The Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse (Hornet) was a German fighter-bomber that was used by the Luftwaffe during World War II.


It was based on the unsuccessful Messerschmitt Me 210 and designated Me 410 to avoid confusion with the Me 210.[1] It had two Daimler Benz DB 603 engines that could propel it and its crew of two at speeds of up to 624 km/h. The total weight of the 410 was around 6,100 kg empty and its total length was 12.4 meters. The maximum range of the Hornisse was around 2,300 kilometers with service ceiling being 10,000 meters. The armament of the 410 consisted of two 20mm autocannons, two 13mm MG 131 machine guns, two MG 17s, and up to 1,000 kg of bombs.


The Me 410 had 4 different variant series, two of which never entered production. The Me 410 had 3 different versions in A-series, which were the Me 410 A-1 (a light bomber), Me 410 A-2 (a heavy fighter), and Me 410 A-3 (a long-range reconnaissance aircraft). From these 3 versions, only Me 410 A-2 wasn't produced.[1] The B-series had more powerful machine guns and engines than the A-series and several variants. The main ones were the B-1, B-2, and B-3, which served the same purposes as their A-series equivalents. The B-5 was an experimental torpedo bomber version that never went into production.

The B-6 was an anti-shipping fighter with FuG 200 radar. The B-7 and B-8 were upgraded versions of the B-3 but also never entered full production.[2] The C-series was designed as a high-altitude version of the Me 410, but never entered production. The D-series was also a high-altitude version of the 410, specifically an improvement of the B-series.[1] Several were built, but it never entered full production due to the destruction of a factory that made an important adhesive used in its construction.


The Hornisse was developed from Messerschmitt's lackluster Me 210, and included a number of improvements over the previous design, including larger and more powerful engines, an elongated fuselage, and better ailerons and flaps.[2] It first flew in late 1942 and began being delivered in January 1943. The Me 410 was used over Britain as a night-fighter, bomber, and reconnaissance aircraft. They also saw heavy use as bomber-destroyers during the Allied bombings of Germany, and were relatively successful against unescorted formations. However, as larger numbers of faster and more effective American and British fighters began to escort them, the Hornisse became much less effective. Production was halted in September, 1944 after 1,160 had been produced.[2] After that, they were used solely for reconnaissance until the end of the war.


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