The German Messerschmitt Bf 109 was in service from the Spanish War through WWII. This was the beginning of an era of fighter aircraft that would include closed canopies and landing gear that retracted. This design would also be the beginning of future design developments that would emerge throughout the war. The Bf 109 served as the very strength of the fighting force of the Luftwaffe.
About the Messerschmitt

The initial flight of the Messerschmitt was in May of 1935 with the official introduction of the aircraft occurring in 1937. Though the Luftwaffe retired the Messerschmitt Bf109 in 1945, it continued on in service in other countries until as late as 1965. The Bf109 held the honor of a total of 928 World War II victories which occurred while being piloted by three of Germany’s top-scoring fighter pilots. The longevity of the aircraft’s service was due in part to the design evolution to meet the constant changing demands and maintaining a competitive edge over Allied aircraft.

Another main consideration that enhanced the design of the Bf 109 was to simplify the access to some of the main components of the aircraft. Removal and replacement of the powerplant unit was greatly expedited due to the new design on this aircraft. In an effort to keep the wings as light as possible, the armament was located in the fuselage of this WWII fighter.

Several variants of this noted World War II aircraft would emerge throughout its service with over 33,000 various aircraft coming off the assembly line before production was halted in May of 1945. Throughout this time period, the Bf109 would account for over half of the fighters coming off the German production line during World War II.