The Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse (Hornet) was a German heavy fighter and Schnellbomber used by the Luftwaffe during World War II. Though an incremental improvement of the Me 210, it had a new wing plan, longer fuselage and engines of greater power. The changes were significant enough for the aircraft to be renamed the Me 410.
|Me 410 A-1/U2, RAF Museum Cosford, 1985|
|Role||Heavy fighter, fighter-bomber|
|First flight||14 March 1942|
Hungarian Air Force
|Produced||May 1943-August 1944|
|Developed from||Messerschmitt Me 210|
Development of the Me 210 had been underway since 1939 but the aircraft proved unstable and was never considered for full-scale production. Modifications to the layout produced the Me 210C and 210D, which proved somewhat superior. As studies progressed on the Me 210D, and with a separate parallel attempt to improve upon the 210 with the Messerschmitt Me 310 in the second half of 1943 — which provided almost no aerodynamic improvement over the 210's risky handling qualities — it was instead decided to introduce a new model, the Me 410.
The major change between the Me 210 and 410 was the introduction of the larger (at 44.5 litre, 2,715 in3 displacement) and more powerful Daimler-Benz DB 603A engines, which increased power to 1,750 PS (1,730 hp, 1,290 kW) compared to the 1,475 PS DB 605s used on the Me 210C - the interim Me 310 design experiment actually used the DB 603 powerplant choice first. The engine performance increased the Me 410's maximum speed to 625 km/h (388 mph), greatly improved rate of climb, service ceiling, and most notably the cruising speed which jumped to 579 km/h (360 mph). It also improved payload capability to the point where the aircraft could lift more war load than could fit into the bomb bay under the nose. To address this, shackles were added under the wings for four 50 kg (110 lb) bombs. The changes added an extra 680 kg (1,500 lb) to the Me 210 design, but the extra engine power more than made up for the difference.
The new version included a lengthened fuselage and new, automatic leading edge slats, both of which had been tested on Me 210s and were found to dramatically improve handling. The slats had originally been featured on the earliest Me 210 models, but had been removed on production models due to poor handling. When entering a steep turn, the slats had a tendency to open due to the high angle of attack, analogous to the opening of the slats during the landing approach. (This problem was first observed on the Bf 109V14 and V15 prototypes for the Bf 109E), which added to the problems keeping the aircraft flying smoothly. However, when the problems with the general lateral instability were addressed, this was no longer a real problem. The wing panels of the earlier Me 210 had been designed with a planform geometry that placed the aerodynamic center in a rearwards direction in comparison to the earlier Bf 110, giving the outer sections of the wing planform beyond each engine nacelle a slightly greater, 12.6° leading edge sweepback angle than the inner panels' 6.0° leading edge sweep angle. This resulted in unreasonable handling characteristics in flight for the original Me 210 design. The new Me 410 outer wing panels had their planform geometry revised to bring the aerodynamic center further forwards in comparison to the Me 210, thus making the leading edge sweepback of the outer panels identical to the inner wing panels with both having identical 5.5° sweepback angles, which improved handling.
Deliveries began in January 1943, two years late and continued until September 1944, by which point a total of 1,160 of all versions had been produced by Messerschmitt Augsburg and Dornier München. When it arrived, it was liked by its crews, even though its improved performance was not enough to protect it from the swarms of high performance Allied fighters they faced at this stage of the war.
The Me 410 night bomber proved to be an elusive target for the RAF night fighters. The first unit to operate over the UK was V./KG 2, which lost its first Me 410 on the night of 13–14 July 1943, when it was shot down by a de Havilland Mosquito of No. 85 Squadron RAF.
