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[wiki:contest] Messerschmitt BF-109 K4

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Hello, this is the Combat Training for the last mass produced plane of the venerable Messerschmitt BF-109 series, the powerful BF-109 K4. 

The BF-109K4 currently sits at a battle rating of 5.7 and at Tier 4. Making it fairly balanced against its opposition.

First let's see some historical information on this aircraft, 

"The Bf 109K was the last of the series to see operational duty and the last in the Bf 109 evolutionary line. The K series was a response to the bewildering array of series, models, modification kits and factory conversions for the Bf 109, which made production and maintenance complicated and costly – something Germany could ill-afford late in the war. The RLM ordered Messerschmitt to rationalise production of the Bf 109, consolidating parts, types, and so on, to produce a uniform, standard model with better interchangeability of parts and equipment. At the same time, the existing flaws of the design were to be remedied. Work on the new version began in the spring of 1943, and the prototype was ready by the autumn of that year. Series production started in August 1944 with the K-4 model, due to changes in the design and delays with the new DB 605D powerplant. The K-4 was the only version to be mass-produced

Armament of the K-4 consisted of a 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 engine-mounted cannon (Motorkanone) with 65 rounds, and two 13 mm (.51 in) MG 131s in the nose with 300 rpg

Using MW 50 and maximum boost the Bf 109 K-4 was the fastest 109 of World War II, reaching a maximum speed of 710 km/h (440 mph) at 7,500 m (24,610 ft) altitude. Without MW 50 and using 1.80 ata the K-4 reached 670 km/h (416 mph) at 9,000 m (26,528 ft)."

The BF-109 K4 represented in War Thunder is the fastest variant, with the MW50 injection, C3 fuel and engine running at 1.98 ATA. 

Now what does that translate to in War Thunder and the general battles you'll be fighting in? 

Well, with 2000PS power coming from that DB605 engine and the comparatively light weight airframe clocking in at 3,400KG it has excellent weight-to-power ratio. This excellent weight-to-power ratio is the defining characteristic of the BF-109K4. Which leads to: 

  • Very good acceleration, the BF-109K4 out-accelerates almost every single propeller fighter in the game apart from a few like the Spitfire MK. 22/24 or the Hawker Tempest II
  • The acceleration in turn translates to very good climbrate. Ingame, at SL this means with 30 minutes worth of fuel you'll be climbing at 27m/s. With full fuel, this means a climbrate of 25m/s 
  • Very good energy retention. For example, you in your BF-109K4 have a 1km altitude advantage on a P-51. The P-51 has a remarkably lower energy retention compared to the K4. Which means, you can dive after the P-51, make an attack which either forces him to evade, or try to get his guns on you, but with the K4s energy retention by the end of your post-attack climb, the P-51 will stall out or run out of speed (energy) and you'll have a much easier time killing him on the next pass 

Now that we learned that the BF-109K4 has excellent energy fighting capabilities, what else can it do? 

Well, it's very fast. Around 605-610 KPH at sea level with radiators fully closed and 85% propeller pitch. At an altitude of 6km, it reaches 710. Very respectable speeds indeed. This speed allows you to outrun and chase most chasers. A few like the F8F-1B, Tempest V, Tempest II, La9 and Spitfires 22 and 24 will outrun you though. But with a fair helping of altitude you can catch upto everything. 

Now let's come to its agility and maneuverability.

Well, contrary to what many people believe, the 109K4 is an excellent dogfighter. It has above average turning that lets it keep up with Tempests and La9s, out turn the P-51 and F7F but Yaks, early Lavochkins and Spitfires will outturn it easily. The sweet spot for turnfighting in the BF-109 K4 is at 350-400 KPH.

But, it's not the turning that makes the BF-109K4 a fearsome dogfighter, it's its excellent energy retention that makes it so fearsome. At close range dogfighting, provided you have an energy advantage, you can pull a "high yo yo" maneuver to cut inside and setup for another attack if it fails. Coupled with the slow velocity MK108 cannons you have, it helps to shoot from close range before breaking off. 

f0337-04.gif

This is a high yo yo. Basically you pull up while your foe is turning, then roll to his side and dive down behind him. 

But keep in mind even with its dogfight ability many other planes will outfly it. So unless you have caught an enemy with very low energy, play it safe and dive from safe altitude make a pass and get up again to prepare for another pass. 


Now let us discuss its armament.

The BF-109K4 is armed with 2 MG-131 13mm machine guns on top of the engine cowling with 600 rounds in total and one MK108 cannon with 65 shells firing through the engine. Because the guns are all center mounted you can get most of your shots on the target with careful aiming. 

The MK108 is a very powerful cannon, but the shells are low velocity. Meaning you need to aim well and slightly above the enemy to score hits. If you hit any enemy a couple of times, chances are he will be destroyed outright or crippled. 

The MG131s are very inconsistent though. They are usually not very powerful and require many hits to cripple something. These are only backup guns really, you want to build your aiming with the Mk108 to be successful with K4 gunnery. 

