Messerschmitt Bf 110D

Bf 110B | Bf 110C | Bf 110D | Bf 110E | Bf 110F | Bf 110G | Bf 110H

The Bf 110D was a long range version of the Bf 110C. It was developed in part to deal with the long distances involved in the campaign in Norway, and also to give it a longer effective range as an anti-shipping aircraft. It operated against the last British and French positions in the far north of Norway, and was also used in long range raids against northern Britain, although only made one daylight raid.

D-1/R-1

This was the first attempt at producing a long range version of the Bf 110. It had a massive 1200 litre/ 198 gallon external belly tank below the fuselage. This had a massive impact on the aircraft’s performance. Only the second rate nature of most of the allied aircraft in Norway, where the D-1 first served, saved it from disaster. The D-1/R-1 entered service in May 1940.

D-1/R2

The large belly tank on the D-1/R-1 made it very vulnerable to allied fighters. Accordingly, on the R2 the fixed tank was replaced by two 900 litre/ 198 imperial gallon drop tanks, carried under the outside wings. This gave the aircraft an even longer range, but improved the performance, and allowed for the jettisoning of the tanks when needed.

D-2

The D-2 carried both the ETC 500 bomb rack, capable of taking two 1102 lb/ 500 kg bombs, and two wing mounted 66 imperial gallon drop tanks.

D-3

Messerschmitt Bf 110 from the left
Messerschmitt Bf 110 from the left

The D-3 was a long range shipping patrol version. It could carry two drop tanks, of either the 900 litre/ 198 gallon size or the 300 litre/ 66 gallon size. It could also take the ETC 500 bomb rack. Space was made in the fuselage for a two man life raft, in case the aircraft was shot down while far out to sea.

Combat Record

Norway

The Bf 110D-1 first saw combat in Norway, where its increased range was essential for operations against the last British and French forces in the far north at Narvik. The first unit to be equipped with the D-1 was I./ZG 76. That unit was moved to Trondheim on 18 May, from where it launched long range attacks on Narvik. This was a four and half hour round trip, over 800 miles.

Battle of Britain

One of the most famous incidents involving the Bf 110D was the raid on the north of England launched from Norway on 15 August 1940, during the Battle of Britain. Goring was confident that the R.A.F. had been forced to move its entire fighter force south to deal with the attacks coming from France, and so on 15 August launched raids further north expecting to find little or no resistance. Instead, the raiders discovered No. 72 Squadron’s Spitfires, withdrawn from the battle over Kent to recover. Six Bf 110Ds were shot down, as were eight He 111 bombers. No more daylight raids were launched from Norway.

Messerschmitt Bf 110 Zerstorer Aces of World War 2 (Osprey Aircraft of the Aces), John Weal. This book concentrates on the career of the Bf 110 as a daylight fighter. At the start of the war the aircraft had an impressive reputation, which survived to the end of the French campaign but faded once the aircraft had to face modern fighters. Weal traces the story of the Bf 110 through to the final disastrous attempts to use it against American heavy bombers.
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Bf 110B | Bf 110C | Bf 110D | Bf 110E | Bf 110F | Bf 110G | Bf 110H

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How to cite this article:Rickard, J (14 March 2007), Messerschmitt Bf 110D, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_bf_110D.html

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