The Me 410 was also used as a bomber destroyer against the daylight bomber formations of the USAAF, upgraded with Umrüst-Bausätze factory conversion kits, all bearing a /U suffix, for the design — these suffixes could vary in meaning between subtypes. As one example, the earlier Me 410 A-1/U1 designation signified a camera-fitting in the under-nose ordnance bay for reconnaissance use (as the A-3 was meant to do from its start), while the same /U1 designation or the later Me 410 B-2 signified a mount of a pair of the long barreled, 30mm calibre MK 103 cannon in the undernose ordnance bay. The /U2 suffix designated a fitment of two additional 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons in the under-nose ordnance bay instead — the A-1/U4 subtype fitted the massive, 540 kg (1,190 lb) weight Bordkanone series 50 mm (2 in) BK 5 cannon, loaded with 21 rounds in the same undernose ordnance bay in place of either the /U1's cameras or MK 103s, or the /U2's added pair of MG 151/20 autocannon. For breaking up the bomber formations, many Me 410s also had four underwing tubular launchers, two per wing panel, firing converted 21 cm (8 in) Werfer-Granate 21 infantry barrage rockets. Two Geschwader, Zerstörergeschwader 26 and 76, were thus equipped with the Me 410 by late 1943.
They were moderately successful against unescorted bombers through 1943, with a considerable number of kills against USAAF day bomber formations being achieved. However, the Me 410 was no match in a dogfight with the lighter Allied single-engine fighters such as the North American P-51 Mustang and Supermarine Spitfire. In early 1944, the Me 410 formations encountered swarms of Allied fighters protecting the bomber streams, usually flying far ahead of the combat box formations as an air supremacy move in clearing the skies of any Luftwaffe opposition, resulting in the Me 410's previous successes against escorted bombers now often being offset by their losses. An example of this — as part of a campaign started two days earlier by the USAAF — was on 6 March 1944 during an attack on Berlin by 750 8th AF heavy bombers, when 16 Me 410s were shot down in return for eight B-17s and four P-51s (which were destroyed by Bf 109 and Fw 190 fighters escorting the Me 410s). The following month on 11 April, with 8th AF raids hitting Sorau, Rostock and Oschersleben, II./ZG 26's Me 410s accounted for a rare clear success, initially bringing down 10 B-17s without any losses. During the course of the same raid, their second sortie was intercepted by P-51s that destroyed eight Me 410s and three Bf 110s. Sixteen crewmen were killed and three wounded.
From mid-1944, despite being Hitler's favourite bomber destroyer, the Me 410 units were taken from Defence of the Reich duties and production was phased out in favour of heavily armed single-engine fighters as dedicated bomber destroyers, with the Me 410s remaining in service flying on reconnaissance duties only. Some Me 410s were used with Junkers Ju 188s during the Battle of Normandy, for high-altitude night reconnaissance.
The basic A-series aircraft were armed with two 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns and two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons in the nose and delivered as the Me 410 A-1 light bomber. The originally planned Me 410 A-2 heavy fighter was cancelled because the dual 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 103 cannon mount, also available for the later Me 410B-2 subtype as the aforementioned Umrüst-Bausatz /U1 factory ordnance upgrade available by 1944, was not ready in time. The Me 410A featured a bomb bay for carrying air-to-ground ordnance or for the installation of additional air-to-air weaponry or other equipment. Initially, three Umrüst-Bausätze (factory conversion kits) were available: U1 which contained a palette of cameras for the photo-reconnaissance role, U2 with two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon with 250 rpg for the heavy fighter use, and U4 which used the 50 mm (2 in) Bordkanone series weapon, the BK-5 cannon with 22 rounds (21 rounds to load and 1 extra round already loaded into the cannon), to turn either an Me 410A or B-series aircraft into a dedicated bomber destroyer. The BK 5 cannon - derived from the Panzer III tank's main armament, the 50 mm (2 in) KwK 39 L/60 - allowed the Me 410s to shoot at their targets from over 914 m (1,000 yd), a distance at which the bombers' defensive armament, usually consisting of the "light-barrel", .50 calibre AN/M2 aviation version of the M2 Browning machine guns, was useless. Frequent problems with jamming and limited ammunition supply, together with the extra 540 kg (1,200 lb) weight of the large-calibre gun under the nose, made the other anti-bomber versions of Me 410, especially those with extra 20 mm MG 151/20s, much more useful. The dedicated reconnaissance version Me 410 A-3 received a deeper fuselage for additional cameras and fuel. The Me 410 A-3 entered service in small numbers in early 1944, and equipped three long-range reconnaissance Aufklärungsstaffel reconnaissance squadrons, usually assembled with other recon squadrons as parts of larger, three or four-squadron Fernaufklärungsgruppen (one Gruppe on the Western Front and the other two on the Eastern Front).
