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Bf-109E-4 "Emil"
vs. Spitfire Mk.I
In the early war set-ups, the Spitfire Mk.I is the Emil driver's most deadly opponent. The Emil's strengths are (1) dive performance,(2) greater climb rate, and most of all, (3) firepower. The Spitfire has three advantages of it's own: (1) superior roll rate, (2)better turning ability, and (3) unknown by many; top speed. However the Spitfire Mk.I's top speed is barely faster, and it will take him quite a while to catch you in a chase.
     Against the Aces High Spitfire Mk.I and Hurricane Mk.I it does extremely well if flown smart. It should be flown as an energy fighter. Turn Fighting with Spits and Hurri's will get you killed QUICK. Use your level speed and climb to keep out of most bad situations and to turn the fight to your advantage.
The most effective way to kill a Spitfire Mk.I is to dive from above on his high 6 o'clock position. If he doesn't see you, then wake him up with your 20mm cannon. If he does see you, he will most likely do one of the following: a hard barrel roll, a Split S, a break turn, or if he is a "newby", a zoom climb (in which case shoot him dead).
     If he barrel rolls beware this opponent, as he is doing his best to conserve energy, climb up and shoot you after you make a failed gunnery pass. When you are diving on a Spitfire Mk.I , and he barrel rolls, break off your attack and execute a Chandelle (simply a climbing turn) to re-asess the situation.
     If he makes a Split S, do not dive down and chase him. Instead, execute a gentle zoom climb, look back and re-asess the situation.
     A break turning Spitfire is a very large target, and with practice you can kill break turing Spitfires while diving in the Emil with viscious efficiency. There are two key factors you need to acess as you dive. One is your "closure rate," the second is *when* the Spitfire Mk.I starts his break turn; the later the better. When your closure rate is very high, it may be wise to break off the attack and zoom climb. Otherwise you risk collision or completely overshooting your target and getting eight Browning machine guns fireing 120 rounds per second into your tail feathers! Determining a safe closure rate takes practice and experence, though it is safe to say if your plane is buffeting you should break off.
     Now that you are diving in on this Spit from his high 6 o'clock (5 or 7 o'clock is decent also) be ready for him to execute a break turn to either the right or left. (HOT TIP: most pilots favor the left for last ditch maneuvers since the stick is in their right hand.) If he starts his break turn more than 500 yards out, zoom climb up and re-asess the situation. Closer than 500 yards, follow a pure pursuit, untill he's 200 - 300 yards away. Then useing your superior speed for good instantanious turn, switch to lead pursuit and open fire. More often than not, he will be below your nose as you are fireing, but he is there; and with practice, will be rudely introduced to the business end of your 109.
     If you miss don't sweat it. Zoom climb up, re-asess the situation. DO NOT turn with the Spitfire Mk.I. Now that you're at the top of your zoom climb, you need to decide what to do next to kill the Spit below you. He is now either still turning, running or is climbing in an effort to engage you.
      If he's still turning, hammerhead down as you manage your throttle, taking care not to overspeed. Roll to match his turn from above and open fire when you are within 200 - 300 yards. If you miss, zoom climb again and repeat till the Spit is dead.
      If he is running, you must decide whether or not to chase him. Check for other enemies in the area first, and if it's clear skies, dive down upon the fleeing Spitfire but DON'T get drawn into a turnfight with him.
      If the slower Spitfire is chasing you up vertically, you are now at the beginning of a "Rope a Dope." Go verticle, wait till you stall out, hammerhead or loop over and kill him. He may be fireing, but by now he's so slow he has no ability to aim. "Rope a Dope's" are one of the most satisfying ways to kill a Spit.   
    A less favorable position is to start the fight at the same altitude, with the same amount of energy, This fight usually starts with a "merge situation," or head on pass. DO NOT try to kill on the HO, for many reasons. Although you have superior firepower. it's your shooting skill against his, and there's always someone who's better than you out there. By firing at the merge, you also risk collision, which is the worst way to end a fight. Lastly, if your opponent is good, he will use the time you are fireing at him to do simple evasives and then gain advantage in the fight.
     The right thing to do at the merge is this: Fire a quick burst of MG from very long range, 1000 -1200 yards away. This will make him think your intent is to kill him on the HO pass, and might attempt to fire back, which is what you want. At 1000 yards, nose down a bit, and enter a gentle dive. Your intention is to go under him. This decieves your opponent Spitfire of your real intention. which is to zoom climb up vertically. Start this maneuver at a distance of 100-259 yards away in the merge. Going under him will also make him loose sight of you for a few seconds, and in a dogfight loosing sight of your opponent means loosing the fight. Don't forget to hit WEP as you go verticle, in fact hit WEp when you see the merge situation developing.
