Model Airplane News
August, 1943

Model Airplane News Cover for August, 1943 by Jo Kotula Messerschmitt Bf110 Eisenseiten

Messerschmitt Bf110 "Eisenseiten"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for August, 1943
by Jo Kotula
Click to Enlarge

The Messerschmitt Bf 110, was a twin-engine heavy fighter (Zerstoerer - German for "Destroyer") in the service of the Luftwaffe during World War II. Hermann Goering was a proponent of the Bf 110, and nicknamed it his Eisenseiten ("Ironsides").

The Messerschmitt Bf110 Eisenseiten      The Messerschmitt Bf110 Eisenseiten

Messerschmitt Bf110 "Eisenseiten"
Click to Enlarge

The Bf 110 served with success in the Polish, Norwegian and France campaigns. The Bf 110's lack of agility in the air was its primary weakness. This flaw was exposed during the Battle of Britain, where they experienced heavy losses. (The Bf 110 on the cover is about to be pounced upon by a P-38 Lightning).

The Bf 110 was redeployed as night fighters, a role to which the aircraft was well suited. The Bf 110 enjoyed a successful period following the Battle of Britain as an air superiority fighter and strike aircraft in other theatres. During the Balkans Campaign, North African Campaign and the Eastern Front it rendered valuable ground support to the German Army as a potent fighter-bomber (Jagdbomber-Jabo). Later in the war, it became the major night-fighting aircraft of the Luftwaffe. Most of the German night fighter aces flew the Bf 110 at some point during their combat careers, and the top night fighter ace of all times, Major Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, flew it exclusively, and claimed 121 victories in 164 combat missions. Of note, Bf 110 pilots were the first to paint shark teeth on the nose of the airplane, predating the Flying Tigers by several years.

Here is a video of the Messerschmitt Bf110 "Eisenseiten" in action:

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