The sweet spot? How Bf109G-6 Late fits into IL-2: Great Battles

Yesterday patch 4.503 was released for the IL-2 Sturmovik: Great Battles Series. With it, the release of the Bf109G-6 Late. This model of Bf109 fills in a gap in the 109 series that helps cover the time that is being covered by Battle of Normandy and it represents the second aircraft to be released for the title. With so many Bf109’s in the game, how does this one stand out and why would you pick it over some of the other variants. Let’s have a look!

Another Bf109?!

Let’s address the elephant in the room right away. Yes, this is another Bf109 and it’s another Bf109G-6 at that. Long time fans of the series who own everything there is to own will have a total of nine Bf109 variants including the new model just released. If you own just IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad and Battle of Normandy, your total is just three and if you add Battle of Bodenplatte to the mix you’re up to five.

This seems like a lot, however, the Bf109 is prolific in both the original IL-2: Sturmovik series and here in the third generation Great Battles series for a couple of reasons. First, it really is a prolific fighter being the most produced fighter aircraft in history. According to Wikipedia, 33,984 Bf109’s were produced with an additional 603 Avia S-199’s and 239 HA-1112’s built under license.

Second, the Bf109 was the Luftwaffe’s primary fighter for all of World War II. Other designs such as the Me209 and Me309 were developed but never moved into mass production because they didn’t offer sufficiently better performance and because interrupting the production lines weren’t worth the minor improvements that they did offer. Also, Messerschmitt was sufficiently distracted with developing the next generation of fighter – the Me262.

Given these historical reasons, it’s simply hard to offer a first time buyer a sufficiently balanced product without adding a Bf109 to the mix and in this case, for the purposes of representing Battle of Normandy with as much historical accuracy and attention to detail as possible, this 1944 variant of the Bf109G-6 (the Late version as its been called) is still an essential component.

Historically versatile

One of the things that 1CGS has really been doing well recently is giving us even more options than they usually do. Here, they have ensured that this Bf109G-6 is useful across a wide range of dates as this Bf109G-6 comes with options including the standard or Erla canopy and the addition of MW50 boost for the engine is another significant option. These are either not on earlier versions or standard on later versions so this G-6 Late sits right in the middle. The optional MK108 30mm cannon, MG151/20 gunpods, SC50 and SC250 bombs, and the WGR21 rockets are all things that we’ve seen many times before. These are all configurable so historical mission makers can select and represent the precise variant that is needed for a given scenario.

That means that this version of the Bf109 is actually quite useful to have across a variety of historical scenarios from early 1944 Normandy to late 1944 and early 1945 Rhineland scenarios. For those that care about that kind of attention to detail, this is still a relevant version to have.

There might be another reason to care about this version of the Bf109.

The sweet spot?

For those out there interested in finding the most competitive dogfighting aircraft around, its inevitable that the Bf109 comes up. Although the Bf109 doesn’t win in all categories all the time, it is often famed for its speed and climb rate while its other attributes vary over time – but are never fully diminished. It is a great fighter of WWII after all.

With so many versions, the inevitable challenge has been long running to find the version that is in the proverbial sweet spot. The Bf109 that offers the best combination of speed, climb, firepower, and maneuverability. Later models sacrifice their maneuverability for speed and firepower while earlier variants are among the most agile on the eastern and western fronts but have less available firepower.

If we compare the Bf109G-6 versus the Bf109G-6 Late versus the Bf109G-14 (itself a G-6 variant that attempted to reconcile a series of modifications into a single production version) a surprising picture forms. Without MW50, the G-6 Late is essentially identical to the G-6 in performance being off by only a marginal amount. Meanwhile, the heavier G-14 out of MW50 is actually slower at sea level and at 7,000 meters than the other two versions and it has a lower climb rate. The G-6 Late brings in the speed with the MW50 putting it just a few kilometers an hour slower than the G-14 while also making use of the MW50, however, it also has a nearly 2 second advantage in maximum performance turn rate over the G-14.

Is this fighter in the sweet spot for Bf109 variants? It sure looks like it!

Performance comparisons

Compare these key performance variables yourself and see what you think.

Bf109G-6

Standard canopy, short tail… This is a 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

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

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.

Bf109G-6 Late

Tall tail, standard (or Erla) canopy. This is a Bf109G-6 Late.

Maximum true air speed at sea level, engine mode – Emergency (with MW-50): 573 km/h (modification)
Maximum true air speed at 5000 m, engine mode – Emergency (with MW-50): 661 km/h (modification)
Maximum true air speed at sea level, engine mode – Emergency: 528 km/h
Maximum true air speed at 6600 m, engine mode – Emergency: 631 km/h
Maximum true air speed at sea level, engine mode – Combat: 508 km/h
Maximum true air speed at 2000 m, engine mode – Combat: 547 km/h
Maximum true air speed at 6600 m, engine mode – Combat: 618 km/h

Climb rate at sea level: 20.6 m/s
Climb rate at 3000 m: 18.3 m/s
Climb rate at 6000 m: 14.1 m/s

Maximum performance turn at sea level: 21.7 s, at 270 km/h IAS.
Maximum performance turn at 3000 m: 27.4 s, at 270 km/h IAS.

Bf109G-14

Tall tail and Erla canopy standard. 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

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

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.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, this new version of the Bf109G-6 fits into the stable of Bf109’s occupying its own niche from both a performance and historical perspective. I can see this version being popular online and finding its fans who may elect to fly it above the G-14 and K-4 models even when it lacks in some performance attributes purely because its better in others. For offline fans, this version adds another type to the mix as you transfer from squadron to squadron through the war progressing to a new fighter at each step of the way. With its various options, the G-6 Late can be configured to meet a small but important niche in the 1944 timeline that Battle of Normandy represents.

This release for Battle of Normandy doesn’t raise the bar of Bf109 simulation but it doesn’t lower it either and offers a solid option for fans of the series. When it comes time to fly the Battle of Normandy campaign, I will be very satisfied that the right version of Bf109 for the time period will be there and for people who are new to the series, this Bf109 will let you experience multiplayer across a decently wide spectrum of scenarios and never feel left behind. Not a bad combination!

Screenshots

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Blue 5 says:

    Just to call you out. Several in-depth books, including Tooze’s excellent work but several others, suggest that Willi was more rather more distracted by the 209 etc than by the 262. The former developments were his baby while the latter was under a different team.

    He continued to fiddle with the putative 109 successors until 1945, in part because he could not bear to let Tank assume the mantle of LW main fighter provider.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Interesting details. In this example I intended to mean Messerschmitt, the company, rather than Willy himself. My understanding was that much of the R&D was directed towards the 262 and it was a much smaller team trying to make the 209 and 309 projects work. But I could be wrong and would happily be corrected!

      Like

  2. Doctor Drago says:

    It certainly FEELS like the sweet spot 109! I’ve been surprised multiple times by some of the moves it’s able to put on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      It’s more than I was expecting to be sure. Not the best but a good overall option in the late war.

      Like

  3. Eggnog says:

    Appreciate the comment about all the options they’ve been giving in recent aircraft. (esp. Hurricane!) The options are a really cool way to take the same plane and continuously mix up how you fly it. It’s like getting multiple planes for the price of one! I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Exactly! It provides value to pilots but also to scenario creators as one aircraft can be modified to fit multiple scenarios. It’s great!

      Like

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