WW2 Profiles: Messerschmitt Bf109
When the Messerschmitt Bf109
was designed in 1934, by a team led by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusser,
its primary role was that of a high-speed, short range interceptor. It utilized the most advanced aerodynamics
of the time and embodied advanced structural design which was ahead of its contemporaries.
It was one of the first truly modern fighters of the era, including such features as
all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, a retractable landing gear,
and was powered by a liquid-cooled, inverted-V12 aero engine.
The initial production models of the A, B, C and D series were powered by
the relatively low-powered, 670-700 PS (660-690 HP) Junkers Jumo 210 series engines.
A handful of prototypes of these early aircraft were converted to use the more powerful DB 600.
Originally the aircraft was designated as Bf109 by the RLM, since the design
was submitted by the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (literally "Bavarian Aircraft Factory").
The company was renamed Messerschmitt AG after 11 July 1938 when Erhard Milch finally allowed
Willy Messerschmitt to acquire the company. All Messerschmitt aircraft that originated after that date,
such as the Me 210, were to carry the "Me" designation.
The names "Anton", "Berta", "Caesar", "Dora", "Emil", "Friedrich", "Gustav" and "Kurfürst"
were derived from the variant's official letter designation (e.g. Bf 109G - "Gustav"),
based on the German phonetic alphabet of World War II, a practice that was
also used for other German aircraft designs.
The first Bf109-As and Bs saw service in the Spanish Civil War. By September 1939,
the Bf 109 had become the main fighter of the Luftwaffe, replacing the biplane fighters,
and was instrumental in gaining air superiority for the Wehrmacht </wiki/Wehrmacht> during the Blitzkrieg.
In the year of the Blitzkrieg 1939-1940, the Bf109 was the only single-engined fighter operated
by the Luftwaffe, until the appearance of the Fw190 in 1942.Bf109 Prototypes: Anton/ Bertha/ Caesar/ Dora