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Cannon armement in the DB600 series.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 14:45    Post subject: Cannon armement in the DB600 series. Reply with quote

There seems to be some people who still think that the luftwaffe had a cannon (MGFF) firing through the airscrew hub of the 109E during the battle of Britain. So far I hav'nt come across a scrap of evidence to support this view. Firstly the ammunition boxes for the engine mounted MG17s would be in the way, and secondly the oil tank behind the firewall and the pipework would make the installation impossible. On the F series the oil tank was repositioned to make room for the cannon. Another question is that some say that a cannon was tested in the 109E but was abandoned due to vibration problems. This point of view is odd because the DB601N fitted to the early F series is shown in a handbook with a MGFF cannon fitted. The DB601N was similar to the A (early wheelcase & external propeller drive) ,so were the problems (if any) solved? It seems that the problem was finally solved with the 601E and MG151 combination. Finally the upthrust on the 109 installation was there purly to aim the cannon and not for any aerodynamic reasons. Does anybody have any thoughts or information on this matter.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 15:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is indeed a great deal of confusion about the Bf 109 armament. Several reasons seem to have contributed to this:

1. The MG FF/M, which entered service in 1940, is often assumed to be a version of the MG FF intended for engine mounting. In fact the designation denoted a version intended for thin walled "mine" shells.

2. Photographs of some early Bf 109s show what appears to be an MG FF barrel protruding from the spinner. These could conceivably have been experimental aircraft, although I have seen a claim that the hardware on the Bf 109E-2 spinner was for towing (a close examination of an air to air photo commonly captioned as a Bf 109E-2 does seem to show some extra fittings on the spinner tip). Although an opening in the front of the spinner is often seen in photographs of the Bf 109E-3s. these appear to show an opening that is much larger than would be needed for a 20 mm cannon barrel and no separate cannon barrel is visible. I recall a report that this opening was for cooling air.

Possibly, a disinformation campaign designed to make the Bf 109E appear more formidable than it was could have been a contributing factor. Certainly it doesn't help that some of the earliest references have been repeatedly copied without attribution.

The engine mounted MG FF was supposed to have been tested in some of the C and D variants with little success; overheating is mentioned as a problem. I suspect that it was not seen as being worthwhile to put much effort into the engine mounting of the MG FF as the limited ammunition capacity of the drum feed would have the value of such an installation when the superior MG 151 was on the way.

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