Spitfire IX vs Bf109G-14: an aircraft review

It’s a classic match-up of Spitfire versus Bf109 in the first aircraft review for IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte. These two foes once again meet in the air with two of the later versions of the series. How do they stack up and compare against each other and some other common foes. Let’s have a look!

Common foes

SpitfireIXe-tracers.jpg

Many times during the war saw Bf109s go up against Spitfires from the late days of the Battle of France, the Channel War period, and the Battle of Britain through to the end of 1945. In Battle of Bodenplatte we get the fall of 1944 through early 1945 conflict and together we have a couple of star players from both sides. The Bf109G-14 was not the best Bf109 to be produced but it was available in numbers and that story is true also for the Spitfire LF.IXe at this point in the conflict.

Both fighters were pressed into fighting that they weren’t initially designed for. The Bf109 became an up-gunned bomber interceptor and the Spitfire IX took on the role of fighter bomber.

Which one is better in IL-2: Battle of Bondeplatte? Which comes out on top in various performance attributes? Let’s find out.

Raw performance

Performance numbers come from the IL-2 forums with tables provided by 1CGS for each of their aircraft. These numbers are a summary. For the full details visit the IL-2 forums.

In these comparisons we look at both Spitfire IX versions with the Merlin 66 and Merlin 70 engines, Bf109G-14, Bf109G-6 (which may make an appearance in some Bodenplatte scenarios), and the FW190A-5 which we’re using to stand-in for the FW190A-8 which should give us roughly similar performance.

Stall

Spitfire LF.IXe (Merlin 66) + Spitfire HF.IXe (Merlin 70)

  • Indicated stall speed in flight configuration: 143..163 km/h
  • Indicated stall speed in takeoff/landing configuration: 135..154 km/h

Bf109G-14

  • Indicated stall speed in flight configuration: 164..181 km/h
  • Indicated stall speed in takeoff/landing configuration: 156..172 km/h

Bf109G-6

  • Indicated stall speed in flight configuration: 160..177 km/h
  • Indicated stall speed in takeoff/landing configuration: 153..169 km/h

FW190A-5

  • Indicated stall speed in flight configuration: 169..195 km/h
  • Indicated stall speed in takeoff/landing configuration: 160..175 km/h

The stall speed of the Spitfire IX is extremely low compared to the Bf109 and FW190 compared here. The G-14 stall speed is also slightly higher than the earlier G-6 model.

Climb

Spitfire LF.IXe (Merlin 66)

  • Climb rate at sea level: 21.5 m/s
  • Climb rate at 3000 m: 18.6 m/s
  • Climb rate at 6000 m: 15.5 m/s

Spitfire HF.IXe (Merlin 70)

  • Climb rate at sea level: 18.5 m/s
  • Climb rate at 3000 m: 17.5 m/s
  • Climb rate at 6000 m: 14.1 m/s

Bf109G-14

  • Climb rate at sea level: 19.2 m/s
  • Climb rate at 3000 m: 17.5 m/s
  • Climb rate at 6000 m: 13.1 m/s

Bf109G-6

  • Climb rate at sea level: 20.1 m/s
  • Climb rate at 3000 m: 18.8 m/s
  • Climb rate at 6000 m: 15.2 m/s

FW190A-5

  • Climb rate at sea level: 15.4 m/s
  • Climb rate at 3000 m: 11.9 m/s
  • Climb rate at 6000 m: 9.7 m/s

The Bf109G-14 climb rate continues to show a slow decline in raw climb performance with a slight decrease from the Bf109G-6 (which itself was slightly decreased from earlier versions). At all altitudes the Spitfire IX reigns over these comparisons except for the HF Merlin 70 variant which really comes into its own only at extreme high altitudes.

