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Messerschmitt Bf 109 with Me 163-style skid landing gear?

newsdeskdan

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Looking at this letter from Willy Messerschmitt to Roluf Lucht, dated November 29, 1940, it appears as though he's saying plans have been drawn up to give the Bf 109 'stick on' undercarriage wheels for take-off but skids for landing (or is he talking about the Bf 110?). And does anyone know what 'Aurol' is? I'm not entirely sure I understand what he's saying about very small wings/catapult take-off/parachute landing either! Am I reading this wrong?

Messerschmitt 1.jpg

Messerschmitt 2.jpg
 

Grey Havoc

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Something being developed for field use in the then being planned Operation Barbarossa perhaps?
 

newsdeskdan

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Something being developed for field use in the then being planned Operation Barbarossa perhaps?

Messerschmitt was all about speed. If you could swap a wheeled undercarriage for a lightweight skid, you would save a lot of weight, making the aircraft that much lighter and therefore faster. He seems to be saying that even greater speeds could be achieved by giving the aircraft tiny wings. But this would require a catapulted take-off and for the aircraft to land while dangling from a parachute!?!
 

newsdeskdan

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"Aurol" was hydrogen superperoxide (H2O2) rocket fuel.

So it was being investigated whether the Bf 110's rate of climb could be improved with rocket thrust, but the effort was too great with too little return.
 

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I wonder if they were trying to counter potential British and/or Soviet high altitude reconnaissance aircraft on the cheap, so to speak? Though that likely would have required more modifications than discussed in the letter.
 

newsdeskdan

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I wonder if they were trying to counter potential British and/or Soviet high altitude reconnaissance aircraft on the cheap, so to speak? Though that likely would have required more modifications than discussed in the letter.

I don't think high-altitude British recce aircraft were the problem they would later become at this stage in the war! As I said, I think Messerschmitt was just looking for a speed advantage. The Me 163 V4 hadn't flown by this point but a Walter rocket unit had been tested in the DFS 194 about three months earlier, I believe.
 

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The part about the Me 110 with Aurol fuel additives was a secondary theme in this document. It
should give the 110 better climbing speed after dropping the bomb load, but wasn't regarded
as really worthwhile by Willy, because it would need too much Aurol to bring apprecciable
improvements.
Seems to me, that the aim was a Me 109 as a fighter bomber with superior performance, compared to
allied aircraft, as it is mentioned explicitely, that ".. for such an aircraft even climbing speed and ceiling
after dropping the bombload would be sufficient, if armament would be reduced.
It should get smaller wings and jettisonable wheels for taxying, for landing it would have an retractable
skid. As the next step, even smaller wings are mentioned, necessitating, that the aircraft would be launched
via a catapult and "landed" via a big (!) parachute. Those modifications were regarded as necessary, to provide
"at least a small number" of aircraft, highly superior to the allies.
 

newsdeskdan

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The part about the Me 110 with Aurol fuel additives was a secondary theme in this document. It
should give the 110 better climbing speed after dropping the bomb load, but wasn't regarded
as really worthwhile by Willy, because it would need too much Aurol to bring apprecciable
improvements.
Seems to me, that the aim was a Me 109 as a fighter bomber with superior performance, compared to
allied aircraft, as it is mentioned explicitely, that ".. for such an aircraft even climbing speed and ceiling
after dropping the bombload would be sufficient, if armament would be reduced.
It should get smaller wings and jettisonable wheels for taxying, for landing it would have an retractable
skid. As the next step, even smaller wings are mentioned, necessitating, that the aircraft would be launched
via a catapult and "landed" via a big (!) parachute. Those modifications were regarded as necessary, to provide
"at least a small number" of aircraft, highly superior to the allies.

This seems like a newly discovered Bf 109 project to me! Unless anyone else has ever heard of anything like this?
 

