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Messerschmitt Bf 109G-10 in Detail

General views and Fuselage

n by Martin Waligorski

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detail_bf109g10_01.jpg (25909 bytes)

Bf-109G-10 on display in Grand Canyon Planes of Fame Museum, Valle, Arizona.

The aircraft wears a carefully restored camouflage which is supposed to represent the one carried by 611943 in service with II./JG52. Even the original stencils have been carefully re-applied.

The camouflage is RLM 76 lower surfaces with RLM 02 + RLM 82 upper camouflage and fuselage mottle. The use of RLM 02 in upper camouflage is definitely non-standard for the end-war period, but knowing the variation of late war Luftwaffe paint schemes it's use cannot be excluded.

Photo: Martin Waligorski


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A distinctive feature of the G-10 was this modified cowling housing the then-newest Daimler Benz DB 605D engine. It differed from earlier Gustavs by large streamlined bulges on both sides of the rear engine cover. Two types of the covers were used on G-10, and the one shown here is type 100, recognisable by the blister in front of exhaust stacks, covering the oil lines. The same cover was used in Bf-109 K-4 production.

What cannot be seen on a single photograph is that the bulges on the port and starboard sides were asymmetrical. The port bulge, shown here, was significantly deeper and longer as it had to house the enlarged supercharger of a DB 605D.

Note also the loose fit of the engine cover at the firewall joint, and a long raised blister on the upper wing surface. More about it later.

Photo: Martin Waligorski


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A look at the starboard engine cover shows that the bulge at this side is less pronounced. On this side it's function was limited to cover a spent cartridge chute for the fuselage gun (it's opening is visible at the top).

Other interesting details are the welded exhaust stacks and a starter crank, a common feature all Bf 109 versions.

Photo: Martin Waligorski


detail_bf109g10_04.jpg (14225 bytes)A closer look at the two other distinctive features of G-10. The previously named two blisters in the lower front cowling and a much deeper oil cooler. Again, both are peculiar to the type 100 engine cover. The alternative type 110 had no blisters and more shallow, but wider, cooler fairing.

The vertical bar in the middle of the cooler's intake is actually a drain pipe, designed to lead away oil running down from propeller gear thus preventing it from clogging the cooler mesh.

Photo: Martin Waligorski


detail_bf109g10_05.jpg (15316 bytes)More power delivered by the DB 605D prompted a propeller upgrade to this type with paddle-like blades.

Although the museum specifies this aircraft as Bf 109G-10/U-4, I have my doubts. Designation U-4 meant a factory-mounted MK 108 30 mm cannon firing through the propeller hub. It would simply require much larger opening in the spinner than the one shown here.

After writing the above words, Larry Samhat pointed out to me that the propeller and spinner assemblies are not original. Other reference photos of this G-10 show the cockpit cannon breach cover to be the larger version that was fitted for the larger weapon. Probably all of the G-10's brought to the U.S. after the war were 30mm armed models.

Photo: Martin Waligorski


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Another view of the lower cowling and the supercharger air intake. The stencil below exhaust stacks reads: Vorsicht beim Öffnen. Kühler ist im Haubenteil eingebaut, which means: "Careful when opening. The cooler is built into the cover."

Another interesting difference between the port and starboard sides of the engine is an extra cover over the exhaust stacks. It's function was to prevent the exhaust gases of being ingested into the supercharger.

Photo: Martin Waligorski


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Some older sources call this upgraded clear-view cockpit canopy for Galland Hood, but the correct name now agreed upon is the Erla Haube. The heavy armoured glass head protection was mounted directly to the canopy, which made opening and closing it a tough job for the pilot, especially in the bail-out situation.

Barely visible is what appears to be a complete instrument panel, but the Revi reflector gunsight is missing.

Photo: Martin Waligorski


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Rear fuselage section didn't change much throughout the 109's lifetime, only the different hatches and caps were moved around accordingly the equipment placement inside the fuselage. Stencils visible from left to right denote: pressurised air flasks for machine gun operation (on top of the cross); MW50 water-methanol tank (above the "13"); electric socket (in front of the "3") and Sauerstoff für Atemgerät (ditto, blue ring).

Another features often seen on late-war Messerschmitts are the lack of antenna mast and a direction finder loop placed behind the cockpit.

Photo: Martin Waligorski


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Still further aft down the fuselage's starboard side. Of note is how the fuselage sections are smoothly flush-riveted together. Panel lines are barely visible!

Photo: Martin Waligorski

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