It has only one additional equipment option, which are MG-151 20mm gunpods under the wings. They are excellent for bomber hunting but makes the K4 very sluggish and un-advisable if you expect more fighters than bombers. 

Now let us discuss the limitations of the aircraft. 

The plane has quite a few limitations that need to be overcome to be truly successful flying it. First of all the plane handles very poorly at high speeds. Above 600 KPH the plane's aileron and elevator authority starts to suffer and your pilot will black out if you try to turn or pull up too hard at that speed. 

The plane also has a low maximum permissible dive speed at 790 KPH and thus it gets outdived by many aircraft. You can sometimes push it to 800-805 but it's very dangerous and shouldn't be done for more than 3-5 seconds. 

Another limitation is its low ammunition count. You really need to count your shots, as you only get 65 cannon shells and 600 MG rounds. 

Now on to tactics and general strategy

 

  • Always stick with friendlies. The BF-109K4 is an excellent aircraft when flown in pairs or triples. Fly with a squad for even more effectiveness!
  • Climb at the start of the match. Right after takeoff hit 320-340 and start climbing at 18-20 degrees. Optimal climbspeed is 260KPH
  • headons are a double edged sword. Your nose mounted weaponry allows to pull them off easily but your inline engine means if you get shot there's a high chance coolant leak or outright engine failure may occur
  • Always try to energy fight someone. Make passes and climb back up again. Bleed their energy. Also make sure the one you are diving on doesn't have any friends nearby first. 
  • Shoot a bit higher when using MK108
  • because the MK108 shells are slow projectiles, make sure to lead properly. Leading is a very vital skill you'll want to develop, as it takes lots of practice to develop the intuition. 
  • against bombers aim for the wings and come from above at a perpendicular angle
  • at least maintain an IAS of 350-400 when fighting at close ranges 
  • when doing hammerheads, use landing flaps at the end of the loop to regain control faster. Don't forget to raise them when initiating the following dive!
    hammerhead-stallturn.jpg
  • when running away or chasing someone down, use manual engine control to close radiators. Use 85% prop pitch after you hit 550-560 KPH. 
  • if an enemy gets on your tail try to do barrel rolls 
    barrellroll_9235.jpg

 

 

SB specific traits of the BF-109K4: 
 

  • The 109K4 has all three trim control(aileron, rudder, elevator), it helps a lot in cruising because the K4 has higher torque compared to early 109s.
  • Throttle up gently on takeoff to 50% and after 130-140kph increase throttle till takeoff, and use rudder on the right if you start to veer off.
  • The 109K4, like the G6, G10 and G14 preceding it, have useful rearwards visibility, thanks to the Erla Haube canopy, but unlike the FW-190 or the P-51 it doesn't have any visibility at direct 6'o clock rear. So people can surprise you from slightly below you. When flying straight do some slow rolls to keep track of people trying to attack from below!
    [spoiler]bVMq3GK.jpg[/spoiler]
  • It does have poor forward visibility though, a few sections can block an enemy in maneuvers if you are not attentive enough!
    [spoiler]0YDWS9C.jpg[/spoiler]
  • The cockpit layout is where the K4 is much different than the earlier Gustavs and Friedrichs. It has blind flying instruments like the Variometer and Artificial horizon that earlier models lacked. Also be careful, the plane DOES NOT have ammo counter for the MK108 Motorkanone and MG151/20 gondolas if you equip them.
    [spoiler]YTZICU5.jpg[/spoiler]
  • The BF-109K4 safe operating temps for the oil and coolant are:

    OIL: Yellow temperatures start at 105c, RED starts at 110c                                                                                               
    Coolant: Yellow temperatures start at 111c, RED starts at 116c 


    The temperatures as they appear in cockpit (yellow means temperatures are approaching dangerous levels, red means they are at dangerous levels now and persistent temperatures that high will destroy the engine after a while so lower throttle a bit and open the radiators to cool down)mmJyzNW.jpg
  • The BF-109K4 is surprisingly resistant to hard maneuvers before stalling. But do be careful when turning/maneuvering at speeds below 300. 
  • The MK108s have very low recoil, but the MG131s have some recoil, take care when shooting!

 

 

Summary: 

 

Pros: 

  • very high acceleration and speed
  • EXCELLENT climbrate, only the Spitfire LF. IX and Spitfire MK.22 climbs slightly faster
  • excellent high and medium altitude performance. 
  • excellent energy retention
  • good concentrated firepower 
  • can work as a dedicated anti-bomber 
  • very deadly in groups

Cons: 

  • agility is not very good, but workable against some aircraft like P-51
  • low dive speed limit
  • bad control authority at high speed 
  • low ammunition count 
  • plane has below par performance without modules
  • inline water cooled engine dies easily from bombers gunners and from headons

 

sources for images:

  1.  http://www.aircraftrecognition.co.uk/barrel_roll.html
  2.  http://www.rctoys.com/pr/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/hammerhead-stallturn.jpg

                               

Additional information on the BF-109K4:

  1.  http://forum.warthunder.com/index.php?/topic/100367-data-sheet-bf-109-k-4/
  2.  http://kurfurst.org/Performance_tests/109K_PBLeistungen/files/5026-19_DCSonder_MW_steig.jpg
  3.  http://kurfurst.org/Performance_tests/109K_PBLeistungen/files/5026-18_DCSonder_MW_geschw.jpg
  4.  http://kurfurst.org/Engine/DB60x/datasheets/DB605DC_limits_dec44Motorenkarte.jpg

                                                                     

source for the historical information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messerschmitt_Bf_109_variants

Edited by Messere4evrMUTE
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Best guide so far.

