Messerschmitt Bf 110 Zerstorer Fighter/Bomber

Messerschmitt Bf 110 Fighter/Bomber

The Bf or Me110 was a heavy, twin-engined fighter, designed as a fighter-bomber, bomber-interceptor, and escort fighter. Its use as an escort fighter during the Battle of Britain was disastrous because it was not sufficiently manoueverable in a dogfight with a Spitfire or Hurricane. Even the rear gunner didn’t help, the agility and eight machine guns of the Allied fighters mowed them down easily. This experience initially gave the Bf110 a poor reputation. However, like many other aircraft, it had only to find a niche for itself. It developed a good record as a fighter-bomber and especially as a nightfighter for bomber interceptions. It carried an impressive armament, including oblique firing cannons (developed under the code name Schrage Musik) used to attack bombers from below without having to fly towards the bomber. A long series from B to G, were developed. Late in the war production rates increased as serious weaknesses with it’s successors, the Bf210 and 410 were discovered. Around 6100 were built.

Technical Details
The Bf 110C-4 was a twin engine aircraft powered by 821kW Daimler-Benz DB601A-1 engines. It had a maximum speed of 347 mph (560 km/h), a ceiling of 32,800 ft (10,000 m) and a range of 695 mi (1120 km). The crew complement was either two or three depending on the type of mission. They always carried a rear gunner, the optional crew member was a radar operator/navagator for the night fighter varients. It was quite well armed with five 7.9 mm machine guns, two fired backwards, one to the oblique and two to the front, and two forward facing 20 mm cannons.

Two crew flew in the Zerstorer G version, a pilot and rear gunner. Both were protected with frontal, rear and side armour. The Bf110 G was powered by two Daimler-Benz 605 B twelve-cylinder inverted V, liquid cooled engines rated at 1,500 hp on takeoff. Many different armament schemes were used, depending on the mission and sub-type of aircraft. The typical nightfighter carried two 30 mm and two 20 mm cannons in the nose firing forward, two 20 mm cannons fixed in the rear cockpit firing forwards and upwards at an oblique angle of around 60 degrees and twin 7.9 mm machine guns on a flexible mounting fired rearwards by the gunner.

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