Wednesday, April 27, 2016

May Hundert Neun

Hispano Aviación HA-1112 (c/n 156 C.4K-87 (D-FMBB), "FM+BB"), a license-built Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2. Rebuilt by the EADS/Messerschmitt Foundation, Germany with a Daimler-Benz DB 605 engine as a G-6. The paint scheme is missing the Swastika, due to current German laws. (Source)
Alright a couple of things up front - the title of the post is how one says "Me-109" in German. Well, that's how a "cool" German would say it. I say that because back in my NATO days my last boss was a German Air Force lieutenant colonel. More properly, he was an Oberstleutnant in the Luftwaffe. Oberstleutnant Bauer to be precise. (And yes, he was a cool guy and a great boss.)

Well, at my desk I had a calendar with scenes of a military aviation nature (surprise, surprise). Well, that bright and shiny new year started out with a painting of an Me-109 being chased at very low level by a bright and shiny P-51 Mustang. Well, LtCol Bauer walked by my desk, stopped and said, "Hhmm, May Hundert Neun. I think he's in trouble."

Second thing, that opening photo, if you read the caption, is not actually an Me-109. She's an HA-1112 rebuilt to be an Me-109. What's the difference you say? Well, here's an unmodified HA-1112 (which you can read about here)...

One of the last HA-1112-M1L Buchóns still flying. Note the nose, the HA-1112 can be recognized by the exhaust pipes at the top of the nose, like the Spitfire.
(Well, it does have a Merlin engine...) 
(Source)

So, now that we have that out of the way, I confess that the Me-109 is one of my favorite aircraft (I know, I know, I have so many) and I don't recall featuring this old warbird here before. Least ways not by itself.

Here are some 109s of my personal acquaintance, the first three photos are at the Smithsonian (ignore the old guy shooting his watch, yes Juvat, I know I'm doing it wrong) the last one is out in Sandy Eggo.





That last one is in the winter color scheme of the Me-109 of none other than the Ace of Aces himself, Erich Hartmann. Ya know, this fellow (who gets mentioned a lot here, I know).

Erich Hartmann when he was a Leutnant. He has a lot of medals for a Second Lieutenant, well he earned them. He went on to shoot down 352 aircraft.
Yes, that is the all-time record. 
(Source)

But Sarge, you ask, why the sudden need to talk about Messerschmitts? But first a joke. (Fair warning, it's a bit risqué!)

A World War II Spitfire pilot is speaking in a church and reminiscing about his war experiences.

"In 1942," he says, "the situation was really tough. The Germans had a very strong air force. I remember," he continues, "one day I was protecting the bombers and suddenly, out of the clouds, these fokkers appeared."

There are a few gasps from the parishioners, and several of the children began to giggle.

"I looked up, and realized that two of the fokkers were directly above me. I aimed at the first one and shot him down. By then, though, the other fokker was right on my tail."

At this point, several of the elderly ladies of the church were blushing with embarrassment, the girls were all giggling and the boys laughing loudly.

The pastor finally stands up and says, "I think I should point out that 'Fokker' was the name of a German-Dutch aircraft company, who made many of the planes used by the Germans during the First World War."

"Yes, that's true," says the old pilot, "but these fokkers were flying Messerschmitts." (Source)

Anyhoo...

One of our Loyal Readers sent me a couple of links regarding some old aircraft found in a "barn" (one source says a hangar) in Texas. (No, it wasn't Juvat's ranch. It was some other Texan. No doubt they would have been in better shape if had they been Juvat's!) These aircraft were used in the movie Battle of Britain (another Sarge favorite, I know, what a surprise). Great story, a Swiss company bought the lot and plans on restoring at least two to flying status. Nice! (The links sent to me by, well, I'll call him The Snowman, are here and here. Some nice video and pics! Enjoy!)

Speaking of nice videos! Here's another old HA-1112 modified to the Me-109 G4 standard. It's got the Jumo engine (bloody thing sounds like a tractor engine!) and there are two videos, one from in the cockpit of Rote Sieben (Red 7) and the other from the same air show but this time from the ground. Filmed at Biggin Hill in the UK.

An Me-109, a Hurricane, and two Spitfires...!!

Oh my!

