In Africa, in addition to the aforementioned

adversarial Spitfires and Hurricanes, the

Bf 109F-4 faced American P-40 Warhawk

fighters of various versions and the P-39


The P-40B/C (Tomahawk Mk.IIa) had a maximum

ground speed of 445 km/h (277mph), 544 km/h

(340mph) at 5,000 m (16,400ft) and climbed to

this altitude in 7 minutes.

The P-40E (Kittyhawk Mk.Ia) had a maximum

speed of 575 km/h (360mph) at 4,750 m 15,600ft)

and climbed to 5,000 m (16,400ft) in 8.1 minutes.

The P-39D Airacobra had a maximum speed

of 576 km/h (360mph) at 4,572 m (15,000 ft),

climbing to 5,000 m (16,400ft) in 6.4 minutes.

The Eastern Front – The Soviet Union

On the Eastern Front, the superiority of the

Bf 109F over Soviet fighters is indisputable. At

the time of the German attack, a large part of

the Soviet air force consisted of Polikarpov I-16,


INFO Eduard

Messerschmitts Bf 109 F from II./JG 54 “Grünherz” with camouflage characteristic of this unit in a picture

taken in summer 1941 at the beginning of the campaign in the East

I-15, I-152 and I-153 fighters, which were already

significantly outdated. Newer designs in the

form of the Yak-1, LaGG-3 and at higher altitudes

the higher powered MiG-3 were rare in the first

months and their losses were heavy during that

period of the war.

I will present the performance parameters of

two fighters that were produced in large series

in the later period of the war by the Soviets, the

Yak-1 and LaGG-3.

The Yak-1 reached a top speed of 586 km/h

(364mph) at 5,000 m (16,400ft), and 490 km/h

(305mph) at sea level, and climbed to the

16,400ft level in 5.7 minutes. It was more or

less comparable against to the Bf 109F-2, but

obviously would find its life more difficult against

the F-4 This is similar to the comparisons with

the Mk.V Spitfires, which, in the latter stages

of the war, also served in the Soviet Air Force,

along with the other British and American types

mentioned above.

The LaGG-3 fared significantly worse with

a speed of 549 km/h (340mph) at 5,000 m

(16,400m) and 457 km/h (284mph) at sea

level, and would reach that 16,400ft level

in8.6 minutes. However, like the Yak-1, it was

produced in large quantities over the first half

of the war and, despite also suffering heavy

losses, was a tenacious opponent. Both types

in their successive versions were opponents of

various versions of the Bf 109 until the end of the

war, and in their peak versions of the La-7 and

Yak-3 were at least worthy opponents. It must

be added that ultimately, these opponents were

victorious, as were the Mk.IX Spitfires on the

Western Front and in the Mediterranean.


Harald Helmut Vogt: Messerschmitt Bf 109 –

Einsatzmaschinen-Das Nachschlachgwerk

Harald Helmut Vogt: Messerschmitt Bf 109 –

Versuchs und Erprobungsträger und der Weg

zur Serienproduction

Jochen Prien/Peter Rodeike: Messerschmitt

Bf 109 F, G & K Series

Michael Baumgartl: Das jagdfugzeug

Messerschmitt Bf 109: Technik, Eigenschaften,

Leistung, Stückzahlen, Bewährung

Marek J.Murawski, Asen Atanasov:

Messerschmitt Bf 109 F

Photo: SDASM

Spitfire Mk.I, II and Vs of various sub variants,

as well as Hurricane Mk.I and Mk.IIs. The most

powerful were of course the new Spitfire

Mk.Vs, introduced into service at roughly the

same time as the Bf 109F-2 and F-4. The known

performance parameters of the Spitfire Mk.V are

as follows:

The speed of the new Spitfire Mk.V in March 1941

was 595.5 km/h (370mph) at 5,944 m (19,500

ft). But even with the Spitfire, performance

data is hard to pin down exactly. In six different

Spitfires tested at the A & A.E.E. between March

1942 and August 1946, the top speed achieved

at 5,486 m (18,000 ft) varied between 555 km/h

to 571 km/h (345mph to 355mph). The climb to

4,877 m (16,000 ft) was recorded as between

4.05 min and 6.4 min, and 6,096 m (20,000 ft)

was between 5.6 min and 10.25 min. The best

performances was attributed to Spitfire Mk.Vb

W3228 with a Merlin 50M engine in May 1943,and

the worst by Spitfire F.Mk.Vc AB488 with Merlin

46 engine.

For the Spitfire Mk.II, top speed was 570 km/h

(355mph) at 5,487 m (18,000 ft), top speed at

6,096 m (20,000 ft) was 563 km/h (350mph),

and climb to 6,096 m (20,000 ft) was between

7 minutes and 9.8 minutes depending on the

engine type. I don't want to burden you with

a flood of data, but in general, according to

known performance data, the Bf 109F-4, like

the F-2, surpassed its opponents. However,

the Spitfire Mk.V was able to keep up with the

Bf 109F-4 in climb rate, but in speed, it lagged

behind at all altitudes. Compared to the less

powerful Bf 109F-2, it, of course, fared better.

The Hurricanes, with their top speed of 504 km/h

(313mph) at 6,096 m (20,000ft) and a climb to the

same height of between 7.5 min and 8.2 min, were

already significantly behind the Messerschmitts

and were not equal term opponents for them.

Photo: SDASM


This image was taken in late 1942 at the El Daba base scrap yard. In the foreground on the right are the fuselages

of Bf 109 Fs from II. and III./JG 27.

June 2023