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The part about the Me 110 with Aurol fuel additives was a secondary theme in this document. It
should give the 110 better climbing speed after dropping the bomb load, but wasn't regarded
as really worthwhile by Willy, because it would need too much Aurol to bring apprecciable
improvements.
Seems to me, that the aim was a Me 109 as a fighter bomber with superior performance, compared to
allied aircraft, as it is mentioned explicitely, that ".. for such an aircraft even climbing speed and ceiling
after dropping the bombload would be sufficient, if armament would be reduced.
It should get smaller wings and jettisonable wheels for taxying, for landing it would have an retractable
skid. As the next step, even smaller wings are mentioned, necessitating, that the aircraft would be launched
via a catapult and "landed" via a big (!) parachute. Those modifications were regarded as necessary, to provide
"at least a small number" of aircraft, highly superior to the allies.

This seems like a newly discovered Bf 109 project to me! Unless anyone else has ever heard of anything like this
 

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Maybe I'm missing something quite fundamental, but I can't imagine how a 109 with skids would work without writing off a propeller after every landing.
 

Michel Van

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The text is odd
Messerschmitt proposed to Lucht

A modified Me109 with reduced Wing surface
reduce armament
Remove the landing gear and replace with skids
to save weight
launch by Catapult and landing with parachute

sound to me more like a interceptor as Bomber
you known like this one

320px-Air_Min_210_Unmarked_%2826871839176%29.jpg
 

newsdeskdan

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Maybe I'm missing something quite fundamental, but I can't imagine how a 109 with skids would work without writing off a propeller after every landing.

It brings to mind that picture of an Me 209 wind tunnel model, mislabelled as an early Me 262 in 'Me 262 Volume One' by Smith and Creek, which had a pair of skids rather than a wheeled undercarriage.
 

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Probably you meant Me 309 ?

At least I don't see a 209 in that wind tunnel model.
The tail is different from a 209.
The distance between cockpit and tail is much shorter in a 209 than that model.
A 209 does not have a bubble canopy and does not have radiators under the wing.

It looks like a 309 although a 309 does not have radiators under the wings either, but under the fuselage, at least as far as I have seen, but maybe originally it was the intention to have them under the wings.
 

sienar

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Probably you meant Me 309 ?

At least I don't see a 209 in that wind tunnel model.
The tail is different from a 209.
The distance between cockpit and tail is much shorter in a 209 than that model.
A 209 does not have a bubble canopy and does not have radiators under the wing.

It looks like a 309 although a 309 does not have radiators under the wings either, but under the fuselage, at least as far as I have seen, but maybe originally it was the intention to have them under the wings.

The 209 went through significant revisions until ending up with a conventional tail and glass house canopy over the wing.
 

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Probably you meant Me 309 ?

At least I don't see a 209 in that wind tunnel model.
The tail is different from a 209.
The distance between cockpit and tail is much shorter in a 209 than that model.
A 209 does not have a bubble canopy and does not have radiators under the wing.

It looks like a 309 although a 309 does not have radiators under the wings either, but under the fuselage, at least as far as I have seen, but maybe originally it was the intention to have them under the wings.
What are you thinking about is the tiny Me 209 V1/V3 (aka Bf 109 R) meant as record breaking machines. and their armed cousin Me 209 V4. V5 was a completely different beast, looking like a child of Bf 109 G and Fw 192 D. The Me 209 was basically a second usage of the designation, not a hint at common lineage. Me 309 is another development along thel lines of Me 209 V5.
 

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The Me 209 V5 did not have a bubble canopy, and moreover had a less streamlined nose than the wind tunnel model or the Me 309.
 

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Sure. If by "less streamlined nose" you mean frontal radiator (did you notice that Fw 192 D I mentioned?). Me 309 is still an evolution of Me 206 V5.
 

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Dagger

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So now you guys are saying that the wind tunnel model indeed is not a Me 209 V5 but some further evolution of that?

But it still can't be an Me 309, or if it is, it does not count because the 309 was merely a further evolution of the 209 ?

If it looks like a duck and it flies like a duck it is a duck, in this case a 309.


