Messerschmitt Bf 110E-2 G9+LN, Oblt. Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, 5./NJG.1, St Trond, Belgium June 1942
Although the Messerschmitt Bf 110 heavy ﬁghter proved to be something of a disappointment during the dogﬁghts of the Battle of Britain, it did continue to serve successfully in a number of roles throughout WWII and developed into a particularly formidable Nightﬁghter. With many of the world’s most successful Nightﬁghter aces ﬂying the Bf 110 during their operational careers, this night hunter took a heavy toll of Bomber Command aircraft, as they patrolled the skies of Northern Europe. As the most successful Nightﬁghter ace of WWII Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer ﬂew the Messerschmitt Bf 110 exclusively and claimed an incredible 121 aerial victories from just 164 combat missions ﬂown. The 21st February 1945 proved to be Schnaufer’s most formidable day, when he managed to bring down no fewer than nine RAF four-engined bombers in one day – two in the early hours of the morning and a further seven in just nineteen minutes that same evening. Messerschmitt Bf 110 G9+LN was the aircraft in which this supreme nocturnal predator claimed his ﬁrst victory in June 1942.