List of Surviving Messerschmitt Bf 109s

List Of Surviving Messerschmitt Bf 109s

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a German World War II fighter aircraft. It was one of the first true modern fighters of the era, including such features as an all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, and retractable landing gear. The Bf 109 was the most produced fighter aircraft during World War II, with 30,573 examples built during the war, and the most produced fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced up to April 1945.

Spain had signed licensing agreements with Messerschmitt in 1942 to produce the Bf 109G-2 and had received tooling and jigs in preparation for starting production, as well as 25 uncompleted fuselage and wing assemblies. Due to priority to the Luftwaffe, Messerschmitt was unable to oversee the start-up of the production line. In addition, Hispano Aviación was also unable to acquire the Daimler-Benz DB 605 engines due to wartime shortages. It was not until 1947 that the factory started to produce complete airframes. As a replacement engine comparable to the DB 605A the Hispano-Suiza 12Z-17 was fitted to these aircraft. Aircraft with this engine were designated HA-1109-K1L (65 being produced). In 1954 Hispano Aviación re-engineered the airframe to accept the Rolls-Royce Merlin 500-45 and produced the HA-1112-M1L. Production of the Hispano Aviación HA-1109 and HA-1112 Buchons ended in 1958, however Spain continued to use the HA-1112 operationally until late 1967.

In 1946 Czechoslovakia restarted the closed Messerschmitt production line at the Avia Company in Prague using the original jigs and tooling along with a substantial number of uncompleted airframes. From 1946 to 1949 about 550 airframes were completed as Avia S-99s, resembling a Bf 109G-14, and Avia S-199s (Jumo engine, otherwise unchanged). Due to a fire in a warehouse a substantial number of DB 605 engines were lost and as a substitute the Junkers Jumo 211 was found in substantial quantity. Unlike either the original DB 605 or the Roll-Royce Merlin, the torque of this substitute engine was extremely high resulting in a high fatality rate from these aircraft. Production ended in 1948, and the Czechoslovak National Security Guard retired the last of the S-199s in 1957.

Post war, in addition to the Spanish and Czechoslovakian Air Forces, both Finland and Switzerland continued to use the Bf 109 operationally until the late 1950s. The then-new nation of Israel purchased 25 Avia S-199s (23 delivered) when, due to being embargoed, it was unable to acquire aircraft from other sources. The Israel Air Force retired its aircraft in early 1949.

Between 1945 & 1948, most Bf 109s were scrapped or destroyed. Some examples were kept for use as war trophies or technical examples for further studies. For the next 23 years, these were the first generation of Bf 109 survivors.

In 1967, the producers of the movie The Battle of Britain wanted a large and accurate group of aircraft for use onscreen. Fortunately, the Spanish Air Force was starting to retire its HA-1112s and an agreement was reached to use these aircraft. The Confederate Air Force had also just purchased numerous examples of the HA-1112. These aircraft were also leased for the production of this movie. For the next 35 years, these Spanish Bf 109s were the mainstay for numerous World War II aviation movies and television work, including Hanover Street, Memphis Belle, The Tuskegee Airmen and Piece of Cake just to name a few.

Starting in late 1988, Bf 109s were among numerous crashed examples of World War II aircraft still extant in Russia that were being recovered for restoration. Other examples of the early models of the Bf 109 have been found in crash sites in France and Italy (as well as several aircraft recovered where they had been buried in Germany). These aircraft with known combat histories are the foundation of the current wave of recovered/restored Bf 109s with further discoveries anticipated.

About twenty of the surviving Bf 109s existent in the 21st century served at one time with the Luftwaffe fighter wing Jagdgeschwader 5, more than with any other Axis military aviation unit that existed in World War II.

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... Airworthy Bf 109 E-3 1342 (N342FH), ex-6./JG 51 "Yellow 8" (Pilot Eduard Hemmerling) - crashed 29 July 1940, Yellow 8, Flying Heritage Collection, Everett, Washington ... Bf 109 G-14 610937 (N109EV), ex-Bf 109 G-10/U-4, ex-Bulgarian AF, Ex-Yugoslavian AF 9664, 172 Group / 83rd SQ "44", Green ...

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