Messerschmitt Bf 109: B, C, D, E (Aircam Aviation 39)
By Richard Ward
Publisher: Osprey 1973 52 Pages
PDF 12 MB
It is often remarked that the Hawker Hurricane was the last of a generation and the Supermarine Spitfire was the first of a new one. Whereas the former persisted in a structure design that had originated among the biplanes of a previous era, the latter was to introduce stressed-skin monocoque into British in-service fighter design. That the Hurricane flew six months before the Spitfire and was largely obsolescent several years before the "all-metal" design is further evidence that the Hawker lighter was realistically of an earlier generation. As such, despite a great deal of adaptation in later life, it could never match the design development potential of the Spitfire. This preamble is necessary to illustrate in correct perspective the true significance of Professor Willy Messerschmitt's superb Bf 109 design, for this aircraft flew two months before the Hurricane, was a match for the Spitfire throughout its life, and by the time the Second World War ended could still be counted among the best piston-engined fighters of the day. When one further considers the relative absence of suitable power-plant development during the Messerschmitt's early design period, and the extent of privation suffered by Germany towards the end of the war, that such an aircraft could even contend top honours among the best fighters in the world must bear ample testimony to its extraordinary quality.