Bf 109F-4

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This aircraft page is in two sections:
World War II aircraft
Bf 109 F-4
Bf 109 F-4
Variant of Bf 109
Nickname Friedrich
Type Fighter/attacker
Country of origin Germany
Manufacturer Messerschmitt AG
Crew Single-Seat
how to edit

The Bf 109F-4 in World War II[edit]

Development[edit]

Unit Deployment[edit]

Variants[edit]

  • F-4 (DB 601E engine, armed with one 20mm MG 151/20 cannon and two 7.92mm MG 17s)
  • F-4/R1 (As F-4, but capable of mounting two 20mm MG 151/20 cannons in underwing gondolas)
  • F-4/Z (As F-4, high altitude fighter, with GM-1 boost)

Designation[edit]

Bf 109 was the official Reichsluftfahrtministerium (German Aviation Ministry, RLM) designation, since the design was submitted by the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke company, and was used exclusively in all official German documents dealing with this aircraft family. The company was renamed Messerschmitt AG after July 1938 when Erhard Milch finally allowed Willy Messerschmitt to acquire the company; from that date forward, all Messerschmitt aircraft were to carry the "Me" designation except those already assigned a Bf prefix. Wartime documents from Messerschmitt AG, RLM, and others continued to use both designations, sometimes even on the same page, but there were several RLM orders to deny acceptance of documents carrying the Me prefix for the Bf 109. Me 109 is known to have been the name used in print by Luftwaffe propaganda publications as well as by the Messerschmitt company itself after July 1938, and Luftwaffe personnel, who pronounced it may hundert-neun. The Me 109 ("emm ee one-oh-nine") designation was usually used in the English-speaking world. However, in both wartime and contemporary literature, both the "Bf" and "Me" as well as "ME" prefixes are used. All extant airframes are described as "Bf 109" on identification plates, including the final K-4 models.

Origins Of 109's Names[edit]

The nicknaming of the 109s Anton, Emil, Friedrich, Gustav, Kurfürst etc is based on the German phonetic alphabet of the day relating to the model letter of the aircraft: Anton, Berta, Caesar, Dora, Emil, Friedrich, Gustav, Heinrich, Ida, Josef ,Kurfürst, Ludwig, Martha, Nordpol, Otto, Paula, Quelle, Richard, Siegfried, Toni, Ulrich, Viktor, Wilhelm, Xantippe, Ypern, Zeppelin.

Hans Joachim Marseille[edit]

Marseille.jpg

Hans-Joachim Marseille (13 December 1919–30 September 1942) was a Luftwaffe fighter pilot and flying ace during World War II. He is noted for his aerial battles during the North African Campaign and his bohemian lifestyle. Arguably one of the best fighter pilots of World War II, he was nicknamed the "Star of Africa". Marseille claimed all but seven of his "official" 158 victories against the British Commonwealth's Desert Air Force over North Africa, flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter for his entire combat career. No other pilot destroyed as many Western Allied aircraft as Marseille. Marseille attacked under conditions many considered unfavourable, but his marksmanship allowed him to make an approach fast enough to escape the return fire of the two aircraft flying on either flank of the target. Marseille's excellent eyesight made it possible for him to spot the enemy before he was spotted, allowing him to take the appropriate action and manoeuvre himself into position for an attack.

In combat Marseille's unorthodox methods led him to operate in a small leader/wingman unit, which he believed to be the safest and most effective way of fighting in the high-visibility conditions of the North African skies. Marseille "worked" alone in combat keeping his wingman at a safe distance so he would not collide or fire on him in error.

"Marseille was the unrivalled virtuoso among the fighter pilots of World War 2. His achievements had previously been regarded as impossible and they were never excelled by anyone after his death." Adolf Galland

In a dogfight, in particularly when attacking Allied aircraft in a Lufbery circle, Marseille would often favour dramatically reducing the throttle and even lowering the flaps to reduce speed and shorten his turn radius, rather than the standard procedure of using full throttle throughout. Emil Clade said that none of the other pilots could do this effectively, preferring instead to dive on single opponents at speed so as to escape if anything went wrong. Clade said of Marseille's tactics:

Marseille developed his own special tactics, which differed significantly from the methods of most other pilots. (When attacking a Lufbery circle) he had to fly very slowly. He even took it to the point where he had to operate his landing flaps as not to fall down, because, of course he had to fly his curve (turns) more tightly than the upper defensive circle. He and his fighter were one unit, and he was in command of that aircraft like no-one else.

