Only known photograph of the Me-109 E-4/dd taken in December 1940 just prior to its second and fatal flight


Brief history of the Messerschmitt Me-109E-4/dd

Near the end of 1940 the lack of range of the Me-109 became a problem for the German Luftwaffe in its campaign against the RAF. Combat time over the English mainland was very limited and this reduced the effectiveness of the fighter squadrons of the Luftwaffe. 

The use of drop tanks brought some improvement but this was not enough. A radical idea to extent the range of the 109 was the fitting of a second wing which served as a fuel tank for the flight over the Channel. Once the fighter arrived over England the second wing was jettisoned and the mission was executed as normal. In theory this would extend the combat time over England from 15 minutes to 45.

To test the idea a standard E-4 airframe was modified to take a second wing. The additional wing was made up of two 109 E wings joined by a new center section. The bottom of the new wing was reskinned to cover the undercarriage openings and the radiators. The upper wing was attached to the lower wing by for struts at about 2/3 span. These struts were joined to the lower wing using explosive bolts so the upper wing and the struts could easily be jettisoned. 
The upper wing was in fact one big fuel tank providing its own lift on take-off.  

Flight trials of the Me-109 E-4/dd started in November 1940. The first flight showed that the attachment of the upper wing lacked rigidity and was in danger of collapsing. After further strengthening the struts a second flight was made in December 1940. During the first turn the right struts collapsed and the aircraft crashed killing its pilot.

As the Battle of Britain had ended by this time the need for a long range Me-109 had diminished and no further trials were made. 


The model

This 1/72 model was produced using two Matchbox Me-109 E-4 kits. One kit only donated the two wings which were joined together with scratch built center section. This center section was dimensioned so that the upper wing has a slightly bigger span than the lower one.


Last updated: 14/03/2009