Me 109 vs. Fw 190 - Take-off and Landing Accidents

Discussion in 'Old Threads' started by HoHun, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

    Oct 15, 2006
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    Hi everyone,

    Here on request by Parsifal some information on the take-off and landing accidents suffered by the two main German single-engine fighter types.

    The count of JG 26 take-off and landing accidents:

    Year   E     I    II   III    IV
    40     1                    
    41     3     1           2     
    42           1     1     2     
    43           5     3     5     
    44          10     9     6     
    45           3     5     3     1
    E: Ergänzungsgruppe (Me 109)
    I: I. Gruppe (Me 109 till mid-1941, Fw 190 later)
    II: II. Gruppe (Me 109 till mid-1941, Fw 190 later)
    III: III. Gruppe (Me 109 throughout)

    Note: The "Ergänzungsgruppe" could be described as operational training unit, so it's not surprising to see more accidents there.


    Evaluating a different data set (the Bestandsmeldungen from early 1942 to December 1944), I have been able to compare the relation between losses through enemy action and other operational losses for the Me 109 and the Fw 190 for all units of the Luftwaffe for the time period in question.

    (Data source: Flugzeugbestand und Bewegungsmeldungen, 3.42 - 12.44 )

    The results:

    Me 109: 9681 losses to enemy action, 8791 other losses - 47.6% of the losses are without enemy action
    Fw 190: 5389 losses to enemy action, 4934 other losses - 48.8% of the losses are without enemy action


    While searching for weak points of the Fw 190, I came upon a comparison to the Bf 109 that was prepared by Gordon Gollob (not sure what his role was at the time) in cooperation with the civilian Rechlin test pilot Heinrich Beauvais after a fly-off between a Fw 190A-2 and a Bf 109F-4.

    The relevant comment for our issue:

    "It should be especially emphasized that on belly landings, hardly any damage worth of notice is done, and in no case the wing or fuselage structure was bent out of alignment, which almost regularly occurs with the Bf 109. This has lead to high aircraft losses of the Bf 109."

    Though the losses are not quantified, I think it's still an interesting point as it highlights a genuine landing-related technical advantage of the Fw 190. (I suspect belly landings were not that common, but I have no data on that :)


    This gave me an idea for another analysis: I have compared the total number of aircraft lost and damaged ("to enemy" + "other reasons" + "for overhaul") to the number of aircraft sent "for overhaul".

    Bf 109: 22.5% overhaul
    Fw 190: 25.2% overhaul

    If we assume that the lifespan of WW2 fighters was usually cut short so that potential airframe longevity has no effect, I'd say that this means that a slightly higher proportion of seriously damaged Fw 190 airframes was fit for overhaul.

    (On the other hand, both types are coming back to the units from overhaul in substantially greater numbers than sent there - 126% for the Me 109 and 120% for the Fw 190. This could point to a methodical problem, for example that the repair facilities considered airframes repairable that the frontline units considered total losses. Perhaps this might even reverse the relationship as the Me 109 has the higher ratio here - it could mean that the frontline units were more pessimistic about the Me 109's repairability than about the Fw 190's.)


    >source -->> Suomen Historia

    (A fried provided me with a pretty complete list of the fate of each of the Finnish Me 109 aircraft, including total flight hours for each airframe.)

    Here is my first count:

    Total war-time losses: 61 aircraft

    Losses at landing: 9 aircraft

    Losses at take-off: 10 aircraft

    (Note that three losses were on the initial ferry flight - they are included here.)

    So that means that 31% of the Finnish losses were due to take-off/landing accidents, compared to 4.6% for JG 26.

    However, it has to be taken into account that JG 26 faced a tougher opposition and thus had a lot more losses due to enemy action, so it's better to compare the share take-off and landing accidents have in the overall total:

    29 accidents total, 20 take-off/landing related. (I counted ditching not to be take-off/landing related since the cause of the problem obviously was something else.)

    That's 69% of the accidents being take-off/landing related in the Finnish Air Force, while in JG 26, the share is just 22%.

    My conclusion is that both the Finnish data (based on aircraft losses, while JG 26 data is based on personnel losses/injuries) and the Finnish situation in the war are so different that they don't lend themselves to a direct comparison.

    Another way to look at it is that the Finnish Air Force totaled 22463 flying hours on the Me 109 (give or take a few - "3" and "5" were hard to distinguish on the scan) while losing 48 aircraft to take-off and landing accidents (77 accidents in total, including the MIA cases which are unclear).

    That's 210 take-off/landing accidents per 100,000 flight hours, and 340 accidents in total per 100,000 flight hours.

    Here are totals for some USAAF aircraft in the continental USA (and accordingly not under frontline conditions):

    Army Air Forces in World War II

    However, it's difficult to draw a conclusion there because the numbers are not directly comparable and the Finnish flying hours include wartime and peacetime hours alike.


