Messerschmitt Bf 109: The Design and Operational History

Messerschmitt Bf 109: The Design and Operational History

Product no.: 978-1-78155-586-6
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  • Covers development, production and service of the Bf 109 with the Luftwaffe
  • Includes details of the Bf 109 in service with every arm that operated the fighter, including post-war operations
  • With technical descriptions, every production variant is described
  • Includes details on prototypes, unbuilt projects and survivors, static and airworthy
  • Rare and unrecorded opinions of Allied pilots on the pros and cons of the Bf 109
  • Handsomely illustrated with high-quality photographs spanning over 80 years

More than 33,000 Messerschmitt Bf 109s were built between 1935 and 1945, making it the second-most produced warplane of all time. The Bf 109 was the mainstay of Luftwaffe fighter squadrons and the favoured choice of most fighter aces. Bf 109 pilots accounted for thousands of Allied aircraft with individual scores for some aces such as Erich Hartmann (352 kills) and Gerhard Barkhorn (301 kills) claiming hundreds of downed aircraft. The iconic Bf 109 saw service in Poland, the invasion of France and the Battle of Britain in 1940. Although gradually becoming obsolete, the Bf 109 remained in large-scale production until the end of the war.

Apart from the Luftwaffe, Bf 109s were supplied to more than ten countries, including Finland, Hungary and Rumania. After the war, development and production continued in Czechoslovakia and Spain as the Avia S-199 and Hispano HA-1112 respectively, the latter powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. Incredibly, the state of Israel operated Czech-built Avia S-199s during its War of Independence in 1948-1949.


Jan Forsgren has an MA in History and specialises in Sweden’s relationship with Cambodia from 1975 to 1989; other academic merits include international law and archival science. He enjoys travelling, aviation history and previously contributed towards Fonthill Media with the critically acclaimed Sinking the Beast: The RAF 1944 Lancaster Raids Against Tirpitz and The Junkers Ju 52 Story.

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