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

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 11/6/2015

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.

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.

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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 Total: 1,189

Crew: 2

Length: 40.68 ft (12.4 m)
Width: 53.64 ft (16.35 m)
Height: 14.04ft (4.28 m)
Weight (Empty): 13,558 lb (6,150 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 23,700 lb (10,750 kg)

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

Maximum Speed: 388 mph (625 kmh; 337 kts)
Maximum Range: 1,429 miles (2,300 km)
Service Ceiling: 32,808 ft (10,000 m; 6.2 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,840 feet-per-minute (561 m/min)

Hardpoints: 4
Armament Suite:
2 x 20mm MG 151/20 cannons in nose
2 x 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns in nose
2 x 13mm MG 131 machine guns in rear-facing, rear-firing fuselage blister packs (remotely-controlled by rear gunner).

Maximum bombload of up to 2,205 lb.

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

Me 410 A-1 - Light Bomber Variant

Me 410 A-2 - Proposed Heavy Fighter Variant with 2 x MK103 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.

Hungary; Nazi Germany