The Messerschmitt 110 was originally designed as a twin engined fighter. The Messerschmitt 110 first flew in May 1936 and by August 1939, the Luftwaffe had 159 110Cs available for the blitzkrieg attack on Poland.
The Me 110 proved a valuable plane to the Luftwaffe in the Polish campaign – though it was up against old fashioned fighters in the Polish Air Force. Also in December 1939, 110’s shot down 9 out of 24 RAF Wellington bombers on a mission over the Heligoland Bight. Three other Wellingtons failed to return which gave the mission a 50% failure rate – a serious blow to the morale of Bomber Command.
However, in the Battle of Britain, the 110 came up against single engine fighters and its vulnerability was shown. Whereas the 109 was a match for the Spitfires and Hurricanes, the 110 was not. It lacked the manoeuvrability of the two main RAF fighters and presented a bigger target as well. With just one rear firing machine gun, it proved an easy target for a Spitfire or Hurricane attacking from the rear. 120 Messerschmitt 110’s were lost in August 1940 alone.
No longer viewed as a fighter after the Battle of Britain, other roles were found for the 110. It proved a success as a fighter-bomber, reconnaissance plane and a night fighter. In all, 6,050 Messerschmitt 110’s were built.