Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum  

Go Back   Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum > Reviews > Books and Magazines

Books and Magazines Please use this forum to review or discuss books and magazines.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 14th September 2014, 15:54
INM@RLM INM@RLM is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 48
INM@RLM is on a distinguished road
Book Review (with corrections and expansions) of Jan Forsgren: Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Mushroom Yellow Series No. 6132)

This is the full version of an over-long review I posted on amazon uk.

This title covers not only the Bf 108 but also the derivatives of the Nord 1000-series, as well as the Me 208 and the Nord 1100-series. This review is deals solely with the Bf 108/Me 208 content making up the majority of the book.
This is a useful and rather nice little book on a very nice little aircraft about which almost nothing is ever written. The Bf 108 was both a classic, near-perfect, functional design, and when it appeared, the first German embodiment of the revolutionary leap forward to lightweight, all-metal, stressed skin construction. Everything that went into the Bf 108 was re-used in the design of the Bf 109 fighter: Messerschmitt simply took out three seats, added armament and a radio, and substituted an engine of three times the power (and later four to seven times). Had the opposing air forces included a visionary, purchasing a Bf 108 in 1937 would have given a pretty good idea of what the opposition was going to look like.

The Bf 108 was exhibited, demonstrated, raced, and sold to air forces, airlines, clubs, companies and individuals all over the world, including a significant number to companies and individuals within Germany. Most of these orders were for just a single aircraft. So it is a tangled tale of many threads, a lot which have been captured reasonably faithfully here. However, a few important points have been missed, misunderstood or are inadequately addressed.

One of the more complex and strange episodes in the story of the Bf 108 relates to the seven Bf 108 B-0 Null-Serie machines (W.Nr. 823 to 829). Normally the Null-Serie are a small hand-built preproduction batch used to develop production tooling whilst the design is optimised for manufacture in quantity. The account of the Bf 108 B-0s given on p.18 here makes it sound as if an almost ‘normal’ approach was being followed.

However, the order for the seven Bf 108 B-0 Null-Serie was in fact something else again. The RLM ordered two examples to be fitted with the Siemens-Halske SH 14 A engine (a mere 160 PS and only ever used in two-seaters) and the other five B-0 with the Hirth HM 8U (with a respectable 250 PS); not a single one was to be fitted with the superb Argus As 10 C-3 that was used in all Bf 108 standard production examples. Then there was also the curious retention of wing-folding in the B-0. (Wing-folding had stemmed from one of the requirements in the 1934 Challenge rules: it made no sense in a production aircraft.) Meantime Messerschmitt were already preparing series production of the Bf 108 B-1 powered by the unbeatable Argus 10 engine and without folding wings.

When RLM Lieferplan 5 came into effect on 01-Apr-37, only two of the seven B-0s had been delivered, both with the weakly SH 14 A [one of which was D-IELE illustrated here at p.26(top)], whilst 29 Argus-engined Bf 108 B-1 had already been delivered to the German government along with a further 17 B-1 commercial sales. In the final upshot, apart from the two SH 14A B-0s, three B-0s were delivered with the Hirth HM 8U engine (D-IAJO, D-IANO & D-IIPY) with the final two B-0s apparently being fitted with the Argus As 10 C. [These were D-IGNY & D-IZTA, the latter generously shown here in photos at pp.32(btm), 73, 115(btm) & 117(btm). D-IONO also claimed on p.18 to be a B-0 fitted with an Argus As 10 engine delivered in 1936, was in fact a B-1.] All in all the B-0s made a strange little tale. Was the SH 14A model possibly explored as a two-seater advanced trainer for the Luftwaffe? Or was this whole blind alley just another of those occasions when the ‘gentlemen of the RLM’ applied special, obstructive rules to Messerschmitt?

Strikingly, in almost every one of the Bf 108 side profiles and colour paintings throughout this title the shape of the prop boss and forward cap has been made to look more like that of an aircraft fitted with the spinner that accompanied the variable-pitch MeP-7 propeller rather than the fixed pitch prop actually mostly used (and shown in the related photos here). The problem comes from excluding the prop blades from most drawings, thus introducing a completely artificial spinner line that has no foundation reality. However, even where the prop blades are included, as on pp.24/5, the drawing has not caught the point that the profile of one blade sweeps straight through into the other: there is no spinner-line across the bottoms of the blades. The photos at pp.59, 81 & 153(btm) capture this precisely and in close-up. (Even better is the ultra-clear photo at p.27(btm) in Peter Schmoll’s Mtt-Werke.) The fixed pitch propeller also has a small but prominent fastener protruding from the very front of the cap fixed forward of the boss. For an example in extenso, compare the photos and paintings across pp. 90/3. The drawings on the 1/48th insert capture the correct shape better but are still not perfect: the boss cover protrudes further and is almost conical – see the photo of D-IBFW at p.21, where it is also clear the upper cowling forms a slight lip above the profile of the propeller rear. (To improve engine cooling in early models of the Bf 109 the front of the cowling was also made slightly wider than the diameter of the propeller boss.)