Speed

Spitfire LF.IXe (Merlin 66)

  • Maximum true air speed at sea level, 3000 RPM, boost +18: 542 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 3350 m, 3000 RPM, boost +18: 610 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 6850 m, 3000 RPM, boost +18: 664 km/h

Spitfire HF.IXe (Merlin 70)

  • Maximum true air speed at sea level, 3000 RPM, boost +18: 532 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 4900 m, 3000 RPM, boost +18: 634 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 8500 m, 3000 RPM, boost +18: 677 km/h

Bf109G-14

  • Maximum true air speed at sea level, engine mode – Emergency: 576 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 5500 m, engine mode – Emergency: 668 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at sea level, engine mode – Combat: 505 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 2000 m, engine mode – Combat: 545 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 7000 m, engine mode – Combat: 619 km/h

Bf109G-6

  • Maximum true air speed at sea level, engine mode – Emergency: 529 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at sea level, engine mode – Combat: 505 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 2000 m, engine mode – Combat: 547 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 7000 m, engine mode – Combat: 632 km/h

FW190A-5

  • Maximum true air speed at sea level, engine mode – Emergency: 558 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 3000 m, engine mode – Emergency: 578 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 6400 m, engine mode – Emergency: 658 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at sea level, engine mode – Combat: 533 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 3000 m, engine mode – Combat: 558 km/h
  • Maximum true air speed at 6000 m, engine mode – Combat: 622 km/h

Both Spitfire IX and Bf109G-14 present some interesting performance figures to look at. First, the two Spitfire IX models present slightly differently with the Merlin 66 being the champ at lower altitudes while the Merlin 70 version is better at higher altitudes – no surprise. The Spitfire outspeeds the FW190A-5 at all altitudes except at sea level. In practice, these numbers may be closer depending on if the FW190A-5 has its cowl shutters closed or not.

The Bf109G-14 while on Emergency power includes MW50 water-methanol injection. This helps make it quite a performer with significant power for about 10 minutes. After that, it has to drop back to Combat power where its slightly worse than the G-6.

The Spitfire is capable of holding Emergency maximum all out power (+18lbs, 3000 RPM) for up to 5 minutes and a slightly less aggressive Combat power mode (+12lbs, 2850 RPM) for 60 minutes. Meanwhile the Bf109G-14 has 10 minutes of Emergency power and 30 minutes of Combat.

Turn times

Spitfire LF.IXe (Merlin 66)

  • Maximum performance turn at sea level: 17.7 s, at 270 km/h IAS.
  • Maximum performance turn at 3000 m: 20.5 s, at 260 km/h IAS.

Spitfire HF.IXe (Merlin 70)

  • Maximum performance turn at sea level: 17.7 s, at 270 km/h IAS.
  • Maximum performance turn at 3000 m: 20.7 s, at 270 km/h IAS.

Bf109G-14

  • Maximum performance turn at sea level: 23.0 s, at 270 km/h IAS.
  • Maximum performance turn at 3000 m: 31.5 s, at 270 km/h IAS.

Bf109G-6

  • Maximum performance turn at sea level: 21.5 s, at 270 km/h IAS.
  • Maximum performance turn at 3000 m: 28.0 s, at 270 km/h IAS.

FW190A-5

  • Maximum performance turn at sea level: 23.5 s, at 280 km/h IAS.
  • Maximum performance turn at 3000 m: 35.5 s, at 280 km/h IAS.

The Spitfire is an incredible turn fighter in this comparison turning several seconds faster at sea level than its German competitors.

Spitfire and Bf109 in combat

Bf109G-14-Spitfire-fire

Flying the Bf109G-14 is a very familiar experience for players who have flown in any of the other Bf109 fighters available in the IL-2 series. From the F-2 through to the G-14 you can expect a fairly similar set of flying parameters – although each of these aircraft has their own unique personality. I can tell differences between even some of the smallest variations thanks to IL-2’s excellent flight modeling.

The Spitfire IX is, like the Bf109, a familiar experience for pilots who have previously flown the Spitfire V. The character of the aircraft is very similar and if you’re pretty good with the Mark V then you can be pretty good with the Mark IX almost immediately. But there are still some differences.

Similarities aside, flying both of these aircraft brought a smile to my face thanks to their increased performance.

A superb Spitfire experience

SpitfireIXe-against-the-cloud.jpg

Pulling the Spitfire IX up off the ground you immediately feel how this is a heavier and also a more powerful beast. Put the aircraft into a tight bank and you’ll feel that extra weight but also feel the engine yanking you around with more power.

The Merlin 70 engine option adds high altitude performance with a small decline in low altitude performance and is ideal for high altitude jousts. For most players, I recommend sticking with the Merlin 66. Another choice needs to be made, however, and that is the standard and clipped wings options.