The Me 410B-series was largely the same as the A-series, but replaced the pair of 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17s with a pair of the harder-hitting 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine guns. The originally planned 1,900 hp (1,400 kW) DB 603G engine had been cancelled in early 1944, so all Me 410Bs used DB 603A or DB 603AA engines. The DB 603G would have increased the maximum speed to 630 km/h (392 mph), and cruising speed to 595 km/h (370 mph), although the weights increased once again. The versions were the same as with the A-series, the Me 410 B-1, and Me 410 B-3 filling the same roles as the earlier A-1, and A-3 versions, also with the options of using the same Umrüst-Bausätze factory conversion kits as the A-series aircraft used.
Several experimental models were also developed. The Me 410 B-5 added shackles under the fuselage to carry a torpedo, and removed the MG 131s in the nose to make room for the FuG 200 Hohentwiel 550 MHz UHF-band maritime patrol radar. The bomb bay was not used in this version in order to make room for a 650 L (170 US gal) fuel tank, and the rearward-firing remote turrets were replaced by another 700 L (180 US gal) fuel tank for long-range missions. The Me 410 B-6 was a similar anti-shipping conversion, but intended for the short-range coastal defence role only. For this mission, it did not use a torpedo, and was instead a simple modification of the B-1 with the FuG 200 radar. The Me 410 B-7/B-8 were updated B-3 reconnaissance models that were only built as prototypes.
The Me 410C was a high-altitude version drawn up in early 1944, with two new wing designs that increased span to 18.25 m (60 ft) or 20.45 m (67 ft). The larger wings allowed the gear to retract directly to the rear. A new universal engine mount would allow for the use of any of the DB 603JZ or BMW 801J turbocharged engines or the Jumo 213E two-stage mechanically supercharged engines, driving a new four-blade propeller with very wide blades. The BMW 801 radials were air-cooled and the DB 603 and Jumo 213 used an annular radiator, all housed as unitized Kraftei (power-egg) engine "modules" onto an airframe for ease of installation and field maintenance, so the normal under-wing radiators were removed. None were ever built, as Me 410 production was canceled before the engines matured.
The Me 410D was a simpler upgrade to the B-series to improve altitude performance, but not to the same degree as the C-series. It would be powered by the DB 603JZ engines, and had a revised forward fuselage to increase the field of view of the pilot and reduce drag. It also replaced portions of the outer wing panels with ones made of wood to conserve strategic materials. Several were built, but like many other attempts at wood construction by the German aviation industry late in World War II, the loss of the Goldschmitt Tego film factory in Wuppertal, in a Royal Air Force nighttime bombing raid, meant the acidic replacement adhesives available were too corrosive to the materials being bonded, and the wooden portions tended to fail. Production was eventually cancelled to concentrate on Bf 109Gs in August 1944, after 1,160 Me 410s had been built, the month after the Jägernotprogramm had gone into effect.
Two Me 410s survive today:
Performanceat sea level
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
The 21 cm Nebelwerfer 42 (21 cm NbW 42) was a German multiple rocket launcher used in the Second World War. It served with units of the Nebeltruppen, the German equivalent of the American Chemical Corps. Just as the Chemical Corps had responsibility for poison gas and smoke weapons that were used instead to deliver high-explosives during the war so did the Nebeltruppen. The name "Nebelwerfer" is best translated as "smoke-thrower". It saw service from 1942–45 in all theaters except Norway. It was adapted for aerial combat by the Luftwaffe in 1943.410 (disambiguation)
410 and 410 BC are years.
