I’ve written a lot of aircraft reviews of Bf109s over the years because IL-2 Sturmovik: Great Battles, following in the footsteps of the first generation of IL-2 flight sim, has quite a few Bf109 aircraft available in it. There are a lot of them including this latest Collector Plane model. With so many variants across the various titles and Collector Plane releases, how does the Bf109G-6 AS fit in, is it worth it to own, and how does it compare to the other 109s out there. We’re exploring all of that in this review.
The higher altitude Bf109
I won’t spend too much time on the overall history of the Bf109 fighter series here but I do want to dig into some specifics of this version because its history is going to potentially be the most valuable addition.
By 1943 the Messerschmidt Bf109 series had coalesced around the G-6 series of fighters. The G-6 was a further modification on earlier DB605 powered G series aircraft. Its biggest distinguishing factor being standard MG131 13mm heavy machine guns in the nose decking replacing the earlier light machine guns. As the 109 become more focused on its role as a bomber interceptor at high altitudes, efforts were made to improve its performance at ever increasing altitudes.
One of those solutions was to take a standard DB605A engine and enlarge the supercharger. The larger supercharger from the DB603 engine was fitted and this in turn increased the critical altitude and improved performance at higher altitudes – with a small decrease at low altitudes. Fitting the larger supercharger required a new nose cowling and a larger yet more streamlined nose was created for this model.
686 aircraft were built in this configuration with 226 emerging from factories in the AS configuration while a further 460 were upgraded from earlier G-6 models.
I spent some time reading through the performance comparisons between the Bf109G-6 series comparing them to each other and trying to find out where the Bf109G-6 AS shines and if there are any surprises. There are a few!
The Bf109G-6 AS comes with two significant modifications that make quite a difference in overall performance. First, the default DB605 AS can be replaced with a DB605 ASM and optionally it can also have MW50 fitted … or not. Depending on the scenario or your choice of modification.
Let’s do combat mode comparisons first. All of the various G-6 variants, from the early G-6 to the late G-6 to the G-6 AS on combat mode do between 505 km/h and 508 km/h at sea level. The G-6 Late clocks in a bit faster while the rest of the series do 505 km/h. After that, things get complicated.
According to the performance information available from the devs, the other G-6 versions, on combat mode, can do 547 km/h at 2000 meters while the G-6 AS does 565 km/h at 2900 meters. A marked difference and advantage to the AS.
While the G-6 Late is listed as having 618 km/h maximum speed at 7000 meters, the G-6 AS clocks in at 650 km/h at 9000 meters. How that performance lines-up at lower levels would require more detailed testing. Extrapolating it a bit suggests that things may actually be quite similar for both with the AS just going even faster at higher altitudes.
Then there are all the emergency performance values which kind of make my head spin when you consider it. Here, the MW50 and the DB605 ASM really make a showing but only as altitude increases. The G-6 Late with MW50 modification is the winner by 3 km/h with the DB605 ASM equipped G-6 AS coming in second at 570 km/h and the G-6 AS without the modification coming in as the slowest at sea level with 523 km/h – that’s 6 km/h slower than the original G-6 which itself was quite slow.
After that, there’s no easy comparisons of available data points with the different versions leapfrogging each other at different altitudes. While the other models reach peak speeds at the 6000-7000 range the G-6 AS keeps on going with the G-6 AS reaching 670 km/h at 9500 meters and the G-6 AS (with ASM) reaching 690 km/h at a slightly lower 690 km/h.
One more thing that needs to be noted. Emergency power is important and the MW50 modification means you can sustain it for 10 minutes at time. If that is not available and you’re flying non-MW50 aircraft it seems that both the G-6 AS and G-6 ASM are your best performers while flying combat power with an 18km/h advantage by closest comparison.