For MG131 it's best to load Stealth belt, at least there is huge chance to set things on fire if you hit fuel tanks.
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I still don't see much difference between any of the belts on the MG131 :( Sometimes I cut off a wing instantly. Sometimes entire ammunition is expended to not even crit anything :(


MG131's are broken for ages (Air Targets belts which should work the best, is the weakest one,(13 mm HEI-t with 1.4 grams PETN vs 2.8 gram of HE filling on 20mm Shvak)). Most funny thing is that a single Berezin UB 12.7mm on Yak-9T or K can cut wing with few hits, but Gaijin is too busy with adding new decals or some other GE content to fix this.
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I like your guide, but isn't there a 400 word limit?


It was typo, 400 words is minimal amount of words.
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Was writing a guide, saw this and gave up. I know how to fly the Banshee, its very simple, all you do is go up, down and don't turn. I don't have the time or the energy to write a guide that can compete with this. 

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I bet this is going to be first place. Excellent guide, especially since I am working down the Bf. 109 line!

 

I wrote mine exactly to specifications according to the Wiki team, but if this is what they are looking for then I'm probably toast.   :facepalm:

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1km advantage is A LOT in simulator battles for fighter versus fighter in my honest opinion.
Also, is it not Gaijin's fault for not having the mk 108/mk103s "vertical targetting" calculations not met? (e.g. I use 300 meters, but they fall short of the enemy by 200 meters anyway)
I have a feeling all the vertical targetting does is shift the crosshair down.

Also all I hear about the K-4 from simulator players is that its engine power is not enough without the WEP and the WEP just burns out the engine.
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1km advantage is A LOT in simulator battles for fighter versus fighter in my honest opinion.
Also, is it not Gaijin's fault for not having the mk 108/mk103s "vertical targetting" calculations not met? (e.g. I use 300 meters, but they fall short of the enemy by 200 meters anyway)
I have a feeling all the vertical targetting does is shift the crosshair down.

Also all I hear about the K-4 from simulator players is that its engine power is not enough without the WEP and the WEP just burns out the engine.

If you get Sicily or Malta your engines overheat really quick. After you get to alt, 80%-90% throttle cruise should be enough. 

On cold maps the WEP takes a good while to burn the engine up. Hence I gave the images for engine temp locations SB, to check on it if you are playing ASB (GF). Instantly put 80% throttle whenever you reach red temps and wait till you get upto early yellow or white temperatures. 

And ya 1km alt advantage is a lot in SB. And you need all the advantage you can get because of the poor rear visibility and low ammo count on the cannon.

Edit: at 2.3 BR the Ki-45 KO is a like a A6M2 with two engines and faster speed  :kamikadze:

Edited by Messere4evrMUTE
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If you get Sicily or Malta your engines overheat really quick. After you get to alt, 80%-90% throttle cruise should be enough. 

On cold maps the WEP takes a good while to burn the engine up. Hence I gave the images for engine temp locations SB, to check on it if you are playing ASB (GF). Instantly put 80% throttle whenever you reach red temps and wait till you get upto early yellow or white temperatures. 

And ya 1km alt advantage is a lot in SB. And you need all the advantage you can get because of the poor rear visibility and low ammo count on the cannon.

Edit: at 2.3 BR the Ki-45 KO is a like a A6M2 with two engines and faster speed  :kamikadze:

1. Like I ever get Sicily or Malta often... I don't even remember the last time I played on malta. Mind you, those are my favourite maps.
2. Or you can shut off your engine and abuse WT's simple-calculated thermodynamics and lack of engine seizure effects from shock cooling...
3. Bf 109s doon't really have bad rear visibility when comparing to a bad rear visbility plane that is supposed to have better rear visbility than the 109, like the corsair. You can always well, y'know, stick your head outside the window.
4. Not quite like an A6M2. It used to be better too, before they nerfed the japanese guns more than a year ago (hence my signature). Used to be my favourite plane too, not that I actually played or did well in it. It can outturn a spitfire mk IIb and Vb/Vc in a sustained turnfight, and rolls decently well, and has decent speed. In a way it's an all-rounder like the Ki-43, just less dramatically overpowered.
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EXCELLENT climbrate, only the Spitfire LF. IX and Spitfire MK.22 climbs slightly faster

 

Even thought it's not in its BR bracket, the MC.202 has a better climb rate. Not by far, but sufficient to make it the best climber of all German/Italian props.

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