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The Bf 109 was a German fighter plane designed by Willy Messerschmitt and introduced in 1937. It was one of the first truly modern fighters of the era, including such features as all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, and retractable landing gear. It was powered by a liquid-cooled, inverted-V12 aero engine. It first saw service at the Spanish Civil War by the side of the Nationalists, and it was used until the end of World War II by the Luftwaffe, and back then it was being partially replaced by the FW 190 since late 1941.
It was flown by the top-scoring German aces of the war, such as Erich Hartmann, with 352 victories, and survived the war.
It was originally designed as an interceptor, but it proved to be efficient as a fighter-bomber, bomber escort, all-weather fighter and recon aircraft, with later variants modified for this missions.
It saw service in the Eastern and Western front, the North African campaign, among others; and also used by German allies, Romania, Hungary, Italy, Finland and Slovakia.
The aircraft was highly modified and had several variants, which were designated with a letter (e.g.: Bf 109E, Bf 109K), each one of those for different missions and purposes.
Bf 109E Edit
As the first production series were relatively underpowered, the new "Emil" airplane featured a more powerful engine, and further modifications led to the Bf 109E-4/B and the later Bf 109 E-7/B, which introduced space for ground attack missions.
Bf 109F Edit
It introduced a complete fuselage, wing and cooling system redesign. The "Friedrich" concentrated on the armament of the front fuselage, and abandoned the wing cannon. It was considered by many as the high-water mark of Bf 109 development. It was a fighter-centered variant. It was powered by a more powerful engine.
Bf 109G Edit
The Bf 109G "Gustav" introduced a pressurized cockpit in some production numbers, with the addition of the MW-50 boost in some later variants (G-6 Late). It also changed the engine to a more powerful one and let space for bombs for ground attack and for installed gunpods, specially for the later variants, such as the G-10 and the G-14.
Bf 109K Edit
The "Kurfürst" was the last series of the airplane. It removed the existing flaws and increased its effectiveness, with the addition of an even more powerful engine. The C3 variant used in 1945, used the 100-octane C3 fuel. It kept the Bf 109 still competitive to late Allied fighters.
Bf 109Z Edit
The Bf 109Z "Zwilling" (twin) it was an experimental heavy aircraft that consisted of two Bf 109 airframes joined together with one cockpit and two engines. An interceptor with 30 mm cannons and a fighter-bomber with up to 2200 lb (1000 kg) of bombs were proposed. No Z flew as the prototype was destroyed during a bombing raid in 1943, and the project was abandoned in 1944.