Walkaround - Messerschmitt Me-410 A-1/U-2 W.Nr. 420430

Walkaround - Messerschmitt Me-410 A-1/U-2 W.Nr. 420430
RAF Museum / Cosford
November, 11th, 2016 & November, 10th, 2017.

This is a walkround I made during two visits to the RAF Cosford
Museum in Shropshire, UK. It is about one of the only two existing Me-410 Hornisse (Hornet) in the world. This particular airframe, Me-410 A-1/U2 W.Nr.420430 was built in late 1943 by Messerschmitt in Augsburg, as evidenced by the `Krj' on the manufacturer's plate on the fuselage. This Me-410 surrendered at Vaerlose, Denmark in May, 1945. Its exact unit at the time is unknown, although paint stripping at Cosford in the 1960s showed evidence of previous codes 3U + AK and (later) 3U + CC of 2 Staffel, I/ZG26 (Zerstörergeschwader 26) which had served in the Balkans and Italy. Possibly also coded at one time PD+VO with 2./ZG26. The museum's exemplar was one of six Me-410s that were taken to the UK in 1945 for evaluation, but the only one later selected for preservation, the others being scrapped. W.Nr.420430 underwent restoration in 1986, after which both engines were successfully run on the ground. It was moved to Cosford in 1989.

The complete history of the
Me-410 W.Nr.420430 can be downloaded in pdf format here (text credit: Adrew Simpson).

If you don't know much about the Me-410 and use to confuse it with the Me-210 (like me), it is worth a little research. It was the last in a series of twin engined destroyers manufactured by Messerschmitt, and was used by the Luftwaffe in a variety of roles. Its design was almost identically based on the Me-210, which was a complete failure. The catastrophic behavior of the Me-210 can be traced to an aerodynamic problem: the wings lift resultant was located aft the center of gravity of the aircraft, rendering it a very unstable behavior which killed many pilots. A small revision in the incidence angle of the wings of its predecessor solved the problem, with the Me-410 entering front line service in March 1943. The name change was in order to avoid association with the much maligned Me-210. T
he differences between the earlier Me-210 planform and the Me-410 are more evident in the drawing below:
(Credit: Wikipedia commons)
A total of 1100 Me-410s were built before production ceased in September 1944.

Used as fighters, light bombers, photographic reconnaissance and anti-shipping aircraft, Me410s were deployed in Western Europe, Scandinavia, Russia and Italy. Heavily armed Me410s were used against daylight air raids by the Flying Fortresses and Liberators of the US Eighth Air Force, achieving some notable successes. However, with the introduction of American escort fighters in ever increasing numbers, the losses suffered by Hornisse equipped fighter units mounted alarmingly and in the autumn of 1944 they were re-equipped with single engine fighters (Wikipedia).

A characteristic feature of the Me-410 was the electrically powered, remotely controlled defensive gun turrets on each side of the fuselage - called 'barbettes'.

Here is a rare footage of the engine run after restoration of this very aircraft in 1986.

General views:


Fuselage and tail:


Engines, cowlings and radiators:


Wing details:




Cockpit and gun bay:


Landing gear:


The only other one Me-410 surviving today is the Me 410 A-1/U-1 (W.Nr.10018, converted from Me-210 airframe, making the W.Nr. 420430 even more genuine), but it is not on public display. This aircraft belongs to the American National Air and Space Museum and is currently stored awaiting restoration at the Paul E. Garber Facility. It was found intact at an airfield in Trapani, Sicily, in August 1943 bearing the markings of the Luftwaffe's 2.Staffel/Fernaufklärungsgruppe 122 and was shipped to the United States in 1944. It was given the US serial number FE499:

(Credit: Wikipedia commons)
I hope you find these photos useful somehow. If you have any interesting information about the history of this aircraft, please drop me a line.

Yours truly. Photo by Jerônimo Ulrich Teixeira.

Rato Marczak © 2018