JG 54 Bf 109 F-4 on the Eastern Front in the care of mechanics. The position of the deployed automatic slat can
be clearly seen in the picture. That was its usual position when the aircraft was parked and still.
at the Erla factory in Leipzig. Production at the
WNF factory ended in April 1942, and ERLA built
the last Bf 109F-4 Trop in May of the same year.
A month later, both factories, plus Messerschmitt
A.G. in Regensburg, began production of the
With respect to performance data, H.H. Vogt
reports a maximum speed of 670 km/h (416mph),
540 km/h (336mph) at sea level. The rate
of climb is stated by Vogt to be the same as
for the F-1, 17 m/s (56ft/s), a range of 525 km
(330 miles), and a service ceiling of 11,800m
(38,700ft). M.Baumgartl gives in his performance
tables sourcing the records of E-Stelle Rechlin
a maximum speed 645 km/h (400mph) at 7,000
m (23,000ft), and 523 km/h (325mph) in combat
mode. In emergency mode, he states a maximum
speed of 670 km/h (416mph) at 7,000 m
(23,000ft) and 540 km/h (336mph) at sea level,
which corresponds to the data presented by H.H.
Vogt. The increase in performance compared
to the Bf 109F-2 also corresponds to the use of
a more powerful engine.
Bf 109F-5 and Bf 109F-6
The Bf 109 F-5 was a high-altitude fighter and
photoreconnaissance aircraft, based on the
Bf 109F-2, equipped with the GM-1 boost system.
One aircraft was built and further development
was stopped due to the RLM's lack of interest.
The Bf 109F-6 was to be a heavy fighter again
based on the Bf 109F-2, with an MG 151/20 engine
mounted cannon and two MG 17 fuselage machine
guns, plus two MG 17 wing mounted machine
guns. No aircraft were built. The designation
Bf 109F-6/U was used by Stab/JG 26 in France
for Bf 109F-2 W.Nr.6750, which in addition to
the standard armament was equipped with
two wing-mounted MG FF/M cannon, similar to
the Bf 109E. The aircraft was tested by Obstlt.
Adolf Galland, who shot down a Spitfire over the
English coast with it on November 18, 1941. At the
same time, Galland tested another non-standard
aircraft with the type designation Bf 109F-2/U1,
armed with two 13 mm MG 131 machine guns
located in the fuselage above the engine instead
of the standard MG 17s
COMBAT USE OF THE
Bf 109F AND ITS
The Western Front, France
In the first months of deployment of the Bf 109F
on the Western Front, their opponents were
units in June, 1941. The main update offered by
the F-4 was the finally completed and fine-tuned
DB 601E installation, driving a three-blade,
variable VDM 9-12004.10 propeller. Armament
was also improved via the installation of the
engine mounted 20mm MG 151/20 cannon
with 200 rounds. The fuselage machine guns
remained the same, being 7.9mm MG 17s.
A redesign and strengthening of the rear
fuselage was carried out, thanks to which the
need for external reinforcement was eliminated.
Nevertheless, in the photographs of some
Bf 109F-4s, the external reinforcements are still
visible. A possible explanation for this is the use
of older F-2 airframes either in initial production
or over the course of subsequent conversions.
The FuG 25 IFF unit was replaced by the more
modern FuG 25a in the spring. The wing already
had position lights as standard with a cover
copying the shape of the wingtip curvature,
introduced on later Bf 109F-2s. The wheel wells
were either circular in shape, copying the shape
of the tire, or angular, the same design as on
the Bf 109E. The round design of the wells was
more common. Here, it is reasonable to consider
the use of F-2 airframes during conversion to
F-4 standard by installing a DB 601E engine, or
a different design of the wells from different
manufacturers and production blocks.
Around 600 aircraft were equipped with GM-1
nitrous oxide injection system. These machines
were designated Bf 109F-4/Z and had a larger
9-6150 (Fö 870) oil cooler, later standardized on
the Bf 109G. These machines were also usually
equipped with a VDM 9-12087A propeller with
wider blades. A larger oil cooler was also
part of the 576 tropicalized Bf 109F-4 Trop that
were produced at the Erla factory in Leipzig.
They also received a larger air intake to the
turbo supercharger with a closable dust filter.
Tropical equipment also included a vent on the
top of the canopy windscreen and an emergency
landing survival kit stowed in the rear fuselage
containing a food pack, water and a Mauser K98
carbine. A larger air intake to the turbocharger
was standard on later production Bf 109F-4s.
Between December 1941 and April 1942, the WNF
factory produced a total of 240 Bf 109F-4/R1s,
allowing the installation of underwing nacelles
housing MG 151/15 guns with 135 rounds of
ammunition. However, gun nacelles were rarely
used by combat units and they were widely
used only later on the Bf 109G. Bf 109F-4s
could also be converted to Bf 109F-4/B fighterbombers, the bomb racks were the same as
on the Bf 109F-2/B, but could not be fitted to
the Bf 109F-4/Z or Bf 109F-4/R1 equipped with
underwing gun nacelles. Some Bf 109F-4s were
converted to photo-reconnaissance use as the
Bf 109F-4/R2, R3, R4 and R8, which carried
different types of photographic cameras.
A total of 1,808 Bf 109F-4s of all versions were
produced, including 1,034 at the WNF and 774
The Bf 109 F-2 (W. Nr. 12764) was the first plane of F version to fall into RAF hands. Commander I./JG 26
Hptm. Rolf Pingel made an emergency landing near Dover on July 10, 1941 after an aerial battle.