The Messerschmitt Bf 109 E3 was designed by Willy Messerschmitt and Walter Rethel and had its first test flight in 1935. The all-metal aircraft had a closed cockpit and a retractable under-carriage. Powered by a Rolls-Royce Kestrel V engine, it had a maximum speed of 342 mph (550 km) and had a range of 410 miles (660 km). It was 28 ft 4 in (8.65 m) long with a wingspan of 32 ft 4 in (9.87 m). The aircraft was armed with 2 machine-guns and 2 20 mm cannons. Germany’s new Messerschmidt aeroplanes have been tested in the Spanish civil war. The pilots are pledged before they leave Germany never to let their planes fall into the hands of the enemy. Each pilot has orders to set fire to his plane if it is brought down or has to make a forced landing on enemy soil. Each plane has a special tank of inflammable matter that can be ignited at once for this purpose.
The facility is the Luftfahrtforschungsanstalt Hermann Goering. It was located in Volkenrode, a suburb of Braunschweig. It was the most advanced wind tunnel test facility in the world at the time, though they were never able to fully calibrate most of the equipment due to the war.
The motto on the eagle behind the plane says: “Das deutsche Volk wird sich durch die Eroberung der Luft seinen ihm gebührenden Platz in der Welt erzwingen”. Translated, it would be “The German people will, though conquest of the sky, force/enforce its duly/befitting place in the world”.