On p.52 the figures for monthly Bf 108 deliveries from the SNCA Nord plant at Les Mureaux are accurate, but only as far as they go. Only monthly aircraft deliveries for the first quarter of 1944 are given: these have been published on the web at the Luftwaffe in Norway SIG site. The rest of the story has to be found in the archives (e.g. on Microfilm T-177, reel no. 42. in the US NARA). To complete the picture the following additions should be made at the foot of p.52: April 8, May 5, June 2, July 4 & August 1. The cumulative total of 159 French-built Bf 108 D-1 given here for the end of Jan-44 is one too many; the correct figure was 158. Adding in the succeeding months there were 191 French-built Bf 108s in total. This figure is confirmed in the table at p.139 of Bettina Glass 2004 dissertation (Der lange Schatten der Rüstung: die Entwicklung der Luftfahrtindustrie im Raum Toulouse von der Mitte der 1930er Jahre bis 1970) published online by the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. By that point German orders for the Bf 108 from Les Mureaux had increased to 795. Not bad for an aircraft where, in the Luftwaffe planning of mid-1940, deliveries were to end in Oct-40.

The idea that the Bf 108 B-1 was the civil version and the Bf 108 B-2 the military version (as stated on p.53) is a myth that was given life in the Bf 108 article of Luftfahrt International #17 (Sep/Oct 1976 issue). It is crystal clear from the Luftwaffe manuals that the sub-types bought by the Luftwaffe were the Bf 108 B-1 and D-1. Messerschmitt brochures supporting civil sales simply describe the aircraft as the Messerschmitt 108 ‘Taifun’, but this was no more than the B-1 sub-type with a plusher cockpit. There is some evidence though that internally Messerschmitt applied the B-2 designation to aircraft fitted with the variable pitch MeP-7 prop. However, when this prop was standardized on the tropical version of the B-series it still remained a B-1 trop as far as the Luftwaffe was concerned.

There are still a few parts of the Bf 108 story where we do not yet have cut-and-dried answers. However, despite a degree of uncertainty it is still clear that some of the major statements made in this title cannot be correct. There are two main areas of contention.

Although we have no definitive documentation it is clear that total Bf 108 production was significantly more than the 699+ aircraft given on p.52. Thanks to Peter Schmoll’s ‘Messerschmitt-Werke’ and to Bettina Glass we already have a reasonably accurate picture of Bf 108 series production from Regensburg and Les Mureaux. The difficulties relate to the earlier Augsburg period. Nevertheless there are sufficient confirmed identities of individual aircraft to reconstruct with fair accuracy a significantly higher total for Bf 108 production. At least 891 Bf 108s were built and delivered in total, comprising: 6 x Bf 108 As (all from BFW AG, Augsburg), 7 x Bf 108 B-0 (Augsburg), 633 x Bf 108 B-1 (171 from Augsburg & 462 from BFW - later Mtt - GmbH, Regensburg) & 245 x Bf 108 D-1 (54 from Regensburg & 191 from Les Mureaux). The series-production blocks by Werk-Nummern (both inclusive) look to be:
Augsburg series production batches
38 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 830 to 867, delivered 1935/7)
7 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 871 to 877, delivered 1937)
Together these two blocks made up the initial order quantity of 45 (see the 27-Nov-35 document ‘Planned Deliveries from 1 October 1935 to 31 March 1937’ quoted in Radinger & Schick: Me 109 A/E p.16). The initial order quantity given here as 32 on p.21 and in the footnote at p.52 (as taken from van Ishoven: Mtt p.92) was not the final quantity of the initial order.
6 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 987 to 992, delivered 1937)
65 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 1074 to 1138, delivered 1937)
55 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 1540 to 1594, delivered 1937/38)
Regensburg series production batches
109 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 1595 to 1703, delivered 1938) – production was transferred to Regensburg mid-block: the complete W.Nr. block 1540 to 1703 totalled 164 x Bf 108 B-1)
32 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 1895 to 1926, delivered 1938)
179 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 1980 to 2158, delivered 1938/9)
102 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 2199 to 2300, delivered 1939/41)
40 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 3001 to 3040, delivered 1941/2)
54 x Bf 108 D-1 (W.Nr. 3041 to 3094, delivered 1942)
Les Mureaux series production batches
191 x Bf 108 D-1 (all in the 5xxx sequence, split something like: W.Nr. 5001 to 5020, W.Nr. 5031 to 5160, W.Nr. 5211 to 5240 & W.Nr. 5251 to 5261 delivered 1942/4)
Still to be worked out is which aircraft were produced as factory-built trop versions of the Bf 108 B-1 and D-1.

