Jump to content
Olham

Spitfire vs Messerschmidt - The Cockpits

Recommended Posts

I found these two short videos quite interesting, because they show something

that you normally don't see, even when you look at the aircraft from closer on:

a comparison of the cockpits of the two most famous WW2 fighter aircraft.

First I thought "Boy, what a rant about the Spit..." but then the Messerschmidt

received a worse one - best watch both to the end...

 



Edited by Olham
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice. I had heard about the small size of the Me-109's cockpit. Allied pilots said that it was hard to move the stick from full left to full right without banging into your knees. (never knew that the breech of the cannon poked back into the cockpit, tho') In the same article, they went on to say that the German pilots who had the opportunity to fly captured P-51's and P-47 Thunderbolts felt (as you'd expect) that they were sitting in a bath tub and had to "reach long distances..." for throttle, flaps, trim, etc.

Edited by Hauksbee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha - understandable!

I guess one plus for such a crammed cockpit might be, that the pilot's head

could not get slammed anywhere far by positive Gs?

He could just lean the head against the canopy.

Edited by Olham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Give me a Spit any day!

(No disrespect for German Engineering "vorst sprung dirk technic" as the BMW ads say... But the Spitfire is an Icon)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand what you mean, Widow.

 

"vorst sprung dirk technic"

 

No, wait - I don't...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful, Olham. I was laughing all the way to the floor. But your head doesn't have to travel far to get slammed. You're certainly familiar with the desktop toy that has six hanging steel balls? Pull back #1 and let it go. #6 jumps. #2, 3, 4, and 5 simply transmit the shock. But if they could speak...

Edited by Hauksbee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"But the Spitfire is an icon" implies the 109 is not but--undebatably--it is. Not trying at all to dissuade anyone's preference, just saying. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They both must be THE icons for WW2 fighter, but I understand Widow's choice - the man is an Englishman through and through. :big_boss:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They both must be THE icons for WW2 fighter, but I understand Widow's choice -

To the best of your knowledge, Olham, did German pilots have any complaints about cockpit layout?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hauksbee;

 

I seem to recall that Adolph Galland expressed his views in somewhat this manner but no reference to canopy:

 

During August of 1940, at the height of the Battle of Britain, two of the younger high-achiever commanders were asked to attend a front line General Officer briefing on Luftwaffe tactics for Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring. They were Adolf "Dolfo" Galland, Geschwaderkommodore of JG 26, and Geschwaderkommodore Werner Mölders of JG 51. The Reichsmarschall was dissatisfied with the progress of the battle and asked his commanders what the pilots needed to win the fight.

Werner Mölders replied "I would like the Bf 109 to be fitted with more powerful engines."

Galland replied: "I should like an outfit of Spitfires for my squadron."

Hermann Göring was speechless with rage at Galland's answer. It was a comment he would not forgive or forget.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hauksbee, I have hardly any knowledge there, but I know that Galland had complained about the bad

rearward vision in the Bf109. He then designed a different canopy, the "Erla-Haube" or "Galland-hood".

It had less vertical struts, and the horizontal one was bent downwards towards the rear.

The concept also replaced the tank-steel plate behind the pilot's head by a thick bulletproof glas plate.

 

Not sure, but this photo seems to tell, that the later G-types had also slightly more room?

 

ErlaHaube.jpg

 

The Reichsmarschall was dissatisfied with the progress of the battle and asked his commanders what the pilots needed to win the fight.

 

Werner Mölders replied "I would like the Bf 109 to be fitted with more powerful engines."

Galland replied: "I should like an outfit of Spitfires for my squadron."

Hermann Göring was speechless with rage at Galland's answer. It was a comment he would not forgive or forget.

 

The DB 605 engine had fuel injection, and the Bf109 could climb almost vertically, or even fly headover.

With that climb the engine should have been strong enough IMHO.

I guess what impressed Mölders as well as Galland was the turn-ability of the Spitfire.

Edited by Olham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember a text and a documentary with several pilots, both saying that the ME109 did not turn worse than the Spitfire, of course i did not find it again *ahem*. One also stated the ME had some serious advantages because of its 'Schlitzfluegel' in tight turns, preventing stalls. Also a sudden push of the stick, or flying canopy-down did not have an effect on the engine of the ME, while the Spit's engine without fuel injection would have sputtered, making the plane lost energy qickly.

The anger of Galland vs. Goering is legendary, he would have said all (and he indeed did) to provoke him. Of course he was in the position to dare that without having to fear too much..

 

Will post the article if i find it in the 'net.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure, but this photo seems to tell, that the later G-types had also slightly more room?

Agreed. It seems we can see some air between the pilot's shoulders and the fuselage.

Capture.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have read that one great benefit of the Me 109 cockpit was it's seat arrangement. Willy M designed the seat deliberately low, so that a pilots legs were stretched out in front of him, rather than the 'chair' style favoured by British and American (and Focke Wulf) designers. The advantage of such a layout was that it allowed the Messerschmitt pilot to pull higher 'G's than his opponents, before the onset of black out.


 


Eric 'Winkle' Brown had some harsh things to say of the 109 cockpit layout - in terms of size and ability to twist and turn to look over the shoulder. But he was highly complimentary of the seat/leg arrangement; saying it was superior to any Allied fighter he flew.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont think that the size of the cockpit actually changed guys...(the size of men inside varies)

 

It's just an impression because of the more rounded and un-caged canopy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is interesting to read what Captain (RN) Eric 'Winkle' Brown had to say about the Me109 vs. the Spitfire.  Remember he is a small person - he had to fly the Fw190 with a custom-made cushion.  He found the Me to be claustrophobic and wondered what a large pilot would make of it.  The major disadvantage of the Me (all marks) was the automatic slats that tended to deploy in turns causing what he calls 'aileron snatching' and ruining its ability as a gun platform.  

Don't take my word for it - read "Wings of the Luftwaffe" if you can get hold of it.  I got my copy from the US Amazon.  Published there by Airlife. 

 

Sorry, just noticed that 'pips' has obviously also read that book! 

Edited by JimAttrill
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..