Warplane Wednesday

Warplane Wednesday: Messerschmitt Bf 109

Toward noon 105 bombers came and destroyed the Jagdgruppe Vibo Valentia, which had about 80 aircraft. Not a machine was left intact, not even the [Junkers] which had just landed. Fuel trucks, hangars, aircraft, autos, everything was burning. The German fighters in Italy have been wiped out.

– Lieutenant Köhler, Luftwaffe fighter pilot, quoted in Eagles over Husky

Bf 109 G-2/Trop “Black 6” of JG 77 now on static display at Royal Air Force Museum Cosford

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the primary German fighter throughout the Second World War. Initially produced in 1937, the Luftwaffe began the war with the Bf 109E or “Emil” variant. The Bf 109F replaced the Emil in mid-1941, which was subsequently replaced by the Bf 109G or “Gustav” in mid-1942. The Gustav was the model German (and some Italian) fighter pilots flew in Sicily. The aircraft also served as a fighter-bomber on some occasions.

Specifications (Bf 109G)

Type: single-seat fighter

Powerplant: one 1100kW (1474hp) Daimler-Benz DB 605AM 12-cylinder inverted-Vee engine

Performance: maximum speed 386mph (621km/h); climb to 5700m (18,700ft) in 6 minutes; service ceiling 11,550m (37,890ft); range 1000km (621 miles)

Weights: empty 2673 (5893lb); maximum take-off 3400kg (7496lb)

Wingspan: 9.92m (32ft 7in)

Length: 8.85m (29ft 1in)

Height: 2.50m (8ft 3in)

Armament: one 20mm (0.79in) or 30mm (1.18in) fixed forward-firing cannon in an engine installation, and two 13mm (0.51in) fixed forward-firing machine guns in the upper part of the forward fuselage, plus an external bomb load of 250kg (551lb)


The following Luftflotte 2 and Regia Aeronautica units flew Messerschmitt Bf 109s in defence of Sicily:

Luftflotte 2

  • Jagdgeschwader (JG) 3
    • IV Gruppe/JG 3
  • JG 27
    • II/JG 27
  • JG 51
    • II/JG 51
  • JG 53
    • Gruppenstab JG 53
    • I/JG 53
    • II/JG 53
    • III/JG 53
  • JG 77
    • Gruppenstab JG 77
    • I/JG 77
    • II/JG 77
    • III/JG 77

Regia Aeronautica

  • 3 Gruppo Autonomo (Aut) Caccia Terrestre (CT)
    • 153 Squadriglia
    • 154 Squadriglia
    • 155 Squadriglia
  • 150 Gruppo Aut CT
    • 363 Squadriglia
    • 364 Squadriglia
    • 365 Squadriglia

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