April 20, 2017

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Both the Messer schmitt Bf 109 and the Focke-Wulf FW 190 were far better fighters than anything the Russians initially produced, although it is fair to say that by the end of the war the Soviet fighters were every bit as good as the late-war versions of the Bf 109 and FW 190, but in the end there was little the Jagdwaffe could do to counter the sheer numbers of Red aircraft that he came across over the Eastern Front. The highest accolade was the award of the Knight’s Cross, or Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross) to give it the full and correct name, and 500 Experten received such recognition.

However, the new He 111 bombers entering service had priority on the supply of Daimler-Benz engines, rather than them going to the fighters, and this delayed the introduction of the latest fighter variant, the Bf 109E ‘Emil’, until early 1939 when it arrived for the final days in Spain. The Emil was the first major re-design of the Bf 109 and would become the first mass-produced variant. It quickly proved to be an excellent fighter with unmatched performance in the climb with its engine, the improved DB 601A, featuring variable-speed supercharging and the introduction of fuel-injection rather than using a carburettor.

The tactics used by the Luftwaffe in Poland had proved most successful. They were often based on either the dive and zoom tactic or high-speed slashing attacks. The idea of staying and entering combat with the opposition was resisted and the campaign also saw the decoy tactic being successfully employed. The idea was that one aircraft would fly alone and look vulnerable to the opposition but this lone aircraft was protected from above. Any attempt by the opposition to get on to the tail of the decoy was acted upon immediately by the rest of the formation who would quickly swoop on the attacker.

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