Padre Steve’s Favorite Fighter Aircraft Part One: The Messerschmitt 109 Introduction to a Legend

The Me-109-B2. The B Variant was first tested in Combat with the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War

This is a three part series on my favorite fighter aircraft of all-time, the Messerschmitt 109.

I have always had a penchant for fighter aircraft.  I can remember as a child the roar of jet aircraft including the Blue Angels over my house when my dad was stationed at NAS Whidbey Island Washington back from 1965-1969.  I remember the trips through the local hobby shop and my dad teaching me to build model aircraft.  One of the first models I got to build was a Messerschmitt 109 E which I think was produced by Aurora or Monogram models. Regardless I fell in love with the Me-109 when still in grade school and have never lost my love for that aircraft.

Me-109 of Stabs JG2 during the Battle of Britain

When I began to read I read books on military history as well as weapons systems, especially fighter aircraft.  There is something attractive, even sexy about a well designed fighter aircraft.  Who can forget the movies “The Blue Max,” the “Battle of Britain” or “Top Gun?”  There is something inherently exciting about fighter aircraft.  I don’t like flying as a passenger but have a feeling that if I were at the controls things would be different.  Maybe it is my need for some kind of control but whatever there is something, especially for guys that appeals to our “need for speed.”

Me-109F’s

The Me-109G in a number of variants was the most numerous of the series produced

The Messerschmitt 109 which was designed in the mid 1930s became one of the premier and longest lived fighter aircraft in history with over 30,000 of all variants built during the Second World War and which was continued in production after the war by Spain and Czechoslovakia.  Developed for a civilian aircraft and light military transport the Bf-108 Taifun the Messerschmitt 109 cut its teeth with the Condor Legion in Spain and served in every European campaign used by the German Luftwaffe and allies such as Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Finland and Italy.  The 109 would continue in service after the war in Finland and Romania as well as Spain where a variant was built by Hispano-Aviacion HA-1109 and by Czechoslovakia as the Avia S-99, 199 and 299.  It would continue in service in Finland and Romania until the mid 1950s and in Spain until the mid 1960s.  In an Ironic twist the Czech variant was acquired by the fledgling Israeli Air Force and used in the Israeli war for Independence in 1948 where Israeli pilots flew the Czech built German fighter against Egyptian pilots flying the British Supermarine Spitfire.

Avia S-199 in Israeli Colors. In an ironic twist Israeli pilots would fly missions in the Czche variant of the 109 against Egyptians in British built Spitfires

The Me-109 was flown by many of the most decorated and successful aces of World War II including Erich Hartmann the highest scoring ace ever with 352 areal victories, Werner Molders and Adolf Galland.

Personally I like to build 1:72 scale me-109’s.  I probably have a hundred or so that I have stashed away in boxes in my stuff of almost all variants and many color and national markings.

These will be several short articles about the Messerschmitt 109 on this site in the next week or two, so aircraft aficionados enjoy.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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5 Comments

Filed under aircraft, world war two in europe

5 responses to “Padre Steve’s Favorite Fighter Aircraft Part One: The Messerschmitt 109 Introduction to a Legend

  1. The Bf 109 had many flaws: the cramped cockpit, thin wings, and especially its narrow undercarriage resulting in many ground loops, but it is amazing how the Germans kept upgrading it to keep it competitive all the way to the end of the war.

    I used to build models of military aircraft, ships and tanks. I must have built at least two or three hundred models in my life, maybe more. For aircraft and tanks I favored 1/72 scale; for ships 1/700 waterline series. The last time I built models was the late 1980s when I built several dozen World War I aeroplanes (mainly German triplanes from the Flying Circuses). Those were all smashed when a cat was accidentally locked in the closet where their box was on a shelf in the late 1990s. I haven’t built any models since then. The plastic just gets too brittle with age.

  2. John Erickson

    I was just leafing through again for a little pick-me-up, and noticed you need one more photo – a picture of an F9C Sparrowhawk, with the “trapeze” for “landing” on the Akron/Macon dirigible aircraft carriers. That’s something I always wished I could have seen – one of those huge airships motoring along overhead, especially while trying to retrieve aircraft. (Key word in that phrase: TRYING!) Oh, to bring them back with modern tech – carbon fibre frame, Kevlar skin, hybrid diesel-electric motors with a skin of solar cells on top….. ah, to dream.

    • padresteve

      I haven’t gotten to the lighter than air craft yet, but be assured I will. The Sparrowhawk was a fascinating idea.

      • John Erickson

        Oh, if you do the Sparrowhawk, you have GOT to include the Goblin! That ugly little … um …. mother lover they tried on the B-36? I’ve seen it in the flesh (aluminum?) at Wright-Pat in Dayton. Boy, they invented the word “fugly” just for that beast! Hideous!

  3. Pingback: Strange Bedfellows : Atomic Toasters

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