Secondly, the Bf 108 Flugzeug-Handbuch section devoted to itemising the differences between the Bf 108 B-1 and D-1 does not support the ideas that the Bf 108 D was fitted as standard with either the As 10 R engine or an Argus propeller (as stated on pp.53 & 56). According to the Fz-Handbuch the Bf 108 D-1 there was no change in engine model but the Messerschmitt MeP-7 variable pitch propeller was standardised. (“Soweit greifbar, ist an Stelle der festen Luftschraube eine Verstell-Luftschraube Me P 7 eingebaut.”)
The MeP-7 propeller is easily distinguished from the earlier fixed-pitch propellers by its longer and smoother spinner. (Compare the photos at pp.27 & 147; also the photos on the web of Sonderkommando Blaich’s Bf 109 D-1 trop, KG+EM. There are precious few photographs here though of Luftwaffe Bf 108s fitted with either a MeP-7 or an Argus propeller.)

Yet some Luftwaffe Bf 108s were undeniably fitted with the Argus variable-pitch propeller with its characteristic much-extended, vaned hub, as illustrated in the drawing and photo on p.53 as well as seen in the photo at pp. 51(top). Probably the substitution of an Argus propeller on some aircraft followed the issue of a Luftwaffe technical change note (Änderungs-Anweisung) to be applied by units or workshops in particular circumstances. However, this change definitely did not alter the sub-type designation. (More research is needed. Perhaps the Spanish Air Force have a complete set of Bf 108 ÄA?)

