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Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse (Hornet) Fighter-Bomber / Multirole Platform (1943)

Authored By Staff Writer

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.

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The Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse ("Hornet") was, in effect, a further development of the unstable Me 210 system. Though improved to some extent by the Hungarians in the Me 210C model, the Me 410 was fitted with a new designation to distance the new design from the previous failed one. In the end, the Me 410 would prove an effective combat platform for a time, though the system would be no match for the Allied escort and interceptor fighters.

The Me 410 saw the introduction of the new Daimler-Benz DB 603A which offered up 1,750 horsepower. Engines were mounted one to each wing, with the end design appearing very much in the vein of the Messerschmitt Bf 110 and the British de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito. The aircraft was crewed by a compliment of two personnel that included the pilot and the rear-gunner. As a heavy fighter, the aircraft made use of twin 20mm MG 151 type cannons along with twin 13mm MG 131 machine guns. Additionally, a pair of 7.92mm MG 17 type machine guns were used in the design for an additional defensive punch. External ordnance capabilities consisted of up to four hardpoints that could each mount a 50kg bomb.

The Me 410 saw successes against Allied bomber formations but was easy pickings when squaring off in a head-on dogfight with fighters. In the close-support role, the airframe proved to be a capable performer as well. Variations in the system produced a variety of fighter-bomber / reconnaissance platforms and included several proposed and experimental derivatives that would never see the light of day. Appearing en masse in 1943, the Me 410 would see a short shelf life as resources were placed into dedicated fighter production - mostly in the form of the definitive BF 109G "Gustav" fighter series for the defense of Germany and its interests.

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Specifications for the
Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse (Hornet)
Fighter-Bomber / Multirole Platform


Focus Model: Messerschmitt Me 410 A-1 Hornisse (Hornet)
Country of Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer: Messerschmitt - Germany
Initial Year of Service: 1943
Production: 1,913


Crew: 2


Length: 40.68ft (12.4m)
Width: 53.64ft (16.35m)
Height: 14.04ft (4.28m)
Weight (Empty): 13,448lbs (6,100kg)
Weight (MTOW): 23,479lbs (10,650kg)


Powerplant: 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 603A liquid-cooled V-12 engine delivering 1,726hp each.


Maximum Speed: 388mph (624kmh; 337kts)
Maximum Range: 1,429miles (2,300km)
Service Ceiling: 32,808ft (10,000m; 6.2miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 0 feet per minute (0m/min)


Hardpoints: 4
Armament Suite:
2 x 20mm MG 151 cannons
2 x 13mm MG 131 machine guns
2 x 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns

Maximum bombload of up to 2,204lbs.


Variants:
Me 210 - Initial Production Model from which the Me 410 is derived from.


Me 210C - Modified Hungarian Me 210 Models.

Me 210D - Proposed Improved Me 210 based on Hungarian Me 210C.

Me 410 - Fitted with Daimler-Benz DB 603A engines of 1,750hp; increased payload and service ceiling over Me 210 design.

Me 410 A-1 - Light Bomber Variant

Me 410 A-2 - Cancelled Heavy Fighter Variant; was to be fitted with 2 x MK 103 cannons.

Me 410 A-3 - Dedicated Reconnaissance Model

Me 410 B-1 - Fitted with 13mm MG 131 machine guns over original 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns.

Me 410 B-2

Me 410 B-3

Me 410 B-5 - Experimental Long-Range Torpedo Bomber; replaced MG 131 systems with search radar.

Me 410 B-6 - Proposed Coastal Patrol Maritime Variant similar to the B-5 but in the short-range mold.

Me 410 B-7 - Prototype Reconnaissance Models updated from B-3 model.

Me 410 B-8 - Prototype Reconnaissance Models updated from B-3 model.

Me 410C - High Altitude Derivative

Me 410D - Improved B-series models for higher-altitude performance.


Operators:
Nazi Germany and Hungary.