Messerschmitt Bf 109 Single-Seat Multirole Fighter
The exceptional Bf 109 fighter was more than a handful for allied fighter pilots and bomber crews.
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In the years leading up to and during World War 2, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the principle fighter of the German Luftwaffe fielded along all fronts where the German war machine raged. Upon its inception, the type immediately became the most advanced and capable fighter platform anywhere in the world, rendering all previous type (these being largely biplane in their design) obsolete. The Bf 109 became a symbol of pride for the recovering German nation, led by the charismatic Adolf Hitler who had risen through the German political ranks to ultimately consolidate his power and bring an entire nation under his brutal control. The Bf 109 was available in such large quantitative figures during the war that it bore the brunt of all aerial warfare for the German Luftwaffe - seeing combat actions in the Spanish Civil War, the invasion of Europe proper, the Battle of Britain, the Mediterranean Campaign, the North African Campaign, the West front and the East Front. It was helped by the arrival of the equally excellent Focke-Wulf Fw 190 but still operated in larger numbers and in numerous variants throughout her wartime career. Amazingly, the type continued production for another decade after the end of the war in 1945 and was even selected as the primary fighter for the growing Israeli Air Force. One of the most celebrated fighter platforms of her era, the Bf 109 was respected by all sides, making many aces of those who flew her, and earned its place in the annals of military history as one of the top aircraft designs of all time. Even with the arrival of the newer Fw 190 series of fighters, the Bf 109 line continued production and wide scale use unabated.
Messerschmitt Bf 109 Design
The Bf 109 design was attributed to German engineers Willy Messerschmitt and Walter Rethel. After World War 1, the German war machine was dismantled by the victors and, coinciding with Hitler's rise to power, the military was given complete attention to one day "right the wrongs" of the embarrassing Versailles Treaty that placed all of the blame of war solely on Germany. The German Air Ministry (RLM) sought to provide its Luftwaffe with Germany's first-ever modern monoplane fighter to replace the outmoded and outgoing models in the Arado Ar 68 and the Heinkel He.51 series. Both were biplanes and decidedly influenced by a world war that was already several decades removed. Both managed a dual-wing assembly, open-air cockpits and fixed undercarriages which would do little in a modern war. The RLM requirement was handed down to interested parties in the summer of 1934.