The Messerschmitt Bf 110, often (erroneously) called Me 110, was a twin-engine heavy fighter (Zerstörer - German for "Destroyer") in the service of the Luftwaffe during World War II. Hermann Göring was a proponent of the Bf 110, and nicknamed it his Eisenseiten ("Ironsides"). Development work on an improved type to replace the Bf 110, the Messerschmitt Me 210 began before the war started, but its teething troubles resulted in the Bf 110 soldiering on until the end of the war in various roles, alongside its replacements, the Me 210 and the Me 410.
The Bf 110 served with success in the early campaigns, the Polish, Norwegian and Battle of France. The Bf 110's lack of agility in the air was its primary weakness. This flaw was exposed during the Battle of Britain, when some Bf 110-equipped units were withdrawn from the battle after very heavy losses and redeployed as night fighters, a role to which the aircraft was well suited. The Bf 110 enjoyed a successful period following the Battle of Britain as an air superiority fighter and strike aircraft in other theatres. During the Balkans Campaign, North African Campaign and on the Eastern Front, it rendered valuable ground support to the German Army as a potent fighter-bomber (Jagdbomber-Jabo). Later in the war, it was developed into a formidable night fighter, becoming the major night-fighting aircraft of the Luftwaffe. Most of the German night fighter aces flew the Bf 110 at some point during their combat careers, and the top night fighter ace of all time, Major Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, flew it exclusively and claimed 121 victories in 164 combat missions.
- Crew: 2 (3 for night fighter variants)
- Length: 12.3 m (40 ft 6 in)
- Wingspan: 16.3 m (53 ft 4 in)
- Height: 3.3 m (10 ft 9 in)
- Wing area: 38.8 m² (414 ft²)
- Empty weight: 4,500 kg (9,921 lb)
- Loaded weight: 6,700 kg (14,771 lb)
- Powerplant: 2× Daimler-Benz DB 601B-1 liquid-cooled inverted V-12, 809 kW (1,085 hp)1,100 PS each
- Maximum speed: 560 km/h (348 mph)
- Range: 2,410 km (1,500 mi)
- Ferry range: 2,800 km (1,750 mi)
- Service ceiling: 10,500 m (35,000 ft)
- Wing loading: 173 kg/m² (35.7 lb/ft²)
- Power/mass: 0.3644 kW/kg (0.155 hp/lb)