Every nation had light civil aircraft that were used for light duty currier and transport work.
Let’s look at one in the bloodline of a famous warrior.
We normally think of Willi Messerschmitt designs competing against those by Reginald Mitchell, Sidney Camm or Alexander Kartvali; but in the mid-1930s he was looking more at Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech.
The Bf 108 was in a class of planes known as “touring” and was designed for a 1934 competition. It wasn’t clearly best of its class, but it was modern, fast and easy to fly.
After a limited run of Bf 108A models, the main production Bf 108B appeared in 1935. It had 235 – 266 horsepower (choice of engines), it could cruise at 160+ with a 620 mile range. Even today that would put it in the upper tier of light, civil aircraft in every category (closer to a Cessna 210 than a 172).
With War coming the type was pressed into service by the Luftwaffe for moving personnel, documents and light cargo.
From 1942 production was shifted to Nord Aviation in France. That company continued production into the 1960s with gradual redesigns involving newer engines and tricycle landing gear. The later Nord designs remained in service with the French Air Force till the 1970s.
Which brings us to this plane. It was attached to the German Embassy in London leading right up to the start of the War. I know four Bf 108s in England were seized by the British and used by the RAF throughout the War (as the “Messerschmitt Aldon”), I can only guess this was probably one of them. Several Taifuns flying today do so in the guise as faux warbirds, with full Luftwaffe fighter markings. This isn’t completely spurious, many fighter groups had one or two on hand as currier aircraft. And the type was prominently featured in the movie The Longest Day, when Pips Priller and his wingman make their “strafing run” over the beaches, its in Bf 108s. When the movie was made no Bf 109s or Fw 190s were in flyable condition (Fw 190 is the correct answer) so the Bf 108 was used.
This is from the Eduard kit. Its from the company’s earlier period and may count as more of a limited run kit than their current super kits. But it builds up with no great difficulties. Although I’m not very pleased with the canopy, through no fault of the kit. It is odd the way it has both the wing and fuselage color; I thought I had a plan to reproduce it, but it mostly failed. If I had it to do over I would just do it in the fuselage grey.
108’s also “stood in” for 109’s in “Von Ryan’s Express”…
They were a very prolific “Fake” warbird!
I seem to think that they were the Bf109s of “633 Squadron” as well.
That sounds right. I think almost everything from before “the Battle of Britain” when they got those Ha 1112s.
They certainly appeared in several films, quite a star really! It’s a nice little example you have put together there.
Thank you AT!
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