Spitfire Vs. Me109

The World’s most successful fighter of WW2 the German Messerschmitt Me109 in comparison to the allies Spitfire. After the allies won WW2, history is now written with deceit and guile, the truth is that the Messerschmitt Me109 could eat the legendry Spitfire for breakfast. 

In comparisons, the honest brokers mention the 1940 versions HP rightly as slightly below 1100 HP at Sea level for both fighters, and almost the same weight in the 1940 battle of Britain versions. So far so good, what is craftily and with guile left out are the torque figures (twisting moment) being twice as much for the Me109 diesel engine, giving that a distinct advantage in a high G deceleration dogfight turn and abrupt climb, thus closing rapidly on a Spitfire in a turn. 

Why? Because the Me109 had an inverted V-12 Daimler Benz diesel engine installed. Compare any Petrol and diesel automobile engine with the same HP and that can be observed that the diesel engine has about 50 to 60% more torque. Couple that to the fact that the Daimler Benz DB605, used since 1942 was about 1.3 times bigger in engine displacement being 35700cc as compared to 27000cc for the Rolls Royce Merlin  weighing 1640 lbs/744Kgs  almost the same as the DB605. That would translate for the DB605 having about twice as much as total torque available than a 1942 RR Merlin engine. That is pertinent to mention here that the earlier DB 601 engine had slightly less cc.

Oh, would you lie to me! …song by Super tramp…There were totally 4 main factors involved in why a ME109 was better in a dogfight, especially in a tight turn. That of twice the torque, leading edge slats and a lighter weight as well as machine guns and cannon firing along the pilots line of vision aiming for the thicker aircraft fuselage rather than the thin wings,

Before I carry on I’d like to say that the Supermarine Spitfire is the most beautiful looking propeller aircraft in the World, as far as I am concerned as well as in the opinion of many. The aircraft seems to have divine lines, as if not made by man but as if made in the Heavens. The divine ratio being 1.6180. 

The aircraft was the brainchild of RJ Mitchell, based on the 1933 racer Schneider trophy winner Supermarine S6B seaplane design. Mitchell gave the design of the Spitfire his maximum, as he suffered from cancer in his last years until his sad demise in 1937. When the war ministry accepted his fighter plane design, with the designation, K5054, his reaction to his aircraft being named as “Spitfire”, was an angry one …. That’s just the bloody stupid sort of name I would expect from the war ministry!

Major reasons why the Messerschmitt Me 109 was the far superior fighter.

Automatic leading edge drop down slats

The ME 109 had automatic drop down leading edge slats. An aircraft wing normally stalls at an angle of 14 degrees, with slats the stalling angle goes as high as 26 degrees, translating to much tighter turns possible. The stalling angle is in relation to the relative airflow and not in relation to the ground. One could be inverted and not yet near the stalling angle. There are hardly any articles mentioning that the ME 109 has automatic drop down leading edge slats. 

As for me I learned that quite by accident during a February 2013 visit to the RAF Hendon museum at London. The Me109 was looking so beautiful in real life 3Dimensions, for in the pictures that does not look as beautiful. One was prohibited to touch the exhibits, but the Me109 was looking so striking that I decided to be a bad boy and touch that with affection. Voila! The automatic leading edge slats dropped down! Inadvertently I had unsolved one of the greatest mysteries of WW2, that of the Me109 vs. Spitfire and Me109 vs. P51D Mustang!

Twice the Torque available being a diesel engine as well as being 1.32 times bigger in cc

The engine being an inverted V12 diesel, had twice the torque available than the petrol Rolls Royce Merlin III engine of 1940. A diesel engine normally has 50 to 60% more torque than a petrol engine of the same size. Couple that with the fact that the Daimler Benz DB 605 of 35700cc  engine was 1.32 times bigger than the Rolls Royce Merlin petrol engine of 27,000cc. Later versions of the Merlin engine were more powerful due to higher supercharger pressures but all Merlin engines maintained only 27,000cc. HP was significantly increased on RR Merlin engines mainly due to the higher supercharge boost pressures available later and the high anti knock 100/150 Octane fuel later used. That is pertinent mentioning here that the earlier DB601 engine was of slightly less cc.

