Bf-109 in 1941: what should be realistically upgraded/installed?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Let's say LW has just started to equip themselves with the Bf-109F-2, while the F-4 should be coming off the production line. What should be further improvements? Perhaps we could look at minor ones, for mid/late 1942, and major ones, for late 1943/early 1944?
    Please, don't post 'stick a jet on it', or 'how about 50mm firing through the prop' :)
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Galland hood for better visibility.

    Normal Me-109s can get by with the existing hub MG151/20 plus two cowl mounted 7.92mm machineguns. I would not replace the machineguns with larger and heavier 13mm models. If you want more firepower then install the optional 20mm wing cannons.

    3cm Mk108 cannon as an option for bomber interceptors.

    Newer Revi gunsight when it becomes available.

    Newer radio equipment when it becomes available.

    MW-50 as an option.

    GM-1 as an option.

    Armored glass headrest when it becomes available.

    Fuselage rack able to carry a drop tank or 250kg bomb.

    Underwing racks for R4M FF rockets when that weapon enters service. If I get a choice development of that weapon becomes a top priority.

    DB605 engine after the teething problems are sorted out.

    Flettner tabs to improve high speed maneuverability.

    Keep the retractable tail wheel. That's worth 12kph of additional max speed.

    Wheel well covers. Worth 11 to 14kph of additional max speed.


    I would not change too much else. The Me-109 was dirt cheap to manufacture and we want to keep it that way.
     
  3. jim

    jim Banned

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    I understand that engine development may encounter delays . Airframe development is easier. In short , Bf 109 K airframe should be introduced in 1942 Most ,if not all, improvements were ready by 1942 but took them 2 years to decide to put them in production .
    Additionaly
    1)Valves to bypass damaged radiators. Would have saved many pilots from soviet slavery.
    2) Improved guns. in 42 was proposed a 20mm gun with Mg 151 shell , lighetr 8 kg and faster firing. In 44 a better HMG at 23kgr much harder hitting thanMg 131. Both rejected on production concerns
    3) wide blade propellers ( but i believe they were not ready in 42)
    4) Flettner tabs
    5) Low drug drop tank rack
    6) Introduce the experimental under belly Mg 151 ( iknow the technical issues but i believe a solution could be found) It would be very useful on the eastern front without reduced agility.
    7) achieve high quality surface finish . Up to 12km/h benefit( obviously not easy to achieve with slaves) At least aircrafts intented for Jg2 and JG 26 should have special treatment. (Piltos and mechanics on the field treid to clean their own aircrafts)

    I have read about various other minor improvements but actually they resutlt was that in late42/43 not even the most obvius improvements were not introduced. Very disapponting
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    When were these introduced historically? I assumed (perhaps wrongly) they were already incorporated into the Me-109F4.
     
  5. jim

    jim Banned

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    I think they were , but i believe were removed from later models. In accordance to this information , Lipfert who flew only G series aircrafts, and describes with details what he did when faced with damaged cooling system (several times) makes no mention of them.
    Interestingly , he also makes no mention of Mw 50 , even in 45 when its certain that he flew G-10s
     
  6. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    #6 riacrato, Dec 9, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
    delete
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    An annular radiator is a better solution but that would require major redesign of the Me-109 nose. One of those small but important details Junkers and Focke Wulfe got right.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That requires a serious shift in German engine development priorities from 1937 onward. Otherwise the Fw-190C will be powered by a DB605 engine.
     
  9. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    I deleted my answer because it's off topic. But realistically, you should phase it out over the course of 1942 and 1943 in favour of the Fw 190C and /or D. It is not impossible it just needs the right priorization. The DB603 in 1942 wasn't much less ready than the DB605. It might even be possible to squeeze a few more hp out of the original DB601 series. No matter how you put it the Bf 109 had seen its best days after 1942 compared to the enemy's s/e fighters. Even if I admire what they were able to do with the late G-10 and K-4 series, the design was obsolete and it would be best to concentrate on the Fw, keep Bf 109 development to a minimum and keep the Bf 109s on the eastern front. Even there they should be replaced with Jumo or DB603 powered Fw190s starting late 1943.
     
  10. Siegfried

    Siegfried Banned

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    The ERLA haube (hood) was the clear view hood that got rid of the bracing.
    The Galland hood was armoured glass instead of steal behined the pilots headrest.
    Both improved visibillity.

    Getting more fuel into the 109 is critical. Why can't say 2 x 12 gallon tanks be fitted into the wings: This adds 30% to fuel capacity.