Some simply daft mistakes have also crept into this book:
• pp.5 & 21 On 24 July, 1936 the BFW company did not change its name to Messerschmitt GmbH. There were two completely independent Messerschmitt legal entities. The privately-owned Bayerische Flugzeugwerke A.G. designed and built aircraft, and was renamed as Messerchmitt A.G. in Sep-38. It was the majority government-owned Bayerische Flugzeugwerke Regensburg GmbH that was formed on 24-Jul-36. This company only built aircraft under licence in an arrangement that paralleled the ‘shadow factory’ scheme of the UK’s rearmament. In turn the Regensburg company was renamed Messerschmitt GmbH on 13-Nov-1940. Both Messerschmitt AG & Messerschmitt GmbH continued as separate legal entities to the end of the Reich.
• p.8 There were only ever six (not seven) Bf 108 A-series (Versuchs) aircraft produced: these were assigned W.Nr. 695 to 700 (both inclusive). The Bf 108 A-series, as all other Bf 108s, was designed as a four-seater: for competitions the two rear seats were not mounted. D-IBRE was a series-production Bf 108 B-1, not a Bf 108 A as mentioned here.
• P.21 Elly Beinhorn’s Aug-35 flight was made in Bf 108 A, D-IJES, not a Bf 108 B as stated here in the preceding sentence. No Bf 108 Bs were delivered until late 1936.
• p.23 The top drawing is of a Bf 108 B-0 (not a B-1). The drawing of the Bf 108 B-1 immediately below is a ‘Normalausführung’ fitted with the Argus As 10 C engine. The bottom drawing is a Bf 108 D-1 (not a B): no B-series Bf 108 was ever fitted with this type of fin & rudder.
• p.26 The aircraft in the top photo is clearly Bf 108 B-0 D-IELE (not Bf 108 A D-IZAN). This was not “experimentally fitted with a … SH 14A radial” but was specifically ordered with this low-powered engine by a perverse RLM. D-IELE was the aircraft flown daily between Berlin and Stockholm during the 1936 Olympics, as described here on p.21.
• p.27 D-IOIO was W.Nr. 2122: it was built at Regensburg and would have been delivered around the last third of 1939 (not in 1935 as stated here). In Apr-40 this aircraft was used to test a MeP-7 propeller with experimental automated variable pitch control. (Radinger & Schick: Me 109 A/E p.130)
• p.42 The sub-type in the caption to the right-hand aircraft (KG+EM) should be Bf 108 D-1 trop
• p.46 The Stammkz in the caption to the left-hand aircraft should be BD+JG.
• p.47 NF+MS was Bf 108 B-1, W.Nr. 2249, not 2236 (table Schmoll: Mtt-Werke p.207)
• p.52 It was in Jan-38 that the first Bf 108 was completed at Regensburg (Schmoll: Mtt-Werke p.14): the date of Jul-38 given here is entirely too late. In the Augsburg column of the table, the figure of 7 for 1936 actually belongs in the 1935 row [see van Ishoven: Messerschmitt p.93]. Rather than “some 500”, total Bf 108 production from Regensburg has been documented exactly as 516 (see P. Schmoll: Mtt-Werke pp.201 & 205).
• p.54 The wings of the Bf 108 B-1 were not foldable. The wing-folding facility was only included in the Bf 108 A Versuchsmaschinen and the B-0 Null-Serie. On all other Bf 108s the wings were fixed but detachable in the normal fashion.
• p.56 The Bf 108 D-series was fitted with the exact same engine type as the B-series, and not with the Argus As 10 R as stated here. The As 10 R as a series production engine is a myth.
• p.56 Strike the words “fitted in the fuselage” from the first line of the ‘Fuel system’ section. The sentence is then accurate.
• p.60 For now we know only four facts about the aircraft of the Me 208 program. Five Me 208 Versuchsmaschinen were ordered from Mtt/SNCAN by the RLM. Only the Me 208 V1 was ever completed and this was first flown in Jul-43: no Me 208 V2 ever left the assembly hanger (so the statement that there were two prototypes on each of pp.5 & 60 is wrong). Not long after, on 03-Sep-43, Les Mureaux was heavily bombed by the 8th Air Force, and, amongst other consequences the whole Me 208 program was abandoned: it was hardly going to move the war in Germany’s favour during 1944. Prior to the appearance of the Me 208 V1, a Bf 108 D-1 built under licence by SNCAN had been fitted at Les Mureaux with a nose wheel for preliminary trials (using the tailwheel of a Potez 63): this was first flown in Oct-42. (See Ebert+Kaiser+Peters: Willy Mtt pp.108/9.) GK+RZ probably was the Me 208 V1 – the Stammkz. is from a sequence used for Les Mureaux Bf 108s in 1943, but KR+BZ was not the Me 208 V2; more plausible is that this was the SNCAN Bf 108 D-1 modified for the preliminary nosewheel trials (and possibly W.Nr. 5020). The Me 208 was to be fitted with the Argus As 10 P also of 240 h.p., not with a suddenly-more-powerful As 10 C as stated here.
• p. 143 The wings could only be folded in the six Bf 108 A-series and the seven Bf 108 B-0 Null-Serie machines. Although the caption implies this was the general case, wing-folding was not included in any Bf 108 series production aircraft. With wings demounted the aircraft appeared as shown in the photo at p.118(top); there is clearly no boss present here around which the outer wing can be rotated.
• p.146 Here we have a 24-carat howler: the two drawings at the foot have been taken from a Bf 109 Technical Manual: the lower profile of the horn balance is completely different in the Bf 108. A drawing of a genuine Bf 108 B-series tailplane appears on p.55 and in the photos at p.159(top & mid). For the D-series the protruding horn balance was eliminated and replaced by a counterweight on a prong at the top of the rudder (photos at pp.52, 95 & 96(btm).
• Insert with 1/48th scale drawings: the side view labelled Bf 108 C1 is actually a Bf 108 B-0 fitted with the SH 14 A radial engine. It is another hoary Bf 108 myth erroneously propagated by the 1976 article in Luftfahrt International #17, that the SH 14-engined Bf 108s were the Mustermaschinen for a proposed C-series. They weren’t. As the Messerschmitt sales brochure for the Bf 108 makes abundantly clear the airframe was a four-seater designed to take any modern aero engine outputting between 180 and 250 PS, and not weighing more than 200 kg. The single C-series Bf 108 was W.Nr. 1078 fitted with the HM 508 C engine. (To this same point corrections are also needed in the text at pp.5 and 22.)

