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Thread: Battle of Britain Squadron Packs - Bf-109E-3: Bombs or No Bombs?

  1. #1

    Default Battle of Britain Squadron Packs - Bf-109E-3: Bombs or No Bombs?

    I complained to Ares about their latest release of planes, and part of the answer I received on the appearance of a bomb on an E-3 variant was that there is documented evidence.

    I didn't beleive the reference provided was accurate, despite it being German. Reference: German Wikipedia - Messerschmitt Bf 109

    Having access to one of the largest aviation libraries in Western Canada, I went on a pub crawl. Not a definitive collection of books, but there were over 10 specific publications on the Messerschmitt 109. Here is what I consider worth presenting to the Forum for consideration.

    The Ausburg Eagle
    A Documentary History
    Messerschmitt Bf-109

    by William Green
    (c) 1980

    ISBN 0 7106 0005 4

    Jane's Publishing Coy, Page 49

    Image 1a
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    Note: Looking strictly at the image, and if this is used as a source, one would beleive that the Bf 109E-3 carried droptanks and bombs.

    However, one must include the caption for the whole story:

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    According to this publication, no droptanks, nor bombs were ever fitted to an E-3. And being a Jane's Publication, and from my knowledge of the reputation of that establishment for accuracy, I would tend to follow this as definitive.

    Then, I found the following abberation:

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    Image 3
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    Despite the captions on these images, I really beleive they are actually of the same aircraft, only a difference in the quality of reproduction and cropping.

    Image 2 from this publication:
    The Fighting 109
    A Pictoral History of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 in Action

    Uwe Feist, Norman E. Harms & Mike Dario
    (c) 1978
    ISBN 0 385 05679 6
    Doubleday & Coy, Page 21

    Image 3 from this publication:
    Messerschmitt Me109
    Aero Series Volume 1

    by the Aeronautical Staff of AERO PUBLISHING INC.
    Scale Drawings by Uwe Feist
    (c) 1965
    Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 65-24307
    AERO PUBLISHING INC., Page 9(?) Note: Publication not page numbered

    Finally, I found this reference chart, the only solid mention of an E-3/B:
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    Unfortunately, in my opinion, it appeared in this publication:
    Messerschmitt Bf 109
    Classic Aircraft No. 2
    Their History and How to Model Them

    by Roy Cross and Gerald Scarbourgh
    in colaboration with Hans J. Ebert
    (c) 1972
    ISBN 0 850 59106 6
    Patrick Stephens Ltd, Pages 68,69

    It was a very detailed book, but for modelers. Therefore, in my mind it would not be as good as a reference by a publication from a known world intelligence company that strives for accuracy in all details for military and political professionals. And, nowhere in this particular publication could be found an image, drawing nor photograph, of an E-3 with a bomb rack.

    So, as I have found in the past, when researching anything, you can find opinions and facts to suit your view, if you look hard enough. And, there weren't any bibliographies in most of these publications, nor quoted references. Admittedly, most of the publications I had access to appeared to be modeling publications.

    It is up to you whether you want to accept the Bf-109E-3 as produced by Ares as accurate. You can quote any of the above as you choose.

    ------------------------------------
    Image 4b:

    Note: For 109 naming conventions, it is interesting to read the mid-page note on page 69. Not even the Germans during WWII were consistent with the names.

    Check the Remarks under the chart on page 69 for a mention of a five MG version of early 109 variants. There were tests for different armament on the 109 throughout the war, and there were MGs put in the engine mounting, instead of the cannon, on occassion. Did they ever fly in combat? What if?
    Last edited by OldGuy59; 04-20-2017 at 00:32.
    Mike
    "Flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss" Douglas Adams
    "Wings of Glory won't skin your elbows and knees while practicing." OldGuy59

  2. #2

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    Thanks a lot for the very detailed and documented post.
    Fot what I remember, kits were used to convert previously produced Bf.109E into bombers. This could happen with Bf.109E-3 too.
    An example should be the Bf.109E3 at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon. It is referenced in books (I find this one online https://books.google.it/books?id=rb6...3-B%22&f=false)
    as a Bf.109E3-B. I had a book by Editions Atlas by Mister Kit about the Bf.109E, in a collection of monographies with many other WW2 planes. Each booklet focused on a surviving machine, examining it in detail, and that one was on Hendon's Bf.109E. Not at hand now alas, I quote by memory, but it described it as an E3 with a bomb.
    The fact that Hendon's plane was converted into a bomber is also confermed by the story of the plane that you can download from the museum's site:

    https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/documen...f109E-4101.pdf

