 131 turret guns (barbettes) controlled by the rear crew member by the means of a Revi gun sight and a pistol grip with the firing trigger. These barbettes were delicate maintenance pieces and were not easy to handle. A famous victim of these guns was the American Ace Captain James Morris of the 20th Group. On 7 July 1944, over Halle and Bernburg, he was shot down and killed in his P-38 Lightning by an attacked Me 410.

The Me 410A-2/U4 was fitted with a 50-mm BK 5 cannon, which, complete with a 21-round cylindrical magazine, was fitted as Umrust-Bausatz 4. The BK 5 was first mounted experimentally in the Me 410 V2 (originally Me 21-A-0 Werk-Nr 0023) by the Deutsche Lufthansa workshops at Staaken at the beginning of August 1943 and delivered to the Waffen-priifplatz at Tarnewitz for test firing. The success of these tests led to the hurried installation of this cannon in a batch of Me 410A-1s for operational evaluation by Erprobungskommando 25 which was formed at Wittmundhafen. The aircraft delivered to this unit had all forward-firing armament other than the BK 5 removed and were fitted with a ZFR 4a gun sight. Some success in combat with USAAF day bomber formations led to the decision to install this very large weapon on the Me 410A-2 assembly line, although the standard model retained its normal forward-firing armament after installation of the BK 5, entering service as the Me 410A-2/U4.

Meanwhile, work had been proceeding on a dedicated photo reconnaissance model, the Me 410A-3. The lower contours of the forward fuselage were deepened to permit the mounting of two Rb 20/30, 50/30 or 75/30 cameras in the space occupied by the weapons bay in other sub-types, and the two forward-firing MG 17 machine guns were discarded. By the beginning of 1944, the Me 410A-3 had been introduced into service by L(F)/121 at Orly (and subsequently at Toussus le Buc), later equipping L(F)/122 at Warsaw-Okecie under Lufflotte 6 and part of 1(F)/122 at Riga.

From April 1944, deliveries of the Me 410A from the two assembly lines gave place to the Me 410B, which, structurally similar to its predecessor, differed in being powered by the DB 603G, which, by comparison with the DB 603A, had a higher speed supercharger and increased compression ratio boosting maximum output to 1,900 hp at 2,700 rpm for take-off. The Me 410B-1 and B-2 were respectively the basic Schnellbomber and Zerstorer, similar Umrust-Bausitzen being fitted to those applied to the A-series, although the Me 410B-2/U4 with the BK 5 cannon had the standard forward-firing combination of cannon and machine guns supplanted by a pair of 30-nun MK 103 cannon. Most Me 410B-2/U4 conversions were under-taken by forward maintenance units to which the basic aircraft were delivered direct from the line and then mated with the Umrust-Bausatz 4,100 of these sets being supplied for this purpose.

Various armament Rustsdtzen (Field Conversion Sets) were also produced to provide more potent anti-bomber armament than provided by the Waffenbehdlter 151. These included Rfistsatz 2 consisting of two 30-mm MK 108 cannon, Rfistsatz 3 comprising two 30-nun MK 103 cannon, and Rustsatz 5 with a battery of four MG 151 cannon, and any one of these could be used in place of the Waff~nbehdlter 151, their application being accompanied by the. Addition of a further suffix to the sub-type designation (eg, Me 410B-2/U2/R2). Yet a further variation was provided by Riistsatz 4 which consisted of a Waffentropfen (Weapon Drop) 151, this being an external container for two 20-mm MG 151 cannon which could be fitted as a supplement to the Waffenbehalter 15 1.

In attempts to improve the efficacy of the Me 410 as an anti-bomber weapon, various other types of armament were tested with varying degrees of success, these including the 37-mm BK 3,7 cannon (Flak 18) which had been used with some effect by the Bf 110G-2/R 1 and R2, this being installed in April 1944 in several Me 410Bs for operational testing. A rather more exotic weapon was under test at this time, however, consisting of a rotating drum of six 21-cm rocket launching tubes which was mounted in the weapons bay. Initial testing had been conducted with an Me 410A-1 converted at Rechlin in January 1944, one tube of the drum being completely exposed beneath the weapon bay at a time and the drum rotating rapidly to launch all six missiles in quick succession. The first test firing, which took place on 3 February 1944, was a total failure, the airframe suffering extensive damage, but the weapon was believed to possess sufficient promise to warrant further testing and a standard of reliability sufficient to permit service trials with several Me 410Bs was eventually achieved, although, in the event, the rotating rocket magazine was to be discarded in favour of more conventional weaponry.

