Hobby Master HA1807 German Messerschmitt Bf 110G-2 Fighter - Q1+VB, 12/ Schlachtgeschwader 77, Russia, 1943 (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 manaeuverable 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 110G-2 fighter that was attached to 12/ Schlachtgeschwader 77, then deployed to Russia during 1943.
Release Date: March 2010
Historical Account: "Naming Rights" - Schlachtgeschwader 1 was formed on January 13th, 1942, at Werl, near Dortmund, Germany, from the II.(Schl)/LG 2, initially with two Gruppen with 4 Staffeln each. The Geschwader was disbanded on October 18th, 1943. The I. Gruppe became II./Schlachtgeschwader 77 and the II. Gruppe II. /Schlachtgeschwader 2. Schlachtgeschwader 1 was reformed again the same day on October 18th, 1943, from Sturzkampfgeschwader 1.
I./ SchlG 1 were outfitted with Bf 109E-7s, while 5. and 6. Staffeln were equipped with Hs 129B-1s and 7. Staffel with Hs 123As, the latter unit taking over the aircraft of 8. Staffel in April. After training was completed in April 1942 the Geschwader was ordered to the Crimea for duty with IV. Fliegerkorps, Luftflotte 4.
After their arrival, operations started with ground attack missions in the Eastern Crimea in May, and then over the Izyum Salient southeast of Kharkov to the end of the month. Outfitted with Bf 109E-7s, I./SchlG 1 was based at Itshki-Grammatikovo, the Gruppe was assigned to VIII. Fliegerkorps for support of 11th Army's in the Kerch Peninsula. Attacks were carried out against Soviet positions along the front, on troop and supply columns immediately behind the front. Such was the effect that that German infantry assault units were able to break through the forward defenses on May 8th, the first day of the attack, and took the town of Kerch on May 15th. Losses to the Gruppe were two Bf 109E-7s on May 11th, both shot down by AA fire. 3 Hs 129B-1s were shot down by AA fire on May 23rd.