Aviation of World War II
In the design of the aircraft, an attempt was made to combine the intention to achieve air supremacy with the desire of the Messerschmitt concern to become the leading supplier of aircraft for the Luftwaffe. Only thanks to influence in the OKL (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe) and TA (Technisches Amt) did the concern manage to produce a rather crude long-range fighter for a long time.
The need for Me-210 class aircraft appeared due to the fact that over time, the Allied aviation received very good American aircraft. The German command underestimated and neglected the potential of the American aviation industry. Ordinary German designers and engineers, of course, understood the capabilities of the Americans, but their opinion was not taken into account at the top level.
According to the memoirs of many senior officers of the Luftwaffe, the idea to create a multi-purpose aircraft (Mehrzweckflugzeug) belonged to Goering himself, who wanted to form elite squadrons of heavy fighters (Zerstoerer). However, these memories should be treated critically, since there is a possibility that Göring is being blamed for a failed concept.
In October 1938, Hitler approved a new program for the development of military equipment, in which aviation played a significant role. It was supposed to form 16 aviation regiments equipped with Bf-110 and Me-210 fighters. To this end, in September 1938, the Luftwaffe ordered 1,000 Me-210 aircraft. The development program of the Luftwaffe was approved in the form of an industrial production plan, signed on November 9, 1938. The plan provided for the delivery of 3,320 Bf-110 and Me-210 aircraft by April 1942.
However, the organization of serial production of the Me-210 was slow, although the aircraft itself was considered promising. Subsequent production plans (No. 10 dated January 24, 1939 and No. 11 dated April 1, 1939) provided for the continuation of work on the aircraft and their early completion.
While attempts were made to establish serial production of the Me-210, the aircraft was continuously adapted to install the most powerful engines available on it. However, new engines were constantly in short supply. For example, instead of the provided DB603G motor, it was necessary to install DB601, which were also produced in insufficient quantities. The forced Jumo 213E, which was a modification of the Jumo 213A, was also absent. And the BMW 801TJ engines, in general, existed only in the form of prototypes. All this caused additional problems and lengthened the terms of work.
After the war, Fritz Wendel, the leading test pilot of Messerschmitt, said that the Me-410, like the He-177, became the misfortune of the aviation industry of the III Reich. Having absorbed a huge amount of forces and means, this aircraft did not justify the hopes that were placed on it. As a result of the failure of the Me-210 program, only the Bf-110 won. Initially, it was planned to stop its production back in 1941, but as a result, the aircraft stayed on the assembly line until March 1945!
The first prototype Me-210V1 (V - Versuchsmuster - prototype) W.Nr.0001 D+AABF took off on 5 September 1939. The aircraft was piloted by engineer Hermann Wurster. The aircraft was equipped with 1100 hp DB601А-1 engines. and had a mass of 5300 kg. The aircraft had no armament and was equipped with a spaced tail. During the test flight, it turned out that the aircraft was unstable both in the vertical and in the horizontal plane. The aircraft was returned to the factory, where it was equipped with an enlarged tail unit. Also increased the area of the rudders. The plane converted in this way took off on September 23. At the same time, comparative tests were carried out with the second prototype V2 (W.Nr.0002, WL + ABEO), which had a conventional tail. Later, the V2 prototype also received a new tail unit. Flight testing of both prototypes continued until the winter of 1939/40. They showed that it was not possible to improve the flight characteristics of the aircraft.
The design of the aircraft continued to improve, but at the same time they "forgot" to eliminate the already known shortcomings. So, the aircraft received automatic slats on the leading edge of the wing. The design of the tail section of the fuselage has changed, while the length of the fuselage has increased by 647 mm. The first new fuselage appeared on the Me-210A-0 (W.Nr.101 NE + BH), which took off on October 3, 1941 (after the alteration, the aircraft received the designation V17). Comparative tests with the V16 prototype showed that it was not possible to correct the shortcomings.
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Armament. Two 20 mm MG 151 cannons with 350 rounds per barrel and two 7.9 mm MG 17 machine guns with 1000 rounds per barrel forward and two 13 mm MG 131 machine guns in remote-controlled mounts FDL 131 with 450 rounds per gun
Further tests showed that the lengthening of the fuselage and the use of slats made it possible to improve the flight qualities of the aircraft, so the serial production of the Me-210 was resumed, and at the same time, the alteration of all already built aircraft began. In 1942, 95 aircraft were produced, in 1943 - 85, and in 1944 - 74. However, many of these aircraft did not get into units, but were converted into Me-410s. The latest modifications of the Me-210 aircraft were B-0 and B-1 - high-speed reconnaissance aircraft. They differed from fighters by the absence of a pair of MG 17s. Two Rb cameras of different types were mounted in the bomb bay of the aircraft. The aircraft received two external fuel tanks, which made it possible to increase the supply of gasoline by 2x900 liters. In the B-0 variant, only two aircraft converted from A-1 machines were produced. In the B-1 variant, two cars were also produced. There were several more modifications that remained at the stage of design work:
Me-210C-1, C-2, C-3 and D-1 equipped with DB605B engines and MW-50 methanol injection device. These were variants of the A-1, A-2 and B-1 aircraft.
Me-210D-1 and Da-1, reconnaissance aircraft equipped with DB605 engines and armed with MG 151 and 2xMG 131. The aircraft were equipped with the following photo equipment: 1xRb 20 or Rb 50, or 2xRb 75 or Rb 50. Work on this modification was not carried out .
Me-210E-1, F-1 and F-2, equipped with DB603 engines. These were attack aircraft, also known as Me-210S-1. Aircraft of this type were in many ways similar to the A-1, but had an armored cockpit, bomb bay, engines and an oil cooler. There was also an S-2 variant fitted with DB605 engines. Seven Me-210A-1s were converted into two-seat training aircraft. The alteration was carried out by the Hamburg company Blohm & Voss. One "Hungarian" Me-210Ca-1 (W.Nr.0316009) was remade in a similar way.
The Me-210A-1 (W.Nr.2319) was converted by DLH Staaken into a naval reconnaissance aircraft. This specimen was flown on May 7, 1943. In total, about 550 Me-210 aircraft were built. The exact number is difficult to determine, since individual aircraft and different series were counted differently.
In fact, the new fighters were no longer the same Me-210. Since the designation Me-210 already had a notorious reputation, the new aircraft was designated Me-410. All further tests of the Me-210 aircraft were aimed at improving the design of the Me-410.