Oberstleutnant Werner Mölders, Commodore of JG 51, pictured with Oberleutnant

Georg Claus (centre) in late 1940. Claus served as Mölders' Adjutant until October 18,

1940, when he was appointed commander of 1./JG 51. He was killed in aerial combat

over the Thames Estuary on November 11, 1940, becoming the first airman shot down

in a Bf 109 F-1.

flap of which also formed the inner part of the

flap system. The slats remained automatic as

on the Bf 109E, the control surfaces with metal

internal construction were fabric covered. The

tailwheel was retractable. The fuselage fuel

tank, located under and behind the pilot's seat,

had a volume of 400 liters, the Bf 109F-1 not

being equipped to carry a drop tank. The aircraft

received the FuG VIIa radio, and in 1941 some

were retrofitted with the FuG 25 IFF system. The

sight was the REVI C12/D reflector. An important

feature was variable VDM-9.12007.10 propeller,

the switch between automatic and manual

modes being located under the throttle lever.

The maximum speed is stated to be 595 km/h

(370mph) at 5,200m (17,050ft), and 495 km/h

(310mph) at sea level in combat mode. The

rate of climb was 17 m/s (56ft/s), range 700

km (435 miles), with a ceiling of 12,000m

(39,400ft). It is somewhat complicated when

it comes to performance data, as sources

differ somewhat. The figures presented here

come from the records of the Test Center in

Rechlin (E-Stelle Rechlin), and they are listed

in their books on the development of the Bf 109

by M.Baumgartl and H.H. Vogt. M.Baumgartl

also reports a maximum speed in emergency

mode of 615 km/h (383mph) at 5,200m

(17,050ft) and 515 km/h (320mph) at sea level.

Series production ran at the Bayerische

Flugzeugwerke (Messerschmitt – Mtt. Reg) in

Regensburg from July (Prien/Rodeike) or August

(Murawski) 1940, while Vogt and Valtonen quote

the start of production as October 1940, but

this does not seem likely. By February 1941,

apparently 137 machines were produced by Mtt

Regensburg (Vogt, Valtonen and Rodeike state

157 units). In November 1940, production of the

Bf 109F-1 also began at the Wiener Neustädter

Flugzeugwerke (WNF) facility, where up

to fifty aircraft were produced by January

1941 (Vogt, Valtonen, Prien/Rodeike claim 49

machines). The aircraft produced by the WNF

June 2023

Photo: SDASM

Photo: Bundesarchiv


Bf 109 F-4 Trop prior to delivery to JG 5, which operated in Finland. The aircraft

already had a yellow band on the fuselage painted, which was the identification

marking for the Eastern Front aircraft. The tropical camouflage of sand RLM 79

Sandgelb on the upper surfaces and blue RLM 78 Hellblau on the lower surfaces

was complemented by fields of grey RLM 74 or 75 on the upper surfaces. The

aircraft carried an additional 300 liter fuel tank.

factory are different from those made by Mtt.

The Regensburg examples differed in details,

such as the intake to the compressor having

a rectangular cross-section, and probably

also the shape of the aerodynamic transition

between the wing and the fuselage, where there

was a small symmetrical bulge above the wing

spar connection pin to the fuselage, similar

to the Bf 109E, as opposed to the Bf 109F and

G fairing, which had an irregularly shape.

The new aircraft began to trickle to frontline

units during the fall of 1940, but none of

the combat units were ever completely reequipped with the F-1 version. Stab/JG 51 was

the first to receive them at the beginning of

October. Major Werner Mölders made the first

two combat flights on October 9th, 1940 with

Bf 109F-1 WNr.5628 SG+GW, and by October 11th,

he had shot down a Spitfire Mk.I from No.66

Squadron, RAF over Folkestone. It was Mölders

43rd kill, and the Spitfire pilot, P/O Pickering,

survived the encounter with some injuries. In

early November, several Bf 109F-1s were also

received by I./JG 51, which suffered its first loss

when the commander of 1./JG51, Oblt. Georg

Claus, was shot down over the British coast.

Smaller numbers of Bf 109F-1s were given to

the replenishment groups (Ergänzungsgruppen)

of JG26 and JG51 during November, with other

units in France receiving individual pieces in

early 1941.

As was usual when introducing new equipment

to combat units, a number of defects and

shortcomings appeared rather quickly. In

addition to problems with the brakes and tire

quality, a problem was found with the seat

being positioned too far forward, which caused

problems when pulling the control column

back. The question remains whether this was

the original seat of the same type used in the

Bf 109E, or the new type with a separate seat

and backrest integrated into the rear wall of the

cockpit. Some F-2s were fitted with the same

seat as the Bf 109E, later machines and at least

most F-4s had the aforementioned new seats. It

is not entirely clear whether the new seats were

replacements for unsatisfactory older seats, or

whether the new seats were not satisfactory

and were in some cases replaced by proven

older seats, as indicated by some sources.

But the most serious problem was the

insufficient integrity of the rear fuselage. In

February 1941, three planes were lost when

strong vibrations from the engine, transmitted

to the structure of the aircraft, caused the

failure of the tail section. The investigation of

a fourth accident revealed structural problems

and insufficient structural integrity of the

connection of the tail unit with the last fuselage

bulkhead. The problem was temporarily solved

by adding four external stiffeners, two on each

side of the fuselage at the last bulkhead. Most

Bf 109F-2s built were later equipped with these


Bf 109F-2

In November 1940, large-scale production of

the first major version of the Bf 109F, the dash

two, began at the AGO facility in Oschersleben,

and began reaching combat units in January

1941. That same month, production also began

at the WNF plant in Wienerneustadt, and later

in the spring, it was also undertaken at Arado

in Warnemünde, Messerschmitt in Regensburg

and Erla in Leipzig. The F-2 version was again

powered by the DB 601N engine, but this time the

main armament was the new 15 mm MG 151/15

engine mounted cannon fed by a 200 round

magazine located in the left wing root. Loading

the cannon was not exactly a comfortable

task due to the limited access to the magazine

through two relatively small holes in the upper

wing surface.

The increase in range by about 500 km (310

miles) was made possible by the installation of

a drop tank under the fuselage, carrying 300 l

INFO Eduard