German Fighter Planes of WW2 – Comparing the Fw 190 and Bf 109


Fw 190 and Bf 109

Bf 109Fw 190

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – 109 & 190, by steve

I read that the A-8 could do 417 mph. Maybe that was with boost. The D-9 did 426, 440 on boost. Unlike the G-6, the D-9 had a large boost tank that enabled it to stay on boost 25 min or so. The K-4 had more upgrades than was mentioned in article. Most notably was the completely redesigned fuselage which made it much lighter than G-10. Also larger oil cooler, better prop, flechet? aileron tabs which gave improved rolling ability and redesigned tail, ( G-10 got some of these too ). Kurt Buehligen said it flew real well. Apparently there were some other aerodynamic improvements on the K, but none survive, so are a mystery.

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – 109 development, by steve

The Me 109 (K-4) did have the fuselage redesigned & lightened which gave it a climb rate of 4850 ft per min, much better than Mustangs 33.000 ft per min. The K-4 debuted Oct 44. It could also outturn Mustangs & P-47’s. It was supposed to be replaced with the ME 209, which was even more maneuverable & a tad faster than K-4, but was cancelled in favor of Long nose D-9 because it was 30 mph faster at altitude. Also the jet was top priority. Professor Messerschmitt was furious. The K-4 109 was however still competitive till the last day of the war. It was faster than Mustang below 15.000 ft.

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – Fw 190 and Bf 109, by Lucky

The D9 has a long nose because it was equipped with an inline engine rather than a radial. The 109K4 had a completely redesigned airframe and was designed for speed at the expense of maneuverability. Like most late war German fighters it’s main role was to attack bombers, not fighters.

Blanket comparisons of different aircraft are largely pointless. US fighters had to fly a long ways to get into combat, thus they carried lots of fuel. German and British planes on the other hand tended to be short range but better climbers. US had the advantage in numbers so maneuverability was sacrificed for robustness and speed. The only general rule is that because allied bombers flew ever higher (with the exception of B29’s which proved useless at high altitude) axis planes had to operate well at very high altitudes in order to be able to dive on enemy bomber formations, likewise US escorts had to fly well up high to intercept the attackers. Few planes from either side excelled at all altitudes.

As for the long debates regarding the maneuverability of the 109 vs. the Spitfire, I tend to think the 109 was the better simply because the last version of the Spitfire explicitly built to dogfight it had clipped wings in order to enhance it’s turn radius (the Spit Vb LF).

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – 109 K, by steve

The K-4 was redesigned & lightened to increase speed & climb, but “not” to sacrifice maneuverability. Kurt Buligen said it flew better than G series. & lightening an aircraft will not make it less maneuverable. Buligen flew all 109’s from E to K & flew 800 missions & knocked down 112 allied aircraft without being shot down himself. So I think he should know what he’s talking bout. Yes Willow, I too am interested in 209. I suppose most documents were lost in war, so a bit frustrating.

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – 209, by steve

Out of an old book. Sorry I don’t remember the title. It had a nice photo of it. The 309 came before the 209 & was not a success. It could not outturn the 109. I think a 209 was attempted in 42, but also not a success. The 209 that was produced in 44 is sometimes referred to as the 209 II, ( 2 ). Even the K is hard to get data on as none were captured & brought to England or US. It is sometimes referred to as the lightweight fighter, but as I understand it, it weighed bout same as G-10. Oddly the G-14 came out ahead of G-10, & even K-4 came out just barely ahead of G-10. The K-6 had 30 mil cannon mid wing & was not very maneuverable. The K-14 that a few of came out in 45 had excellent high altitude performance, but was not as fast as K-4 at medium & low altitude. I like K-4 better than K-6 & K-14 for these reasons. I believe that most dogfights took place at med & low altitudes. Not 100% sure on that, but pretty sure.

Regarding your comment on cannon shells running out fast, I have had the same thought. I do know the Mustang had enough bullets for 30 seconds continuous fire. Doesn’t sound like too much, but really it is if one is economical with one’s fire. The Spit & D-9 had both Machine guns & cannon. I think this arrangement is good.

The George had 4 20 mil cannon. One of Sakai’s friends flew a George against Hellcats & shot down 4. He landed & said, I would have got more, but I ran out of shells.

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – the Me/Bf 209, by herb

Here’s what i have on the 209. Messerschmitt Bf 209 V1 was built as a speed record plane in the mid 30’s. V2 and V3 were variations on the speed plane. Then Bf 209 V4 was an attempt to make the speed plane into a warbird. apparently there were some problems with the design and it was mostly scrapped. Me 209 V5 was created using the same fuselage design as the 209 V1 but with everything else basically new. It looks like a long 109 with a larger vertical stabilizer, cockpit set back further in the fuselage, and radial engine. it didn’t actually have a radial engine, that was just the radiator, mounted around the engine instead of the wings. A company called Huma makes a 1/72 scale model of the plane and I’ve seen a few old photos of it as well, but i think they are all the same photo, or at least the same plane. it was tests in ’43 but scrapped by ’44. the 209 V5 was supposed to compete with the 190, but the 190 was already in production, and the Me 262 took priority.

