In the Battle of Britain, the first major campaign to be decided strictly in the air, the German Luftwaffe was fighting to destroy the Royal Air Force and break the will of the British people. This fight was characterized by German Messerschmitts facing off against British Spitfires over the skies of Great Britain. Now these historic aircraft are face to face again at The National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
The newly acquired Messerschmitt Bf 109 will be displayed with the Museum’s Spitfire on the floor of the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion at Andrew Higgins and Camp Street from September 9-14, 2008, before both plans will be hung from the Pavilion roof in “dogfight” position. The planes will join the Museum’s historic C-47 aircraft in an aerial display.
The Bf 109 is one of the most significant aircraft of the Second World War. Designed by Willy Messerschmitt in the early 1930s, this was one of the first modern fighters.
Manufactured by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (BFW) (Bavarian Aircraft Works) the Bf 109 was the backbone of the German Luftwaffe. More Bf 109s were produced than any other fighter in history. Between September 1939 and May 1945, over 30,000 were manufactured. The Bf 109 also scored more aircraft kills in World War II than any other aircraft.
The Museum’s Bf 109 was assembled from parts recovered from crash sites; original parts located at former factories and carefully replicated replacements. This aircraft has been painted in the color scheme used by Ltn. Trabert from the JG 300 "Wilde Sau".
The Spitfire Mk VB that will be on display has been on exhibit in the Museum since June 6, 2000, but this will be the first opportunity to view the plane up close. This plane served with several Royal Air Force squadrons and supported the Normandy landings. It crashed in marshland near Humber Estuary on September 20, 1944. The Spitfire was eventually recovered and restored using original, salvaged and some replica parts.
On Saturday, September 13, the Museum will stage a hands-on dogfight simulation game for kids from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. At 2:00 pm, Orlin Corey will present a program on Churchill and the Battle of Britain. All events are free. For more information, call 504-527-6012 x 237 or x 225. Visit the Museum online at www.nationalww2musuem.org.
The National World War II Museum, dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum, has been designated by Congress as the country’s official National World War II Museum. The Museum illuminates the American experience during the war era and celebrates the American spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who won World War II. For more information on The National World War II Museum, visit www.nationalww2museum.org or call 504-527-6012.