    It refers that it was

    Subsequently modified in the field as a Fighter-Bomber to carry a 250kg (551 lb) bomb, and served briefly with 6/JG52. The fuselage hard points - four small rings beneath the centre fuselage - are still visible today.
    For the subversion identification it says that

    The Air Intelligence Enemy aircraft report on the aircraft is quoted by K G Wakefield, 27 Mar 77 - DoRIS Ref.B2708/1.
    Report No.102/4 Me109. Crashed on 27.11.40 at 1555 hours on Manston aerodrome. Markings (Black) 12 + (the 12 outlined in white). Cowling
    and rudder yellow, spinner green with one white segment. No crest. Airframe made by Erla Flugzeugwerke in 1940. Works number 4101. A
    plate described the aircraft as being `Me109 Ele E3'.
    Engine DB601 A -1. Number 64760 made by Daimler Benz, Genshagen. The new type of
    supercharger was fitted. A constant speed airscrew is fitted with a notice on the dashboard. `Machine has automatic airscrew. Follow the short
    instructions for use'.
    On the day when it has been captured, while on a bombing mission:

    Notes compiled by P G Foote and K West in March 1970 (DoRIS Ref.B27081) add that Teumer's flight had commenced at 1450 hours, mission unknown, carrying one 5C 250kg bomb.
    The pilot was flying over the Thames estuary when he saw 3 Spitfires. he thought they were going to attack, so released his bomb which fell into the water. He was then attacked by one Spitfire receiving a hit in the radiator, during a chase over Kent. (See also POW Interrogation report in A/C file).
    True also that the same file says that a 1995 inspection casted doubts on the sub version, no matter the plate on the plane. It could have been an E4, from a quotation in a letter and from the model of the windscreen (but I wonder if it's the original, since extensive parts of the plane have been replaced during several restorations).

    But I also find meaningful that, while judging if this very plane is an E3 or an E4, the presence of a bomb rack is not considered a proof for the second. As the option of a Bf.109E3 carrying a bomb is perfectly feasible for the historians working at the R.A.F. Museum.

    The page for the plane on the Museum site still refers to it as a Bf.109E3:

    https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/researc...itt-bf-109e-3/

    As for the inclusion in the game, there was already a Bf.109E3 with a bomb in the Wings of War Deluxe Set (arising no protests as far as I know). It helps to have more variated scenarios than just dogfights with the planes included - in the WW1 set we used the Camel for the same purpose (even if the model has no bombs on it). So, even if it's not a typical plane, it has been considered useful enough in game terms to be there.

    If you doubts its accuracy, I am sorry for that. Give it one more damage point and use it as a Bf.109E4-B instead.

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by Angiolillo; 04-20-2017 at 01:12.

  3. #3

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    All of mine are going to lose their bombs, except those repainted as E-7s for North Afrika, so I don't have a problem with them.

  4. #4

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    We included just one, in the Starter Set. The other there and the one in the Squadron Pack are bombless.

  5. #5

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    my 2 from the starter set and the squadron pack all had bombs.

  6. #6

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angiolillo View Post
    Thanks a lot for the very detailed and documented post.
    Fot what I remember, kits were used to convert previously produced Bf.109E into bombers. This could happen with Bf.109E-3 too.
    An example should be the Bf.109E3 at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon. It is referenced in books (I find this one online https://books.google.it/books?id=rb6...3-B%22&f=false)
    as a Bf.109E3-B. I had a book by Editions Atlas by Mister Kit about the Bf.109E, in a collection of monographies with many other WW2 planes. Each booklet focused on a surviving machine, examining it in detail, and that one was on Hendon's Bf.109E. Not at hand now alas, I quote by memory, but it described it as an E3 with a bomb.
    The fact that Hendon's plane was converted into a bomber is also confermed by the story of the plane that you can download from the museum's site:

    https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/documen...f109E-4101.pdf

    It refers that it was



    For the subversion identification it says that



    On the day when it has been captured, while on a bombing mission:



    True also that the same file says that a 1995 inspection casted doubts on the sub version, no matter the plate on the plane. It could have been an E4, from a quotation in a letter and from the model of the windscreen (but I wonder if it's the original, since extensive parts of the plane have been replaced during several restorations).

