The Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse ("Hornet") was a German heavy fighter and Schnellbomber used by the Luftwaffe during World War II. Though essentially a straightforward modification of the Me 210, it was designated the Me 410 to avoid association with its notoriously flawed predecessor
Development of the Me 210 had been under way since 1939 but the aircraft proved extremely unstable and was never considered for full-scale production. Modifications to the layout produced the Me 210C and 210D, which proved somewhat superior. As studies progressed on the Me 210D, and with a separate parallel attempt to improve upon the 210 with the Messerschmitt Me 310 in the second half of 1943 — which provided almost no aerodynamic improvement over the 210's risky handling qualities — it was instead decided to introduce a "new" model, the Me 410.
The major change between the Me 210 and 410 was the introduction of the larger (at 44.5 litre, 2,715 in3 displacement) and more powerful Daimler-Benz DB 603A engines, which increased power to 1,750 PS (1,730 hp, 1,290 kW) compared to the 1,475 PS DB 605s used on the Me 210C - the interim Me 310 design experiment actually used the DB 603 powerplant choice first. The engine performance increased the Me 410's maximum speed to 625 km/h (388 mph), greatly improved rate of climb, service ceiling, and most notably the cruising speed, which jumped to 579 km/h (360 mph). It also improved payload capability to the point where the aircraft could lift more war load than could fit into the bomb bay under the nose. To address this, shackles were added under the wings for four 50 kg (110 lb) bombs. The changes added an extra 680 kg (1,500 lb) to the Me 210 design, but the extra engine power more than made up for the difference.
Basic side-by-side comparison of the Me 210 and Me 410 wing planforms
The new version included a lengthened fuselage and new, automatic leading edge slats, both of which had been tested on Me 210s and were found to dramatically improve handling. The slats had originally been featured on the earliest Me 210 models, but had been removed on production models due to poor handling. When entering a sharp turn, the slats had a tendency to open, due in part to the turn causing a drop in air pressure at the leading edge of the wings, analogous to the low pressure activation the slats were designed for in a slow landing approach (this problem was first observed on the Bf 109V14 and V15 prototypes for the Bf 109E), which added to the problems keeping the aircraft flying smoothly. However, when the problems with the general lateral instability were addressed, this was no longer a real problem. The wing panels of the earlier Me 210 had been designed with a planform geometry that placed the aerodynamic center in a rearwards direction in comparison to the earlier Bf 110, giving the outer sections of the wing planform beyond each engine nacelle a slightly greater, 12.6° leading edge sweepback angle than the inner panels' 6.0° leading edge sweep angle. This resulted in unreasonable handling characteristics in flight for the original Me 210 design. The new Me 410 outer wing panels had their planform geometry revised to bring the aerodynamic center further forwards in comparison to the Me 210, thus making the leading edge sweepback of the outer panels identical to the inner wing panels with both having identical 5.5° sweepback angles, which improved handling.
Deliveries began in January 1943, two years late and continued until September 1944, by which point a total of 1,160 of all versions had been produced by Messerschmitt Augsburg and Dornier München. When it arrived, it was liked by its crews, even though its improved performance was not enough to protect it from the swarms of high performance Allied fighters they faced at this stage of the war.
An Me 410A-1/U4 with a BK 5 autocannon peels off during attack on USAAF B-17s
The Me 410 night bomber proved to be an elusive target for the RAF night fighters. The first unit to operate over the UK was V./KG 2, which lost its first Me 410 on the night of 13–14 July 1943, when it was shot down by a de Havilland Mosquito of No. 85 Squadron RAF.
The Me 410 was also used as a bomber destroyer against the daylight bomber formations of the USAAF, upgraded through the available Umrüst-Bausätze factory conversion kits, all bearing a /U suffix, for the design — these suffixes could vary in meaning between subtypes. As one example, the earlier Me 410 A-1/U1 designation signified a camera-fitting in the undernose ordnance bay for reconnaissance use (as the A-3 was meant to do from its start), while the same /U1 designation or the later Me 410 B-2 signified a mount of a pair of the long-barreled, 30mm calibre MK 103 cannon in the undernose ordnance bay. The /U2 suffix designated a fitment of two additional 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons in the under-nose ordnance bay instead — the A-1/U4 subtype fitted the massive, 540 kg (1,190 lb) weight Bordkanone series 50 mm (2 in) BK 5 cannon, loaded with 21 rounds in the same undernose ordnance bay in place of either the /U1's cameras or MK 103s, or the /U2's added pair of MG 151/20 autocannon. For breaking up the bomber formations, many Me 410s also had four underwing tubular launchers, two per wing panel, firing converted 21 cm (8 in) Werfer-Granate 21 infantry barrage rockets. Two Geschwader, Zerstörergeschwader 26 and 76, were thus equipped with the Me 410 by late 1943.