    I would also look at a slightly blown canopy and raised seat.
     
  11. Siegfried

    Siegfried Banned

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    They were in some of the F series, deleted from the G but reintroduced into the K (and I immagine G-10). radiator cuttoff valves were highly prised and maintenance crews and crews would often race to purloin them before another crew got them.
     
  12. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Retool all 109 factories for the 262.
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That works about as well as building Fw-190Cs during 1942. You will have airframes without engines.

    If you want to replace the Me-109 then let's use an airframe designed for the DB601 / DB605 engine.
    He-100.jpg
    Why not the He-100? Unlike the Me-109, the He-100 was designed for level speeds of 400+ mph. It also has a superior canopy and wide track landing gear. The design was production ready during 1939.
     
  14. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    #14 vanir, Dec 9, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
    But the He-100D (actually He-113, the He-100D was a fictional propaganda set of technical specifications using the He-113 preproduction block photos, all the specs are fictional, the real He-113 specifications are projected figures as it was never service evaluated) wing panel radiators were unsuccesful in the prototypes and production series would've had the He-112 extendable radiators fitted. This was already evaluated against the 109 with the same engine (Jumo 210Ga) in Spain, it was found aside from injection issues in the Jumo, that during most of the flight regimé the radiator had to be extended and this cut speed and speed retension in manoeuvres much more than the 109. In fact they could only keep the radiator retracted for something like 3mins at high power settings. In cruise and climb the radiator had to be extended.

    So most of the time the 109 is faster with the same engine, under a wide variety of conditions. The Heinkells are only faster in an all out war emergency sprint for about 3mins. One of Alfred Price's books talks about it as the true reason the design was passed over in favour of the 109. It is a myth that it was Nazi favouritism for Willy Messerschmitt, which is unsurprising as that never made any sense. It seems to be it was mostly to do with the Heinkell testing some novelties in an effort to surpass conventions, but the 109 was a solid workmanlike design that Germans tend to respect, it's performance was achieved rather simply by putting the most powerful available fighter engine in the lightest and most streamlined possible airframe, and tossing several guns in. It didn't really pioneer much, but was 100% very high quality components and equipment fit in the late-30s.

    It was almost futuristic back then, but some of these other designs are well moreso. It was about pragmatism, someone already brought up production cost and ease of manufacture. You also have to think about your skilled workforce. In England for example most the aero industry was set up to continue making classic biplanes in fighters, bombers were getting the new innovations. The Hurricane used this to be successful despite a performance shortfall by using a very powerful engine in an airframe constructed using the skilled workforce in place. The Spitfire lagged in service because production to the same scale took longer to tool up for, and you had a much more limited workforce. A lot more training/retraining was involved, time consuming and expensive.

    German aero industry was already being rebuilt from the ground up and in a position to use the latest construction techniques as a basis. German interwar fighters were unremarkable but helped create the all metal monocoqué industry, they served a purpose (eg. the He-51 was fabric covered but an all metal frame so created the skilled workforce for the 109, Russia by comparison had woodworkers so maximised wood in fighter construction throughout the war).

    The thing is you'd be tossing all that advantage out the window by using experimental technologies like the trick Heinkell radiators in your main front line fighter. The Heinkell wasn't even useful for a backup fighter type probably for these pragmatic rationalé, Focke Wulf won it.

    As for the OP, the Friedrich...geesh. Well it was very nicely updated as it was, full commitment and resource was given the project, specification was to increase performance, I really don't see how anyone could've done any better simply changing shoes. Those guys weren't amateurs.
    The F-4 was how the basic type was supposed to be, but development was protracted and the front needed new types. The 601E wasn't ready until June, the original F-1 airframe broke at the tail and got grounded, which put service entry back six months and resulted in numbers of the Emil E-7Z being equipped to Channel Front squadrons in March I think. The MG151 wasn't ready, then when it finally was pilots complained about the calibre. Popularism is that the F-1 early series production were fitted with MGFF but I believe this is caused by Galland's custom personal mount, a preproduction series highly modified to carry MGFF both in the wings and through the hub, but MGFF had already proven to jam frequently as a motorgun. It is fairly likely the F-1 which were delivered either lacked a motorgun or it would be left routinely unarmed, it was instructed that they would be retrofitted with MG151 as soon as it became available around April I'm guessing.
    GM-1 was fitted with 601N engines to a limited series of F-2 airframes (the Luft designation for these aircraft is actually F-4/Z but have N engine not E engine I believe), it has a larger diameter propeller, the oil cooler from an Emil 7/Z and went to the Med in 42. Used as local höhenstaffeln I think. But there was no MW50 standard kit ready for production until Jan44, each installation would have to be custom which is unrealistic in any significant numbers. Some He-111 and the like got MW30 kits in 42 but those were custom jobs for Fliegerkorps X and groups like that (to get torpedos off a short runway in Norway), I don't think it could've been readily adapted any quicker than historical.