 The weight of both RR Merlin and DB605 engines was almost the same, close to 1640 lbs. So the total torque available of the DB engine was twice as much as the RR engine. While Horse Power determines the top speed possible, torque would affect things like a sudden acceleration as well as resisting deceleration like in a tight high G turn thus bleeding off less airspeed and also things like an abrupt climb. 

In a tight high G dogfight turn, the Spitfire would lose airspeed rapidly while due to twice the torque available, the Me109 would not lose so much airspeed, closing in rapidly on the Spitfire.

….. I don’t believe they knewwwww….that I was just a schoolboy!!! (Jethrotull)

Machine gun and cannon fire along the central pilot’s line of vision aiming for the thicker aircraft fuselage rather than the thinner wings.

For quite some time I have been mentioning an inverted V12 DB engine, so why an inverted V12 engine? 

That is because such a configuration gives space to mount two machine guns 7.92/13mm atop the engine cowling firing through the propeller blades along the pilot’s line of vision. Another 20/30mm Cannon was mounted in the central propeller spinner.

This would mean that in a Me109 the bullets/shells would target the larger fuselage and tail of the adversary aircraft, along the pilot’s line of vision.

In comparison, the machine guns/cannons mounted on the aircraft wings of the Spitfire were about 20 feet apart, such would target the thinner wings of the adversary aircraft not along the pilot’s line of vision and the thin wings of two different aircraft seldom being in alignment in a dogfight.

Came upon mother goose, so I turned her lose, she was a screaminggg! (Jethrotull)

End of the 3 main points of why a Me109 was better than a Spitfire, especially in a tight dogfight turn. Now some more points of interest.

Me109 vs. Spitfire in the famous battle of Britain, July to October 1940

Going back in reverse time, during the battle of Britain of from July to October 1940, the early model Messerschmitt Me109E often had dogfights with the early marks of the Spitfire Mk II and Hawker Hurricane fighters. All these 3 aircraft were under 1100HP. During the battle of Britain the problem faced with the Me109, offering fighter escort to the mainly Heinekel III bombers was the limited range of the Me109 as that lacked external drop tanks.  

In the case of a full throttle dogfight, in a span of time a red warning light used to light up in the cockpit of a Me109 E, indicating that there is only 20 minutes of fuel left and that the pilot better head back for the French base, otherwise the pilot would be low on fuel and would have to ditch the aircraft in the English Channel. 

The British quickly made hay while the Sun shone, declaring a shameful and catastrophic lie that the Spitfire to be superior to the ME109, especially in a tight turn. The British and the Americans are very good with the slander of the pen, what their aircraft lack in ability is compensated for with the slander of the pen.

The seldom mentioned Polish squadron 303, that had made twice the kills with half the aircraft losses when compared to any RAF squadron. That too with the 30MPH slower Hawker Hurricane squadron.

I have been reading about Spitfires and Me109’s ever since I have been a school going kid, and only a month ago, my good friend Saleem made me aware of a fact that the British had carefully hidden, suppressed and swept under the rug. He sent me a trailer of a movie titled squadron 303, consisting of Polish pilots flying the RAF Hawker Hurricane aircraft.

 The fact that came to light in that movie was that the Polish pilots shot down more than twice the aircraft during the battle of Britain, as compared to any British RAF squadrons while sustaining half the losses of any British squadron! This fact was an eye opener, something the British had suppressed for so long. Just like the British had successfully suppressed the fact that the Me109 has leading edge slats and twice the extra torque available in a de-celeration dogfight turn, thus rapidly closing in on the Spitfire.

The Polish pilot’s achieved this while flying the inferior Hawker Hurricane aircraft as compared to the Spitfire. Though the plane had the same Rolls Royce Merlin engine, the Hurricane was yet some 30 to 40MPH slower than the Spitfire, due to the thick wings. In fact the Hawker Hurricane was discontinued in production after the 1940, battle of Britain,  the British instead giving maximum attention to the faster Spitfire. 

