Bf 109 E-4
|This page is about the German fighter Bf 109 E-4. For other uses, see Bf 109 (Family).|
The Bf 109 E-4 is a rank II German fighter with a battle rating of 3.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.53 "Firestorm". The differences from its predecessor are little in quantity, though they have a drastic effect in-game. The E-4 is slightly heavier, but thanks to better surface polishing and a +150 hp WEP, it is faster than the E-3. The greatest advantage though is the instalment of Mg FF/M cannons with minengeschoße.
After having played both the E-1 and E-3, players will rejoice upon unlocking the E-4. While essentially the same plane, the E-4 overcomes the inadequate MgFF with MgFF/M, featuring the fantastic minengeschoße. With two wing-mounted MG FF/Ms with 60 rounds each, the plane has an even more deadly punch, attributed solely to the new thin-walled 20 mm HE shells. Fighting in the E-4 is essentially the same as with all E-frame 109s.
Remaining a great energy fighter against its historical opposition, the E-4 is somewhat troubled by the fact that it often faces mid-to-later-war planes such as the P-47D. To engage these, make sure you have a clear energy advantage; if attacked, fly defensively and attempt to bleed the enemy’s speed while pulling them down. The Bf 109 E-4 is often regarded as a poor turner, a reputation coming from the fact that its main rival, the Spitfire, simply did it better. However, with combat flaps, the E-4 is a respectable turner able to out-turn most planes that outperform it in other ways. However, keep in mind that one of the changes from E-3 to E-4 increased the frame's weight. Flat turning should only be reserved for extreme situations.
The DB 601N provides its maximum performance around 2,000 m to 5,000 m (6,500 ft to 16,500 ft respectively) and comes with WEP, providing +150 hp upon activation. The boost will last about one minute from a cooled engine.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 5,000 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Max Speed
(km/h at 5,000 m)
|Max altitude (meters)||Turn time (seconds)|| Rate of climb
|Take-off run (meters)|
|Combat flap||Take-off flap||Landing flap||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
| Wing-break speed
| Gear limit
| Combat flap
|Max Static G|
|< 370||< 370||< 420||> 250|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|3,550 m||1,050 hp||1,172 hp|
Survivability and armour
- 10 mm Steel plate behind seat
- 10 mm Steel plate headrest
- No armour glazing
- Critical components located in front of aircraft (fuel, pilot, engine, controls)
While the armour is quite limited on the Bf 109 E-4 as in other fighter aircraft, the Bf 109 E-4 compensates with its other flight performances.
When engaging the Bf 109 E-4, doing so in a group is your best bet. While it can easily pick off one or two planes, it doesn’t have very much cannon ammo and will be easily overwhelmed when engaged by multiple foes. In a one-on-one engagement, try to trick the pilot into bleeding their energy. While the Bf 109 E-4 will outrun most planes at its rank, it can also be outgunned by them. Once it uses all its cannon ammo, it's only left with two machine guns, which most planes take little to no damage from at a glance.
The Bf 109 E-4 is armed with:
- 2 x 20 mm MG FF/M cannon, wing-mounted (60 rpg = 120 total)
- 2 x 7.92 mm MG 17 machine gun, nose-mounted (1,000 rpg = 2,000 total)
The two canons are mounted with one in each wing whereas the two machine guns are mounted in the upper fuselage just in front of the cockpit.
The main armament is identical to that of the Bf 109 E-3. However, there is one critical difference. The MG FF/M can fire minengeschoss shells. Minengeschoss have thin shells, allowing more incendiary material to be used; however, these very same characteristics prevent them from being fired from older MG FF versions (like on the predecessor E-3). Thus, the MG FF/Ms are far more powerful than the MG FFs.
The Bf 109 E-4 can be outfitted with the following ordinance:
- Without load
- 4 x 50 kg SC50JA bombs (200 kg total)
- 1 x 250 kg SC250JA bomb (250 kg total)
The E-4 can load either 4 x 50 kg or 1 x 250 kg bombs. Unless you like to fly at a severe disadvantage, do not use the bombs unless you have to in order to win a match, for example after refuelling/restocking at the base. The bomb load is nowhere near large enough to make a fighter bombing trip worth it.
Usage in battles
Just as the with the E-1, new players should adopt a hit and run tactic with the Bf 109s (also known as Boom and Run). While often called a Boom & Zoom aircraft, the 109s are not dedicated Boom & Zoomers, and many other aircraft such as the Fw 190 do it much better. While it is true that a pure Boom and Zooming approach can be used for the 109s, limiting oneself to this enormously undermines plane efficiency. That said, the 109s do build up speed quickly in a dive, and they have a respectable zoom climb that ends in a strong sustained climb at ~270 km/h (optimal climbing speed 260, and dash 280 km/h). Doing so will often give the player the maximum speed or altitude advantage they can have over their chosen target. A straight-up bounce and extend from the target and a slowly increasing climb leading into an Immelmann tends to work best for rookie pilots. Remember to check your six and surroundings during the climb and just before diving back on your target.
With mounting experience on the side of the player, the energy fighting abilities of the Bf 109 E-4 come to the forefront. Fluid and speedy transitions between altitude and speed, together with well-timed uses of flaps, throttle, and manoeuvres, enable the Emil to quickly change an engagement to its favour.
When firing at enemies, be aware that your 20 mm cannons only hold a 60 round drum magazine each. They empty quickly, and many a new pilot has seen themselves on pitifully low ammunition after only one attack run. Once you empty your cannons, the E-4 will be hard-pressed to down an enemy. In your own interest, do not waste your cannons on ground targets and when firing at planes, fire, in short, controlled and well-aimed bursts. Luckily, the E-4 holds 1000 rounds in each of its two MG 17s. Use these if you are inclined to spray and pray or are about to engage ground targets.
Manual Engine Control
|Controllable||Not controllable||Not controllable||Not controllable||Separate||Not controllable||Not controllable|
|I||Fuselage Repair, Radiator||Offensive 7 mm, ETC 50/VIIId|
|II||Compressor||Airframe||New 7 mm MGs|
|III||Wing Repair, Engine||Offensive 20 mm, ETC 500/IXb|
|IV||Engine Injection||Cover||New 20 mm Cannons|
Pros and cons
- Good flight performance overall with acceleration, rate of climb, roll rate, and turn rate
- Plenty of machine gun ammo
- Fairly good MG FF/M cannons in steady hands, ideal for Boom & Zoom
- Can perform negative G maneuvres
- Better cockpit visibility than Bf 109 Fs
- Less than average instantaneous turn rate
- Control stiffening above 400 IAS (kph)
- Low cannon ammo count
- Weak, low-velocity cannons compared to Hispano, MG 151/20, etc
- Relatively poor durability
- Harsh matchmaking
- Thicker cockpit framing than the E-3 with armoured glass frame
The E-4 was used extensively in `Operation Barbarossa´ (invasion of the U.S.S.R.), it was eventually replaced by the Friedrich. Old machines remained in use by other Axis nations, such as Romania and Hungary.
Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the aircraft;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
- [Wikipedia] Messerschmitt Bf 109 variants – Bf 109 E-4
- Falcon's Messerschmitt Bf 109 Hangar
- Performance Resource site for the Bf 109 - Material related to Messerschmitt Bf 109E
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