Marseille was killed in a flying accident, when an engine failure forced him to abandon his fighter. After he exited the smoke-filled cockpit, Marseille's chest struck the vertical stabiliser of his aircraft, either killing him instantly, or incapacitating him so that he was unable to open his parachute.

His grave bears a one-word epitaph " Undefeated ".

Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4/trop, W.Nr. 8673 - 3./JG 27 - Hans Joachim Marseille

External Links[edit]

Luftwaffe and Bf109 cockpit resource(German)

Hans-Joachim Marseille by Major Robert Tate, USAF

An excellent read, interview of Erich Hartmann

Possibly spurious yet highly captivating account of an American pilot's encounter with a German fighter ace beleived to be Hartmann

Aces High II aircraft
Bf 109F-4
Variant of Bf 109
Type Fighter/attacker
Crew 1
Index 14
Aces High II loadout options
Package 1 2x 7.92mm machine guns, 500 rounds/gun
1x 20mm cannon, 150 or 200 rounds
Options 1x 300 liter drop tank
Aces High II Main Arenas
Earliest MA Early War
Typical perk cost 0 (Late War)
ENY value 30 (Late War)
Available on carrier no
how to edit

The Bf 109F-4 in Aces High II[edit]

Perhaps the Bf109F-4 is one of the best versions of 109 although people will always argue that. Some say it is the best combination of characteristics for the 109 series, many of which changed not necessarily for the better in later versions. It has a spinner mounted MG151 cannon and twin 7.9mm cowl guns, the classic layout for following versions. The engine power was upgraded but the weight didn't increase enough to deteriorate performance to seriously. It left a plane that was still nimble, fairly powerful, and with a good punch.

The Bf109F-4 is a good fighter and quite misunderstood. While people often relate all 109 variants to performance like the late models, especially the G14, this one is nimble and can quickly suprise unwary opponents. It's more than 400lbs lighter than the G2 which gives a tremendous advantage in sustained turn-rate and all areas of handling. Putting the guns in the nose made them much easier to aim and the upgrade to the Mg151 from the MGFF gave better ballistics.

Engine Power[edit]

The engine power is a little weak against most opponents you will face but is still pretty good. Climb rate tends to be better than many aircraft though and is well sustained right up to high altitudes. Top speed is a little low at most altitudes so you aren't likely to find yourself being able to pursue or retreat from most opponents if a straight chase. Acceleration is good though and the WEP lasts a long time so maximum use of WEP is not usually a problem. WEP is a key too, the 109s all have long lasting WEP and it significantly adds to their performance but that comes at the price of increased fuel burn rate.

Aces High II Performance Charts[edit]

Bf 109F-4 speed chart Bf 109F-4 climb chart

Firepower[edit]

The firepower of the F-4 is pretty average by 109 standards and not all that great, although the packaging is good. The nose mounted Mg151 has 150 or 200 rounds which is pretty good, and being mounted directly in front of the pilot it tends to make aiming easier. Convergence is not an issue and the cowl guns can be set out to the maximum of D650. The cowl guns are not very effective though, being small calibre, and once you are out of cannon rounds you should pretty much consider reloading before attempting to attack anyone else. On the F4 the costs are manageable but it's probably better not to take the gondolas unless you are expecting to have to take a lot of crossing or snap-shots, or will be attacking bombers (for which they are a must).

Maneuverability[edit]

Maneuverability is very good and certainly the class of the 109 field (though the E tends to feel about the same). The extra power of the F model allows it to sustain better turn rates than the E while the instantaneous turn is also good at speed. Roll rate is a little weak and can be exploited by good rollers so be careful. Speed really affects handling on most 109s though the F-4 is quite forgiving until you get to high speeds in excess of about 425mph at which time the roll and pitch become barely effective. Still, the F-4 can give a lot of good turners a real run for their money and if someone underestimates you as a G14 you are going to shock him with your great turn rate.

