Why no Me-110H night fighter?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by davebender, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Me-110H.
    Modified nose.
    Retractable tail wheel.
    Fuselage, wings and landing gear strengthened.
    Two x DB605E engines (DB605D variant designed for twin engine aircraft).
    …..Me-110H2. Day fighter-bomber. 650 kph @10,000 meters with GM-1.
    …..Me-110H3. Recon aircraft.
    …..Me-109H4. Night fighter. 2 or 4 man crew.
    …..Me-109H5. Single seat day fighter.
    …..Me-109H6. Night fighter. However engines used MW50 rather then GM-1.

    1943. Gotha Works assume responsibility for Me-110 program. They begin Me-110H development.
    24 Feb 1944. USAAF bombing raid on Gotha Works destroys Me-110H prototype and test facilities.
    Sep 1944. German Emergency Fighter Program. Ends development of Me-110 and quite a few other aircraft.

    By 1941 most Me-110s were employed as night fighter aircraft. Supposedly they were to be replaced by Me-210s but that makes little sense. The Me-210 was a light bomber. Bomb bay and remote control rear MG barbettes occupied space needed for night fighter electronic equipment. IMO Me-110 night fighter development should have continued separately from the Me-210. They might still share some components just as the Ju-88 and Ju-188 did. Begin development of the Me-110H during 1941 and it will probably be in mass production during 1943.

    DB605D / DB605E engines entered production during the fall of 1944. However that engine isn't essential. 1,800hp DB605AS engines were in production by 1944. The Jumo 211N (historically installed in Ta-154) might do in a pinch. I suspect you could also install the larger DB603 or Jumo 213.

    Why not just build the Ju-88G?
    Cost. The smaller Me-110 night fighter costs about 2/3rds the price of a Ju-88 yet it does the same job. For the same production cost you can build more aircraft. WWII Germany could never match the economic might of the USA. It's crucial that German made weapons be effective yet as inexpensive as possible.
     
  2. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    High performance engines were required for day fighters, they already had better options for recons (Me 410, Ar 234, Bf 109 G-8, even Ju 88/188), NF (Ju 88C/G, He 219). Bf 110 cockpit was cramped and overloaded with equipment and 3 crew while Ju 88 offered more space/crew comfort.
    Jumo 211 was out of production in 1944 and replaced by the 213.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    This is a warplane, not a passenger aircraft. Low cost combat effectiveness is what counts.

    Everything I've read suggests Me-110 night fighter aircraft worked just fine. So why not give the program additional development money and make it the primary German night fighter aircraft?
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Ergonomics was just coming into being at the time and complaints of crew comfort/room to work fall into that category, not frivolity.

    A bunch of low cost bare bones combat aircraft that vibrate their crews into numbness, freeze them on 3-4 hour patrols, put switches and instruments in hard to reach or difficult to see positions may have less actual combat effectiveness than fewer, more expensive aircraft that allow their crews to operate at higher efficiency over longer periods of time.

    I don't know how bad or how good the crew compartment of the 110 may have been, but insistence on the cheapest possible aircraft or weapon regardless of factors that don't show up in the briefest of specifications listings is often poor economy.

    I was a a professional (paid) firefighter for over 30 years, When I started some of our trucks had open cabs and some of the crew stood on the back step. Looks good in a summer parade, Made for some rather ineffective men after even a 10-15 minute run during a winter storm or cold snap (0-15 degrees F) compared to an enclosed cab. We were it, 2nd alarm (relieve) wasn't getting there for another 20-30 minutes. I can't imagine the temperatures many of those aircrew flew and tried to fight in.
     
  5. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    check to see how many NJG's were equipped with the Bf 110G-4 in 1945. not many the Ju 88G-6 was superior in every way to the 110G-4. as to the H series being available who really knows we can only guess as a stop gap.
     
