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Volume 9 Issue 99

Published by
Orbis Publishing Ltd
@Aerospace Publishing Ltd 1985
Colour profiles, diagrams and cutaway
drawings @ Pllot Press Ltd.

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Film work: Precise Litho Ltd Jeremy Moore KCB OBE MG, Comman-
Artists: der ol British Land Forces during the
Keith Fretwell Falklands campaign.
Keith Woodcock

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AxisFighters
of Wbrldm ll
The superh fighter aircraft of Germany and lapan achieved
substantial air supertoity, which greatly asskted the
The Nakajima Ki-43 was an
exceptionally m anoeuvrable fighter,
butits armamentof only two
advance of theirrespective armies. By contrast, theltalians, machine-guns proved inadequate as
short of first-class fighters, were rapidlyoutmatched,. the war prog:ressed.

The air forces of the three princrpal Axis partners, trained and equipped lortunes of Japan were already on the decline and in 1944, as the
as they were for wholly drifering concepts of warfare when each entered Americans pushed back the enemy's perimeter and acquired bases
World War II, possessed fighter aircraft of wrdely varying qualities and from which to raid the Japanese homeland, there was no truly effectrve
capabtlrties. Germany, whose l,uftwaffe was intended primarily as a metropolitan-based interceptor available wrth which to combat the
support arm of the Wehrmacht (itself intended as an offensive force heavily armed and escorted Boeing B 29 bombers, Such an eventuality
employrngB/itzkneg tacfics during a rampage through Europe) posses- had never entered the Japanese war planners' minds,
sed what was perhaps the world's flnest fighter in 1939, the Messer- Perhaps the most astonishing facet of the flghter's war was the superb
schmitt Bf 109, albert somewhat less well-armed than the Supermarine quality of the German Jagdverband, having regard to the task for which it
Spitflre. It had, moreover, gained an operational workout during the war was originally intended: patrol in the sktes over the battlefleld, It was
in Spain, while the Spitflre was still hamstrung by tactical limitations. never envisaged that it would be employed for bomber escort (as it was
However, like the RAF's fighter, the Bf 109 underwent contrnuous de in the Battle of Britarn), or that it would be called on to defend the Rerch
velopment throughout World War II and remained the cornerstone of against massed bombers, When misused, it suffered accordingly, not so
the Jagdverband (fighter arm) right up to the end. much due to any farlings of the pilots as to their aircraft's lack of range and
Representing an intended Bf 109 replacement, the Focke Wulf Fw 190 armament. Only by 'boltrng on' special armament was the latter farling
entered service rn 1941 and was roughiy equivalent in concept to the partly overcome,
RAF's Hawker Typhoon, It was inflnrtely superior in the air combat role, As evidence of the German flghter pilots' extraordinary prowess ln
yet was itself to become the Sturmjager (assault fighter) par excellence, their intended role ol battlefleid cover one has only to compare the
berng called on to take over from the desperately vulnerable Junkers Ju astonishing victory scores of their Experten (aces)t 15 men each gained
87 as the Wehrmacht reeled under the gigantic blows of the Red Army over 200 combat victories, the majorrty over the cauldron of the Eastern
after Stalingrad, Front although the hlghest-scoring German in North Africa (Hans,
Italy was particularly unfortunate rn not possessing during 1940 arrcraft Joachim Marseille) shot down 158 RAF and Commonweaith aircraft, all
engines comparable wlth the Rolls-Royce Merlin and Darmler-Benz DB while flying the Bf 109 By contrast the hrghest scoring Alhed pilot, a
601, and had thus to make do wrth small air-cooled radrals whose Soviet, reached a lally of 62, while the RAF's top score (garned by the
development potential was very hmited, so that the early Regla Aero- South African, Pattle) was 41, a high proportion of them Italian biplanes.
nautica fighters, such as the Irrat CR.42 and G,50, were scarcely a match A measure of the excellence of the German fighter prlot rs aflorded by
lor the Hawker Hurricane and Curtiss P 40 Tomahawk agarnst which the all{rme highest scorer Erich Hartmann: his ultimate tally of 352
they were ranged in Greece and the Western Desert. The Macchi C 202 accredited victones was achreved in three and a halfyears; olthese, 260
proved a marked improvement, however, but was itseilabout two years were Allied hghters, and all were destroyed while flying the Bf lO9 He
too late to recover any signilicant laurels in the Medlterranean. himself was shot down only twice, and at the end of the war he-was aged
In the Far East, Japan embarked on an intended two-year campaign, lust 23.
the basis of which was seaborne assauit across the Paciflc, Accordingly
priority had been afforded to the development of the carrierborne
A Messerschmitt Bf I l0 is seen over the English Channel in I940, where the
fighter, of which the famous Mitsubishi A6M Zero was probably the best type received a severe mauling from RAF Spitfires and Hurricanes. After this
in the world rn i941. Even in 1943 thrs excellent aircraft was capable of the Bf 1 l0 was assigned to fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles and later
holding its own against Alhed naval aircraft; however, by then the achieved greater success as a night fighter .
ITALY

Fiat CR.42 Falco


Often compared in concept and de-
srqn with the Gloster Gladiator, aqtainst
which it frequently fought in 1940- 1, the
Fiat CR.42 Falco (falcon) biplane did
not flrst fly until 1939, however, and
such an anachronism is difficult to
understand. Employrng the same War-
ren truss system of interplane struts as
the 1933 CR.32, from which it was de-
veloped, Celestrno Rosatelli's CR.42
was powered by a 626 kW (840-hp)
Fiat A74 RiC 38 radial and had a top SpanishCivilWar experience led theltalian airministry to believe therewas
speed of 441 km/h (274 mph). By still a role for the biplane tighter, but the anachronistic CR.42 proved to be
September 1939 the Falco equipped disagreeably vulnerable to enemy monoplanes.
three slormr and, while the RAF was
hurriedly reducing its Gladtator
strenqth, the Regda Aeronautica was
increasrnq its CR.42 inventory, so that
when ltaly entered the war in June
1940 there were 330 in service with
four sformr in the Mediterranean plus
two sguadnglie in Italian East Africa.
The Falco first saw combat in the brief
French campaign, and later 50 aircraft
accompanied the Corpo Aero Italiano
to bases in Belqium for attacks on
southern Enqtland at the end ofthe Bat-
tle of Britain, sufferlng heavily to the
guns of RAF Hurricanes. In the Middle
East the Falco fared better, however,
beinq more of a match for the widely-
used Gladiator; during the Greek cam
paigrn one gruppo of three CR,42
squadriglie was committed and, ex- CR.42s committed to theBattle of Britainsuffered heavycasualties, butthey
cept on a few occasions, acquitted tt enjoyed a brief period of success ovet Greece and Libya.
self well; but when Hawker Hurrtcanes
eventually arnved the ltahan biplane
losses mounted steadrly. In East Afrtca 9.0mrnutes; servicecerhnq l0100 m 241. I sq ft
5l crated CR.42s were recetved to (33,136 ft); range 780 kn (4BS miles) Armament: two 12,7 mm (0.5-in)
supplement the 36 aircraft delivered to Weights: empty 1784 kq (3,933 lb); Breda SAFA'I machine-guns in nose
the 4i2'and 413" Squadriqlie, but rn maximum take-of 2295 kq (5,060 lb) (some aircraft with tvvo extra 12.7-mrn/
due course they were destroyed in the Dimensions: spar 9.70 m (31 ft 9.9 in); 0 5-in machine-gnrns under lower
air or on the ground, although they took Type: srnqle seat frghter lenq1h8.26 m(27 ft l2 Lrr; herght wing), plus provision for two 100-kg
a heauy toll ofthe antiquated aircraft of Powerplart: one 626-kW (840-hp) Fiat 3.05 m t 10 ft 0. I rn): !l1nq area 22.4A m (22Olb) bombs
the RAF and SAAF. In the Western A74 RIC 38 radLal piston engine
Desert CR,42 fighters were joined by Performance: maxrmum speed
rhe CR.42AS fiqihter-bomber verston 441krn/h(274 mph) at 6000 m
adapted to carry two 100-kg (220 lb) (19,685 ft); ciunb to 6000 m (19,685 ft) in
bombs, and these continued in service
wrth the 5', 15' and 50" Stormi Assalti
until Noverirber 1942. A total of 1,781 Italy's CR.42s soidiered on through
CR 42s was burll (some servtng in 1942 despite suffering mounting
Sweden and Hungary), but at the time losses.The typewas also exported to
of the ltalian armistice rn September Belgium, where theywere quicklY
1943 only 64 remained serviceable, d es troye d dur ing the G e rm an
invasion, and to H ungary, which
Specification used them againstYugoslavia and in
Fiat CR.42 Falco tlre i 941 Russja n campaign. i
l
ITALY I
flve gruppi in North Africa. With a Powerplant: one 626-kW (840-hp) Fiat
Fiat G.50 Freccia maximum speed of only 460 km/h
(286 mph) and an armament of two
A 74RC 38 radial piston engine
Performance: maximum speed
I
machine-guns, the was hardly a 460 kr/h (2BO mph) at 4000 m i
Representrng the first design essay of soon afternrards to the 52o Stormo, and G,SO
the younq technicran Giuseppe Gab- when Italy entered the war in the fol- match for RAF flqhters in the (13,123 ft); climb to 4000 m (13,123 ft) in
rielli with the Fiat company, the Fiat lowing June I lB Freccras were in ser- Mediterranean, yet survived rn ser-. 4,6 minutes; sewice ceiling 10750 m
G.50 fiqhter was designed in 1935-6 vice. In November 1940 48 G,50s of the vice until July 1943, Production even- (35,269 ft); ranse 580 km (360 miles)
but, although a break from the tradi- 51o Stormo moved to Belgnum to take tually reached 245 G,50 and 421 Weights: empty 1965 kg (4,332 1b);
tional biplane formula, offered much part in the arr attacks on the UK; G,SObis flghters, and 108 of a dual- maxrmum take-off 2400 kq (5,29 I Ib)
less in operational potential than the however, they saw lrttle action, being control two-seat trainer, the G.50B. Dimensions:span 11,00 m (36 ft 1.I in);
contemporary Hawker Hurricane and principally engaged in'surveillance' G,50s were also supphed to the Croa- length 7.BO m (25 ft 7. I in); height
Messerschmitt Bf 109. The prototype dutres, In September that year the pro- tian and Frnnish air forces, 3.28 m (10 ft 9. 1 rn): wrng area 18.25 m'
G,5O first flew on 26 February 1937 and totype of a new version, the G.S0bis, (]96,45 sq ft)
was the first all-metal monoplane with had flown, and with improved cockpit Specification Armament: two nose-mounted I 2. 7-
constant-speed propeller and retract- armour and increased fuel thts entered Fiat G.50 Freccia mm (0. S-in) Breda-SAFAT machine-
production for eventual service with fl ghter quns
able landing gear to be evaluated by Type: singrle-seat l-€.
.g-€ .:..;
the Regia Aeronautica. Named Frec-
cia (arrow), the G.50 was ordered into A Fiat G.l?bis of 20 Gruppo, 5 I Stotmo based at Ursel, Belgium, in October F#r-'& ffi
production with the CMASA company I 940. Lack of range and poor armament severely restricted the type's
(a subsidiary of Fiat) and 12 of the first participation in theBattle of Britain. =#=l
,6,
aircraft were sent to Spain for oper-
ational evaluation, Despite the super-
iority of the Macchi C,200, It was de-
cided to go ahead and equip one stor-
mo and one gruppo with the G.50, and
il fiitr-t ot"o"i iot 200 aircraft was 'ii
placed, In November 1939 the tYPe
was delivered to the 51" Stormo, and

1962

t
Fiat G.55 Centauro
The Fiat G.55 Centauro (centaur) was
an all-metal low-wrng monoplane sing-
le-seat fighter designed by Giuseppe
Gabrielli, and represented a great im-
provement by comparison with the
previous Fiat monoplane flghter to go
into production, the G,50. Great care
was taken to blend an aerodynamical-
ly advanced airframe with a structure
which was robust and would lend rtsetf
to mass production. Its configuration
included fully-retractable landing the Fascist air arm flying alongside the The main users of theFiatG.SSwere the squadrons ot theFascistAirArm.
qear and araised cockpit providing an Luftwaffe. Before wartime production This example belonged to Squadriglia 'Montefusco'.
excellent view. Fast and maneouvr- ended 274 more were completed and
able, the type proved popular with its a further 37 were abandoned at an adv- 603A engine. Built during the sprinq of (19,685 ft) in 7 mrnutes 12 seconds;
pilots. anced constructron stage. 1944, they incorporated minor structu- service ceiling 12700 m (4 1,667 ft);
The first of three prototypes was Before the armistice of September ral changes and had the fuselage- range 1200 km (746 miles)
flown on 30 April 1942; the third (MM 1943, G.55s had partrcrpated in the de- mounted machine-gmns deleted, The Weights:empty equipped 2630 kg
493) was the only one to carry arma- fence of Rome with the 353'Squadrig- flrst prototype survrved the war and (5,798 1b); maxrmumtake-off3718 kq
ment, comprisrng one engrne- lia of the Regra Aeronautica, The post- was used subsequently by Fiat as a (8,197 lb)
mounted cannon and four fuselage- armistice operatrons were rnainly with test-bed, Dimensions:span 11,85 m (38 ft'
mounted machine-guns, It was evalu- the Fascist air arm's Squadriglia'Mon- 10.5 in); lenqth 9.37 m (30 ft B 9 in);
ated under operational conditions tefusco', based at Venezia Reaie, then Specification herqhl 3. 13 m ( l0 lt 3.2 rn); wing area
from March 1943, but by then the lta- with the three sguadri<rjie which FiatG.55/l 2I II m'(227.23 sqfi)
lian air ministry had already decided formed the 2" Gruppo Caccra Terres- Type: single-seat flghter Armament:one 20-mm Mauser MG
on mass production of the G,55, tre, but losses were healry, as a result Powerplant: one I 100-kW ( 1, 475-hp) 15 1/20 enqine mounted cannon, tw-o
However, only 16 G.55/0 pre- mainly of Alhed attacks on the airfields. Fiat RA 1050 RC-58 Trfone (licence- similar wing-mounted cannon, and 1.,a, :
production and 5 G. 55/I initial produc
1 While the war was still in progress, Fiat butlt DB 605A) 12-cylinder inverted- fuselage-mounted 12. 7-mm (0. 5-in)
tron aircraft had been delivered to the flew two prototypes of the G.56, which Vee piston engrne Breda-SAFAT machine-guns, plus
Regia Aeronautica by September was developed from the G.55 to accept Performance: maximum speed provrsion for two 160-kq (3531b)
1943, production thereafter bernq for the more powerful Daimler-Benz DB 630 h/h (391 mph); climb to 6000 m bombs on underwing racks