A few other sundry observations and additions:
p.5 At least into 1940, the RLM & Luftwaffe classified the Bf 108 as a Reiseflugzeug (touring aircraft = light personnel transport), and the Fi 156 as a Verbindungsflugzeug (liaison aircraft). Only later in the war was the Verbindungs classification expanded and applied to both designs. In the RAF the Bf 108 would have been classified as a light communications aircraft. (Although the RAF had to trundle around in fixed-undercarriage wooden Percival Proctors, cruising at 225 km/h compared to the 250 km/h of the Bf 108.)
p.14 The photos on this page and at the top of p.15 document the elimination of the upper tailplane bracing struts during the continuing development of the Bf 108 A airframes. (Not just as part of the redesign for the B-series, as claimed in some other accounts.) Note that fixing points are still apparent on both surfaces: clearly the original parts were not replaced with new ones.
pp.20/1 The logo visible on the prop blades seen across these two pages (and elsewhere in this work) is that of the Schwarz company (photo Schmoll: Mtt-Werke p.27(btm)). The Luftwaffe required that prop blades be painted, so no logos on their blades. (Despite the setting, the Bf 108 in the photo at the top of p.39 is probably a civil or a recently impressed ex-civil machine. That captured in the photo at the foot of p.59 will also be an impressed civil machine.)
p.22 The landing speed of “in the region of 70 km/h” given in the Flight article slightly overpraises the Bf 108: according to the aircraft manual it was actually 85 km/h. The track width of the Bf 108 was 1,492 mm., so it was even narrower than the Bf 109 (1,975 mm until the E-series, becoming 2,062 mm. with the Bf 109 F). Landing the Bf 108 has never been described as challenging. It was not the narrowness of the Bf 109’s undercarriage alone then that caused the difficulties.
p.27 A Marg. Thiel Werkfoto in colour of D-IOIO appeared in an early-war Messerschmitt calendar. This shows the same scheme but in a deep blue (slightly darker than Spanish Blue) and creamy white, with the upper framing of the canopy left in clear metal.
p.28 The shade of blue used here is far too dark. The colour was apparently called Kobaltblau but in contemporary photographs it actually presents somewhere between the Powder Blue and Cerulean Blue shades in the Winsor and Newton range of acrylics. (For example, see the photo on the outside back cover of Luftfahrt International #17.)
p.29 D-IMTT was B-1, W.Nr. 1545 and D-IGNY was B-0, W.Nr. 825.
p.43 painting of KG+EM Apparently Efta Einak is the pidgin Arabic equivalent of “Holzauge, sei wachsam” (see http//forums.gunboards.com/ … Weekend-Quiz-4U-(Sonderkommando-Blaich- etc).
pp.45/5 Bf 108 B-1, Stammkz. TI+EY in the paintings across these two pages was W.Nr. 2299, and would have been delivered to the Lw c.Jun-41. So the I. Gruppe Stab of JG 27 would have been the first holder.
pp.99/100 Schmoll: Mtt-Werke at p.27(top) has a photo of Bf 108 YR-MDR being taken over by the Rumanian Air Force in Regensburg during 1939. It is possible this is the third, missing ‘civil’ pre-war Romanian Bf 108 registration.
p.53 A Bf 108 D-series was already under consideration by mid-1938: the title of the Bf 108 Fz-Handbuch issued in July that year indicated that it was for both the B- and the D-series. Although the contents only covered the B-series, the implicit message was that differences between the two series would only be minor. The only definitive way of externally distinguishing the two series is by the differences in the fin and rudder, and the related counter-balance arrangements.
p.100 It was three Bf 108s that were transferred from the Legion Condor to the Spanish Air Force at the end of the Civil War [Serrano: Unidades y el Material pp.145/7]. These were 44*7/*8/*9, strongly suggesting that nine Bf 108s in all were sent to serve in Spain.
p.107 Messerschmitt company records show 17 (not 13) Bf 108 Bs delivered to Yugoslavia in 1939 as fuselages only (table at Schmoll: Mtt-Werke p.28). Presumably construction was completed in Yugoslavia.
pp.110/1 for clarity, the surviving Bf 108 shown carrying the post-war registration D-IOIO is not the same aircraft that was registered with this code pre-war. The original Bf 108 B-1, D-IOIO was W.Nr. 2122; in Sep-41 this aircraft was assigned Stammkz. DI+CB. “The machine remained in use by Messerschmitt as a courier aircraft until January 1942." (Radinger & Schick: Me 109 A/E p.130). W.Nr. 2064, carrying the post-war registration D-IOIO, was originally delivered from Regensburg in May-39 as the Swiss HB-EKO (Trenkle photo in Schmoll: Mtt-Werke p.25).
p.118 photo D-IRNU, W.Nr. 990 was used by Messerschmitt for trials of the Bf 108 with the Me.P.7 propeller. The first flight with this propeller was on 08-Jul-37 [see text Radinger+Schick: Bf 109 A-E (Schiffer) p.128]

It would be nice to see a corrected and expanded reissue of this title in the Mushroom Orange (history) series. From 1935 to 1939 the aviation press (‘Flugsport’, ‘Flight’, ‘Aeroplane’, ‘Luftwissen’ etc.) was stuffed with articles featuring or mentioning the Bf 108 so there is plenty of material available to fill out the story of this superb aircraft. Indeed, to do it full justice the Bf 108 really deserves a far larger work that includes coverage of:
• all the aviation exhibitions where a Bf 108 was displayed,
• all air races and competitions of the late-30s in which Bf 108s participated,
• all epic journeys flown in Bf 108s,
• a detailed tabling of all genuinely civilian-owned Bf 108s. At least 39 civil Bf 108 B-1 deliveries were made within Germany, of which 36 can still be identified by registration, and a minimum of a further 33 civil sales were made abroad. (This count includes all sales to Manchukuo Air Transport but excludes those aircraft sold on to a foreign civil owner by a German civil owner).
• something of the story attaching to the approximately 15 Bf 108 Bs used by the various non-civilian organizations of the Reich (the DVL, the NSFKK and the Deutsche Arbeitsfront),
• an expanded account of the Bf 108 in Luftwaffe service.

