The Messerschmitt Bf 110 served with considerable success in the early campaigns in Poland, Norway and France. The primary weakness of the Bf 110 was its lack of maneuverability, although this could be mitigated with better tactics. This weakness was exploited by the RAF when Bf 110s were flown as close escort to German bombers during the Battle of Britain.
When British bombers began targeting German territory with nightly raids, some Bf 110-equipped units were converted to night fighters, a role to which the aircraft was well suited.
The Messerschmitt Bf 110G-4 was one of the most successful night fighters used by either side during the Second World War.
The Bf 110G-4 was designed as a radar-carrying night fighter and fitted with a Lichtenstein airborne interception radar set. As British and German radar scientists battled to gain the upper hand, the aircraft’s electronic equipment went through a series of upgrades and modifications.
The Bf 110’s lack of manoeuvrability was less important in its night fighting role than when escorting bombers on daylight raids, while its strength and capacity to carry extra equipment were both advantages.
The Bf 110 enjoyed a successful period as an air superiority fighter and strike aircraft in other theatres and defended Germany from strategic air attack by day against the USAAF’s 8th Air Force, until an American change in fighter tactics rendered them increasingly vulnerable to developing American air supremacy over the Reich as 1944 began.