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Messerschmidt Bf-110

During the late 'thirties, many countries like the Netherlands, Germany, France, Britain, and the U.S. were developing large, twin-engined fighters with large armaments. Only two, the American P-38 and British Mosquito, were really successful. The rest were more or less failures. The Bf-110 was one of these. The Bf-110 was designed as a long-range escort fighter and bomber destroyer. It had a crew of two or three, depending on the mission, and had two engines and double rudders. The prototype of the 110 was slow and unimpressive. Improvements were made and the 110 was accepted by the Luftwaffe. Throughout the early part of the war, the 110 fulfilled the mission it was designed for. During the invasion of Poland, it was actually the prefered German fighter. But the 110's weakness as a fighter was discovered during the Battle of Britian, when 110 losses were high. The slow, unmanouverable twin-engine fighter was outclassed in every aspect except range and armament by the faster, more nimble Spitfires and Hurricanes. Instead of escorting bombers to their targets, the 110 had to be escorted by single-engine fighters. The 110 was mostly withdrawn from the dayfighter force, though many were still used as interceptors against American bombers. Fighters in this role often carried four 210mm rockets, two under each wing. The other 110s were sent to the nightfighter force. This is where the 110 served the Reich the best. When fitted with radar and heavier armament, the 110 could wreak havoc on British bombers. One particular arrangment, called 'shrage Musik' by the Germans (which literally means 'jazz music'), took many British flyers by suprise. Two 20mm cannons were fitted to fire upward from the cockpit. All the pilot had to do was line up under the target and fire. They usually aimed for the engines and fuel tanks. The only opponent the 110 had to worry about was the British Mosquito, which was faster than the 110 and claimed many 110s as victims. The most dedicated nightfighter variant of the 110 was Bf-110G.

The sleek lines of the 110 can be enjoyed in this view. It lacked the speed that made the P-38 and Mosquito both successes.

This particular example is a Bf-110G, the main nightfighter variant of the 110. It had the 'Lichtenstein' radar installment in the nose, which slowed the plane some. Droptanks have been fitted to allow for more loitering time.

The Bf-110 was outclassed in almost every aspect when compared to more agile single-engine fighters. The 110 excelled during the invasion of Poland and the Low Countries, but it's faults were shown during the Battle of Britain.