     As you are zooming up vertically, look back and see what the Spit is doing. If you are lucky, he'll execute a flat turn, or a Split S, and you have won the fight (assuning Co-E states at the time of the merge). Keep zooming up untill you stall, hammerhead down and shoot him dead. This may become a "Rope a Dope" or it may be a shot where he is still turning and you must use roll in the verticle to match his turn.
     If the Spit zoom climbs up vertically like you did, then you are in trouble (unless your energy was considerably greater than his: in this case, keep zooming and gain as much of an altitude advantage as possible). This pilot is smart, and even if he is not as good as you, the Spitfire's superior dogfighting ability will catch up to you quick, and send you quickly home in a parachute. You may want to consider running, or some defensive maneuvers.   
    So you have a Spitfire Mk.I on your tail, about to blast your Emil any second. What to do, what to do, what to do? First, DON'T PANIC! If there are any friendlies around, call for "HELP" on the radio. If you are alone...WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WITHOUT A WINGMAN?! Well, this text is intended for 1 vs. 1 fights, so...
     If you have any altitude, there is a great escape maneuver that can sometimes even turn the tables on the Spit! A Diving Scissors is what I call this, for lack of a better term. The maneuver capitalizes on the 109's smaller turn radius. Begin a standard Split S, and apply hard down rudder (assuming your view plain is perpendicular to the horizon at this point) as you roll so that your Split S is beginning before you are actually inverted. Pull hard, very hard out of your Split S untill you see the horizon again, now roll over inverted again (again useing rudder to start the dive early) and repeat this untill you will actually cross paths with the Spit going the opposite direction (assuming he tried to match this maneuver and kept his throttle up). If you are still feeling gutsy you now can go verticle and see what he does. Or a wiser choice may be to keep going straight and run for home.
     If the Spit is close on your 6, and you have no altitude, then you are really screwed unless you get lucky with some last ditch maneuvers. Try a scissors, or better yet a rolling scissors and hope he overshoots, and if you're really lucky you might even get a snap shot with your 20mm cannons.
     When a Spitfire Mk.I is diving from above on your Emil, try not to bleed too much energy untill you can execute an escape maneuver. Tangling with a higher Spit is NOT RECOMMENDED with the Emil unless you can visually see that he's a real dweeb. So, he's diving down from above at your high 6 o'clock position. A very good defensive maneuver is to enter a gentle dive and roll hard with a bit of rudder applied in the direction of your roll, Wait till he is about 1000-1200 yards behind you, then roll over, dive a bit inverted and roll like crazy. This saves energy and forces an overshoot. After he passes you, that is the time to Split S and disengage in search of friendlies or your base
The "EMIL" was one of the best and fastest planes for it's time period. Matched against it's historic counter parts, the Hurricane Mk.I, Spitfire Mk.I and D.520 it more than held it's own. Only the Spitfire Mk.I could roughly claim equivalent speeds and capabilities. The Emil possed the good climb rate of the 109 series. It'was one of the first dominant "Energy Fighters." The Lufftwaffe pilots used the 109's superior speed and climb rate to good effect. Useing those tactics the Emil could be almost untouchable versus many of the early war planes it faced.
     It's armament was also superior for it's period as well. The Emil carried 2x 20mm MG/FF cannons with 60 rpg, mounted in the wings and 2x 7.7mm MG/17 with 1000 rpg  mounted in the nose firing through the propeller.
    If the Spit is say D1k to 1.5k on your 6, and you have altitude, try the following: Start a shallow dive, then pull up in a shallow climb, then shallow dive again. Repeat as necessary adding in more "dive" if he starts to get close. His engine cuts out in negative-G maneuvers, thus he will have to be rolling to follow you correctly, or his engine will keep cutting out.
     Another fun thing is on "Outside Loop" (simply push forward on the stick till your inverted), then follow up with a Split S. The chaseing Spit's engine will either cut out, or the pilot will be forced to do some very funky maneuvers to stay with you.
NEVER try to win a dogfight with a Spit Mk.I or Hurricane Mk.Iif you haven't already done it in the first few firing passes. The real Luftwaffe used hit and run tactics against the RAF. I suggest the same.
     *ALWAYS stay higher than any enemy you can see. Make them come to you on your terms.
     *A fuel load of 75% is nice, not too much but still gives you range and options. Sounds like a lot but all the 109 series has small fuel tanks and you will go through it quick.
     *Set convergence at 225-175 yards, because the MG/FF 20mm Cannons are low velocity types and fall off rapidly, making longer range shots inaccurate.
     *Return to base (RTB) when you have run out of cannon. The Bf-109E-4 has a truck load of 7.7mm ammo for the machine guns, but their firepower is laughable; though you can get an occasional kill with them.
     *MOST IMPORTAINT OF ALL, fly with a wingman, and you won't need the above information!
"FRANZ" vs. Spitfire Mk.V