What is the difference between the designation BF 109 German fighter and ME 109? | HistoryNet MENU

What is the difference between the designation BF 109 German fighter and ME 109?

10/18/2012 • Ask Mr. History, Gear

What is the difference between the designation BF 109 German fighter and ME 109?  I always thought that the ME was for Messerschmitt, but I’m not sure of the BF.


Pine Grove, Pa

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Dear Bill,

According to my contacts at the Bundesluftwaffe, the change in designation refers to the moment in 1938 that designer Willy Messerschmitt gained a controlling share of the company he’d worked for, the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, from which “Bf” was derived. Anything in production prior to that retained the “Bf” designation, while anything entering service afterward was “Me.”  Among the planes to which that transition applied were:

Bf-108 Taifun (retained throughout the production run)

Bf-109B through D, but Me-109E through K

Bf-110A and B, but Me-110C through G




Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History


2 Responses to What is the difference between the designation BF 109 German fighter and ME 109?

  1. Rudy says:

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Jump to: navigation, search Bf 109

    Restored Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6

    Roll Fighter
    ManufactureBayerische FlugzeugwerkMesserschmitt


    Willy Messerschmitt, Robert Lusser

    First flight

    29 May 1935

    Introduction 1937

    Retired 1945, Luftwaffe
    1965, Spanish Air Force

    Primary users

    Hungarian Air Force
    Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana
    For?ele Aeriene Regale ale României

    Number built


    Unit cost 42,900 RM
    (G-6, Erla-Werke, 1943)


    Avia S-99/S-199
    Hispano Aviacion Ha 1112

    The Messerschmitt Bf 109, often called Me 109, was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusser during the early to mid 1930s.[2] It was one of the first truly modern fighters of the era, including such features as all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, a retractable landing gear, and was powered by a liquid-cooled, inverted-V12 aero engine.[2]

    The Bf 109 first saw operational service during the Spanish Civil War and was still in service at the dawn of the jet age at the end of World War II, during which time it was the backbone of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force.[3] From the end of 1941 the Bf 109 was supplemented by the Focke-Wulf Fw 190.

    Originally conceived as an interceptor, later models were developed to fulfill multiple tasks, serving as bomber escort, fighter-bomber, day-, night-, all-weather fighter, ground-attack aircraft, and as reconnaissance aircraft. It was supplied to and operated by several states during World War II, and served with several countries for many years after the war. The Bf 109 was the most produced fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced from 1936 up to April 1945.[1][3]

  2. Marius says:

    The correct name for the aircraft is BF 109, and the Bf comes from Bayerische Flugzeugwerke, the factory where the Bf 109 was built. It was later the aircraft carried the Me letters instead of Bf from the Willy Messerschmitt name. Here is a nice article about the Bf 109 http://scale-model-aircraft.com/plans-drawings/interwar-aviation/messerschmitt-bf-109

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