Flap speeds are 195, 185, 175, 165, and 155 IAS.

Fighting in the Bf 109F-4[edit]

Your greatest advantage is the fact that a lot of people are going to think you are flying a 109G14, something that turns more like a dumptruck in heavy configurations (which lots of people fly). Instead, the 109F4 is very light and can give even a Spitfire a bit of trouble in a turn-fight at medium speeds. As speeds get slower the Spitfire will start to enjoy more advantage so try and keep to a comfortable 250-350mph range. You will need to take shorter ranged shots or keep in tracking situations for a little longer than with a multi-cannon plane but the F4 has the turn-rate to maintain position for periods of time that should be long enough. Top speed is not great so plan your exits from fights a little earlier and use your good climb rate and long WEP duration to maximize the length of time you can stay at maximum performance.

Trim in a 109 is an important consideration and becoming familiar with the full range of trim available and knowing when to use it largely removes the 109's weakness of poor control response at high speed. Whenever your speed falls to a controllable level you can quickly restore normal trim settings using CTRL+X. Trim can be used as a supplement to stick input and with a bit of practice can be used instinctively to accurately aim the 109 or stay on a cons 6 at high speed. The trim keys are:

Elevator up = K Elevator down = I Rudder left = J Rudder right = L Aileron left = M Aileron right = , (comma key)

Note: trimming does not add extra turning ability, trimming is done in Aces High by moving your existing control surfaces not by adjusting trim tabs. Trim only overcomes the simulated heavy control surfaces at high speeds.

Fighting against the Bf 109F-4[edit]

The F4 can be slippery, it has some decent power and acceleration. It climbs pretty well and turns ok too, plus packs a reasonable amount of speed though can't be considered a real speed demon by any stretch. The cannon is effective so you don't want to give him close-range snapshots or any sort of tracking shot if you can help it because no planes in AH can really stand up to 20mm hits for long. The 20mm Mg151 is not great at distance like the Hispanos though so anything over about D550 is a fairly difficult shot against any sort of maneuvering target.

To identify the F4, look for the yellow tail (rudder) and relative lack of nose art (in the form of shaped or yellow bands). The F4 can be a difficult plane to identify quickly and as such can leave you thinking it is a less maneuverable version only to prove you quickly wrong.

To defeat the F4 you need to quickly identify it and then not get into turning fights unless you are in a very good turner. The F4 can easily turn with planes like the P-51 at most speeds and cen even give Spitfires a problem until the fight slows down. The top speed is generally a little low though so you can probably expect you can have a speed advantage at most altitudes if you keep your speed up. Take any shot you can on a F4, they are not terribly tough and have a tendency to lose elevators, ailerons and the rudder. This 109 doesn't have the option to pack a 30mm cannon so when only armed with one 20mm you can often win a HO engagement but you need to break off and let longer ranges guns (Hispanos or multiple 50s) do their work from long range (D800) and then break off before he retaliates at short range (D400).

To defend against a F4 you need to exploit either a superiority in speed or maneuverability, as most planes will have one or another. Typically a speed advantage is more likely if you are flying planes like the P-51. The F4 does not perform well at high speeds, especially those in excess of 450mph where it can become all but uncontrollable. If you have a F4 diving on you try and increase the speeds to the point where it will force him to pursue you at speeds over 500mph. At those speeds the only thing a 109 driver can attempt is recovery because the controls will be locked up in what can become a terminal dive. Always try and keep the firepower of the 109 at arm's length - the 20mm cannon can hurt and has a good amount of ammunition but it tends to take a lot of time before enough rounds can be fired to kill an opponent. Aiming is very easy for him though as the guns are center mounted and convergence will never be an issue. If you hear the small cowl guns hitting you don't dive lower as that is likely where the 20mms are passing. If you can sucker the 109 into an overspeed dive though, over 500mph, you pretty much ensure your ability to escape as the 109 will be fighting to just regain control. Always remember that the 109s all share fairly poor views from the cockpit with lots of frames in the windows that obstruct vision. if you can slip into these blind spots you might not be noticed.

External Links[edit]

Soda's Aircraft Evaluations

Aces High Fighter Perfomance Comparison