  6. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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    The 110 was past its sell by date in 1942. It was only the failure of the 210 that kept it in production at all - the 210 nightfighter would have had a redesigned cockpit for its role - you can see the drawings in the Petrick/Mankau book. In fact several 210's were sent to NJG1 for evaluation. Crews preferred the 88 - it had far more room for development, more power, more room for the crew and any updated equipment. It would have been pretty tricky to fit the FuG240 in a 110 if the war had gone on past 1945 don't you think?

    Mind you, with the RLM's record for bright decisions I'm amazed they never considered the 163 as a nightfighter...
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree but my point still stands. Wartime mass production often requires second best equipment to remain in service. Otherwise Heer horse drawn 10.5cm howitzers would have been replaced by Sd.Kfz.165/1 SP howitzers.
    heu_6.jpg
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Bad example.
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Just a thought here, but instead of continuing the Bf110, why not concentrate on the He219 "Uhu" and Ta154 "Moskito" for high-performance twin engine aircraft?
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Cost and development time. The relatively large He-219 would probably be more expensive then a Ju-88G while offering no performance advantage. Both the He-219 and Ta-154 were latecomers so they won't be available in quantity until it's too late to matter.

    The Me-110 was inexpensive (for a twin engine aircraft) and it was available from the beginning of the war. Everything I have read suggests the design had few flaws and it was perfectly capable of destroying enemy bombers at night. So it's an obvious choice for continued development and mass production as a night fighter in a wartime environment.
     
  11. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    the airframe was a relic and too crowded even for two crewmembers and the radar equipment, it was shown in late 43 that a new crate needed to be born, thus He 219 but hierarchy troubles intervened, what was needed and proved in 44-45 was more eyes even though the LW was the defender the RAF mosquito was starting to make it's presence felt in the skies over the Reich as a true NF intruder as well as other BC countermeasures.
     
  12. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    I wonder how the costs really stack up.

    As well as the obvious size advantage etc, the Junkers Ju88 (and related versions of) was a more modern design being produced at several companies and at an increasing rate.
    The Me 110 was a relatively old design (and therefore more labour intensive?) being produced in fewer places with production uncertain having been stopped and restarted at least once and where everyone knew a successor design was due any time.

    H also seems an odd designation, isn't H usually the German suffix to denote a high altitude variant?
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    1941 aircraft price. Includes engines.
    (data by Olaf Groehlers GdLK).
    210,140 RM. Me-110.
    306,950 RM. Ju-88.

    The Me-110 costs 68% as much as a Ju-88 during 1941. Both aircraft were designed for mass production so the cost ratio should remain more or less constant in later years. You can purchase three Me-110s for the same price as two Ju-88s.

    The smaller and lighter Me-110 also provides superior aerial performance if both aircraft are powered by similiar engines.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Me-110 and Me-210/Me-410 both employed wing fuel tanks.

    1,270 liters. Me-110 internal fuel capacity.
    2,420 liters. Me-210 internal fuel capacity.

    Me-210 was a 1942 design. Why didn't the Me-110 receive a 1942 design change to incorporate 2,420 liter fuel tanks? That would make Me-110 night fighter endurance as good or better then Ju-88 night fighter aircraft.
     
  15. razor1uk

    razor1uk Well-Known Member

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    #15 razor1uk, Jun 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2012
    Possibly to do with max loaded weights verses wingloading and mission loadings... the 110 was in radar/AI nightfighting trim was possibly closer to its limits let alone crew handling preferences for keeping wingloadings down to maximise handling and climbing/rolling rates, than the 210.

    Maybe they could have tried seeing if they could mate the 2/4-10's complete wings assemblies (U/C, engines, controls and tankage etc) to the 110 fuz, but the exiges of war and other projects, neeeds, and distractions did not allow such, so hence no 110 with extra wing tankage.