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.410 bore, the smallest caliber of shotgun shell commonly available
List of highways numbered 410
Area codes 410 and 443
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Messerschmitt Me 410 German combat aircraft during World War 2
The HTTP status code "410 Gone", to indicate that the resource requested is no longer availableDaimler-Benz DB 603
The Daimler-Benz DB 603 engine was a German aircraft engine used during World War II. It was a liquid-cooled 12-cylinder inverted V12 enlargement of the DB 601, which was in itself a development of the DB 600. Production of the DB 603 commenced in May 1942, and with a 44.52 litre displacement figure, was the largest displacement inverted V12 aviation engine to be produced and used in front line aircraft of the Third Reich during World War II.
The DB 603 powered several aircraft, including the Do 217 N&M, Do 335, He 219, Me 410, BV 155 and Ta 152C.German aircraft production during World War II
The following is a list of aircraft production by Germany during World War II by type and year. Note that some figures may not be accurate, and it is not comprehensive. Aircraft variants of different roles are listed separately. Related types are listed next to each other; see RLM aircraft designation system for an explanation.Kampfgeschwader 51
Kampfgeschwader 51 "Edelweiss" (KG 51) (Battle Wing 51) was a Luftwaffe bomber wing during World War II.
The unit began forming in May 1939 and completed forming in December 1939, and took no part in the invasion of Poland which started the war.
It first served in the Phoney War then the Battle of France in May and June 1940. From July to October 1940 it fought in the Battle of Britain and then in the night intruder role during the Blitz until March 1941.
It supported the Balkans Campaign in April 1941 and served on the Eastern Front from June 1941 until December 1943.
In 1944 and 1945 it served exclusively in the West; in the Defence of the Reich, Western Front and in Operation Steinbock. All Groups and squadrons of KG 51 disbanded and reformed during the course of the war. Few remained active by the German surrender in May 1945.
The wing operated the Dornier Do 17, Heinkel He 111 and Junkers Ju 88 light and medium bombers, the Messerschmitt Me 410 heavy fighter and the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.Kampfgeschwader 76
Kampfgeschwader 76 (KG 76) (Battle Wing) was a Luftwaffe bomber Group during World War II. It was one of the few bomber groups that operated throughout the war.
In 1933 Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power in Germany. To meet the expansionist aims of their Führer, the German state began an enormous rearmament programme to build the Wehrmacht (German armed forces). KG 76 was created in May 1939 as the Luftwaffe sought to reorganise and increase its strength. The wing was permitted three Grupen (Groups) in May 1939, but only two were operational by August. The Dornier Do 17 light bomber equipped the wing's units.
In September 1939 German and Soviet forces invaded Poland, beginning World War II. KG 76 served in the campaign until the 17 September 1939 and then proceeded to spend the Phoney War resting and re-equipping. All three groups began the offensive in Western Europe (Fall Gelb) on 10 May 1940. KG 76 supported the German Army (Heer) in the Battle of Belgium and Battle of France. In July 1940 KG 76 served in the Battle of Britain and The Blitz until May 1941. During the course of these operations it converted to the Junkers Ju 88.
From June 1941 KG 76 supported Army Group North in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. It remained on the Eastern Front until December 1942 and never returned. From December 1942 to January 1944 it operated exclusively the Mediterranean and Middle East theatre, mainly in the Maritime interdiction role. It participated in the Battle of Tunisia, in the final phase of the North African Campaign (November 1942—May 1943) and also in the Italian Campaign, from July 1943 until May 1944. Some of its staffeln converted to the Messerschmitt Me 410 and Junkers Ju 188 in the spring, 1944.
Some of KG 76s Gruppen saw service on the Western Front in the night intruder role because of Allied air superiority. It formed part of the bomber force for Operation Steinbock and contested the D-Day landings in the summer, 1944. It was withdrawn from the Battle of Normandy after heavy losses. KG 76 continued to operate over the Low Countries and supported the Ardennes Offensive in the Aerial reconnaissance and close air support role. Significantly, KG 76 made use of the first-ever operational jet bomber design, the Arado Ar 234. KG 76 remained operating on the West Front until May 1945, one of the few bomber units to do so.
