Messerschmitt Me 410
The Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse ( Frelon ) was a heavy hunter and a German Schnellbomber of the Second world war developed starting from the disastrous Messerschmitt Me 210. Although it is a derivative resulting directly from the 210, that Ci had gained a so bad reputation, that one decided to change the name of the plane.
Since 1939, the Luftwaffe had envisaged to adopt to Me 210, successor of famous but vulnerable the Bf 110, but this last was shown so unstable, that it had never returned in production. nevertheless, the Hungarian, had carried out a series of minor modifications on the configuration of the plane, to produce to Me 210C, which made it higher than the German models. The result was such as talks were engaged to produce the plane in Germany, under the designation of Me-210D, but as the studies advanced, one decided to introduce rather a new model, Me 410.
Principal the evolution was the adoption of engines DB-603, a cubic capacity higher than the DB-605, and able to provide 1750 horses, instead of 1500. The additional power, made it possible to improve at the same time, the top speed which passed to 625 km/h, that of cruising which reached 579 km/h, but also the ceiling and the rate of rise. Innovations tested on Me 210, which had shown that they improved the behavior of the plane, were retained on Me 410, the fuselage was thus lengthened and the leading edges of the wings equipped with slits. One added also points of carrying for four bombs of 50 kg, to exploit the increase in the maximum mass on takeoff. On the whole, these modifications increased the empty weight of 680 kg, but succroît it of power of the new engines largely compensated for this difference. The 410, was to Me to some extent the plane that the 210 should Me have been, the first deliveries started with semi-1943, more than two years that envisaged later.
In the role of destructor of bomber, the plane obtained some successes against the formations of not escorted USAAF, in particular those of the II/ZG26, but in spite of its good performances, it was not size against the hunters of escort like the P-51, or the P-47, much lighter and operating. Regularly the units of Me 410 were decimated by the patrols of operative allied hunters around the Stream S of bombers, at the beginning 1944, this same II/ZG26 lost thus twelve Me 410, on May 13rd, 1944, after having been supris by 20 P-51. As from the summer 1944, they were withdrawn from the missions of hunting for the profit of monoteurs, like the Messerschmitt Bf 109, or the Focke-Wulf FW 190
Like bomber, Me 410 appeared a difficult prey for the British hunters of night. The first unit to use the plane in this role was the V/KG 2, which lost the first Me 410, shot down in the night from July 13rd to 14th 1943 by a De Havilland Mosquito. It was also used, with Junkers Ju-188, like reconnaissance aircraft to high-altitude, in particular during the battle of Normandy. In a general way, the plane was appreciated by its crews because of his high speed and of its important armament but it was however not with the shelter of the modern hunters of the Allies.
Enough oddly, contrary to its predecessor Bf 110, it appeared unadaptable with the hunting of night in spite of performances comparable with that of Mosquito. It just started to face the English hunter of day in the Battle of the Atlantic when the Unloading put an end to this activity.
Production and alternatives
The production of Me 410 began with the series of the Me 410A-1 , armed with two guns MG-151/20 of 20 millimetres and two machine-guns MG-17 of 7,92 in the nose, the production of heavy hunters Me 410A-2 , armed two Mk-103 guns with 30 mm, was it cancelled because of the delay taken in the production of this gun. Three Umrüst-Bausätze (kit of conversion) were provided for the plane, it acted of the U1 with a whole of camera to use the plane for the recognition, of the U2 with two supplied guns MG-151/20 additional with 250 blows, and of the U4 with a gun BK-5 of 50 mm, supplied with 21 shell. Although the BK-5 is able to destroy a bomber with more than thousand meters, well beyond the range of the machine-guns of defense, its weak rate of shooting and its weak reserve of ammunition, made that U2 and their four guns of 20 were révèrent more useful. At the beginning of 1944, the Me 410A-3 , intended him also for the recognition was brought into service, its fuselage had been widened, and embarked thus more cameras and of fuel, it was used by three Staffeln (Escadrille S), two in the east and one in the west.
Always at the beginning of 1944, appeared the version Me 410B, on which, the MG-17 assembled in the nose were replaced by MG-131 of 13 mm, on the other hand the engines remained DB-603A or AA, indeed the development of the DB-603G of 1900 horses which should have equipped the plane was abandoned. Three alternatives B-1, B-2 and B-3, respectively replaced A-1, A-2 and A-3. Some experimental versions were in addition built, like the Me 410B-5 , a bomber destroyer with long operating range, equipped with the radar FuG 200 Hohentwiel. The MG-131 of nose had been removed to leave the place to the radar, the bomb bay and the tourelleaux defensive ones postpones were replaced respectively by a tank of 650 and 700 liters, a point of fastener under the fuselage making it possible to embark the torpedo. The B-6 alternative, although it also equipped with FuG 200, was less deeply modified, because intended for the coastal anti-ship fight with bombs. B-7 and B-8, of the improvements of B-3 also remained it at the stage of the prototypes.
Studied to improve the performances in altitude, the alternative Me 410C remained it at the stage of the drawing board. Two new wings had been drawn, with 18,25 and 20,45 meters of scale, the Gear landing eclipsed then directly backwards. A universal assembly of the engines had been studied as allowing as well, the assembly of a DB-603JZ, or of a BMW-801TJ, both turbocompressés, as of Jumo 213 with a mechanical compressor on two floors. These engines actuated a new four-bladed propeller, whose blades were very broad, the two engines with liquid cooling used the annular radiator of Jumo 213, which had made it possible to remove the radiators under the wings. Nevertheless, none of these planes was built, the production of Me 410 being stopped, before the engines do not become ripe. Me 410D, less ambitious, reached as for him the series production, even if it were with some specimens, it did not differ from B, that by the assembly of DB-603JZ, the attempt envisaged to equip it with panels external of aerofoil out of wooden, to save strategic materials, failed with the destruction of the factory of Tegofilm by allied aviation, depriving German industry of powerful adhesives for this use. Finally, in August 1944, the production of Me 410 was stopped to concentrate production capacities on the Messerschmitt Bf 109, on the whole 1.160 specimens had been produced.
There exists still nowadays, in the world, two Me 410: first is exposed to RAF Museum, at the base of Cosford, the other is stored with the National Air and Space Museum, awaiting its restoration.
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