Regardless of its limitations and imperfections though this book is still an essential (and very affordable) title for anyone with an affection for or interest in the Bf 108.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 14th September 2014, 18:40
leonventer leonventer is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 242
leonventer is on a distinguished road
Re: Book Review (with corrections and expansions) of Jan Forsgren: Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Mushroom Yellow Series No. 6132)

Very thorough and informative review -- excellent work!

Thanks,
Leon Venter
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 14th September 2014, 23:19
edwest edwest is offline
Alter Hase
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,612
edwest is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: Book Review (with corrections and expansions) of Jan Forsgren: Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Mushroom Yellow Series No. 6132)

Thank you. Very informative. If you don't mind, here is a pair of Bf-108 photos from the Legion Condor.


http://www.ebay.de/itm/B-TOP-2-Fotos...item2c8bdc6afd


Usual disclaimer.



Best,
Ed
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 15th September 2014, 14:26
Lennart Andersson Lennart Andersson is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 119
Lennart Andersson
Re: Book Review (with corrections and expansions) of Jan Forsgren: Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Mushroom Yellow Series No. 6132)

First I would like to tank you for the long and comprehensive review with lots of interesting information. Jan Forsgren’s “Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun” is a nice book with lots of photos and colour profiles, but unfortunately, as has been indicated here, much of the information in it is incorrect or incomplete. This is a good illustration of the complexity of any research into German aircraft production and the main problem is that so much incorrect (often invented) information has been published and reiterated through the years. It is also very difficult to discuss details, because every single fact needs to be checked, and even if you do that you are bound to take something for granted that turns out later not to be true.

I would like to comment on some of the statements in the review.

Quote:
One of the more complex and strange episodes in the story of the Bf 108 relates to the seven Bf 108 B-0 Null-Serie machines (W.Nr. 823 to 829).
As far as I know the batch of seven Bf 108 B-0 aircraft, V1 to V7, had WNr 871 to 877, which is proven by the Flugzeugentwicklungsprogramme.

Quote:
In the final upshot, apart from the two SH 14A B-0s, three B-0s were delivered with the Hirth HM 8U engine (D-IAJO, D-IANO & D-IIPY) with the final two B-0s apparently being fitted with the Argus As 10 C. [These were D-IGNY & D-IZTA
The registrations mentioned here belongs both to aircraft from the B-0 batch mentioned above and to the B-1 batch 823 to 867. I have not studied them in detail so I cannot say anything about engine types, etc.

Quote:
German orders for the Bf 108 from Les Mureaux had increased to 795
The highest number that i have seen is 921. The programme dated 1 December 1943 contains 975 Bf 108D-1s, of which 154 had been delivered, including 921 from SNCAN.

Quote:
38 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 830 to 867, delivered 1935/7)
7 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 871 to 877, delivered 1937)
See above, I suppose that 823 to 867 were all B-1, and 871 to 877 were B-0 delivered in 1935-36.

Quote:
Together these two blocks made up the initial order quantity of 45
The first RLM production plans contained 37 +7 test aircraft (0-Serie), later this was increased to 45+7.

Quote:
6 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 987 to 992, delivered 1937)
D-IBAC > J-BACC was apparently WNr 993.

Quote:
The privately-owned Bayerische Flugzeugwerke A.G. designed and built aircraft, and was renamed as Messerchmitt A.G. in Sep-38.
The date that I have for this change is 11 July 1938.

Quote:
D-IBRE was a series-production Bf 108 B-1, not a Bf 108 A as mentioned here.
D-IBRE Bf 108B-0 V7, WNr 877, according to my notes.

Quote:
p.107 Messerschmitt company records show 17 (not 13) Bf 108 Bs delivered to Yugoslavia in 1939 as fuselages only (table at Schmoll: Mtt-Werke p.28).
Why would only fuselages have been delivered? What company records is this from? Yugoslavia did in fact order 13 Bf 108s on 23 October 1939. Four had already been delivered on 14 August and another eight arrived later. The last aircraft was never delivered and formally stopped on 27 February 1941.

Quote:
W.Nr. 2064, carrying the post-war registration D-IOIO, was originally delivered from Regensburg in May-39 as the Swiss HB-EKO (Trenkle photo in Schmoll: Mtt-Werke p.25).
WNr 2064 was one of those delivered to the Swiss Air Force and it was serialled A-208.

Nothing is so simple that it does not get more and more complicated, the more you look into it…

Lennart Andersson
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 16th September 2014, 16:57
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
Alter Hase
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,015
Stig Jarlevik is on a distinguished road
Re: Book Review (with corrections and expansions) of Jan Forsgren: Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Mushroom Yellow Series No. 6132)

Excellent review and excellent additions by Lennart.

I just have one problem with the comments Lennart. Why would B-0 aircraft have higher WNr than the B-1?

