Bf-109 variants

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by FranchToest, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. FranchToest

    FranchToest New Member

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    Hello everyone :D This is my first post so sorry if I have posted in the wrong area. I have a couple of questions for those of you that admire German aircraft.

    1. Which Bf-109 variants had the black and white spiral nose cone?

    2. Which variant did pilots use the most throughout the entire war?

    3. Which variant was the most viable. (By "viable", I mean best equipped for multiple tasks.)

    Thanks everyone, FranchToest
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Hi, welcome to the forum.

    The Black and white spiral nose cone was just a painted spinner. It could be found on all varients, but usually the G and K varients.

    The most numerous varient is the G varients. The most numerous of them all was the G-6 with over 12,000 being built.
     
  3. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It was introduced officially for all fighter aircraft of Luftflotte 3 and Luftflotte Reich on 10th February 1944. It was clarified in a more extensive document applying to all single and twin engine fighters and ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft in the 'Western Area' on 20th July 1944. It was a tactical marking unlikely to appear on anything (as far as the 109 goes) but Bf 109 Gs and Ks.

    Some units seem to have introduced their own version earlier. There are pictures of Bf 109 G-6s from JG 1 with a very tight spiral dated May 1943. I know of one of another G-6 from JG 3 in Italy, also from 1943, with that units version of the spiral which is much closer to that officially adopted later.

    All Bf 109s were capable of multiple tasks but it is obvious that later versions had better performance.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  4. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Good explanation .
     
  5. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    What was the thought behind the spiral?
     
  6. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I think as an optical illusion but I could be wrong. And it wasn't just the Bf 109 that had them. You can find spirals on many Luftwaffe aircraft including Ju 88s, Me410s, etc.

    .
    bk5-2.jpg Me410-19.JPG
     
  7. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    I always thought it was to keep birds away...
     
  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    That one crops up frequently today in regards to civil jet aircraft. Today it is a safety feature, a means of telling whether an engine is turning on the ground.

    On WW2 Luftwaffe spinners it was a tactical marking, just like yellow or white cowlings, wing tips etc, and was to aid identification.

    Another myth is that it was to throw off the aim of allied air gunners by some undefined optical effect. In fact it makes quite a good aiming point !

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    There was initially some confusion about which aircraft should be marked with the spinner spiral. Clarification was given on 20th July '44.

    "With effect from today the recognition markings of our own aircraft in the Western Area (Germany, France and Italy) will be changed as follows.

    1 (a) Fighters, including twin engine fighters, ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft are to have a black and white spiral painted on their spinners.

    1 (b) All other operational aircraft, no special recognition markings.

    2 (a) Captured aircraft, if flown operationally, to be marked as 1(a) above."
    [a reference to Italian aircraft used by the Germans on the Italian front]

    The spiral was supposed to be

    "black and white.....turning in same direction as spinner, width one fifth diameter of spinner."

    There was initially a wide variation in the way the marking was actually applied to in service aircraft. Later they became much more standardised.

    It is absolutely clear from the document(s) I quoted above, and several other original sources, that this spiral marking was a tactical recognition marking. It was not some fancy illusion, nor was it an effort to discombobulate allied air gunners. Those two should be consigned to the thread 'aviation myths that won't die'.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Thats a telling date. Maybe as a premature celebration? :)
     
  11. FranchToest

    FranchToest New Member

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    This is probably very true! Thanks everyone for your replies. I think I will stay on this site and continue to read through threads :) Also, if I may ask, which variant was your favorite? It seems as if you guys are quite familiar with them.
     
  12. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  13. FranchToest

    FranchToest New Member

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    Thank you for this information, this is cool. I can see why there are only few planes that had the spinners due to the standardization of them being so late in the war.
     
  14. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Not really, from July '44 until the end of the war was still a lot of aeroplanes to be marked with the spiral on the spinners. You can see from my posts above that the marking was applied to several categories of aircraft.

    If I could have flown any Bf 109 I'd have chosen a G-10.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  15. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    My fav is the G series. Just looked the most menacing.
     
  16. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The spiral spinner markings go quite a was back before the mandate in '44 and one of my favorite schemes can be seen on an He111 (SK+GS) that's a white spiral over a red base.

    In addition to the spiral, they used a "quartered" scheme of two alternate colors like black and white for example, in several cases.

    My favorite Bf109 would be the G-2 :thumbleft:
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Several fighter units used a version of the spiral before its official adoption, I mentioned a couple already but a quick look at Merrick suggests JG 1, JG 3, JG 26, JG 52, JG 52 and JG 54 all experimented with some version of the marking. Some markings evolved before official adoption and formalisation. The 'Reichsverteidigung' markings (Reich Defence Bands) would be another example.

    The type of marking seen on the He 111 you mention is a Gruppe/Staffel marking and not a tactical marking. The RAF had a similar system whereby spinners or wheel hubs (on non retractable undercarriages) were coloured in the aircraft's Flight colour, though it was abandoned early in the war, with a few exceptions.

    The spinner divided into a 1/3 white 2/3 RLM 70 was a factory applied marking introduced in 1941. RLM 70 remained the specified base colour for the spinner, though some aircraft (particularly Messerschmitt) appear to have had black applied at the factory instead of RLM 70.

    Though I went for a hot rod G-14 a late F or early G like the G-2 would certainly be my second choice :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  18. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #18 GregP, Dec 15, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013
    My favorite is the F series since it was the favorite of Many of the top Luftwaffe aces who flew Bf 109's. It was Erich Hartmann's favorite and that alone says a lot about the F.

    The G series got heavier with little benefit, but was still a formidible aircraft when flown by somone familar with it, even late in the war.

    All the Bf 109's had a great rate of climb but also had the same faults consiting of strange visibility, short range, poor handling at very high speeds and the landing gear geometry problem. Since the Bf 109 was the most prolific fighter at shooting down enemy aircraft in the history of aerial warfare, these faults could obviously be overcome. It was truly one of the immortals of WWII, but is often overlooked by people wanting to named "the best fighter" for some reason.

    Obviously it was on the losing side, but was easily the most successful offensive fighter of the war. It did have setbacks such as the Battle of Britain, but these were largely due to inept leadership rather than the Bf 109 itself, which was still a dangerous opponent when the war ended. Variants were produced in Spain up through 1958 or so and it remnained in service until around 1970.
     
  19. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i never met a 109 i didnt like ( of course i didnt have to fight against one either lol ). each one has its own charm...starting with the E. if i had the money to own one i would be more interested in an E, F, G-2 or 10.
     
  20. silence

    silence Active Member

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    Gimme an F-4 - gotta have that 20mm in the best performing (IMO) Bf kite.
     
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