Macchi C.200 Saetta


Handicapped by ltaly's pre-war lack of
apowerful engiine suitable for figrhters,
Mario Castoldi's radial-powered Fiat
C.200 was so underpowered and
undergunned that when it arrived in
service in 1939 tt was already outclas-
sed by the Hawker Hurricane whrch
had joined the RAF two years earlier.
Indeed the first C.200 unit, the 4o Stor-
mo, expressed a preference for the
CR,42 and accordtngly reverted to the
biplane in 1940. First flown on 24 De-
cember 1937 by Giuseppe Burei, the The 649-kW (870-hp) enginewas fitted to theMacchiC.200 against thewishes
C,200, named the Saetta (liqhtning), of the designer Castoldi, and handicapped the aircraft in ac{ionwith more
went on to equrp the lo, 2o, 3', 4" (in matching the older Soviet figihters in p owe rtd opponen ts such as tfi e H ur ric ane and K i tty haw k.
mrd-1941) and 54" Stormi, and the 8", the early stages of that campaign. By
12", 13", 21" and 22" Gntppt, a total of the rime oi the ltallan armrstice in bomber maximum take-off 2395 kq (5,280 lb)
about 1, 200 aircraft berng produced by September 1943, however, the Regra Powerplant: one 649-kW (870-hp) Fiat Dimensions: span 10.58 m (34 ft 8.5 r,-
Macchi, Breda and SAI Ambrosini. On Aeronautica's total inventory of ser- A 74 RC 38 radial prston engine lengrthB,25 m(27 ft0.8 in); heiqht
the date that Italy entered the war, I0 viceable C,2O0s stood at only 33, Performance: maximum speed 3,05 m (10 ft 0,I in); wing area 16.8C r:
june i940, two home-based stormi 504 km,e (313 mph) at 4500 m (180.8 sq ft)
were combat-ready with the C.200, Specification (14,764 ft); climbto4000 m(13,123 ft)ln Armament:two I2.7-mm (0.5 rn;
being flrst flown in action over Malta in Macchi C.200 Saetta (Breda-built 4:55 minutes; service cei[ng8900 m Breda-SAFAT machine-gmns tn nc:i
September that year, and it was large- Series 6) (29, 199 ft); range 570
km (354 miles) plus provision fortwo 150-kg (33i-lc'
ly the losses suffered by the Iialian Type: singrle-seat fi ghter/fl ghter- Weights:empty i960 kg (4,321 Ib); bombs
fighter arm at this time and durinq the
Greek campaign that prompted the
Luftwalfe to deploy X Fliegerkorps in
the Mediterranean to bolster the Regia
Aeronautica's flagqing resources.
C.200s were heavily committed rn
North Africa, and were fairly evenly
matched with the early Hurricane Mk
Is, weighed down by tropical air filters,
but the attrition suffered by all Italian
air force units (principally through
poor sewiceability and air attacks on
their airfields) quickly reduced the
number of C,200s. Some 51 Saettas of
the 22o Gruppo operated in the Odessa
zone of the Eastern Front from Augnst
1941 onwards, provingT capabie of

The C.200 Saettas saw their first


combat over Malta in I 940 and were
subsequently deployed to North
Africa, where they held their own
against Hurricane Mk Is
encumbered by tropical air fiLters.
But their numbers were rapidly
reduced by poor maintenance and
British air attacks.
Gl itlccni c.nozFolsore
: --lre
best ltalian fighters of the
-,*-=
:-:-,'.--years, Mario Castoldi's Mac-
efu, C.202 Folgore (thunderbolt) was
-=.=-:ped from the radial-enqtned
J 2-, but was powered by a Daimler-
:=:: DB 60l produced under licence
=. ,:e Alla Romeo RA 1000 RC 411. lr
: -:s: flown by Carestiato on 10 August
I
-:=, the C.202 Series production
-,-::s-on entered service wrth the lo
S::lr.o at Udine in the summer of l94I MacchiC.202 Serie III Folgore of 378"
:-s .nit arrivinqr in Libya in the follow- Squadriglia, I 55" Gruppo, 5 I" s
:-; \ovember, The Folqiore was a low- Stormo. T he C.20 2 w as the mos t
-,r-:g monoplane with inward- effective of the Italian fighters but
::lactrng landing gear and an arma-
::-ent of two 12.7-mm (0.5-in) Breda-
suffered from lack of armament.
G
t
S-r.FAT machine-guns in the nose;
-:-ere was also provision for two 7.7-
:::l (0.303-in) gmns in the winqs, En- I
production was slow and severe-
='e
-,- ielayed the build-up of the Folgore .,#r
: serwice.
Tne aircraft underwent very little
::angre and development during its
---e span, and was produced in 1l
::rres. lt eventually served with 45
S quadnglie of rhe 1o, 2", 3", 4", 5lo, 52", The ultimate production Macchi fighter was the C.205 Veltro, exemplified
::' and 54" Stormi in North Afrlca, Sici- here by an aircraft of l" Squadriglia, I" Gruppo.
--.- Italy, the Aegean and Russra. Pro- Specification
i:ctron amounted to about 1,500, of Macchi C.202 Series IX Folgore
',',:lch 392 were produced by the pa- Type: srnqle seat flghter
::ni company and the remainder by Powerplant: one 802-kW (1,075-hp)
Jreda. In combat the Folgore proved AIfa Romeo RA 1000 RC41 1 12-
-: be well-matched with the Super- cyhnder invert ed-Vee ptslon engtne
::,anne Spitfrre Mk V in performance, Performance: maximum speed
i:i-ii was badly underqunned and, 600 km,tr (373 mph) at 5600 m
(18,373 ft); climb to 5000 m (16,404 ft) in
=:rhough slightly superior to American
4.6 minutes; sewice ceiling 11500 m
-jhters such as the Bell P-39 Atracob-
:a this armament deflciency pre-
-.-ented Folgore pilots from knocking
(37,730 ft); range 610 km (379 miles)
Weishts: empty 2490 kg (5,490 lb);
do'',un many Allied bombers. maximum take-off 2930 kq (6, 460 lb)
Ultimate wartime development of Dimensions: span 10,58 m (34 ft 8.5 tn);
':e C.200/2A2 series of lta[an fighters lenf h B 85 m (29 10 4 in); herght
r;as the Daimler Benz-powered C.205; 3.50m(ll ft5Brn) winoarea l6.80m'
::':1y 66 were tn sewice by the time of (180 B sq ft)
-.aly's withdrawal from the Axis. The Armament: tvvo I 2. 7-mm (0. 5-in)
C.205V Veltro (greyhound) would Breda-SAFAT machine-gmns in the This C.202 was captured in ltaly and C.202s saw action in North Africa,
:-ave been capable of meeting most nose, plus provrsron for hvo 7.7-mm tt anspoiled to Wr ight- P atter s on Italy and on the Eastern Front.
dlied fighters on equal terms. (0,303 in) qurs inthewinqs Fieftd at Dayton, Ohio, for evaluation"

GE fi"ggi"ne Re.2000 series


3drcrne Meccaniche Reggiane SA be-
:an development of a slngle-seat
=ghter which was based very closely
:n the US Seversky Aircraft Corpora-
.:cn's P-35 desigrned by Alexander
-{artveh. Competitive evaluation
agarnsi the Macchi MC.2O0 resulted in
:r1s latter aircraft being ordered into
!roduction for lhe Regra Aeronauttca.
although the Reggiane Re.2000 had
srown itself to be superior in manoeuv-
:ability, even when flown aqatnst the
llesserschmitt Bf 109E. The type was
:rdered by the Hungarian govern-
nent, which also acquired a manufac- 41-1a Monsome, but with the Maccht able structural redesign, and refined Re.2000 Hejja I of Li I Szazad. jnaJlo
:.:ring licence. Re,20OOs were supplied MC.\AZ having first call on production landing gtear, and the type revefied to VadAs z O stAly (l ndependent F ighter
also to Sweden, being operated untLl of these enqines the manuJacture of the rnline enqine. First flown rn Group) attached to the Hungarian
-945 by the Flygvapen under the de- Re.200ls was hmited to only 252. September 1942 wrth a Daunler-Benz army fighting in the ussR n 1942.
srgmatron J 20. And though rejected by About 50 Re.2002 Ariete (ram) DB 6054-1, the Re 2005 led tc a pr:-
re Regda Aeronautica, the Italian nalry fighter bombers iollowed lor se'vice ductron model, of wluch dell'er-:: r.,-
acquired 12 Re.2000 Serie II fighters with the Reqia Aeronautica, these gan rn 1943 wirh a hcer,ce-Ll: .-="
especially strenqthened for catapult being powered by the 876-kW (1,175- sion ofthis engdne. the Frat RA 1::: F.C F-a, Pi- - -r5; RC 58 Tlfone lZ-cylinder
-aunchingr, followed by 24 Re.2000 hp) Piaqqio P.XIX RC 45 radra-l engine 58 Tifone. Only 48 had been cieli'.-ere: :--;:l.ei \'-ee piston enqlne
Serie III aircraft with increased fuel mounted rn a siightly lengrthened and before finalsalion ol lhc arrns.i:-'.', -::- Performarce: maximum speed
rapacity for deployment as long-range strengthened fuselaqe. The tlpe flrst the Alhes these arc'an rq:htn;,: i:.e 830 knh (391 mph) at 6950 m
= gihters. saw operational servtce in 1942. suffer- defence of Naples. Rome a:'rci Stcily. (22,802ft); chmb to 2000 m (6,562 ft) in
Installation of the Daimler-Benz DB rng heavy losses whrle conteslLnq the the survivors batthng above the I 58 mrnutes; service cerlingt 12190 m
:l iA-1 engine led to the Re.200I Falco Altied landinqs on Sicily. Last of thrs crumbling rurns of BerLiri (39,993 ft); range 1265 km (786 miles)
Il irst used operationally by the Regda related famrly of fighters, and one oi Weights: empty 2600 kq (5,732 lb);
ieronautica over Malta in 1942, Luft- the best produced rn Italy during Specification maxrmum take-off 3560 kg (7, B4B lb)
'r;aife pnorities for DB 601 engines World War II, the Re.2005 Saqrittario Reggdare Re. 2005 Sagrittario Dimensions:span 1i,00 m (36 ft 1,I in);
:reant that the Re.200l had to be po (archer) had the same general con- Type: stngile-seat fighter/fl ethter- lengih 8.73 m(28 lI7 7 rn); heiohl
.';ered by a licence-built version of this flguration as its predecessors. Howev- bomber 3. 15 m (10 [r 4 in): winq area 20 40 m'
the Alfa Romeo RA. 1000 RC er, its desrgn incorporated constder- Powerplant: one L 100-kW ( 1, 475-hp) (219.59 sq ft)
=rgane,

-::1
Reggiane Re.2000 series (continued)

Reggiane Re.200 I of the 362"


S quadriglia, 2 20 G ruppo, 5 2" S tormo
at C apodichino in M ay I 943. The DB
60 I engine was licence-built by Alfa
Romeo.

Armament: three 20-mm cannon and


two 12.7 mm (0,S-in) machine-guns, all
forward-flring, plusup to 630 kg
( 1,389 lb) of bombs when operated as a
fighter-bomber

Focke-Wulf
Proposed in 1937, as the Bf 109 was
lotning the Luftwaffe Kurt Tank's
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 surprisingly fea-
tured a large air-cooied BMW radial
engrne. First flown on 1 June i939 the
prototype was followed by short- and
long-span pre-production Fw 190A-0
atrcraft wrth BMW B0t l4,cylinder ra-
d'ols. fho long-span velston wds
selected for productton Fw 190A-I
flghters joined the Luftwaffe in mid- TheFocke-Wulf Fw 190 wasoutnumbered ontheEasternFrontbytheMesserschmittBf I\gG.ThisFw
1941 and proved superror to the I 904-5 flew with llUG 54'Griinherz' at Petseri in Estonia during I 944.
Spitlire Mk V. A-serres vanations in-
cluded the Fw 190A-3 with BMW
B0lD 2 and two 7.92-mm (0.31-in) and
four 20-mm guns, the Fw I90A-4 wlth
water methanol power-boosting (with
ftghter-bomber, bomber-destroyer
and tropicalized sub vanants). The Fw
190A-5 featured a shghtly lengrthened
nose and sub varrants included ver
srons wrth six 30-mm guns (A-5/Ut2)
and torpedo fighters (A-S/U14 and
UlS) The Fw I90A-7 and Fw 190A-8
entered production in December 1943 Above: Carrying'Defence of the Reich' fuselage
and featured increased armament and bands, this Fw 190A-9 Ilewwith IlJG 6 at Below: Fw I90D-9 ('Dora-9') of Stab/
armour. The Fw t90A-8ruI was a two- Delmenhorst in the winter of I944-5. JG 4, based atBabenhauseninearly
sedl convers.on tratnet The nexl maln 1945 for the defence of theReich.
productron verston, the Fw 190D, fea-
tured a lengthened nose and Junkers
Jumo 213 lrqu d coolod engine rn an
annular cowling The Fw 190D-9 was
the main service version, whrch jorned
the Luftwaffe in the autumn of 1944, and
was generally regarded as Germany's
best wartlme prston engine fighter;
with a top speed of 685 km/h
(426 mph), rt was armed
with two can-
non and two machtne guns, and was (19,685 ft); inrtial climb rate 720 m maximum take-off4900 kq ( i0,803 lb) Armament: rwo 7.92-mm 10.3 1 i-, ;-:-.-
powered by a water-methanol (2,362 ft) per minute; seruice cerling Dimensions:span 10 50 m (34 ft 5.4 in); tn nose and up to lour 20 mm grr*. -
boosted i670-kW (2,240-hp) Jumo 1 1400 m (37,402 ft); normal range length B 84 m (29 It 0 11) herah'3.96 m wings. plus provsron lorwrde'a. 3: - -
213A eng'ne Other laro versiors in 805 km (500 miles) ( 13 ft 0 rn )i wing a rea lB 30 ma ( 196.99 ::
under luseJage a nd u nderlr,-rnq L: :
cluded the Fw 190F and Fw ISOG spe- Weights: empty 3170 kq (6,989 Ib); sq f0 quns and rockets
ctalrzed ground-attack frghter-
bombers cap.ble of carryirg up to
1800 kq (3,968 lb) of bombs.
A development of the Fw 190D was
the long-span Focke-Wulf Ta 152 with
tncreased armament and boosted
Jumo 213ElB (top speed 760km/h;
472mph at 12500m/41,010f1); a smali
number ofTa 152H-I flghters reached
the Luftwaffe shortly before the end of
the war

