Corgi AA38508 German Messerschmitt Bf 110 E Destroyer - Stab II./Nachtjagdgeschwader 1, Deelen, Holland, Spring 1942 (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 110 E night fighter that was attached to Stab II./Nachtjagdgeschwader 1, then deployed to Deelen, Holland, during the spring of 1942.
Release Date: June 2019
Historical Account: "Matratze" - The Battle of Britain had proved to be a chastening experience for the Messerschmitt Bf110 heavy fighter units of the Luftwaffe, but despite their disappointing performance against the fighters of the RAF, Messerschmitt's fighting twin would go on to perform effectively in other theatres. Seeing extensive service on the Eastern Front, North Africa and the Mediterranean, the extra range and firepower possessed by the Bf 110 helped it to live up to its pre-war reputation, especially when not facing effective fighter opposition. It would however, be night operations against RAF Bomber Command which proved to be the aircraft's most suited operating environment, especially when equipped with the latest air interception radar equipment available to the Luftwaffe.
With many of the world's most successful night fighter aces perfecting their skills whilst flying the Bf 110, this would become an important aircraft in the nocturnal struggle against the hundreds of RAF bombers crossing the coast of Northern Europe each night. This sinister looking all-black Nachtjagdgeschwader 1 Messerschmitt Bf110E is equipped with the early FuG 202 Lichtenstein B/C air interception radar, which was introduced during 1942 and featured the complex "Matratze" aerial antenna array on the nose of the aircraft. The radar operator in the rear cockpit would use a pair of oscilloscopes to help him direct his pilot to a possible interception.