    But I also find meaningful that, while judging if this very plane is an E3 or an E4, the presence of a bomb rack is not considered a proof for the second. As the option of a Bf.109E3 carrying a bomb is perfectly feasible for the historians working at the R.A.F. Museum.

    The page for the plane on the Museum site still refers to it as a Bf.109E3:

    https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/researc...itt-bf-109e-3/

    As for the inclusion in the game, there was already a Bf.109E3 with a bomb in the Wings of War Deluxe Set (arising no protests as far as I know). It helps to have more variated scenarios than just dogfights with the planes included - in the WW1 set we used the Camel for the same purpose (even if the model has no bombs on it). So, even if it's not a typical plane, it has been considered useful enough in game terms to be there.

    If you doubts its accuracy, I am sorry for that. Give it one more damage point and use it as a Bf.109E4-B instead.

    Thanks again!
    Andrea,

    I was in the RAF Museum very recently and they seem to have reconsidered the provenance of the aircraft (Black 12) and now indicate that it is a BF 109E-4B:
    https://s3.amazonaws.com/gs-waymarki...ed16eabf81.jpg

    David Isby - a reasonably reputable military historian / researcher - in his book, The Decisive Duel: Spitfire vs 109 (London: Abacus/Little, Brown Book Group 2013) states that from autumn of 1940 (late September/early October) onwards '20 - 35 per cent of Bf 109Es were modified to carry a single 250kg bomb'; he also goes on to note that Luftwaffe field modifications make any attempt at imposing a coherent narrative around standardisation of models almost impossible. This is further complicated by the extent to which many existing E3s were upgraded to E4 specifications from July 1940 onwards.

    This supports Mike's excellent research that there's no evidence that E3s were fitted for bombs prior to the autumn of 1940 and even then it would have been less than a 1/3 of the fleet at most. And those E3s might well have been upgraded to E4. Not an easy or unambiguous topic. But for the classic period of the Battle of Britain from July - September 1940 I think the balance of probability and available information suggests that Bf 109E3s were not fitted for carrying bombs.

    What I do know is that of my four Bf 109E3s from the BoB Starter kit and the Squadron packs all four have bombs. Which will be removed and repurposed - end of problem. And my MkI Spitfires have a house rule giving them a climb rate of 3 as well (mutter, mutter)

    Tom
    Last edited by Conall; 04-20-2017 at 07:40. Reason: for clarity

  8. #8

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    Nothing a clear cut can't correct.

    Same goes for the Hurricanes.



    Besides this. Keep the cutted bombs, to equip AIM miniatures, if needed.
    Voilą le soleil d'Austerlitz!

  9. #9

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    If I ever get my Battle of Britain Starter Set pre-order, I will have two bomb-equipped planes.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, I can easily put the Ares minis on my two Nexus E-4 flight stands, and put the two Nexus minis on the Ares flight stands. Being that I have, and probably will in the future, run Bf 109 bomb attacks on the HMS Glorious, this will work out OK, for me.

    I get that Ares wanted to give options to players. It would have been easier (IMHO) to produce an E-4, but if research proved so ambiguous, perhaps not obvious a choice for an early war plane.

    And as to how to identify a specific 109 version? All my research indicated that the Germans retrofitted canopies and windscreens on almost all the Battle of Britain participants, just as the English retrofitted props on Hurricanes and Spitfires. Using the canopy as an indicator of a version is not conclusive. Could ETC 50 bomb racks appeared on E-3s? Perhaps. They were field modifications. But, if there was an engine change between versions, flying with the extra weight into an area without air superiority may not have been done by prudent pilots.
    Last edited by OldGuy59; 04-20-2017 at 08:52.
    Mike
    "Flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss" Douglas Adams
    "Wings of Glory won't skin your elbows and knees while practicing." OldGuy59

  10. #10

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    What is the real differences between the E-3 and E-4? Aside from the improved canopy (often retro-fitted to E-3s), and the MG-FF/M wing cannon (an improvement, but doesn't change the gun rating in WGS), and some pilot armor?
    Only a few (1 gruppe) had their f-4s equipped with the DB601N high-altitude engine, for 140hp increase. Most of the E-4s had the same engines as the E-3s, from what I have read.
    karl
    It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows. -- Epictetus

  11. #11

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    A sharp hobby knife, a reasonably steady hand, and courage are all that's required!