Specification
Focke-Wulf l90A-8
Type: single-seat flghter
Powerplant: one 1566 kW (2, 100-hp)
BMW B01D-2 radial piston engine with
water-methanol boosting
Performance: maximum speed -4.
554 km/h (406 mph) at 6000 m

T he Fw 1 90G - 2 was a specialized


ground attack version with wing
racks for bombs or tanks, and an
ETC 501 centrelinerackfor a 1800-ks
(3,968-1b) bomb (in this case anSC
500 500- kg/ 1, 1 02-lb bomb is carried).
S tr eng thene d I anding ge ar w as
necessary for the heaviest load.
Axis Fighters over the Desert
The appearance of German fighters over North Africa had as dramatic an effect on the the OKL (Luftwaffe high command) decided to
campaign as the arrivalof the AfrikaKorpl.14iqlt six.wgeks the pilots of IlJG 27_had depioy JG 27's other two Grzppen to Libya lrom
des[royed as many Allied aircraft as had the ltalians in the previous eightmonths. the Eastern Front. By now the entire Ge-
schwader had been re-equipped with the Bf
The air war over North Africa occupied a total improved Macchi C.202 itself engendered 109F, although many oi its pilois still professed
of almost exactly three years, between the considerable changes in Italian frghter tacttcs a preference for the old 'Emil', Not so Marsei]le,
summer ol 1940 and that of i943, At the outset an by reason of its enhanced performance, By whose prowess as a marksman seemed entire-
impoverished RAF, equipped in the main with then the cream of the fighter prlots had already ly compatible with the shghtly steadier 'Fried-
a fighter force of a few Gloster Gladiator bi- fallen in battie. rich' in combat. By the begrnning of 1942 hrs
planes, faced ltaly's equally obsolescent Fiat By contrast the German Bi l09E pilots of VJG score was around 50 and begtnning to increase
CR,42s, On the relatively infrequent occasions 27, led by Eduard Neumann, were exuding rapidly, On 3 june, while escorting some Ju B7s,
these protagonists met, honours were rougthly self-confrdence when they arrived in the his Slaffei was attacked by a formaticn of P-40s.
even; by and large the Regia Aeronautica Mediterranean early tn 1941. With suchStaffel- In a series of beautrfully executed quarter
pilots were skilled fliers, the tactica] balance kapitdne (squadron }eaders) as Karl-Wolfgang attacks Marseille destroyed six of tfie Kttty-
beiween the two sides being maintarned by Redlich (1 Staffel) and Gerhard Homuth hawks in 1l minutes, using only 10 20-mm
the more aggressive attitude to combat among (3 Stafiel) both veterans of the Battle of Britarn rounds and 180 from his MG17 machine-guns.
the RAF pilots, who were later to receive the Knight's Cross, Such economy of ammunition was reminiscent
The campaigns in Greece and Crete not only lheGruppe entered combat on 19 April, shoot- ol Ren6 Fonck, the French ace of World War L
severely weakened the RAF by divertrng its ing down a Hurricane over Gazala, and claim- A fortnrght later, flying his 'Yellow L4' from
limited resources away from the Western De- ing a Vickers Welhngton the following day. Gazala, he despatched six more RAF aircraft,
sert, but also delayed its build-up of Hawker Thereafter success lollowed quickly, the Bf this time in an even six minutes, The foliowinq
Hurricanes, which reached the theatre only 109E suffenng less drag penalty from its dust day, hrs score standing at 101, he was awarded
aiter a roundabout journey by sea from the UK filter than did the Hurricane, whose bulky the Swords to hrs Knrght's Cross.
and a long fliqht up from the Gold Coast, Vokes filter reduced its lop speed to little over
480 km/h (300 mph). Withrn sx weeks the 37
Towards ElAlamein
Early in 1941, however, the Luftwaffe began
deploying a smali number of modern aircraft in pilots of VJG 27 had destroyed 63 A1lied aircraft By now both sides in the desert battle were
the Mediterranean, princtpally the Messer- in air combat, almost as many as had the entire approaching a climax rn North Africa as Rom-
schmitt Bf 109Es olUlG 27 and some Junkers Ju ltairan fighter force in North Africa in eight mel advanced towards the spot on the map
87s, to support elemenls of what were soon to months; their own losses amounted to sx killed identifred as El Alamein, Daily the Ju B7s attack-
become famous as Erwln Rommel's Afrika and two wounded. ed the Tobruk qarrison as the hard-worked
Korps, presumabty distrusting the Regla Aero- pilots of JG 27 kept watch for patrolling Allted
nautica's ability to do so. Certainly, faced with
Arrivalof Marseille flghters. Marseille had now taken over as SfaI
aircraft like the Hurricane and Curtiss Tomet - Among the pilots on JG 27's 3.Staflel was a felkapitan of 3.Staffel, Homuth having been
hawk equipping srx squadrons of the RAF and Z2-year-old Berlin-born OberfAhnrich, who appornted Gruppenkommahdeur (wing com-
SAAF, the italians had farled to gain the initia had already claimed seven Supermarine mander), By now Spitflre Mk Vs had started
tive over the Western Desert, the Fiat G,50 and Spitfires shot down while flying 'Emrls'wrth LG appearing in the skies over Africa,
Macchi C.200 provrng somewhat inferior to the 2 and JG 52 over the English Channel. Hans- The flrst day of September 1942 was to see
Allied fighters, The ltalians had moreover Joachim Marseille, a high-spirited extrovert JG 27 al its zenith of achievement. On that day,
adopted a dangerously debrlrtating practice of young man, seemed to settie into the desert as Nehring's tanks continued thetr battering
rotating combat-weary fighter units away from environment instinctively, flyinq hrs 'Emi1' on against the Allied positions at Ei Alamein, air-
the war theatre and replacing them with inex- solo practice sorties, whenever permitted, in craft of Tedder's Middle East Command flew a
perienced units, rather than srmply resting in- order to perfect his sktll and become a hiqhly total of 674 sorties to protect the British Bth
divrdual pilots in turn for short periods, There proflcient marksman. Strangely, however, Army. Marseille hrmself flew three times in the
was therefore little or no tactical coniinuity in Marseille was unfortunate in seldom betng tn- course of the day, On his first patrol he ran into
the front line, with the result that few rea1ly cluded in sorties by his Sla//e1 when the big- a large group of Krttyhawks and Spitflres,
accomplished Italian fighter pilots remalned at gest fights took place, and his personal victory shooting down three of the lormer and a Spitfire
the front long enough to pass on their experi- score increased only slowly during the first six
ence to newcomers, As a further consequence months. Operations in the desert had advantages and
Italian combat tactics that were already be- In the meantime, as the land battle increased disadvantages. Owing to the vast areas of hard,
comlng outmoded in 1940 were still being in ferocity, the Afrika Korps grew in strength flat sand, there was little need to build airstrips;
taught at the trainrng schools in 1941, and per- and the opposing armies advanced and retre- however, the ubiquitous dustcaused problems
sisted at the front until 1942, by whrch ttme the ated across the breadth of Cyrenaica 1n 1941, w ith engine s and arm ament.

1966
Axis Fighters of World War II

The Bf 1 1 0 was widely used in the desert, where its


Iong range, twin-engined safety andheavy
armament made if a usefu/asset. I t could easily
carry reconnaissance cameras, and this example
is being loaded for a reconnaissance sortie.

between 08.26 and 08 39 all south east oi Im-


ayid. T\ruo hours later he was airborne once
nioi" on u puttol behlnd the Allied lines when
hrs Gruppe engaged a wing of Kittyhawks,
Marseille alone shooling down eight between
10.55 and 11.05 near Alam el Halfa. In the late
evening the same day, once more patrolling
Imayid, Marseille accompanied his Gruppe
against a wing of Hurricanes and Kittyhawks,
this tlme claiming five of the American fighters
between 17.47 and 17.53. In the course of that
day JG 2? destroyed 20 Krttyhawks, four Hurri-
canes and two Spitfires for the ioss of one pilot
killed, one taken prisoner and one posted mis-
srng,
Seventeen in aday
Marserlle's iear o[ shooting down l7 A]hed
fighters in a single day (a11 of which are identi-
fiable in Allied records) brought immediate
congratulations from Generalfeldmarschall
Kesselring hrmself, and the award of the Di-
amonds on the next day, On 15 September he waffe in North Afnca was extraordinary. That is harvests in air combat. Marseille's own I Grup
reached a score of 150 victories when he shot not to say the loss of this one man significantly pe was withdrawn irom Afrlca to western
down seven Allied aircraft in 11 minutes. influenced the course of events at El Alamein Europe in November, although the II and III
On the morning of 30 September, now flying or afterwards, yet it should be recalled that JG Gruppen stayed in Africa to the end. No matier
a Bf ]09G-2 near Imayid, Marseille was heard 27 represented the ehte amonq Axis fighter how much the Luftwaffe could scrape together
on his radio to report that his engine had caught forces in North A-frrca, and the loss oi Marseille by way of reinforcements, the flna1 outcome
flre and that his cockpit was filled with smoke. certainly had a profound effect upon the other was inevitable in the face of enormous Allied
A few minutes later he called to report that he young pilots of lhe Geschwader, the more so as air superiority,
was baling out in the vicinity of Alamein, His rt had been suffered accidentally and unnec-
wingman, Pottgen, reported seeing Marseille cessarily.
Throughout the war the Luftwaffe was a master of
leave his cockpit but saw hls parachute snag As the two great Allied advances from east aircraft camouflage, and this Bf I 09E is a perfect
the tailplane, adding as the 'Gustav' dived into andwest followed the final battle al El Aiametn example. Following the failure of the Regia
the ground and blew up, simply Errt fof'(he is and the 'Torch' Iandin gs. IG 27 and all the other Aeronautica to gain air superiority, the influx of
dead), Axis forces scrambed back to the flnal toehold Bf I09s to the desertwas awelcome sight for Axis
The effect olMarserlle's death upon the Lult- in Tunisia, never aqain to reap such prolific forces.
lYlesserschmitt Bf 109 in Action
The story of the Bf 109 parallels that of the Luftwaffe itself; after dramatjcsuccesson
theContinentithadtofightoverEnglandin amanner unsuited toits abilities,but
then achieved further triumphs over the USSR and Africa. Later, as the Reichitself
crumbled before the Allied onslaught, the Bf I09s fought their last battles against
overwhelming numbers of enemy aircraft.

The summer of 1940 brought the Jagdverband Goering was adamantr the bombers must be
with its 'Emils' (Messerschmitt Bf lO9Es) to the protected.
Channel coast for what was wtdely believed For more than l0 days the/agdgeschwader
would be Germany's last campaign before (flghter groups) were sent up to rendezvous
turning its attention towards the USSR. For the with the great formations, using precious fuel to
German flghter prlots the coming battle against take positlon above and abeam the immaculate
the RAF's Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker ranks of lumbering bombers as they flew north-
Hurricanes would obviously be tough going, wards at scarcely 320km/h (l99mph), Men A Luftwaffe pilot climbs into his Bf I 09E- I at a
although the Battle of France had already con- whose instinct, selectlon and training ior indr- German base just prior to hostilities in I 939. Over
flrmed the excellence of their arrcraft. vidual combat were now shackled to a ponder- Poland the Bf l09s had complete superiority over
However, as the weeks passed and the Dor- ous procession saw the British flghters above the few PZL P . 1 I s which rose to meet the Lightning
attack. The unit is 2./JG 20, which later became
nier, Heinkel and Junkers bombers returned them and could do llttle to redress the tactical 8.UG 51.
from their daily raids over southern England, balance. Even the etght-gun Hurricane, over
their formations badly broken and with crtp- whrch the 'Emil'possessed a 48 km/h (30-mph)
pled aircraft struggling to reach the French speed advantage, constituted tough opponents wastes of the Enghsh Channel.
coast, it was clear that Goering's e\ile Zerstor- as the RAF pilots drved through Ihe Staffel Certainly the German pilots were shooting
er, the brg Messerschmitt Bf I l0 escort fighter (squadron) sections, and many of the promising down RAF fighters but, in mid-August, there
was no match for the nrmble Spitflres and Hur young German pilots were shot down unable seemed to be no apparent weakening of the
ricanes, To its disgust and dismay the Jagdver- to manoeuvre wrthin the conflnes of their Brrtrsh arr defence, Many of the RAF ptlots
band recerved orders from the OKl, (i,uftwaffe formation and under strict orders to remain were baling out or force landing over their own
high command) in mrd-August to the eflect that wrth the bombers. And when they could en- territory, to live and flght another day; others.
henceforth rts 'Emils' would accompany the gage in dogfighting, often well inland over short of fuel or out of ammunition, could disen
bombers as close escort. No matter how such southern England, their fuel reserves were gage at will to land and replenish, Little won-
influential men as Galland and Molders mtght already desperateJy low. once more agarnsl der the Germans' morale was badly shaken.
argme that such tactics would deprive the Jaqd- ali therr instincts, they had to break olf as luel Then, almost certainly as the result of con-
verband of its supreme asset, that of meetrng warning lights flickered on to rernind them of a stant appeals by the flghter leaders, Ihe Jagd-
the RAF fiqhters in conditions of its own choice ZO-minute return to France over the grey filhrer (ighler leader) was allowed to rescini
the former orders, and during the last week or
August he decreed that, whrle on certain occa-
sions the 'Emils' would strll be required tc
accompany the bombers, they could alsc
undertake frei Jagd (free chase) sweeps over
southern England. At the same time large
formations (often up to 100 fighters) would be
sent out over Kent and Sussex, appearing or
British radar as bombing raids, thereby en-

During the early months in the deserts of North


Atrica, the Bf 109 enjoyed considerab/esuccess.
Opposition consisted mainly of Hawker
H urricanes and Curtiss Tomahawks and
Kittyhaw ks. White Mediterranean the atre bands
were carried by most aircraft.

