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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter
Nickname: "Schwalbe" (Swallow)

Photos

  • Messerschmitt Me 262V3 prototype
  • Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter productio
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A fighter
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1A Schwalbe fighter
  • Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter

Design

In 1938 design work first began on the Messerschmitt Me 262 and the first tail wheeled prototype flew on April 4, 19411 / April 18, 19413,6.1,3,5,6 It had a nose mounted Junkers Jumo 210 piston engine.1

A Junkers Jumo 211 was installed and it was flown in 1940.5

On November 25, 1941, the first jet aircraft with BMW 003 turbojets that produced 1,000 lbs of thrust.1 The piston engine was still installed and was needed on the 1st flight as the jets failed just before liftoff.1

In addition to Hitler's insistence on making the Me 262 into a fighter-bomber there were problems with the engines.1

Canopy

The canopy of the Messerschmitt Me 262 was well received as it allowed for excellent visibilty.2

Engines

Every 10 hours the turbojets needed extensive maintenance and were worn out by 25 hours of flight time.2

Fuselage

The Messerschmitt Me 262's fuselage was an all metal monocoque construction.2

Wings

The wings were all metal construction and had a slight sweep back on the leading edge.2

Landing Gear

Initially the Me 262 prototypes had conventional landing gear but tricycle gear was eventually installed.5

Tail

The Me 262's tail was all metal construction.2

Bomber

The bomber models had a glazed nose in which a bombardier laid down in.2

Prototype

The 1st / 3rd6 prototype of the Me 262 took flight on April 18, 1941, with a Junkers Jumo 210 G conventional engine in the fuselage.4

After the 3rd prototype the BMW engines were replaced by a Junkers Jumo 004 (1,850 lbs of thrust) and resulted in the M3 262's all jet powered flight on July 18, 1942.1,2,4 This jet powered prototype was flown by Fritz Wendel.4

On July 23, 1943, the Me 262 was presented to Herman Göring.4 On November 26, 1943, the Me 262 was presented to Adolf Hitler.4 At which time it was ordered into production by Hitler as a bomber.4

Production

The first Me 262A-1a, production model, entered service in June 1944.1

These delivered from March 1944 to April 1945.2 Of these about 500 were lost to bombing.1 Out of the rest there were about 200 that became operational.1

  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-1: 15
    • Production: 19425
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-2: 15
    • Production: 19425
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-6: 15
    • Production: 19435
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-9: 15
    • Production: 19445
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-0: 131
    • Production: ? - October 19431
  • Messerschmitt Me 262B-2a: 14
  • Total: 1,4304, 1,4331,2
    • Manufacturer: Messerschmitt A.G.4

Variants

  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-1: Had two Jumo 004 A engines.5
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-2: Had two Jumo 004 A engines.5
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-3: First all jet prototype.3,6 Had Junkers 109-004A-0 turbojets (1,852 lb thrust).3
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-6: Had Jumo 004 B engines.5
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-7: Pressurized cabin.5
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-9:
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A: First production version.1
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1: Fighter.5
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a/U1: Night fighter.1 Added 20 mm guns.3,4,6
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a/U2: Reconnaissance version.1 All weather fighter.3,4,6
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a/U3: Unarmed reconnaissance.3,4,6
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a/U4: Had Mauser 50 mm MK 214 cannon mounted but was never used in combat.2 Only two aircraft had it fitted.2
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1b: 24 air to air rockets under the wings.1
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-2: Bomber.5
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a: "Sturmvogel" (Stormbird) was a fighter bomber.1,4,6 Could carry up to 1,102 lb6 / 2,205 lb / 500 kg6 / 1,000 kg.3 Had four additional 30 mm guns.3
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a/U1: Dive bomber.1
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a/U2: Bomber with added bombardier that was put in a prone position.3,6
  • Messerschmitt Me 262B: 2 seats for training.1,4
  • Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a: Night fighter.1,6 First flew in April 1944.1 Fewer than a dozen were constructed.2
  • Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a/U1: Trainers converted into night fighters with radar.1,2,4 Had air to air rockets.3
  • Messerschmitt Me 262B-2a: Night fighter with radar and increased fuel.1,4
  • Messerschmitt Me 262C: Experimental with a bi-fuel BMW 718 rocket motor in the tail.1

Usage

Used by Germany.1 Only about 1/4 of the Me 262s produced became operational before World War II ended.4

The Me 262s were responsible for about the destruction of 100 allied aircraft.1

Pilots enjoyed its high speed, but at low speeds it was awkward to fly.2

Kommando Nowotny

Major Walter Nowotny formed the Kommando Nowotny in October 1944 with Me 262s.2,3,6

