This aircraft was in fact a captured Spitfire V air frame , however it was in a critical state. So the Germans replaced all armament , Electronics and even the engine with German counterparts. A DB 605A-1 Engine was installed and it was trialed both with and without armament. Armament wise MG FFs were its first modification , one in each wing. MG 151s were supposedly also fitted before the aircraft was lost in a bombing raid.
P/O (Sous Lt) Bernard Scheidhauer and P/O (Sous/Lt) Henri de Bordas of 131 Squadron (Free French Air Forces) departed Westhampnett, England early on the afternoon of November 18, 1942 to undertake a “Rhubarb” into Normandy. Scheidhauer was flying a Spitfire Mk. Vb NX:X (EN830).
Making landfall on the French coast at St Aubin sur Mer they picked up and followed the Caen River to Cherbourg, attacking several targets along the way. During the sortie they were met by light flak and purposely avoided Carentan because of the concentration of flak in the area. At the small town of Ecausseville, de Bordas lost sight of his wingman, he continued to circle for as long as he could calling out on his radio transmitter but with no response. He returned to Westhampnett alone.
Scheidhauer's Spitifire had been hit by flak that damaged his fuel line and he was losing fuel. His radio was also inoperable. Presumably he became disoriented and headed west instead of north. After crossing a stretch of water he sighted land that he mistook for the Isle of Wight. Picking out a suitable field he placed his aircraft down in a wheels-up landing, coming to rest in a field of turnips. Climbing from the aircraft he was met by several locals who informed him of his navigational error, he was in fact on the German Occupied Isle of Jersey and not the Isle of Wight.
Scheidhauer tried to destroy the aircraft. He attempted to acquire some petrol to set fire to it, but none was available. He smashed the instrument panel as best he could and gave away various items of equipment to the gathering crowd. The Germans arrived shortly thereafter and he was taken prisoner finally ending up at Stalag Luft 111. (Scheidhauer was eventually an escapee in the event immortalized by the film “The Great Escape” and was one of the prisoners who was recaptured and murdered by the Gestapo on Hitler’s orders. A memorial to him exists today on the Isle of Jersey that includes a piece of the propeller from EN830 and his flight helmet.)
EN830 was dismantled and shipped to the Daimler-Benz test facility at Echterdingen. It arrived stripped of its guns and ammunition, with the gun ports closed. The inoperable radio had been replaced with ballast, but it still had its original Merlin 45 engine. It was reassembled and made airworthy. Several flights were made by Daimler-Benz pilots before a conversion was attempted. A decision was made to replace the instruments and the entire electrical system with standard German equipment, because the Luftwaffe used a 24 volt system, whilst the RAF used a 12 volt standard.
While the Merlin engine was being removed, it was discovered that the Spitfire's firewall cross-section was very close to that of the Bf 109G. A new engine support was designed, and a standard DB 605A-1 engine (Wk-Nr 00701990) was installed. It was covered with the front cowl of a Bf. 110G. A 3.0 m. diameter VDM propeller was installed, as was a carburetor scoop, both from a Bf.109G. This made for a very interesting looking aircraft! The Messerspit was born. The work was completed at the Sindelfingen Daimler-Benz factory, near Echterdingen.
The modified Spitfire's fueled weight, without armament was 6,020 lb. The weight with armament was estimated to be 6,681 lb. Its fueled weight with armament, before the engine modification, had been an almost identical 6,680 lb.
Sources disagree about the color scheme. Some have the Messerspit painted RLM 74/75 on the upper surfaces, 75 sides with 74 mottling. Others have it RLM 70/75. Some have the lower surfaces RLM 65 and others say RLM 04. For certain the nose, elevators and rudder were painted yellow (RLM 04).
After the modification, Flugkapitan Willy Ellenreider was the first to try the aircraft. He was stunned that the aircraft had much better visibility and handling on the ground than the Bf.109. It took off before he realized it and had an impressive climb rate, around 70 ft. per second. He related that the Spitfire's better handling could be attributed to its lower wing loading. The Spitfire's wing area was about 54 sq. ft. greater than that of the Bf.109. The Messerschmitt was faster at low altitude, but at 11,000 ft. the speeds evened out. The DB 605A engine gave better performance, according to the test data, than the Merlin, which was rated 150 hp below the German engine. It gave the Spitfire a ceiling of 41,666 ft., about 3,280 ft. more than a Bf.109G with the same engine and 5,166 ft. more than that of a Spitfire Mk.V. After a brief period at Rechlin confirming the performance data, the modified Spitfire returned to Echterdingen to serve officially as a test bed. It was popular with the pilots in and out of working hours.
Its career ended on August 14, 1944, when a formation of US B-17’s attacked Echterdingen, wrecking nine aircraft on the ground, including EN830. Its remains were scrapped.