GERMANY

Messerschmitt Bf I09
First flown in September 1935, Wrlly
Messerschmrtt's single-seat Messer-
schmitt Bf 109 fighter saw action during
the Spanish Crvil War in the Bf l09B
series version (Junkers Jumo 210 en
qine), jorning the Luftwaffe rn 1937 and
being followed by the Bf I09C with
armament increased from three to four
rrfle-calibre machrne-guns. The Bf
I09D introduced the Daimler-Benz DB The Messerschmitt Bf I09E-3s of II/JG 77 moved
600 engrne and hub firrnq cannon, and into Aalborg, Denmark, soon after the invasion.
was produced in t938-9. 0.59-in MG 151) and optional under-
Frrst major production variant was wrng giLrn pods Both the Bf 1O9E and Bf (38,550 ft); normal rangre 725 km (450
the Bf I09E wrth DB 60lD engrne and l09F existed rn tropicalized form for More than 33,000 Bf I09s were built miles)
direct fuel-injection, and variations of service in North Afrrca durinq 1941 2. between 1937 and 1945, Weights: empty 2700 kq (5,952 lb);
armament between two machrne- The Bf I09G, with DB 605 enqine, maximumtake-off3150 kq(6 945 lb)
quns, and four machine-guns and one served from 1942 until 1945 on all Specification Dimensions: span 9.92 m (32 ft 6.6 in);
hub-cannon. Fighter-bomber and re- fronts, being built in the larqest num- Messerschmitt Bf t09G-6 lensth 9.02 m (29 ft 7. I in); heisht
connaissance versions were produced bers and introducing armament varia- Type: single seat interceptor fighter 3.40 m(11 ft 1.9 in); wingtarea ]6.05 m2
during 1940 The Bf 109E was the Luft- tions whrch included 30-mm gnrns, Fas- Powerplant: one t 100-kW (1,475-hp) (172,8 sq ft)
waffe's princrpal fighter during 1939- test of ail was the Bf l09G-10 (690 km/h; Daimler-Benz DB 605A 12-cylinder Armament: two nose-mounted I 3-mm
40, It was followed by the Bf 109F, pow- 429 mph.t. Final main product.on ve. inverted Vee piston engrne (0 59 in) MC 13l heavy machjre guns
ered initially by the DB 601N and later sion was the Bf l09K with boosted ver- Performance: maxrmum speed one 30-mm MK l0B cannon fir,ng
the DB 601E, and introduced such sions of rhe DB 605 Orher versrons rn- 623 krn/h (387 mph) at 7000 m through propeller hub and two 20-mm
equrpment as nitrous-oxide power cluded the Bf 109H high-altitude (22 966 ft); climb to 6000 m (19,685 ft) in MG 15l/20 cannon mounted under the
boosting, faster firing guns (15-mm/ fighter and Bf I09T shipboard frqhter 6.0 minutes; service ceiling 11750 m winqs

1968
Bf l09soperated with the ground attack units on
the Eastern Frcnt. This Bf I09E-7lB flewwith
II IS chlachtgeschwader L
!

-e
I ._l
dtsr-
\fg fi*&
{ *
F'
=-:=-- li

couraging the RAIr frghter squadrons to loin


batile. These tactics at once t urned the fortunes
ol the Jaqdverband, power to destroy RAF Fiqhter Command with- consisting of just two rifle calibre ma..1-:-:
Often trmed ior take-off as a bombing raid in a matter of weeks, Goering denied his own guns plus a single heavy machine-gun c :
approached the English coast, the free-chase priots the opportuntty of a crushrnq victory. mm (0.59-rn) calibre or a 20-mm cannon nr.:-=
Staffeln wouid sweep in low over the southern As the dayhght Battle of Britain was coming through the propeller hub. When at daw-n cr. ::
counties below the Brltlsh radar, catching the to an end a new version of the Bf 1.09 was June 1941 the Luftwaffe's fighters and bomb:r:
Spitlires and Hurricanes as they climbed out of already being tested in Germany and thrs, the took to the air en masse from more thar i -
Kenley Brggrn Hill and Tangmere. Later, other Bl 109F 'Friedrich with 969-kW (1300-hp) DB airfields, and began systematically to srral:
groups of 'Emrls' would pounce on the weary 60lE engine, entered l,uftwaffe service during and bomb every airfieid of the Soviets V-''.'S
RAF pilots as they returned from combat, short the spring of 1941 rn time to equlp sixGruppen wrthrn 130 km (80 mrles) of the front, scarcei',' .
o- tLel dr o wr'h lil le or -o ortttrt,lltl .or re ffiolll- (wings) for Hitler's attack on the USSR Once single Soviet arrcraft rose to meet them. In thi.
lng more the Jagdverband was able to revert to rts the greatest ever pre emptive arr strike. ::r=
On 26 August RAF fighter losses rose to 27 traditional role as a battlefieid support force, carnage among Soviet aircraft was enormc..s
Sprtfires, Hurricanes and Boulton Paul Defiants and the flrst 72 hours of the great attack east Within srx hours more than 800 lay scattere-:
compared wrth 15 'Emils' on 30 August the wards constituted the most extraordinary ram- and wrecked on Soviet fields, the majority irre-
Brrtlsh lost 21 frghters, the Jagdverband 12, In page by flghter aircraft tn history. No fewer parably crrppled by the highly-effectrve Ger-
the first week of September the fortunes swung than 830 Bf 109s w-ere deployed on Pohsh man fragmentatron bomblets. The light g;r.
even more heavily against Fighter Command Hungarian and Romantan alrftelds, few of armament of the'Emi1s' and'l'riedrichs' pro,"'e-
.oith l5 RAF flghters shot down compared with rvhich were more than 100 km (62 miles) from perfectly adequate to dispose of such So.,.r-=.
only two 'Emils'lost in combat on I Sepiember, the front line; moreover simple modrficatrons lighters that attempted to interfere with ir=
on 3 September 13 British and three Emrls, the had been introduced to enable the German rards, the ma;orrty of them the nimble but ou.
next day 17 British and five Bf l09s In a iortnrght fighters to mount carriers lor up to 20 small SD 2 dated Polikarpov I-lSbis and I-153 biplarLes
RAF Frghter Command lost the equivalent of fragmentatron bombs 'rnth which to attack and I-16 monoplanes,
about 20 squadrons. Yet once agarn the Ger- ground targets
man hrgh command stepped rn ihis time Lightarmament A Schwarm offour 'Emils' pass a French Channel
switching the mrght of the Lufiwaffe from town. Led by men such as M6lders,who had
attacks on the British defence system to those The gun armament of the Bf 109F, crittctzed racked up great expettise during the Spanish Civil
on London and the civihan populatron At just by manyJagdflieger(fiEhter ptlots) as rnadequ- War, the Luftwaffe's fighter tactics were far in
the moment when the Jagdverband had it in 1ts ate for air combat remained relatively light, advance of those ofFrance and Britain.

'srym*.s
ffir*
%#
*s
lYlesserschmitt
Bf r09
Introduced into Luftwaffe service at the start of the Battle of Britair,
inAugust 1940, the MesserschmittBf I09E-7 featured a modjfid
fuelsystem and attachmentfor aventraldrop tank. Being equipg.
to carry theextafuel, the new aircraftwere able to provide
effective escortfor the big daylightraids over London in Septenrle:
I 940.'R e d 2' ( no. 20 5 I ), depicted here, w as being flown by
U nteroffi zier K lic k of 3. / LG 2 w hen it w as s ho t down by RAF fi g hters
in the famous raids on London on l5 September.

;
ri
t
Messerschmitt Bf 109 in Action
TheBf I09F-2 mounteda l5-mm
Mauser cannonin the nose.This
example is a tropicalizedversion
with dust filter, sewing with I I I /J G 27
atQasabaduring 1942.

Carrying a summer camouflage, this


Bf 109G-2 of 4./JG 54 served in 1942 .

on the Eastern Front at Siverskaya.


Theyellow nose, wingtip and
fu sel age bands wer e E as ter n
theatre markings.

By the end of that first day no fewer than 1,800 locally-strengthened airframe and landing Messerschmitt Bf 1 09G- 141U4
Soviet aircraft had been destroyed (the Soviets qear, an armament of a faster-flring 20 mm can- cutaway drawing key
themselves acknowledging a loss of I,200), a non and two healry machine gnrns, and (in most
instances) a pressurized cockpit, Nevertheless 1 Starboard navigation light 20 Propeller pitch-change
flgnrre that rose to over 3,000 during the next 24 2 Starboard wingtip mechanism
hours, or roughly one{hird of the total strength the 'Gustav' remained primarily a 'dogfighter' 3 Fixed trim tab 21 VDM electrically operated
for some months, its qun armament still proving 4 Starboard Frise-type constant-speed propeller
deployed by the V-VS on the Eastern Front. aileron 22 Spinner
The Jagdverband had exploited its killing generally inadequate to knock down the big 5 Flushiivetedstressed 23 Engine mounted cannon
wino-slinnino muzzle
gnound admirably. Many prlots flew upwards of American bombers, 6 Han"dley Pagdleadrng 24 Blasttube
40 combat sortres ln the first week of Operation edge automattc slat 25 Propellerhub
'Barbarossa', Germany's renowned fighter Defence of the Reich 7 Slar control linkaoe 26 Spinnerbackplate
B Slatequalizerrod- 27 Auxiliary cooling intakes
pi1ot, Werner Molders who commanded JG 5 1, Among the flrst 'Gustav'-equipped home- 9 Aileroncontrol linkage 28 Cooling headertank
himself destroyed 33 enemy aircraft in three defence unrts was VJG I, but during the early
weeks and became the first member of ihe months of 1943 this was joined by the newly-
German armed forces to be awarded the Di- formedJagdgeschwader l1 led by Anton Mad-
amonds to the Knight's Cross (only to be killed er. Still the German single-engine fighters
in a flying accident behrnd the front four seemed unable to make much impression on
months later). His Geschwader was the frrst to the American Boelng B-17 formations excepi
reach the figure of 1,000 aircraft destroyed (on by employrng head-on attacks, tactics that
30 June), and thts achievement was emulated were favoured by the GermanExperlen but as
by lG 3 lG 52, JC 53 lG 54 and JG 77 in the unnervinq for the inexperienced flghter pilot
comlng months. Every one of these formations as they were for the bomber crews, At that time
was equipped with the Bf 109 flghter, only the single 20-mm cannon ol the 'Gusiav'
While Bf l09s continued to dominate the possessed the range to outgun the Americans'
German fighter inventory in the Eastern and i2,7-mm (0 S-in) machine-guns, and rt was ob-
Mediterranean theatres for the remainder of vious that only when armed with longer-
the war, the air defence of Germany itself ranged weapons would German fighters be
assumed growing importance from late 1942 able to destroy the bombers.
onwards as the American daylight heavy bom- In the meantime a young pilot, Heinz Knocke
ber offensive began to mount in intensity, By of 5 4G I, hrt on the rdea of dropping time-fused
then a new verslon of the Bf 109 (and as it 250-kq (551-1b) bombs rnto the American bom-
transpired, the most widely used) was being ber formations, a tactic which was tned wlth
urtroduced into service. The Bf I09G, or 'Gus limited success. However, by now the USAAF
tav', with 1100-KW (1 475-hP) hlqh- was increasingiy sending Republic P-47 escort
compression DB 605 engine, was a generally fighters with the bombers and, weighed down
beefed-up version of the 'Friedrrch', featuring wrth a bomb, the 'Gustav'was at an immediate

O Pilot Press Limited

10 Fabric-coveredtlap sectlon
1 1 Wheel fairinq
1 2 Port iuselaqe machine-gun
ammunition-feed fairlng
13 Port Rheinmetall Borsig
13-mm MG'131 machine- 29 Anti vibraton rubber
gun engine-mounting pads
l4 Enqine accessones 30 Elektron forged engine
I 5 Starboard machine-gun bearer
trouo h 31 Engine bearersupportstrut
16 Darriler Benz DB 6O5AM attachment
f2-cvlinder inverted vee 32 Pluo leads
liquid-cooled engine 33 Exh-aust manifold fairLng
Seen on the Eastern Front, this Bf I 09G-6/R6 R6 field modification added two 20-mm MG I51 17 Detachab e cowling panel strip
betongs totheSlovakian 13. stihAchiletkA and cannonunder thewings. T 8 Oil filter access 34 Ejector exhausts
19 Oil tank 35 Cowling fasteners
carries the Slovakian tricolor on the spinner. The

r972
The ultimate combatvariantwas the
Bf 109K, hereexemplified by aK-4of
I I /JG 77 based at Bonninghardt late in
I944. The 'K' series embodied
s ev e r a I ae r o dy n a m ic im pr ove m e n ts
over theG-10, includingrudder tab
and raised cowling line.

disadvantage in a dogfight, Instead a new


weapon was introduced, the WGr 2I Dodel _/,/ lav' Gruppen were defending the Reich, a total
21-cm (8.27-in) rocket, a single missile being the 'Gustav', being attached in underwing pods of about 550 aircraft. Yet sheer numbers of
launched from a tube bolted under each wing. as the Bf 109's wlng was unable to accommo- defending fighters, contrary to circumstances
When used by large formations of 'Gustavs' this date the gun internally that had existed during the Battle of Britain,
weapon proved relatively effective, though During the summer of 1943, as the British and were no criterion in the great air battles over
haphazard, but even after discharge of the American bomber offensives began to take a Germany, for the 'Gustav' constituted a frustrat-
rockets the German fighter was still badly devastating toll of German cities, and produc- ing compromise: unable to knock down the
handicapped in air combat by the drag of the tion of the 'Gustav' was quickly stepped up, bombers except when armed with heavy giuns
tubes, most of Ihe Jagdgeschwader introduced a and,/or rockets, and unable to match the North
When su-fflcient quantitres became available fourth Gruppe, thereby increasing their American P-51 and P-47 flghters when bur-
30-mm MK I08 cannon were eventually fitted to strenqth to almost 150 fighters. By then 16 'Gus- dened with this armament.