BTW: for those not familiar with the Smith & Creek Me 262 book, the image Numériser 3 2-1.jpeg is the same as the image of the wind tunnel model that Dan was referring to.
 

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So now you guys are saying that the wind tunnel model indeed is not a Me 209 V5 but some further evolution of that?

But it still can't be an Me 309, or if it is, it does not count because the 309 was merely a further evolution of the 209 ?

If it looks like a duck and it flies like a duck it is a duck, in this case a 309.


BTW: for those not familiar with the Smith & Creek Me 262 book, the image Numériser 3 2-1.jpeg is the same as the image of the wind tunnel model that Dan was referring to.

I meant Me 209. Based on what I've been able to find from archival material, it would appear that development of the original Me 209 as a fighter continued into the summer of 1941, with the design evolving further and further away from the original 'racer' look. The fuselage was lengthened, the tail was changed etc. Many different configurations were tried.
The project seems to have been largely dormant during 1942 but in early 1943 it was revived (some sources, such as Ebert/Kaiser/Peters, say the 209 designation alone was revived in 1942 as a new project - but I can't seem to find anything on the 209 in 1942). All the data on the Me 209 V1-V4 was reviewed and re-examined. There are hundreds of pages of notes from early 1943 showing drawings of the Me 209 V1's wings, tail, fuselage etc. as well as those of the V4, right alongside drawings of the V5.
It seems to have become apparant that the original Me 209 had now evolved to a point where the same effect could be achieved while utilising many existing Bf 109 components. So going into 1943, what became the Me 209 V5 emerged. Although the Me 209 V5 looked like a Bf 109 spin-off, or perhaps a bit like an Me 309, it was actually (bizarrely) the product of a continuous line of development from the original Me 209 that first flew in 1938.
The images posted by Richard B as 'Numeriser 3 2-1' and 'Numeriser' are from the same DVL wind tunnel test report (see microfilm scan below), which concerns the Me 209. 'Numeriser' is a drawing of the model shown in 'Numeriser 3 2-1'.
The Me 309, with tricycle undercarriage, was a separate line of development - although there was certainly some crossover between the 109, 209 and 309 in terms of aerodynamics and common components.

209.jpg
 
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newsdeskdan

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Incidentally, here's a page from a report on Me 209 model testing produced during August 1941. There is lots of material like this. The commonly accepted idea that the original Me 209 programme ended in 1940 turns out to be completely wrong.

209 2.jpg
 
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Interesting material, Dan.
So if the same model photos appear in a DVL test report concerning the Me 209 then the model should have been some sort of 209 variant.

The reason that I assumed it was a 309 is because none of the 209 drawings and photos that I have ever seen matches the model, while the 309 does. That includes the Me 209V14 drawing from Myhra's book (and posted here above) which is not the same as the model because of its tail:
the 209V14 has its horizontal stabilizer much lower than the model and the 309,
and the 209V14 has a bump under its tail which the model and the 309 do not have.
 

newsdeskdan

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Interesting material, Dan.
So if the same model photos appear in a DVL test report concerning the Me 209 then the model should have been some sort of 209 variant.

The reason that I assumed it was a 309 is because none of the 209 drawings and photos that I have ever seen matches the model, while the 309 does. That includes the Me 209V14 drawing from Myhra's book (and posted here above) which is not the same as the model because of its tail:
the 209V14 has its horizontal stabilizer much lower than the model and the 309,
and the 209V14 has a bump under its tail which the model and the 309 do not have.

One of these days (but not anytime soon - I'm working on medium and heavy bombers at the moment) I'll get around to writing Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe Volume 3: Piston Engine Fighters (or Volume 4, depending on whether I do Ground-Attack and Fast Bombers next), and I'll be able to show you the dozens of Me 209 development drawings and sketches I've accumulated. That DVL report on the Me 209 is actually pretty common - I've found three copies of it in different places, two on microfilm and one in hard copy format, which is why it's particularly surprising that anyone would think the model is anything other than an Me 209! The report itself is, as the preface note says, 75 pages long and most of those pages are filled with dozens (possibly hundreds) of photographs of the same (or different but identical) model from incrementally different angles with air being blown over it - which you can tell by the direction of little fibres attached to it.
 