So the Polish pilots were twice as good as the British pilots and that too while flying the inferior Hawker Hurricane fighter! No wonder the Brits do not like to make people aware of this fact, about squadron 303. “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” are famous words during a wartime speech made by the British prime minister Winston Churchill on 20 August 1940, the words becoming famous in history and repeated almost every time the 1940 Battle of Britain was mentioned. What was very craftily eliminated by the British in the “few” is the significant contribution by the Poles was hardly ever mentioned and always swept under the rug.

Me109 escaping from a Spitfire on the tail, by simply diving down.

In case a Spitfire got on to the tail of a Me109, all the Messerschmitt pilot had to do was to dive downwards steeply. The Spitfire had petrol carburetor engines that used to bulk and stutter in a dive, due to the over supply of fuel in the carburetor caused by the negative G’s (Gravity) momentarily dying down, blither, bluth, bluth, bluth. 

That was not the case of the Me109 as the diesel engine had fuel injection that would not die down in a negative G (Gravity) dive maneuver.

 In order to stay on the tail of a Me109 the Spitfire and P51had to half roll and dive, so as to maintain positive G’s, thus losing vital seconds and orientation in a dog fight.

 Later on this snag in the carburetor was addressed by a kind of one way washer placed within the carburetor popularly called “Miss Shilling’s orifice”, after the inventor, Miss Tilly Shilling.  The negative G maneuver snag of an over supply of fuel within the carburetor was improved with this orifice, but not completely rectified.

Evolution of Me109, Spitfire in engine HP from 1940 to 1945 during WW2

To give a little bird’s eye view and perspective of how the fighter aircrafts evolved from 1940 to 1945. By 1940 both the ME109 and Spitfire were producing slightly less than 1100HP.

 By 1942, the Spitfire and Me109 advanced in power to about 1460HP.

 By 1944, fighters on both sides engines producing around 1800HP, and pushing close to 2000HP in the form of “War emergency power” of around 10 minutes, with a 5 minute break and again 10 minutes of limited use. In the beginning of 1944, Spitfires were fitted with the larger  Rolls Royce Griffon engines of 37,000cc Vs. 27,000cc for the older RR Merlin engines. HP varied in the Griffon engine from about 1700 to 2030HP, however one must consider that the 7% longer wings of the Spitfire and wider cockpit cabin meant much more parasite drag,

As parasite drag increases by the square root the longer wings and wider fuselage meant more drag, which increased by the square root, so 3 times faster than stall speed required 9 times the engine power. The much more compact Me109 could thus attain much higher top speed with lesser power from the engine.

 Again I would like to give emphases that while HP on both sides was increasing, the Me109 always had about twice the engine torque available, being a diesel engine.

“War Emergency power” was achieved by having very high inlet pressures in the supercharger manifold. The Germans also used the highly effective “water methanol” injection simultaneously with high super charge boost pressures.

By 1945 some aircraft that never were used in the war were producing high horsepower of close to 2200HP, like the Hawker Sea Fury. However these aircraft were entered in service very late and were hardly used in any WW2 missions.

Petrol and diesel Octane rating used in WW2.

The petrol available to the British and Americans was 100/150 Octane, while the diesel Octane rating remained 87 classified as  B2 diesel and later on in 1943 100 octane diesel engine became available classified as C3. Engines with C3 diesel produced significantly higher HP, as the diesel had good anti knocking qualities allowing much higher boost pressures to be used in the Superchargers. By mid 1944, towards the end of the war the 100 Octane C3 fuel was difficult to find, so aircraft had to revert to 87 Octane B2 diesel fuel. 

From aggressor till 1942 for the Me109 to a defending fighter post 1942. The larger Griffon engine Spitfires diving from altitude to gain speed to destabilize the unmanned V-1 rocket bombs.

Initially in 1940 during the famous Battle of Britain July to October 1940, Germany was on a attacking role with mainly Heinkel He III bombers. The role of the Me109 was to give fighter cover to the German bombers. Post 1942 Americans had joined in WW2 and swarms of 100’s of Boeing B-17 flying fortress bombers, as well as B24J Liberator bombers went on the offense to carpet bomb Germany,

The role of the Me109 was now in reverse, defending the Fatherland of Germany by shooting down US bombers. That is interesting to note that all most all countries are known as the “Motherland” while Germany stands unique in being called the “Fatherland”.