36 Oilcooler 51 20-mmMauserMGlS1/2o 67'Galland:typecleatrvision 75 Circularaccess panel 93 Tail,trimming cables 132 Wing rear pick-up pornt
37 Oil cooler intake cannon breech hinged canopy 76 Tail trimmino €ble conduit 94 I arllrn root tatflno 133 Spar/fuselage upperpin
38 Starboard mainwheel 52 Heelrests 68 Framedarmourglass head/ 77 Wireless leais 95 Starboard f ixed tailDlane ioint (horizontal)
39 Oil cooler outlet flap 53 Rudderpedals back panel 78 MW 50 (methanol./wated 96 Elevatorbalance 134 Spar/Iuselage lowerpin
40 Wing root fillet 54 Undercarriage emergency 69 Canopy contoured frame tank (25 lmpqal/'] 14 litres 97 Starboard elevator ioint (venical)
41 Wino/fuselaoefairrno retraction cables 70 Canopy hinges istarboard) capacity)
42 Fireriall/bulk"hearl " 55 Fuselaoe{rame 71 Canopyreleasecatch 79 Handhold
43 Superchargerair intake 5ti Wrng/tuselaqetarnng 72 Pilot's bucket-type seat 80 Fuselagedecking
44 Supercharger assembly 57 Undercarriage emergency (8-mm back armour) 81 Aerialmast
45 20-mm cannon maoazrne retraction handwheel 73 Underfloor contoured fuel 82 D/F loop
drum (outboard) tank (88-lmp gal/400 htres
46 13-mm machine€un 58 Tail trim handwheel of 87 octane 84)
ammunition feed (inboaid) 74 Fuselageframe /
47 Enginebearerupper 59 Seatharness ' 87 I
atachment 60 Throttle lever
48 Ammunition feed fairing 61 Controlcolumn I
/
49 '13-mm Bheinmetall Borsio 62 Cockpit ventilation inlet /
MG '13'l machine{un " 63 Revi 168 reflectorgunsight I
breeches (folding)
8l
50 lnstrumentpanel 64 Armouredwindshield
frame
65 Anti{lare gunsight screen
66 90-mm armourglass
windscreen
\.-=

135 Flapsequalizerrod
136 Rristsatz R3 auxiliaryfuel
tank ventral rack
1 37 Undercarriage electrical
L interlock
'138 Wing horizontalpin foMard
pick-up
98 Gearedelevatortab 139 Undercarriage retraction
I 99 Allwooden tailtin
construction
100 Aerialatlachment
jack mechanism
140 Undercarriage pivot-bevel
141 Auxiliaryf uel tank (Rristatz
6
* '10'l Rudder mass balance
102 Rudderpost
R3)of 66 lmp gal (300 iitre)
capacrty
C 103 Fabric-coveredwooden 142 Mainwheel leg fairinq
83 Oxygen cylinders (three) rudder structure 143 Mainwheeloleo leg
84 Filler pipe 104 Geared ruddertab '144 Brake lines
&
85 Wireless equipment packs 105 Rearnavigation light 145 Mainwheelfairing
(FuG'l6ZY 106 Portelevator 146 Port mainwheel
l: communications and FuG 107 Geared elevatortab 147 Leading-edgeskin
g 25a IFF) 108 Tailplane structure 148 Pon mainwheelwell
86 Main fuel iiller cap 109 Budderactuating linkage 149 Wino soar
t: 87 Aerial
88 Fuselagetopkeel
110 Elevatorcontrol horn
1 1
'l Elevator connecting rod 150 Flap"aciuatinq linkaoe
'151 Fabric-covered control
(connector stringer) f i2 Elevatorcontrol quadrant surfaces
89 Aerial lead-in 113 Taiwheel leg cuff 152 Slotted flapstructure
t 90 Fuselage skin plating
secttons
1 14 Castorino non-retractable
tailwheef
153 Leading-edgeslot
actuatino mechanism
91 U-stringers 1 l5 Lengthenedtaikheel leg 154 Slarequiirzingrod
92 Fuselage frames 116 Accesspanel 1 55 Handley Pageautomatic

I (monocoque construction) 1 17 Tailwheel shock-strut leading-edge slat


'|
18 Lifting point 156 Wing stringers
, 1 19 Ruddercable
120 Elevatorcables
'l
57 Sparflange decrease
158 Wng ribs
121 First-aid pack 159 Flush-riveted stressed
122 Air bottles wing-skinning
123 Fuselaoeaccess oanel 1 60 Metal-framed Frise-type
124 Bottorikeel (conhector aileron
strinoer) 161 Fixedtrimtab
1 25 Ventlal IFF aenal 162 Wingtip constructjon
126 Mastercompass 1 63 Port navigation light
1 27 Elevator control linkage 1g Angledpitothead
128 Winq root fillet 1 65 Rrjstsatz R6 optional
129 Camberchanoing flap undewing cannon gondola
130 Ductedcoolant radiator 166'14-pointplug connection
131 Winq $trinqers 167 Electrical iunction box
1 68 Cannon rdar mounting
bracket
169 20-mm Mauser MG 151/
20 cannon
170 Cannon frontmounting
bracket
'171 Ammunition feed chute
172 Ammunition magazine
drum
173 |.JndeMino oanel
174 Gondola fa"ring
1 75 Cannon barrel

t9?3
GERMANY

Messerschmitt Bf I I0
Germany's first essay in the twin-
enqined two-seat 'heavy fighter' (or
Zerstorer, destroyer) category was the.
Messerschmitt Bf 1I0, conceived in
1934 and flrst flown on 12 May 1936;
pre-production Bf 1I0A-0 flqthters fol-
lowed in 1937-8 with Junkers Jumo
210B engines. Production started with This Bf 1 llE- 1 was flown by an
the Bf II0B in 1938 with Jumo 210Gs oper ational conver s ion u nit
and forward armament of hvo 20-mm @rgdnzungszerst6rergnuppe) from
and four 7.92-mm (0.31-in) gnrns plus Deblin- I rena in Poland during I 942.
one 7.92-mm (0.31-in) gun in the rear
cockpit. Daimler-Benz DB 60lA-
powered Bf IIOC arrcraft joined the
Luftwaffe in 1939 in time for the attack
on Poland, and were employed as
fighters and flghter-bombers through-
out 1940; the Bf 1l0C-5 was a recon-r*{Ft'i
natssance verslon.
The lonq-range Bf I l0D entered ser-
vice in 1940, and sub-variants were the
frrst Bf 110s to be employed as night-
flghters; there were also tropicaltzed
and flghter-bomber versions. The Bf
1lOE fighter-bomber was powered by
DB 60 lNs and the Bf I 10F by DB 60 lEs. ll0G with DB 605Bs was produced in F lown hy Luftwaffe crews, several B f I I 0 D - 3 s of 4. / Z G 7 6 sup por ted I r aqi
Despite its high top speed, the Bf I 10 Zerstorer, fiqhter-bomber, recon- insurgent forces in May I94l.Tanks were carried for extra range.
was quickly shown to be no match for narssance and nighl-frghter versions
opposing sinqle-engine flghters, and and sub-variants introduced the 37- Specification Weiqhts: empty 5200 kq (11,464 lb);
from 1941 development was confined mm gun under the fuselaEte. Radar- Messerschmitt Bf I l0C-4 maximum take-off 6750 kq ( 14,88 I ]b)
mainly to qtround-attack and night- equipped Bf llOGs formed the prin- Type: two-seal healry lrghter Dimensions: span 16.27 m (53 ft 4.6 rn);
flghter versions, The Bf I10F-4 intro- cipal night-fighter equrpment of the Powerplant: two 820-kW (1,100-hp) length 12.65 m(41 ftO in); heiqht3,50 m
duced two 30-mm guns under the Luftwaffe between 1943 and 1945, as Daimler-Benz DB 60 lA l2-cyhnder (l I ft 5.8 in); wing area 38.40 m'z (413.3
fuselage, and the Bf I l0F-4AlI featured well as participating rn the daylight air inverted-Vee piston engines sq ft)
twin upward-firing 20-mm guns defence battles over Germany durinqt Performance: maxrmum speed Armament:two 20-mm MG FF cannon
(schr2iqe Musrk installation). The Bf this period. 560 km/h (348 mph) at 7000 m and four 7.92-mm (0.31-rn) MG 17 guns
(22,966 ft); initial chmb rate 660 m in the nose, flring forward, and one
(2, 165 ft) per minute; service ceiling 7.92-mm (0.31-rn) MG 15 machine- Qrun
10000 m (32,808 ft); normal ranse on trainable mountinq in the rear
775 km (482 miles) cockpit firing aft

Bf I I 0s were at their best operating restrictions of having to escort Atter the debacle over Britain, the Bt such as the Mediterranean, where its
at high altitude away from the bombers. I 10 was switched to other theatres heavy armament proved useful.

JAPAN
qiear, redesigmed airframe structure prston engrne
Kawanishi NtKl Shiden and cleaner engine cowlingT,
appeared durlng the last year of the
Performance: maxtmum speed
584 krth (363 mph) at 5900 m
In l94l Kawanishi was still engaged in combat, provinq an equal match for the war and proved even better than the (19,357 ft); climb to 6000 m (19,685 ft) in
desigm of an attractlve float-equipped Grumman F6F Hellcat; gdven the re- NlKl; an lrstance occuired when a 7,8 mrnutes; sewice ceiling 12500 m
fighter, the Kawanishi NIKI, intended portinq name'George'by the Allies, it single Japanese pilot, Warrant Officer (41,010 ft); ranse 1432 km (890 miles)
as a naval flghter to support an island- was widely considered to be one of Kinsuke Muto, fought off 12 Hellcats, weights: empty 2897 kg (6,387 Ib);
hopping conquest in the Pacific with- Japan's best wartime frghters. Three shooting dov,n four, Atotal of 1,435 NlK maximumtake-off 4321 kg (9,526 ]b)
out dependence on carriers or shore olher maln productton velsions were Shrden landplane fighters was pro- Dimensions: span 12.00 m (39 ft 4.4 in);
bases; in due course 98 of these produced: the NIKI-Ja with nose qnrns duced, lengrh B 89 m(29 lt 2 rn). heighl^4.06 m
fighters (Allied reportinq name 'Rex') deleted and all cannon mounted tnside (13 ft3 B in): wrngarea23.50 m'
were produced. However, whrle their the winqs; the NlKl-Jb with underwingt Specification (252.95 sq ft)
design was still in progress Kawantshi racks for two 250-kq (551-lb) bombs; KawanishiNIKI-J Armament: two 7,7-mm (0.303-tn) Type
undertook a wheel-landing gear ver- and the NlKlJc wrth racks for four Type: single-seat fighter 97 machine-qnrns in nose and four
sion, desrqnated the NIKI-J Shiden 250-kg (551 ]b) bombs. A newversion Powerplant: one 1484-kW (1,990 hp) wing-mounted 2O-mm Tlpe 99 cannon
(violet liqhtning), The prototype of the the NIK2-J, with improved landing Nakajima NK9H Homare 21 radiAl
new flghterwas flown on 27 December
1942 powered by the new l8-cylinder Kawanishi N I KZ-J Shiden of the 343rd Kokutai. The
Nakajima Homare radial. Production type gave agood account of itself despite niggling
got under way in 1943 of the NlKl-J earlyproblems. .,a,r;
with Homare 2l radial and an arma-
ment of two 7.7-mm (0,303-in) nose
qn:ns and four 20-mm winq cannon (two
of which were carried in underwing
fairings), Despite being plaqnred by
constant engine troubles and an in-
herently weak landing gear, the
Shiden was an excellent aircrait in
ol
JAPAN

