Messerschmitt Bf 109 – Workhorse Luftwaffe

Messerschmitt Bf 109 was one of many longest-lived plane in historical past and has been utilized by varied international locations in at least 30 years! For a very long time, it was the Luftwaffe's spine, and the three highest-ranking fighters within the Second World Warfare tried their prowess in battles flying this fighter. They’re: Erich Hartmann (352 victories), Gerhard Barkhorn (301 victories) and Günther Rall (275 victories) – all BF 109 pilots.

The historical past of Messerschmitt Bf 109 begins again within the forties, when German plane designer Willy Messerschmitt offered his request to the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) request. RLM needed at the moment a contemporary fighter plane that ought to equip a younger Luftwaffe.

Brief story

It’s tough to cowl even the fundamental historical past of Bf 109 in an article. Nonetheless, some vital years may be listed.

  • 1937 – Messerschmitt Bf 109 noticed operations for the primary time with the Condor Military in the course of the Spanish Civil Warfare. The brand new fighter changed Heinkel He 51, who suffered a substantial amount of injury in the course of the first fighter yr. Its enemies are Soviet-built plane comparable to Polikarpov I-15 and Polikarpov I-16, which proved to be inferior. Total, the Luftwaffe misplaced solely 20 Bf 109 in Spain in air strikes and fires.
  • September 1939 – Invasion of Poland. The Luftwaffe assigned roughly 850 Bf 109E and 235 Bf 109D to the fight forces, of which 20 p.c participated within the lightning warfare in opposition to this nation. 67 Bf 109s have been shot down, however principally from the bottom. The German fighter dominated the sky once more.
  • 1940 – Battle of Britain. This was the yr that made Messerschmitt Bf 109 well-known. This was the yr additionally when it lastly met with enemies to match the powers – Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire. Bf 109E was liable for RAF's main casualties: 403 Spitfires, 631 Hurricanes and 115 Blenheims. However the Luftwaffe additionally suffered nice injury: 610 Bf 109s have been lacking, all many pilots have been killed or taken prisoner, however most British pilots have been ready to return to battle. Within the Battle of Britain, Messerschmitt Bf 109 was used for the primary time as a fighter able to carrying 250 and 50 kg bombs.
  • 1941 – Operation Barbarossa. This time, Messerschmitt Bf 109 confronted no important opponent. The Soviet Air Pressure was composed primarily of out of date plane comparable to two-way Polikarpov I-15 and Polikarpov I-16. Though Mig-Three, LaGG-Three and Yak-1 made their first flight within the yr of the invasion, they have been nonetheless inferior to Messerschmitt Bf 109.

Bf 109 continued for use a few years after the warfare ended – Finland retired in 1954 and Romania a yr later – and even to provide with some modifications in Czechoslovakia and Spain.

Supply by Marius Bujor

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