The Spitfires were seldom part of the fighter aircraft that escorted US bombers deep into Germany. This was because the Spitfires lacked the fuel range to go deep into Germany and return back. Consequently the Me109 had to engage in dogfights with the American P51D Mustangs instead, as these carried two 110 imperial gallon fuel drop tanks, thereby giving the Mustang to go deep into Germany and return to base. The P51D Mustang however shared the same Rolls Royce Merlin engine as the Spitfire.

Post 1944 Spitfire Mk XIV’s were fitted with the larger 37,000cc Rolls Royce Griffon engines. The older RR Merlin engines were 27,000cc in contrast. These fuel thirsty Griffon engines Spitfire XIV’s could not penetrate deep into Germany, leaving the fighter dogfights for the American P51D Mustang.

So what was the role of the powerful 37,000cc Spitfire Mk XIV fuel guzzler play? These aircraft were used to put their wings under the German V-1 flying rocket bombs and flip the unmanned rocket plane wings so the plane could not cause any damage to major cities.

 

Was a Spitfire XIV fast enough to catch up on an unmanned German V1 rocket plane? Well, the Spitfire XIV were positioned in such a manner that these could dive down from a higher altitude so as to catch up on the V-1 flying rocket bomb. The British radar could spot V-1 rockets quite accurately on the radar screen.

 

The British bombing tactics consisted of half, or a full squadron of Avro Lancaster and Halifax bombers carrying out low level accurate bombing. The US method was to send swarms, hundreds of Boeing B-17 bombers at high altitudes, around 20,000 feet or so to flatten Germany with carpet bombing.  Germany had just 3 % of the 97% wealth of the combined wealth of the UK, USA, Russia as well as the combined wealth of about 120 to 130 nations all in the hands of the NWO International Banking Cartel. That was a pre ordained calculation that Germany was ultimately going to lose the War. 

By the time the Americans joined in the war in 1942, Germany had depleted a great majority of their wealth in the War effort. Just for the record British PM Sir Winston Churchill announced in a 1936 radio broadcast “We will force this war on Hitler, whether he wants that or not” For those who do not know WW2 was started in 1939. That is beyond the scope of this article to elaborate, however Hitler was not the aggressor, in fact the USA and Britain forced WW2 on Fuhrer Hitler as the superior German goods were capturing the World markets thus making the British and the Americans jealous as Hell.

The aircraft designer Willy Messerschmitt with an emphasis to make a plane as light as possible.

Willy Messerschmitt was a brilliant aircraft designer, who laid great emphasis that an aircraft should be as light as possible. He achieved this by making the parts not stronger than the purpose that the part was intended for. On an occasion, he visited a Me109 production line and suspended himself on the rear main flap beam. When the beam did not disfigure in any way, Willy turned around and gave the production manager Hell!

One of the major areas where the weight was saved on the Me109, was in the main undercarriage. The top of the undercarriage oleos was housed at the tip of the fuselage, where the fuselage met the wings. By having the undercarriage oleo fixed in the fuselage, a significant amount of weight was saved, had the wheel oleo shocks been fixed in the wings, that would have involved beefing up the wing area and the main wing spar in order to take the load of a landing, especially a hard landing, thus significantly reducing weight, by having the oleos mounted on the fuselage. 

So here is one of the secrets of the Me109 of having such a light empty weight. 

By affixing the landing gear on the fuselage another problem occurred, the main undercarriage had a very narrow track. In order to widen this track, the undercarriage legs were angled outwards, thus increasing the wheel track. This narrow track and angled oleos created uneven twisting loads. Should a Me109 pilot open power abruptly on takeoff, instead off gradually, the plane would tend to swing 90 degrees from the take off path, many a times killing the pilot.

1939 World Speed record by a ME109R, unbroken for 30 years.

A 1939 speed record version of the Me109 R had a specially modified Daimler Benz DB601 engine, designated DB601 ARJ with high super charge boost pressures gave the engine 2300HP, for brief periods, enough to nail the speed record. The Me109R, by Providence,  thus made a World  speed record on April 26, 1939 of 756 Kmh/ 468.9MPH in a closed circuit for a propeller driven aircraft, piloted by  Kapitan Fritz Wendel. 