Escalating pressures on the air defences of the Third Reich dictated an order, issued on 8 May 1944 by the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, that all Me 410A-1 and B-1 bombers be converted to A-I/U2 and B4/U2 standards for the Zerstorer ro1e, but as only I and II Gruppen of Kampfgeschwader 51 operating from France under the IX Fliegerkorps were employing the Me 410 in any quantity as a bomber, this order applied to comparatively few machines, and KG 51 was in process of exchanging its remaining Me 410s for Me 262s by the late summer.

Apart from a brief excursion into the realm of nocturnal interception with 1 Gruppe of Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 in April and 1 Gruppe of Nachtjagdgeschwader 5 in May 1944, the activities of the Me 410 were thenceforth confined to the Zerstorergruppen and Aujklarungsstaffeln, the latter receiving the Me 410B-3, which, apart from engines, was similar to the Me 410A-3. In the spring of 1944, 1 Gruppe of Zerstbrergeschwader 1, which had been reactivated on Me 410s, was deployed in France and subordinated to the X Fliegerkorps. Based at Lorient for the anti-shipping strike task, with 2./ZG 1 detached to Vannes, the Gruppe was recipient of the Me 410B-6 before its withdrawal in the summer to augment home defence. The Me 410B-6 was fitted with FuG 200 Hohentwiel shipping search radar, had its forward-firing MG 17 machine guns replaced by larger calibre MG 131s and had the Waffenbehilter 103 fitted as standard.

The Me 410, less unwieldy than the Bf 110, possessing a high rate of climb and good speed at altitude, was an effective antiday bomber weapon and enjoyed very favourable results, the Hornissengeschwader, in particular, claiming a very considerable number of “kills”, but the twin-engined Messerschmitt was at considerable disadvantage when opposed by escorting single-seat fighters. On one occasion, on 13 May 1944, 11/ZG 26 engaged in intercepting a USAAF formation heading towards Poznan was bounced by escorting P-51D Mustangs and suffered such heavy casualties that it was forced to stand down, subsequently reforming on Fw 190s as II/JG 6. During that summer and autumn, the other surviving Gruppen der Zerst6rergeschwadern also suffered serious operational attrition while taking their toll of USAAF day bombers, the number of Me 410s dwindling and the process being accelerated from September 1944, when, in anticipation of the promulgation of the Jager-Notprogramm, production of this type was finally phased out.

During the course of 1944, a total of 702 Me 410s had been delivered, including 258 from Dornier, these deliveries bringing total production of the Hornisse, excluding conversions from the Me 210, to 1,160 aircraft. Thus, by the end of 1944, apart from those on the strength of W/W 26 based in Norway, which had been established after the remainder of this Zerstbrergeschwader had converted to single-seat fighters as Jagdgeschwader 6, the Me 410 was confined to the reconnaissance ro1e with the Aujklarungsstaffeln.

In April 1944 the first of the improved E-series were delivered, introducing the 1,900 hp (1417 kW) DE 603G engine, and produced in Me 410E-1 and Me 410E-2 sub-variants that were basically similar to those of the A-series. The Me 410E-3 was a reconnaissance version similar to the Me 410A-3, the Me 410E-5 a torpedo and anti-shipping bomber that was in the test stage when the war ended, and the Me 410E-6 a specialised anti-shipping variant, built in small numbers, which was equipped with FuG 200 Hohentwiel search radar, and had armament comprising two 20 mm Mg 151/20 cannon, two 3O mm MK 103 cannon, and two 13 mm (0.51 in) MG 131 machine guns.

