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vs. Spitfire Mk.V
In 1941 the aging Bf-109E was peplaced by the 109 F model. The "F" series features an improved, streamlined cowl, a retractabe tail wheel, self-sealing fuel tanks and improved weapons package.
Many view the 109F's firepower as inferior to the 109E's, however the guns package of the 109F is in many ways superior. Since all the guns are in the nose, the 109F has no convergence to worry about. More importaint, the 109F has a single 20mm Mauser MG 151/20 cannon fireing through the spinner, comapired to the dual MG/FF low velocity cannon in the wings of the 109E. The 109E's dual cannon can fire out 18 20mm rounds per second, the 109F's single cannon fires 14 20mm shells per second at nearly twice the velocity and all the rounds will impact the target in the same place.
In combat, the 109F can nail snap shots that the Emil can only dream of. Plus it's performance in flight is markedly superior. The "Franz" has a top speed of about 640 Km/h at 19k with WEP. The "Franz" was considered the best dogfighter of the 109 series. It was the last of the 109 series optimized to make it a air superiority fighter.
|COMPARISON TO THE SPITFIRE Mk.V:
The Spit V turns better and has greater firepower than the Franz. The 109F dives better, accelerates better, climbs better and is faster at all altitudes. The overall superiority of the Franz over the Spit V gives the 109F pilot many options that he never had in his Emil flying against the Spit Mk.I's, such as spiral climbs and speedy extentions.
|METHOD OF ATTACK:
Begin your diving attack on the Spit from his 4, 5 or 6 o'clock position. Rather than shooting from above though, plan your dive so that you are below him when you attack. Think of flying a shallow "U" through the sky. This capitalizes on the 109F's superior speed over the Spit, while in the Emil diving like this might leave you gasping for airspeed trying to catch the Spit. The positive aspects of the "U" attack are that by attacking from the Spit's low 6 position he may not see you, it is less likely you will be over speeding and if you miss you have already started a zoom climb!
If he does see you and perfomes a Split S, DON NOT FOLLOW, simply keep climbing and re-evalute your options. Set up again and only re-engauge when the fight favors YOU.
When the Spit break turns, evaluate your closure and speed, roll to his turn, switch from a pure pursuit to a lead pursuit and attempt a deflection shot. The Franz's guns are excellent for diflection shooting, it's not at all unreasonable to begin fireing from 400 yards away if your a good shot. After you attempt your firing pass, zoom climb up to save energy. Look over your shoulder and see what is the Spit is doing. He has mosst likely finishing his turn, so dive back down on him, and try to use roll in the verticle to match his turn. I have even cut cut my throttle to near idle at times while diving straight down on Spits. With the E advantage you have, you can afford to do this and you may be able to pull lead for a shot in the horizontal, though make sure to firewall the throttle after you're out of the (downward) verticle.
In a duel situation the Franz has a good chance of winning, and if you play your cards right, the very worst outcome is that you may have to run away. NEVER accept the head-on (HO) shot with a Spit V while flying the Franz. With that out of the way, your first goal is to gain the energy advantage after the merge. Hit WEP, and dive a bit before you pass the Spit. Go under him, and then zoom up into a steep climb. Look behind you and see what the Spit has done to counter your move.
If he has made a hard flat turn, then you have already won the duel. Boom and zoom him to death or sucker him into a "Rope a Dope." Make sure you don't loose the energy advantage you gained. Wait for the great shot opportunity before you get anxious and blow your advantage.
Looking back, if you see the Spit has made an Immelman, he will now be in a climbing pursuit. You need to visually gauge his closure rate and decide whether to extend or continue climbing and make him stall out. In most of my experiences with duel situations where I knew we had started at Co-E, it was safe to keep zoom climbing up, and make him stall out below you.
Remember, your goal at first is not to gain angle, but to gain an altitude advantage.
THE SPIRAL CLIMB: This is probably the most useful maneuver the Franz can perform against the Spit V. The Emil could never dream of a spiral climb to escape anything but a Hurricane. Use the spiral climb when you are caught in a chase situation. This may be after a zoom climb in a merge or if you have been caught from above. First, you need to gain some seperation between you and the Spit. Dive away, or if you can, run away level. After you have gained 1K to 1.2K yards of seperation ever so slowly start climbing. You want to start climbing very gently and gradually increase your rate of climb untill you have maxed out your VSI (Vertical Situation Indicator). Continue this climb for one verticle kilometer or so, and then add in a bit of right or left rudder. The trick is to start your "Spiral" part as gradually as you did your climb. At first, you want to be barely turning, then you want to increase the rate of turn untill your hanging on your prop. It's importaint to check back behind you often to watch the Spit. When you see him give up or stallout, STRIKE! Now your back to "Boom and Zoom", and "Rope A Dope's!" The spiral climb can turn a bad situation into an energy advantage.
When you are attacked from above by a Spit V, I do not recommend trying to fight him off from below. Instead, run away untill you can execute a Spiral Climb or just keep running. Don't play the Spitfire's game. Fly your 109 like a 109, not like a Spit.
If you do happen to end up in a very bad situation, perhaps with with 5 Spit's bearing down on your 6, then survival is your main concern, not gaining the advantage again. Good escape maneuvers include outside loops (When you are 450 Km/h +) followed by a Split S or a shallow inverted dive with a sharp push forward on the stick, then back pressure to execute a Split S. Then hit WEP, dive to the deck and make for a friendly field.
A "Side Slip" is a good way to throw off an attacker's aim. Bank your wings almost vertically, and use opposite rudder to keep your nose high. To the attacker, you will seemingly slide out of his gunsight. Do not use the side slip for a long time though, as it is easy to adapt to.
A Fake Turn works much better than you'd ever think. Bank your wings, hold them there for a second, then roll to the opposite direction and break turn a maximum of 90 degrees. Check 6, and you may have given yourself an escape opportunity from the attacking Spit. A fake turn works even better when used with a Side Slip.
Scissors or Rolling Scissors can also be good to make the Spit V overshoot, but they tend to not work as well against the Spit V as they did with the Emil against the Spit I.
|GUIDELINES TO FLY THE "FRANZ" BY:
Flying the 109F in the CT can be one of the best 109 experences you'll ever have. You are flying a plane which in the right hands , rules the skies. A 109F flown by an expert is untouchable to Spitfire V's. If you follow these ground rules:
* ALWAYS stay above any enemy you can see.
* ONLY engage on your terms. Never fight the way the enemy would like you to.
* Set convergence anywhere from 300 to 225 yards. With all the guns in the nose convergence is not a real worry.
* Fly with 75% fuel or 50% and a DT if you are going a long way. The 109 has small fuel tanks.
* Return to base when you have run out of cannon.
* ALWAYS fly with a wingman!
Bf-109G-2 vs. SPITFIRE Mk.IX