What if the Bf110 only have one pilot?

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pb43

Airman
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Jul 10, 2022
My question is actually pretty simple.

What would have been the implications if the bf 110 only had 1 pilot and became a heavy fighter just like the P-38. Would the performance be greater with it having significantly reduced weight? Or would the weight saved be not enough to make a difference? Would they been able to compete more favorably against the Spitfires and Hurricanes?
See the Fw 187, which was flown as a single-seater and two-seater, the latter in competition to the Bf 110
 

Shortround6

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See the Fw 187, which was flown as a single-seater and two-seater, the latter in competition to the Bf 110
Except it really wasn't in competition with the Bf 110.
Focke Wulf may have wanted it to be but the Luftwaffe didn't see it that way.

The Fw 187 was later in timing than the Bf 110 which meant a few advantages, like being tailored for certain jobs. Which helped with better performance.
However it also means that the Bf 110 production would have had to be shut down and Fw 187 production started up. Granted it took a while for the 110 production to really get going but that was also due to a shortage of DB 601 engines so they just trickling out Jumo powered 110s.

Part of the 110s problem with performance was it was really a 3 seat aircraft. Most of the time it was flown with a 2 man crew but the cockpit was huge, which turned out to be a very handy as a night fighter when it came to fitting in the radar equipment and/or the vertical guns. It was also handy fitting big recon cameras into the cockpit. The wing size came in handy when carrying drop tanks and bomb loads. However it also means you don't get much change in performance from cutting off most of the canopy and plating over the hole. You don't get a sports car by cutting the roof off a station wagon (estate car).
The 187 was tiny in the cockpit area. The 187 had very good handling with the Jumo engines, Shifting to DB 601s is going to get you into P-38 land as far as performance goes. However it is also going to get you into P-38 land as far as wing loading and roll response goes.

187 as built (Jumo engines) carried 1/2 the 7.9mm ammo and 1/3 the 20mm cannon ammo that the db 601 Bf110 did.
P-38s carried or had room for (probably shouldn't have) a crap ton of ammo and heavy guns.
The 187, needed the next generation of guns (MG 131 and MG 151/20) to really become effective.

Let's also remember that the Me 210 first flew in Sept 2nd 1939. Granted it was plagued with problems but that is closer to what a DB 601 powered Fw 187 was competing against than the Bf 110.
The 110 was too big to be converted to a single seater. And a single seater with two DB 601 engines, while faster than the 110 still would not have been able to turn with, roll with British single engine planes.
 

SaparotRob

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Upon reflection this attempt at humor went over like a lead balloon, and has been taken as an "attack" of sorts on a welcomed new member. My apologies to him and the forum for posting it. My intent was never to poke fun, as those who know me must surely have known, but we should expect more from ourselves and especially mods.
FWIW I got it. My contra-rotating rotary engine joke was equally successful.
 

Shortround6

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FWIW I got it. My contra-rotating rotary engine joke was equally successful.
you do know that there were two (maybe more?) contra-rotating rotary engines?
Siemens-Schuckert_D.III.jpg

Siemens-Schuckert D.IV powered by a Siemens-Halske Sh.III engine.
It does depend on what you meant by contra-rotating.
Engine turned at 900rpm one way while the propeller rotated at 900rpm the other way. 1800rpm net difference.
 

Sevvy

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Dec 24, 2022
Thanks for the answers and warm welcome everyone!:)

And lmao no harm about it xD I should have constructed the question better of only having 1 "crew", I guess. The first idea I thought was just a minor modification of the design to make it more lighter thus perhaps making it less abysmal against the Allies than it was but S Shortround6 makes a very valid point.

I haven't really heard about the FW 187 so looking into it, yes it do seem the closest to a true twin-engine heavy fighter that the German could have got. I could only wonder the difference of the air war if it was designed earlier and was selected over the Bf110. Thanks again for the answers!
 

Admiral Beez

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The Luftwaffe had a single-seat twin engine fighter opportunity with the Fw187, but it was dismissed.
The Luftwaffe didn’t seem to embrace the idea of a smaller sized twin engined fighter. The Bf 110 is a huge aircraft compared to twin engined fighters designed for a single crewman, like the Westland Whirlwind, IMAM Ro.57, prototype only Tairov Ta-3, and Lockheed P-38.

As best I can recall, the only German twin engined fighters designed from the onset as a single seater that entered Luftwaffe service were the Dornier Do 335 and Me 262.
 

GrauGeist

Generalfeldmarschall zur Luftschiff Abteilung
The "heavy fighter" concept of the 30's typically incorporated a pilot nd a navigator/rear gunner and in some cases, a third crewman as radio operator.