(Yes, they're a little long but hey, WARBIRDS! Nuff said.)









38 comments:

  1. Nice post!
    Well, if the planes had been found in a barn on MY property, they probably would have been in better shape, but my wallet wouldn't. But....One can dream!

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    1. Yes, the wallet would take a big hit!

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    2. Hey Juvat- no comment regarding these planes only looking good in your gun sight? I guess these are too old to have been your enemy so they get a pass. Ha ha.

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    3. Ya got it all wrong Tuna. Juvat only hates tanks.

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  2. I always liked the 109 and the Hispano version that Spain used.
    The Hispano 1112 turned into a movie star in the Battle of Britain.

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    1. Which is where those birds in Texas came from.

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  3. Wow, it does sound like a tractor! I found this a while back and think you might appreciate it. An engine from an HE-111 made into a "Car." It has that sound also.

    ...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJn7LHE83cc...

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    1. Both aircraft were powered at various times by Daimler-Benz engines. For the Me-109 the primary engines were the Daimler-Benz DB 601 and DB 605. The He-111P used the Daimler-Benz DB 601A-1.

      Pre-war Me-109s (technically speaking Bf-109s I believe) used the Junkers Jumo 210 engine. Early versions of the He-111 used the Junkers Jumo 211 A series of engines.

      Of course, nothing sounds as smooth as the Merlin engine. Spitfires and Mustangs spoiled me as far as aircraft engine-sounds go.

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    2. My father flew in B-17s, B-24s, and LB-30s as a gunner from 1942 to 1945. He told me you could always tell when a B-24 was coming in, because the Pratt & Whitney engines were so smooth and quiet compared to the Wrights on the B-17. I think he preferred to fly in B-17s, though, possibly because the creature comforts were a bit more refined.

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    3. From what I understand the Forts were more rugged as well.

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    4. Yeah, B-17s were tough, but he never had to find out the hard way because he was never in combat. He enlisted on December 8th, 1941 along with hundreds of other kids in Leominster, MA, and was called up in the spring, just short of graduating from high school. After training all over the U.S. his unit ended up in Panama, flying anti-sub patrols and guarding the Canal against Japanese attack. His unit based in several South- and Central-American countries until the war ended.

      On one mission to the Galapagos his LB-30 had to make an emergency landing when a wing tank fill cap broke loose. Dad was in the waist position and he, the other waist gunner, and all around him were drenched in avgas. The engine exhaust stacks could have touched it off; at night you could see the flames shooting out of them. The pilot had trouble stopping, I believe because he was afraid the sparking brakes would ignite the gas. They overran the runway, hit a pile of rocks, and pitched nose-up. Dad was sure he was going to die, but everybody got out with little more than a scare and a petrol bath.

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    5. Small world. My paternal grandfather was a WWI veteran. He never got overseas though, he too was guarding the Panama Canal. (But not against the Japanese, they were on our side during WWI.)

      Anti-sub patrols back then (and now) were long and perilous. Military aviation can be hairy at times. (As we both know.)

      That's a scary story with the LB-30. Drenched in avgas? No thanks.

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  4. So, Sarge, you say "you're doing it wrong". You wear your watch on your RIGHT arm?

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    1. No, the watch is still ensconced upon my left wrist, but in looking at the photo I just figured that I was perhaps poorly positioned in relation to the target. My natural inclination being to mash the trigger anytime someone flies in front of me, regardless of lead angle, etc.

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    2. Yeah, it took me a long time to get out of the F-4 mindset of always pulling lead, also. In the F-15, with it's upward canted gun, you could afford to do a little lag pursuit, forcing the target to pull harder, and bleed energy, to keep you in sight. Then when you had him treed, you could pull into plane, put the pipper on the canopy and blast away.

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    3. Re: "when you had him treed" - I like that, a lot.

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  5. A) I heard that joke with the hero being a Swedish American P-51 pilot from Minnesota. The accent and pronunciation works better.

    B) Eric Brown disliked the cockpit of the 109 intensely, he found it very confining, and cramped. Brown thought that the 109 would be meat on the table for my favorite, the F6F. He also thought the F6F would deal quickly with a FW 190 Anton Acht , but if it was a FW-190 Dora, the Hellcat should find somewhere else to be, NOW.