The last remaining groups either withdrew to Norway on 3 May 1945 or surrendered to the British Army in northern Germany on 8 May 1945.Kawasaki Ki-102
The Kawasaki Ki-102 (Army Type 4 assault aircraft) was a Japanese warplane of World War II. It was a twin-engine, two-seat, long-range heavy fighter developed to replace the Ki-45 Toryu. Three versions were planned: the Ki-102a day fighter, Ki-102b ground-attack and Ki-102c night fighter. This aircraft's Allied reporting name was "Randy".Messerschmitt Me 210
The Messerschmitt Me 210 was a German heavy fighter and ground-attack aircraft of World War II. Design started before the war, as a replacement for the Bf 110. The first examples were ready in 1939, but they proved to have unacceptably poor flight characteristics due to serious wing planform and fuselage design flaws. A large-scale operational testing program throughout 1941 and early 1942 did not cure the type's problems. The design entered limited service in 1943, but was almost immediately replaced by the Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse ("Hornet"). The Me 410 was a further development of the Me 210, renamed so as to avoid the 210's notoriety. The failure of the Me 210's development program meant the Luftwaffe was forced to continue operating the Bf 110 after it had become outdated, despite mounting losses.Messerschmitt Me 265
The Messerschmitt Me 265 was a design project for a Zerstörer (heavy fighter), produced by leading German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmitt in World War II.Messerschmitt Me 310
The Messerschmitt Me 310 was a prototype German heavy fighter of World War II. It was a project to save the aerodynamically troubled Me 210.Messerschmitt Me 329
The Messerschmitt Me 329 was a design project for a heavy fighter and ground-attack aircraft, developed towards the end of World War II. It was a competitor and possible successor to the Me 410. Like the Me 265, the Me 329 used an advanced flying wing design. Other advanced features included the pilot and navigator sitting in tandem in a broad bubble canopy, and a remote-controlled rear gun in the tail. In spite of the futuristic design, the improvement in performance over the Me 410 was marginal. Development received a low priority, and while a full-scale glider mockup was tested in the winter of 1944/5, work on the project was cancelled shortly after.Mitsubishi Ki-83
The Mitsubishi Ki-83 (キ83) was a Japanese experimental long range heavy fighter designed near the end of World War II. It did not reach production status.Peter Hall (RNZAF officer)
Peter Francis Locker Hall, (16 May 1922 – 22 May 2010) was a New Zealand fighter pilot and flying ace of the Second World War.Schnellbomber
A Schnellbomber (German; literally "fast bomber") is a bomber that relies upon speed to avoid enemy fighters, rather than having defensive armament and armor.Theodor Rowehl
Theodor Rowehl (9 February 1894 – 6 June 1978) was a German pilot who founded the Luftwaffe's strategic air reconnaissance programme, and headed what became known as the Rowehl Squadron and became Kampfgeschwader 200 after his resignation in December 1943.Wah Kau Kong
Wah Kau Kong (Chinese: 江華九; January 17, 1919 – February 22, 1944) was the first Chinese American fighter pilot. Kong became a chemist after graduating from the University of Hawaii and joined the United States Army Air Forces after the Attack on Pearl Harbor. After completing flight school, Kong became a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot in England. He claimed 1.5 victories before being killed in action on a mission over Germany in late February 1944.Werfer-Granate 21
The Werfer-Granate 21 rocket launcher, also known as the BR 21 (the "BR" standing for Bordrakete) in official Luftwaffe manuals, was a weapon used by the German Luftwaffe during World War II and was the first on-board rocket placed into service by the Luftwaffe, first introduced in mid 1943. The weapon was developed by Rheinmetall-Borsig under the leadership of Dipl.-Ing. Rudolf Nebel, who had pioneered German use of wing-mounted offensive rocketry in World War I with the Luftstreitkräfte.Zerstörergeschwader 26
Zerstörergeschwader 26 (ZG 26) "Horst Wessel" was a Luftwaffe heavy/destroyer Fighter Aircraft-wing of World War II.
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