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Dagger

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[quote}One of these days ............ I'll get around to writing Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe Volume 3: Piston Engine Fighters .............. and I'll be able to show you the dozens of Me 209 development drawings and sketches I've accumulated.[/quote]

Sounds great.

Or maybe you could do a separate book on the Me 209 plus Me 309 in the same series as your books on the BV 155 and He 162, and the still to be released book on the Me 262.
 

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[quote}One of these days ............ I'll get around to writing Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe Volume 3: Piston Engine Fighters .............. and I'll be able to show you the dozens of Me 209 development drawings and sketches I've accumulated.

Sounds great.

Or maybe you could do a separate book on the Me 209 plus Me 309 in the same series as your books on the BV 155 and He 162, and the still to be released book on the Me 262.
[/QUOTE]

I would be difficult to do a full book on the Me 209 and 309, even incorporating all those dozens of drawings. One of those books typically needs about 120-150 images and I'm not sure I have quite enough. Also, the fate of the Me 209 and 309 is really intertwined with that of the Bf 109 G, Fw 190 D (the original late 1942-early 1943 D, not the D-9+ series of 1944), Ta 153 and Ta 152. The 8-155 had just enough of its own separate development history, particularly once it got into the hands of Blohm & Voss, to make it worthwhile extracting it from the morass of Messerschmitt projects.
 

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Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe Volume 3: Piston Engine Fighters (or Volume 4, depending on whether I do Ground-Attack and Fast Bombers next)

Interesting material, Dan.
So if the same model photos appear in a DVL test report concerning the Me 209 then the model should have been some sort of 209 variant.

The reason that I assumed it was a 309 is because none of the 209 drawings and photos that I have ever seen matches the model, while the 309 does. That includes the Me 209V14 drawing from Myhra's book (and posted here above) which is not the same as the model because of its tail:
the 209V14 has its horizontal stabilizer much lower than the model and the 309,
and the 209V14 has a bump under its tail which the model and the 309 do not have.

One of these days (but not anytime soon - I'm working on medium and heavy bombers at the moment) I'll get around to writing Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe Volume 3: Piston Engine Fighters (or Volume 4, depending on whether I do Ground-Attack and Fast Bombers next), and I'll be able to show you the dozens of Me 209 development drawings and sketches I've accumulated. That DVL report on the Me 209 is actually pretty common - I've found three copies of it in different places, two on microfilm and one in hard copy format, which is why it's particularly surprising that anyone would think the model is anything other than an Me 209! The report itself is, as the preface note says, 75 pages long and most of those pages are filled with dozens (possibly hundreds) of photographs of the same (or different but identical) model from incrementally different angles with air being blown over it - which you can tell by the direction of little fibres attached to it.
Dan, I strongly urge you to do a 4th volume on ground attack and fast bombers, as well a 5th on miscillaneous types (floatplanes, cargo, reconnaissance, etc.).
 

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This is maybe a predictable question; most books say the 209 started off as a record breaker that Messerschmitt tried turning into a fighter. There are a couple works I know of that make a very different claim, that the 209 was meant as a fighter from the earliest design studies and the high speed variant was Mess doing the same sort of thing as Heinkel was with the 100. Which is true?

Also if you/when you get around to making a piston fighter tome please don't overlook the pre-war developments.
 

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How much work was done on the original naval fighter version of the 155?

Everything it's possible to say about it - which isn't very much - is in my book.
Welp, I walked right into that one. Not blaming you or anything, I have my own book about to be printed so I'm going to have to say this sort of thing myself.

Thank goodness I had $20 to spare. Looking forward to reading it.
 

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This is maybe a predictable question; most books say the 209 started off as a record breaker that Messerschmitt tried turning into a fighter. There are a couple works I know of that make a very different claim, that the 209 was meant as a fighter from the earliest design studies and the high speed variant was Mess doing the same sort of thing as Heinkel was with the 100. Which is true?