To clarify, HB-EKU (not HB-EKO) was WNr 1129 and went to Swiss AF as A-216
in 1942 and has nothing to do with WNr 2064 which, as Lennart correctly states, became A-208.

Cheers
Stig
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 16th September 2014, 17:04
Lennart Andersson Lennart Andersson is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 119
Lennart Andersson
Re: Book Review (with corrections and expansions) of Jan Forsgren: Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Mushroom Yellow Series No. 6132)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stig Jarlevik View Post
I just have one problem with the comments Lennart. Why would B-0 aircraft have higher WNr than the B-1?
Thanks, Stig!

I cannot explain that in this case, but sometimes c/ns were not assigned in cronological order. For example, Dornier c/ns are a good example of this.

Lennart
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 16th September 2014, 21:23
FalkeEins's Avatar
FalkeEins FalkeEins is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Pas de Calais
Posts: 662
FalkeEins
Re: Book Review (with corrections and expansions) of Jan Forsgren: Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Mushroom Yellow Series No. 6132)

Quote:
Originally Posted by INM@RLM View Post
This is the full version of an over-long review I posted on amazon uk.
impressive critique Ivon!

as is your review of the Mushroom MMP Hs 123 monograph...
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 16th September 2014, 22:38
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
Alter Hase
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,015
Stig Jarlevik is on a distinguished road
Re: Book Review (with corrections and expansions) of Jan Forsgren: Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Mushroom Yellow Series No. 6132)

Lennart

I guess not everything is done by logic, not then and certainly not now....

FalkeEins

Can you direct me to the review of the HS 123 book as well, please?

Cheers
Stig
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 16th September 2014, 22:46
newcomer newcomer is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 123
newcomer is on a distinguished road
Smile Re: Book Review (with corrections and expansions) of Jan Forsgren: Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Mushroom Yellow Series No. 6132)

Hi to all,

does anybody know list of WNr for Royal Yugoslav AF Me-108?

kind regards

Newcomer
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10th April 2019, 10:33
INM@RLM INM@RLM is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 48
INM@RLM is on a distinguished road
Re: Book Review (with corrections and expansions) of Jan Forsgren: Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun (Mushroom Yellow Series No. 6132)

It’s taken a while but the Entwicklungsprogramm referred to by Lennart has now been run to ground. It’s in BA-MA archive file reference RL 3 1448 with Flugzeugentwicklungsprogramm, 1. Oktober 1936.
The entries in this file on Blätter 15 & 16 confirm that the three-seater Bf 108 B-0 Nullserie were designated as Versuchsmaschinen V1 to V7 and assigned W.Nr. 871 to 877, with three different types of engine required to be fitted. However, the V-Nummern are not assigned sequentially.
· (Programm Row 219) The Bf 108 B-0 V1 and V2 were W.Nr. 871 & 873 respectively: these were to be fitted with the 250 hp Hirth HM 8U.
· (Row 220) The V3 to V6 were: W.Nr. 872 & 874 to 876; all to be fitted with the 160 hp Siemen Sh 14a.
· (Row 221) The V7 was W.Nr. 877 and the sole example to be fitted with the 240 hp Argus As 10 III.
Thus, exactly as pointed out by Lennart, the Bf 108 B Versuchsmaschinen are nestled between the Werk-Nummern for the Bf 110 V1 to V3 and the Bf 109 V4 to V9, and are numbered after the first Bf 108 B production block. (We already know that Mtt back-filled some of the gaps left in their Manufacturer's W.Nr. sequence from the W.Nrn. that were assigned to the Me 209. Those seem to have been first allocated as the final four of a block of 50 assigned to the cancelled order for 50 x Ju 87s from BFW.)
According to this programme the first six Bf 108 B-0 had been completed in Nov-35, but for the Argus-engined V7 this did not happen until Aug-36.


The comparison with the competing four-seater Klemm Kl 36 B is instructive:
· (Row 222) Kl 36 B V1 to V4 (W.Nr. 1016/7, 1019 & 1031) with the 250 hp Hirth HM 8U.
· (Row 223) Kl 36 B V5 to V7 (W.Nr. 1014/5 & 1018) with the 160 hp Siemen Sh 14a.
No mention of an Argus-powered Kl 36 B. (Perhaps it was simply not feasible to fit an As 10 into a Kl 36 B?)

So the gentlemen of the RLM were not trying to make Messerschmitt’s life any more difficult than anyone else’s, although that was what I had first thought. They simply wanted to test out in the most practical fashion the engine options in both competing types.
In this competition the Bf 108 started with the handicap that it was a three-seater whereas the Kl 36 was a four-seater. However, the decisive advantage that the Bf 108 had over the Kl 36 was probably not its lightweight all-metal monocoque construction, but rather that the Bf 108 could be fitted with and perform most satisfactorily with one of the great standard engines selected by the RLM for the Luftwaffe (and also fitted through more than a decade in the Ar 66, Go 145, Fw 58, Ar 76, Fw 56 & Fi 156). Thus the Flugzeugentwicklungsprogramm, 1. Oktober 1936 already notes against the rows for the Bf 108 V1 to V6 “Werden auf As 10 C III umgenbaut nach d.Entwicklungsmuster lfd.Nr, 221 W.-Nr. 877, and against the rows for the Kl 36 B “Serie wird nicht beschafft.”.


