Corgi AA38505 German Messerschmitt Bf 110C-1 Fighter - F.W Hermann Brinkmann and Bordfunker Uffz. Erwin Gruschow, U8+HL, Zerstorergeschwader 26 'Horst Wessel', September 1940 (1:72 Scale)
"Guns before butter. Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat."
- Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, Head of the German Luftwaffe
The Messerschmitt Bf 110 was an aircraft of very mixed fortunes. It has often been criticized for its failure during the Battle of Britain, while its successes in other fields have been largely ignored. Despite not living up to the Luftwaffe's expectations it did manage to serve Germany throughout the Second World War in the long-range escort fighter, fighter-bomber, reconnaissance, ground attack and night fighter roles.
The long-range multi-seat escort fighter is possibly the most difficult of combat aircraft to design. Certainly no entirely successful machine in this category emerged from the Second World War, and when Professor Willy Messerschmitt began design studies for such a warplane towards the end of 1934 at the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke at Augsburg his problems would have seemed insurmountable had he possessed a full knowledge of interceptor fighter development trends abroad. Such a machine as was required by Marshal Goering to equip the elite "zerstorer" formations that he envisaged had to be capable of penetrating deep into enemy territory, possessing sufficient range to accompany bomber formations. The fuel tankage necessary presented a serious weight penalty and called for the use of two engines if the "zerstorer" was to achieve a performance approaching that of the lighter interceptor fighter by which it would be opposed. Yet it had to be manaoeuvrable if it was to successfully fend off the enemy's single-seaters.
The Bf 110Es were capable of carrying a respectable bomb load of 4,410 lb (2,000 kg) as fighter-bombers, while straight fighter and reconnaissance versions were also built. These, and later versions, were operated with a fair degree of success in many war zones. The Bf 110F was basically similar to the E, but two new variants were produced - the 110F-2 carrying rocket projectiles and the F-4 with two 30 mm cannon and an extra crew member for night fighting. The last version, the Bf 110G, was intended for use originally as a fighter-bomber but, in view of the success of the F-4 and the increasingly heavy attacks on Germany by Allied bombers, was employed mostly as a night fighter.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a German Messerschmitt Bf 110C-1 fighter that was attached to the 'Horst Wessel' squadron.
Wingspan: 10 inches
Length: 8 inches
Release Date: June 2010
Historical Account: "Out of the Fight" - On September 11th, 1940, Feldwebel Hermann Brinkmann and his Bordfunker Uffz. Erwin Grschow of 2 Staffel, ZG26 were assigned as bomber escort for an attack on London. On attempting to start their Bf110 C-3 neither engine would fire and the crew quickly ran to a spare, a very early and somewhat war weary C-1, U8+HL, of 3 Staffel, ZG26.
The mission proceeded and after a ferocious battle with RAF squadrons over the south east of England the Bf110s retreated to the south to await the return of the bombers. During this manoevre one of Brinkmanns engines seized up and he had to break formation. Despite diving low and heading for France he was spotted and attacked by RAF fighters.
With hits to his other engine Brinkmann had no choice but to put down his stricken aircraft. U8+HL belly landed at Cobham Farm, Charing. Both crew members survived and were taken as POWs. By the end of the action the Luftwaffe had lost 25 aircraft (5 Bf110Cs from ZG26) with 60 aircrew killed or captured, whilst the RAF lost 29 fighters with 17 pilots killed.