Bf 109T Kai
|Coastal Defense Ship||Destroyer|
|Light Cruiser||Torpedo Cruiser|
|Heavy Cruiser||Training Cruiser|
|Aviation Cruiser||Fast Battleship|
|Light Carrier||Standard Aircraft Carrier|
|Armored Carrier||Seaplane Tender|
|Submarine||Aircraft Carrying Submarine|
|Submarine Tender||Fleet Oiler|
|Repair Ship||Amphibious Assault Ship|
The Bf109 is a mainstay fighter developed and mass-produced from a certain country. It was known as the Messerschmitt and for its exploits in European skies. A carrier version was developed using the E variant as a base. It has the capabilities of being a very good Combat Air Patrol fighter
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In late 1930s, Kriegsmarine leadership had plans of building 2 first German aircraft carriers – “Graf Zeppelin” and “Peter Strasser”. In this regard, W. Messerschmitt’s company got a task to develop special carrier-based version of Bf.109, meanwhile “Junkers” was working on carrier-based variant of Ju.87 (future Ju.87C). These planes were supposed to create first carrier air wing, and later the second.
In early 1939, Willy Messerschmitt offered Kriegsmarine project of carrier-based fighter Bf.109T (Träger – carrier). In design it was close to Bf.109E, but had more wingspan and wing surface area. According to this, ailerons and slats became longer, also flaps had more surface area. Landing hook and catapult attachment were mounted, plane structure was improved in these places due to higher loads. Wing consoles could be folded manually, wingspan in folded wing position was decreased to 4,1m, but process of folding consoles was hard work because it had required to detach flaps parts firstly. Bf.109T project was approved, but pre-production prototypes were produced by “Fieseler”. 10 Bf.109E-1 airframes were redesigned into Bf.109T-0, lately “Fieseler” received an order for producing 60 more Bf.109T-1.
Bf.109T-0 planes had DB-601A engines inside. For increasing possible angle of attack when landing, on the top of wing were installed extra spoilers. More pressure load during landing required stronger landing gears. After tests in Travemünde in winter 1939-1940, they were supposed to be transferred for army tests to 1I/JG186. However, all processes of building “Graf Zeppelin” after beginning of the WWII were stopped, because the only aircraft carrier couldn’t have enough combat power.
Assembling of Bf.109T-1 fighters on “Fieseler” factory was stopped soon after end of “Graf Zeppelin” building. But successful usage of British aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean Sea in the end of 1940 again got the attention of German command to this type of ships. “Fieseler” got the job to finish producing 60 Bf.109T, but without equipment for carrier operations. These planes were manufactured in fighter-bomber variant with possibility to be operated on short runways.
Hooks and catapult attachments were removed, mounts for 300 liter external tanks, 4x50kg or 1x250kg bombs were installed. This modification, produced in spring of 1941, was called Bf.109T-2. T-2 version received DB-601N engine. With 2800kg of takeoff weight, Bf.109T-2 had 500m of taking off distance. Its minimal flight speed was 120km/h, landing speed – 130km/h.
Such planes were good for basing on small temporary airfields, typical for north areas of Europe. In particular, Bf.109T-2 fighters were transferred to I/JG77, which was basing near Stavanger. Replacement Bf.109E-3 with Bf.109T-2 was started in June 1941, but one group was sent to Trondheim (later it was called as “special Trondheim group”). 24th January, 1942, 1/JG.77, still with Bf.109T-2, changed name to I/JG5. Soon after this, 3rd group was moved to Herdla island, near Bergen, where was built a runway, bit longer than carrier’s flight deck, made of wood.
In March of 1942, the attempt of battleship “Tirpitz” with small amount of other forces to attack north convoys to Murmansk was failed due to being spotted by enemy’s submarines, but big role played lack of fighter cover of German squadron. As a result, admiral Raeder one more time queried necessity of continuing building “Graf Zeppelin”. Order of resuming building came on 13th May 1942, but for that time Bf.109T-2 was counted as outdated.Great takeoff and land parameters of Bf.109T-2 made all remaining aircrafts being transferred to “Helgoland fighter squadron”, which was formed on 10th April 1943 on island with similar name. About 30 Bf.109T-2 fighters were on duty in Air Fleet “Reich” until summer of 1944, then they were moved to 1V/JG5.
- AirWar article about history of Bf.109T (Russian language)
- Specification of Bf.109T-2