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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter, Zerstörer (destroyer)
Messerschmitt Bf 110, Me 110

Photos

  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 bomber
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 bomber
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter

Design

The design for the Messerschmitt Bf 110 started in 1934 / 1936. The specifications from the Luftwaffe called for a long range fighter.

Initially the Bf 110 was to be a heavy fighter, but it was a failure in that role. The Bf 110 was to be a bomber escort as it would sacrifice speed for firepower and range.

Fuselage

The fuselage of the Messerschmitt Bf 110 was all metal with a stressed skin cover.

Tail

The tail planes incidence could be varied.

To offer a better field of fire for the rear gunner a double rudder design was incorporated.

Extra Fuel

The Messerschmitt Bf 110 could have a belly tank (dachshund belly) installed with additional fuel. It was however disliked by the crews as it was vulnerable.

Engines

The Bf 110 was supposed to have Daimler-Benz DB600 engines but due to shortages the less powerful Junkers Jumo 210 was used.

Bf 110D

The Bf 110D added removable fuel tanks to extend its range.

Prototype

The prototype Messerschmitt Bf 110V1 first flew on May 12, 1936 / 1938. It had the Daimler-Benz DB 600 engine which wasn't very reliable.

Production

Production of the Bf 110 didn't end until February 1945 / March 1945.

The Bf 110A-0 first flew in January 1938.

  • Messerschmitt Bf 110A-0:
    • Production: 1937 - 1938.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110B: 45
    • Production: 1938 - ?
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110C-0: 10
  • Total: 6,050
    • 1939: 315
    • 1942: 580
    • 1943: 1,580
    • 1944: 1,525
    • 1945: 45
    • Manufacturer: Messerschmitt A.G.

Variants

  • Messerschmitt Bf 110V1: Used Daimler-Benz DB 600 engines (910 HP).
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110A-0: Pre production. Had Junkers Jumo 210B (210Da) engines.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110B-0: Pre production. Had Junkers Jumo 210G engines (710 HP). Nose contours modified.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110B: First production version. Had Jumo 210G engines. Two 20 mm, and four 7.92 mm machine guns in the nose and one 7.92 mm machine gun in the rear of the cockpit.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110C-0: Pre production. First appeared in January 1939.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110C: Had Daimler-Benz DB 601A engine. Delivered in 1939. First used operationally in Poland.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110C-1: First flew in January 1939.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110C-2: Different radio equipment.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110C-3: Improved cannon.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110C-4: Additional crew armor.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110C-4/B: Fighter bomber. Used Daimler-Benz DB 601N engines.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110C-5: Reconnaissance variant.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110C-5/N: Used Daimler-Benz DB 601N engines.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110C-6: Heavy fighter with two 20 mm and one 30 mm cannons.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110C-7: Fighter bomber. Used Daimler-Benz DB 601N engines. Bomb load was increased.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110D: Long range version. Subvariants used as night fighters.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110D-1/R1: External ventral fuel tanks.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110D-1/R2: Drop tanks under the wings. Ventral fuel tanks eliminated.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110D-1/U1: Night fighter. Had nose mounted infrared detector.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110D-2: Fighter bomber. Could carry 2,205 lb / 1,000 kg of bombs externally.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110D-3: Long range convoy escort. Had drop tanks.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110E: Fighter bomber. Had Daimler-Benz DB 601N engines. Appeared in spring 1941. Had under wing and under fuselage bomb racks.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110E-1: Fighter bomber.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110E-1/U1: Night fighter. Infrared sensor.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110E-1/U2: Formation leader. Seats for three. Could carry 4,410 lb / 2,000 kg of bombs.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110E-3: Long range reconnaissance. Nose cannon and bomb racks removed.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110F: Fighter bomber. Had Daimler-Benz DB 601E engines.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110F-1: Fighter bomber. External bomb racks.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110F-2: Bomb racks removed.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110F-3: Long range reconnaissance.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110F-4: Night fighter. Had two 30 mm guns under the fuselage. Space for a third crewman was provided.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110F-4/U1: Had a schräge Musik installation that had two upward firing 20 mm (30 mm) guns. Had FuG 202 radar.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-0: Pre production. Heavy fighter or bomber. First delivered in May 1942.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G: Had Daimler-Benz 605B engines. Had a 37 mm gun under the fuselage. Some had radar and were the main night fighter from 1943-1945.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-1: Heavy fighter.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-2: Heavy fighter or bomber. Had bomb racks.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-2/R1: Heavy fighter.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-2/R3: Had two 30 mm cannons replacing the four machine guns in the nose. Had GM 1 (nitrous-oxide) booster.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-2/R4: Heavy fighter.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-2/R5: Had GM 1 (nitrous-oxide) booster.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-3: Long range reconnaissance. Had nose cannons removed. Had a Rb 50/30 and Rb 75/30 cameras installed.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-3/R3: Long range reconnaissance.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4: Night fighter. First delivered in 1942.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4a: Had FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1 radar installed.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4b: Had FuG 212 and SN-2 radar installed.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4c: Had SN-2 radar installed.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4d: Had FuG 227 Flensburg homing radar.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4/R3: Night fighter.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4/R6: Night fighter. Had GM 1 (nitrous-oxide) booster.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4/R7: Night fighter. Had extra fuel.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4/U7: Night fighter. Had GM 1 (nitrous-oxide) booster.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4/U8: Night fighter. Had extra fuel.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110H: Had modified nose. Carried two 30 mm cannons in the nose. The tail wheel was retractable. Fuselage, wing attachments, and undercarriage were strengthened.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110H-1: Heavy fighter.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110H-2: Fighter bomber.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110H-3: Reconnaissance.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110H-4: Night fighter.
  • Messerschmitt Bf 110??: Night fighter version that was very successful in the early stages of the Allied bomber campaign.

