Historical Writings of the combat aircraft of the two World Wars
Its resemblance to the Bf109 was only superficial, the Me209 being tailor-made around a specially built Daimler-Benz DB 601ARJ engine. This engine had a take-off rating of 1342 kW (1,800 hp), which could be boosted to a peak of 1715 kW (2,300hp) for very short periods. This proved to be sufficiently powerful for the Me 209 to set a record. Flugkapitan Fritz Wendel flew the first specially-prepared prototype on April 26th, 1939 to an average speed of 755.136km/h. (469mph).
At this point the German propaganda machine stepped in. The details ratifing the record-breaker, which were submitted to the FAI, identified the machine as the Messerschmitt Me109 R. This was an attempt to convince other nations that the record had been made by a variant of the Luftwaffe's new fighter. Whatever details submitted, the record stood for just over 30 years.
Although many attempts were made by the Messerschmitt company to make a production fighter out of it, with Me209A prototypes flying late in the war, the programme was abandoned. In photos, the Me209 looks a lot like the 109, with a setback cockpit. The V4 prototype had a snake painted on to the fuselage as propaganda.
Origin: Messerschmitt AG
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