5 Things You Didn’t Know About The Bf 109

5 Things You Didn’t Know About The Bf 109 | World War Wings Videos

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The fabled Bf 109 was manufactured in greater numbers than any other production aircraft with almost 34,000 built.

Here are five things that you didn’t know about this warbird:

1. Usually referred to as the Me 109, when the aircraft was first conceived, it was designated as the Bf 109

It had “B” because the maker was based in Bavaria and “F” because the company was called Flugzeugwerke. It was only when Willy Messerschmitt was able to gain full control of the company that the Me prefix was assigned. 

 

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2. To get its first Luftwaffe contract, the Bf 109 had to compete with an advanced Henkel design, the He 112

The He 112 was the better-looking aircraft, and the test pilots gave it a much more favorable report. However, German officials were under pressure to produce several aircraft rather than prioritizing quality. 

They realized that the 109s were far easier to produce in numbers because the undercarriage on the 109 was an integral aspect of the fuselage. The fuselage and the wings can be separately produced and joined at a later date. In the end, the competition was won by the 109. 

3. 109s were also pressed into service for clandestine missions

The planes would drop spies and saboteurs behind enemy lines. Special capsules can be attached to both wings, with every wing containing a single parachutist. 

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4. An often overlooked feature of the 109 was its system of leading-edge slats on the forward surface of the wings

This allowed better handling as well as shorter takeoffs. These slats were so successful that they were also used in Messerschmitt’s 410, and the Me 262 jet fighter. 

 

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5. As a precaution, the company was ordered to create a backup aircraft based on the existing 109 parts which allowed the creation of a completely new aircraft – the Me 109Z 

The Me 109Z was a single-seat, very long-range, heavy fighter. It might have shown great promise if the two prototypes weren’t badly damaged in an Allied raid.

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