They were moderately successful against unescorted bombers through 1943, with a considerable number of kills against USAAF day bomber formations being achieved. However, the Me 410 was no match in a dogfight with the lighter Allied single-engine fighters such as the North American P-51 Mustang and Supermarine Spitfire. In early 1944, the Me 410 formations encountered swarms of Allied fighters protecting the bomber streams, usually flying far ahead of the combat box formations as an air supremacy move in clearing the skies of any Luftwaffe opposition, resulting in the Me 410's previous successes against escorted bombers now often being offset by their losses. An example of this — as part of a campaign started two days earlier by the USAAF — was on 6 March 1944 during an attack on Berlin by 750 8th AF heavy bombers, when 16 Me 410s were shot down in return for eight B-17s and four P-51s (which were destroyed by Bf 109 and Fw 190 fighters escorting the Me 410s). The following month on 11 April, with 8th AF raids hitting Sorau, Rostock and Oschersleben, II.ZG 26's Me 410s accounted for a rare success, initially bringing down 10 B-17s without any losses. During the course of the same raid, their second sortie was intercepted by P-51s that destroyed eight Me 410s and three Bf 110s. Sixteen crewmen were killed and three wounded.
From mid-1944, despite being Hitler's favourite bomber destroyer, the Me 410 units were taken from Defence of the Reich duties and production was phased out in favour of heavily armed single-engine fighters as dedicated bomber destroyers, with the Me 410s remaining in service flying on reconnaissance duties only. Some Me 410s were used with Junkers Ju 188s during the Battle of Normandy, for high-altitude night reconnaissance
Two Me 410s survive today:
Me 410 A-1/U1 (W.Nr.10018, converted from Me 210 airframe)This Aircraft held by the American National Air and Space Museum and stored awaiting restoration, at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility. It was found intact at an airfield in Trapani, Sicily, in August 1943 bearing the markings of the Luftwaffe's 2.Staffel/Fernaufklärungsgruppe 122 and was shipped to the United States in 1944; it was given the US serial number FE499,
Me 410, W.Nr.420430, RAF Museum Cosford (2009)Me 410 A-1/U2 (W.Nr.420430)This aircraft is part of the collection of the RAF Museum and is publicly displayed at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford. It was built in late 1943 by Messerschmitt in Augsburg. There is evidence it served with Zerstörergeschwader 26 before being surrendered at Vaerlose, Denmark in May 1945. It was one of six Me 410s that were taken to the UK in 1945 for evaluation, but the only one to be later selected for preservation and to avoid being scrapped. It underwent restoration in 1986, after which both engines were successfully run on the ground. It was moved to Cosford in 1989 and has remained there since
About this creation
Crew: 2 (pilot and gunner)
Length: 12.4 m (40 ft 8-3/16 in)
Wingspan: 16.39 m (53 ft 9-1/4 in)
Height: 3.7 m (12 ft 2-5/8 in)
Wing area: 36.20 m² (390 ft²)
Empty weight: 6,150 kg (13,558 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 10,760 kg (23,721 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Daimler-Benz DB 603A liquid-cooled V12 engine, 1,750 PS (1,726 hp, 1,287 kW) each
Maximum speed: 624 km/h (388 mph)
Range: 2,300 km (1,400 mi) combat
Service ceiling: 10,000 m (32,800 ft)
Climb to 6,000 m (19,680 ft): 10.7 min
2 × 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 17 machine guns with 1,000 rpg, firing forward
2 × 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons with 350 rpg, firing forward
2 × 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131 machine guns with 500 rpg, each firing rearward from FDSL 131/1B remote-operated turret, one per side
Rockets: 4 x 21 cm (8 in) Werfer-Granate 21 rockets
up to 1,000 kg (2,204 lb) of disposable stores
really cool build,especially with your use of bricks,looks just like the real thing,and you built 3 of them.
be a change from these massive builds your used too,love the shaping of the fuselage
great work on this
Very nice warbird! The shaping is really good considering your Classic Building style (no use of curved slopes). And I like that you added a dihedral angle to the mainwings, it makes the plane look so much more realistic!