In 1938, the Reichsluftfahrtsministerium (German Air Ministry, RLM), issued a requirement for a new twin-engine heavy fighter to replace the Me 110. This type of combat aeroplane was known as Zerstörer (Destroyer). The first prototype flew in September 1939. The Me 210 proved very difficult to fly, having numerous deficiencies. It was said to be deadlier to its crews than the enemy. Nevertheless, the Luftwaffe ordered the Me 210 into production. Operational trials began in late 1941, but it was eventually acknowledged that the aircraft had to be redesigned in order to be accepted into Luftwaffe service. The whole Me 210 debacle proved a huge scandal. A redesigned variant, the Me 410 began to reach Luftwaffe units in mid-1943. Even if the Me 210 and Me 410 were similar in appearance, the latter had to be redesigned to avoid the extremely poor reputation of the Me 210. The Me 410 proved a quite successful aeroplane, being used as a heavy fighter and for reconnaissance duties. Its closest Allied equivalent was the British DH 98 Mosquito. More than 1,500 Me 210/410s were built in Germany and Hungary, with only two Me 410s surviving today.
MESSERSCHMITT 210/410 STORY
This useful aircraft biography describes the development, production and operational service of the multi-purpose Me 210 and Me 410, it also details the production and service of the Me 210C in Hungary.The Messerschmitt Me 210 was a German heavy fighter and ground-attack aircraft of World War II. Design started before the war, as a replacement for the Bf 110. The first examples were ready in 1939, but they proved to have unacceptably poor flight characteristics due to serious wing planform and fuselage design flaws. A large-scale operational testing program throughout 1941 and early 1942 did not cure the type’s problems. The design entered limited service in 1943, but was almost immediately replaced by the Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse (“Hornet”). The Me 410 was a further development of the Me 210, renamed so as to avoid the 210’s notoriety. The failure of the Me 210’s development program meant the Luftwaffe was forced to continue operating the Bf 110 after it had become outdated, despite mounting losses.