    All my Bf.109s - be they -E or -K variants - have had their bombs and/or drop tanks removed. I just thought they looked dumb on planes that were forever destined to dogfight.

    With that said - I appreciate that Ares saw fit to provide these easy-to-remove features. I'm sure someone out there enjoys them, even if it isn't me.

  12. #12

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    Purely out of curiosity I did a little more digging mainly to investigate what variant of the Bf 109E Staffel 3 / Erprobungs Gruppe 210 were flying in 1940. According to Chris Goss's (with Peter Cornwell and Bernd Rauchbach) excellent Luftwaffe Fighter-Bombers Over Britain, The Tip and Run Campaign 1942-43 (Manchester, Crecy Publishing 2013):

    In the Spring of 1940, the German Air Staff had requested the Luftwaffe Technical Office explore the possibility of adapting the Messerschmitt 109 E to carry bombs. Design engineers produced a centrally-mounted bomb rack, contained in a streamlined faring, bolted to the belly of the aircraft between the undercarriage legs. This bomb rack was designed to carry a single 250 kg bomb and the tests and performance trials showed that a single SC250 bomb could be carried with little appreciable loss in performance. The ETC500 bomb rack was therefore put into production and issued in kit form for retro-fitting to aircraft already serving with fighter units in the field. Orders were also placed to switch existing factory assembly lines of Messerchmitt 109 E-1s and E-4s then in production to Messerschmitt 109 E-1/Bs and E-4/Bs.
    As a Consequence, a total of 110 Messerschmitt 109 E-1/Bs were produced while production of the E-4/B variant totalled an additional 226 machines. Delivery of the new 109E fighter-bombers started in July 1940, the first being issued to 3 Staffel of the newly formed Erprobungs Gruppe 210
    p.31

    Again no reference to E3s being used as fighter-bombers but equally nothing conclusive to suggest they weren't. However, it would be logical to assume as part of the retro-fitting to existing aircraft E3s would be upgraded to E4s at the same time (although nothing about German WWII logistics was ever very logical - expediency was all!). It does, however, show that Bf 109 E1/Bs and E4Bs were operating against shipping and land based targets from July 1940 onwards in a fighter bomber role.

    Tom

  13. #13

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    Ah, there's a book on my wishlist (waiting for funding ).
    Interesting that they were still making E-1s while they were making E-4s.
    Karl
    It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows. -- Epictetus

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by surfimp View Post
    A sharp hobby knife, a reasonably steady hand, and courage are all that's required!

    All my Bf.109s - be they -E or -K variants - have had their bombs and/or drop tanks removed. I just thought they looked dumb on planes that were forever destined to dogfight.

    With that said - I appreciate that Ares saw fit to provide these easy-to-remove features. I'm sure someone out there enjoys them, even if it isn't me.
    You actually don't even need a hobby knife--fingertips suffice to remove these and the bombs on the Hurricane. Which is just as well for me, since I've had a few experiences with Xacto knifes slipping, taking off tail wheels, burying themselves in my other fingers, etc.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylH View Post
    You actually don't even need a hobby knife--fingertips suffice to remove these and the bombs on the Hurricane. Which is just as well for me, since I've had a few experiences with Xacto knifes slipping, taking off tail wheels, burying themselves in my other fingers, etc.
    Been there myself!

    Blood everywhere!

  16. #16

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Helmut View Post
    Been there myself!

    Blood everywhere!
    Bloody Hell!

    "Its a fine line indeed between going out in a Blaze of Glory or having Crashed & Burnt!"
    Member Australian Society of WW1 Aero Historians

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylH View Post
    You actually don't even need a hobby knife--fingertips suffice to remove these and the bombs on the Hurricane. Which is just as well for me, since I've had a few experiences with Xacto knifes slipping, taking off tail wheels, burying themselves in my other fingers, etc.



    OUCH!!!!

  18. #18

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angiolillo View Post
    Bloody April.
    "Nice one, Centurion!"

  20. #20

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    I think most modelers have been there at least once (and are wincing at the memories )
    Karl
    It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows. -- Epictetus



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