The Messerschmitt Bf109G-10
By V. Kermorgant (profiles by G.
Elegoët), March 2002
In the Reich Luft Ministerium ( RLM) vision, the G6 was designed to be the last version of the Gustav to be ever produced. Consequently, as early as 1943, Messerschmitt started working on an improved 109, the K. The K was essentially a refined G6 with emphasis on improving the aerodynamics, flight controls and cockpit ergonomics. There was no engine limitation and as with the G, a wide selection of versions powered with the DB605A & D families were forecast.
Implementation differed from design, however, and in the spring 1944, the G6 was still the only 109 mass produced. It had evolved a bit from the first G6 produced, having seen the following changes :
Most of these above became standard as production continued.
Because of these delays and other new high performance fighters entering mass production (Ta152, Fw190D, Me262), the conversion of all existing factory lines to the K production was meaningless. Having developed the type for some time, Messerschmitt was however allowed to switch from the G6 to the K4 as soon as possible.
Sometime during June 44, a new interim version of the G was planned. It was supposed to incorporate the latest equipments found on the G6 and K4 (Erla Haube, tall tail, tall tail wheel, Fug 16ZY & MW-50) and to be powered by the same DB605D. The version number was the first available for unpressurized planes : G10.
The aim of this new version was to provide a K4-level fighter without retooling existing production lines and to use up the massive stock of G6 components. The plan was to have the 2 licensed factories (Erla and WNF) switch to the G10. However, the lack of DB605D prevented the G10 and the K4 from becoming a reality for months to come.
Externally, the G10 airframe was identical to the G6-MW50 . It had the Erla canopy, the tall tail wheel, the extra hatch on the right side to refill the MW50, the Morane antenna and the “battery box” behind the head armor. However, because factories switched to the G10 production at different times, big differences existed.
Erla-manufactured G10s are the most misidentified ones, and have been often referred as G10/AS in the past. Firstly, they did not use the fuselage “moon” fairing on the left side as with the previous AS version. Instead, they used a square panel totally integrated in the fuselage. They also used different cowls, covering the nose without the chin bulges found on the K4. The oil cooler was also different, larger and slimmer than the K4 model. It was most probably designed for the H version as well.
The Erla solution for covering the DB605D on the G10 was overall the most elegant one and naturally begs one question : Why were they the only factory doing so, especially when Messerschmitt itself was using “moons and bulges” on the brand new K4? We may never know for sure. However, the planned 109 H was designed to use covers strangely similar to the one used by Erla on the G10. A very possible explanation is that the items and tooling pre-produced for the H version were redirected to the Erla production at the time of the G10 introduction.
Since Erla started the G10 production quite early, the first a/c still used G6 wings with “small” wheels and the Erla canopy with antenna mast. Later, Erla used the same new wing with larger wheels as the other manufacturers.
490130 – 490399 : G10 (Sept –Oct 44)
490400 – 490799 : G10R6 (Oct – Nov 44)
491100 – 491500 : G10R6 (Dec 44 – Jan 45)
layout of the Erla made G10s :
layout of the Erla made G10s :
The WNF-manufactured G10 are the only ones which survive to this day. Heavily based on the G6 MW50, they used the fuselage "moons" on both sides and the cowl sets from the K4 model. As their production started at a much later date than Erla, all WNF G10s seem to have used the larger wheels and the new wing.
The first WNF produced G10 were not new a/c. Instead, WNF converted new G14/U4 to the G10 standard by replacing the DB605AM with the DB605D. These planes can be recognized by the presence of 2 manufacturer data plates on the left forward fuselage.
610300 – 611099 : G10/U4 (Dec 44 – Jan 45)
611900 – 612010 : G10/U4 (Jan 45)
612700 – 613199 : G10/U4 (Jan 45-February 45)
770100 – 770399 : G10/R2 (Jan 45- March 45)
770900 – 771199 : G10/R2 (March 45)
of the WNF made G10s :