Based off the WWII thriller, CATALYST by Paul Byers
This is a brief history of the Messerschmitt 109, one of the most famous fighters of World War Two. The WWII thrillerCATALYST features 109s and Fw190 from JG26, known to the allied pilots as the Abbeville Boys, one of the Luftwaffe's top fighter groups. Though  fiction, CATALYST is historically accurate with great attention paid the the aerial combat scenes.

Below, along with information about the Me109 are excerpts from CATALYST

The first two German planes had split in opposite directions and the third plane, the one he thought was running away, pulled up from its dive had and gotten on Wiser’s tail. Reins could see sparks coming from the wings of the Messerschmitt as it opened fire and he saw tracers streaking past his wingman’s plane. With tormenting slowness, Wiser’s momentum carried him out of range of the Messerschmitt guns and then the 109 broke and reformed with the other two German planes as they resumed their steady climb toward the bomber.

In the annals of aviation history, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the most prolific fighter aircraft ever produced with over 30,000 being manufactured. For the German Luftwaffe, (air force) 47% of all aircraft being manufactured were fighters, and of that portion, 57% were the fabled 109.

The Bf 109 was flown by the three top-scoring fighter aces of World War II: Erich Hartman, the top scoring fighter ace of all time with 352 official victories ( compared to the top scoring American ace of all times, Major Richard Bong with 40 victories.) Gerhard Barkhorn had 301 victories, and Gunther Rall was third with an amazing 275 victories. All three aces flew with Jadgeschwader, (52nd Fighter Wing) a unit which exclusively flew the Bf 109 and was the highest scoring German fighter group being credited with over 10,000 victories.


Development for the 109 started in 1933 when the Reich Air Ministry (Reichsluftfahrtministerium) started looking for a mono wing fighter to replace its aging bi-plane fighters. The Messerschmitt Bf 109, like its distant cousin, the North American P-51 Mustang, was a plane that might never have been. Because of politics, a long standing feud between the Secretary of State for Aviation, Messerschmitt, the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Aircraft Company/BFW) were blocked from being sent contracts.

In order to save BFW from bankruptcy, Messerschmitt obtained a contract from a Romanian organization to develop a light transport. Complaints were lodged against Messerschmitt for accepting a foreign contract, but Willy Messerschmitt argued that due to a lack of home support, he was forced to seek contracts outside of Germany. Consequently, BFW was awarded a contract for fighter development. In an ironic twist of fate, with the prototype running behind schedule, the Germans purchased four British Rolls-Royce engines to get the 109 in the air for its maiden test flights in August of 1935.

The early A, B, and C models saw action with the famed Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War during the late ‘30s. The first large scale production of the fighter started in 1938 with the production of the E or "Emil" version. During the summer and fall of 1940, it was the E and F models that saw most combat over England during the Battle of Britain.


In 1936 the keel was laid for the Graf Zeppelin, the first of four German aircraft carriers to be built under Plan Z. Plan Z was the rearming and large scale rebuilding of the new German navy, disregarding the limitation set down at the Treaty of Versailles after WWI. The Bf 109E was chosen to be the fighter aircraft and was re-designated as 109T for Tragerflugzeug (aircraft carrier) A tail hook was added along with catapult fittings with structural strengthening and longer, folding wing. She was armed with two 7.92mm machineguns above the engines and a pair of 20mm cannons, one in each wing. About 60 109Ts were built but were converted back after construction on the carrier was canceled.

Another interesting version of the versatile Messerschmitt was the 109Z or Zwilling (twin.) Work on the Zwilling began in 1942 when they melded two 109f airframes together to create a Zerstörer, a (destroyer, or heavy fighter) Two variants of the aircraft were designed, an interceptor mounting five 30mm cannons and a fighter/bomber version that could carry an 1100 pound bomb under the connecting center wing and two 550 pounds bombs, one under each fuselage. The pilot would sit in the left cockpit with the right cockpit was faired over and used for extra fuel. Flight tests were about to begin when the prototype was damaged in 1943 during an allied bombing raid. Repairs were never made and the project was abandoned in 1944.