TL;DR: The basic G-6 AS without the modification is a bit slow at lower altitudes but starts to show superiority around 7000 meters. The ASM version matches the fastest G-6 Late mode at sea level and obliterates it at 8000 meters. It’s about an even race everywhere else. In Combat Mode, the G-6 AS is faster than its contemporaries.
The Bf109G-6 AS has a bunch of available modifications. Fewer than your average Bf109 largely because the AS incorporates a lot of modifications as standard. There are some key options available to you.
The aircraft is, by default, equipped with a single 20mm MG151/20 cannon but you can replace it with a MK 108 30mm gun with 65 rounds of high explosive rounds. You can also add two MG 151/20 gun pods, as is typical with Bf109G series, to enhance the firepower.
For ground attack, the options are limited to just the SC 250 bomb with associated bomb rack. There is no option for the four SC 70 bombs as you find on some other models.
There is the option for a pair of 21 cm BR rockets as well. These are intended for bomber attack although I’ve seen people use them with some success on ground targets too.
Finally, the previously mentioned DB-605 ASM engine is an option and that is coupled with another option for MW-50 mixture which takes your emergency power and extends that to 10 minutes which you can repeat two additional times before the MW50 runs out.
Visuals and sounds
The Bf109G-6 AS maintains the strong visuals found throughout the rest of the IL-2 Great Battles Series. Although the engine itself is a bit dated now, it still manages to punch above its weight and the Bf109G-6 AS makes use of all of the features that you’d expect. 4K textures, plenty of excellent liveries, the usual dynamic visual damage system, and tactical codes can all be found here.
The sounds are the usual you’d expect from the rest of the series Bf109s. I do think the Bf109 is perhaps one of the best sounding airplanes in the Great Battles Series and its characteristic whine from the supercharger is well represented. Especially from the exterior view.
Going back to the liveries, there are 10 liveries and here are all of them:
Flying and fighting
If I were to write this section in just three words I think I could safely say that… It’s a Bf109. That’s mostly a good thing!
One of the fascinating things for me is exploring the changes that the same aircraft series exhibits as it transitions from one version to another. The difference between the Bf109E-7 through to the K-4 is as dramatic as it comes. The Bf109G-6 series, slotting right in the middle, come with their share of advantages and disadvantages. No longer as light and well balanced as the earlier models, these ones increasingly favour speed and firepower.
When it comes to basic handling you can reliably hop in a Bf109 and fly them in a similar way with predictable results and the Bf109G-6 AS maintains that tradition. While the leaps between F-4, G-2 and G-6 are noticeable, I’d be hard pressed to tell you if I was in a G-6 AS or a Late model.
Fighting the Bf109G-6 AS is quite similar to the other versions. As we’ve learned in the prior section, the AS is slightly less capable in emergency models until it reaches around 7000 meters altitude at which point it reigns supreme over the other G-6 models. Few combat scenarios in the IL-2 series happen at that altitude and so the G-6 AS advantages seem to be in a narrow window of opportunity.
Speaking of fighting the Bf109. Single player pilots will be pleased to know that you do have some options with this aircraft. It’s available with two squadrons in IL-2 Battle of Normandy’s career mode and with four squadrons in IL-2 Battle of Bodenplatte’s career mode. Some of those squadrons are sporting mixed Bf109G-6 AS and Bf109G-6 Late while a couple of them are all using the G-6 AS.
It is, of course, available in the quick mission builder including under the advanced quick mission feature for both Normandy and Bodenplatte.
Conclusion and final thoughts
There’s a tough question to answer here: Is this aircraft worth it and should you buy it?
Let me start off first and say that 1CGS have done their usual job with this airplane. Visual quality, flight modeling, and sound work are not an issue here and are consistent with the rest of the series. So on that I give this the same high marks I’d give pretty much anything from the team.
The tougher category for this to compete in is interest. Although sometimes easily dismissed, there are quite a few people out there who love flying the Bf109, will happily buy another 109, and fly them all the time or even exclusively online or offline. This will be an easy buy for them.
