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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
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