The two silver Mustangs, with their red nose spinners and red rudders turned gracefully together in a tight circle. As they leveled out, they saw the yellow dots of the other two fighters growing bigger and bigger. And in a blink of an eye, the four planes passed each other.

As the combatants flew past each other, the two American planes split up while the Germans stayed together and turned on Colonel Adams. Adams looked over his left shoulder and could see that the 109 was cutting on his inside. It would soon have a good firing angle. Stevens was coming back around, but he would be too late.

His heart was pounding in his chest as hard as it had been on the day he asked his wife to marry him. Suddenly, Reins and Wiser dropped out of the sky and Doc fired a long burst, catching the German pilots by surprise. His guns hit the lead plane right where the wing and fuselage met. The wing disintegrated, sending the plane into an awkward, headlong spin. The second fighter flipped over on its back and dove for the deck. Stevens was coming around and saw his chance and dove after him.

Bf109... Me109... ME109?

There has been some debate over the correct designation of the Messerschmitt whether it should be Bf, Me or ME, they all are correct. When the 109 first started production, it was licensed under the Bayerische Flugeugwerks company. The company was sold to Willy Messerschmitt in 1938 and designation went from Bf to Me. Official wartime documents from the RLM used both designations and often had the Bf and Me prefix on the same page.

General characteristics

  • Crew: One Length: 8.95 m (29 ft 7 in)
  • 8.95 m (29 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.925 m (32 ft 6 in) Height: 2.60 m (8 ft 2 in)
  • 2.60 m (8 ft 2 in)
  • Wing area: 16.40 m² (173.3 ft²)
  • 16.40 m² (173.3 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 2,247 kg (5,893 lb)
  • 2,247 kg (5,893 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 3148 kg (6,940 lb)
  • 3148 kg (6,940 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 3,400 kg (7,495 lb) Powerplant: 1× Daimler-Benz DB 605A-1 liquid-cooled inverted V12, 1,475 PS (1,455 hp, 1,085 kW)
  • 1× Daimler-Benz DB 605A-1 liquid-cooled inverted V12, 1,475 PS (1,455 hp, 1,085 kW)


  • Maximun speed: 640 km/h (398 mph) at 6,300 m (20,669 ft) Cruise speed:590 km/h (365 mph) at 6,000 m (19,680 ft)
  • :590 km/h (365 mph) at 6,000 m (19,680 ft)
  • Range: 850 km (528 mi) with droptank 1,000 km (620 mi)
  • 850 km (528 mi) with droptank 1,000 km (620 mi)
  • Service ceiling:12,000 m (39,370 ft)
  • 12,000 m (39,370 ft)
  • Rate of Climb: 17.0 m/s (3,345 ft/min)
  • 17.0 m/s (3,345 ft/min)


  • 2×13 mm MG 131 machine guns
  • 1×20 mm MG 151/20 cannon (or 1x 30 mm MK 108, G-6/U4)
  • 1×300 l (78 US gal) drop tank or 1×250 kg (550 lb) bomb or 4×50 kg (110 lb) bombs
  • 2×WGr.21 rockets (G-6 with BR21)
  • 2x 20 mm MG 151/20 underwing cannon pods (G-6 with R6)

CATALYST is an exciting WWII thriller inspired by true events: the fact that Germany had a plot to bomb New York City. To go to and read more about the book and reviews, click on the picture, for more information about the author click on the website below.

In the waning months of World War II, the allied armies advance upon the crumbling German war machine like a juggernaut. In a final desperate bid to save the Fatherland, a plan is conceived that could turn the tide of the war-the completion of an advanced jet-propelled bomber capable of delivering a deadly payload to shores of America.

Captain Griff Avery of the OSS has just botched the defection of a prominent German physicist, a man crucial to the Nazi end game, letting him fall into the hands of the rogue SS General masterminding the plot. But Avery's troubles have only just begun: overwhelming evidence points to the woman he loves as the German spy who foiled the defection.

Now under suspicion himself, Avery sifts through the lies and deceit, uncovering the treacherous German operation. Against orders and on the run, Avery is forced to wage a secret war of his own, recruiting the crew of a B-17 Flying Fortress and a reckless group of flyboys and their P-51 Mustangs to help him hunt down the secret SS cell and prevent the slaughter-no matter what the cost.
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