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    1. That 109 with it's gear down that you standing by could really use a run in with a foxtail.

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    2. A) I've heard and seen that joke in multiple places. I like your version best. (Makes way more sense.)

      B) Watching the first video you can see just how cramped the cockpit is. Something one should always remember is that a good pilot in a mediocre machine will usually defeat a mediocre pilot in a good machine. The person in the cockpit is the deciding factor, 99.99% of the time. The machine can't think or fly itself.

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    3. A fluffy brush for removing dust, they look rather like foxes tails.

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    4. There were several planes the Brown said a meet up would depend on the pilots involved.

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    5. Ah, now I get it! Mostly it's because of the lighting in the museum and my old camera. So yes, fuzzy and dusty looking.

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    6. While Brown was certainly an accomplished pilot, I didn't see much combat on his resume. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough. I will say this, Hartmann flew the Me-109 throughout his career. The later models were pretty long in the tooth near the end of the war, yet Hartmann managed to down a number of American flown P-51s all the same.

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    7. I think Brown got a couple of Condors flying Martlets (Grumman Wildcat in RN service). Then his boat got sunk! Quite a story there. He went test after that where the mortality rate was somewhat higher than that of combat pilots. I think it's fair to say that Brown, like Hartmann, slipped the surly bonds on most days throughout the war and that both men were in mortal danger more often than not.

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    8. Brown was on the BBC's Desert Island Discs several times, the last time in 2015. You could see the hostess, a young woman in her 20's, was thinking, what a cute little Grampaguy! Brown's method of dealing with Condors was to come in from the front, at the same level as the Condor, as the gondola gun could not elevate enough to hit you, nor could the top turret depress enough. He would then pulp the cockpit crew with his six fifties. I wonder what the hostess
      would have thought of that?

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  6. Some of the HA's and ME 109s soldier on in the Israeli Air Force after WWII.

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  7. Is it Me109 or Bf109? The purists argue one way and i forget which :-)

    There was a wonderful article on the DB601 engine (and its subsequent varients0 that powered the 109 - designed by Daimler-Benz. That is all of these engine designers from Daimer who designed these engines that were so dominate in the GP (thanks to tons of Marks dumped on them by the Nazis) - well, these engineers were turned loose on aircraft engines now.

    In some ways it was superior to the mighty RR Merlin. For one, it - also a supercharged V12 - was designed to be inverted for better CG and servicing - look at any WW2 pic of an allied mechanic and on a Mustang or Spitfire the poor guy is on a ladder stopped over the engine. On the 109, you opened the cowling from the ground and there was most of the engine.

    Two, it had the revolutionary Bosch mechanical fuel injection that eliminated carburetors and reduced pilot workload - there was no need to manually lean or enrichen the mixture - the system did it for him.

    It was basically this system that continued in Mercedes cars through the 1960s.

    I'd love to write more but i have to watch your 16 minute video now ;-)

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    1. Early in the war you see Bf-109 (for the Bayerischeflugzeugwrke where the aircraft was built) later on it was officially designated the Me-109, for the designer Willy Messerschmitt. Most German military aircraft used the first two letters of the designer's name or the concern which built the aircraft. While it became officially "Me-109" bureaucrats and others still referred to it as "Bf-109." Some serial number plates were stamped with one designation, some with the other. The Nazis were no where near as organized as some people think. In my book either is correct.

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    2. Regarding the engines, the first prototypes used Rolls-Royce Kestrels because proper German-made engines weren't available. The last HA-1112 variant used Rolls-Royce Merlins (when built, anyway), so first and last of the 109 line were both powered by British motors. How weird is that?

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    3. I saw that in one of the sources I was using to hunt down engines for both the Me-109 and the He-111. That is pretty wild.

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  8. Separate topic. For anyone who remembers www.susankatzkeating.com, today, 28 April is Susan's birthday. Her blog page still accepts comments. I am encouraging interested parties to join in sending birthday greetings in the comments section of the last post, along with encouragement to return to blogging if you are so inclined.

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    1. Wow, thanks for the heads up Navig8r! SKK is a friend.

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  9. Another fun and informative post Sarge. Now I gotta carve out some time to watch the vids. Thank goodness I got rid of the evil idjit box...

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