Messerschmitt BF-109: The Backbone of The Luftwaffe

The Bf-109 was one of the most heavily used fighters of WWII. The Luftwaffe (German Air force) relied heavily on this aircraft. The Messerschmitt Bf-109 was designed by Wilhelm Emil Messerschmitt & Robert Lusser. It was manufactured by Bayerische Flagzeugwerke (BFW) & Messerschmitt AG. It was designed to be a full-fledged fighter, and it did that job with excellence.

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Messerschmitt Bf-109

The Bf-109 toke its first flight on the 29th of May, 1935. It was introduced into the Luftwaffe in February of 1937. The Messerschmitt Bf-109 was one of the most advanced fighters of its era. It introduced/incorporated many new innovations, such as a all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, and a retractable landing gear. The Messerschmitt Bf-109 was powered by a liquid-cooled, inverted V-12 aero-engine.

The Bf-109 was originally designed to function as a interceptor (fighter), but was used in other functions later on in the war. A total of 33,984 Bf-109s were made, making it the most produced fighter aircraft in history. The top three scoring German fighter aces of WWII all used the Bf-109, and racked up a total of 928 victories (kills).

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Even though the Bf-109 was an excellent aircraft it quickly became obsolete for full on dog fighting. Beginning from the end of 1941, the Bf-109 began to be supplemented by the Focke-Wulf Fw-190. The Fw-190 was a superior aircraft in many aspects. The Bf-109 was constantly receiving upgrades, allowing it to stay in combat until the end of the war. The Bf-109 retired from the Luftwaffe on the 9th of May, 1945, with the end of the war.

If you would like more information on the Bf-109 click here.

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

The Boeing B-29 Superfortess is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber. It was designed and built by Boeing, and flown primarily by the US Army Air force during WW2 & the Korean War. It was the largest operational aircraft during WW2. It was also the single most expensive weapons program developed and undertaken by the US Government in WW2. It exceeded the Manhattan Project in price by $1-1.7 billion.

 “It exceeded the Manhattan Project in price by $1-1.7 billion.”

The B-29 was introduced into combat in the 8th of May, 1944. Boeing produced a total of    3,970 units. Each unit would cost US$639,188. The B-29 sported many new innovations, such as a pressurized cabin, dual-wheeled tricycle landing gear, and a computer-controlled fire-control system. The B-29 played a significant role as a strategic bomber during the war.

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The B-29 was armed with four remotely controlled turrets armed with two .50 Browning M2 machine guns each. It originally the tail was armed with two .50 Browning M2 machine guns and a single M2 20 mm cannon. Later the M2 20 mm cannon was removed and a third .50 Browning M2 machine gun added.

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The B-29 was considered a very successful aircraft and one of the deadliest of WW2. It retired on June 21, 1960. There are surviving aircraft, that are mostly privately owned and used for museums and recreational flying. It total the B-29 Superfortress helped advance aviation, with its many groundbreaking innovations.

Fokker Dr.I: The Red Menace

You may not realize it, but this aircraft is one that I can assure you, that you have seen before. The Fokker Dr.I is a WW1 aircraft, It was developed by the Fokker-Flugzeugwerke company, for use by the German Empire (Prussia). This aircraft was catapulted to fame, by a man who is known as the most renowned and famous, and I dare say best fighter pilot to ever live. Manfred Von Richthofen, you may know him better by his nick name, “The Red Baron”.

“Manfred Von Richthofen, you may know him better by his nick name, “The Red Baron”.”

The Dr.I was that famous aircraft we all saw in many cartoons, or at some point, that was painted red. That red aircraft was Richthofen’s all red Dr.I. The Dr.I was the plane where Richthofen scored his last 19 kills, before he was killed.

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Manfred von Richtofen, wearing the “Pour le Merite” or the “Blue Max”, Prussia’s highest military award. 1917

The Fokker Dr.I, had enough space for a crew of one. It’s wingspan was 7.19 m, and it was a triplane. It was powered by a Oberursel Ur.II 9-cylinder rotary engine. This engine produced 110 horsepower. It had a max speed of 115 mph at sea level, and an armament consisting of two 7.92 mm “Spandau” IMG 08 machine guns. It held the role of full out fighter. In total 320 were built, but it was introduced towards the end of the war. The Dr.I had great maneuverability, but was soon considered too slow to be kept in action.

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Richthofen’s Fokker Dr.I

The Dr.I was implemented to late in the war to see extensive combat. But it did participate in many major and important aerial battles. The Dr.I is a plane that left its mark on history  and affected aviation as a whole. The men who piloted them were among the best the German Empire had to offer. But not even that was enough to let Germany win “The War To End All Wars”.

 

Mitsubishi A6M Zero:The Predator of the Skies

So we all have something were scared of right, its just human nature to have fear. Fear can be a good thing because it keeps us on the alert. Back in the early stages of WWII The Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” was what kept the allies on the alert. The Zero was a long-range fighter that was deployed by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service (IJNAS) from 1940-1945 in the Pacific Theater. It was designated as the Mitsubishi Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter (零式艦上戦闘機 rei-shiki-kanjō-sentōki) or the Mitsubishi A6M Rei-sen. The pilots of the A6M would commonly refer to it as the “Reisen” (Zero Fighter). 

When it was originally introduced early in the war, it was considered to be the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world. It combined excellent maneuverability and a very long range. Early in the war the Zero quickly built a legendary reputation, as a dogfighter. Its kill ratio was a jaw dropping 12:1. So for every 12 Allied planes the Zero pilots killed, one Zero was killed. The men who piloted the Zeros in the early part of the war in the Pacific were the best the IJNAS had to offer. They were the most lethal aces the IJNAS had.

The Japanese really pushed production on the Zero. They built a total of 10,939 aircraft. The Zero used a Nakajima Sakae Radial Engine. The Nakajima Sakae was a two-row, 14-cylinder, air-cooled  engine. This gave the Zero a top speed of 332 Mph. Its armament consisted of two 20 mm cannons, two 7.7 mm machine guns, and two 30 kg and 60 kg bombs.

Even though the Zero was such an incredible machine, it soon became outdated. The allies quickly pushed production on new aircraft capable of matching or even out doing the Zeros performance. The Grumman F6F Hellcat, became known as the “Zero Killer” when it was deployed. The Zeros major problem was that it lacked any sort of armor or protection. A Zero was easy prey for the Hellcat. Even though it had such a good start the Zero became outdated and the IJNAS stopped making newer aircraft to replace it. By the last year of the war the Zero had become so obsolete, that the IJNAS in its desperation began to use it in Kamikaze strikes (suicide strikes). But either way the Zero has left its mark on history and on the Pacific Theater.