    Imagine the weight of those extra fuel tanks in the outer wings having a detrimental slowing on the 110's mediocre roll rates, unless they spent some time devolping the fuel control circuit (german's of then prefered to have more automatish systems where/when available) to drain form the outer wing tanks first 'ala' the pilot operated rustangs long distance rear fuz tank first stylee.
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I'm under the impression roll rate was not a priority for night fighter aicraft.
    What was the roll rate for a P-61?
    Nighter fighter variants of Mosquito?
    Night fighter variants of Ju-88?

    Mating Me-210 wing to Me-110 fuselage sounds like a fine idea to me. You get double the fuel capacity and perhaps superior aerial performance as a bonus.

    Me-110H supposedly had a more streamlined nose. Perhaps you could also mate Me-210 nose to the Me-110 fuselage.

    Ju-88 and Ju-188 shared many components. Me-110 and Me-210 should have taken a similiar approach. Should cut down on design effort and development time. The purpose built Me-110 night fighter version should enter service during mid 1942, concurrent with the Me-210C.
     
  17. razor1uk

    razor1uk Well-Known Member

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    #17 razor1uk, Jun 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
    I don't think the 210 nose would fit well to the 110 aft fuz well, there would have to be streamlining fairings akin to fitting a radial to a Ki-61 ala Ki-100 style - although that would probably end up with a tail long enough to give enough pitch stabilty of the 410.
    But similar themed aerodynamic smoothing/designs for the 110 similar to the 210/410 would definately have helped - I feel the 210 was Messerschmitts attempt at making a german 110 succesor with atributes based upon the Ki-46 style that the Japanese refused to license to them - the hunch backed nose/cockpit tapering all the way to to the tail tip.

    While roll rates aren't as important in NF's as in interceptors/zorsters or heavy fighters, depending upon how manoeverable an A/C is in each of their other axises, higher roll rates can certainly usefull to try and keep that limited radar tracking cone in the 'zone', certainy when recently 'launched' and still heavy with fuel at mission/loiter start.

    The initial 210's pitch manoeverabilty/instabilty with skilled pilots was requiring of greater than 110 roll rates to make it more useful.

    Somethink I personally believe, that this why the RHAF didn't mind any of the 210's as they understood that they could pull excessive AOA in pitch when needed, but the Luftwaffe did mind it, as they to prefered more roll and less elevator - maybe for their now up and coming under-trained pilots to appear more able with less skill and less similarly related AOA stalling issues. Hence why the RLM forced Messerschmitt to lengthen the tail with other improvements ala RHAF 210CR/CF's to German '410' status.
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Me-210 is clearly a light bomber. Me-110 was not. If the Me-210 was successor to anything it was the Bf-162 light bomber.

    WRG - Luftwaffe Resource Group - Messerschmitt Bf 162
    bf162-1.jpg

    1935. RLM issues specification for a Schnellbomber.
    Ju-88 beat Bf-162 for the contract. Me-210 was probably Messerschmitts second attempt to win a piece of the lucrative Schnellbomber contract.

    Summer 1940. Germany establishes night fighter force.
    This should have triggered an RLM specification for a purpose built night fighter aircraft which has absolutely nothing to do with the Me-210 light bomber program. However Messerschmitt was in an excellent position to use technology and components from the Me-210 program to improve the existing Me-110C night fighter aircraft.
     
  19. rank amateur

    rank amateur Member

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    Wasn't there something like the Wespe, combining the pzkwII chasis with the same 10,5 cm howitzer? I think it performed great.
     
  20. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    There's the problem with this idea right there.
    1941.
    But we're talking about a variant of the Me 110 which was too late to see the light of day in mid 1945.

    I don't think the comparisons are valid by 1945.
    The Ju 88 is the basis of several potential aircraft in 1945 (Ju 188, Ju 388 Ju 488 ) as well as its own G night-fighter version.
    That sort of large scale production has to give economies of scale.

    The Me 110 is experiencing the reverse.
    One type in dwindling production numbers and everyone knows its had its day is a dead-end.
     
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