In the late 1930s, the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM), made a request to Hermann Göring, to develop a new multipurpose fighter called the Kampfzerstörer (battle destroyer) with long range and an internal bomb bay. The request called for a twin-engine, three-seat, all-metal monoplane that was armed with cannon as well as a bomb bay. Of the original seven companies, only Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Messerschmitt), Focke-Wulf and Henschel responded to the request. The winner of the request was the Messerschmitt Bf110. Hermann Göring was a huge proponent of the Bf110 concept and provided Bavarian Flugzeugwerkes with the contracts necessary to to make the twin engine heavy fighter a success. The aircraft was designed for extended range and to excel in the ground attack role or Jabo.The Bf 110 served with considerable initial success in the early campaigns in Poland, Norway and France. But the shortcoming of the aircraft was its lack of contemporary fighter like maneuverability.
During the Battle of Britain the BF110 failed to meet up to its requestors expectations as it was used in the close fighter escort role only to become just as big a target as the JU87s, JU88s, HE111s and Do17s that they were sent to protect. Because of a very high number of loses to the Bf110, the aircraft was withdrawn from service over the British Isles. There were only 51 BF110 airframes that participated in the initial stage of Operation Barbarossa. The Bf110s served will in the ground attack role an even racked up a number of air to air kills. The BF110 in its early stages served in many theaters of war for the Luftwaffe as a fighter and ground attack aircraft, but pilot and airframe attrition began to weigh heavily upon the Zestorergeschwader (ZG) of the Luftwaffe that flew the BF110.
The Bf 110C-4b in Aces High II
The Bf110C-4b is a pretty rare aircraft to see in AH since the G2 model is far more popular and offers a lot more. A clearly inferior aircraft it is likely to see more use in scenarios and era matchups outside the main arena. Still, from time to time you may actually see one and might not even notice it isn't the G2 until you try and explain what seems to be a lack of performance. Unfortunately, the Bf110C-4b is going to be a plane that is so rare in the arena that when you actually find you you might not know whether to shoot it down or feel sorry for it. The Bf110-G2 model was an upgrade in almost every way and if such a dominant performer as an attack plane that there is little reason to take the less capable C4b. As a fighter the C4b is also badly out-classed and has little hope of survival unless the situation is highly in it's favor from the start.
Engine power is low and top speed at sea-level is only 300mph with WEP. This increases gradually to 345mph at 22K but that climb is long for only a ~50mph gain. Almost every fighter you encounter will have much better speed performance and several will have performance advantages so great that they would be difficult to overcome. To top off the issue, the WEP time on the early model engines is limited only only half that of the later model at ~5minutes. This is a larger handicap than you may think for something already lacking in power. Internal fuel range is longer than on the G2 although there are no options for packing some of this fuel externally in drop tanks.
Aces High II Performance Charts
Firepower is still good although the guns are earlier models that are not quite as capable or easy to aim. The nose mounts two 20mm MG/FF cannons matched with four 7.9mm MG17 guns. There is actually an error in the hanger that shows the guns being a package of 4 cannons, although it is actually only 2. Overall this isn't too bad and the nice clustering of the guns makes even the 7.9mm's fairly effective if they can be held on target for a second or two. Compared to later cannons though the MG/FF's are more difficult to aim and calculating the amount of bullet drop at medium ranges or longer is tough. Coming to this plane from something that .50's, for example, is sometimes a difficult transition. Externally there is only one option to carry two 250kg bombs which is awfully light for an attack plane.
Maneuverability is generally good as this Bf110 feels lighter than the later G2 version (15,000 vs. 17,000 pounds). though still isn't quite in a fighter class. Even a below average fighter should have little trouble out-turning the C4b once speeds start to slow down. Roll rate is fair although with a large wingspan (53+ ft) it takes a while to build up, or slow down, a rolling momentum. Dive is also good at medium speeds but by the time you get to 475mph you are going to be almost completely locked up and may not be able to pull out. This gives it a poor dive ability for escape or in chasing anyone who has a good diver.
Flap speeds are 200 (three first notches), 175, and 150 IAS.
Fighting in the Bf 110C-4b
Offensively, try and always have an altitude advantage because you will likely need that energy advantage to build up some position for a shot. Snapshots or deflection should be effective although you need to get a little closer to your prey than something with better ballistics in its guns. The cannons should be enough to get the job done if you can land hits and the quartet of 7.9mm guns can probably be effective too against something that isn't heavily armoured or overly tough. You need to keep a constant attention to your escape possibilities as the C4b has no tricks to help you out of a bad situation. Getting too aggressive or over-committing to a fight is not going to help you out much if you plan on actually landing the kills from the things you shot down.
Defensively the tail gun is not going to offer you much and your speed and maneuverability are not enough to make for an easy escape. It's probably best to not over-commit your situation and retreat at the first sign of changing situation. Lots of fancy pilot stuff can get you out of a jam but against an average or better pilot you are likely to find yourself in quickly over your head with few options. Overshoots are a possibility of you can orchestrate them and you should have the cannons and instantaneous maneuverability to take advantage of a situation like that.
As mentioned earlier, it is highly unlikely that you will see a Bf110C-4b and since it looks almost like a G2 in external appearance you might not even know you are facing one until you get the feeling the G2 is under-performing. Only a handful of C4b sorties are flown each month and I bet a lot of them are brought in only under very advantageous situation.
Fighting against the Bf 110C-4b
The Bf110C-4b is so rare that it's hard to give any tips on how to handle one. Add to that the fact that there is a reason it isn't popular, lack of any really redeeming quality, and it should be obvious that beating one shouldn't be all the much of a problem. The only real danger from a C4b is the nose guns which are heavy and easily enough to kill an opponent if given half a chance.
Offensively, you should be able to beat it in a number of ways as long as you stay away from the nose guns. Turn or energy fighting should work although you might want to be a little more careful in both cases. If you turn-fight then make sure you are keeping the fight tight and not allowing even brief snapshots. Same goes on the energy fight, build in a little separation in order to ensure no long range shots exist. No use giving the C4b any opportunity if you don't have to. In the case that things start to go badly, accelerate away and you should be able to leave the C4b in your dust.
Defensively, the C4b can bite you but shouldn't be able to force a fight long or corner you enough to prevent your escape. The C4b likely only has 1-2 aggressive passes in it before you can build up enough separation in order to break free. If you can, try and bleed some of the energy out of the Bf110 early as it is unlikely he can replace it. You may find that even 2 blown attacks may leave you in a position where you can change to the offense and prosecute the C4b to endgame. The C4b doesn't have the tools to really escape most opponents.
Soda's Aircraft Evaluations