With the termination of Me 410 production, the further development of the aircraft ended as a matter of course. At this time, several further sub-types were on the stocks and production was planned of the Me 410B-5 torpedo-bomber and anti-shipping aircraft which had actually reached flight test status. The Me 410B-5 was equipped with FuG 200 Hohentwiel search radar, forward-firing armament being restricted to a pair of 20-mm MG 151 cannon, and a considerable variety of external warloads were proposed, including various of the BT-Korper (Bomb-Torpedo) weapons that had attained an advanced stage in development. For maximum range, the lateral gun barbettes could be supplanted by a 154 Imp gal (700 lt) auxiliary fuel tank, a further auxiliary tank of 143 Imp gal (650 lt) being inserted in the weapons bay. The proposed external loads included either two 882-lb (400-kg) BT 400 or 441-lb (200-kg) BT 200 bomb-torpedoes beneath the fuselage, the latter load permitting a further four BT 200s to be carried beneath the outer wing panels.

 

Me-410-01

 

Other weapons proposed for the Me 410B-5 and tested by Me 410As included the 1,720-lb (780-kg) SB 800 RS Kurt rolling bomb, drop tests with which were carried out during the summer of 1944 at the Prufplatz Leba in Pomerania, and the 2,205-lb (1000-kg) thin-walled SB 1000/410 bomb of elliptical cross section in order to minimise flight drag and stabilised during fall by an automatically-deployed parachute. The 2,094-lb (950-kg) L 10 Friedensengel glide torpedo was also proposed, this being an LT 950 torpedo attached to a miniature glider, which, in turn, was attached to 33 ft (10 m) of cable. After release from the parent aircraft, the Friedensengel was intended to glide at an angle of 1:18, the torpedo being released from the carrier glider on making contact with the water surface, thus, theoretically, ensuring that it entered the water at the correct angle.

The Me 410B-7 and B-8 were projected reconnaissance variants respectively intended for diurnal and nocturnal operation, the latter carrying flares in its weapons bay and both having standard fighter armament, but more radical developments were represented by the Me 410C and D. The Me 410C was the end product of an extensive improvement programme to which the basic design was subjected, its aim being to increase both performance and versatility. Entirely new wings of high aspect ratio were envisaged, these embodying seven degrees of sweep on the centre section leading edge and making provision for alternative outer panels providing overall spans of 58 ft 11.5 in (17,97 m) and 67 ft 1.5 in (20,45 m). Other features were to include an aerodynamically refined forward fuselage and cockpit glazing, twin-wheel main undercarriage members and DB 603JZ engines with annular radiators and TKL 24/26 turbo-superchargers. Both multi-role and dedicated variants were envisaged, the latter including a night fighter with Lichtenstein C-1 and SN-2 intercept radar.

In the event, no genuine Me 410C prototype was completed, although several of the features that this sub-type was intended to introduce were evaluated individually on various Me 410A test aircraft, these including the turbo-supercharged engines with their annular cowlings, and development had been overtaken by the Me 410D which was intended to be essentially similar apart from having wooden outer wing panels. The Me 410D was the result of a programme to conserve strategic materials, but as it was obvious that at least a year must elapse before deliveries of this sub-type could commence and the Luftwaffe was demanding improved altitude performance as a matter of urgency, Messerschmitt’s Konstruktionsleitung launched an interim model, the Me 410H. This was fundamentally an Me 410B-2 with DB 603G engines and an additional rectangular wing section inserted outboard of each engine nacelle, increasing overall span to 75 ft 5 in (22,97 m) and gross wing area to 500.52 sq ft (46,50 sq.m). Fixed forward-firing armament was to comprise two 20-mm MG 151, two 30-mm MK 103 and two 30-mm MK 108 cannon. The conversion of an Me 410B airframe to serve as a prototype of the Me 410H was in process when the order to terminate all further development was received.

Production was finally phased out in September 1944 after 1,160 Me 410s had been built.

Versions:

Me 410A
Engines: Two Daimler-Benz DB 603A, 1,750 hp at 2,700 rpm for take-off /1,850 hp at 2,700 rpm at 6,890 ft (2 100 m).
Three-bladed VDM constant-speed electric propellers,11 ft 11 in (3,40 m)
Internal fuel capacity, 532 Imp gal (2 420 lt) / six wing tanks.

Me 410A-1
High-performance light bomber
Max speed, 315 mph (507 km/h) at sea level
Max speed, 388 mph (624 km/h) at 21,980 ft (6 700 m)
Max speed, 373 mph (600 km/h) at 26,250 ft (8 000 m)
Max continuous cruise, 330 mph (530 km/h) at 19,685 ft (6 000 m)
Vne: 466 mph (750 km/h) below 4,000 ft (1215 m)
Range at max continuous cruise, 746 mls (1200 km),
Range at econ cruise, 1,040 mls (1674 km)
Empty equipped, 16,574 lb (7 520 kg)
Normal loaded, 21,276 lb (9650 kg).

