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Messerschmitt Bf 109

Bf 109

Willy Messerschmitt's Bf 109 was the Luftwaffe's benchmark fighter throughout World War II. The vast majority of German aces did their fighting in the Bf 109 and it scored more victories than any other Axis fighter. Not many fighters on either side of the conflict could challenge the longevity of the Bf 109 either. It was in service in time to see its first action in the Spanish Civil War and was still the backbone of the Luftwaffe's fighter arm at the end of World War II with 35,000 units produced of all variants. While many newer aircraft on both sides proved to be better fighters, the Bf 109's achievements up until 1940 alone should be enough that its reputation as one of the war's greatest fighters should not be tarnished. The Bf 109 was versatile enough to accept new powerplants and weapons with a minimum of modifications. This allowed the number of variants and sub-variants to quickly grow which was a major key in this aircraft's success in World War II. The Bf-109G-10 was powered by a Daimler-Benz DB 605D and capable of 429 mph at 24,280 ft. It was also equipped with MW-50 (methanol-water injection) and a bulged "Galland Hood" canopy. This particular photo reconnaissance Bf-109 G-10/R2 coded 5F+12 formerly of 2./NAG 14 was one of several Luftwaffe aircraft to surrender at Fürth, Germany on May 8, 1945.

Sources: Wilson, Stewart. Aircraft Of WWII. Fyshwick, ACT: Aerospace Publications, Pty Ltd., 1998.
Donald, David, Ed. Warplanes Of The Luftwaffe. Westport CT: AIRtime Publishing, Inc., 1994.
Ivie, Tom. "Roundup In The Sky" Airfoil - A Journal Dedicated To Flight. Volume 1. Number 3 (1985)