Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse (Hornet) Fighter-Bomber / Multirole Platform
The Messerschmitt Me 410 improved upon the failed Me 210 platform in a variety of ways but eventually gave way to dedicated fighter production for Germany.
Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse ("Hornet") was a further development of the ultimately-abandoned Me 210 design which suffered throughout its short service life with stability and handling issues. Though improved to some extent by the Hungarians in the Me 210C model, it was the Me 410 that truly evolved the line. The new aircraft was given an all-new designation (Me 410) to differentiate the type from its previous failed form and went on to prove itself an effective combat platform for its part in World War 2 (1939-1945).
The Me 410 saw the introduction of the new Daimler-Benz DB 603A which offered up 1,750 horsepower through a twin engine arrangement. These powerplants were mounted to lengthened, streamlined nacelles at each wing, extending some over the leading edges. The aircraft was crewed by two (pilot and dedicated gunner). As a heavy fighter, the aircraft was outfitted with 2 x 20mm MG 151 cannons along with 2 x 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns (mounted in the nose). Additionally, a pair of 13mm MG 131 type machine guns were used in side blister mounts (remote-controlled operation) as a defensive measure against trailing, intercepting enemy aircraft. The bomb load carried could total up to 2,200 pounds of conventional drop stores held in an internal bomb bay.
The Me 410 found success against Allied bomber formations but was a lesser match when confronted by more compact, agile escort fighters. It excelled in the close-support role where the issues encountered in the preceding Me 210 design seemed to have been all ironed out. Variations in the Me 410 family included a variety of fighter-bomber / reconnaissance forms as well as several proposed and experimental derivatives. Service introduction came during 1943 but its late entry into the war meant a short operational life as German resources increasingly committed to the production of fighters like the proven Messerschmitt Bf 109G
Total Me 410 production numbered 1,189 units before war's end.