    Checking "Jagdgeschwader 51 'Mölders'" by Aders/Held, I found a loss-list for the JG 51 including KIA, killed in accident, POW, MIA for the entire war. The book admits that the data has gaps beginning with February 1945, but assure the reader that until then it should be complete.

    (It's not directly comparable to the JG 26 list as that includes injured pilots, while the JG 51 list does not.)

    Here are the landing and take-off accidents I found:

    #187 Brunner, Willi, 4. Staffel, 4 victories, 3.2.42, crash after lift-off, Briansk
    #275 Maltzahn, Karl-Heinz, 6. Staffel, 0 victories, 6.3.43, collision on take-off, Mezzouna
    #312 Rose, Eberhard, 7. Staffel, 0 victories, 31.5.43, overturned on landing, Slowitzki
    #321 Diebold, Georg, 8. Staffel, 0 victories, 16.6.43, overturned on landing, Slowitzki
    #368 Meyn, Rudolf, 1. Staffel, ca. 3 victories, 27.8.43, overturned on landing, Bol-Rudka on 24.8.43
    #371 Wallner, Otto, Stabsstaffel, +8 victories, 28.8.43, accident on take-off, Gluchow
    #397 Schliemann, Helmut, 11. Staffel, 0 victories, 3.11.43, accident on take-off, Bolchaja Kostromka
    #399 Gerber, Erich, 4. Staffel, 0 victories, 19.11.43, accident on take-off, Neubiberg
    #487 Bruckermayer, Franz, 1. Staffel, 0 victories, 31.7.44, collision on take-off, Kroczewo
    #522 Danner, Fritz, 13. Staffel, 0 victories, 16.9.44, turn-in for landing, Modlin
    #528 Kohlert, Rudolf, 13. Staffel, 1 victory, 9.10.44, crash landing Modlin
    #547 Liebelt, Fritz, 6. Staffel, ca. 25 victories, 8.12.44, scramble, Imely (not clear if this is an accident)
    #657 Driesen, Helmut, I. Gruppe, April 45, scramble, Büsterort
    #658 Gärtner, Bruno, I. Gruppe, April 45, scramble, Büsterort (Looks a bit like a collision between Driesen and Gärtner, but is not listed as such.)

    The list contains a total of 668 losses, but a certain proportion of the losses consists of ground personnel, so we can't directly evaluate these figures.

    I have excluded deaths on emergency landings and losses to enemy action as they seem irrelevant for the question of handling charactersistics.

    I have not yet determined which aircraft type each of the pilots was flying when he crashed. As the book does not contain a time-table of aircraft types, this will take a while - and some luck.

    By a rough count (sometimes, it's not clear if a lost soldier was a pilot), 138 losses are non-pilots, so we have 530 pilot losses for JG 51. Not all of these were in the air, and a few were on non-fighter aircraft (for example Fw 58, Fi 156, Ju 88). With 14 out of 530 losses caused by take-off/landing accidents of all sorts, we have 2.6% of the losses down to take-off/landings.

    (Remember, wounds/injuries are not included here - neither in the total losses nor in the accident figures.)


    Well, that's the current state of my research into the issue of Me 109 landing characteristics, trying to compare them to Fw 190 characteristics whenever possible. Comments and additions are welcome! :)


    Henning (HoHun)
  2. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

    Apr 6, 2008
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    Urban Design/Strategic Studies Tutor
    Orange NSW
  3. bada

    bada Member

    Apr 12, 2008
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    about the JG26:
    a very good page for the losses or accidents or any dammage on the planes:
    Document sans nom

    Document sans nom

    it's in french:oops:

    The person thats owns this page can't do further for now, he's a law student so he does'nt have much time for the moment.
  4. Célérité

    Célérité Member

    Mar 2, 2008
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    Nantes, FRANCE

    For once, don't worry about it.:lol:

    Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 9, 2005
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    Flight Instructor/ Aircraft Inspector
    Colorado, USA
    Great Post Henning!!!
  6. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

    Jun 28, 2006
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    Executive, Consulting
    Scurry, Texas
    Good data presentation.

    I would be reluctant to dismiss ditchings to 'other causes' than those associated with take off and landing issues.

    For the 355th FG, the number of ditchings to engine failure and fuel is roughly 50% between the two.

    I would have to look but the number of C/L due to engine failure on both take off and landing is high - much higher than due to 'battle damage'.

    The USAAF accident reports will all have a code referencing the cause, "TAC3", "CBLEF5" translating to Taxi Accident Collision - cat 3 damage or Crash Belly Landing/Engine Failure - cat 5 (written off) damage.

    The highest two populations of 'cause' in landing accidents were Ground loops and engine failure. Nearly all take off accidents were engine failures.

    Equally interesting is that many battle damaged P-47s and Mustangs that actually made it back to England were repairable and repaired and returned to service. Ditto for landings on Continent within Allied lines. I believe this to be true for many LW a/c also but I don't have a feel for the record keeping processes and completeness.

    What about LW?

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