Picture of Messerschmitt ME 262 WW2 Fighter
Design of the Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (German for "swallow" one of the fastest of all birds when diving on it's prey) began in 1938 under the project number 1065, the initial plans being drawn in April 1939, lack of funds and a reliable jet engine resulted in the Me 262 not flying as a true jet aircraft until 18th July 1942 when the third prototype V3 was flown by Fritz Wendel using unreliable Junkers Jumo 003 engines. Replacement of the Junkers Jumo 003 engines with the improved Junkers Jumo 004 made the plane a practical reality.
The Me 262 first saw action in late summer of 1944, the design having been ill-advisably altered and delayed to enable it to also allow in to operate as a bomber and reconnaissance aircraft version as the Me 262 "Sturmvogel" (German for Stormbird) on direct orders of Adolf Hitler, the Gloster Meteor the British jet fighter, entered service in July 1944 but the aircraft were destined never to meet in combat. It is generally agreed that the Me 262 was the superior airframe but the Meteor had far more reliable engines. It is of note that the first allied aircraft to shoot down an Me 262 occurred on the 5th October 1944 and was a Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb of the RAF's 401 squadron.
Most of the Me 262 made were poorly utilised due to lack of fuel and allied air raids although a few squadrons such as Adolf Galland's Jagdverband 44 (JV44) formed in February 1945 with the most experienced Luftwaffe fighter pilots enjoyed limited success but overwhelming allied forces resulted in their efforts having little success, of the 1,433 Me 262's made less than a quarter saw front line combat .
Czechoslovakia made Me 262's after WW2, they remained in service until 1957. It is of note that the post war North American F-86 Sabre used the slat design of the Me 262 and the prototype actually used some Me 262 track parts.
- Four 30 mm MK 108 cannons (Fighter version)
- Two 30 mm MK 108 cannons (Bomber version)
- Two 250 kg (550 lb) bombs (Bomber version)
- Twenty four 55 mm R4M rockets for use against bomber formations (Fighter version)
Messerschmitt Me 262 Specifications:
- Crew: Pilot only
- Length: 10.58 m (34 ft 9 in)
- Wingspan: 12.5 m (41 ft 0 in)
- Height: 3.83 m (12 ft 7 in)
- Max weight: 6,400 kg (14,100 lb)
- Engines: Twin 1,980 lbf Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojets
- Maximum speed: 870 km/h (540 mph)
- Range: 1,050 km (650 mi)
- Service ceiling: 11,450 m (37,600 ft)
- Rate of climb: 1,200 m/min (3,900 ft/min)
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Messerschmitt ME 262 WW2 Fighter Picture and Information