Corgi AA28007 German Messerschmitt Bf 109E-7/B "Emil" Fighter - "Blue H" Triangle, II./Schlachtgeschwader 1 "Oesau", Luftwaffe Ground Support Jabo, Stalingrad, Russia, Winter 1942-43 (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
Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Of the eight distinct sub-types within the huge Bf 109 family, the most populous was the G-model, of which over 30,000 were built between 1941-45. Despite its production run, only a handful of genuine German Bf 109s have survived into the 1990s, and with the serious damaging of the RAFs G-2 at Duxford in October 1997, only the German-based MBB G-6 and Hans Ditte's G-10 (both composites) are currently airworthy.
In late 1938, the Bf 109E entered production. To improve on the performance afforded by the 441-515 kW (600-700 PS) Jumo 210, the larger, longer Daimler-Benz DB 601A engine was used, yielding an extra 223 kW (300 PS) at the cost of an additional 181 kg (400 lb). A much bigger cooling area was needed to disperse the extra heat generated by the DB 601, and this led to the first major redesign of the basic airframe. Enlarging the existing nose-mounted radiator sufficiently to cool the engine would have created extra weight and drag, negating some of the performance gains afforded by the increased power, so it was decided to move the main radiators to the under surfaces of the wings immediately outboard of the junction of the wing root and wing panel, just forward of the trailing edges' inner ends, leaving the oil cooler under the nose in a small, streamlined duct. The new radiator position also had the effect of counterbalancing the extra weight and length of the DB 601, which drove a heavier three-bladed Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke (VDM)-made propeller.
To incorporate the new radiators, the wings were almost completely redesigned and reinforced, with several inboard ribs behind the spar being cut down to make room for the radiator ducting. Because the radiators were mounted near the trailing edge of the wing, coinciding with the increased speed of the airflow accelerating around the wing camber, cooling was more effective than that of the Jumo-engined 109s, albeit at the cost of extra ducting and piping, which was vulnerable to damage. The lowered undercarriage could throw up mud and debris on wet airfields, potentially clogging the radiators. To test the new 1,100 PS (1,085 hp, 809 kW) DB 601A engine, two more prototypes (V14 and V15) were built, each differing in their armament. While the V14 was armed with two 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17s above the engine and one 20 mm MG FF in each wing, the V15 was just fitted with the two MG 17s mounted above the engine. After test fights, the V14 was considered more promising and a pre-production batch of 10 E-0 was ordered. Batches of both E-1 and E-3 variants were shipped to Spain for evaluation, and first saw combat during the final phases of the Spanish Civil War.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a German Messerschmitt Bf 109E-7/B "Emil" fighter that was attached to II./Schlachtgeschwader 1, a Luftwaffe Ground Support Jabo unit, then deployed to Stalingrad, Russia, during the winter of 1942/43.
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Release Date: April 2022
Historical Account: "A Desperate Struggle" - As one of the most famous fighting airplanes in the history of warfare, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 series is synonymous with Luftwaffe operations during the Second World War and indeed was both constantly upgraded and in continuous production for the entirety of the conflict. In fact, the ground-breaking Bf 109 was already in service at a time when most of the world's major air forces still had biplane designs as their front line fighters and incredibly, later variants of the aircraft were still in service at the advent of the jet age. The 'E or Emil' variant of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the second most numerous version of the fighter to be produced and the one which served extensively throughout the Battle of Britain and during the massive aerial battles of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union.
This conflict would extend far beyond the six months of Barbarossa itself and descend into a bloody war over vast areas of territory and become a significant turning point in the outcome of the Second World War. During the savage fighting around Stalingrad in late 1942, early 1943, some of these older variants of Bf 109 were adapted to fly close air support missions, acting like high speed dive bombers in support of ground troops who were encountering particularly stubborn areas of Soviet resistance. These ground attack Messerschmitts proved incredibly effective, even though the inexorable tide of incessant Soviet offensives had already dictated the outcome of this struggle.