This record was not broken till 1969 and stood a total of 30 years. I augur the speed record would still have been with the Germans had the Germans not been forbidden to manufacture aircraft after WW2.

Initially the designation of the aircraft was Me209, quite different from a regular Me109, but sharing the same DB601 engine, albeit a much modified one. The aircraft was later designated as the Me109R to maintain a nexus with the fighting Me109. The British and Americans made a lot of fuss about the World record, mentioning that this was not a regular production Me109 and was specially prepared and modified for the record. 

Well eat your hearts out Brits and Yanks the fact is that the UK also tried to make a World record in a heavily modified Spitfire but failed. This speed Spitfire had a heavily slopped windscreen, a tail skid, instead of a tailwheel, stripped of all armament and a heavily modified Rolls Royce Merlin III engine giving 2160HP. The speed record broken in 1969 by the Americans was also with a heavily modified F6F-Hellcat, again this was a far departure from the standard F6F. 

So the argument is not about a modified aircraft or not, the World record was for any category of propeller driven aircraft and was not limited to a regular production aircraft. The false arguments and comments of the British and  Americans are based on jealousy, bias and incompetence. The allies could not better the speed record till 1969, some 30 years after 1939, with all the new science tech available to them.

Totally false arguments, declaring the Spitfire superior in a dogfight tight turn.

In totally false arguments in order to fake prove that the Spitfire Mk II of the 1940 battle of Britain and later marks had a much superior turn, that is mentioned in Videos and print that due to the well formed elliptical wing of the Spitfire, with much more wing area, thus having a much lower wing loading of close to about 27 lbs per square foot as compared to the lesser wing area of the Me109 having a wing loading of some 40 pounds per square foot. So far so good, by this argument, surely the Spitfire would be the victor in a turn, but throw in the not mentioned factors of automatic drop down leading edge slats and twice the torque available of the diesel engine,(making the higher wing loading factor redundant) the Me109 wins hands down in a tighter turn. Please watch the video in which the Me109 closes in so rapidly on the Spitfire in a turn as if the Spitfire was a schoolboy.

Arguments aside, the proof is in the pudding and I have a duo of proofs, the first being a video of the evenly matched HP Spitfire V’s vs. Me109F’s around 1941. One can observe in the real video, how rapidly the Me109 closes in on the Spitfire V and that too in a turn with British propaganda and lies claims being exposed that the Spitfire was superior in a turn.

Spitfire vs ME109 1941 over France rare footage

The other proof is that the aces of aces, Erich Von Hartman had 352 aerial victories, in fact, the Germans had 107 aces with over 100 aerial victories. In contrast the top US ace, Richard Bong had 42 aerial victories from the twin-engine P-38 Lightning against the slower Japanese aircraft, and the top RAF ace Marmaduke Pat Pattle, a Hawker Hurricane ace is credited with about 40 kills. The top WW2 P51 Mustang ace George Preddy had 27 aerial victories.

That is interesting to note that Hans Joachim Marseille, a notable German ace, with the highest tally of aircraft shot down on the Western front, shot down a record 17 aircraft on the 1st of September 1942 in a single day, almost half the total tally of the top US and British aces had managed in the entire war! These aerial victories by Marseille were all on the Western front with the latest and most up to date allied aircraft deployed. Sadly, Marseille passed away in an air accident and not in a dog fight.

Overall Compact dimensions of the Me109 meant less profile drag. A drag that increases by the square root of indicated airspeed.

The Me109 has comparatively overall compact dimensions when compared to the arch-rival Spitfire. 

Along with a smaller frontal area and a low canopy, the frontal wing area profile is also significantly less for a Me109, being 7.56 % lesser than an Mk IX Spitfire. The specific wingspan dimensions being 32 feet 7inches for the Me109G6 and 40 feet 2 inches for the Spitfire MK IX

  A frontal area wingspan of 7.56% lesser may not seem all that significant, however a 3 times increase from slow speed to high speed would involve 9 times the drag or 9 times the power required, as drag increases by the square root, hence 3×3=9. In that case  7.56% (Spitfire wings)x 9……….. Would be talking of some fairly high power figures required. Along with the 8% wider cockpit area therefore 8% x9, the total drag involved is a formidable difference in the power required for high top speed. Consequentially the ME109 could fly faster by using lesser power.