Also if you/when you get around to making a piston fighter tome please don't overlook the pre-war developments.

I have a few interesting pre-war bits and pieces which I believe no one still living, except me, has seen. However, clearly there were a lot of pre-war projects which haven't survived or have survived only as very brief mentions. It would be impossible to offer anything comprehensive about, for example, the development process and projects leading up to the Ar 80.
Regarding the Me 209, I haven't ever had cause to seek an answer to that question, and doing so now would require more time than I have available. I'll no doubt get to it in due course.
If I had to guess, and it would only be a guess, I would think that Messerschmitt did always intend for it to be a fighter - fitted with a much more durable engine.
 

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How much work was done on the original naval fighter version of the 155?

Everything it's possible to say about it - which isn't very much - is in my book.
Welp, I walked right into that one. Not blaming you or anything, I have my own book about to be printed so I'm going to have to say this sort of thing myself.

Thank goodness I had $20 to spare. Looking forward to reading it.

What's your book - will it be available on Amazon?
 

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Interesting material, Dan.
So if the same model photos appear in a DVL test report concerning the Me 209 then the model should have been some sort of 209 variant.

The reason that I assumed it was a 309 is because none of the 209 drawings and photos that I have ever seen matches the model, while the 309 does. That includes the Me 209V14 drawing from Myhra's book (and posted here above) which is not the same as the model because of its tail:
the 209V14 has its horizontal stabilizer much lower than the model and the 309,
and the 209V14 has a bump under its tail which the model and the 309 do not have.

One of these days (but not anytime soon - I'm working on medium and heavy bombers at the moment) I'll get around to writing Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe Volume 3: Piston Engine Fighters (or Volume 4, depending on whether I do Ground-Attack and Fast Bombers next), and I'll be able to show you the dozens of Me 209 development drawings and sketches I've accumulated. That DVL report on the Me 209 is actually pretty common - I've found three copies of it in different places, two on microfilm and one in hard copy format, which is why it's particularly surprising that anyone would think the model is anything other than an Me 209! The report itself is, as the preface note says, 75 pages long and most of those pages are filled with dozens (possibly hundreds) of photographs of the same (or different but identical) model from incrementally different angles with air being blown over it - which you can tell by the direction of little fibres attached to it.
Ground-Attack & Fast bombers would be absolutely great.
 

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The 209 went through significant revisions until ending up with a conventional tail and glass house canopy over the wing.
https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/me-209-variants-projects.5662/page-2 #44 and 47

Evolution of the Me 209

The landing gear on the model does not look like a skid undercarriage of the Me163 type. I suspect that the model was testing the aerodynamics of skis intended for snow landings. Wind tunnel models made for one test program are frequently reused later. So a development model for an Me209 study might easily have been adapted for a study of skis. I think I recall seeing a Bf109E model that had been modified in this way.
 

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The part about the Me 110 with Aurol fuel additives was a secondary theme in this document. It
should give the 110 better climbing speed after dropping the bomb load, but wasn't regarded
as really worthwhile by Willy, because it would need too much Aurol to bring apprecciable
improvements.
Seems to me, that the aim was a Me 109 as a fighter bomber with superior performance, compared to
allied aircraft, as it is mentioned explicitely, that ".. for such an aircraft even climbing speed and ceiling
after dropping the bombload would be sufficient, if armament would be reduced.
It should get smaller wings and jettisonable wheels for taxying, for landing it would have an retractable
skid. As the next step, even smaller wings are mentioned, necessitating, that the aircraft would be launched
via a catapult and "landed" via a big (!) parachute. Those modifications were regarded as necessary, to provide
"at least a small number" of aircraft, highly superior to the allies.

This seems like a newly discovered Bf 109 project to me! Unless anyone else has ever heard of anything like this?

I do not read German. But based on the translation, I think GTX is correct. This sounds just like the Hu136. It is hard to see how anything remotely related to a Bf109 could have these characteristics.
 

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