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Since when could the Bf 109 be considered inferior to Western Allied fighters?

Discussion in 'Axis Aviation Of WWII' started by KnightMove, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. KnightMove

    KnightMove Ace

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    In the German Wikipedia article about the Bf 109, contents of different authors (no longer active there) contradict each other about the point of time since when the Bf 109 was to be considered inferior to Western Allied fighter aircraft. One states the beginning of 1943, the other the end of 1943.

    What do you think?
     
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  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    It was a light fighter...over burdened with more and more crap to keep up....as a light fighter it finished the war a champ.
     
  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Mid 1943 sounds about right to me. It was designed for Blitzkrieg warfare and ended up as a bomber interceptor. Even in 1945 though, in the hands of dwindling number of good pilots, it could still be a deadly opponent. All too often it was pilot quality that made the real difference.
     
  4. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    The Spitfire and Me109 were designed around the same time. Both were thoroughbreds, designed to get the best performance from two outstanding mid 1930 engine designs. Between 1939 and 1945 both were updated with improved engines and air-frames tweaked to cope with the extra weight and power. The unloaded weights rose by around 50% while power roughly doubled.

    By 1945 there were better aircraft, based around newer technology. The P51 used a NACA aerofoil, the P47 around proven superchargers and Germans were migrating to jets.

    The Spitfire and Me109 still maintained a leading edge as high altitude piston engine fighters. The Me109K was one of the fastest fighters and a dangerous opponent one to one at 27k ft. The Spitfire Mk XIV was also a fine high altitude fighter. Neither had the versatility of the Fw190 or US Naval fighters as fighter bombers, nor would maintain an edge at low altitudes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

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    All good answers but there's another factor too. Willie Messerschmitt got obsessive about the Me 210 project, a project that was to replace the 110 but never quite worked out. A lot of R&D assets were taken away from the 109 and funneled into that project. As such, the Me 109 upgrades fell behind the competition and only caught up (partly) right at the end of the war. In 1943 the LW was stuck with the G-6 version which wasn't all that good. Then Messerschmitt developed the late G models and the K series but by that time the air battle had irreversibly turned in the Allied favor . By the time they came out in any numbers it was too late. They needed them in '43 and early '44.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  6. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

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    No idea where you get this from; the high-point of 109 development was the Friedrich which appeared in numbers in mid-1941. Thereafter every ‘innovation’ on the German side was a retrograde step - read Walter Wolfrum’s bio ‘Unbekannte Pflicht’ for much more on this; I presume though you don’t read German....Wolfrum was a high-scoring JG 52 ace who was terrified of the Yak 3 and knew his machines - G-6 during 1943, G-14, G-10 during 1944- simply could not compete. As for the DB 605, this was essentially the same engine as the first DB 601s that powered the early 109s and simply could not compare with later Allied engines..
     
  7. James Stewart

    James Stewart Active Member

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    Yes after the F/G the 109 had been maxed out from the development point of view.
     
  8. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    .....the Wildcat could not compare to the Zero--but still did a good job.....what about pilot experience/etc in the equation?
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    After Mustang it was 'dead'.
     
  10. Riter

    Riter Member

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    The Me-109's mission changed from an air superiority fighter (fighter v. fighter) to interceptor (destroy bombers). Armed with increasing bigger and more guns meant it became heavier, slower. Unless in the hands of an experienced and skilled pilot, was hard put to fight the later models of Spitfires or Mustangs.
     
  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    My references for the comments were

    #1 Various books on the Me 109 and Spitfire development most recently Isby: Decisive Duel
    #2 Fighter Combat by Shaw comparing the performance at various altitudes
    # 3 Ten years spent/wasted playing online combat flight simulators. Sure these are only simulations but the players were warbird geeks who would kick off if they thought aircraft had been modeled incorrectly. I was a scenario designer and ran the umpire team for historic events. We collected the stats from hundreds of simulated engagements between WW2 aircraft.

    I agree that the 109F was furthest ahead in mid 1941 when first introduced. It was comparable to the spit V and streets ahead of anything built in the USA or USSR in 1941. The Yak 3 was a very formidable late war aircraft - at low altitude. The Spitfire XIV and Me109 K were designed to fight at high altitudes and the 109K - at the very limits of its design potential with a competent pilot was able to hold its own when not outnumbered.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
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  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I understood in 1940 In Bob the Bf109 only had some. 15 Minuten fighting time. After which the bombers were left alone.
     
  13. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ...how much did fuel remaining have an affect on the dogfights/etc? you don't want to climb much if you are low on or conserving fuel...
     
  14. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Hi B7!
    In aerial combat height gives a tremendous advantage, unless of course, you're too high to influence the battle. Also, most aircraft are most efficient at certain altitudes. usually, those altitudes were about 15k-20+k feet. Top speed was generally lower at low levels and fuel consumption higher. You wanted to fight your a/c at the altitude it is most efficient. The classic example was the FW 190A vs the P 47. Above 20k feet the P47 could easily best the 190. However, if the fight was below 20K, then the 190 had the advantage-assuming equally competent pilots.

    The ME109E was the only 109 variant that did not have a wrack for a droppable external tank! One reason why it was handicapped during the BoB.

    I disagree that the F series 109 was the best model. The later Gs and the K models were as fast or faster than the comparable allied fighters. They achieved this with methanol and nitrous oxide injection which gave the 109 engine a temporary output of well over 2,000hp! They should have been on line sooner (see post #5 above) but by the time they came on in any numbers there weren't very many competent pilots to with very little fuel to train them.
     
  15. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ....yes I put out a post long ago on what Pappy Boyington said about height/altitude.....so didn't the Brits have an advantage regarding fuel? they could ''fake'' attack/etc/whirl around/etc ...if the German went after the Brit, the Brit might just get out of range/dive/climb out of range--and then could come back later?.....I'm no expert on the European Air War.....but this seems ''comparable'' to the Japanese Air at Guadalcanal ....
     
  16. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..that's very interesting from an engineering point of view....I wonder why that model did not have drop tanks?
     
  17. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    O, from post 5, you mean they dropped upgrades/the racks for fuel tanks because of other projects?
     
  18. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Sorry. What I meant was: I don't know why there weren't racks for external fuel tanks on the 109E. In post #5 I was referring to was that the G6 model (a dog by 1943 standards) was kept to long because Messerschmidt engineers were pulled away for other projects and when they finally got around to better upgrades, such as the 10-14 and K series, it was too late. The LW needed those better variants by the Fall of '43, at the latest.
     
  19. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    roger that....makes it even more interesting to find out why they didn't have them .....
    so the E had different variants....? did previous variants have drop tanks?
    thanks for replies
    bold for emphasis only
    I'm trying to find variant information....
    Evolution of the Bf 109

    o--hahhahahahaha----I remembered I have ME-109 by Martin Caidin.....the old Ballantines Illustrated books...it has a whole section titled ME109E vs Spitfire
    ..I haven't read this book for ------many moons!

    hahahhaha- [again ] the back book cover states:
    ''''at war's end it could fly and fight on even terms with the best fighters produced by its opponents ''' = ..sounds like Caiden was just trying to sell books???
     
  20. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    .....page 77 of ME 109 by Caiden stresses the short range of the 109 was:
    '''one of the major factors in the disastrous defeat suffered by the Luftwaffe''''....
    ?
     

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