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – by Twitch

Begun in 1941 it sat on a tricycle gear and was quite conventional in all other respects. It proceed to a V4 prototype as a Bf 109 successor. It was dropped since the Fw 190D and TA 152 were better and already in tooled up for. It used a DB 603A-1 of 1,750 HP good for 496MPH at 26,200 ft. and a ceiling of 39,300 ft. Range was 870 miles at 393 MPH at 26,300 ft. The DB 603H and Junker Jumo 213 were to be the production engines.

Light and heavy versions were –
Light- 1- 30mm MK 103 or MK 108 and 2- 13mm MG 131 weighing 7,600lbs.
Heavy- 1- 30mm MK 103 or MK 108, 2- 20mm MG 151s, and 4- 13mm MG 131 weighing 9,049 lbs.
Span was 36 feet.

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – by B-24WillowRun

The Me 109 K-4 was I think one of my more likeable types that and the Es. The Ks were ready adversaries to the Spits and p-51s that were out in the world. But they were not in the numbers or in the quality of pilots to make A big impact. They were well received in the East, and pilots have some good things to say of them.

But the jets were here and so the golden age of the propeller was also its last great moment, things fall very fast and hard.

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – by davep

About the Me109. The k is an interesting subject but it was really a salvage operation. The damage was done with the 109g or Gustav, which was a real dog. Allied pilots who test flew captured one’s condemned it in no uncertain terms. An RAF report said it had no advantages and many disadvantages compared to the current Spitfire model. An American test pilot said the only good thing about it was the engine, which prof Messerschmitt was not responsible for. The mystery was why German aces flew it when they could have had fw190’s.
As the Gustav was the most produced 109 and the main German fighter for the 2 decisive years of the air war, it could be said to be Germany’s war losing weapon. Had it been as good(relatively speaking) as the other 109 models, instead of being cannon fodder for the allied fighters the air war, and the war overall may have been radically different. Something to think about?

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – by davep

The Luftwaffe pilots who loved the 109g were most likely those on the Russian front, where it’s superior high altitude performance enabled it’s pilots to adopt dive and slash tactics to great effect.
It is hard to believe that of its pilots in the west because they nearly all ended up with dead. Elsewhere on this website one p47 ace’s squadron claimed an 8:1 kill ratio against them. 20,000 were built but by VE day only a few hundred remained. The reason the Luftwaffe was so short of trained pilots in late 1944 was they had all been slaughtered flying 109g’s.

The point is that had the Gustav been as good as the allied fighters the daylight bombing offensive would have been severely compromised and D-Day might have gone the same way as Operation Sealion.

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – by davep

When I said the pilot supply was poor that was when the k-4 went in to service. When the Gustav went in to service the pilot supply was ok. The pilot shortage was the result of the attrition of flying a substandard plane for 2 years.
Why the carried on making them is a mystery. All the luftwaffe’s leading fighter squadrons went over to fw190’s but there were not enough of them to go round. The fw190 was continually modified and improved by Kurt Tank and his team, but there seemed to be no major modifications to the 109g until the introduction of the k series in late 1944, with the war all but over.
In another website there was a reprint of an article by Col Carson, a P51 ace who became an aero engineer. In a review of the 109 he pointed out that many of the Gustav’s worse defects could have been solved by a 30 day brainstorming session in the Messerschmitt factory’s design shop. He listed the possible improvements himself. Why nothing was done you would have to ask Willy Messerschmitt himself.
The thing is that had the 109g been competitive with the contemporary allied fighters, the war would have taken a different course. No daylight bombing offensive, no D-Day.

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – by davep

I don’t have any info on how many of which fighters served where. The 190 was suited to the Russian front being robust and reliable, and easier to fly of makeshift airfields. In the leading air aces preferred the 109 for its better high altitude performance than the Russian planes.
In fw190 was a far better plane but in the west it was undermined by it’s poor high altitude performance v the p51 and spitfire.
Given the relative numbers produced I think the main burden on both fronts fell to the 109. One thing forgotten is that not only were fewer fw190’s produced but a third of all the fw190’s produced were for jabo versions, which reduced fighter availability even more. Why the Germans could’nt have used other factories (like Junkers) to produce the jabo’s is a mystery.

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – by davep

That is true, the 190 was good in the bomber role. Though using your best fighter as a bomber seems strange, especially considering how hard pressed the Luftwaffe was by the allies. It seems a bit like using a Rolls Royce to pull a plough. Perhaps this was caused by the strange inability of the Luftwaffe to come up with a successor to the Stuka, which was by that time was completely obsolete. The mystery remains as to why production of the 190 jabo’s was not switched to other producers, such as Junkers or Heinkel. Junkers especially must have had superior capacity when the Stuka was no longer needed. German aircraft production did’nt seem well organized.

Fw 190 and Bf 109 – by davep

Strange what you say about splitting production. The allies did it quite a lot. I can’t remember the details but I understand that both the p47 thunderbolt and the Hellcat were produced at other plants when Republic and Grumman could’nt keep up with demand. In Britain a lot of Hawker planes were produced on the Gloster production lines. Without getting in to deep waters perhaps it was a flaw of the Nazi system. I recently found out that when production of the Dornier do335 (pfeil) was interrupted by allied bombing the authorities tried to get Heinkel to take up the slack. Despite the project being given top priority by Hitler himself Heinkel managed to successfully obstruct it. The Nazi state seemed neither the flexibility of the western economies or the tight central direction of the Soviet one. A main reason they lost the war?