Kawasaki Ki-61
Sometrmes described as a cross be-
:,veen a Messerschmitt Bf 109 and a
l{orth American P-51 Mustang, the
Kawasaki Ki-6I certainly had the dis-
nctive nose shape associated wrth an
rverted V-12 inline engdne, the Kawa-
Ha-40 being rn effect a Daimler-
=ki
3enz DB 601A built under licence, The
-{r 6}'s designers, Takeo Doi and Shin
3wada, had moreover worked under
:re German Richard Vogrt, In Decem-
cer 1940 they were instructed to gro This Ki-6 1 -l KAI c sewed with the 3rd
=}read with the Ki-61, and one year Chutai, I 9 th S entai tlying from
,ater the prototype was flown. The flrst Okinawa during the American attack
production Ki-6IJ fighters were de- onthatisland.
ployed operatronally in April 1943
-.';hen the 68th and TBth Sentais afiived
r New Guinea, Named Hien (swallow)
$!ot'-=
-: servrce (and codenamed'Tony' by
::e Allies), the new aircraft proved
icpular with its pilots, beinq unusually
;ell-armed and armoured, and the
rpe was at leasl a malch for opposing
-:-merican fiqhters, Its armament (of
'-:u 12,7 -mm/0. S-in machine-guns)
sffi
r-rcved rnadequate to knock down Ki-61-l KAIcof theHQ Chutai,244th
::emy bombers, however, and the Ki- Sentai, Chofu, Tokyo, flying
5l-l KAIc was introduced with a pair of Specification (13,976 ft); climb to 5000 m (16,404 ft) in interception sorties against the B-29.
:--mm cannon in the nose, these beinqt Kawasaki Ki-6Il KAIc 7.0 minutes; service ceiling 10000 m
::olaced in a small number of Ki-6Il Type: sinqle-seat fighter (32,808 ft); ranse 1800 km (1,1 1B miles) (12 ft 1,7 in); wingarea20.O0 m2
KAId fighters by two 30-mm cannon Powerplant: one BB0-kW (1,180-hp) Weights: empty 2630 kq (5,798 lb); (215,3 sq ft)
-:e Ki-61-l and Ki-61-l KAI remained Kawasakr Ha 40 V-12 prsron engine normal loaded 3470 kq (7,650 ]b) Armament:two 20-mm Ho-S canncr:
:- production until 1945, but in 1944 Performance: maximum speed Dimensions:span 12.00 m(39 ft4.4 in); nose andtwo 12,7-mm (0.5 in) Type,
---ey were
joined in service by the Ki- 590 kTn/h (367 mph) at 4260 m lenqthB,94 m(29 ft4 in); height3.70 m machine-guns rn wings
51-lI with more powerful Kawasaki Ha-
-l engine (producing 1l lg-kw1,500-
,-,;): with a top speed of 610km/h
:19 mph) this would have been an ex-
::.lent fighter but for constant enqdne
:r:blems; yet when fully serviceable
':,: Ki-61-ll was one of the few
-:!anese fighters fully able to combat
Boerng B-29 al rts normal operating
.' -ude,
.-.

particularly when armed with


:tl 20-mm cannon, Excludinq pro-
,._,pes and development aircraft, pro-
:-rtion totalled 1,380 Kr-61-ls, I,274Kr-
: --1 KAIs and 374 Kt-61-I]s.

lhe Ki-61was one of fewJapanese


lghters that could really take on the
i-29s at their operating altitude.

l l f<"*"r"ki Ki-I00
--.: Kawasaki Ki-61-11 with ihe com-
.-.7s Ha 140 engrne was seen as an
,..:rrm hiqh-altitude interceptor to
-.:kle the USAF's Boeinq B-29s at their
::-Lsing altrtude of some 9144 m
:,100ft). However, development of
---= Ha-140 as a reliable powerplan!
-s terminated frnally when the
-:. -hi factory where the engine was
: destroyed during an air raid.
-, -r: was
--1 the requirement becoming darly
urqent, Kawasaki was instructed
---,re
lonved the 275 Ki-61-lI airframes The Ki- 1 00Jb introduced a cut-down rear fuselage over the original Ki-G I
l::ennq dust in the Kaqamigahara marning 272 Kr-61arrframes had been shape,which improved pilotvision. This aircraftis from the 3rd Chutai, 59tA
.: rry wrth alternatrve powerplant converted to the new confrguration, .Senlai.
,.- ither similar engTine was available enterinq service as the Army Type 5
-,:= r adaptation of the slender fuselage Fighter Model 1A, which was iden- IIru engine which incorporated a tur-
,, .:e Kr-61 to allow rnstallation of a tified by the company as the Kawasaki bocharqer to improve high altitude
.:;e-diameter radial engine at flrst Ki100la. performance, but only three of these
.::eared impractical, However With the KrIOO provingr such a suc- Ki-I00-U prototypes had been butlt
r--',';asaki's desiqn team converted cess rt was decided to initiate produc- and flown by the end of the war
' ::: arrframes to serue as prototypes tion ofthis aircraft, the resultinq Ki-100-
,-- -l1inga Mitsubishi Ha I 12-llengine Ib differing only by having the cut- Specification
': :r had the same power output as down rear fuselage and all-round-view Kawasaki Ki- 100-Ia,/b
-.='rreliable Ha-140. When the first of canopy that had been desigmed for the Type: sinqle-seat interceptor fighter
--:: was flown, on 1 February 1945, proposed Ki-61-lll. A total of99 ofthis Powerplant: one I I 19-kW (1,500-hp)
. ='...:saki discovered that it had a flrst- version was burlt before productton Mitsubishi Ha- I 12-ll l4-cylinder radial
-,..s'ghter, one that some commenta- was oroughl lo an end by rhe growrng prston engdne
- -: :ave descnbed as Japans pre- werght of USAAF air attacks. A more Performance: maximum speed
.-: rghter aircraft of the Paclfic war, effectrve version had been planned, to 590 knYh (367 mph) at 10000 m
: :: end of May 1945 all of the re- be powered by the Mitsubishi Ha-112 (32,810 ft); climbto 10000 m(32,810 ft)
Defending theHomeland
The detence of mainland]apanhad enjoyed only low priority, bothwhenJapan's oeuvres that caused the new fighters with high-
forces rampaged across the Pacific and, later, when they began to defend theirnew er wing loadings to flick or stall and spin. Cer-
empire against the AIIied counterattack. But by late 1944 mighty fleets of B-29 tarnly the rntroduction of 20-, 37- and 40-mm
Superfortresses werepreparing to laywaste the home islands, and the racebegan cannon drd much to offset the earlier flghters'
toimprovise adefence. rnability to carry out normal quarter attacks on
the B 29s (owing to inadequate speed margin),
As the Japanese warlords watched the inexor- by no means as effective as planned, the raids but when rn 1945 the Americans were able to
able advances by American forces northwards being scattered as a result of long-ranqe navr- send powerful formatrons of long range North
through the Philipplnes and began to anticr- gational problems, and the Japanese frghters American P-5lD escort fighters with the bom-
pate the rnevrtable retribution against the managed to score a number of successes de- bers the Japanese interceptors were once
homeland that would follow the seizure of air spite the fact that the B-29 could almost outdis more at a tactical disadvantage.
bases in the Marianas, irantic attempts were tance a Ki-43, even when carrying a full bomb- Recognizing that the Japanese army air force
being made to create an air-defence system load, However, the bomber crews' proficiency by itself would be unable to stem the big Amer-
capable of protecting metropolitan Japan from quickly improved and devastating daylight ican bomber formations, the Japanese navy air
the mrght of the US air forces, When the blows attacks were soon made by increasing num- force participated in the defence of metropoli-
fell they came with unimagined werght and bers of B-29s upon Akasht, Kobe, Musashino tan Japan from the outset, contributing some ol
devasiation, and Nagoya, the besi flghters and pilots, Best of all was the
For many months before the opening of the Kawanishi N1K2 (594 km/h; 369 mph and
great Amencan bombing rgids, which started Newequipment armed with four 2O-mm cannon and two 12,7-
on 24 November 1944, the home based Meanwhile the Japanese army air force up- mm grins), but deliveries of thrs aircraft, which
Japanese flghter force had been boitom of the graded the three Hikodans rn the lst Kokugan was perfectly capable of matching any of the
priority hst, the iTth l8th and 19th Hrkodans to drvisional slalus and new equipmenl was American naval fighters that started operating
being still largely equipped with 1942-vintage rushed out from the factories, The Nakajtma over Japan rn 1945, were badly disrupted by
Nakajima Ki-43 'Oscar' fighters (top speed Ki-44-ll 'Tojo' (top speed 604 km/h; 375 mph the B-29 attacks against its factories.
530 km/h; 329 mph and armed with two 12.7- and armed with four 20-mm cannon) equipped When the Americans switched to night
mm/O,5-in machine-gmns), At that trme only I3 several Seniais rncluding the 47th, one of attacks by the B-29s on 9/10 March 1945 the
per cent of Japan's total flghter strength was whose C.hulais used the aircrait for suicidal Japanese were even more helpless in defence,
based at home. Radar equipment ringing the ramming attacks against B-29s in defence of once more the rudimentary state of their radar
Japanese islands was rudimentary rn the ex- Tokyo. technology severely limitinq the performance
trerne, without height definition and capable of Surprrsingly, both the Ki-44 and the much of the defendrng night-frghters, such as they
'seeing' no more than 65 km (40 miles); con- respected Nakajlma Kr-84 'Frank' (top speed were, Far too late had the Japanese high com-
siderable reliance was still placed upon sight- 631 km/h; 392 mph and armed wrth four 20-mm mand recognrzed the possibilrty of a threat to
ing reports radioed from picket boats, whose cannon) were flown more effectively by the the homeland,
performance would be unreliable to say the relatively inexperienced Japanese pilots than With such poor ground radar at their dispos
least when the huge B-29 formations those who had been flyrng the earlier genera- al, the Japanese tended to emulate the German
approached at 9145 m (30 000 ft) tlons of much hghter fighters for many months: wilde Sau tactics, using freelancing day
Nevertheless the early American raids were the older pilots instinctively altempted man- flghters against the nlght raiders, which were

I 976
Axis Fighters of World Wa-r II

I
t
r

Theairbatiles betweenthedailyB-29 formations and thedesperatefighter pilots detending theJapanese


homelandwere bitter, bloody affairs.Amongthemosteftective of the fighterswas theNakajimaKi-84,
here represented by an aircraft of the l st Chutai, 47th Sentai. Many bombers were downed, but in turn
the defenders were cut to ribbons by the deadly 0.S)-calibre machine-guns of the bombers and their
escorting Mustangs and Thunderboits.

irequently srlhouetted against the great ex the last day oi the war, thereby completing a to embark on desperate expedients in :ne-:
panses of flre below, and the defendrng frghter personai tally of 62 air victories. Among the attempts to stem the greai Amerrcan bon-rb=:
prlots pard lrttle heed to the flak, whose gun- most successful of the night-fighter pilots was offensive, and had progressed a considerai-=
ners in turn recogrnized no restriction of flre the naval pilot Sachio Endo who, flying a Naka distance on the road to developing jet fighters
agarnst the raiders, Much greater success jrma llN 'lrving', destroyed a total of seven Several examples of the navy's Miisubisht J8l.!-
attended the eiforts by Japanese night intrud- B-29s, but was krlied in a dayllght combat with rocket intercepior (closely resembling :,r=
ers (usually in such aircraft as the Mrtsubrshi American fighters, An army pi1ot, Captain Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet) and the Na<:-
Ki-46 whrch, like the German mght-fighters, Totaro lto, who flew Kawasaki Ki-45s, des- jrma Krkka twrn-jet fighter (simrlar to the l',1=
came to be fitted with upward-firing cannon) troyed nine of the brg bombers and was one of 262) had been completed before the end cf .:=
which prowled over the B-29 bases in the the very sma]l number of ptlots to receive the war, but neither reached a service ulit ber::=
Marianas, when the Americans introduced coveted Bukosho award, Another recipient of the two final bombs burst above the door=:
:helr brq Northrop P 61 Black Widow night- the Bukosho was Kawasakt Kt 6l pilot Major cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
flghters, however, the depredations of the Teruhiko Kobayishi, the army's youngest Sen-
This Ki-6I Hien bears the markings of the 244th
Japanese nrght-fighters ended abruptly. lar commander, who was shot down in his first Sentai, one of the most famous units established at
Although in the final weeks of World War II attack on a B-29; he escaped from this ordeal Chofu in theTokyo Prefecture for home defence ir,
Japan was making some remarkable progress wrthout rnjury, and again miraculously survived October 1944;itwas commanded by Major
rn developing effective rnterceptors, boih as after ramming anoiher B-29 on 27 January 1945. Teruhiko Kobayishi, who personally shotdown
bomber-destroyers and as dogfrghters cap- Like the Germans the Japanese were forced about a dozen American B-29s.
able of matching the superlative P-51D, the
constant attacks on the factories ofJapan (parti-
cularly those turning out aircraft engines) put
paid to stemming the devastating raids, The
Cropping of the two atomic bombs in any case
rendered their efforts superfluous,
Japanese heroes
That any indivrdual Japanese fighter ptlot
should have achieved outstanding success was
perhaps extraordinary having regard for the
absolute American air superiority overJapan in
-ie frnal nine months of the war. Yet, spurred
oy the ultrmate motivation (defence of one's
nome) many such men fought with constder-
able skill and bravery against the great bom-
ber armadas, The legendary Saburo Sakai,
-vho had shot down the first American aircraft
:o fall in the Phrlipprnes on 8 December l94l
and who was appallingly wounded and lost an
:ye over Guadalcanai, joined rn the defence of
-apan and destroyed an American aircralt on
t
q I ffiitsuuishi J2M Raiden
Although desiqned to a 1939 require-
ment, at a time when Japanese war
Ieaders scarcely imagnned a situation
requirinq a home defence flghter, the
Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (thunderbolt)
only came into its own while defending
the Japanese homeland agarnst Amer-
ican raids in the last year of the war,
The Japanese navys emphasrs upon
speed and climb rate, rather than its
customary demands for range and
manoeuvrability, prompted the desig- and were followed by the J2M3 with a Conceived as a fast-climbing inter.ceptor, theJ2M suffered from reliability
ner Jrro Hirrkoshi to adopt a squat sing- ,strongrer wing stressed to mount four problemsbutscoredwellagainsttheAmericanbombers.
le-engine design wrth lonq-chord ra- 20-mm cannon. The heavier armament
dial engine cowlinq, laminar-flow now restncted the performance of the cannon rn addition to their wing gnrns, tn 19.5 minutes; service ceiltng
winqs and high-raked, cuwed wind- Raiden to the extent that It no longer (The Allies selected the reportinq l170Om(3B,3BOft); range92Skm(575
screen. First flight of the prototype met the original demands, and the J2M).
name Jack' for the miles)
J2MI took place on 20 March i942, but J2M4 was an attempt to restore the per- Weights: empty 2460 kg (5,423 lb);
lhe arrcraft soon attracted crilicism formancebyincludingaturbocharger. Specification normalloaded3a35 kq(7,573 lb)
from nar,ry pilots on numerous counts, The final production variant, the J2M5 MitsubishijzM3 Dimensions:span 10.80 m (35 ft 5.2 in);
not least that the view from the cockpit (34 built), was powered by a 1357-kW Type: single-seat fighter lenqrth 9.95 m (32 ft 7,7 in); height
was inadequate, Modrflcations to rec- ( 1,820-hp) Mitsubishi Kasei 26a radial, Powerplant: one 1342-kW ( 1,800-hp) 3,95 m ( 12 ft I l,5 in); wins area
trfy these shortcomrngs were delayed In all, 476 J2Ms were built. In acknow- Mitsubishr Kasei 23a radial piston 20.05 m'z (215.82 sq ft)
owing to Mitsubishi's preoccupation ledgement of the fact that J2Ms could engine Armament: four wing-mounted 20-mm
with the A6M. ProductionJ2M2 flghters not combat the Boeing B-29s at their Performance: maximum speed Type 99 cannon; some aircraft were
left the factory slowly and entered ser- operating altitudes, some J2M3s were 5BB km/h (365 mph) at 5300 m also armed with tvuo upward-firing 20-
vice with the 38lst Kokutai late in 1943, armed with two upward-firing 20-mm (17,388 ft); climbto 10000 m(32,808 ft) mmT\7pe99cannon,

JAPAN
Nakajima Ki-27 of the 3rd Chutai, 64th Sentai, based at Chiangmai in Thailand
Nakajima Ki-27 inMarch 1942. Ki-27s were quickly replacedbyKi-43s.