So the initial reconstruction I posted of the early blocks for Bf 108 W.Nrn. that read:
38 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 830 to 867, delivered 1935/7)
7 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 871 to 877, delivered 1937).
6 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 987 to 992, delivered 1937)
now becomes:
43 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 823 to 865, delivered 1936/7)
7 x Bf 108 B-0 (Bf 109 V1 to V7, W.Nr. 871 to 877, delivered 1935/6)
2 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 908 & 909, delivered 1937, both identities known)
6 x Bf 108 B-1 (W.Nr. 987 to 992, delivered 1936/7) – This last looks like an initial batch made up exclusively of privat (commercial) sales. Certainly the first example went to Brazil and the last to Australia.
Thus the final iteration of 45 Bf 109 B-Serie for the first order as built, comprised W.Nr. 823 to 865 (43) & W.Nr. 908 to 909 (2). The initial placement of this order for 37 aircraft was presumably assigned W.Nr. 823 to 859.
The above addresses Lennart’s boxes 1, 4 & 5.


Regarding box 6, most likely J-BACC was the first singleton example bought for assessment by Manchuria and was also from this 987 to 992 batch. I would love to see the source reference for this sighting, however, in my judgement it will not have been for W.Nr. 993.
The reason is that W.Nr. block 993 to 997 was assigned to the 5 x Bf 109 A Null-Serie of the third batch. [Radinger & Schick: Me 109 A/E table p.34 where they are simply described as A-Serie]. A duplicate assignment of just this specific W.Nr. would not be impossible in principle – Manchuria is after all a long way from Germany. But J-BACC was apparently registered in Aug-36, and for this assignment to be made so close in time to the other imj wholly rules this out – subject, of course, to seeing incontrovertible evidence of this duplicate assignment. (Smiley face)


On two others of Lennart’s other points I can now also respond.
Box 7: Lennart is correct. 11-July 1938 marked the change of company name at Mtt-Augsburg. In Ebert’s Willy Messerschmitt, Schiffer edition p.194 is a photograph of a share certificate endorsed with the name change on this date.
Box 10: Yes, HB-EKO subsequently became Swiss Air Force serial A-208, but it was delivered as HB-EKO and photographed prior to delivery as HB-EKO by Messerschmitt’s production test pilot at Regensburg. Go look at the photo in Schmoll that I mentioned originally, or in the English version at Schmoll’s Nest of Eagles p.17.
Ironically, the shot in Schmoll is taken from an angle that leaves the top of the last letter hidden. It could in fact be either a U or an O. However, Schmoll had access to Trenkle’s logbook and this is indisputably a 1939 delivery from Regensburg, whilst W.Nr. 1129 was indisputably a 1937 delivery from Augsburg. Indeed W.Nr. 1129, delivered Dec-37, was the example flown by Otto Brindlinger on a tour across the Americas, starting in Rio de Janiero and ending in New York. [Tincopa+Rivas: Axis Aircraft in Latin America, table p.355] From Stig’s post it then seems to have ended up in Switzerland, presumably sold as slightly used. Thank you for that pointer, Stig.)
[The detailed register entry for HB-EKU, W.Nr. 1129, in Golden Years at http://www.airhistory.org.uk/gy/reg_HB-.html
confirms what Stig wrote, identifying W.Nr. 1129 as “HB-EKU A-216(HB) HB-HOM A-216(HB)” first registered on 25.05.39 to Max Fiedler /Zurich.
There is no listing in Golden Years for HB-EKO.
Agreed, HB-EKU has nothing to do with HB-EKO, W.Nr. 2064 apart from them both ending up in Switzerland.]


The Swiss impressed at least one civil example of the Bf 108 and along with those purchased for the air force, all of the HB-xxx civil registrations were replaced by serial numbers in the range A-2xx starting at A-201. It would be good to have an input from a specialist on the Swiss Air Force as to exactly when these changes happened. Were the HB- codes for the 1939 deliveries from Regensburg production only used as delivery codes? Or were the A-2xx assignments only made subsequently during wartime when the aircraft were camouflaged? (The second is my working hypothesis for the present.)


Lennart, thank you for your always valuable contributions. I will go dust up and recheck my sources for the D-Kennz. assignments to early Bf 108s.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 20:39.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2004 - 2018, 12oclockhigh.net