Speed record proof

That is worth mentioning here that the speed record made in 1939 by a Me109R close to 470 MPH stood for 30 years and could not be broken by a British or an American or any aircraft till 1969. I augur the speed record would still have been with the Germans had they not been forbidden to make aircraft after WW2.

Conclusion

The main adversary to the Me109 before 1942 was the British Spitfire and post 1942 was the American P51D Mustang.  What the Spitfire and P51 Mustang lacked in substance was compensated with the slander of the pen. The false myths about the Spitfire being exposed. Firstly about the comparison with the Spitfire.

  • The first dogfights with the Spitfire and Me109 occurred in the battle of Britain, July to October 1940.
  • The early Spitfire MkII and early Me109E were both rated to produce roughly less than 1100HP at Sea level. 
  • The British declared both the fighters to be evenly matched with the Spitfire having the upper hand in a tight dogfight falsely declared as more maneuverable than the Me109.
  • After the battle of Britain end the Spitfire was declared to be the victor over the Me109.

Correction

The Me109 was far superior to the Spitfire in a dogfight turn. This was due to a duo of facts

  • Automatic dropdown leading edge slats. These would cause the wing aerofoil to stall at an angle of about 26 degrees instead of 14 degrees ensuring a much tighter turn.
  • Having twice the engine torque being a diesel engine. Compare any two similar petrol and diesel engines and one can observe the diesel engine to have 50 to 60% more torque. Couple that to the fact that the German DB601 engine had a larger 34000cc engine as compared to the 27000cc Rolls Royce Merlin engine, so, therefore, the DB601 engine had about twice the torque.
  • Having twice the torque means that less airspeed was lost in high G dogfight turn enabling the Me109 to close in on the Spitfire at a very rapid rate, in a tight turn. This is so apparent with the video that has been attached.
  • Should a Spitfire get on to the tail of a Me109, all the Me109 pilot had to do was dive downwards. The carburetor in the Spitfire engine used to get flooded with an oversupply of fuel due to the negative G maneuver, dying out momentarily blither, blith, blith. To counter this the Spitfire pilot had to half roll the Spitfire so as to maintain positive G’s also thus losing vital seconds in the half roll as well as a loss of visual orientation. In comparison the fuel-injected Daimler Benz would not die out in a negative G dive.
  • The Me109 machine guns and cannons were mounted along the pilot’s line of vision. The two 7.92mm and later 13mm machine guns atop the engine cowling, firing through the propeller blades, and a 20 mm cannon firing through the propeller spinner. The Me109 bullets and shells used to thus aim for the thicker fuselage and tail of the opponent aircraft, while the 20 feet apart wing-mounted machine guns in the Spitfire used to target the much thinner wings of the adversary aircraft thus being fairly less effective and the angle of the wings at many times not being aligned along with the pilot’s vision.
  • There was a flaw in the earlier Me109E of having less fuel endurance. After about 16 to 17 minutes into a full fuel throttle dogfight, a low fuel red warning fuel light came on in the cockpit, indicating that the aircraft had about 20 minutes of fuel left, and should thus disengage from the dogfight and head for France, otherwise the Me109 would have to ditch in the English Channel. The British used this fact as a propaganda tool to declare the Spitfire the victor in the battle of Britain.
  • Erich Von Hartman, the ace of aces had 352 aerial victories and in fact, 107 German aces had more than 100 aerial victories. In contrast, the top British ace had 40 kills.

That is worth noting that German ace Hans Joachim Marseille shot down 17 aircraft in a single day on the 1st of September 1942. That was on the Western front where the latest allied aircraft were stationed.

I don’t believe they knewwwww….. that I was, long John Silverrrrrrr…..(Jethrotull)

And the foreign student said to me-e-eee….tell me is that really true, they’re elephants lions too in Piccadilly Circussssss???

Previous

Do You Have a Fear of Being Judged?

Handle Stress When You Hate Holidays

Next