When in mid-1935 Kawasaki, Mitsu


bishi and Nakajima were instructed by
the Imperial Japanese Army to build
competrtive prototypes of advanced
figrhter aircraft Nakajima responded
with a single-seat monoplane fighter
derived from the company's Type P E,
which rt had started to develop as a
pnvate venture. Servrce trrals proved
the Kawasaki Ki-28 to be fastest of the
three contenders, but the Nakajima Ki-
27 was by far the most manoeuvrable
and, on that basis, l0 pre-production
examples were ordered for further
sewice evaluation. Followrnq further
testing in late 1937 the type was
ordered into production as the Army
Type 97 Fighter Model A (Nakajima
Ki-27a). Late production aircraft which
introduced some refinements, includ-
ing a frrther rmproved cockprt canopy,
had the desrgrnation Ki27b.
Nakajima could not have guessed considerable success against the
that 3,399 aircraft would be built, by Allies in the inltial stages before more
Nakajima (2,020) and Mansyu (1,379), modern flqhters became available
before production came to a halt at the When ihis occurred they were trans-
end of 1942, but the type's entry into ferred for air defence of the home is-
service over northern China rn March lands, remaining deployed in this
1938 gave an rmmediate appreciation capacity until 1943 when they became Performance: maximum speed Seen in pre-war colours, this group
of its capabrlity, the Ki-27s becoming used increasingly as advanced tratn- 470krn/h(292 mph) at 3500 m of Ki-27s is typical of the aircraft
masters of the airspace unttl con- ers. As with many Japanese aircraft (11,483 ft); climb to 5000 m (16,404 ft) in which had performed so well against
foonted later by the faster Soviet Poli- their flnal use was in a kamikaze role. 5,36 minutesi sewrce ceiling 12250 m the Polikarpov fighters over China
karpov I-16 flghters. At the beginning (40, 190 ft); range 1710 km ( 1,063 miles) and M anchuri a. T he K i- 2 7 proved
of the Pacific war the Ki-27s took part in Specification Weights: empty I I10 kq (2,447 lb); useful for training after replacement
the invasion of Burma, Malaya, the NakajimaKi-27a maximumtake-off 1790 kg (3,946 lb) by more modern types.
Netherlands East Indies and the Phil- Type: single-seat fl ghter Dimensions: span I i,31 m (37 ft 1,3 in);
rppines. Allocated the Allied code- Powerplant: one 529-kW (710-hp) lenqth 7 53 m (24 ft 8.5 in,1: heighr
name'Nate' (inltially'Abdul' in the Chr- Nakajima Ha- I b 9-cylinder radral 3.25 m ( 10 fl B in); wrng area 18 55 mz Armament: two forward-firinq 7, 7-mm
na-Burma-lndia theatre), the Ki-27 had piston engine (199 68 sq ft) (0,303-in) Type B9 machine-gnrns

tq iltt"ji*a Ki-48 Hayabusa Ki-43-llb ot the 3rd Chutai, 25th Hiko Sentai, flying from Hankow, China, in
Ianuary 1944. Even atthis late date, the Ki-43 stillformed
January
assets on the China-Burma front
still bulkof
the bulk offighter
fiqhtet

With its relatively low powered radial


engine, two blade propeller and twrn 7.,:,t::
rrfle calibre machine-qun armament,
the Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa (pere- .1:=rl
gnine falcon) was the most dangerous-
ly underestrmated Japanese frghter of
the early months of the Pacific war; yet, G

wrth its outstandinq manoeuvrabrlity, it


gained complete mastery over Brews-
ter Buffaloes and Hawker Hurricanes
in Burma. It was the result of a 1937
iesign which emerged as a ltght-

- 378
Nakaj ima Ki-43-l c of the I s t C hutaj
50th Sentai, atTokorozawa inJune
1942. By this time, theKi-43-lc's
shortcomings were being cruelly
exposed, Ieading to the more
powerful Ki-43-ll.

This H ayabusa is a K i-43 -l I b of the


Headquarters Chutai, 77th Sentai, in
Burma.

weight flghter bomber that required Right: A Ki-43-lb of the 47th


no more than its 709-kW (950-hP) to IndependentFighter Chutai at rest
meet its speed demands. In common on aJapanese airfield. After service
with other Japanese fiqthters of the in all theatres throughout the war,
time, however its armament was PunY the Ki-43 soldiered on against the
by RAF standards, and rt possessed Allie s, but many w er e ex p ended in
neither armour nor self sealing fuel kamikaze attacks.
tanks. As the Allied air forces pulled
themselves toqether after the first kW (1,230 hp) engine and a top sPeed
shock of defeat, the Ki-43-I's weaknes- of 576 km/h (358 mph), but relatively
ses were dscovered and rncreaslng few examples reached operational un-
losses suffered resuittng tn the tntro its. The Ki-43 was numerically the most
duction of the K!43-II (codenamed imporlant of all Jaoanese armY air
'Oscar' by the Allies), with Pilot force arrcraft, production totalling
armour, rudimentary self-sealinq fuel 5,886, ptus 33 prototypes and tiials air-
tanks and reflector gnrnsrght; the en- craft.
grine was also changed to the BSB-kW
(1,150-hp) Nakajima Ha-115 radtal Specification
which increased the top speed to NakajimaKi-43llb
530 km/h (329 mph), rougthly the same T1rye: singrle-seat fl qhter-bomber 5 B minutes; sewrce cer[nq 11200 m 3.27 m (10 ft 8.7 in); wing area 21.40 r,'
as that of the Hurricane Mk IL The Powerplant: one B5B kW (1, 150-hP) (36,745 ft); range 1760 km(1,094miles) (230,36 sq ft)
Ki-43-IIb entered mass production in NakajimaHa I l5 radral pistonenotne Weights: empty 1910 kq (4,211 1b); Armament:two 12.7-mm (0,5-in) Ho-
Performance: maximum speed maximumtake-off2925 ks(6 449 Ib) I 03 machine-guns in wings, plus two
November 1942, first with Nakajima
and six months later with Tachikawa. 530 l.ar/h (329 mph) at 4000 m Dimensions:span 10.84 m (35 ft 6.8 in); 250-kg (5511b) bombs carriedunder
Final variant was the Ki-43lII with 917- (13, 123 ft); climb to 5000 m (16,404 ft) in lengthB.92 m(29 ft3.2 in); heiqht thewrngs

Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki


Of srmilar general configuration to the
K1-43, the Nakajima Ki-44 prototypes
incorporated the manoeuvring flaps
that had been introduced on that air-
craft, and carried an armament of two
77-mm (0,303-in) and two 12,7-mm
(0.5-in) machine-guns, First flown in
Augnrst 1940, the Ki-44 was involved in
a series of comparative tdals against
Kawasaki's Kr-60 prototype, based on
use of the Daimler-Benz DB 601 en-
gdne, and an imported Messerschmitt
Bf 109E, The result of thts evaluation,
and extensrve service trials, showed lowed by the major production K!44- This was employed by the 23rd Sentai for home island defence in late
Ki44JIb
the Kr44 to be good enough to enter IIb The Ki-44-IIc introduced much 1 Most home defence aircraft carried a white square around the
944 .

production, and it was ordered under heavrer armament, comprisinq four 20- Hinomaru.
the designation Army Type 2 Single- mm cannon or, alternatively, two 12.7-
seat Fiqhter Model lA Shoki (demon), mm (0 S-in) machine-gruns and two 40-
company designation Ki-441a, which mm cannon, and these Proved to be
carried the same armament as the pro- very effectrve when deployed agatnst
totypes, A total of only 40 Ki-44-l air- Allied hearry bombers attacking Japan
craft was produced, includinq small Final productron version was the Ki-44-
numbers of the Ki-44-Ib armed with III with a 149]-kW (2,000-hp) Nakalima
four 1.2.7-mm (0.5-in) machine-gnrns, Ha 145 radial englne, an increase ln
and the similar KI-44-Ic with some winq area and enlargted vertical taii
minor refinements, surfaces.
When introduced into sewice the
high landing speeds and limited man- This photograph of a K i- 44 J I b
oeuvrability of the Shoki made it un- emphasizes the powerfullines of this
popular with pilots, and very soon the inter ceptor. When arme d with
Ki-441I with a more powerful Naka- cannon, the K i- 44 proved very
lrma Ha-109 engine was put into pro- effective against the B-29 raids, as its
duction. Only small numbers of the Ki high rate of climb enabled it to reach
44-IIa were built, the variant being fo1- the bomber streams quickly.

1979
Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki (continued)

Nakajrma had built a total of 1,225


Ki-44s of all versions, including pro-
totypes, and these were allocated the
Allied codename 'Tojo'. They were
deployed pnmarily in Japan, but were
used also to provide an effective force
of interceptors to protect vital targets,
as in Sumatra where they defended
the oil fields at Palembang,

Specification 605 lar/h (376 mph) at 5200 m Dimensions:span 9.45 m (31 ft O in); Lacking the agility of other J apanese
Na.kajimaKi-44-IIb ( 17,060 ft); climb to 5000 m ( 16,404 ft) in lengthB.T9 m(28 ft 10. I in); height fighters, the Ki-44 Iollowed a more
Tlpe: single-seat interceptor fiqhter 4,28 minutes; service cerling I 1200 m 3.25 m (lO ftB in); wingarea 15.00 m2 Westem approach, provinglast and
Powerplant: one I 133-kW ( 1, 520-hp) (36,745 ft); maximumrange 1700 km (161,46 sq ft) stablewithgood climb and dive
Nakajima Ha- 109 l4-cylinder radial ( 1,056 miles) Armament: two fuselage-mounted and properties. This Ki-44-l Ib flew from
piston engine Weishts: empty 2I05 ks (4,641 lb); two wing-mounted 12, 7-mm (0. S-in) C anton in C hina with the I 5 th Sentai
Performance: maximum speed maxrmum take-off 2993 kg (6, 598 ]b) Ho-i03 machine-gmns during 1944.

LLl Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate


Best of all Japanese fighters available
in quantity during the last year of the
war, the Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (qale)

armament capable of knocking down


the heavily armed and armoured
American bombers, Not flown in pro-
totype form untii April 1943, the Ki-84 Above: One of the early Hayates, this
met with immediate approval by Ki-$4-la saw sewice with the l st
Japanese army air force pilots, but was Chutai, 73rd Hiko-Sentai over the
subjected to lengthy service trials Philippines in late I 944.
which undoubtedly delayed its intro-
duction to combat operations, Produc-
tion got under way at Nakajima's Ota
plant in April 1944, pre-production air-
craft having equipped the 22nd Sentai
in China the previous month, Im-
mediately afterwards l0 senlars of the
Ki-84-I, codenamed 'Frank' by the
Allies, were deployed in the Philip- *
pines to confuont the advancing Amer-
ican forces. In an effort to accelerate
production of the excellent new
fighter, Nakajima opened up a new
line at lts Otsonomiya plant, and as
Boeing B-29 rards began to take their
toll of Japanese cities a new 'bomber
destroyer', the Ki-84-Ic, was produced
with an armament of two nose-
mounted 20-mm cannon and tvvo wrng-
mounted 30-mm cannon. Some mea-
sure of the importance attached to the
Ki-84 may be judged by the fact that rn
the last 17 months of war 3,382 aircraft
were completed, this desprte the
tremendous havoc nzougtht by the B-
29 raids and the fact that, owrnq to such mm (0.S-in) Ho-I03 machine-gn.ms and Above : This Ki-84 - I a served with the

damagre at Musashi, Nakajima's engine heiqht 3.39 m (11 ft 1.5 in); wingarea two wing-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 1 himbutai (S pe ci al Attac k
83rd S
plant had to be transferred elsewhere, 2I 00 m'z(226.05 sq f0 cannon, plus two 250-kg (551-lb) Group) from Tatebayashi. Japan,
Armament: tvso nose-mounted 12.7- bombs under the wings during the last few days of the war.
Specification
NakajimaKi-84Ja
Tlpe: single-seat flghter and fiqhter-
bomber
Powerplant: one 1342-kW ( 1,800-hp)
Nakajima Ha-45 radial piston engrne
Performance: maximum speed
631 kn/h (392 mph) at 6120 m
(20,079 ft); climb to 5000 m (I6,404 ft) in
5,9 minutes; sewice cerlinq 10500 m
(34,449 ft); range 1695 lcn(l,053miles)
Weights:empty 2660 kq (5,864 lb);
maximum take-off 3890 kg (8, 576 lb)
Dimensions: span I1,24 m (36 ft
10,5 in); lenqth 9,92 m (32 ft 6.6 in);

The Ki-84 was a fine fighter which


proved a handful for American
pilots. Fortunately for them, the
aircraftwas not available in large
numbers and thesewere
ov ezworked, re sulting in
maintenance and reliability
problems.

