Messerschmitt Bf 110 F

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

Soon after the introduction of the Bf 110E it was superseded by the F series, which appeared in the summer of 1941. This version used the DB 601F engine, rated at 1,350 hp, giving it a significant performance boost, which helped to make up for the ever increasing equipment load needed as the war went on. This model also saw the installation of 57mm thick bullet resistant glass in the wind screen, to provide extra protection for the pilot. On the F series the 66 imperial gallon drop tanks used as an option on earlier versions became a standard fixture.

The F series was initially expected to replaced by the Me 210. When that aircraft failed, the Bf 110G series was developed, but that aircraft was delayed by problems with the DB 605 engine, and so the Bf 110F remained in service with the Luftwaffe to the end of the war, although in ever-decreasing numbers as losses mounted. Production of the F series was actually cancelled at the end of 1941, coming to a temporary halt in December 1941. However, the cancellation of the Me 210 forced a rethink, and production resumed by February 1942.

F-1

The fighter-bomber version of the Bf 110F. This carried one ETC 500 bomb rack under the fuselage and four ETC 50 bomb racks under the wings.

F-2

A throw-back to the original Zerstörer idea, the F-2 had the bomb racks removed to improve performance. Later versions were armed with four 21 cm WG 21 rockets under the wings. It was hoped that this weapon would help against allied heavy bombers. The F-2 could reach a maximum speed of 335 mph at 23,000 feet.

F-3

A reconnaissance version, wit the MG-FF cannon removed and a camera mounted in the floor of the cockpit.

F-4

The F-4 was the first version of the Bf 110 to be designed specifically as a night fighter. It was something of a stop gap measure, designed to provide the Luftwaffe with an improved night fighter in the gap before the Bf 110G-4 would be ready. The F-4 was expected to be equipped with the FuG 202 Lichtenstein aerial interception radar, and after some delays radar equipped F-4s entered service in the late summer of 1942. The G-4 did not appear until February 1945, but soon became the standard model, with over 1,850 being produced before production ended in February 1945.

F-4/U1

The F-4/U1 had twin upward firing cannon fitted in the rear of the observer’s cockpit. This allowed the pilot to fly underneath a British heavy bomber and fire into the vulnerable areas while limiting the danger from the bomber’s own guns. A good pilot could often fire straight into the fuel tanks of the bomber. This modification was known as Schräge Musik (Jazz).

Combat Record

The Bf 110F performed the same roles as the earlier C and E models and continued to be produced in parallel with the G model. The Bf 110F-4 performed reasonably as a night fighter before the arrival of the G-4, although it was not quite as flexible as the later model.

Stats

 

Bf 110F-4

Engine

2 DB 501F at 1350 hp each

Max speed

311 mph at 14,760

Cruising speed

278 mph at sea level

Ceiling

35,760 fett

Range

745 miles

Arms

Two 20mm MF FF cannon plus four MG 17s forward, one 7.9mm backwards

Radar

FuG 202

Other

66 gallon drop tanks standard

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 110 F, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_bf_110F.html

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