Messerschmitt Bf 110E

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

1941 saw a low point in production of the Bf 110, with Me 210 expected to replace it during the year. Despite this two new versions appeared during the year. The first was the Bf 110E, powered by the DB 601N engine. This version appeared in the early spring of 1941. The 110E had a short production run, being replaced by the more powerful Bf 110F in the summer of 1941.

Variants

E-1

The E series was powered by the DB 601N engine. To take advantage of the extra power, four ETC 50 bomb racks were added under the wings. These could carry 110lbs/ 50 kg of bombs each, and combined with the ETC 500 rack under the fuselage (which could carry two 1102lb/ 500 kg bombs) to give the Bf 110E-1 a total bomb load of 2656 lb/ 1400 kg. 

E-1/U1

The E-1/U1 was modified to act as a night fighter. It was equipped with the Spanner Anlage passive infra red device, which gave the pilot a limited chance to spot the exhaust flare from British bombers. The British quickly acted to muffle that flare, removing the main heat source and rendering the passive infra red system almost useless.

E-1/U2

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

The second night fighter version, this time with provision for a third crew member to act as a full time rear-gunner, allowing the observer to concentrate on his other duties.

E-2

A minor update of the E-1 with improved internal fittings and equipment.

E-3

This was a reconnaissance version, with the MF-FF cannons and ventral bomb racks removed and a camera fitted in the floor of the cockpit. It could carry two drop tanks, in either 66 or 198 imperial gallon sizes.

Combat Record

The Bf 110E appeared too late to take part in the Battle of Britain. It did take part in the invasion of the Balkans, and in the invasion of Russia. However, it normally served alongside the Bf 110C, so details of those battles will be found in that article. It also served as a early night fighter, although the 110F was the first true night fighter.

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.
cover cover cover
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 110E, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_bf_110E.html

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