It was a rare concept to have a single crewman (pilot) in a twin engined fighter.

The Bf110 wasn't the only heavy fighter design, there was the Ar240 and the Fw57 before it and here was also the Hs124.
But the concept was global - the Fokker G.1 had a crew of two or three, the Potez 630, KI-45, Beaufighter, PZL.38, J1N and so on.

The only true twin engined, single seat piston fighters were rare, concept or otherwise: P-38, Fw187, P-50/F5F, Ro.57, (Tairov) Ta-3, etc.
 

SaparotRob

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you do know that there were two (maybe more?) contra-rotating rotary engines?
View attachment 700160
Siemens-Schuckert D.IV powered by a Siemens-Halske Sh.III engine.
It does depend on what you meant by contra-rotating.
Engine turned at 900rpm one way while the propeller rotated at 900rpm the other way. 1800rpm net difference.
I meant a twin row contra rotating rotary engine. Both rows bolted to the air frame.
 

Admiral Beez

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The only true twin engined, single seat piston fighters were rare, concept or otherwise: P-38, Fw187, P-50/F5F, Ro.57, (Tairov) Ta-3, etc.
Agreed. My all time favourite twin engined, single seat piston fighters is the DH Sea Hornet, first flown in 1944, but introduced postwar. Unlike with the Bf 110 where the firm decided to go heavier and larger with the Me 210, someone looked at the Mosquito and said, let's keep the powerful engines from our single-engine fighters, but shrink and lighten the airframe (in the Mosquito's case, delete the internal bay), to suit just one crew.

avmoss_3_02.png


Could the same have been done to make a mini Bf 110?
 

Shortround6

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I meant a twin row contra rotating rotary engine. Both rows bolted to the air frame.
I don't think so.
Somebody built a two row rotary using two 9 cylinder engines about 20 inches apart but they both turned in the same direction,
most of the way down.
 

Shortround6

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From about 1905 to 1939 (and beyond) somebody, somewhere tried just about everything until enough examples of "what not to do" appeared in the text books.
This thing actually received a type certificate in 1928. Photo of piston layout.
fairchild-caminez-447-pistons.jpg

But aside from several test aircraft nobody wanted to fly behind it. (prop turned once for every two cycles the pistons made)

There were some incredibly bad engines built in the first 20-25 years of flying. In some cases people didn't know any better.
 

Shortround6

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But both rows bolted to the frame?
Joke is you can't bolt the rows to the frame, the rows have to be free to spin. The crankshaft is bolted to the frame and the prop is bolted to the rows of cylinders (or attached to the gear ring in example above.
Rube Goldberg is on call for getting the rearmost bank of cylinders to connect to the front bank while turning it the opposite direction.
 

SaparotRob

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Joke is you can't bolt the rows to the frame, the rows have to be free to spin. The crankshaft is bolted to the frame and the prop is bolted to the rows of cylinders (or attached to the gear ring in example above.
Rube Goldberg is on call for getting the rearmost bank of cylinders to connect to the front bank while turning it the opposite direction.
THAT’S THE JOKE!
 

GrauGeist

Generalfeldmarschall zur Luftschiff Abteilung
Agreed. My all time favourite twin engined, single seat piston fighters is the DH Sea Hornet, first flown in 1944, but introduced postwar. Unlike with the Bf 110 where the firm decided to go heavier and larger with the Me 210, someone looked at the Mosquito and said, let's keep the powerful engines from our single-engine fighters, but shrink and lighten the airframe (in the Mosquito's case, delete the internal bay), to suit just one crew.

View attachment 700479

Could the same have been done to make a mini Bf 110?
I'm sure Messerschmitt could have scaled down the Bf110 to an Fw187 sized single seat airframe.

*if* the RLM had wanted one and issued a proposal, I'm sure several manufacturers would have developed scaled version of their twin heavy fighter types (Focke-Wulf aside), like Arado, Dornier, Henschel and so on.

Of all the European heavy fighters developed, I always thought that IMAM's Ro.57 was the best looking of the lot.
Typical Italian design, where it had really nice lines, though it's performance didn't live up to the "sexy factor" of it's design.
 

tomo pauk

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Of all the European heavy fighters developed, I always thought that IMAM's Ro.57 was the best looking of the lot.
Typical Italian design, where it had really nice lines, though it's performance didn't live up to the "sexy factor" of it's design.

Italians have gotten it right with the Ro.58, but engine supply said 'nope, not today'.
 

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