Usage

Entered service in 1938.

Invasions of Poland and France

The Messerschmitt Bf 110 had a great deal of success in Poland and France.

Bf 110 intercepted 22 Royal Air Force Wellingtons and shot down nine of them.

Rudolph Hess' Flight

In his flight to England in 1941 Rudolph Hess flew a Messerschmitt Bf 110.

Battle of Britain

There were over 200 Bf 110 loses in the Battle of Britain.

Night Fighters

The first Bf 110 night fighter group, made up of Bf 110C-2s and Bf 110D-1s, was Josef Kammhüber's Nachtjagdverband that was formed on July 20, 1940.

By the middle of 1943 Bf 110 made up about 60% of the Luftwaffe's night fighters.

By the end of 1944 there were about 150 operational Bf 110 night fighters remaining.

Bf 110D

The Bf 110D became operational in 1940.

Bf 110G

Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Romania used the Bf 110G.

Anti Bomber

Most of the fighting done by the Bf 110Gs were at night against the British, but they also went against the American bomber streams in the daylight.

Specifications

  Bf 110
Type Fighter
Engine (Type) 2: Mercedes-Benz DB 601
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,150 each
Dimensions  
Span 55'
Length 35'
Height 10' 9"
Weight  
Loaded 14,700 lb
Performance  
Speed 365 mph
Range 1,700 miles
Armament  
Nose 2: cannons
4: MG
Cockpit rear 1: MG
  Bf 110 Jaguar
Type Bomber
Engine (Type) 2: Mercedes-Benz DB 601
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,150 each
Dimensions  
Span 55'
Length 35'
Height 10' 9"
Weight  
Loaded 14,700 lb
Performance  
Speed 320 mph
Range 1,700 miles
Armament  
Nose 3: cannons
2: MG
  Bf 110C-1
Type Fighter, Fighter bomber
Crew 2, 2 - 3
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 601A-1
Cylinders Inverted V 12, V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,050 each, 1,100 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 53' 4"
Length 39' 7"
Height 13' 6"
Weight  
Loaded 13,289 lb
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' 336 mph
Service ceiling 33,000'
Range 700 miles
Armament 5: MG
2: 20 mm
Nose 2: 20 mm
4: 7.9 mm MG
Rear cockpit 1: 7.9 mm MG
  Bf 110C-2
Type Fighter bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 601A-1
Cylinders Inverted V 12
HP 1,100 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Armament  
Nose 2: 20 mm
4: 7.9 mm MG
Rear cockpit 1: 7.9 mm MG
  Bf 110C-3
Type Fighter bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 601A-1
Cylinders Inverted V 12
HP 1,100 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Armament  
Nose 2: 20 mm
4: 7.9 mm MG
Rear cockpit 1: 7.9 mm MG
  Bf 110C-4
Type Fighter bomber, Reconnaissance fighter
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 601N piston
Cylinders Inverted V-12
HP 1,200 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 53'
16.25 m
Length 40'
12.1 m
Height 11'
3.5 m
Wing area 424 ft2
39.4 m2
Weight  
Empty 9,900 lb
4,500 kg
Loaded 15,400 lb
7,000 kg
Performance  
Speed at 22,960' / 7,000 m 348 mph
562 kph
Service ceiling 33,000'
10,000 m
Range 527 miles
850 km
Armament  
Belly 2: 20 mm Oerlikon MG FF
Nose 4: 7.62 mm MG 17
Rear cockpit 1: 7.92 mm MG 15
Bombs - under center section 4: 550 lb
1,102 lb
4: 250 kg
500 kg
  Bf 110C-5N
Type Fighter bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 601N
HP 1,200 each
Propeller blades 3 each
  Bf 110C-7
Type Fighter bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 601N
HP 1,200 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Armament  
Bombs - under center section 2,205 lb
1,000 kg
  Bf 110D
Type Day fighter
Night fighter
Fighter bomber
Crew 2 - 3
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 601A-1
OR 2: Daimler-Benz DB 601N
HP A-1: 1,100 each
N: 1,200 each
Propeller blades 3 each
  Bf 110E
Type Day fighter
