Warplanes / Germany
Messerschmitt Bf 110

Messerschmitt Bf 110 

Germany's first essay in the twinengined two-seat 'heavy fighter' (or Zerstörer, destroyer) category was th Messerschmitt Bf 110, conceived in 1934 and first flown on 12 May 1936; pre-production Bf 110A-0 fighters followed in 1937-8 with Junkers Jumo 21 OB engines. Production started with the Bf HOB in 1938 with Jumo 210Gs and forward armament of two 20-mm and four 7.92-mm (0,31-in) guns plus one 7,92-mm (0.31-in) gun in the rear cockpit. Daimler-Benz DB 601A powered Bf HOC aircraft joined the Luftwaffe in 1939 in time for the attack on Poland, and were employed as fighters and fighter-bombers throughout 1940; the Bf 110C-5 was a recon naissance version.
 
The long-range Bf 110D entered service in 1940, and sub-variants were the first Bf 110s to be employed as nightfighters; there were also tropicalizec and fighter-bomber versions. The Bi 110E fighter-bomber was powered by DB GOlNs and the Bf 110F by DB 601 Es.

Despite its high top speed, the Bf 110 was quickly shown to be no match for opposing single-engine fighters, and from 1941 development was confined mainly to ground-attack and nightfighter versions. The Bf 110F-4 introduced two 30-mm guns under the fuselage, and theBf 110F-4/U1 featured twin upward-firing 20-mm guns (schräge Musik installation). The Bf 110G with DB 605Bs was produced in Zerstörer, fighter-bomber, reconnaissance and night-fighter versions, and sub-variants introduced the 37mm gun under the fuselage. Radarequipped Bf HOGs formed the principal night-fighter equipment of the Luftwaffe between 1943 and 1945, as well as participating in the daylight air defence battles over Germany during this period.

Specification Messerschmitt Bf 110C-4

 
Type: two-seat heavy fighter
 
Powerplant: two 820-kW (1,100-hp) Daimler-Benz DB 601A 12-cylinder inverted-Vee piston engines
 
Performance: maximum speed 560 km/h (348 mph) at 7000 m (22,966 ft); initial climb rate 660 m (2,165 ft) per minute; service ceiling 10000 m (32,808 ft); normal range 775 km (482 miles) 
 
Weights: empty 5200 kg (11,464 lb); maximum take-off 6750 kg (14,881 lb) Dimensions: span 16.27 m (53 ft 4.6 in); length 12.65 m (41 ft 6 in); height 3.50 m (11 ft 5.8 in); wing area 38.40 m2 (413.3 sq ft)
 
Armament: two 20-mm MG FF cannon and four 7.92-mm (0.31-in) MG 17guns in the nose, firing forward, and one 7.92-mm (0.31-m) MG 15 machine- gun on trainatole mounting in the rear cockpit firing aft
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