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Bf 109 'Friedrich' Variants


fishplanebeer
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Dear All,

 

As part of my current thread regarding the wheel wells on the F2 and F4 variants I've discovered a bit of a puzzle  which hopefully some Bf 109 experts out there can help clarify for me please.

 

I received a highly informative and detailed reply to my thread on the wheel well shapes which confirmed that there was never an F-2/Trop version, and so presumably never an F-2z/Trop either, which I found surprising as all the written and on-line references I have refer to such a beast, albeit the Trop modification being carried out in the field. So can anyone confirm whether the F-2/Trop was an official designation/specification for this aircraft or is it just a designation that has arisen over time by historians and/or modellers to cover off those F-2's which were retro-fitted with the dust filter?

 

Apologies if this subject has been covered previously.

 

Regards

Colin.

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I think the Trop versions also carried a desert survival kit, which in the case of the F-4 I think included a rifle as well, but other than that I'm not aware of what else was added or modified to convert to Trop specification.

 

Regards

Colin. 

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AFAIK there were no F-2/Trop or F-2z ever built. 

 

Individual examples of F-2 were occasionally fitted with a dust filter (e.g. WNr 5445 which had been modified for photoreconnaissance) but no official Trop version existed of the F-2.

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8 minutes ago, fishplanebeer said:

I think the Trop versions also carried a desert survival kit, which in the case of the F-4 I think included a rifle as well, but other than that I'm not aware of what else was added or modified to convert to Trop specification.

 

Regards

Colin. 

 

Trop versions were built as such in the factory. The tropicalisation kit included at least some of the following:

 

- a sun shield or umbrella

- (sometimes) larger oil radiators

- a Kar 98k carbine and survival equipment stowed in the rear fuselage

- white-walled tyres

- various dust covers

- the supercharger dust filter

 

The latter could - and sometimes was - also installed as a field modification, but by itself it was not sufficient to make an aircraft tropicalised according to the LW standard

 

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A key point about the dust filter is that it would not fit the supercharger air intake as built on the F-2 and early F-4's.  

 

Concerning the larger (deeper) oil rad,  the one under the chin is associated with the GM 1 installation.  This provided a brief boost of power of @ 20km/h when above 6000m.  Many would also be equipped with VDM 9-12087A propeller, characterized by having wider blades.   Aircraft in this configuration where labeled with the suffix Z, so 109 F-4/Z.   If tropical, it would be F-4z/trop.

 

regards,

Jack

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Many thanks for the replies which have helped clarify the F-2 but I'm still surprised that reference to an F-2/Trop and F-2z/Trop can be found in so many publications I always thought were reliable.

 

These include the Squadron Signal paperback on late mark Bf109's, the Harleyford Press book from the 1960's, The Augsburg Eagle by William Green and the Janes book on the Bf109 by Robert Grinsell. One can only presume that they were using the same unreliable source(s) which only serves to confuse and add emphasis to the fact that just because it is published doesn't necessarily mean it's accurate.

 

Regards

Colin.

 

 

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Still begs the question about where these publications sourced their information as it would have been the same information then as it is now in terms of Luftwaffe unit records and factory production figures etc. so the passage of time would not affect.

 

I also have pics of F4z/Trops that are definitely in Libya (Sanyet and Castel Benito) between February and September 1942 so the plot thickens.

 

Regards

Colin.

 

 

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It could be in the past the particular modifications of the Frederich were 'pigeon holed' into certain types, without taking other circumstances into consideration.  Member G.R.Morrison  brought up a good point  about the exterior armoured glass, a detail introduced with the F-4.   In the desert these were often removed as it trapped dust.  So an observer of a photo would wrongly think - aha, no armoured glass, so must be an F-2.

 

 

As for the GM-1 boost,  there doesn't appear to be any leaving the factory in trop form, going by the werk nummer list found here:

https://me109.info/

It does beg the question if the boost was available in kit form, and could the modification be performed in the field on an F-4 Trop?  Another route would be to take the F-4/Z and apply a tropical kit to that frame?

 

 

 

 

regards,

Jack

Edited by JackG
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21 minutes ago, fishplanebeer said:

Still begs the question about where these publications sourced their information as it would have been the same information then as it is now in terms of Luftwaffe unit records and factory production figures etc. so the passage of time would not affect.

 

I also have pics of F4z/Trops that are definitely in Libya (Sanyet and Castel Benito) between February and September 1942 so the plot thickens.

 

Regards

Colin.

 

 

 

 

A lot of "info" in aviation history is sometimes just educated guessing. This is especially true when it comes to the Luftwaffe, since the Germans themselves destroyed a lot of their records. Most old books were written on hearsay and before the advent of the World Wide Web precise information was difficult and expensive to obtain, involving hours and hours of research in archives with little contact and sharing between researchers. Now, of course, we have the opposite problem with too much, often imprecise information available to all, and it can be difficult to know who to believe. But all in all we know more in 2020 than we did in 1960, because it is easier to access, discuss, compare and share information online.

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41 minutes ago, fishplanebeer said:

Still begs the question about where these publications sourced their information as it would have been the same information then as it is now in terms of Luftwaffe unit records and factory production figures etc. so the passage of time would not affect.

 

Sorry I can't really add to the discussion as such, but even after 70 years or more, new information and new pics are still emerging.  So it quite possibly is not the 'same' info..

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12 minutes ago, JackG said:

(...)

It does beg the question if the boost was available in kit form, and could the modification be performed in the field on an F-4 Trop?  Another route would be to take the F-4/Z and apply a tropical kit to that frame?

 

 

 

 

It would have been far easier to mount dust protections and filters on an F-4/Z, adding the GM-1 system with its tank and piping was a factory job

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Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to join this thread as I'm now somewhat wiser but still a little confused it has to be said, so even after almost 80 years the Luftwaffe still has its secrets.

 

As a final note regarding the ease with which it is now possible to locate and exchange data compared with when many of my books on the subject were written, which is certainly true, Wikipedia also confirms the F2/Trop and F2z/Trop as sub variants. But then again I don't want to start another thread on the accuracy and validity of information from this particular source!

 

Thanks again

Colin.

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spacer.png

 

Even model manufacturers are confused...

 

The Z modification allowed a brief increase in performance only at higher altitudes and required the GM-1 fuel.  However, the air war in North Africa was fought at medium to low altitudes so Z modified machines would be of limited value.  Additionally the GM-1 additive would be an additional logistical burden on a vulnerable supply system.  

 

The kit that ICM identifies as a Bf 109Z-4/Trop is really a F-4 Trop, W. Nr. 10137, built by Erla GmbH.

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From some further reading on the deeper oil cooler on the chin - although it was first introduced with the F-4/Z and the fitting of the GM-1 power boost, it also became standard for tropical F-4 to use the larger size.  So that means even if the photo has a deeper chin vent, it  does not necessarily indicate it has the boost package?

 

So the werk nummer may be the only way to tell if the GM-1 is present (along with of course, any official historical documentation that indicates this).   Interestingly, Kagero quote specific serials on some of their profile illustrations that indicate, as manufactured, the GM-1 package was present in North Africa.   These are:

8580 - Homuth     3. /JG 27

8635 - Krumlauf    4./JG 27

8567 - Schroer      8./JG 27

8673 - Marseille   3./JG 27

8687 - Sinner        6./JG 27

 

Of these five, only one includes the Z suffix in the profile caption.   So one source or the other made a mistake, or what is going on here?

 

g8a3fI1.png

 

 

regards,

Jack

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