Evidence that Germany's Luftwaffe is attempting to catch up with the United Nations in the field of power-operated gun turrets is given in reports on the Messerschmitt Me-210A-1, long range fighter-bomber.
Developed from the Me-110, the new craft carries a crew of two, a pilot-bombardier and a radio operator-rear gunner, and it is designed for use as a long-range fighter, dive bomber or ground attack craft. Defensive armor plating with a total weight of approximately 900 lb is provided for both crew and vital parts of the plane. Armament consists of two 20-mm Mauser cannon and two 7.9-mm machine guns, fixed in the nose, and two 13-mm machine guns firing to the rear in remote-controlled "blisters".
This latter installation is perhaps the most interesting on the plane. The rear gunner, facing backwards, is seated just behind the pilot under the same cockpit cover, above and ahead of the guns. Aiming through reflector sights, he controls the guns through a pistol-like control grip.
Both guns are mounted in streamlined blisters in the end of a drum which runs through the fuselage just aft of the trailing edge of the wing. Movement of the pistol-grip engages friction bands with either of two small drums revolving in opposite directions from power delivered by a 1½-hp electric motor to elevate or depress the guns. Movement of the small drums is transmitted through a pinion engaging a gear which surrounds the gun drum.
A maximum swing of 70° can be accomplished; 35° above horizontal and 35° below. Lateral movement of the guns is given by a similar friction band unit, except that in this case a gear surrounding the drum is attached to a gear which, in turn, drives a pinion to impart the motion. The guns can be synchronized but 2° off center, but they can be swung independently, however, to a maximum of 35° toward the side.
As is the case in the Me-110, the fixed machine guns and cannon mounted in the nose are equipped with flash tubes, which aid in cooling.
A new "wrinkle" in dive brakes for both upper and lower wing surfaces has been developed on this new Messerschmitt product. Mounted just behind the single spar, the brakes consist of hydraulically operated parallel perforated L-shaped aluminum alloy slats, the brake for the top surface having three such slats, the lower, four. In retracted position, the brakes fit flush with the wing surfaces to eliminate drag for normal flight.
The 210A-1 is equipped with two Mercedes-Benz DB601F-1 engines. These appear to differ from the DB601E used in the Me-109F fighter only through addition of special ducts which direct a stream of cool air to the spark plug wells and exhaust stacks, the latter probably being an attempt at flame damping.
The plane follows conventional construction practice, the wings having metal spar, ribs and flush-riveted metal covering, and fabric-covered ailerons. Fin and stabilizer are both metal, but rudder and elevators are fabric covered.
|Specifications and Performance Data|
|Gross weight, approx||21,800 lb|
|Bomb load (max)||2,200 lb|
|Fuel capacity||550 gal|
|Maximum speed (est)||285 mph|
|Engines||Two Mercedes-Benz DB-601F-1|
|Armament||Two 7.9-mm machine guns and|
two 20-mm Mauser cannon, fixed in nose;
two 12-mm machine guns in remote-controlled blisters
This article was originally printed in the April, 1943, issue of Aviation magazine, vol 42, no 4, pp 235, 237.
The original article includes an in-flight photo of the plane and a drawing showing the remote-controlled guns.
Photo credited to British Combine.