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Arguably the most important German fighter of the second world war, the Messerschmitt 109 served throughout the war and fought on every German front and was built in massive quantitities equalled only by the Russian Ilyushin IL2. It was regarded by the Germans as being superior to any other fighter during 1939-40 with the possible exception of the Supermarine Spitfire. The Me109 was designed to meet a 1934 RLM specification for a small high performance fighter with the first prototype flying in May 1935, unusually it was powered by a Rolls Royce Kestrel engine. The Messerschmitt 109E replaced the Junkers Jumo powered 109D on the assembly lines by the end of 1938. The Messerschmitt 109E was the first version to be mass produced and was the most important German fighter of the first two years of the second world war. The prototype of th E series was the 109/V10 with a carburetted Daimler Benz 600A which first flew in 1937, but was quickly replaced with the definitive fuel injected DB601A. The E seies differed from it's predecesors in having an armament of two heavy machine guns in the upper cowl and two cannons in the wings. Some had a cannon firing through the propellor boss