Night fighter
Fighter bomber
Crew 2 - 3
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 601N
HP 1,200 each
Propeller blades 3 each
  Bf 110F
Type Day fighter
Night fighter
Fighter bomber
Crew 2 - 3
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 601E
2: Daimler-Benz DB 601F
HP 1,350 each
Propeller blades 3 each
  Bf 110F-1
Type Day fighter
Night fighter
Fighter bomber
Crew 2 - 3
Armament  
Nose 2: 20 mm
4: 7.9 mm MG
Rear cockpit 1: 7.9 mm MG
  Bf 110F-2
Type Day fighter
Night fighter
Fighter bomber
Crew 2 - 3
Dimensions  
Span 53' 3.75"
16.25 m
Length 39' 7.25"
12.07 m
Height 13' 6.5"
4.13 m
Weight  
Empty 12,346 lb
5,600 kg
Loaded 15,873 lb
7,200 kg
Performance  
Speed at 17,700 ' / 5,395 m 352 mph
566 kph
Cruising speed 248 mph
400 kph
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 9.2 minutes
Service ceiling 35,760'
10,900 m
Range - internal fuel 745 miles
1,200 km
  Bf 110F-4
Type Day fighter
Night fighter
Fighter bomber
Crew 2 - 3
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 601E
HP 1,475 each
Armament  
Nose 2: 20 mm
4: 7.9 mm MG
Rear cockpit 1: 7.9 mm MG
Under fuselage tray 2: 30 mm
  Bf 110G
Type Fighter, Fighter bomber, Night fighter, Reconnaissance, Ground Attack
Crew 2, 2 - 3
Pilot, rear gunner
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 605 B, Daimler-Benz DB 605B-1
Cylinders Inverted V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,350 each, 1,475 each
Propeller blades 3 each, VDM 3 blade controlled pitch full feathering
Fuel Capacity 280 gallons
Dimensions  
Span 53' 4"
16.2 m
Length 40' 4"
12.3 m
Height 13' 1.25"
3.9 m
Wing area 413 sq ft
37.17 sq m
  Bf 110G-0
Type Heavy Fighter, Bomber
Armament 2: 2 cm Oerlikon MG FF
4: 7.9 mm MG 17
1: 7.9 mm MG 15
  Bf 110G-2
Type Heavy Fighter, Bomber
Armament 2 or 4: 2 cm MG 151/20
4: 7.9 mm MG 17
1: Twin MG 81
  Bf 110G-2/R1
Type Heavy Fighter
Armament 1: 3.7 cm FlaK 18
4: 7.9 mm MG 17
1: Twin MG 81
  Bf 110G-2/R4
Type Heavy Fighter
Armament 1: 3.7 cm FlaK 18
2: 3 cm MK 108
1: Twin MG 81
  Bf 110G-3
Type Long Range Reconnaissance
Armament 2 or 4: 2 cm MG 151/20
4: 7.9 mm MG 17
1: Twin MG 81
  Bf 110G-4
Type Fighter bomber, Night fighter
Crew 2 - 3
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 605B-1
Cylinders Inverted V 12
HP 1,475 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 53' 3.75"
16.25 m
Length including antennae 42' 9.75
13.05 m
Height 13' 8.5"
4.18 m
Weight  
Empty 11,220 lb
5,089 kg
Loaded 20,700 lb
9,390 kg
Maximum load 21,799 lb
9,888 kg
Performance  
Speed at sea level 311 mph
500 kph
Speed at 22,900' / 6,980 m 342 mph
550 kph
Climb 2,170'/minute
661 m/minute
Climb to 18,000' / 5,486 m 7.9 minutes
Service ceiling 26,000'
7,925 m
Range - internal fuel 560 miles
900 km
Maximum range 1,305 miles
2,100 km
Armament 2: 2 cm MG 151/20
4: 7.9 mm MG 17
1: Twin 7.9 mm MG 81
Nose 2: 20 mm
4: 7.9 mm MG
Rear cockpit 2: 7.9 mm MG
Under fuselage 2: 20 mm
OR Bomb rack
  Bf 110G-4/R3
Type Night Fighter
Armament 2: 3 cm Mk 108
2: 2 cm MG 151/20
1: Twin 7.9 mm MG 81
  Bf 110G-4b/R3
Type Night Fighter
Engine (Type) 2: Daimler-Benz DB 605B-1
Cylinders V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,475 each
Dimensions  
Span 53' 4.75"
16.27 m
Length 41' 6.25"
12.65 m
Height 13' 1.5"
4 m
Wing Area 413.33 sq ft
38.4 sq m
Weight  
Empty 11,243 lb
5,100 kg
Loaded 21,825 lb
9,900 kg
Performance  
Speed at 22,950' / 7,000 m 342 mph
550 kph
Climb to 18,045' / 5,500 m 8 minutes 6 seconds
Service Ceiling 26,245' / 8,000 m
Range 1,305 miles
2,100 km
Armament  
Nose 2: 30 mm MK 108
2: 20 mm MG 151/20
Cockpit Rear 2: 7.92 mm / 0.31" MG 15

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  7. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
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