Standard wings give you the best turn rate and the most familiar Spitfire feeling but roll rate is definitely a bit sluggish. Take the tips off and use the clipped wing option and you lose a little in turn rate but pick up a whole bunch in roll rate and a little in low altitude speed too.

SpitfireIXe-loaded

The Spitfire IX’s twin .50cal machine guns are enough alone to do serious damage to most fighters. Switch to full guns with the two Hispano Mark II 20mm cannons firing as well and you can demolish fighters and bombers alike.

This version of the Spitfire is also a ground attacker which I’ve previously written about. The twin 250lb bombs can do some damage and the single 500lb bomb on the centreline really helps boost that ground attack punch.

A pair of 80lb RP-3 rockets can also do significant damage with HE and AP versions available. For best results, you need to get close or have your flight fire salvos as I find the accuracy to be poor.

I should also mention that the Spitfire IXe comes with an optional lead computing gunsight. Dial in the distance and the targets wingspan and you can then use the moving piper to lead your target which shocking accuracy. I’ve made shots in the Spitfire IX that I haven’t been able to in a normal aircraft without a huge amount of continual practice or a lot of luck. It’s a potential game changer for pilots who learn how to use the settings.

No matter what I’m doing with the Spitfire IX I find it to be incredibly fun and engaging. Its a powerful and capable fighter in any role and 1CGS has seen to it that this Spitfire has a lot of options.

Boosting into combat

Bf109G-14-bomber-intercept.jpg

The Bf109G-14 flies a lot like the Bf109G-6 that it is based on. The heavy MG131 machine guns hit hard and the optional MK108 30mm cannon hit like a jackhammer. Want to tear up enemy bombers and fighters alike? This fighter can do that.

Pushing the throttle full forward, you get into MW50 boost which gives you 10 minutes of extreme power at low and medium altitudes. The extra boost is noticeable and gives a bit of a kick too. What an experience! When you need to really do something like climb into combat or get out of a tight spot, smash the throttle forward to emergency boost and let this bird go.

The added side visibility is such a bonus as well and the G-14 also comes with a standard rear armor glass setup. This gives you near bubble canopy levels of visibility and keeps you competitive with all of the other fighters out there.

Bf109G-14-view-out-the-side

The G-14, like the Spitfire, comes with a few extra options too with key modifications including the already mentioned MK108 30mm cannon and the WGR-21 rockets which can demolish a bomber if you can get a hit with one. These were meant to be used against B-17s and B-24s but in lieu of a heavy bomber to attack, they can work well against A-20s and the future B-25 slated to be added to the series.

Bf109G-14-bomber-rocket-attack.jpg

I have a feeling that some pilots are going to skip over the G-14 when the Bf109K-4 arrives on the scene. That would be shame because the G-14 is really good and is a joy to fly – especially when you push the throttle forward. It will be interesting to see how the Bf109K-4 and G-14 compare up against each other and if the K-4 will be superior in all respects or if the G-14 will be a better dogfighter. Nonetheless, it will easily be a capable fighter on the scene and is easily one of the best types currently in the series.

No winner, just two excellent aircraft

IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte’s first content release has been an enjoyable one with two aircraft bursting onto the scene filled with features and possesing performance that few other aircraft in the series have to-date. They portent the future of the series and offer up some spectacular experiences.

Since these two aircraft have burst onto the multiplayer scene, players have been arguing which type is better. I’m going to skirt that edge of that argument and say that both come with advantages and disadvantages. By the numbers, it appears that the Spitfire IX is slightly superior to the G-14, however, that is just by the numbers. There are so many factors to air combat that the G-14 is often considered the better fighter in online fights.

It depends on who you ask which is what I suggest makes these two an interesting pair that will surely be filling the skies of multiplayer servers for some time to come!

Screenshots

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. superetendard3 says:

    One thing to point out: the climb rates are specified for Combat Power for both the Spit Mk IX and Bf 109 G-14, at their Emergency Power they increase considerably in both cases, being more or less 24 m/s at sea level, looks like the Bf 109 G-14 climbs a bit better though, for indirect comparisons against the La-5FN (because I don’t have BoBP yet), the FN also climbs at around 24 m/s at full emergency power and the radiator shutters closed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Francesco Kasta says:

    Nice! Those are two really lovely birds indeed. I only wish in the future they’d consider giving us a Mk XIV to counter the planned K-4.

    Liked by 1 person

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