Me 410A-1/U1
Photo-reconnaissnce

Me 410A-1/U-2
Fighter conversion of the A-1
Engines: 2 x 1,850 hp (1,380 kw) DB603A 12 cyl
Max Speed 388 mph at 21,980 ft
Cruising Speed 364 mph (585 km/h)
Service Ceiling 32,810 ft (10000 m)
Max Range internal fuel: 1,050 miles (1690 km)
Empty Equipped Weight: 16,574 lb (7518 kg)
Loaded Weight 21,276 lb (9650 kg)
Span: 53 ft. 7 3/4 in (16.35 m)
Length: 40 ft. 11 1/2 in (12.48 m)
Height: 14 ft. 1/2 in (4.28 m)
Wing Area: 389.67 sq. ft. (36.20 sq m)
Armament: 4 x 20mm MG151 cannon and 2 x 7.92mm MG17 mg's, 2 x 13mm MG131 mg
Optional Armament: Two 1,102 lbs (500 kg) bombs and external racks for two 1,102 lbs (500 kg) bombs plus two Ruestatz external packs housing 20 mm MG 151/20, 30 mm Mk 108 or Mk 103 cannons were fitted to some variants.
Seats: 2

Me 410A-1/U4
Specialized bomber/destroyer
Armament: includes 1 x 50 mm BK 5 gun

Me 410A-2
Destroyer

Me 410A-2/U1
Similiar to the Me 410A-1/U1

Me 410A-2/U2
Radar equipped night fighter

Me 410A-2/U4
Bomber/destroyer

Me 410A-3
Photo-reconnaissance
Engines: 2 x Daimler Benz DB 603Á, 1750 HP
Maximum speed: 507 km/h
Range: 1200 km
Ceiling: 9800 m
Empty weight: 7518 kg
Max weight: 9651 kg
Length: 12,48m
Height: 4,28m
Wing area: 36,20m
Wingspan: 16,35m
Armament: Two 17/7,92mm, MG 151/20mm, MG dorsal turrets with MG 131/13mm

Me 410B
Engines: Two Daimler-Benz DB 603G, 1,900 hp at 2,700 rpm for take-off / 1,560 hp at 2,700 rpm at 24,280 ft (7 400 m)
Three-bladed VDM constant-speed electric propellers, 11 ft 11 in (3,40 m)
Internal fuel capacity, 532 Imp gal (2 420 lt) / six wing tanks.

Me 410B-1
Improved "A" series
Engines: 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 605G, 1,900 hp (1417 kW)
Max speed: 362 mph (582 km/h) at 13,125 ft (4 000 m)
Max speed: 377 mph (607 km/h) at 19,685 ft (6 000 m)
Max speed: 391 mph (630 km/h) at 26,575 ft (8 100 m)
Max continuous cruise, 362 mph (582 km/h)
Endurance, 2.4 hrs
Time to 26,250 ft (8 000 m), 22.5 min.
Empty equipped, 17,598 lb (7 982 kg)
Normal loaded, 24,772 lb (11236 kg).

Me 410B-2
Improved "A" series
Engines: 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 605G, 1,900 hp (1417 kW)

Me 410B-2/U2/R4

Me 410B-3
Reconnaissance version similiar to the Me 410A-3
Engines: 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 605G, 1,900 hp (1417 kW)

Me 410B-5
Torpedo bomber
Engines: 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 605G, 1,900 hp (1417 kW)

Me 410B-6
Anti-shipping strike aircraft
Engines: 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 605G, 1,900 hp (1417 kW)
Radar: FuG 200 Hohentwiel
Armament: two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon, two 30 mm MK 103 cannon, two 13 mm (0.51 in) MG 151 machine guns.

Me 410B-7
Day reconnaissance
Engines: 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 605G, 1,900 hp (1417 kW)

Me 410B-8
Night reconnaissance
Engines: 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 605G, 1,900 hp (1417 kW)

 

 

 


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