    But there are two suggestions I like. The erla and galland modifications to the hood or a blown canopy/raised seat. That's some smart thinking there guys.
    How about increasing cockpit width with a G-6/AS style reshaping of the cockpit area rather than the cowling, or just give a smooth increase to the upper width of the whole frontal airframe to the pilot seat, I'm sure smartly done you'd only kill maybe 5-10km/h of your top speed and that'd be well worth it.
     
  15. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    Completely redesign the wing internal structure. A mini P-51 wing if you will. Inward retracting gear that aligns more vertically when down. Internal wing tanks. If there is room left over, wing guns. I think the biggest "negative" of the whole 109 series is range. Cure that, and who knows what happens.
     
  16. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    #16 vanir, Dec 10, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
    The gear mounted on the fuselage so it can have uber-light wing structure saves the 109 hundreds of kilograms and a bit of drag. The only problem is internally mounting anything in the wings means you have to cut spars that weaken a wing already built as lightly as it can be. It's not very airworthy but was done for Emils (the MG17 in the 109C/D just fit between the spars but cannon or heavy MG need them cut and the gear wells moved, again this was done but it was interim and impacted aircraft performance).

    So redesigning either the wing for internal guns, or changing the fuselage mounted gear, would be a completely different design emphasis, a completely different plane. Empty weight would be much, much heavier for example, perhaps making the design a liability. It got by on being very light and having an incredibly low frontal mass for its class. You sacrificed a lot for this: the cockpit was too narrow, the airframe wasn't tall enough, the wings were too light, visibility everywhere but directly ahead or ahead and down were both shocking, all of this was a single minded attempt at the lowest frontal mass of any fighter around, its climb and dive were absolutely superb at any power setting.
     
  17. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    I think it would be foolish for 1942 Germany to end Me-109 production. But if people are determined to cancel Me-109s the replacement aircraft must use similiar DB601 / DB605 engines as that's what Germany had available.
     
  18. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    Given a larger focus on s/e fighters the first Fw 190C's could be in use end of 1942 (even with the period of non-support of the DB603 by the RLM in the late thirties). That's why i said phase out, not cancel. Development of DB series engines should focus on the larger DB603 as it clearly was the future.

    The Bf 109s of 1942 that were powerd by the DB605 had little to no advantage over the older F-series due to the well known problems. So you might aswell stick with the F-series for most of 1942. I'd suggest keeping the central armament as is but add either MG131 or MG FF to the wings, kind of like Gallands special Fs had. Switch to the G series only in 1943 once the engine problems are sorted out and add MW50 for eastern front and GM1 for the west. By now, the Fw 190 C production should gain momentum and the Bf 109 should gradually be of less importance in the Jagdwaffe.
     
  19. jim

    jim Banned

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    Cocpit dimensions have been critisized a lot by western pilots both modern and of the war. However i dont read any special complaints for this by the operational german pilots.
    A blown sliding hood was used in the post war chech built, jumo powered version . It looks great and vastly imrove the visibility. However ,personally, i would not accept the higher drug
    Wing fuel tanks ,even very small and no self sealing , are great idea
    All these ideas that have been mentioned would be very useful on the eastern and mediterrenean fronts. However would have a limited influence in west in late 42/43/early 44. There the major proplem was the lack of two stage supercharger or at very least the AS supercharger modification.
     
  20. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Thanks for feedback :)

    Looking at the 109's wing, it seems pretty 'empty' (only U/C and radiator taking space, plus wing surface's controls), when compared with Anglo-American fighters. It was of smaller area, though. So a 2 * 30 gal in wings seem like non-problematic proposal - people at Lockheed were able to install 2 x 55 gal tanks in P-38's wing roots, and P-39 managed 2 x 60, plus a volume for 4 x LMGs with ammo.
    Such a modification would be good IMO at ETO, too, enabling a greater freedom of maneuver of fighter units. Ideally, for example, fighters based near Hamburg would be able to take part at air battles over Frankfurt, and so will ones located around Stuttgart.
     
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