Germany’s Bf109 is one of those iconic types that served through the entire war and is a symbol of that nation’s war effort. Like other long serving types the Bf109 was modified heavily during that time.
Join me for a brief look at an intermediate model.
This is the most important version the Bf109 I haven’t even touched on yet here. If the “E” model was pre-eminent at the start of the war, and the “G” at the end (there was also a “K”, but that was more of a “G” with a fresh coat of wax); the “F” was an obvious stepping stone. It featured aerodynamic improvements all around; smoother nose contour, cleaner tail plane, and rounded wing tips. The engine was the ultimate expression of the DB 601 family delivering over 1100 hp. And the armament was rearranged; all guns were removed from the wings and a new 15 mm cannon fired through the propeller spinner. This last received mixed reviews, it made for a concentrated cone of fire with all guns in the nose; but the total weight of fire (2 light machine guns and a light cannon) was reduced.
Although early production “F”s (commonly known as “Friedrich”) had some structural problems these were quickly sorted out and Friedrich came to be known as the best flying variant of the Bf109. It best combined maneuverability and power. When the “G” (Gustav) replaced it, the Friedrich’s basic form was retained but the new, bigger DB 605 engine replaced the DB 601. No doubt it added power, but at the expense of handling. Obviously for a fighter the pure power was more important, but many pilots preferred flying the Friedrich.
This particular aircraft is the Hasegawa kit. It is a Friedrich based on the Eastern Front, assigned to the “Blue Squadron”. This is a story I wish I had more information on. When Hitler went to war against Russia he had attempted to convince Spanish dictator Francisco Franco (who is indeed still dead) to join in the war with him. After several hours of negotiations Hitler supposedly said “I’d rather have several teeth extracted than go through that again”. Franco would not join Germany in the greater war; BUT, Spanish volunteers would fight with Germany in their own units under the condition they were only to be used against Russia (Franco was a Fascist, who had just won his own Civil War against Communists with German assistance). This took the form of both land and air units. The Blue Division, as often happens with all volunteer forces, proved to be fully as capable as any German unit and was regarded as being the very best of the “foreign” forces within the Wehrmacht.
The Blue Squadron is a more complicated story. The initial idea was that they would form air support for the Blue Division. But the Luftwaffe never made this happen. They formed an entire squadron attached to JG 27, with a few smaller groups on other detachments. They were equipped with the Bf109E with hand-me-downs as Luftwaffe groups were getting Friedrichs. Late in their deployment they finally were issued Friedrichs as seen here. I seem to remember reading somewhere there was tension related to the quality of equipment and support they received from the Luftwaffe, but I cannot find that source for now. Later, a second deployment of the Blue Squadron was attached to JG 51 with Fw190s and achieved better results. In total, the “Escuadrilla Azul” scored about 160 kills for 20 losses. I’d love to hear from any reader who might know more about this!
Always enjoyable reading Dave. Got two unbuilt Me-109s.
Always a classic!
I have a built Me-109G from Fujimi in need of a little restoration.
My other two are from Revell-Monogram.
There’s a couple of excellent old Revellogram kits of the 109, I have fond memories of them both. I’m not familiar with the Fujima one.
Great post with some interesting reading… and great looking model.
It sure is an interesting story.
Brings back memories of SNL. And this just in “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead”.
I was wondering if anyone would get the reference!
I guess it dates us, but its one of the first “Weekend Updates” I clearly remember.
Yes, I really enjoyed that. Over here in Europe, lots of Spanish people still hate Franco with a will. He had concentration camps and tens of thousands of people died. Even so, the story of the “Escuadrilla Azul” is a really interesting one.
I wondered how he was regarded. He clearly did some good, like not going to war with the west! But he obviously did much harm too, and he didn’t tolerate opposition. There were no benevolent Fascists.
Great builds there. I never get tired of seeing an Me 109.
There is certainly no shortage of markings and colors!
That’s an understatement if I’ve ever heard one! That’s one of the aspects that I enjoy about them so much from a builders standpoint.
Yeah I think the 109 has the most diverse markings of any type.
…the F-4 outperformed the new Fw 190 A-1/A-2 and yet everyone raves about the Fw 190. Galland put the guns back in the wings of his first Friedrichs. See here
It’s interesting though that Messerschmitt never did return to wing armament. When G models were up gunned it was with underwing mounts. Galland’s modification must not have worked out so well; you’d think if anyone had the pull to get guns back in the wings it would have been him.
Interesting reading. Many aircraft went through several stages of development and it becomes (certainly for me) a minefield when trying to ascertain which model it is. Nicely explained and great models. Thanks Dave.
The 109 and Spitfire seem to be the worst! So many variations, and changes by manufacturer and mod centers…
I’ve read several books on each but I would never dare claim a firm grasp on either.
But that’s the fun of it too. Virtually any build on such types requires research and best guesses.
Me neither. It’s so confusing!
Beautiful build Dave, and a great write-up. The ‘F’ is considered by many to be the ‘purest’ of the Bf-109 series, perhaps along with the G-2 – before they overloaded the airframe with a more powerful engine and weaponry.
Yeah the later Gustav was notoriously “lumpy”!
Thanks as always Rich.