I 980
t
.ii

Armed Forces of the World

Soviet NcwgPar4
SOVIET NAVY ORDER OF BATTLE

Manpower: 500,000 (including l6,000 Naval


lnfantry, 1 4,000 coasta I a rtillery a nd rocket troops,
and 68,000 naval aviation personnel) plus 840,000
reservists

Northern Fleet
1. Warships
SSBNs: three'Typhoon'*,'17'Delta l' and'Delta
lll'*, four 'Delta ll', '1 4 'Yan kee l', one 'Yankee ll',
one'Hotel ll', and one'Hotel lll'
SSBs: one'Golf ll'. one'Goif lll'(rrials), and one
'Golf V'(trials)
SSGNs: three'Oscar'*, one'Papa',six'Charlie ll',
six'Charlie l', and about 15'Echo ll'and'Echo ll
(Mod)'
SSNs: one'Mlke'*, two'Sierra'*, six'Alpha', six
'Victor ll', and 40 'November', 'Victor l', 'Victor lll'
and 'Yankee' SSN conversions (including some for
trials)
SSGs: eight'Juliett'
SSs : 0' Romeo', four'Zulu', one'lndia', one
1
' Bravo', and 36'Tango',' Foxtrot' and'Whiskey'

carrier: ohe'Kiev'
missile cruisers: two'Kirov'*", one'Slava', six
'Kresta ll', and two'Kresta l'
light cruisers: two 'Sverdlov'
misslle destroyers: three'Sovremenny'*, four 2, Aviation:320 combat aircraft and helicopters, One of the eight Modified 'Kotlin' class destroyers
'Udaloy'*, two'SAM Kotlin', two'Kashin' and plus 95 transports and training aircraft shownwith a twin SA-N-I Goa SAM launcher aft-
is
'Kashin (Mod)', and five'Kanin' bombers: l00aircraft in oneTu-26'Backfire-B'
destroyers: f our'Kotlln', 'Kotlin (Mod)', 'Skory' and regiment, and three Tu-'1 6' Badger-C' and' Badger- destroyers : four' Kotlin',' Kotlin (Mod)'.'Skon" a- :
'Skory (Mod)' G'regiments 'Skory (Mod)'
missile f rigates: nine 'Krivak l' and 'Krivak ll' fighters: 1 2aircraft in oneYak-36'Forger-A' missile frigates: six'Krivak l' and'Krivak ll'
f rigates : 45' Riga','Grlsha l','Grisha l l l'*,'Petya l', squadron f rigates: 25'Riga'.'Grisha l','Grisha ll l'*.'Mrr<a

'Petya I (Mod)'and'Petya ll' f ixed- and rotary-wing ASW: 1 35 ai rcraft in one Tu- 'Mirka I l','Petya l','Petya I (Mod)','Petya l' a-:
I

corvette/missile craft : 30 1 42' B ear-F' reg ment, one I l-38' May-A' and' M ay-
i
'Petya (Mod)' (trials)
I |

lightforces:30 B' regiment, one Be-l 2 'Mail' regiment, one Mi-14 corvette/missile craft : 50
MCM vessels: 65 'Haze-A' regiment, two Ka-25'Hormone-A' light forces: 'l 1 0
amphibiouswarfarevessels: eight LSTs, slx LSMs, regiments, and one Ka-27'Helix-A' regiment MCM vessels: 30 '1

and four hovercraft tanker. reconnaissance and tactical support: 85 amphibious warfare vessels: f ive LSTs, 1 6 LSVs
maior auxiliaries: 85 aircraft in one Tu-l 42' Bear-D' regiment, and one and 1 B hovercraft
Tu-1 6' Badger-D lElF I K' regi ment;' Badger' strike major auxiliaries: 35
regiments also have' Badger-A' inf light+ef uelling 2. Aviation
tankers,' Badger-H' chaff aircraft and' Badger-J' 230-250 combat aircraft and hellcopters. plus li
ECM aircraft, plus some sixto eight Ka-25 transports and training aircraft
'Hormone-B' ECM/guldance helicopters and two bombers : 1 00 aircraft in one Tu-26' Backf ire-B'
orthree An-1 2 'Cub-B' Elint aircraft regiment, onel u-22' Bllnder-A' regiment, anc :,'. :
3. Naval lnfantry Tu-16 'Badger C' and 'Badger-G' regiments
one regiment of Naval InfantrY f ighters: 40 aircraft in one Su-20 'Fitter-C' and

one brigade of Spetsnaz trooPS 'Fitter-D'regiment


several independen t Spetsnaz cornpanies f ixed- and rotary-wing ASW: 50-60 aircralt in oi^:
un known number of coastal artillery and rocket Be-1 2 'Mail' regiment, one Mi-l4'Haze-A'
troop units regiment, and one Ka-25'Hormone-A' regrme^:
plus 10-12 Mi-14'Haze-B' MCM helicopters - :-=
lndependentsquadron, and several Ka-27'He r-
Baltic Fleet A'helicopters
tanker, reconnaissance and tactlcal support: 30-j:
l.Warships aircraft in support of the various strike regin e^::
SSBs: six'Golf ll' and comprising 'Badger-A' inf llght+ef uelling
SSGs: four'Juliett'. and one 'WhiskeyTwin tankers,'Badger-H' chaff aircraft and'Badge=-
Cylinder' ECM aircraft for the Tu-1 6 regiments, and tvvc :'
SSs: one'Bravo' and 20'Foxtrot' and'Whiskey' three'Blinder-C' maritime reconnaissarce a'--''-
light crulsers: two'Sverdlov' for the Tu-22 regiment, plus some six to e gr.:
missile destroyers : three'Kashin' and' Kashin Ka-25' Hormone-B' ECM/guidance helicopte:s
(Mod)', one'SAM Kotlin', two'Sovremenny'*, and
and two or three An-1 2'Cub-B' Elint aircraft
{our'Udaloy'*
3. Naval lnfantry
one regiment of Naval lnfantry
Tlre Kirov. The second ship of the class,
differs in having the 100-mm guns replaced by a one brigade of Spetsnaz trooPS
twin 130-mm (5.1-in) mount and the SS-N-14 several independent companies of Spetsnaz trocls
launcher by vertical launch SA-N - I SAM systems. six battalions of coastal artillery and rocket trocis

t
Armed Forces of the World
Black Sea Fleet
1. Warships
SSG : one'WhiskeyTwin Cylinder' (training)
SSs: one'Bravo', and 24'Tango'.'Foxtrot' and
'Whiskey'
carrier: one'Kiev'
helicopter carriers: two 'Moskva'
m issile cruisers. two 'Kynda', four'Kara', and two
'Slava'*
light cruisers: two 'Sverdlov', and one 'Sverdlov'
(command)
missile destroyers: 10 'Kashin' and 'Kashin (Mod)',
three'SAM Kotlin', and three 'Kildin (Mod)'
destroyers : eight' Kotlin',' Kotlin (Mod)','Skory' and
'Skory (Mod)'
missilefrigates: seven'Krivak l' and'Krivak ll', and
one'Krivak Ill'*
Now being replaced by the more modern 'Krivak bombers: 120 aircraft in oneTu-26'Backf ire-B'
f rigates: one'Koni', and44'Riga' , 'Grisha l','Grisha
III' and'Grisha III' frigate classes, the 'Riga' is still regiment, and four Tu-1 6 'Badger-C' and 'Badger-
ll l'*,'Mirka l','Mirka I l','Petya l','Petya I (Mod)'
useful as an escort for supply and other auxiliary G'regiments
and'Petya ll' ships. The armamentof 100-mm (3.9-in) DP and
corvette/missile craft : 30 f ighters: 64 aircraft in two Yak-36 'Forger-A'
light AA gans has been supers eded in the later
lightforces: 110 classes by integrafedmrsr'/e and close-in weapon
squadrons, and one Su-20'Fitter-C' and'Fitter-D'
MCM vesels; 'l 00 syslems. regiment
amphibious warfare vessels: f ive LSTs, f ixed- and rotary-wing ASW: 1 50 in one Tu-142
1 B LSMs,
' Bear-F' regiment, one I l-38' May-A'
and 21 hovercraft and' May-B'
SSGNs: five 'Charlie l' (of which one sank in 1980 squadron, one Be-l 2 'Mail' regiment, one Mi-14
major auxiliaries: 55
and was latersalvaged, presumablyfor 'Haze-A' regiment, three Ka-25'Hormone-A'
2. Aviation: about 290 combat aircraft and recommissioning), and about 14'Echo ll'and regiments, and one Ka-27'Helix-A' squadron
helicopters, plus 85 transports and training aircraft 'Echo ll(Mod)' tanker, reconnaissance and tactical support; 90 in
bombers: l00aircraft in oneTu-26'Backfire-B' SSGs: four"Juliett' one Tu-1 42 'Bear-F' regiment and one Tu-l 6
regiment, onef u-22 'Blinder-A'regiment. and two SSNs: five'Echo l', and 17'November','Victor l'and 'Badger-DlElFlK' regiment; Tu-1 6 srrike
Tu-1 6 'Badger-C' and 'Badger-G' regiments 'Victor lll'* regiments also have 'Badger-A' inf light,refuelling
f ighters :'l 2 aircraft n one Yak-36'Forger-A'
i SSs : elght'Kilo'*.one'lndia'. one'Bravo' and 44 ta n kers, 'Badger-H' chaff ai rcraft a nd 'Badger,J'
squadron 'Foxtrot' and'Whiskey' ECM aircraft, plus some sixto eight Ka-25
f ixed- and rotary-wing ASW: 1 35 aircraft in one ll-38 carriers: two 'Kiev' 'Hormone-B' ECM/guidance helicopters and two
'May-A' and 'May-B' regiment, one Be-12 'Mail' missile cruisers: three 'Kara'. three 'Kresta ll', two or three An-l 2 'Cub-B' Elint aircraft
regiment, one Mi-14'Haze-A' regiment, two Ka-25 'Kresta l', and two'Kynda'
'Hormone-A' regiments, and one Ka-27'Helix-A' light cruisers: three 'Sverdlov', and one 'Sverdlov' 3. Naval Infantry
regiment (command) one reinforced brigade of Naval Infantry
tanker, reconnaissance and tactical support: 30-35 one brigade of Spetsnaz troops
missile destroyers : three'Kanin', four'Kashin' and
aircraft in support of the various strlke regiments, 'Kashin (Mod)', one'Kildin', and two'SAM Kotlin' several independent Spetsnaz companies
and comprising'Badger-A' inf light-ref uelling unknown number of coastalartillery and rocket
destroyers: eight'Kotlin','Kotlin (Mod)','Skory' and
tankers,'Badger-H' chaff aircraft and'Badger-J' 'Skory (Mod)' troop units
ECM aircraft f or the Tu-'l 6 regiments, and two or missile f rigates : 1 0'Krivak l' and'Krivak l', and one
I

three'Blinder-C' maritime reconnaissance aircraft 'Krivak lll'*


Ior thef u-22 regiment, plus some six to eight frigates: 46'Riga'.'Grisha l','Grisha lll'*, 'Petya l', Mediterranean Squadron
Ka'-25'Hormone-B' ECM/guidance helicopters 'Petya | (Mod)'and'Petya ll' (5th Eskadra)
and two or thre e An-12 'Cub,B' Elint aircraft corvette/missile craft : 40 This normally comprises six to eight torpedo attack
light forces: i 50 submarines ('Foxtrot'and 'Tango' SS with
3. Naval Infantry
one regiment of Naval lnfantry
MCM vessels: 1 00 occasional'Victor l','Victor ll' and'Victor lll' SSN)
amphibious warfare vessels: two LPDs*, 1 3 LSTs, and one or two cru,se miss le submarines {one
one brigade of Spetsnaz troops
10 LSMs, and 22 hovercraft 'Juliett' SSG and/or one 'Echo'or'Charlie' SSGN)
several independent Spelsnaz companies
major auxiliaries: 84 from the Northern Fleet, plus one helicopter carrier,
unknown number of coastal artillery and rocket
one or two missile cruisers, six to eight escorts
troop units 2. Aviation:340 combat aircraft and helicopters, (missile destroyers, destroyers, missile f rigates and
plus 60 transports and training aircraft
f rigates), one to three MCM vessels. one to three
amphibious warfare vessels, and 15 to 20 auxiliaries
Pacific Fleet A 'Juliett' class SSG crujse missile subrnarjne rs from the Black Sea Fleet.
seen, armed with Iour SS-N-3A'Shaddock' anti-
1. Warships sftip crurse mrbsi/es . The 16 'Julietts' operate with
SSBNs: 15'Delta l'and'Delta lll'., nine'Yankee l'. the Northern, Baltic aind P acificFleefs,' one rs lndian Ocean and South China Sea
and one'Hotel ll' normally found at any one time on deployment Squadron
SSBs: six'Golf ll' from the Northern Fleet in theMediterranean. This normally comprises two or three submarines,
eight surface combatants, two amphibious warfare
vessels and '1 2 auxiliaries f rom the Pacific Fleet,
wlth strike and reconnaissance aviation units
forward-deployed to bases in Ethiopia. South
Yemen and Vietnam on a semi-permanent basis.

Caspian Sea Flotilla


This is primarily a patrol f orce of small combatants
and auxiliaries, and its numbers are ncluded in the
totals for the Black Sea Fleet.

* indicates a class in serles construction


a
indicates that the second unit. the Frunze,
is believed to be on the point of transfer to
the Pacific Fleet as a surface strike group
f lagship.