> William Green did not say the 109T, at least the production model, had
> folding wings. In my opinion, Green, who did fantastic work gets too much
> blame (for the quantity and quality of his work his errors are few and far
> between0 and far too little credit.
William Green has made many errors, as is inevitable when one publishes
such a vast amount regarding minute details of relatively recent
history. Inevitably with the passage of time new resources come to the
fore, calling into question old assumptions and possibly spurious data.
I have yet to throw away a single reference written by him, which in my
own library are too numerous to count.
>Here is what he does say about the 109T
> in Warplanes of the Third Reich (p-549-550) I had added my comments between
> [ ]:
> "Messerschmidts proposals for a shipboard fighter....adaptation of
> the Bf 109E-1[Db 601A]. A break point [in the proposal] was incorporated
> in the wing spar immediately outboard of the gun bays to permit manual
> folding of the outer panels, reducing overall width to 13' 4 " (this is far
> smaller than what would have been required for an a/c elevator even for two
> a/c), although this was complicated by the need to detach the flaps prior to
> folding. ..... the entire project was transferred to Fieseler for detail
> design and for the conversion of 10 E-1 airframes already on the production
> line as preproduction BF-109 T-0. Simultaneously, Fieseler obtained a
> contract for 60 Bf 109T-1's.
Marshall asserts that there were no T-0s at all.
> .....after trials at the Eprobugsstelle at Travemunde during the
> winter of 1939-40 it had been intended that the Bf-109T-O's should be passed
> on to II/JG186...However work on the Graf Zepplein had been largely
> suspended in October 1939....II/JG 186 had meanwhile operated as the third
> gruppe of JG77 with Bf-109 E-1's [not the T-O's] in France and the Low
> Countries and in June 1940 was transferred to Trondheim in
> Norway....redesignated III/JG 77.
> Assembly of the 60 Bf109T-1 shipboard fighter had been halted
> simultaneously with the decision to stop further work on the Graf Zeppelin
> [Oct 1939?]... however, rekindled interest...Fiesler Werke was instructed to
> complete the 60 Bf-109T-1's but to remove what carrier equipment that had
> already been fitted, and deliver the aircraft as land based fighter-bombers
> suitable for operations on short strips.....
Marshall writes that some aircraft were completed as T-1s (no wing
folding) and most or all converted to T-2 standard. However, there was
an intent to convert back to T-1 standard if/when the a/c were to be
deployed aboard the GZ. Also, at least one T-2 was converted to T-1
standard for tests. Further, it appears at least one T-1 survived the
war in damaged condition, being examined by Eric Brown. It retained the
arrestor hook, if not other navalised equipment. Or so says Marshall.
> ...the fighter was redesignated Bf109T-2 and began to leave the
> assembly line in the early spring of 1941...comparable in performance to the
> E/4 [the T-2's were powered by Db 601n's].
> ...Stripped of catapult points and arrester hook [no mention is
> made of the wing folding ]...fitted with a ventral rack...."
> To me this says that at the 10 preproduction T-O's might have had the
> folding wing, although the method of wing folding would appear to be for
> storage on the GZ not to fit the elevators. I believe the Graf Zepplin's
> design was more of a commerce raider (even us theory prior to WWII was that
> carriers were to be cheifly commerce raiders) and would have to maximize the
> number of a/c it carried. However, these T-O's presumably, being E-1's were
> not even delivered to the Luftwaffe and may never have been built as they
> apparently were a simultaneous contract with the T-1's and would have been
> cancelled at the same time. If anything Green can only be interpreted as
> saying that since the catapult points and arrester hook were removed and
> that Fiesler was ordered to remove all carrier equipment that had been
> fitted, it is not unresonable to assume that the wing fold mechanism had not
> even been fitted on the T-2's but even if it had, it was removed by Fiesler.
I agree that the T-2 did not have wing-folding. At this point, the
controversy seems to center on the T-1.
> The T-1 was never produced according to Green and I am doubtful as to
> the T-0 [?]. All this leaves is the T-2 with the extended wing....and no
> folding mechanism. I think there are no photos because the folding wing was
> a design proposal that never got produced. Green does not even illustrate
> the T-O. He illustrates the T-1 to show the differences in the T-1 and the
> T-2. In his illustration he shows the break point on the T-1 wing, that is,
> in my opinion, the proposed break point in the T-1 wing.
> In my opinion there should be no break point shown in models of the
> T-2, the only model to see service.
> Any flak as to an historian insisting that the 109T was produced with
> folding wings should be placed at someone else's doorstep, not Green's (at
> least not in Warplanes of the Third Riech).
> However, the Ju-87C-O with manually folding outer wing panels (wing
> fold break not illustrated) was according to Green actually produced in a
> small batch...just a few...that participated in the Polish campaign. If a
> photo of the 88 millimeter recoiless gun experiment survives, perhaps the
> wing fold mechanism might be seen as a preproduction C-O was used in that
> experiment. However, torpedo launching equipment was not placed on the C-O,
> that was intended for the C-1 which, like the 109T-1, was cancelled.
> JU87 in Action, patge 36, has one page on the Ju-87C, it says that 10
> C-O's were produced in the summer of 39 and a few Ju-87C-1's were produced
> (in early 1940?) addition to the C-0's. A drawing and a possibly retouched
> photo shows how the wings were folded and the wing break. According to
> Green, the C-1's mechanism was mechanical. If a few C-1's were produced I
> guess they would have been able to launch a torpedo. What is cool about the
> Ju-87's of III/Stukageswader 1 is the use of the anchor and helmet unit
> shield that was intended for use on the GZ.
> Now a C-1 (or a C-O) might make a nice model of what was...a folding
> wing 109T is only what might have been.....according to Green.
> Al Sumrall
In "Warplanes of the Third Reich", comparing the line drawings for the
Bf 109E-3 and T-1, the panel lines depicted in the latter's top wing
surface do not look much different than the E-3 wing, so I don't find
the notion that this indicates a wing fold compelling. In any event,
without knowing the provenance of the T-1 drawing, it is difficult to
rely on it.
Inasmuch as there appear to have been at least some T-1 airframes, the
absence of pictures with the wing folded continues to sustain my
suspicion that no variant of the T ever had folding wings. It is of
course difficult to prove a negative.