Specifications

  Messerschmitt Me 262A
Type Fighter5, Fighter Bomber1,5, Ground Attack5, Reconnaissance5
Crew 11,5
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 004 B turbines5
Thrust 1,980 lb each1
Fuel Capacity 566 gallons5
Dimensions  
Span 40' 11.5"1, 41'5
12.48 m1, 12.5 m5
Length 34' 9.5"1,5
10.6 m1,5
Height 12' 7"1,5
3.8 m5, 3.83 m1
Wing area 234 sq ft5
21.7 sq m5
Armament  
Nose 4: 30 mm Mk 1085
Bombs - Under Fuselage 2: 250 kg5
OR 1: 500 kg5
  Messerschmitt Me 262A-1
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 004B-1 OR -2 OR -31
Weight  
Empty 9,742 lb1
4,419 kg1
Loaded 14,101 lb1, 15,500 lb5
6,396 kg1, 7,045 kg5
Performance  
Speed at sea level 500 mph1
805 kph1
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 540 mph1
869 kph1
Speed at 22,960' / 7,000 m 525 mph5
840 kph5
Climb 3,937'/minute1
1,200 m/minute1
Climb to 26,240' / 8,000 m 11 minutes5
Service ceiling 37,565'1, 39,360'5
11,450 m1, 12,000 m5
Range on internal fuel 526 - 652 miles1
846 - 1,049 km1
Armament  
Nose 4: 30 mm3,4, 30 mm MK 1085
  Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a
Type Fighter3,,4,6
Crew 13,4,6
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 109-004B-4 turbojets3,6
2: Junkers Jumo 004 B-14
Thrust 1,980 lb each4, 1,984 lb each3,6
900 kg6
Dimensions  
Span 40' 11"4, 41' 1/8"3,6
12.5 m3,5
Length 34' 9"4, 34' 9.5"3,6
10.61 m3,6
Height 12' 6.75"3,6, 12' 7"4
3.83 m3,6
Wing area 233.3 ft2 3,6
21.68 m2 3,6
Weight  
Empty 8,818 lb3,6
4,000 kg3,6
Loaded 14,101 lb4, 14,936 lb3,6
6,775 kg3,6
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 540 mph4
Speed at 22,965' / 7,000 m 541 mph3
870 kph3
Speed at 26,965' / 7,000 m 541 mph6
870 kph6
Climb 3,937'/minute3,6
1,200 m/minute3,6
Service ceiling 36,090'3,6, 37,565'4
11,000 m3,6
Range 525 miles3,6, 652 miles4
845 km3,6
Armament 4: 30 mm4
Nose 4: 30 mm1, 30 mm Mk 1086
A-1a/U1: 4: 30 mm and 2: 20 mm1
Wings A-1b: Rockets1
Rounds A-1b: 241
  Messerschmitt Me 262A-2
Type Fighter2
Crew 12
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 004B-1, -2, or -3 axial flow2
Thrust 1,980 lb each2
Dimensions  
Span 40' 11"2
12.5 m2
Length 34' 9"2
10.58 m2
Height 12' 7"2
3.83 m2
Wing area 234 ft2 2
21.73 m2 2
Weight  
Empty 8,738 lb2
3,800 kg2
Loaded 14,110 lb2, 15,400 lb5
6,400 kg2, 7,000 kg5
Performance  
Speed 540 mph2
870 kph2
Service ceiling 37,500'2
11,450 m2
Range @ 30,000' /
9,000 m
650 miles2
1,050 km2
Armament  
Nose 2: 30 mm Mk 1085
A-2a: 4: 30 mm1
Bombs A-2a: 1,102 lb1
A-2a: 500 kg1
  Messerschmitt Me 262B
Type Trainer and Night Fighter1
Crew 21
Dimensions  
Length 38' 7"1
  Messerschmitt Me 262 B-1a/U1
Type Night fighter4,6
Crew 24,6
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 004 B-14, Junkers Jumo 109-004B-16
Thrust 1,980 lb each4, 1,984 lb each6
900 kg6
Dimensions  
Span 40' 11"4, 40' 11.5"6
12.48 m6
Length 34' 9"4, 37' 10"6
11.53 m6
Height 12' 7"4,6
3.84 m6
Wing area 233.6 sq ft6
21.7 sq m6
Weight  
Empty 10,110 lb6
4,585 kg6
Loaded 14,101 lb4, 14,515 lb6
6,585 kg6
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 503 mph4, 505 mph6
813 kph6
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 6 minutes 54 seconds6
Service ceiling 35,600'6, 37,565'4
10,850 m6
Range 652 miles4,6
1,050 km6
Armament 4: 30 mm4
Nose 4: 30 mm Mk 1086
  Messerschmitt Me 262C
Dimensions  
Span 40' 11.5"1
12.48 m1
Length 34' 9.5"1
10.6 m1
Height 12' 7"
3.83 m1

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  3. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
  6. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
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