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Secrets of the Me109

T
he P-51 Mustang and the Spitfire are often thought of as the mightiest fighters of WWII. They were not. The Me109 was and here are some of its secrets! The SECRET of the Messerschmitt Me109G!

Question: During WWII, the average kill ratio in combat was 1 to 7 for the Me109.  For every German shot down, 7 Allied fighters were shot down.  Some German aces such as Hans Joachim Marseille shot down 17 English Spitfires in one day (8 were in 10 minutes) in his Bf109. What was the reason for these statistics?   Answer: Below is Skip Holm in Harold Kindsvaterís Me109.  Harold often flies a P-51 Mustang but he also flies his Me109.  The video is an interview with Harold in which he answers the big question.

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the secrets of the Me109 is its wing.  A unique design like no other.  The Me109 used flaps and leading edge slats with a NACA 2R1 14.2 airfoil at the root so that a max lift coefficient of 2.0 could be achieved.  The P-51 and the Spitfire also used a simple flap but no slats for which the max lift coefficient is 1.6.  The Me109 also used a forgiving airfoil.  The P-51 used a NACA/NAA 45-100 laminar flow airfoil which had not been well tested and could not achieve laminar flow because of the riveted skin.  With its sharp LE, it had a sharp stall.  As such, the Me109 could use a smaller wing.  The Me109 had a long tail moment arm and the rudder was 50%C.  As such it could be yawed from right to left by 45 degrees to spray bullets.  The P-51 could not be yawed and had to be flown at the target for its bullets to hit the target.  The P-51 also had a bad stall-spin characteristic from which it would often not recover.  It would loose 10,000 ft of altitude in a power-on stall.  See POH warning.

With the same power in the Me109 and an empty weight of 1,700 lbs. less, the climb rate of the Me109 was substantially higher than that of the P-51.  Its take off distance was half.  The heavy gun on the Me109 shot through the engine and other guns were mounted inboard on the wing and shot through the prop.  The P-51 and the Spitfire guns were mounted on the wing outboard of the prop tips.  As such the roll inertia of the Me109 was lower allowing it to roll faster.  Because of the fantastic handling characteristics of the Me109, the P-51 was not match for the Me109.  
The performance of the Me109 and the Spitfire is almost the same. However, the Spitfire had an average 25%C plain aileron which, despite differential control, gave it a very heavy stick force in roll compared to the light stick force of the Me109.  With a 50% span and narrow chord, Frise, aileron, the Me109 stick forces were very low in roll and it could roll quicker and was more evasive than the Spitfire which was slow in roll.  The control harmony of the Me109 could not be matched by any Allied aircraft in WWII.  Furthermore, the Merlin used in the Spitfire was naturally carbureted and could not operate in a negative g maneuver.  This anomaly was not corrected until after the Battle of Britain in 1940.  The Me109ís Daimler Benz engine was fuel injected from its first inception in 1936.  As such the Me109 could easily do a pull over (negative g maneuver) and escape an attacking Spitfire.