Conceived as a replacement for the twin-engined Messerschmitt Bf 110, the development of the Me 210 was so troublesome that the older aircraft was required to soldier on until the end of the war. The flawed Me 210 was eventually transformed into the much more capable Me 410 Hornisse (Hornet), but it arrived too late in the war to make a significant difference.
The concept of the Me 210 can be traced back to 1937. Envisaged as a multi-role Zerstörer (destroyer), the prototype made its debut flight on September 5, 1939. Among its unusual features were two fuselage mounted, remotely controlled, rearwards firing guns.
Around 1,000 of the new aircraft were ordered, but due to mounting aerodynamic problems during the test flight schedule, only 94 pre-series 210A-0s were built. Fritz Wendel, Messerschmitt’s test pilot, was particularly damning in his assessment of the machine, describing it as having “all of the least desirable attributes an aeroplane could possess.”