Aviation of World War II

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Bf 109K-4
  • Fighter
  • Messerschmitt

Bf 109K Kurfurst (Elector) (letter I was not used by the Ministry of Aviation, and J was assigned to a modification of a fighter with a Hispano-Suiza engine), was a modified version of the Bf 109G-10, which received a number of factory-installed kits used on series G aircraft and some aerodynamic improvements.

The first pre-production Bf 109K-0 - appeared in September 1944 and differed from the last modification of the G series by the increased hood height, an elongated spinner and two trim tabs on the rudder. The plane was equipped with the so-called Galland lantern, a wooden keel, a retractable tail wheel on an elongated strut. Armament consisted of a 30 mm MK 108 motor cannon and two MG 151 151 cannons on the fuselage, half open. If the pre-production Bf 109K-0 were equipped with DB 605DB engines with afterburner GM 1, then the serial ones received DB 605ASCM or DB 605DCM - the latter with GM 1. The first aircraft left the assembly line in October 1944. These were the Bf 109K-2 and K-4, differing only in the cabin pressurization on the latter.

The last aircraft of the K-4 series received a 30-mm MK-103 cannon instead of the MK-108 propulsion cannon, but the 65-mm cover that covered the gun barrel made replacing the latter in the field with a non-trivial task. The MK-103 cannon was also installed on the Bf 109K-6, the main task of which was the fight against bombers, for which it carried two more 30-mm MK-103 in underwing gondolas, however, the fuselage MG.151 were again replaced by 13-mm machine guns MG.131. Deliveries of the Bf 109K-6 to fighter groups began in January 1945, but before the collapse of the Third Reich, only a few of these machines arrived - given that its takeoff weight (3600 kg) made it so poorly controlled, it actually was happiness for the Luftwaffe pilots in the face of complete air superiority of the Allies.

Bf 109K4-14 JG53 WNr 332579 Munich 1945 02

Bf 109K4-14 JG53 WNr 332579 Munich, February 1945

Bf.109K-4 Specification
Crew 1
Wing span, m 10.00
Length, m 8.85
Height, m 2.50
Wing area, m² 16.10
PE Daimler-Benz DB-605ASCM, hp 2000
Weight, kg:
Loaded weight 3100
Maximum takeoff weight 3400
Maximum speed at sea level, km/h 605
Maximum speed at altitude 8700m, km/h 695
Maximum rate of climb, m/min 1470
Service ceiling, m 12500
Service range, km 570
30-mm MK-103 or MK108 cannon with 60 cartridges,
2 × 15-mm MG-151 cannon with 220 cartridges on each one

Even fewer hit the warheads of the Bf.109K-14 series aircraft - their deliveries began just two weeks before the end of the war. Only headquarters II / JG.52 managed to get them. The Bf 109K-14 received the long-awaited DB603L engine with a two-stage supercharger. One successful bomb the year before had disabled the DB605L's thin atmosphere test chamber, which proved to be the main reason for the delay in engine deliveries for the Bf 109K. The DB605L engine ran on 96-octane C3 gasoline and used the afterburner MW-50, which provided 1700 hp during takeoff and 1725 hp at an altitude of 1500 m. At an altitude of 9500 m, the power reached 1350 hp in combat mode and 1150 hp, when climbing. If the Bf 109K-4 developed a speed of 723 km/h at an altitude of 6,000 m, then the Bf 109K-14 could maintain such a speed at an altitude of 11,500 m.

The equipment of the K series fighters was generally similar and included a Revi-16B sight, a FuG.16ZY radio and a FuG.25A transponder, a direction finder antenna behind the cockpit and an additional antenna under the left wing. From July 1945, the FuG.16ZY radio station was planned to be replaced by the FuG.15, but the assembly lines, which were still producing the Bf.109, were already close to a halt.

When the Allies crossed the Rhine, the number of Bf 109s in the Luftwaffe was still quite large - about 800 machines equally divided into the G and K series, of which 80% were combat-ready. But in reality, the combat capability of the units was lower due to the lack of fuel and the change of airfields.

Photo Description
Drawing Bf 109K-4

The Bf 109K-4

Bf 109G-10 in flight

Bf 109G-10 in flight



  • "Aviation of Luftwaffe" /Viktor Shunkov/
  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
  • "The air war" /№ 61/