If you are starting fresh with the series and looking to fill out your hangar a bit, this is a good option if you prefer to fly Battle of Normandy and Battle of Bodeneplate scenarios online and offline. If, on the other hand, you prefer Battle of Kuban, you should pick the Bf109G-6 (the early one).
The type’s small advantages in combat power and high altitude performance are notable, however, in the absence of high altitude bombers and fighter intercept missions I do think the Bf109G-6 AS struggles to find a purpose from a competitive sense.
The Bf109G-6 AS is also an interesting aircraft from a historical point of view. It’s altitude focused performance and enlarged supercharger laid some of the groundwork for the later Bf109K-4. Its sleek nose hearkens back to the F and early G series as well as the late K-4 version while the Erla canopy, available MW50 boost, and MK108 nose cannon give the G-6 AS impressive firepower and capability that was needed at the time where bomber interception was essential.
Finally, if presented with a list online of the Bf109G-6, Bf109G-6 Late, Bf109G-6 AS, and Bf109G-14 I would personally pick the G-6 AS. Why? Those machine gun bumps ruin the forward view in a small but annoying way and so losing them and having the flat nose is worth whatever negligible performance loss this version has.
This is a solid aircraft, looked at individually, but one that is probably played out due to saturation for the less dedicated Bf109 series fans. Your value, joy, and enjoyable moments will be derived by your desire to have yet another Bf109 be that a good or bad thing in your eyes.
14 Comments Add yours
Thanks for taking the time to do this, and to buy it, greatly appreciated. Save me the money.
As an aside, do you or anyone else happen to know the differences between the A/S and the G-10? They look almost physically identical and was wondering what the performance was between them.
Happy to help CAP. I do my best to present what’s there and let readers like you figure out if its something they want.
The G-10 is an interesting airplane. As I understand it, its physically very similar to the G-6AS but with the same DB605DB or DC engine that the Bf109K-4 had. In effect, a late G-6/G-14 re-engined with the K-4’s engine. So performance is bound to be better than any of the G-6/G-14 models but slightly less than the K-4. Sitting somewhere in between.
Thanks for that. Interesting.
My knowledge of that specific variation (G-10) was limited and somewhat hard to discern via the net and pubs, even those on the official LW forum had issues as to why it was produced to begin with. The G-10 had that intermediary effect I spose’, sitting in between.
I made the comment ages ago that a G-10 made more sense. Shame we didn’t get it.
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There are rumours that they are going to do something more for Great Battles (it’s hard to say these days) so who knows. Maybe one more Bf109 will appear. They’d be hard pressed to make anything more after the G-10 😄
A VERY fair review Shamrock. Very tactfully handled I thought.
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You should get an award for being good natured. 🙂
For me, I can’t see ever parting with $20 to get a 10th version of the 109. IL2 desperately needs a shot of imagination.
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They are seemingly mostly going for some easier to do projects these days. Of the filling in of the cracks I’d probably have gone with something else but I’m not in charge. I’m just some blogger guy 😊
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What would you do, given the chance? That would be an interesting article.
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I have some ideas! That would be an interesting article.
Realistically, I’d probably find a way to do the A-20G. Useful for Kuban, useful for Normandy and Bodenplatte too. I’d love a B-25 or B-26 but they seem to be doing easier projects so… doing a bomber they already have would be one.
I’ll think about an article!
Looking forward to your article.
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Thanks mate and very fair review. For me personally, I am sucker for any 109 variant and I think this is a great addition to the line-up. I think it’s also worth pointing out that although it may seem like “another 109”, as a collector plane if you don’t have either Battle of Bodenplatte or Battle of Normandy it’s a nice way to access a higher performance 109 without having to spend the money if the 109 is your jam (or you just want variety)
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Thanks for the comment! I knew there were folks like yourself out there who would find this a very interesting addition even while others would find it another 109.
A mix of experiences! I tried to find them all.